Trip type: Business
It’s the little things that make all the difference, especially when you’re running around airports all the time. Given the usual propensity for flying snafus, my standards for these ‘little things’ is awfully low…a TSA agent who enjoys living, a flight that departs on time, not having anything dropped/spilled on me (got some Fresca to the eye on last night’s flight home courtesy of some aggressive can-opening on the part of the flight attendant).
And if it’s the little things that make all the difference, it’s the big things that make my day…unexpected upgrades, someone offering to put my bag up, and the new TSA PreCheck program.
If you haven’t heard about the PreCheck Program, I’ll explain it to you like I explained it to my friend Christine:
Yep, it’s like flying in 1999 again. Usually, I’m a fan of progress (did I truly live before my iPhone? Debatable.) but the security hassle around flying nowadays can be exhausting. [This is no comment on its necessity, just an acknowledgement of how laborious everything is at present.]
Anyway, back to the PreCheck program. Rolled out selectively beginning in October of last year, the program allowed some frequent fliers of Delta and American to fork over additional personal information in exchange for a quicker pass through security where you don’t have to take off your shoes or belt or remove your laptop or baggies. Since then, more airports have been added, including MSP, which was how I signed up in January.
Someone will have to correct me if I’m wrong on this, but I believe for a while you could only use PreCheck out of your home base airport. I’ve been to ATL many times since signing up but never got to use it out of Hartsfield-Jackson until yesterday when I was pointed to the coveted PreCheck lane after scanning my boarding pass at the pre-checkpoint checkpoint (one could never be enough). I walked right up to the podium, scanned my boarding pass and went into a blissfully open line where there was a dedicated agent awaiting me:
“Ma’am, I’m going to help you out today.”
-“Sounds great; thanks”
“What can I say? I love my job!”
-“Wow, maybe I should work for TSA.”
Quietly, conspiratorially: “No, you really don’t want to do that.”
I threw my bags on the conveyor and walked right through the detector (not even a full-body scanner)–shoes and all. I was literally done with security and headed for a Departures monitor in a minute. Glorious. The only two downsides I can foresee are that I’ll be tempted to arrive to the airport even later and that I might have to rename this blog if I no longer have to obsess over my baggie. A small price to pay.
The rest of the flight was uneventful aside from a pretty epic Battle of Elbow with my seat mate (and the previously noted Fresca mishap). It actually got to the point where I didn’t even want it and my left elbow was going numb from trying to keep it on the armrest but, on principle, I had to keep fighting for it. Hard to say who won so I’ll chalk it up as a win since this is my blog and all.