Monday, April 27, 2009

Me And TSA, Just Trying To Work It Out

I don't travel A LOT, but I suppose, compared to some, I get around. It helps to marry someone from far, far away and to have friends who live far away (not far, far - at least not most of them). I pride myself on being a good screening subject. I wear easily slipped-off, yet comfy shoes. I have my liquids either checked or meticulously 3-1-1-ed in the appropriate size bag.

A trick I learned awhile ago that made traveling even more simple - in a world where so many brands still don't get that 4 oz just isn't helpful: you can "declare" larger liquids, set them next to your 3-1-1 bag, and continue on your merry way. Rad! So my econo sized contact lens liquid? No problem! Specialty face soaps that just don't transfer easily to smaller containers? It's a snap! Thanks for being reasonable, TSA! (They can't hear that very often.)

Oh wait a minute. You know there's a problem coming or this wouldn't be a post, right?

So on the way home (note direction of travel!) I have my 3-1-1 bag out, shoes off, carryon loaded on the conveyor belt, whiz through the magnetometer without a blip, and am waiting for my trays to emerge from the other side when the TSA screener says he needs to check some of my stuff. I don't have a problem with this. I hate asshole travelers who think they can prevail and change seemingly stupid policy by fighting it out with some dude doing his job. My bottle of contact lens stuff is the issue. Alrightly.

Second Mr. TSA asks me to remove the cap - I do (which is harder to do without also holding the bottle, FYI). He uses this little sniffer equipment which promptly makes a quiet bleeping and says "alarm" on the screen. Mr. TSA is all like "oh come on, really," and I say, "you can toss it, I don't really care." Third Mr. TSA comes over and says "oh, Clear Care? Yeah, see - right there" [points on the label to Second Mr. TSA what the problem is or what on the label is meaningful, but doesn't show me.] Again, I say "whatevs, junk it." He's going to junk it, of course, but not without taking down my information and noting "Clear Care" in the "prohibited items attempted to be brought on plane" column.

I figure I'm one transgression from landing on the do-not-fly list. (The first was the great Cake Cutter incident of Ought-7)

I'm assuming Clear Care's hydrogen peroxide caused the flag. It stings like a beotch if you don't use the special magic case for storing lenses, so I could've sting-eyed my way to plane domination, I suppose. Nothing on the TSA site gives me any more concrete reasoning than that.

The final, ironic element of the story, of course, is that I realized when I got to my BFF's house that I had left an econo bottle of Clear Care at her place last time I visited so I wouldn't have to car the big old thing around again BY AIRCRAFT, so there you go. I'm now out a bottle and potentially a recognized security threat.

P.S. Uh, Apparently, no one has told CIBA VISION - makers of Clear Care - that their shit is Toxic like a Britney Spears song. Whether it was the size or the ingrediants of the Clear Care that presented a problem, I'll probably never know. My only complaint for Second and Third Mr. TSAs would be that they should have told me the specific issue. Missed a teachable moment, y'all!

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