I’ve been on a short vacation visiting family the past two weeks. I left by plane just one day before the “terrorists carrying water bottles” threat, so my trip west was uneventful.
Ten fun-filled days later, I once again found myself at an airport.
To give credit to the airport workers, things went about as smoothly as you could expect given the new regulations they have to enforce, but the whole process was far more painful than before the new rules.
To start with, some people don’t watch the news or read the paper, I suppose, because they end up moving half their carry-on bag contents into their checked baggage at the check-in counter. It took the couple in line in front of me about 30 minutes to get through.
Then at the security gate things were slowed down again (though not as badly as at the checkin) as the really, really dense people who didn’t pay attention to the news OR the person at the checkin counter OR the big display in front of the security area STILL had lighters, lotions and water bottles in their bags.
Those complaints don’t reflect too badly on the airlines or the airport, since those of us who took a little time to sort through purses and carry on bags still pretty much whizzed through check-in and security at normal speed.
But what really irked me was that, once past security, you still couldn’t buy a coke from a vending machine or bottled water.
I know those are the new rules, but if (as I was) you’re travelling with a young child or if the flight is delayed (as ours was), it is a major pain in the butt. As I stood in line at a Starbucks half way across the airport from our gate to buy a way too expensive smoothie for my thirsty son (since it was either that or a beer a lounge), I thoughtÂ that a smart airline would serve complementary beverages in the waiting area for anyone who has a valid boarding pass with their airline.
I know it would have been appreciated by many by our gate waiting for our late-to-arrive aircraft. And it would make me far more likely to use the airline that adapted to serve the needs of its customers in inconvenient circumstances in the future.