First Flight of the Summer

Well, it's my first airline flight of the summer, and, as usual, I have forgotten how awful it is to fly between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  And it is not just the crowds.  I hate to sound overly misanthropic, but summer is when all the folks who have never been on an airplane show up at the security station right in front of me.  It is amazing how long a family of four who has no clue how airport security works can hold up an X-ray line.  Of course, this being the vacation season government employees, capacity actually was lower today (fewer X-ray lines open) to meet the higher demand.

Update: Perfect weather in Phoenix and at my destination in Denver.  So of course we have a 2-hour air traffic hold.


  1. James B.:

    Is there anything specific I should avoid doing. I am flying next Friday for the first time since 9/11.

  2. Ironman:

    Assuming you're flying from Sky Harbor's major terminal (#4), did you know you can avoid long lines at the security check in front of one of the gateways by going to any of the others (hopefully less busy) and walking around to where your planes gate is located - the concourses are all interconnected on the other side of the security screens!

    Can't say the same thing for other airports....

  3. TJIT:

    Don't have anything like bottled water when you try and go through security. Any liquids you want to carry on should be in containers less then 3 ounces and they all need to fit inside a one quart ziplock bag.

    When you hit security grab one of the tote bags and put your shoes and jacket (if you have one) in it. I throw my watch and keys in my laptop bag so they are organized when I get through the metal detector.

    If you have a laptop or vcr you will have to pull it out of the case and put it in one of the totes to go through the xray machine by itself.

    Keep you id and boarding pass in your hands, when going through security, somebody is probably going to ask for it.

    Leave yourself plenty of time. Chances are there won't be any problems but it sure helps the blood pressure if you are not under time pressure.

  4. jeff:

    My wife and I travel frequently with two small children (3 years and 7 months). We've got the "airport security line tango" down to a science, and it still takes a few minutes to complete. I empty my pockets and take off my shoes long before we get to the bins, and hold the baby and all boarding passes and IDs. My wife organizes our belongings (usually 2 bags, a backpack, a stroller, jackets, and shoes) on the x-ray machine.

    If you think it sucks being behind a family in line, try being a parent navigating the process. It's pure pain and frustration.

  5. eCurmudgeon:

    I live in Denver, and while my job involves a fair amount of travel, during the "Silly Season", I avoid DIA like the plague. If it all possible, I will teleconference, or failing that, drive.

    Otherwise, my only advice is to skip United Airlines in/out of Denver, and use a better-run carrier such as Frontier or Southwest instead...

  6. dearieme:

    Last year we flew from Auckland NZ to London, with a brief stop in Los Angeles. My wife got a spasm in her back in the Auckland departure lounge so they took her to the flight in a wheelchair. Air New Zealand were excellent and, astonishing to tell, the people at LAX were pretty good and, even more astonishing, at Heathrow too. Mind you, we were already through Security when the pain struck her.

  7. Mesa EconoGuy:

    Just returned from FL. Don’t go anywhere near there during storm season – they do the same thing at airports as golf matches. Play stops, and so does baggage, and so does arrival/departure.

    1.5 hour delay due to thunderstorm.

    Other airports let you land a plane during a tornado.