Air travel fun

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 7, 2006

Anyone who has taken a flight somewhere since September 11, 2001 knows how much fun air travel is these days.

I understand the need for more security following that tragic event, but I can’t help but feel like I am being punished for something I had nothing to do with. I guess I am just selfish, insensitive and like to complain.

Never the less, here are a few suggestions I have for any potential air travelers.

If your shuttle to the airport is picking you up at 5:50 in the morning make sure you stay up to at least 2 am the night before. Then wait until 5:47 am to wake up and finish packing.

Once you arrive at the airport and wind through a ridiculously long maze of switchbacks and wild-eyed business travelers, prepare yourself for the violation of personal space that is probably coming.

As you approach the security check point, make sure not to take your shoes off, even though everyone else is, and act extremely annoyed when the security guard asks you to take them off.

When you get back to the metal detector, make sure you start mumbling, preferably in a sarcastic tone, something like I thought I was in America and what happened to my civil liberties. Security guards usually love this type of passive aggressive challenge to their authority and will usually show their appreciation by providing you with special treatment.

This special treatment might involve being pulled out of line and getting a shakedown from another member of the Transportation Security Administration. If you are lucky, he will be from some mecca of democracy, like Indonesia, and will grow increasingly frustrated with you for not following his directions. If this happens, quickly inform him that you would like to follow his directions, but you don’t speak broken English. He will love this, trust me. Then request a translator, preferably one who has actually read the Constitution.

One time I had the pleasure of a Canadian security guard searching my carry own luggage and providing him with my life story returning from Montreal a couple of years ago, but that was Canada and I wouldn’t expect any less from our socialist neighbors to the north.

So after your civil liberties have been sufficiently trampled and your faith in Homeland Security completely restored, make sure to request a plane with at least two screaming babies on board, especially if you are really tired and are hoping to catch a few Z’s during the flight.

When you finally begin to board your flight, find the guy with two pieces of carry-own luggage that are obviously too big to fit in the overhead compartments. Follow him onto the plane, wait patiently as he attempts to shove and cram his luggage into the overhead, nearly taking your head off in the process, and enjoy a good laugh when he acts absolutely astonished when his bag doesn’t fit.

If you actually make it to your seat without causing some type of international incident, breathe a sigh of relief and turn on as many electronic devices as possible during takeoff, just to make things interesting.

Then wear a Speedo the next time you fly.