It just does. No one thinks – ah I have that ten hour flight to wherever coming up, can’t wait to get on that airplane. No one thinks – passport control, what fun – can we go at it again?
And what’s the deal with security checks and constantly looking at your passport? I know we have to be careful and I’m all for careful but when it crosses the realm of commonsense and becomes a crazy exercise I want to whack someone on the head.
So we go through security in Copenhagen and like it happens always, the alarm goes off even though I took my shoes off and the only thing metal left on me is my wedding ring – and it’s not that big. And some guy feels me up and I want to ask but I never do “Why did that thing go off when even my bra today doesn’t have an underwire?”
In any case, we get through, drag our asses to Starbucks and get a cup of coffee for us and juice and muffins for the babies. We have survived security round #1.
We get to London Heathrow. If you’ve been to Heathrow you know what I’m talking about. You walk. You walk. You walk. You go through security. The thing beeps again – this time it’s Tobias. They want me to stand right next to him while they check him and I mean right next to him; I can’t even look at the many iPads and iPhones rolling out to an open crowd because regulation says I need to be close. It’s my turn to be baffled, “I’m not going anywhere without him,” I tell the woman in case she thought I’d just leave my first born at the airport to save my Apple devices. The woman shakes her head and they find nothing on Tobias and they let us go.
We survived security round #2.
Then we come to the Virgin desk at the transfer center and the woman says “Where is your printed ticket?” And my husband stares at her and says, “They don’t do printed tickets anymore; only electronic tickets.”
The woman sighs as if my husband is clueless and the poor man, he is clueless. Apparently, you have to print your electronic ticket out because they need to see your return ticket because they can only see it if you print it out because they have no computers and they’re living in the fucking Stone Age.
The woman lets us off with a friendly warning and says, “We’ll print it this time; but next time you have to print it.” My baffled husband bites his tongue because I elbow him in the gut. I know him, he was about to say, “But it’s an electronic ticket you crazy person.”
We stop and eat a bite at Pret A Manger because I like their salads and they were close by. We eat salmon sandwiches and salad and soup and then refreshed (a little) we get to our gate.
We show passport and boarding pass and then a guy pulls Søren aside. I’m baffled. I’m always the one pulled aside. No one pulls the white guy aside. Søren is the token white guy who has to go through another round of security and they go through his bag and his pockets and make him take his shoes off and all that. Satisfied he really has nothing of concern on him, they check his passport and boarding pass one more time and send him on his way.
At this point we’ve stood in more lines than we want to count and we’re getting testy. Kids are babbling away and I want to ask them to shut up because my head has started to hurt and I can’t fathom why we thought flying all this way for a stupid vacation was a good idea.
Now I have failed to mention this but at every security round and boarding area we had to show boarding pass and passport – perfectly reasonable.
We get to the plane and the woman there politely asks, “Passport and boarding card please?” Søren is ready to blow a gasket at this point and we’re thinking, “Really? You think we could’ve gotten past anything anywhere to get here without boarding pass and passport?” But we say nothing because a woman behind me asks me “This is the plane to Los Angeles, right?” Well, I guess, there could still be doubt after all this checking and checking and checking.
We get on the plane and finally we sit down and we dread the long line at passport control and then these days at customs – and then I hope that there isn’t a line for a taxi at 8 p.m. on a Sunday night – and the good news, we got a taxi right as we stepped out of the airport – the other queues were as long and as dreadful as you guessed they were.
And now as we enjoy the California weather and beauty – I check our itinerary back and sigh, “Damn it, we’ve got to go back all the way. I better ask Søren to print our tickets before we leave.”