If you’ve been following my blog, well, my trip to St. Lucia is finally here. Well, before I get there, I have to go to the airport, take a flight to Atlanta (where I’m typing this blog) and then connect to St. Lucia. Oh wait, before the flight, there’s a little thing called security and my favorite 3 letters, T S A! Not!
Let me start from the beginning. It seems like I have horrible luck with the TSA. There have been a few “good” times, but that would account to 5% of my travels. One of the good times was when I got accepted into TSA Pre. It’s great. You don’t have to take off your shoes or your laptop and you don’t have to stand in one of those machines that make the TSA agents view you almost naked. And you don’t get treated with derision when you opt out of those machines.
I wanted to be TSA Pre all the time and found out about going through all the background checks to get a known traveller number so you get accepted to TSA Pre all the time. I applied and while my husband got his number in a week, I had to wait for over 2 months before my number came in the mail. I was all set. Or so I thought, but then I realized that there were more hoops to cross. When we flew to Ireland, apparently you have to give the number to the airlines at the time of the booking and even then you are not guaranteed TSA Pre. Well, my husband did not get TSA Pre then despite giving the number at the counter.
Fast forward today. I had given my TSA number and when I checked in on my iPhone, I saw I got TSA Pre. Yes. Yes. Yes. I was jumping for joy. My TSA visit was going to be great. Walk through and no big deal. I would have been right if not for being picked for “random” screening. A random screening that was very scary. Probably my worst TSA experience as I was hoping to be in the “normal” TSA lines at this point.
What happened? I went through the metal detectors that was fine but then it beeped as though it changed its mind. The guy said that it beeped because it’s random and I got picked for random screening. No big deal, I thought. He wiped my hands with these circular tissues and put them in the machine. Normal, random screening for explosives. It would have been fine except when he put the tissues in the machine, the computer screen beeped and started blinking “explosives detected”. My heart was beating so fast at this point. My mind was racing. Explosives detected? Me? What? This is TSA. Are they going to arrest me? What is going to happen? The guy told me to calmly step aside and wait. I’m completely puzzled and terrified at this point. I have never dealt with explosives in my life. How was this even possible?
A female officer came immediately and asked me which were my luggage. I pointed to my hand luggage and my purse. She picked it up and took it to the end of the counter and requested to open my luggage. I complied. She went through every compartment, every zipper, swiping with a new tissue. I was freaking out. If the machine read explosives on my hands where there were none why could it not read it on my luggage. I told her I was quite confused as to why the machine read explosives on my hands. All I did was wear kitchen gloves and wash dishes just before I got to the airport. She explained that it happens all the time and some lotions can cause the machine to read explosives on hands. All the time? What did she mean by all the time? An explosive threat on someone’s hands is common at TSA? I was so scared. I was terrified of a false explosive reading on my luggage. I was convinced that it was possible. Why not? Wouldn’t you think it possible? If you had nothing explosive on your hands and the machine read it, can’t this same machine read explosives where there wasn’t any? Anyways, after all the screening of the luggage, she found a large tube of toothpaste and she told me that it was greater than 3 oz. I told her to keep the tube. Then I had to go through the pat down screening. That was scary because she took me to a separate room and had another officer in the room before doing the screening. I wondered if she would pat me down with that tissue and what if my clothes read explosives on it. I don’t know if my clothes read explosives on it because they did not use the tissue during a pat down. I’m not complaining because at that point, anything was possible. After what seemed an eternity, I was finally cleared and the woman said I could go.
I explained all this to my husband who was patiently waiting for me as though this was no big deal. He thought maybe some trace of ammonia in cleaners I used tested positive. I don’t know. I was wearing those ridiculous kitchen gloves. Note to self. Next time, wash your hands thoroughly before going through security or even TSA Pre can become a nightmare.
I’m finishing this blog up sitting in my room here in St. Lucia. As I was typing in Atlanta, my flight boarded and it was more important to board than to finish the blog. Anyways, I will be blogging about my trip to Sandals St. Lucia for the next week. Will give you a good insight into this resort. Maybe I’ll just copy my blog onto Trip Advisor as I do a lot of reviews for them but those are the next few blogs.
I hope you enjoyed reading my blog. And please wash your hands before going through TSA. Don’t bother with the lotions or anything. Just clean hands like you have OCD.
Til next time,