Flying from Melbourne to Sydney yesterday, I was reminded of why not to take TSA Pre-Check in the US for granted.
Approaching the security line, I did as I normally do… Take off my cell phone and hook it onto my briefcase, as well as pad my pockets to make sure I don’t have my keys inside. Both will alarm the metal detector. Going through the detector, it starting alarming like a battle ship under fire. Uh, oh. What did I do?
The security worker asked me to take off my vest. Oh, yeah. I forgot. Can’t wear that outside of Pre Check or else it will alarm.
Back through the metal detector. This time, it was no better. The alarm run again. Frantic as to what was going on, and seeing the line behind me, I started running through the things that could be setting it off. Oh, yeah. My belt.
Back out of the machine I went to place the belt through the detector. Back in I go, this time to be in the clear. Whew!
On the other side, I was nervous to see the same security worker now holding my briefcase. He asked if I had a laptop inside to which I begrudgingly replied that I did. Oh, yeah. So, back out of the detector my briefcase went, with my laptop in tow in a separate bin. Once they came through, I was okay’d to leave…about time!
I had taken TSA Pre Check for granted, and I didn’t even realize it. In the US, I never have to take out my laptop, never have to take off my vest, and my belt can remain on. It’s a fairly seamless process, with most times being able to get through the checkpoint in less than a minute. When traveling abroad, there is no expedited process, and while “running on auto-pilot” (excuse the pun), I forgot to do all of the things I should do, knowing I wasn’t in the hands of the TSA.
It’s a reminder to not take TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry for granted. They’re both a privilege and a luxury, and despite all the frustrations of traveling, we really do have it good in the US. Let’s remember the real reason for Memorial Day, and why the men and women that have fought to protect us for so long lead to making our lives easier when traveling. Thank you.
Have you ever forgotten you weren’t in TSA Pre-Check and got held up in the security line?
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