|Subject: Re: Profiling/Toronto GTG|
I just returned from Connecticut after four wonderful days in Toronto and the GTG last Saturday. The GTG was great! It was just so good to get to know so many of the people I'd been visiting with on the message board....to put faces with the names. The food was super, the sangria fine (well, I had a bottomless glass, but I wasn't driving), and the company just terrific. I finally got to try the Chocolinda gelato at La Paloma, and that was almost worth the trip on its own.
Profiling? I don't know. My trip from Texas to Connecticut involved very little more in terms of security than any ordinary trip. But to get out of Hartford, going to Toronto, I was selected to have my checked luggage inspected. Everything in the bag was emptied onto the table, held up, squeezed or thoroughly examined and then crammed back in. I'm not complaining. I'm all for anything that adds to all our security.
Then at the x-ray security check, my fitted Freedom Bag, which included toiletries, cosmetics, a small amount of jewelry, my money and tickets in the side pocket, was checked out item by item -- and then run through the x-ray again (opened flat) as I was being gone over with the wand. Boy, I was really beginning to feel secure. Others were likewise being scanned.
At the boarding gate, they announced that if you had an S on your ticket or your boarding pass, you should proceed to the table by the boarding gate for your carryon to be inspected. I had an S on my ticket, but I explained at the table that they had just checked my bag at the security checkpoint and put that little orange sticker on it. They said they had to check it anyway. I was then scanned with the wand again before being allowed to board the plane.
I am about 5'5 tall, white haired, a life member of AARP, and I was beginning to wonder what I was missing......how could I look so sinister as to evoke all this checking? I know they do random checks as far as the checked baggage, but twice on a small compartmented handbag?? Has anyone else had this much scrutiny?
The clincher is that returning through U. S. Immigration in Toronto, headed to the U.S., they looked at my passport, asked if I had any sharp objects in my bags, said you're fine, go ahead. This bothered me much more than the other trip. The only conclusion I can come to is that somehow the GTG, the association with all those neat people, the Toronto surroundings, etc., had such a wonderful effect on me that it changed my looks and made me quite an acceptable traveler. I should have done this years ago.
All kidding aside, I do not object to being checked -- am just curious about how they choose who to check. That can't be profiling. Not with my southern accent. Another note: When I came home through the Austin airport I was amazed to see three lines from the security checkpoints (x-ray) all the way across the airport lobby and out the doors, down the sidewalk. Have others seen this kind of lines? Some people who passed by and saw me staring slack-jawed said it was the same in Atlanta, but that they were well organized and it moved quickly.
I was just glad to see the crowds in the airports. Planes were full. I know there are fewer flights, but a lot of people are traveling. That's the good news. That and my new conviction that, if you have an opportunity to be part of a Travelzine GTG, you should make every effort to do it. You will really be missing something if you don't.
Lou Matthews Lakeway, TX