travel

TSA and the burritos

My parents encouraged Bryce and I to arrive at the airport three hours before our flight to Hawaii (en route to New Zealand).

“With the government shutdown, you just never know!” my mom said. “Sea-Tac seems to be operating normally from what I’ve heard but who knows, maybe the TSA workers will decide on your day of travel to just not show up!”

We arrived about 2.5 hours early — and thankfully there was no line at PreCheck. I guess the sweet spot to fly is 5 pm. Everyone else wants to get a move on in the morning or late at night.

My backpack got searched at security and at first I was a little annoyed that none of the TSA workers bothered to notify me that they were searching it. Isn’t the norm that they ask whose bag it is and then they go through it in front of you?

When I asked why they weren’t searching it in front of me so I could see, one worker replied that “there’s not enough room back here.”

OK, isn’t that why normally you bring the bag closer to where the traveler is awkwardly waiting or standing?

Another worker — different guy from the one who responded to my question — did bring my bag in front of me after the initial rummaging out of my sight and asked if I had food in the bag.

“I’m going to have to look at it,” he said nicely.

When I lifted the brown Chipotle bag out of my backpack to show that there were two burritos inside, he asked for us to peel back the foil.

I obliged.

“Those look like some good burritos!” he said as he told us we were free to go.

I laughed and put the food back in my backpack.

“Well, at least that was quick,” I told Bryce.

He agreed and reminded me that these workers weren’t getting paid at the moment, too.

“Oh, no! I should have been nicer at the beginning when I was giving them a hard time about looking through my bag without me being able to see what was going on!”

I felt a little bad.

Oh, well, at least they didn’t ask to take a bite out of our burritos.

colombia, travel

Like a scene from Narcos

We arrived in Panama City, our first layover (out of three) on our way home to Seattle from Colombia.

It was a Sunday morning and I was hungry.

Why was it taking us “so long” to get off of the plane?

Bryce and I were seated in the middle of the plane and finally the passengers in front of us started moving. We stepped off the plane and started walking through the ramp-way, you know, the one in between the plane and the gate at the airport.

But there was a backup.

Why are we having to wait to get into the airport? 

I’m a pretty patient person but sometimes seeing people struggle with their rolling suitcase, which holds up the line, really irritates me. (I have nothing against rolling suitcases, I own one, too!)

This wasn’t the case this time though.

Up ahead, I could see two men checking passengers’ ID and ticket.

Why are we doing this now? We’ve already arrived at our destination!

Bryce and I got out our passports out and waited for the line to move. Finally it was our turn and one of the men checked Bryce’s passport and in really stern Spanish asked where he was going. Bryce responded and the man motioned that he could proceed.

I next showed the man my passport but he didn’t even glance at it. He waved his hand and was more interested in the person behind me.

That was weird, right?

No, it was intentional. We quickly realized that the men were only checking passports of the male passengers. These undercover cops were clearly looking for someone specific. (They were dressed in regular street clothes so we just assumed they were undercover cops).

As we walked away — to look for breakfast -— we turned back around towards the gate we just left and noticed that a handful of passengers were pulled to the side. We guessed for more questioning.

This is like a scene straight out of Narcos!

Well, maybe. I’ve never actually seen the show but whenever I told people I was going to Calí, Colombia before the trip, they would respond with “Ohhhh, like from Narcos — the Calí Cartel!”

So, it was like an alleged scene straight out of Narcos.