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What Fun Is Flying With No Hand Lotion?

By Matt Wood in Miscellaneous on Aug 11, 2006 4:25PM

Of course by now you know all about how the Brits foiled a terrorist plot to blow up airplanes flying to America with liquid explosives. The news caused absolute chaos at airports yesterday as passengers had to dispose of all liquids, gels, creams, and lotions, and subject themselves to more intense searches. Add to that the simultaneous freakout that occurs at the mere mention of terrorism near an airport these days, and you have an absolute nightmare for air travelers.

chicagoist_2006_08_ohare.jpegFlying out of one of the nation's busiest travel hubs, travelers in Chicago suffered some of the worst problems. The lines at Midway weren't as bad as O'Hare, where some passengers reported waiting two hours just to get through the security check. The delays and cancellations from yesterday made matters worse, with ripple effects expected to last for the next week even as the new security requirements become more routine. Chicagoist's sister-in-law was flying out of O'Hare this morning and called to say it was already a zoo at 5:30 this morning. The sad thing is, most people aren't nearly as annoyed with all the disruptions as one might think, since they've grown to expect that air travel will be a miserable, degrading experience. The Sun-Times reported that travelers were taking it in stride, including our favorite spokesinger for cotton:

Some travelers took the delays in stride. Aaron and Art Neville of the Neville Brothers, an R&B band on its way to Edmonton, Canada, said they understood the need for heightened security.

"I'd rather be waiting on line than on fire going into the ocean with a shark waiting for me," said Art Neville, an organist and singer with the group.

Amidst all the chaos yesterday, Chicago played a part in another airport incident. This one isn't related to the terrorist plot, but given the context, when someone farting too loudly near an X-ray machine in Des Moines would warrant a full-blown press conference by Michael Chertoff, it was newsworthy. Police at O'Hare arrested an Egyptian student who had been missing for almost two weeks. He was part of a group of 11 students enrolled in an exchange program in Montana who failed to appear there as scheduled. Police arrested the man after he raised a ruckus at the Delta counter because they wouldn't let him fly using a ticket with New York listed as the departure point. Since then, five more of the students have been found. Reports stressed that the students had nothing to do with yesterday's terrorist plot, or any nefarious business at all. Right now they're only in trouble for immigration shenanigans. Chicagoist can't blame them for not wanting to go to Montana anyway.

If you have to fly in the near future, Chicagoist suggests taking as little as humanly possible with you and checking all your luggage. What scares us is that some people are talking about the need to ban nearly everything that could be a bomb component, including cell phones, computers, and other electronic gadgets. Before long we'll have to fly in government-issued coveralls with plastic flip-flops like prisoners. Not that we would know what they make you wear in prison, especially in Porter County, Indiana.