Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Gel Is So 80s Anyway

I had a flight from SFO to Hartford today at 7am on the first day of a new liquid/gel policy, and I was worried that this would cause security chaos. But in fact, the line moved right along. I think probably everybody checked toiletry bags just to be safe—I know I did.

I did learn something interesting at security today: I knew that I would be allowed to bring up to three ounces of liquid or gel in my carry-on. But I checked the bag that had my shampoo in it, because I carry shampoo in a small plastic container I bought at the drugstore. I had assumed that anything carried on board had to be in its original packaging. But that’s not the case at all. You can carry any sketchy, hand-labeled, opaque bottle of anything on board. It just can’t be more than three ounces of suspicious-looking liquid. And it has to be carried in a clear zip-lock bag. Throw it in an old plastic grocery bag, and you’re looking at hours of interrogation by the TSA. But if you remember the baggie, you’re good to go, because no terrorist would ever think of that.

In other news, I’ve been thinking for a while that the restrictions on carry-on luggage would make it easier to find space for roller bags. But I couldn’t tell you if that’s true or not, because I’ve checked my roller bag the last two times I flew. I’m guessing the compartments are pretty empty—but I couldn’t say for sure, because I haven’t been looking in them.

And I can’t tell you how odd it feels to be walking around an airport with only a small knapsack. I’m used to towing a wheelie bag everywhere with me. It’s not that I’m paranoid about losing my luggage—in my experience, it always comes back eventually. And I don’t begrudge the extra 10 minutes spent at the baggage carrousel. I’m self-employed—my time is just frankly not that valuable. I think I’m just kind of a turtle, and I really like carrying everything with me. I’ll be happy when/if they lift the gel restrictions and I can go back to my bag-lady ways.

(Although come to think of it, the rules may be saving me from myself, since I do have a well-documented habit of leaving my belongings all over the world.)

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