There are many (many) things that travelers complain about – flight delays, security lines, prices at airport stores, nasty and uncaring airport/airline/TSA employees, the security process, overly attentive employees, bad boarding zones, lack of space, overhead bin size, checked bag regs, not getting an anticipated upgrade. The list goes on and on. And yes, I’ve uttered quite a few gripes about most of these things in my travels.
With so many complaints floating out there, I wanted to take a moment to share a wonderful travel experience I had at the Charlotte Airport with the TSA. Yes, you read that correctly, someone is logging a POSITIVE TSA experience. My colleague and I were heading back to New York after a great (though short) trip to our Charlotte office. Enroute to the airport, we received the dreaded call from the airline – our flight was delayed not once, but twice in a 30 minute period and we were both fighting colds. The trip was off to a rocky start.
Heading through security, I opted out of the body scanner as I always do (what can I say, they creep me out) and had to get a pat down. For anyone that’s ever had one, it’s really no big deal. Per standard procedure, the TSA officer working with me checked her gloves for any chemicals that could be related to explosives and for the first time ever, they had a positive reading. I would have to get another pat down and they would have to closely examine all of my things.
I was faced with two choices. 1 – throw a fit because I certainly hadn’t been mixing explosives that day. 2 – Be pleasant and make some lemonade out of those security line lemons. I choose the latter and wound up having a great conversation with the two officers checking my things. We joked about packing styles (proud to say they felt my bags were some of the neatest they’d examined – score!) and bonded over a shared love of clothes. Better yet, I learned a thing or two to make future security screenings easier. One officer even took the time to get me the website information for TSA Pre✓™ which I pretty much can’t wait to sign up for.
We all walked away from the conversation with smiles on our faces – me thinking better of the TSA and (hopefully) them thinking a bit better about passengers.
At the end of the day, TSA officers are just trying to do their jobs and keep us all safe.What’s more, they have to deal with thousands of travelers every day – many of who are grumpy, tired and probably a bit mean too. So next time you have to face a bag check or a pat down, offer a smile rather than a grumble. You might just make a new pal!