Not-so-blank shots fired through airport security • Cathy Best Lifestyle Columnist
I was recently waiting to board an Atlanta-bound flight in General Mitchell airport when a group of six women filed in and sat across from me. The rather interesting group, dressed in all manner of clothing, ranging from sweatpants to office attire, piqued my interest. I wondered what their connection was and where their final destination might be. As they settled in, a woman carrying a lidded, disposable lasagna pan, of the aluminum variety, approached the group, removed the lid and strolled down the row of women handing out Jello shooters. Uh huh… that’s what I thought. For those unaware, shooters are small shots of Jello made with tequila. I assumed the woman, a group member, ordered the shots from a concourse bar. Not even close; she had passed through security with dozens of shots, in small take-out containers used for salad dressing… in a lasagna pan!
I had to know, so I ask, how had she accomplished such a feat? She just sent it through the scanner in her carry-on with the party-goers' homemade lunch. J-h-e-l-l-o! Are you following me here? I squeeze three-ounce bottles of liquids and gels into one, quart-size, baggie with the dexterity of Sophia Vergara donning a pair of skinny jeans, and she has loaded the security scanner like an all-you-can-eat cruise ship buffet. I’m not sure if it riled me because I struggled with the rules or because I hadn’t thought of it. Whatever the case, I was impressed and a little scared by what actually gets through security. Seriously, what if nail clippers got through?
I boarded the flight and buckled up when an umbrella-size straw hat that couldn’t possibly fit in the overhead, under the seat, or on the lady’s head passed my aisle seat. Following the hat, bulging and spilling plastic grocery bags and carry-ons filed by me. I was dumbfounded. As it turns out, the flight was packed with party-goers from a Milwaukee church headed to Aruba. Apparently, no one was going to mess with Jello-toting church-goers and risk getting cut with a nail clipper.
If you lack connections with the Milwaukee church, you’ll have to navigate security like the rest of us. Here’s a couple of personal tips and Transportation Security Administration information to get you through quickly.
Best of the Best
Good to know:
• Do not wrap gifts.
• Photosleeve magnets will get your bag searched, trust me.
• Wear slip-on shoes; all shoes are screened.
• Gel shoe inserts are not permitted, but shoes constructed with gel heels are allowed.
• Place a pair of footies or ankle socks in a baggie in your carry-on to slip on over socks or bare feet when you take your shoes off for screening. Think how nasty the floor is and slipping your feet back in your shoes.
• This may be redundant but you’ll be less likely to lose something if you carry out the following before arriving at security and/or before leaving the house.
• Two carry-ons, period. Put your purse in one of them.
• Empty your pockets and remove your belt, place in your carry-on. TSA collected over $400,000 in change last year left at security by passengers.
• Take off your jacket and hoodie.
• Untie your shoes.
• Watches and some jewelry will have to be removed. Don’t wear it to the airport and put it on after clearing security.
• Place all 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottles or less (by volume) in one one-quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; one bag per passenger.
• Place your identification and boarding pass in an easily accessible outside carry-on pocket.
• Have your laptop and electronics easily accessible. If you travel frequently and carry a laptop consider a “Checkpoint Friendly" laptop bag.
• All of the above must be scanned through security.
Barkin’ Dogs Shoe Co.
172-A South Main St., Madison: Great selection of comfortable slip-on men’s and women’s shoes
Madison Gift Mart
140 W. Washington St., Madison: Vera Bradley carry-on bags
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website, www.tsa.gov/travelers/index.shtm, has all the detailed information you need including, but not limited to, lost and found contact numbers, traveling with disabilities, children, breast milk and baby food, as well as what constitutes an identification document and much more.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) app, www.tsa.gov/travelers/mobile/
index.shtm: Type in www.tsa.gov/mobile. You can find My TSA iPhone app on iTunes.
Cathy Best discovers new things daily. Contact her to share local resources, books, blogs, Web sites and apps you’ve discovered: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Printed in the June 28, 2012 edition