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Unlocked and Unloading

I use to travel quite a bit by plane. My mother was a supervisor for Southwest Airlines, and so she gave me passes to fly from Los Angeles to Phoenix to visit with her.

The year was 1993. A simpler time. During one of my frequent trips through airport security (insert exaggerated use of air quotes here) I was stopped one day on my way back to Los Angeles.

“Ma’am, you cannot carry pepper spray on an airplane.

Blink. Blink.

What? I carry it all the time on my key chain. No one has ever had an issue with it.”

We’ll have to confiscate your pepper spray, ma’am, or you cannot board the aircraft.

Adjusting tactic.


Staring contest ensued.

Fine. Here’s my pepper spray. If anything happens to me it will be on your conscience.

“Have a nice day ma’am.”

I don’t have to tell you that air travel security has changed dramatically since the attack on our country in 2001. I’ve done very little flying since that fateful day, but you can be sure no one will be getting any attitude from me at the security checkpoint.

You’ll be relieved to know that I no longer carry pepper spray. Not because I feel all that safe in this world. But because I’m quite certain that one of my children would discover it in my purse and use it on me. In the middle of Wal Mart. On a crowded Saturday.

Since I will be boarding an airplane in a few short days, I’ve checked and double checked the contents of my purse for contraband. The nail file, baby clippers, pink sparkly hand cleaner, and spare tampon will all remain at home.

I’m taking no chances. But I am concerned about starving to death on the tarmac. Evidently, peanuts are a rare commodity on domestic flights these days. So, I will be strapping protein bars and cheese sticks to my thighs.

And I’ll be praying that I don’t get frisked. And that the air conditioning on the plane is in good working order.

20 Responses to Unlocked and Unloading

  • Reminds me of the time I flew when I was pregnant with the twins. It was just a few months after 9/11, and security was so tight, it was unreal. We had just moved across the country, so there I was, hugely pregnant with a carryon FULL of food that I loved, including an entire coffee cake from my favorite breakfast spot!

    Amazingly, they let me pass. (And, yes, they were shaking their heads the whole time!!)

  • Sorry for the inconvenience (I’m not being sarcastic here) of having no peanuts on the flights. But, for those of us with friends and family members deathly allergic to peanuts, we sing praises with this news. A college acquaintance of mine nearly died while on an airplane simply because she touched a door handle that had been touched by someone who had been eating peanuts and had transferred the oil to the door handle! Now, that’s an allergy response to be scared of.
    It’s too bad that it took “cutting back costs” to finally get the airlines (some of them) to finally stop serving peanuts rather than for health reasons. I don’t understand why they can’t replace the peanuts with something less dangerous for the “allergy crowd.”
    I’ll get down off my soapbox now…

  • Cheesesticks on the thighs? Why didn’t I think of that? Be sure to bring some chocolate for the late night gab-fests too! Wish I could join all of you. You’re going to have a blast!

  • cheese stick thighs . . . hmmm . . . I am personally acquainted with that phenomenon: cellulite.

  • You are going to have so much fun! Enjoy yourself!

  • We just got full body scanners here at DFW airport. They don’t leave much to the imagination! As long as you don’t have to go through one of those, you should be alright! 🙂

  • We just flew Delta with our daughter and it wasn’t that bad. We even got peanuts. One flight did not have a beverage service but because she was with us, she got a drink and we just sipped off of hers. We’re good parents like that.

  • Cheesy sticky legs! Now that’s a site! Funny story.

  • Bring extra money. . . the airlines nickel and dime you for everything now. . . even for a meal on a plane and extra suitcases. You get one “free” checked suitcase. . .

    I bring my knitting needles on the plane and haven’t had a problem. . .yet.

    Have fun flying!

  • Ha- I just flew for the first time in a very long time and felt like I couldn’t take anything in my carry-on! At least they offer pretzels for now. But now you’ve got me craving cheese sticks even though I have to have visions of them strapped to your thighs…


  • My children actually did pepper spray themselves! They don’t die or having any lasting effects just so you know! LoL! I learned to carry it always… I live in Louisiana. We are somewhat known for our serial killers. So anyway, my point was that my kids were in the vehicle waiting on me (I only returned for one thing) and while I was gone they found my pepper spray in what I thought was a secret place. They got curious and sprayed it. They had thick phlem and other crazy stuff coming out their mouth and noses and were coughing and red. I felt like an idiot calling poison control but as soon as I told them I lived in Louisiana they went easy on me. Needless to say, my children were fine within 30 minutes and I had to make an additional trip that day for ice cream. The end.

  • I always enjoy visiting you!

    I always get paranoid when I’m preparing to fly. One time I forgot I had my bottle water in my tote carry-on and they looked at me like I was a terriorist! The times have changed!


  • Oh, we just flew last month…I cannot begin to describe the look I gave the TSA screener who patted down my TODDLER! Because, you know, a 20-month old is such a threat to National Security. I’d better stop there so I don’t get fired up again…

  • Just be sure the protein bars aren’t those powdery versions, because you can’t bring water (or coffee!) through security.

    The fact that your Mom worked for SWA back in the good old days makes my heart proud. I love Southwest.

  • No tampons? Uh, not to be indelicate, but how does one take care of personal hygiene matters?

  • I could TOTALLY see Bubbalu using pepper spray on me!

    Have a great trip!

  • As far as I have seen, they HAVE replaced the peanuts with other snacks. We’ve gotten crackers, cookies, pretzels, etc. So you shouldn’t starve. Personally, I love peanuts. But my dd is allergic, so I live without.

  • “The nail file, baby clippers, pink sparkly hand cleaner, and spare tampon will all remain at home.” It’s my understanding that all of those things are fine–in your checked luggage. Check your airline’s Web site to be sure, but they’re usually only forbidden in carry-ons. And you can buy water from a store or restaurant once you pass through security and take that with you on the plane.

  • LOL What a sight you would to behold if you were to be frisked and had cheese sticks strapped to your thighs. I had never thought of that, but it would make for an interesting trip.

  • I absolutely love your site! You are a wonderful writer. I spent today going through your blog and found myself laughing out loud. We just traveled from the states to Taiwan and talk about security. We had to go through security 3 times with 2 kids(3 if you count my husband), a sit and stand stroller(try folding that up and getting it through the xray machine), 4 carry ons, and my big bag. It was miserable! We also lacked food on the two shorter flights, but thanks to my big bag full of bribery, I mean snacks, we were set! Can’t wait to continue reading more of your blog.