Yesterday was a travel day. It seems that these days going anywhere requires pretty much a whole day. Getting to the airport 3 hours before your flight certainly doesn’t help.

The first week after the Christmas holidays seems to be a little quieter time for travel to Florida, probably not helped much this year by the record cold temperatures that have iguanas falling frozen off trees and turtles floating comatose to the surface of swamps. In any case, the airport was very quiet and we breezed through the various levels of security and customs in about an hour.

Security was the usual irritating stupidity, but just a little more so. Take off the shoes, the belt, the jacket; remove laptop from case and place in separate bin, etc. Then get all re-dressed, only to have to go through the same thing at the gate once again! The second time was a physical search of everything; they even wanted to see your money. All this of course done by minimum-wage personnel who would probably have difficulty getting a job in retail selling toasters. Recommendation #1: Screw the scanners and use the money to hire real Law Enforcement Officers trained in profiling (not necessarily ethnic in nature), and in “reading” people. Give up the shoe and belt removal at security (maybe scanners would help in this regard) and let people move quickly through the screening process.

There was however an unexpected silver lining to the new security restrictions. On a positive note I can report that (at least in Montreal) a small travel tote is allowed to carry on your 13 permitted items plus only one book per passenger. Gone, mercifully, are the huge pieces of luggage that 90% of assholes insisted on bringing aboard instead of checking them in. I used to try to get on the plane as soon as possible in order to find a little space in the overhead bin in which to put my always very modest satchel and jacket. And inevitably one of the aforementioned anal orifices would plunk his giant “carry on” onto my stuff, making me look as if I’d slept in my clothing when I finally arrived at my meeting.

We breezed onto the airplane. Everyone had space overhead for their stuff. We actually left on time! We breezed off the airplane too. Shame on the airlines for not enforcing their own restrictions all these years (surely you’ve noted with amusement those “test” bins in which you’re supposed to insert your carry-on to see if it’s allowed. What a joke that was!

Recommendation #2: Improve check-in and baggage handling and never allow carry-on luggage again.