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Better Travels

Feb 21st 2010: Travel

I hate to admit it, but the services airlines charge extra for these days are worth it. After having a great experience the first time I started making a point of paying the upgrade to Economy Plus whenever possible. The extra leg room, a standard ten years ago, allows me to stretch my legs and it’s amazing what a tremendous difference that makes on arrival. Instead of being sore, stressed, and exhausted I land relaxed and ready to enjoy the day. Traveling economy-ish never felt so good. And there are additional perks: you are usually in the first boarding zone, the over-head compartments are not as crowded, and on Virgin America you get free snacks and movies (usually paid services).

My suitcase full of rolls of film has freaked me out over the last few days. All those little canisters. That has to look suspicious! Even though already armed with a letter from the TSA justifying why you cannot check undeveloped film and a long rehearsed speech to give to the security guy’s supervisor, I decided to pay for United’s Premier Line security service. The fee was peanuts if you consider the value of all that film. Best airport security experience evaaar! Walking past long lines at the overcrowded security check point I got into a short line where instead of the one overworked security guy five of them were just waiting and ready to help me with anything. And there was no pressure to get through security! No one pushing you. No mother’s with their toddlers giving you the “you better hurry or my baby will eat you” look. No guard bitching at you for not taking off your belt. No “IT” inspiring nightmares. Instead smooth, stress-free sailing. As for the film, it stayed rather long in the x-ray machine but given that at threat level orange there are more important things to worry about, the officer let it pass without any further inspections. Best security experience ever! And worth it. This time at least.

Now I am relaxing in the waiting area with my favorite Peet’s drink and two full hours to spare. And I keep wishing that there was a way to sit by myself in quiet, without the bleach blond, L.A. woman next to me telling her bestest girlfriend in a loud and unflattering voice how many romance novels she has read in the last two weeks alone. Next stop: business class lounge. I wish. Lottery tickets anyone?

Update: made it to BA without any problems. At customs they looked at my suitcase full of film and then recommended I should switch to digital. Haha! Only bummer is that the TSA found my developer in my checked baggage and confiscated it with a nice note telling me I shouldn’t send Hazmat material on the plane. It’s only $100 worth, but I doubt this particular developer can be found here. It’s not even produced anymore. Live and learn.