Saturday, 01 December, 2001

Memphis Airport Security / Annoyances

From what I can see, Memphis has the best airport security of any that I've visited since September 11.  In all the other airports, there's a certain amount of chaos around the security checkpoint, with multiple people checking IDs and monitoring the metal detector, providing some opportunity for a person to slip by.  In Memphis, the head of the line is 15 feet from the metal detector.  Passengers approach, one at a time, a person standing behind a table next to the metal detector.  This person compares the passenger's ID with the ticket, supplies a container for pocket change, cell phones, etc., helps to put carry-on bags through the scanner, and ushers the passenger through the metal detector.  The next passenger cannot approach until signaled.  There is no chaos.  In all other airports I've visited, I've seen possible ways to sneak past the security check.  Not this one.

People have to know by now that just about any piece of metal on their persons will set off the metal detector.  Yet I continually see people walk through the thing, hear the beep, and look surprised.  "My belt buckle set that off?"  Well, yeah.  The damn thing has more metal in it than a Colt .45!  I actually laughed out loud today when the guy a few places ahead of me walked through the metal detector.  Hearing the beep he stopped, looked back at the attendant with a totally mystified expression and said, "It always does that!"  You wouldn't believe the stuff this guy had on him:  a handful of change, a big metal money clip, a tin of chewing tobacco (with metal lid), a watch that probably weighs more than my poodle, and assorted other stuff that I can't remember.

C'mon people, you all know the drill.  Put all that crap in your carry-on.  You'll save the rest of us some time and yourself some embarrassment.