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Could Somebody Tell Me What It's Like to Fly Nowadays? Security, Interrogations, Shoe Removal, etc.

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The Cleaner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 09:21 AM
Original message
Could Somebody Tell Me What It's Like to Fly Nowadays? Security, Interrogations, Shoe Removal, etc.
Just curious. I've seen news clips that say you have to remove both shoes and socks before going through security, and they recommended bringing along a pair of those thin slipper-socks so you won't get any kind of skin infection through stepping on the bare floor.

I've seen TV shows that depict Homeland Security interrogations for very minor problems that ocurred, either at present or in the past, which have caused them to miss their flights. I've also heard of people unknowingly being placed on the terror watch list, only to find out at the airport when that person is refused boarding the flight.

Of course there is the ever-changing rules for liquids on airplanes (I understand now you can carry a pint-sized plastic baggie with small quantities of liquids on board) even though from what I understand you can still pack all the liquids you want in your check-in luggage. I also understand you can still carry matches on board, why I have no idea (I believe it was Michael Moore who connected this to the tobacco lobby, who wanted people to be able to light up just before/after their flights).

I'm trying to parse fact from fiction. What's the airport experience really like these days, and is it really THAT much of a pain to fly?
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Warren Stupidity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 09:27 AM
Response to Original message
1. I've never had to remove my socks
The liquid rules are stupid. I bring small bottles of stuff and if the official idiot finds them objectionable, oh well, into the bin with them, no problem.

Don't argue, don't get upset, don't bother the people in uniform. I've never missed a plane because of security.

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Freddie Stubbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 09:27 AM
Response to Original message
2. I flew around Thanksgiving
I had to take my shoes off but not my socks. Other than that it really wasn't too much of a hassle.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 09:34 AM
Response to Original message
3. I flew this month, and the rules can change depending on where
you are. I try to wear flip-flops going through security, but had to take them off in most places. Some places you can carry matches, but in the airport in Denpasar, boxed matches were conviscated.
You can still pack all the liquids you want in your checked baggage, but not lighters.
And consider carefully before buying any alcohol or liquids in a Duty-free. Depending on where you go through customs, that too could be confiscated.
My best advice is to have patience. It can be a pain in the neck, but still beats walking.
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spinbaby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 09:34 AM
Response to Original message
4. Minor annoyances for the most part
Some airports seem to want you to take your shoes off, some don't. Some seem concerned with whether there's metal in your shoes. I wear slip off shoes and socks--no problem. They usually want you to take outerwear off and put it through the scanner. Also, computers, and sometimes other electronics need to be taken out of their case and run through separately.

Once I got the full search where they searched EVERYTHING including the insides of my wallet which made me very uncomforable--they almost wouldn't let me keep my fountain pen that time. How they targeted two old ladies traveling together as terror suspects, I'll never know.

In my experience, I've found that domestic airports vary widely in how they implement security measures but that they rarely amount to more than minor inconveniences. International airports vary even more widely--in Japan they're quite thorough, in France they don't care.
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pitohui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #4
21. what france is this?
Edited on Fri Dec-29-06 01:31 PM by pitohui
ha, i see you did not get the extra super-special american treatment at cdg, where they search every pocket and possession you have and some you didn't know you have and actually stand there and pretend to read the writing on every piece of paper

i was there 3 hrs early and barely got on my flight

maybe other airports in france are better, but paris to united states, they do NOT want to risk another shoe bomber type incident and they are very security aware

frankfurt, germany is another one where you might as well make up your mind that you are going to be swabbed for explosives and all the rest

my experience anyway

i actually don't remember anything special about security screening in japan, but maybe i would just expect them to be efficient and thorough
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The Velveteen Ocelot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 09:36 AM
Response to Original message
5. Depends on the airport -- how efficient their screening process is --
but I haven't found it to be that much of a hassle in most places. You don't have to take your socks off, just your shoes. One thing you should do before you leave is check the TSA's web site for information on what you can and can't bring (because it does change from time to time), and then sort through your stuff to be sure you don't have any prohibited items in your bags, like handguns and knives and other pointy things. You can bring liquids in containers no larger than 3 fluid ounces, and all those containers have to fit in a 1-quart plastic bag (this rule is bullcrap, IMO, but there you are...).

Before you go through the security line, take off your watch and remove coins and car keys, etc, from your pockets, put your carryon bag on the conveyor, and put all your other stuff, including your coat and shoes, in the plastic bin.

There have been instances of people with common names who have been mistakenly selected for secondary screening because of God knows what kind of stupid TSA screwup. I think "Nelson" is one of those names -- they must be looking for an al Qaeda terrorist named Nelson, I guess.

I haven't had any problems at all, and I fly fairly often. You just have to figure in some extra time, especially if you are traveling during a busy time of day.
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shugah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 09:37 AM
Response to Original message
6. not so bad
i was apprehensive as well when we flew in november. to answer your specific questions - yes, be prepared to take off your shoes. small amounts of liquid type products (3 oz or less, i think) in re-sealable plastic bags. matches -yes, lighters -no.

otherwise, have your pic ID handy at check-in and keep it easily accessible until you've boarded. i bought some orange juice at the terminal after check-in and had no problem taking it on the plane with me.

it's not that it's a huge pain to fly, just time-consuming getting on the plane. be sure to get there in whatever amount of time they recommend before your flight. i also called the airline the day before departure with specific questions to make sure there was nothing new to be aware of.
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Greybnk48 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 09:39 AM
Response to Original message
7. We're flying in about a week
Edited on Fri Dec-29-06 09:43 AM by Greybnk48
and I just checked to see if I could bring my knitting on board (it's a long flight). I guess I can, including short blunt tipped scissors, but bamboo circular needles are recommended instead of metal. I've never had to take off my socks either.

Some of the info on the airline site was helpful for knitters. They recommended that you bring a large self-addressed stamped envelope to mail your supplies home in case of an over zealous agent. Also, a large crochet hook to transfer your project to in case your needles were confiscated (so you did not lose knitting already completed). It will be interesting to see what happens.

Us knitters are a dangerous lot!

On edit: I was taken in to a separate room in Oct. of 2001 and had to take my clothes off because my underwire bra set off the metal detector, also the metal eyelets on my keds. It seems much better now than right after 911.
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crispini Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 09:41 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. I've never had knitting taken away.
I fly with bamboo needles all the time and have never even been questioned.
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Greybnk48 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 09:44 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. That's good to know
what all do you take along besides bamboo needles? I'm so worried about losing anything I really like.
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crispini Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #11
15. I don't do big pieces, 'cause I get easily distracted on the plane.
So I just have a scarf, typically, and extra yarn, needles, and a small cheapo pair of scissors. Maybe a crochet hook. That's it! :D
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crispini Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 09:39 AM
Response to Original message
8. It's not bad, just be prepared.
I fly all the time. The routine is:

- On the way up to security, boarding card and ID out and prepared.
- In the line, STRIP! Shoes off, (wear socks!) coat off, (clean out pockets if you are a guy) and in a bin. Baggie of liquids in the bin. Computer in the bin. By now I am up to at least two bins. HANG ON TO YOUR PAPERWORK, DON'T PUT IT DOWN!
- Shove bins in x-ray, walk through, show paperwork to guy on other side.
- Put everything back together and away you go.

Easy peasy. Haven't had issues yet.
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warrens Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 09:44 AM
Response to Original message
10. It's not THAT bad
I've only been searched once, and that was in Canada, and you don't remove your socks. The booties are just for people who aren't wearing socks. The basic tip is...don't put any metal stuff in your pockets, stash your belt, and travel as lightly as possible.
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 09:45 AM
Response to Original message
12. It's a pain in the ass, but you just have to play their game
Make your life easy: Wear Velcro or slip-on shoes. (I've never had to remove socks) Don't wear anything metal. Make sure you can get all the stuff you keep in your pockets out and back in easily. (I try to make the thing as quick as possible so I don't hold up the person behind me) Have your ID & boarding pass out and hold it so the agent can see both clearly.

Make sure you know what's in your pockets--it's very embarrassing to put on that jacket you haven't worn for a while only to have a TSA agent find your Leatherman. If you have a laptop, you will have to take it out of it's bag. (Do NOT put a laptop in checked baggage--you WILL lose it.)

Fluids and gels have to be 3oz or less and in a clear plastic bag. Shut up and do exactly what you're told, realize the TSA people are regular working stiffs just earning a living like you and me.

That said, my girlfriend discovered upon our arrival in our Vegas hotel room that she had accidentally left a bag of weed in her purse. What a gift!!
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Coventina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 09:46 AM
Response to Original message
13. I flew earlier this month. It's a hassel, but it wasn't horrible.
If you are going to carry on liquids or gels, they all have to be in 3 oz containers or less, and they all have to fit in one quart-sized plastic bag.

DH & I followed this rule, but forgot to take it out of our carry on and present it to the screener as you are supposed to do. We got through security both coming and going without following that particular rule.

Also, coming back, DH had a large water bottle that was less than half full, but surely had more than 3 oz of water in it. He had it stuck in his backpack as it went through the screening machine. Once again, no comment was made and we got through security just fine. After we were at the gate and settling in for our wait to board, he opened up his backpack and found the water bottle!

So much for "security".

We had to take our shoes off, but not our socks. I was careful to wear clothing with no metal on it whatsoever (plastic buttons, no zippers, etc.) to make sure I would have no problems.

Once I was on the plane, I took Benedryl, which knocks me out. I was so doped up, I couldn't freak out, which I usually do.

I hate flying.
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radfringe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 09:47 AM
Response to Original message
14. shoes/coat/ outwear off
where slip-on type shoes.

matches ok - lighters are not, although I've gone through security in a few airports with a lighter, and in other places have had the lighter confiscated - fortunately I also had matches with me.

liquid stuff (i.e. toiletries) go into my checked baggage.

had one security guy get all ker-flummoxed on how to open my camera carrying case (i.e. release the velcro, lift flap and unzip)

metal-scanner you walk through are not calibrated the same. we had a 3 hour lay over in one airport. my partner went out for a cigarette, came back in, went through security with no problem. after an hour or so more, she went out for another cig, this time the scanner went off. the security guard told her it was the "foil" inside the cigarette pack.

another time - scanner ding-ding on me, supposedly the rivets in my jeans set it off
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lilymidnite Donating Member (330 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 10:08 AM
Response to Original message
16. knitting ok, blackberry jam not
Edited on Fri Dec-29-06 10:09 AM by lilymidnite
I flew in November. My knitting, including some 4" aluminum stitch holders, was OK. I had bought
some blackberry jam in Pennsylvania. That was confiscated. Who knew that blackberry jam was a liquid or gel.

Watch out for red-haired knitters with blackberry jam, I say.
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The Cleaner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:16 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. That blackberry jam is sheer terror! Confiscate! Shoot it!
That is weird, what's so bad about blackberry jam! I'd be pretty pissed, that's some good stuff. Who would have figured?

Thanks to all for your insightful responses. It gives me a better feel for flying now. The consensus says flying is a minor hassle, but isn't all THAT bad once you understand the new rules and obey them.
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pitohui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #18
22. oh some tsa worked needed the jam for her bagel EOM
.
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DURHAM D Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 10:09 AM
Response to Original message
17. I just got off of a flight - my 4th in 5 days.
Every airport has slightly different rules but shoes off always.

The most confusing rule - taking liquids and food (water/cokes/yogurt) that you purchased after security but before boarding on to the plane. Not only is every airport different and every airline different; every ticket agent has a different set of rules. In other words, if you want to purchase a bottle of water to take on the airplane - go ask the ticket agent in advance if he/she allows it. And, if they say no just buy it anyway and stuff it in your bag.

I also noticed that at 3 of the 4 airports I was through this past week - 3 of them did not ask for lighters.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:19 PM
Response to Original message
19. Just wear slip on shoes, and have NO carry-on luggage
and you'll be ok. You will still have to endure long lines because other people will be holding up the line because of all the shit THEY want to carry on.
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pitohui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:36 PM
Response to Reply #19
24. that's really bad advice, the loss of checked bags is up 25 percent
Edited on Fri Dec-29-06 01:37 PM by pitohui
you still have to carry-on your bags, now more than ever, since aug. 10, 2006, lost luggage rates (already bad) soared 25 percent

if you carry on nothing, you risk having nothing at the other end of your flight

for a short trip it's especially disastrous

also, keep in mind, the airline warns you that it takes NO responsibility for valuable items such as laptops, digital cameras, money, etc. packed in your checked luggage -- those items WILL be stolen and the airline is NOT liable for the loss

read the airline's terms and conditions, you MUST carry-on your valuables like money, jewelry, electronics, cameras, laptops, cell phones

nothing valuable should go in checked luggage, that's for dirty laundry
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. Precisely why I am so happy to not have to fly anywhere anymore
We prefer to drive, even when gas is high.

I feel for people who have to fly a lot with their jobs (like my son does)..

I learned my lesson with jewelry long ago when some expensive pieces turned up missing..and they were IN my carry-on. This was in the 70's during the hijacking scares, and everything was pretty thoroughly searched. I did not even miss the jewelry until we were at my mother-in-law's house. At first I thought I might have left it at home, and not even packed it, but of course when we got back home, it was not there either..so someone at OHare had a couple of expensive christmas presents for themselves.

After that experience I never again traveled with any jewelry I was not wearing, and I never brought anything of any real value with me again.
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mnhtnbb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 03:13 PM
Response to Reply #19
27. If you really need the stuff in your luggage, you'd better carry-on.
Edited on Fri Dec-29-06 03:15 PM by mnhtnbb
Not only are the airlines losing more bags, but you can be delayed, flight cancelled, miss your connections and your bags will be in limbo.

I NEVER check bags anymore. I've even had Delta lose my carry-on bag that they took away claiming there was no more space. And I've almost been thrown off Delta planes since then for arguing with flight attendants to keep my carry-on. Two years ago I pleaded with other passengers to make room for my bag because we were going to a family wedding--and people moved their stuff for me!
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pitohui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:25 PM
Response to Original message
20. i have flown a lot this month, yeah, that is accurate
Edited on Fri Dec-29-06 01:27 PM by pitohui
in usa you do have to remove your shoes, outside the country, it depends on the airport security whether you need to remove shoes or not

don't get me started on the baggies and "the war on a state of matter," just don't even get me started

people are having pies seized (stolen) by security who say the pies might be an illegal "gel" (how can a pie not made of gelatin be a gel?) and then the pies are being donated to the lounge for the military -- so get this, pies that are considered it's possible they have bombs in them are being FED to our soldiers traveling for the holidays

the interrogations are mostly when entering the country, not when leaving the country, and they can be more or less intrusive, sometimes they ask nothing at all, sometimes they seem to want to know the story of your life


depending on the airport, lines can be VERY long, and if you don't have elite status, god bless you if you try to fly out of say maccarran (las vegas) on the wrong day, you could be in line for two hours and miss your plane

if you don't fly enough to have status, honestly, my advice is to avoid flying at all or fly with a companion who does have status, because it's only even more awful for you non-frequent flyers, we all get treated like shit, but you guys have to stand in line to be treated like shit!
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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 01:35 PM
Response to Original message
23. No socks removal, either. But I did have some booties
that I got years ago when I flew business class and got a package of goodies. As soon as I removed my shoes I put those booties on and walked through the metal detector. No one blinked.

As for liquids - in both airports that I flew on Thanksgiving you were offered a zip lock bag of 7" by 7" (apporx) to put all your liquids - none more than 3 oz. These were mouthwash, and lotion, and toothpaste.. If you carry prescription drugs, make sure the label identifying you is there.

And, as others say - depends on the airport and the time of day. If the place you are going is served by a major airport and neighboring small ones, see if you can fly to the smaller one and then take a shuttle or a taxi to where you are going.

Make sure that you do not lock your luggage and have an ID card inside your luggage.

And pay attention to the instructions by your airline as far as restrictions on size and weight of luggage, time to arrive at the airport, etc. If you are going overseas, restrictions are tougher.

Most airlines now allow checking in and printing a boarding pass from your computer starting 24 hours ahead of departure. If you do this, you lowering your chances of being "bumped off" because of over booking.
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NoPasaran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 03:07 PM
Response to Original message
26. My brother flew last Saturday
Edited on Fri Dec-29-06 03:08 PM by NoPasaran
He told me he had a very thorough search---so much so that he missed his original flight.Also missing that flight was a soldier who had been in Iraq on Tuesday. He (the soldier) said they let people into the Green Zone with less hassle.
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JustABozoOnThisBus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-29-06 03:20 PM
Response to Original message
28. Bottled water is illegal.
I had 2 16oz bottles, had to chug them before I got to the carry-on xray thing. So I put the empties in my carry-on. No problem, since there's no liquid. Then I filled them at the water fountain in the gate area. No problem. I like having water when I fly.

I didn't try getting a sandwich past security, just bought one at a vendor near the gate. I suppose mustard is a "gel".

I don't care about removing my shoes. I'm just grateful that Richard Reid (aka "shoe bomber") didn't smuggle the explosives rectally. It would add another dimension to the TSA procedures.
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