After a round-about detour, I entered the airport only to discover I had
to check in electronically at the new kiosk at Delta Airlines. The agent on
duty, whom I shall call Brunhilda, insisted. Luckily, the gruff impression
she first made was softened a bit when I discovered that the credit card I
inserted in the reader for identification didnít seem to work. I later
found out it was because of extra lettering on the front of my card which
the reader misread. Brunhilda suggested I use my driverís license, which
Even though I had traveled several months previously, lots of things had
changed. Security, which had been rather thorough, had become even more so.
Giant new security machines under sunlight bright lights manned by a team of
security personnel had replaced the small, dark machines and pairs of
security personnel previously used. Gray bins, looking like oversized
heavy-duty dishpans, lay everywhere. One security person told everyone in
line that all items had to go into the bins. I expect that soon passengers
will just lie down on the conveyor belt and be scanned like their luggage,
similar to a pass-through MRI. But, so far, thatís science fiction.
The reality is that security has gotten tighterĖa lot tighter. I
mistakenly left a set of small screwdrivers in one of my carryon bags. I
knew they didnít belong there, but, nevertheless, there they were. This
caused a major commotion. At first, the security person said she had to
confiscate the set. I told her I needed it and would put it in my bag at the
next stop. It took four security persons and a supervisor to come to a
decision to let me keep the set.
But my adventure didnít end there. On my way to Mexico City, I had to
change planes in Atlanta. Unfortunately, I had no way of knowing that
Atlanta had been put under a major security alertĖCode Red. From the woman
sitting next to me on the plane on the way to Atlanta I found out that
police were stopping and searching all cars and passengers entering the
airport. National Guard personnel stood guard everywhere.
I was told to collect my bag and check it again in Atlanta. When I did,
the agent said to take it to a large machine to have it scanned. This
machine was large enough to scan an elephant. After my bag went through the
machine, another security person said he had to check inside. I had to stand
behind a white line and not touch the bag as he unpacked it to get to my
shoes. Using what looked like a four-inch paper disk, he rubbed it over my
shoes and then placed it into a reader to see if I had anything hidden in my
shoes. By this time, my neatly packed bag was a shambles.
After all this, I definitely felt safer, but at the same time, I realized
that I had not packed for security.