I remember my first plane experience like it was yesterday. Our family flew to Atlanta, Georgia, first class on the Golden Falcon, an Eastern Airlines, DC-7 plane, tricked out with the latest and greatest conveniences of the time.
The “stewardesses” (yes, that was what they were called in the day), were dressed in very professional uniforms; the service was above anything I have experienced lately, and the food was comparable to that of a good restaurant. Glass glasses, real silverware and ceramic plates . . . way above the peanuts and pretzels served now. Of course, I have to be fair and not compare first class of the 50’s to coach of today.
When we returned from Georgia, all I talked about was becoming a stewardess. I loved to fly and did travel frequently in my teens.
Unfortunately 9/11 changed the world, and it also changed my attitude toward flying. I now view it as a necessary evil because of the TSA experiences. Like many people, I have followed all the rules about what to pack, what not to pack and how to pack. I have used enough baggies to choke a horse. My luggage has been pilfered through; many times I have found a note saying how sorry they were to go through my belongings, but they did it for the safety of me and the other passengers.
I have been x-rayed; my hands have been swiped, and I have had the full body wand! But, not until last week did I experience the embarrassing full body pat-down from my waist to my ankles. I was wearing jeans, nothing in my pockets, no jacket, no shoes and after being x-rayed, the signal when off that I could possibly be a threat. With my arms stretched out, my jeans waist band was rolled down and checked, and my legs were patted from ankles to “where resistance was met” as described by the TSA agent. They asked me if I would mind being groped (my term for what they did). What do you think they would have done if the answer was “yes, I do mind?”
I think, in my opinion, the TSA and Homeland Security are getting a little carried away at the airports. Yes, there are millions of people traveling. The possibilities are endless for smuggling weapons, drugs on bombs on a person’s body. Going through their sophisticated x-ray machine showed enough proof, in my opinion, that I was not dangerous. I didn’t care to fly in the past 14 years, and now I really hesitate to fly.
I am writing this while sitting in my hotel room in New York. Tomorrow I have to go through another TSA experience with trepidation.