New Security Measures and Air Travel With a PowerBook

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Date: Monday, September 17th, 2001, 19:18
Category: Archive

Powerlist member Christopher Ervin offers some PowerBook air travel tips in light of the increased security at airports across the United States:

I flew Friday from BWI with my PowerBook, the following is a brief synopsis.

If you are flying coach and/or don’t have an upper-tier frequent flyer service, get there early, the lines are crushing. Do not travel too encumbered. I saw a few “open and empty everything from your bag” searches”.

No cutting instruments allowed to be carried-on. Period. This includes disposable razors, nail files, nail clippers, etc. All were confiscated. Minimize clothing, accessories to reduce chances of setting off metal detectors, resulting in further searches.

Regarding laptops: I had no problem with my laptop (Pismo) going through security and I had the yo-yo adapter, extra battery and CD’s with me. I might have had it easy because I was prepared for the whole process which means be prepared for all this and don’t raise a fuss.

Be flexible with your travel plans, include alternate cities and rental car and hotel reservations.

Be prepared for delays and sudden cancellations. That means have an extra battery, necessary cables, and know how to access your ISP remotely. I recently discovered that you can download email/surf the net for a nominal fee from pay phones with data ports if your ISP has a toll free number. Earthlink charges around US$5.00 per hours which is a deal compared to outrageous calling card fees levied from most pay phones. [Ed: I can attest to the fees, I just received a phone bill today where AT&T charged me US$6.18 each for several one minute phone calls.]

A follow-up: I returned to DC today from Louisville via Charlotte. The Louisville airport is to be noted how routine it seemed to be. The only indication of the new security policies I saw was that they set up the line barriers/belts to accommodate longer lines, Disney-style, at the security checkpoint. I saw no bag searches, although it was 5 a.m.

I don’t know if that was good or bad. Either way I adhered to the Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS) process – even putting my watch in my jacket to place on the conveyor.

I fly out of Dulles on Wednesday. That will be the test since it was one of the originating points of the terrorists. The airports and planes are still empty and many airport boutiques and stores are suffering in the process. Cancellations are still common, so I would advise readers to be electronically prepared (DVD’s, spare battery, alternate Internet access, etc.) if they plan to travel by air.

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