Thanks Bradley Airport TSA

One of my friends was just telling me about how she is stressed about upcoming travel. Another friend told me the same thing last week. I'm pretty sure this is a common occurrence. Stress about what to pack, the cost of the trip, whether the dishwasher has been run, and the trash has been taken out. Sure I stress about these things too, although I probably care a bit less than some of my neat freak friends about making sure every inch of my place has been vacuumed so that it will be clean while I'm gone.

......and here is where the post will probably end up getting me on a no fly list.....

My stress level shoots up a hundred times higher right before I go through airport security. And here's why:

I took a weekend trip up to Connecticut with my family in May. We drove up on Saturday (woohoo, five plus hours in the car with five adults - luckily we also had 5 smart phones to keep us from killing each other), attended graduation on Sunday, and my brother, sister-in-law, and I flew home Sunday evening.

Normally I don't start getting anxious until I approach the front of the line for security - especially at those airports where your order in line is going to make a difference between walking through the metal detector or walking through the giant zappy thing (technical term).

But for this particular trip, the anxiety began even earlier. We had spent all morning sitting in an unbearably hot tent watching the entire college graduation first video streamed onto a screen from another larger tent, and then the smaller ceremony in the tent itself. It was so hot that the red and white stripes on the tent started blurring together and I had to take breaks outside to not pass out. We had lunch outside following the ceremony, and the food was great, but it was still hot out. We were going straight from lunch to the airport, which meant no time to change out of the dress I wore to graduation. I was hot, sweaty, cranky, and uncomfortable, and heading to the airport.

When we arrived, I couldn't find my confirmation number in my email on my new phone to print my boarding pass. I ended up having to play around with the email settings to get it to load earlier emails, and then wait around for it to load a zillion of them. At this point I was cursing at the new phone and wishing I had hit up an airport bathroom to change before bothering with the boarding pass. I tell my brother and sister-in-law to go ahead to security and the gate and I'd meet up with them. I knew security was bound to be a pain, and I still wanted to change clothes. They waited around instead for me to get my boarding pass situation worked out, which was very nice of them.

We all jump in line for security, and it is moving pretty quickly - I like this - lets just get it over with. There are a few airports where I know what to expect - for example the one I fly out of most regularly at home has metal detectors that my pump doesn't set off. There are a few other airports where I know when I walk through the metal detector my pump will set it off and I'll be in for a pat down. I like to know which way it is going to go ahead of time - nobody likes a pat down surprise. When I get to the front of the line they point me to the left. I hadn't even had time to check out which lines had metal detectors and which ones had giant zappys. I look up and notice that my line has a zappy. Great - guaranteed pat down (it is recommended that my pump not be subjected to any x-rays). I look over to the line my brother and sister-in-law are in and notice its a zappy line too, and so are all the others. Good to know - Bradley is a guaranteed pat-down airport for me. Not that its likely that I'll ever fly in or out of there again.

So it is almost my turn to go through - I approach the TSA guy directing traffic toward the zappy and inform him that I'm wearing an insulin pump and I can't go through. He motions towards the grey bins and tells me I have to take my shoes off. I explain that I know that and once again tell him that I can't go through. He motions for someone else to come over, and I have to explain for a third time to her that I'm wearing an insulin pump and therefore can't go through her machine. She states that they have never had anyone tell them that before and that their zappy machines wont cause any problems. I look at her, look at the giant x-ray sticker on the side of the zappy, look back at her, and tell her I wont be going through. Finally she calls for another tsa chick who drew the short straw and gets to pat me down.

So I explain to this girl for now I think the 5th or 6th time that I'm wearing an insulin pump, it is attached to the back of my arm and clipped to my dress, and I can't go through the machine. So she does her pat down, which was particularly awkward given that I was still in a dress, meaning the leg feel up was much more invasive. So this chick finishes, but never pats down where the pump is, never asks to see it (its covered by my sweater) and goes over to the other lady and says she's done. She gets sent back to do a "visual inspection" of my pump, and then has to test her hands and my hands for explosives. All the while, my brother and sister-in-law are standing around waiting for me....again.

I'm finally deemed underwear bomb free and allowed to leave the cattle corral I've been kept in while this is all going on. I am now determined to change into shorts and a t-shirt that I had longed to change into prior to our airport arrival. We head to our gate and as soon as we get there, my brother asks if I'll watch their stuff for a bit. I only had to wait five minutes, but after three hours in the tent, an hour outside at lunch, the new phone drama with the boarding pass, and the TSA feel up in a dress with an audience of the entire Bradley airport, it felt like forever!

I'm sure I looked like a little kid or a bum traveling with my brother and sister-in-law who were still all dressed up, but I was so past done with the dress-up clothes, the airport, and traveling in general. I was so relieved to be going home.

tune in next time for news on my new CGM

Sometimes, security is just a hassle. My last trip, I ran into traffic, arriving at the airport 1 hr before my flight. And it was this trip that TSA dug through my luggage and pulled out a corkscrew and declared it contraband. After sitting there for way too long watching the TSA try and repack my luggage, I finally offered to repack it myself. When I got to the gate, they had already boarded my group and were boarding the stragglers. My experience at security had left me a poor straggler as well.

Travel can be stressful. Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and remind yourself that everything will be ok and it is just a nuisance.

I live in CT and flew out of Bradley last July to a conference in Las Vegas. I had no problem with the TSA. I told the agent I was wearing an insulin pump and he said no problem, just go through the metal detector and he wanded me. Let me go no problem. Coming back through Las Vegas was another nightmare story however.I will be flying out this July again to DC for the same conference so I will post my report.

I don't think it was the airport specifically that was the problem - it was just the particular staff members that I was lucky enough to interact with who didn't seem to know what they were doing. The metal detector option doesn't bother me at all - I go through that with my pump with no issue - but that wasn't an option this time. It was huge x-ray machine thing or pat down - I felt a little like they were trying to bully me into going through the machine anyway which would have been easier for them, but I'm glad I insisted on the pat-down instead even though that was more of a hassle for both me and them.