Last week I passed through airline security at SFO and had an unpleasant surprise. They were making people take out EVERYTHING electronic. Cables, iPods, mobile phones, everything - in addition to your laptop. As I put my stuff on the security table and sliding towards the x-ray machine, I hurriedly took out as much as possible and prayed as I put my things through the x-ray that I would make it through. On the other side of the x-ray, I was gathered my things and was not required to go through extra screening. I also realized that I had forgotten to take out my iPod and cables but they let me through.
I thought that maybe it was because we were at Threat Level Orange (whatever that means - I guess Orange must be close to Red which I would assume is the highest threat level so Orange must be pretty high) and it was Martin Luther King's Day weekend so I thought that perhaps they were doing a bit more security. But it seems like it's a permanent policy now. This week I also had to take out everything.
Once again I feverishly dug out everything in my bag that was electronic, but of course in my haste I forgot a few things like my digital camera and Kindle cable but managed to make it through.
So I wonder about this policy. They say you need to take out everything, but twice I did not. I was entirely willing although not immensely overjoyed at the prospect of taking everything out, but at least they should say what they mean. If they say they want everything out but let you pass anyways when you don't have everything out, then what's the point?
This also has implications for the gadget freak traveler guy like me. I have more gadgets on me now than ever before. It's my life. But yet traveling so much, it seems like it's going to become a huge hassle to bring all my gadgets. Reduction is a possibility; I could consolidate some things, but not others. On the other hand, I did buy some Eagle Creek zippered packing bags in which I put a lot of my electronics and support cables. I was able to just take out that bag and put it in a tray for inspection. Faster, but still not ideal.
It's like that cartoon I saw in some magazine once. They have a shot of two guys who stripped down naked to walk through airline security. The caption underneath read, "It's just easier this way."