Thursday, December 15, 2011

Flying - Check with the TSA and Don't be an A-H

I returned from Rhode Island yesterday.  Actually, that's where we flew out of; we didn't visit there.  I have nothing against RI, mind you.  It is a beautiful place with lots of trees, lakes, quaint New England style houses, cold weather, funny accents, Navy people and stuff. 

We flew into Providence about 8 or 10 days ago (traveling stresses me) to drive another hour to Connecticut.  It was the first leg of a trip we take every one or two years.  This year, damn it, we didn’t want to spend the whole day at airports, between waiting, stops between flights and layovers, flying, waiting…wait did I say that already?….it’s exhausting and a whole day affair.  Therefore, we found a non-stop.  Caveat was the drive to Phoenix two hours away to get to it and nine days or so parking up there. 

However, no plane changes, no fearing lost luggage.  So we leave at 8:30 a.m. our time; so I like this.  We (not me) drive to Phoenix, stopping for a quick breakfast en-route.  At the airport, we wait, of course, and before the 12 noon take off time, buy sandwiches, as Southwest does not believe in feeding passengers anymore.  However, they more than make up for lack of food with humor, good prices and a very Democratic system of seat selection – first come, first lined up, first seated.  And when the guy in front of me plops his seat back while I’m eating, I still have leg room and don’t feel totally squashed, so they’re okay by me.

Due to a time change, it is 7 p.m. when we arrive in Rhode Island.  At eight, we get luggage and make our way to the rental car place.  This special area is miles and miles of walking (ha) walkways away from the airport - way above local streets, connecting the plane place to the car place.  By the time we arrive at a cozy hotel near Jewitt City, Lisbon and Foxwoods… it is 9:30 p.m.  Not quite totally a full day.

We visited Connecticut, where in-laws and other relatives live, the far part, or should I say FAAAH part, which is near Rhode Island and Boston (so I hear)…where they have Native American tribes too…who knew?

Here in Arizona, in my town, we have Indian tribes and casinos, Pascua Yaqui and Tohono O'odham with the Casino of the Sun, Desert Sun Casino, Sun Casino and Sun Deserts Casino.   

The newest ones are fancy schmancy and we get some pretty big names here.  We even have a disco I think it is called Lots of Rain…or is it Floods or Moon Shine?  Not sure.  We then drove three hours to visit family in New York and then back to Connecticut some days later and then finally returned to RI to fly back.  At that point, we hit a snafu.  Our SW flight out was delayed.  But of course.  However, the pilot let us 156 passengers know that if they were going to be delayed a few hours, they were glad it was with us.  That’s the kind of airline they are.

Well, I digress.  This article is about travel rules and the TSA, the Transportation Satisfaction Administration.  So, please note, I have provided you the link.  In an attempt to be particularly helpful, especially for any eijets amongst us, I even copied/pasted it below, so you can look yourself, as I wouldn’t believe a thing I say either – if I didn’t know me.

Here’s the scoop on what you can bring on the airplane.  One zip lock see through plastic bag – generic is okay.  You don’t have to buy a Glad bag.  And, here’s what’s cool.  You can put as many little 3.4 ounce plastic bottles as you can cram into that baggie – no limit.  Remember when we could only have five and lipstick was considered a liquid?  How did we survive those days?

You can have TWO (2) count them, carry ons.  So, like your purse and a little suitcase, or your briefcase and your laptop or your shopping bag and your gym bag or whatever. 

You, news flash, cannot bring aboard the plane – at least in carry on luggage – knives, guns, flammables, torches, bombs – those you have to pack.  (Kidding for eijits).  No, seriously, please don’t try to bring any of the former with you.  Please buy this stuff at the other end and discard before you return. 

I heard the TSA was under criticism for some alleged strip search of someone 103 in a wheelchair.  I wonder where this happened and if it actually did.  I watched these professionals deal with (eijets) who tried to put large aerosol cans of God knows what in their carry ons, and other questionable items.  These citizens then cursed and muttered at the officers and acted like total a-holes, while the TSA officers maintained a very professional presence.  I would have kicked one of these assh… out of the airport myself, but they actually allowed this particular a-hole to proceed. 

Some congressional representative wants a new law where people can complain publicly about TSA field people…to further impede them in their jobs, I mean, keep them in line.  Hmmm…how quickly we forget.  Let’s remember we have a lot of a-h-s out there who are just plain stupid and rude.  We all deal with them.  These are the complainers.  And duh, sometimes the people who break the rules, the criminals, the idiots out there, the ones who don’t want any rules, are the ones complaining the loudest and the ones who get to – with impunity. 

    So that’s my two cents, but seems like every time we create another avenue of complaint…in a profession…it only goes one way…like Child Protective Services.  Everyone and their cousin gets to complain and tell the agency professionals on the frontline who actually are in the field what they should have done and what idiots they are.  The professionals just have to shut up and take it, because if they talk to reporters or press, they are fired.  The reporters report ad nausea about what the professionals should have done, if they were mind readers and had magic wands, could read the future, actually had funding to do the job, and were actually supported.  What can you do? 
       Therefore, the next time you fly, please limit your carry-ons.  And, please, tell me how the couple on the flight returning to Phoenix, who were easily in their eighties got on that plane with four carry-ons, weighing about 1200 pounds?  Their stuff, including two coats, and a wheeler thing to carry all their stuff, took up one entire overhead.  Three other passengers had to help them get their things down, all the while the rest of the plane, which was late, fidgeted, hoping to make connecting flights.  Overhead came the flight attendant, “I’m sorry to announce but the passengers connecting to Canada have missed their flight connection.”  One of the items, a bulletproof briefcase almost killed another passenger as the woman tried to tease it over the edge and it fell like dead weight.  My honey finally helped the gentleman with one of his bags cause he couldn’t carry it up the aisle with all his other one carry on (???  I know, think about it) and his wife was overloaded and we probably would never have been able to get off the plane otherwise. 

       So, in short, please review the TSA website, which is easy to read and has simple rules and don’t be an a-hole.  And, if you are in Connecticut, visit the Mohegan Sun, the newer casino, awesome.  They have Ginger bread houses and laser jets you can drive yourself.  And, if you happen to be in New York, or Sunnyside, try Tangra Masala.  It is an Asian Fusion restaurant.  The food is to die for but you know, it is mixed with Indian tastes and spices so I’m thinking they should call it Asian/Indian fusion, but it’s New York and you can’t tell them what to do. 
       There are other restaurants in that area including an Italian one with the most best Veal Cutlet parmigana.  Thanks to my family/familia in New York and Connecticut, you are something else all of you.
3-1-1 for carry-ons = 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less (by volume) ; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring. 3.4 ounce (100ml) container size is a security measure.

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