The Zen of Airports

Another holiday season is quickly rushing up, for many people it means going to the airport.  Flying anywhere used to be fun, now instead of a guilty pleasure, it just makes you feel guilty.

Flying in the United States is much tougher than flying inside of Europe.  To take a flight in the U.S. you stand in very long security lines, get scanned, have to take off your shoes and even if your grandma is in a wheelchair with pampers, she isn’t safe from being dragged behind the “privacy” screen and groped.  Your teddy bear isn’t even safe.  Let’s not discuss trying to figure out mileage credits.

Then, with two hours to kill, if you are one of the unfortunate people addicted to tobacco, there is not a smoking room anywhere.  You are left cold turkey until you reach your destination and can break out of the airport and grab your one allowed lighter and light up.  If you want to use your laptop, unless you are fully charged I dare you to find an unused electrical plug.  Then you have the friendly “wi-fi fee”.  By then I usually wish my doctor hadn’t taken me off the Xanax.

If you are returning to the states after being overseas, expect hours in line at customs and your bags carefully eyed to make sure you aren’t carrying illegal who knows what.  I always have one of the little TSA love  notes in my luggage when I unpack.  They just love to see my stuff, I do have some cool stuff, but nothing you can’t get at any dollar store or TJ Max.

Flying inside the European Union is pretty relaxing, once you realize you can’t understand anything said over the announcements.  The security lines aren’t long, your shoes stay on and they leave the old ladies and babies alone.  As European  they understand people smoke and provide ventilated rooms to get your smoke fix before boarding.  They let you take your empty water bottle so you can fill it back up at the water fountain after security and not have to buy an expensive airport bottle of water.  I also like the mini massage set-ups I have found at most of the Euro-ports I’ve been, it’s a happy alternative to a pill.

Once you land in your equally european country, customs is just a walk through.  No long lines, no intimidation   Just grab your bags and get out, plus the carts for your luggage are free!  Nothing to declare and they believe you.  So easy.

Just like the states, if you want a cab you need to go to the official line and don’t listen to the guy cruising the baggage area telling you his cab is cheaper.  He will at the least scam you out of twice as much money and that is if he gets you to the right hotel.  Alternatively, there are train, subway and bus options at all major airports that will get you where you need to go quickly and cheaply.

It just leaves me a little paranoid when I have to go through all the security at the U.S. airports, do they have to make us all feel like criminals?  I feel just as safe when I fly around Europe without taking off my shoes at security, in fact safer than I do in the States.  My teddy likes it better also.


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