Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Stick To The Code or Get Swabbed

RWA conference was such a blast! Special thanks to the staff of Romance Writers of America for putting on such a uber awesome weeklong writer fest, and a hearty thank you to The Guy for watching over the blog while Jean, Stephanie, and I were gone. ;)

Getting ready for conference is always a whirlwind affair. Of course, the ever needed packing list comes into play. You can always find a great one listed in the archives of The Writing Playground. Once an attendee prepares/purchases his/her wardrobe, pitches are readied, and bags are packed and loaded into the car for a quick, or long ride to the airport. Expectations abound and hearts begin to race. Bags are checked, tickets approved, and the scanners and tuperware bins, though a tedious affair, remind the eager traveler that the journey is underway.

I adore airport personel who monitor the scanners and screens that x-ray our belongings, and our bodies, ensuring that we arrive safely to our destinations. I'm just as eager as the next person to get through the line and to my gate. What I never expect to get is swabbed. Yes, my deck got swabbed.

Who would have known that after walking through scanners for almost all my airline travels to date, I would be taken out of line, told to extend my hands and get swabbed. Arrr! The ironic part is, though there was something detected on my hands, I had just washed them before coming out of the bathroom and getting into line. Powdery substance on hands after washing them? Who knew? (Notice I do not claim 'pirate' here. That would be very bad timing. ;)

Being a good sport and not wanting to hang from Tilbury Point until I rot, I stepped where I was told to go and offered my belongings for a thorough swabbing. The inspectors rose to the task.

"Would you prefer that we did this in an enclosed room," they asked.

Having nothing to hide, I exclaimed, "You can check anything you want to right here."

Jean and Stephanie's eyes were as big as full moons, and just as white as they waited for me off to the side. I could see the questions riddling their minds... "She's got our pens for the Goody Room. How will we get them back?" "Are we going to make our flight?"

I directed the last question to my airline operatives. A man continued to swab my backpack and carry-on. Two women stood nearby, prepared to take me into the room for further inspection. As I was guided into the room, I reached out to Jean and Stephanie psychically, pleading for them not to stick to the code. (It's more like guidelines anyway.)

Luckily, the two airline operatives were very nice and did their jobs while helping me maintain my dignity fully-clothed. Thank you, swabbettes!

As I stepped out of that room, bless their hearts (and I do mean this in the best possible way, not the way listed on one of Jean's lists), Jean and Stephanie were waiting for me with open arms. Like Joshamee Gibbs, they had used the code as a guideline and were prepared to redirect their journey, if need be, with me aboard. After all that, thank goodness, we were able to meet our gate on time and didn't have to deal with rescheduling issues. :D

Our direct flight with Delta was fantastic. We had the best stewardess you could ever ask for. And after my initial swabbing, I can assure you her eagerness to please was greatly appreciated.

I'll post more about our trip through the next few weeks. But today I want to know, what is your crazy travel story?


  1. We were just so happy when they gave you back to us!

  2. I just flew Delta for my vacation and I had a horrid time with them. Our luggage was delayed on the trip to St. Simons Island, resulting in my DIL and me having to wear something other than swimsuits to the beach that first afternoon. And we HAD to go to the beach or risk disappointing granddaughter. And we'd NEVER do that! There are only 2 flights per day to the island so it was after 10 PM before suitcases arrived. And that was because dear brother-in-law drove to the airport to fetch them rather than have us wait for the delivery service.

    Then on the return flight, our first leg was delayed 2 1/2 hours, which ain't fun in a small airport with an excited five-year-old. But we managed. However, we had to race walk from one end of the Atlanta airport to the other for the connecting flight. Thankfully we made it, and wonder of wonders, our luggage did too. I'd already envisioned the hissy fit I was going to pitch. Did I mention we flew from Birmingham? My luggage would have to be sent by courier to Huntsville. But it arrived -- first off the plane. And when I got home and began unpacking, I found the little TSA note saying they'd inspected it.

    I've had the hand swab before, but that was it.

    Happy to hear you made it aboard your flight okay.


  3. 'Wow, you look so innocent! Wow!! I can't believe you were swabbed. I am sooo glad you made it to the flight in time and that all went well afterward.

    I have tons of stories about flights gone wrong, bad, ugly, luggage missing, etc., but the deal I have made with myself is that IF I ARRIVE AT MY DESTINATION ALIVE, it was a great flight. Period.

    Took the VAMOOSE bus to NYC from DC. NO security and no hassles. It was the easiest trip I made to another city short of driving there myself.


  4. I will avoid Delta AT ALL COSTS!!!! Last year, on a trip to New York, my son and I were dumped at the Hartford Connecticut (instead of White Plains) airport due to weather. Being a hundred miles from our destination, I asked Delta what were we supposed to do. I was told it was my problem. Nope, won't fly them if I can avoid it.

    As for being swabbed, I too have been swabbed, put in the air scanner and taken to the room - all because I had coffee in my luggage. I should have known better (being a former prosecutor) because drug couriers use coffee to cover the scent of the drugs. I won't do that again! That little beagle got me!

    Glad you made it safely home!!!

  5. Sorry for taking so long to respond everybody. Blogger has been giving me fits today.

    I'm so glad that I didn't make us late for our plane, Stephanie! ;)

    Sounds like you had a terrible time traveling, Marilyn. When things like that happen, it's always best to count your blessings. My luggage didn't arrive on a trip to Orlando once, so know exactly what you've gone through. On the upside, it sounds like you had a fabulous time with your granddaughter!!

    Christine, I'd like to state that I am innocent. Thanks for the vote of confidence. LOL! I appreciate you!

    Arriving alive is a very good thing! While under investigation, I made sure to tell my inquisitors that I appreciated how well they were taking care of the crew and passengers on my flight. Both ladies were very nice and in spite of what I had to deal with, made the moments less humiliating. ;)

    I'm sorry you've had such a hard time with Delta, Cheryl. I love flying Delta! I've only been searched one other time and the crew have always been very respectful. Though I do see something wrong with making a elderly woman take off her depends. Shiver me timbers!

    It sure is good to be home, but I miss everyone from conference!