To Check Or Not to Check Electronics

Today new security measures are being implemented for all inbound flights to the USA.  The travel process includes: screening passengers, checking laptops/electronics, thorough questionings, etc.  What does it all mean for travelers in terms of safety, packing, and check-in times?

Obviously safety is the number one priority that is driving this new demand.  Airports and airlines in every country around the world, like it or not, are scrambling to make the necessary adjustments to comply with these US demands.  These new measures, considered by many to be a direct outpour of the travel ban against several predominantly Muslim countries adopted earlier this year, will enhance security.  It is therefore needless to say, that every passenger, anywhere in this world, would undeniably agree that when flying, their safety is paramount.

Packing is a sore spot of contention for me (especially traveling to see relatives) when my bags always weigh more than the allotted 50 pounds.  Still, I am well aware there are rules to be followed and I usually fall in line.  After today, I will now have to consider how important it is for me to add my electronics, laptop, iPad, etc. to my checked luggage.  I don’t know how comfortable you feel about that, but I believe most people don’t like the idea of packing their electronic valuables into there checked bags for fear of theft.  Yes, this is a reality.  I’ve seen enough hidden camera’s exposé on the subjects of “baggage tampering” and “missing valuables” not to be fearful of a similar likelihood happening to me.

What is one to do if one’s electronics are missing from their checked bags?  Is the answer more insurance coverage?  Will we see a proliferation of missing electronics insurance claims?  Let’s wait to see what happens on that score.  To avoid packing electronics, maybe this could be a new entrepreneurial “Amazon International” opportunity (short-term electronics rental stores) for travelers to and from the US.  Contact me for the details (being facetious).

Airport check-ins as it stands can be a hassle at times.  You must be checked-in two hours prior to boarding for international flights.  Some countries are already requesting travelers bound for the USA to check-in up to three hours ahead of their flight schedule.  This course of action must be taken to expedite the newly adopted screening  process, and on top of that, passengers are warned to expect delays.

My plans to carry my favorite electronics on my upcoming trip will now be pared down to one or two items.  I suppose that by the time I’m ready to return to the USA from my travels abroad, I will not encounter much delays or processing hiccups.  It will have all become a seamless process, much like taking off my shoes, belt, jacket, etc. at the TSA check point.

What are your thoughts on these new measures?  Drop me your comment on “to check or not to check electronics.”

As always, thanks for reading.


Captive Audience

Southwest Airlines Flight 5427 from Houston to New York.

Cabin stewards Anthony, Clarence and Frank took away the blues everyone may have been feeling that evening.

It had been raining all day.  The weather was showing some solidarity with my mood.  I had flown from San Antonio to connect in Houston bound for New York.  I was leaving family members behind and heading Northeast, not knowing when I would see my loved ones again.  I was sad.

Due to a boarding  irregularity (the lights along the jet bridge not working) we were delayed with the hope that the matter would be resolved quickly.  With an hour to spare, I wandered aimlessly into the nearby shops browsing the shelves and began to wonder what would make people pay high prices for tchotchkes.  That is another blog posting for another time.

While waiting to board, airport personnel found a viable solution to the unexpected anomaly.  We were switched from gate 33 to gate 32.  In no time the boarding process began, everyone was seated and ready for take off.

Then the show began.

Our all male cast (stewards) made everyone on board forget about the delay.  They managed to deliver their safety monologue, a serious message, in a humorous way.  I believe they used their class act and humor to charm their captive audience.  It worked.  From the chatter and occasional laugh I could tell  there was a sense of ease the entire trip.

We were told that steward Frank was in training and that he was on the job just a mere four days.  If that was really true, he had found his calling.  His jokes caused outburst of laughter and many times received an applause (we were certainly off, off, way off Broadway).  Frank and his cohorts served the passengers with such flair that we forgot we were flying at an altitude of more than 35000ft.  I don’t recall experiencing any turbulence on that flight as I did on the earlier flight from San Antonio to Houston, but maybe I was to busy laughing that I may have missed it.

Even though we arrived at our destination one hour later than scheduled, no one was rushing to get off the aircraft.  People were still chatting with their neighbors and helping others with their bags from the overhead bins.  This particular Southwest flight crew deserve special mention and a huge thanks for making the journey a memorable and lighthearted experience.  Obviously they love what they do and that evening they took flight attending to another level.  Thank you guys.