It's the 23rd and I’m writing this from United’s economy section leaving Paris and headed to San Francisco via Chicago. No, not posting it (that would be impossible), just writing down my recent airport experience in an attempt to re-find my happy place.
The morning started out fine with an easy traffic commute, and then we hit Charles Degaul terminal 1– possibly the ugliest international terminal in the world. The terminal used to look so cool but now the asbestos ceilings have seen better days and the futuristic façade is sooo fifteen-years-ago. After checking in our luggage and grabbing a greasy croissant we headed to our “satellite” for security check-in before boarding the plane.
What happened next was surreal. Incredible lines of people standing around frustrated afraid of missing their flights at the security gate. People were glancing constantly at their watches and shrugging their shoulders in disbelief. I heard the occasional “putain” muttered more than a few times. People repeatedly were trying to cut in front of others only to get sent to the back of the queue again.
The one by one process of x-raying peoples clothes, bodies, etc, continued at a pace slower than poured porridge. My husband pointed out to me that one whole entire STAFFED security lane (with x-ray machines and weapon detectors) was off limits to passengers. As it turned out, that lane was for airline crew only. Funny thing, the two planes that were boarding were leaving in thirty minutes and I’m pretty sure that everyone working on a plane was– well–already on the plane.
Finally we got to the security check area. After passing the x-ray and weapon detector test we grabbed our bags from the mini conveyor belt. One of the security women pulled my husband aside to look in his bag– fine, no problem, always happy to cooperate. But then, this side door opened and a random passenger walked through from the unchecked area. He walked behind all the security people and headed straight into the gate. My husband and I looked at each other in disbelief that a person could just walk right through. The security guard helping us started to stop the man, but then after briefly talking with him let him go and explained to us he had just left the gate area to go to the bathroom (which is outside the gate).
I couldn’t believe it, I mean really, what is the point in checking all of our bags and personal belongings if once you’re cleared you can leave the gate to go to the bathroom meet some guy who has a deadly package of explosives for you, and walk right back in bypassing the security gate. Ummm, hello? Does this bother anyone else besides me?
We started to argue with the security woman over this outright breach of security. She called over her superior that then explained to us that he was just going to the bathroom. We realized that our case was going nowhere so we headed to our flight praying that our suspect was just a guy who couldn’t hold it.