How many times does it take one normal, college-age girl to get through airport security? Just ask my niece. A few years ago while traveling home from college to enjoy Christmas break with her family she found out even the littlest things affect the alarm at the security checkpoint. In her case, it was an abundance of little things.
There’s nothing quite like an airport during the holidays to add stress to one’s life. Not to mention adding in lack of sleep from cramming for final exams right beforehand. A holiday traveler requires an abundance of patience and prayers that they will make it to their destination in time for the actual holiday. Successfully making it through security in a timely manner is part of that equation.
The first concern is usually liquids. Three ounces of any liquid, especially for a young woman, is like a teaspoon compared to what she would normally use. Three ounces wouldn’t even cover Barbie’s golden locks. And then taking into account anything you think might be considered a liquid should be in a clear plastic bag is a must. My motto over the years has become: If in doubt, keep it out.
But liquids were not the issue for my niece. Her problem was walking through the metal detector. She set off the alarm four times! The TSA officers were completely stumped. She had already emptied her pockets, removed her belt and shoes, taken off her watch, and her earrings. She told her parents she basically took off everything aside from her clothes. I’m sure they were thrilled.
I was glad she didn’t get “patted down” as the TSA officers call it. That happened to me once at airport security. In my case, they told me I was “randomly selected” for this fabulous opportunity. Afterwards I felt like I should at least exchange phone numbers with the employee. They certainly knew me intimately after that experience. My first clue should have been when they asked me if I wanted a private room. Foolishly I thought why?
Finally, after my niece went through the metal detector a fourth time and set off the alarm yet again, she told the security agent she had bobby pins in her hair. She was asked to remove them. I’m sure they were ready to move on to the next traveler by this point. Little did the airport personnel realize how long this process would actually take. My niece’s only concern was what her hair would like after removing every bobby pin. (When she recalls the story she describes it as “horrendous.”)
I’m guessing she wasn’t exaggerating because she literally removed 50 bobby pins from her hair! The employee couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it until this past weekend. My daughter went to prom and had her sister style her hair. She used 80 bobby pins. 80! Thank goodness bobby pins cost relatively nothing. Regardless, that adds up to a lot of metal in anyone’s hair.
After my niece’s airport security bobby pin fiasco (as I like to call it), she is happy to report she has airport security down to a science. She now announces that she has bobby pins in her hair before going through the metal detector. She said, “Now all they have to do is fan my head with the wand instead of having to mess up my hair.” And good hair is bound to make anyone’s travel experience better no matter what time of year.
First published in the Atchison Globe 5-7-16