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Airport Experience...A Story

It was when we were at the airport in Aruba that it airport experience, that is.  If you've ever traveled to Aruba, you know the process.   After thoroughly enjoying our two weeks there, it was time to head to Queen Beatrix International Airport. 

 Upon arrival, you, of course, head to the line for your designated airline. In our case, it was Jet Blue and the line was minimal.

 Stepping up to the counter with passports in hand, the Pres and I were quickly taken care of and left with boarding passes, our "U.S. Customs Form" and our one carry on.  

 Note: although the airline agent took our "checked bags," this is not the last time you will see your luggage.

 Heading to the next line...a line outside the Departure Building, an Aruban Inspector re-checked our boarding passes and passports.  Now, once inside the Departure Building, the lines meld so, like all the others, we took our spot and waited. However, the line moved right along...another positive airport experience as we headed to the next phase of  Immigration where they again check your passport and collect the remaining half of the "entrance declaration" (aka "Tourist Card") that you filled out before entering the country.  (I'm not telling that story, because getting in was easy.)

Just an aside here.  It is highly recommended that you arrive three hours before your flight is scheduled to leave.  And yes, it is necessary!!

Then, like all the others, we proceeded to Aruba’s X-ray security.
Passing through an area of Duty-Free shops and food eateries, since there are tables and chairs in this area, we filled out the “U.S. Customs Form” (anything you purchased is listed and tallied).
Moving right along we then entered the “Baggage Claim Area” which we've done for twelve years we've been going to the island and hunt for your luggage that you initially dropped upon check-in at the Airline Ticket Counter.   Now, with luggage in tow, we proceeded to the next room...U.S. Immigration and Customs. The U.S. Agent will check your passport and boarding pass and take the “U.S. Customs Form”.
Nearing the end of the entire departure process, we placed your luggage on the designated airline's conveyor belt. You may/or may not have your luggage inspected. At this point, you will not see your luggage again until you arrive in the U.S.  Marching onward to U.S. Security for our screening.  This is where I failed!
The next step was, as I stated U.S.Security. The line was long...very long... because several lines had melded into one and it was HOT...very HOT because it was, well, Aruba. The shoes came off, the cell phone and camera came out of the carry on and were placed in the plastic bin along with your purse while I walked through the screening device. All good. Now onto the next line.

Handing my passport to the U. S. Security attendant, she looked up at me, gazed down quizzically at my passport and said, "Ma'am I need you to step aside.   Please wait here until Security comes for you. You have been selected for a security check." 

 Walking to the corner, feeling humiliated and very self conscious, I remained focused on my passport.  Moments later, after watching her hand over my passport to a Security Officer, I was escorted by not one but two U.S. Security Officers to a private area where I was patted down, asked questions, asked to turn on my phone, then shut it down and watched as they waved a wand of some sort through my carry on bag.  The other officer was on the computer who finally looked up and told I was "All okay."

All I can say is...
once up in the air, I replayed the entire ordeal over and over in my mind.  I couldn't wait to share the "story" with you.  But then I thought when should I post it?  I decided it would be appropriate today, Mother's Day, so...


Now, you may be wondering how or why this post ended with a HAPPY MOTHERS DAY WISH.  
Well, it's because my mother always said:
 "when you leave home remember to wear clean underwear"
and boy am I glad I did!
Thanks, Mom...:)

I love you.


eileeninmd said…
Good morning JP, please do not tell me they checked your underwear? Really? That sounds like a real ordeal to go thru. In Belize I would pulled out for a pat down but nothing too extensive.
I think they randomly pull people out the line..I am glad all went well and you were allowed to leave, lol. Happy Mother's Day to you! Happy Sunday, enjoy your new week ahead!
MadSnapper said…
Happy Mothers day and my mom always said that to... to quote another mother quote, better safe than sorry is what she would say about all this security stuff. get searched or get blown up...
Ann said…
I remember hearing that when I was growing up too. Hearing your story makes me kind of glad that I don't do any traveling. Sounds like a big hassle
I had another friend who had the same thing happen to her - I can only imagine the nervous adrenaline and the thoughts of "what if?" Of course it ended okay for her as well, but I would have needed clean underwear afterwards! :-)
Jeanne said…
Don't you just hate t hat sort of experience. Always makes me wonder how a grandmother can look like a terrorist. Traveling is definitely more complicated today that 15 years ago.

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