Travel rants are boring.

This one is about sexism, plastic bags and regular good old fashioned sadness at the state of the world.

I got like 2 hours of sleep so I’ll admit that my general (though learned) airport zen was teetering bit, but the fact remains I was traveling through my second favorite airport, London City. As someone who travels quite a bit for work, I prefer airports where the staff don’t give two shits about the TSA or ICAO regulations and sort of half ass the entire thing, accepting a smile and a joke and treating the passengers with the kind of humanity we  should have in airports. It’s not that they’re completely phoning it in, they are screening people, but they, unlike the major airports, apparently got the memo that post 9/11 security upgrades are ineffective bullshit.

London City was one of these airports. Just yesterday I was bragging to colleagues that I didn’t have to go through Heathrow. I bragged about LCY’s security and efficiency and general super easy morning direct I got to take home. But I didn’t knock on wood, and I didn’t realize how deeply annoying shit can scar me.

London City started disappointed by the kiosk staff at check in. That one is probably CityJet’s fault though. For whatever irrational reason, the check in kiosk’s software had been updated to require a staff member to push buttons for me. 4 or 5 airline attendants pushed buttons for all the passengers, despite the overwhelming quota of obvious travel pros and despite the existence of 12 kiosks. I’m sure you can imagine how efficient and non frustrating that was.

The security had started implementing the plastic bag thing, which ordinarily doesn’t bother me. But today, they considered things that are clearly not a “liquid, gel, or paste” a liquid, gel or paste. I’ve had the plastic bag fight in the past, but I’ve learned that security crews don’t internet look shit up after a day at the office. I try the “This regulation was modified to include non-plastic, airport approved bags, so long as the liquids follow the 3-1-1 rule…”, but they always respond “I do what I’m told” or “Just following the rules”. I sigh. I die a little inside. I search their face for a flicker of defiance. Then I sigh again. Then, I swap shit around and it’s all good.

I consider how sexist the plastic bag thing is. Our society has taught us all to shame ourselves. For women, we are taught to cover our shame with a liquidy, gel-like, pastey solutions. We wear face cream and makeup because that’s what our mothers did when they went to work. Our single mothers presented themselves with a certain paint, and even though they always said we are beautiful just the way we are, we learned that they are not, thus we are not. Our culture shamed our mothers, and they couldn’t help but pass it on.

So I have stuff to put in my plastic bag, which I used to recycle before I figured an approved travel bag is better for someone who travels that much. But today, I’m only allowed the one plastic bag, and it needs to “zip”. That doesn’t happen, chaos ensues, and I get to throw full toothpaste, eye makeup remover and solid deodorant (which isn’t a liquid, gel or paste, in my opinion) into a bin, full of other people’s unused or partially used products. The lady before me fit 6 cans of sardines, which, on  a plane, is surely more dangerous than a face cream.

Dismayed at the “gone global” attitude of London City Airport, I tweeted:

And they replied:

Which I know was a rhetorical question. I get that if I had said “You need more plastic bags at security”, or some other easily fulfilled request the customer service agent on the other side of the Tweeter would have delegated the task. Wait, no, they would have “escalated” the task, so that someone could evaluate whether or not it was worth doing and then delegate it.

But I answered because I just spent thirty minutes wondering if the rest of my fucking life would have to be punctuated by the despair I feel for our species.

If you are, indeed, trying to change the policy around airport security, I’ll totally be your Twitter friend and retweet relevant stuff. I might even sign a petition or two. Someone is doing something, right?

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