Winter travel report, 2012

Hello to everyone! Happy New Year 2012! We just got back from our annual trip to Seattle, and, man, I have to tell you, we had a great time in Tacoma and seeing the relatives, but the one thing that sticks out is that the new travel rules are a bit inconvenient.

Look, I want our flights to be safe just like everyone, and I know the TSA is just doing its job, but having to check all clothing and personal items is a genuine hardship when traveling with kids. First of all, we had picked up the kid-sized robes for them from Long’s, and at first Sammy and Sophie seemed to like wearing the paper, but it was pretty cold at SJC and even colder in Washington. The cardboard slippers are really flimsy and didn’t stay on. Both kids really complained and were shivering. I swear Sophie’s knees were actually knocking. Meanwhile, Kimi and I showed up starkers as required, with just the transparent lanyard for my ID, and the modesty towels that we had to ditch in the bin upon boarding. (It was a tough juggling act to wheel two suitcases through the checkin area while keeping the towel on.) The security line cavity search was fine, finished in about three hours, but then at the gate, the new rules require you go through that cube to put on the TSA-supplied pasties. Well the cube is waaaay too small, and we were all being rushed to board. Then, afterwards, I was pretty self-conscious about having to wear basically a thong. They say they wash them between flights, but honestly it didn’t seem that sanitary to me.

Second, even for a short flight like the two hours from San Jose to Seatac, having to sit so still with no reading material or gadgets is honestly a hardship. The kids were bored after about ten minutes, and I wasn’t much better. The least they could do is put some reading material back on the planes. I know the last attempted terrorist attack involved paper cuts, but I don’t think it was really very dangerous for the flight crew. Maybe they could compromise and put on some magazines printed on tissue paper or something? At least they were playing holiday tunes. We passed the time by telling stories and by about the second hour I got used to not trying to turn my neck to look at my family while talking. And the restraint cuffs weren’t really that bad, although one ankle was a bit chafed by the end.

If you’d asked me three years ago if I thought we’d be required to sit literally stock still in an airplane with 300 other random naked people in order to get anywhere, I’d have told you you were crazy. But these are the times we live in. And to object seems like such pre-2011 thinking.

But next time, we’re just driving, I swear.

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