I have a 1:25pm flight today to Tucson. I’m paranoid, so I left the house at 10:25am. There wasn’t much traffic on the roads, so it didn’t take me very long to get to the airport; in fact, I had returned the car and was in the terminal at 11:25.
That gave me plenty of time for a leisurely lunch (I hit Burger Joint in the International Terminal — it’s good, but I could have found something healthier). Then I walked over to Terminal 1 and the line for security screening.
I usually fly American; I’m an AAdvantage Platinum customer, so I get to use the express entry to the security line. Every time I fly another airline, I remember how much time being an elite member saves me, so I wasn’t looking forward to the long line here. I was pleasantly surprised when they looked at my boarding pass and ushered me over to a shorter line — I thought that the Alaska/American frequent flyer deal was paying off for me.
The pleasantness of the surprise didn’t last long. The TSA agent asked me if I was familiar with the secondary screening process; I wasn’t. So he explained it; I had to take off my shoes, jacket, empty my pockets, and wait for an agent who could wand me down and do a hand-check of my baggage. Fortunately, I hadn’t over-packed, so I wasn’t worried about being unable to get my stuff back into the bag without extreme measures. And I still had plenty of time, so I wasn’t worrying about missing my flight.
The process didn’t take much longer than normal screening — I was finished in less than ten minutes, and I’m pretty sure I missed at least five minutes of standing in line. But on the whole, I’d be happy not to be given this kind of special treatment.