By Russ and Tiña De Maris
If you need another reason to enjoy traveling by RV, here’s another real-life adventure that underscores the point.
An RVer, who asked to remain unnamed, recently got news that she was a first-time great-grandmother. To see the new “grand,” she’d have to travel from Arizona to Washington state, and the weather seemed to suggest flying would be a better choice. So she packed her bags and headed to the airport.
All was fine until she hit the security checkpoint, whereupon the good folks from TSA announced that since she had recently been equipped with a heart pacemaker, she couldn’t go through the agency medical detector. Did she tell them about the pacemaker (which, according to its manufacturer, can safely make the trip through a metal detector)? Nope – somehow the all-knowing federal government already had the information on file. Figure that one out.
So, bypassing the metal detector, the woman was shuffled through the infamous “scanner,” which unlike its predecessors doesn’t use radiation to detect bad stuff, and is more “passenger friendly.” Friendly, that is, until the snooper scope determined that three areas of her body were suspect, and she was then subject to what she described as a pretty rough pat down.
Her luggage wasn’t faring the trip through security much better. After what she felt was a humiliating search, she found her baggage thoroughly unpacked, and certain “verboten” items had been found. A brand new tube of toothpaste was tossed out. And, heaven forbid, she’d also packed a small baggy of Malt-o-Meal in her luggage. After being questioned at length about the offending hot cereal, and it passing an explosives test, she was finally sent off for her plane.
The return trip from Seattle was even worse. In addition to the “no go” through the metal detector, another ride in the scanner, this time the pat-down search was accompanied by a security agent who must have had several cups of “Seattle’s Worst Coffee,” as he shouted abuses at the piqued passenger. This finally got the traveler’s dander up, and when she encountered her torn up luggage, she suggested perhaps security personnel might want to repack her baggage. Not the thing to suggest — this resulted in further humiliating comments from TSA staffers, and firm orders to “Stay right there!” After several minutes of simply standing around, the woman inquired if she could move. Instead of being instructed, the security agent who made the original demand simply stomped off, leaving her standing there. After several more minutes, she took it on herself to move along.
The RVer tells me she will NEVER fly a commercial flight again, and that either she’ll take the RV, or even drive and “motel it,” rather than subject herself to another round in the TSA tumbler.