Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Airport Security Would Be A Lot Easier If...#2

Time for the second tip for making airport security easier, or at least tolerable. Not like it will ever be enjoyable. Unless they replace TSA workers with stuffed bunnies who carry Easter baskets full of chocolates. I doubt that'll ever happen. I'm sure someone would complain about their food allergies. Way to ruin it for everyone else.

The first tip was about shoes. So, now that you've taken your shoes off, the second step for making airport security easier is to...

Put your laptop in its own frickin' bin!

I understand why some people forget this. It is not as well advertised as the shoes thing. You are not forced to walk past four signs informing you that a laptop needs to have its own bin. And really, you're trying to do the right thing and place your carry on bag and all its contents in a bin in a timely manner. You really need that book of sudokus, that stylish neck pillow, and a tablet for your child to play with so they will not harass the other passengers on your 45 minute flight. Then oops, you forgot to place your laptop in its own bin.

Cue the angry person standing behind you who just wants to hurry things up and go through the metal detector already. Now they have to calmly wait while your bin must be passed back through the scanner. If it's been a long day, it might not be so calmly. Hopefully a brawl will not ensue, I don't even want to know what happens to you then.

I know this doesn't sound like a big deal, but I always felt if you really needed a laptop for your trip, you should know this rule by now. General family vacations don't require laptops. I'm a college student and I don't even need to be plugged in that much. So maybe the better tip is, unless doing business, just leave the laptop at home.

And, let's all hope this is what we one day see at the airport.

I know it'd improve my trip. 'Why yes Mr. Bunny, I will happily place my laptop in a separate bin. Have a great day.'

Until next time, God bless America.

P.S. Why don't you check out the stuff I've been helping with at work. We're trying to increase student interest in the transportation industry.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Airport Security Would Be A Lot Easier If...

Airport security would be a lot easier if....

I know how I'd end that statement:
-TSA wasn't so incredibly power hungry
-More than one bag screening machine was ever open
-People weren't dumb.

I think that last one pretty much sums it up. But, as there isn't anything I can do to make the security agents more efficient and simply less crazy, I think it's best to combat this from the passenger end. There's a reason security in Omaha takes as long as it does in D.C. even though only one-third as many people are in the security line in Omaha. Many people in Omaha don't fly that often and seem completely lost as to the security procedures. The same thing occurs in the Orlando airport. There, people are returning home from vacationing and have already forgotten what they learned only a week before. I guess that can happen when pushing a double wide stroller of exhausted children. Just please don't run me over with it.

The rules do keep changing, but it's all online, or on the signs you are forced to walk by to get to the secured area. I know everyone is too excited or annoyed to read those so I'll be sharing some tips over the next few posts.

Airport Security Would Be A Lot Easier If....

People Would Just Take Off Their Frickin' Shoes!

Regardless of whether you are wearing platforms or flats, combat boots or flip flops, they are still shoes. Yes flip flops, do in fact, count as shoes. You have to take them off regardless of how moronic that sounds. You are obviously hiding something in half an inch of squished foam.

I know the floor is a little grody and you don't want to deal with the incredibly difficult task of tying and untying your shoes. (I actually always wear flats for this purpose alone, I don't want to be holding up the line). So for everyone's sake, take off your shoes before reaching the metal detector. Didn't you ever wonder why everyone else was walking around in these?

It wasn't an epic fashion statement. Well....maybe just a little. Whey else would they have worn such colorful socks to the airport?

Until next time, God bless America.

P.S. Lately at work I've been tasked with working on outreach for the US Department of Transportation. If you or your children are interested in learning more about how transportation impacts our lives, why not stop by and see the newsletter/video series being put out by the University of Nebraska? You can find it here:
Or, stop by the facebook page and like it!
You might even learn something.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Oh India, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Hello all!

I know I have been neglecting this lately. My real life does tend to get in the way occasionally.  And, I just hadn't really felt like blogging. It's time to get back to business.

If you've been reading, you know I am supposed to travel to Chennai, India for eight weeks for a research project with my university. I was supposed to leave almost a month ago. I'm still here in Nebraska....waiting. Here's my update:

I previously applied for a student visa, per instructions from the Indian University's International Relations Specialist. After multiple extra documents were sent, and several hours were spent on hold with the outsourcing company, I was called by the consulate. It was such a joyous experience to speak with a REAL person, who knew what was going on! The news wasn't so great though.

I was informed I wasn't eligible for a student visa because I would not be enrolled as a student at the university in India. I needed to apply for a research visa. The consulate employee chose to spend 75% of the conversation complaining about how horribly overpaid I am as a grad student (I had to send in proof of financial viability during my stay so included my Graduate Research Assistant offer letter). I fail to see why my pay (which is the standard for GRAs in engineering) is any of their business. Before any additional questions could be asked, he hung up.

Then it was on to the research visa application. This application is more in depth than the student one. Seven copies of a "proforma" needed to be included. This gives all sorts of information about the research project and how it will be executed as well as information about my previous none. The seven copies makes me nervous. If that many people need to look at it, there must be mountains of bureaucratic red tape tied to research visas.

This new application went on its way Friday. Hopefully I'll hear something soon. This waiting period is a little frustrating. I am supposed to be working on my thesis, or looking for a job, but it's hard to be motivated when I may be leaving sometime. I think I'll watch some NCIS instead.