The terrorists reserved for themselves a few pages in the history books of the future when they attacked the United States on September 11th 2001. The repercussions of this atrocious display of mass genocide were so huge that it permanently changed the way we lived our lives.
One such change (much to the terrorists’ liking) and a natural by-product of the attacks, was increased inconvenience to peaceful passengers as a result of heightened security at airports. Everyone who has travelled by air after 9/11 knows this very well.
The TSA or the Transportation Security Administration – an organization which was formed after the attacks by a legislation of the Congress – introduced strict measures to escalate security in all areas that were formerly neglected. For starters, security at all airports in the US was to be handled by federal employees. From introducing more layers of checks and scanners to restricting the type and quantity of various items such as liquids, gels, aerosols, sharp objects (such as box-cutter knives which were previously allowed) and the like that could be taken on flight by passengers, the authorities did everything possible, and more, to prevent such lapses as those that allowed the terrorists on-board undetected on that black day.
Security at airports nowadays has been heightened to such an extent that a traveler comes right under the scanner the moment he or she enters an airport. For instance, one is pre-screened at the entrance, screened and then checked again manually by a guard before finally entering a flight. Furthermore, checked baggage has to now pass through an additional Explosive Detection System. Security within aircrafts has also been strengthened by bullet-proofing cockpit doors in order to prevent unauthorized access. And of course, carrying a valid government issued ID has also been made mandatory.
Such security standards have been adopted in other countries as well. And while it may seem that the TSA and similar organizations in other nations have only added to the misery of our pre-flight hours, no one can question the necessity of these measures, howsoever inconvenient they may seem. What we can do, however, is cooperate with the authorities and follow their guidelines to make the screening process as smooth as possible, for them as well as for us. So get to the airport at least an hour and a half early, carry as little shampoo and cream as possible, avoid putting your shaving kit in your cabin luggage, and leave the rest to the security guys. Of course, don’t forget to smile at the person who asks you to take off your boots to put them through the x-ray machine. He’s just doing his job.