Saturday, June 22, 2013

Newark Airport Thinks It's Better Than Your Airport



I travel a lot. How you noticed that I travel a lot? I used to think I didn't, that I just happened to be on a travel tear, but that tear has lasted about a year & a half now, so I think it's fair to just call it a lifestyle.

The closest airport to me is Newark Liberty International Airport in wonderful Newark, NJ. (Ahem. Newark's mayor is wonderful, anyway.) For the most part, I don't mind this airport at all. It's easy to get to: three blocks from my apartment to the train, an hour-long train ride to an air tram, & a 10-minute air train ride to the airport. (OK, I guess that doesn't sound all that easy, but it is!) Newark Airport is mostly clean, staffed by folks who are largely friendly, contains basics pre-flight restaurants & amenities, & is home to a staggering number of Dunkin Donuts.

BUT.

You knew there was a "but," right? The but here is that every time I fly out of Newark (which is every time I fly), I find myself annoyed to no end by the fact that this airport's TSA agents enforce different rules than do their TSA compatriots at basically any other airport in America that I've ever flown into or out of.

As a somewhat experienced flier, I take pains to streamline my security experience as much as possible - no jewelry, slip-on shoes, etc. - so when I purchased an iPad, I was thrilled to learn that TSA doesn't require travelers to take them out at security & place them in their own plastic bins. What a relief after years of traveling with my laptop! But not at Newark, oh, no. Newark is above streamlining security measures & following the same rules as everyone else. At Newark, you must put your iPad in its own bin so they can be sure it's just an iPad. Tucked it deep inside your backpack? Dig it out.

At other airports, you show your ticket & ID in the security line, & then you put them away until you board your flight. But not at Newark, oh, no. Newark is above streamlining security measures & following the same rules as everyone else, remember?At Newark, you take your ticket & ID through security with you, to be meticulously checked yet again by the TSA agent on the other side of the body scanner. Returned your ticket & ID in your wallet until travel time? Dig 'em out.

And it's not JUST "dig 'em out." It's "dig 'em out while being subjected to a loud public shaming from a TSA agent who makes you sound like someone who had never traveled before in your whole entire life." It's "dig 'em out while everyone behind you sighs loudly & waits for you to get your shit together so that you can follow rules that aren't rules anyplace else."

When I mentioned this to a friend, she said, "Maybe it's because Newark is so close to New York." Maybe! Good thinking! Except at JFK & LaGuardia? You can keep your iPad in your bag & your documents stowed through security. Same goes in D.C. & Boston & Los Angeles, & what other big cities are there? Because probably there, too. And you're not even a big city, Newark, so calm down & stop putting me out.

What I'm trying to say is: AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT.

@CoryBooker, can you fix this, please?

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