Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Bag Ladies: Show Me Your TSA (kits)

Photo courtesy of http://www.tsa.gov/

Ladies, let's do a spin off of the 'empty the purse' game - show us what you've got in your carry on!

The liquid ban has somewhat been lifted. Yesterday's news blasted the announcement that air travelers would be allowed to bring their own liquid goodies, with a few stipulations. After nearly two months with the rule, I have to say I find it a little bittersweet.I'm a frequent flyer, and the ban in mid-August happened a day before I was headed to New York. I can say it was with great relief I had some advanced notice, as I often hand carry samples for safe keeping. With fear and trepitation I managed to pack without looking like I was moving across continents, but I felt utterly awkward going to my flight with just my purse and laptop. What a strange place to be, so unencumbered!

It didn't end there. Boarding the flight went effortlessly, as we didn't have to deal with seriously overstuffed overhanging bins, or trying to squish bags in the underseat slots. What was most odd, however, was deplaning. I usually sense the mood changing as we start to taxi to the door: bodies start to lean forward in an effort to notify everyone you want off; cell phones start beeping, buzzing and chirping as everyone flips the switch to take those 'urgent' calls; hands and legs start to cramp from strategically being placed on headrests and in aisles to block anyone that might want to leave ahead of you - it really can be a bit stressful.

So what did the carryon ban bring on? Near bliss. Without carryons, we had no reason to hop out of our seats to bring down the bags. People sat politely in their seats. And then, the unthinkable happened - people kept their seat belts on until the sign went off! Ok, maybe it wasn't that out of body experience, but seriously, no one stood up until the flight attendants gave the okay. People also exited by row. The calm and organization was unprecedented.It has been that way more or less, and I've come to love the no carryon rule. I don't know why it takes a fear of terrorism to bring back the niceties we learned about during our grammar school years as line monitors, but it was one amazing by product of the event.

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