December 29th, 2002


First class

[Written several hours ago, at 35,000 feet...]

OK, this is the way to travel. :-) I don't think I've been in first class since a trip as a little kid, when we got upgraded when they'd overbooked the flight. My friend Jack tells a fun story about getting upgraded unexpectedly by a grateful gate agent when Jack helped calm down a whiny fellow passenger. He especially enjoys telling about how wide Mandi's eyes went when she walked past (they ended up on the same flight to a STARFLEET event) and saw Jack sitting in first class.

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TSA in Ithaca

The new Transportation Security Administration was tasked with improving baggage screening at all US airports, and we recently passed one of the deadlines for all checked luggage to be screened.

Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport isn't a big enough facility to warrant (or afford) one of the massive scanning systems, so we now have a new step in the check-in process with TSA staff checking luggage.

After checking in at the ticket counter and getting your luggage routing tag, you carry your bag down to the TSA counter (how convenient that there are empty airline ticket counters to use for this). They were opening lots of people's bags and really poking through them. I saw one inspector shake his head as he took out a wrapped gift from one suitcase. (The tips to travel with gifts not-yet-wrapped have seemed ubiquitous to me, but I guess some folks will still miss them.)

On my bag, they ran the little pads over the zippers and put them in the machine that I gather checks for explosives residue. Didn't bother opening my bag.
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