Posts Tagged ‘travelling’

Before flying to Korea, my big concern was how my fourteen-month old son would tolerate such a long journey – about 24 hours from the time we left my mother’s until we arrived at my in-laws’ house. I needn’t have worried about Ian, though. He was a trooper. It’s the people who run the airports that are the problem with long-distance travel.

This is my first trip abroad in six years, but I’ve flown domestically during that time so the whole taking off the belt and shoes thing was nothing new. Except for doing it while holding a 25-pound toddler in one arm, I guess, which is a patience-draining addition to the ritual. While emptying the contents of pockets into a big plastic tub, tossing my watch in there and then the belt, I found myself thinking, Bring on the god damn body scanners already.

If political correctness precludes a reasonably targeted approach to airport security that minimizes the discomfort for folks not planning on blowing up jets or smuggling drugs, at least make the silly process we have now quick. If that means some bored security guy or gal sees my private parts, so be it.

The one mildly entertaining part of the security ritual came after all our stuff had gone through the scanner. KJ and I were keeping tabs on Ian while gathering everything together when a short, stocky security guy came over and looked inside one of the tubs. He had five o’clock shadow even though it was about eight in the morning.

Spying my red Bic lighter, he muttered with a very gravelly voice, “That’s gonna need to go in a bag.”

He quickly procured a Ziploc bag issued by the Government of Canada and CATSA (the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority), dropped my Bic in it, and sealed it shut. I thought maybe it would be kept by the flight attendants until after we landed in Vancouver, which actually seemed sensible to me. But, no, he handed it right over.

I honestly cannot figure out the point of this. I had an image of a shoe bomber sitting in a window seat, crossing his leg so his foot was against the fuselage and then reaching for his lighter – only to be crushingly disappointed to find it in a well-sealed plastic baggy. Bet they don’t teach terrorists how to get around that one!

Vancouver International Airport, meanwhile, is apparently dedicated to persecuting travellers who smoke – people (and we are people) like me.

Once we made our way from YVR’s domestic terminal to the international terminal, I set about looking for a smoking-room. They used to have one, but now they don’t.

I was told by security that the only way to have a smoke was to pass through customs, exit the airport, and then go through security to get right back to where I already was. We had a lot of time to kill before the flight to Seoul, but not so much that such an onerous exercise would be worth it.

Why an airport can’t make any sort of reasonable accommodation for smokers, who in many cases are travelling a great many hours, is beyond me. I know we smokers are outcasts, but this really does seem to take things a little too far. Add the ridiculous security procedures to the mix and all the fun has been taken out of flying.

It’s too bad. The journey itself used to be one of the best parts of travelling.

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