Passing Through Airport Insecurity

Passing Through Airport Insecurity

by Patricia Brink | Posted: Monday, July 16, 2012 12:01 am

I consider my husband to be a brave man. He doesn’t hesitate to go downstairs when I hear strange night noises that just might signal the presence of an intruder. He bears pain very well and even after surgery seldom requires any extended medication.

But there is one area in which his hidden anxieties and fears betray him – airports. Bill has experienced a few airport traumas, and they have scarred him for life.

The first occurred about 15 years ago when he and our two sons were headed down to Florida to catch a few of the Cardinal spring training games. He and Dan were flying out of Lambert and left well in advance of the flight, so I was very surprised when daughter-in-law Amy in Kansas City called to say that she had heard that Dan and his dad had missed their flight.

The mystery was solved when I turned on the six o’clock news and the lead story was about an over- turned oil truck that had stopped traffic for hours on the Chain of Rocks Bridge. Knowing that Bill is not one to suffer delays of this sort in good humor, especially when a flight to spring training is involved, I wondered how Dan had fared with his father.

“How was it?” I asked Dan when I next spoke with him.

“Oh, tolerable,” he replied, “but at one point I did think I was going to have to slap him.” Dan is a pretty agreeable fellow, so the comment gave me some indication of the level of tension inside the car. I imagine that you could see sparks shooting off Bill’s fingertips and the air being singed with equally fiery remarks.

A few years after that, Bill and I had just passed through security and were having a cup of coffee as we leisurely awaited our flight when we saw someone being chased down the concourse by airport security – not a good sign I assure you. We never did find out exactly what that was all about, but the episode resulted in an evacuation of everyone in the airport and all, including pilots and crew, had to be rescreened before any boarding could take place. We arrived for the wedding we were to attend just as the reception ended.

Then about two years ago another incident ratcheted up the level of Bill’s airport insecurities. He was taking Dan and his family back to the airport after Christmas, and they were in Bill’s opinion dawdling. Dan flies often in his business life so he tends to be a bit more nonchalant about the timing of airport arrival. Bill isn’t comfortable with anything less than a two-hour preflight arrival because of the “You never know what’s going to happen” lessons he’s learned the hard way.

Dan and his family’s less than ample preflight arrival resulted in a missed flight. Grandson Haddon’s need for an emergency bathroom break forced the whole family out of the security line. Then a TSA agent who evidently had let his sense of authority go to his head wouldn’t allow Amy and the other children to save a place for Dan and Haddon. That caused them all to miss their flight.

To compound the predicament, Bill had left the airport and didn’t realize his cell phone was not on. Unfortunately when he arrived home, I had to tell him to turn right around and head back to the airport because Dan’s family could not catch a flight until the next day.

Bill’s “You never know what might delay you” policy is exasperating at times, especially when you are staggering out of bed at 4 a.m. to provide a Bill-determined cushion of time before an 8 a.m. flight. This was the case recently when the local portion of our family headed down to Galveston for a cruise to celebrate our 45th anniversary.

Our daughters rolled their eyes as I told them when their father wanted them to be at the airport, but I assured them that it is easier to go with his schedule than to deal with the consequences if there is a delay. Nobody wants to see a loving husband and father go berserk in an airport security line.

Bill ‘s seemingly unnecessarily generous time schedule did stand us in good stead on this flight.

As daughter Kate, husband Brian and baby Sam arrived at the airport, Brian’s dad left with one of their bags still in his car, and he did not have his cell phone on. (Is this starting to sound familiar?) When they finally made connections and retrieved the missing luggage, Brian was still able to reach the plane only minutes before takeoff.

We all cheered as he reached his seat just as they closed the plane doors. We also had to admit that without Dad’s continual warnings about possible unforeseen delays, we would never have built in enough time for such a contingency.

In this day and age the sentiment is rarely expressed, but sometimes it is nonetheless true that father knows best. We who are about to fly, salute you. *****************************************
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