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It should be noted that this is a gallery of what is on my mind. That means there may or may not be any photos, if that is what you were expecting.

A Tale of Two Airports

Those of you who visit this section regualarly may remember that I mentioned earlier that there is a kitten living next to my dorm who I call Little Maroon Tiger. Well, he's getting bigger and I see him every day now. He seems to take naps all day. I figure he's out partying all night or something. I do have pictures to prove his existenece to you guys. This is where you look at the pictures and say "Awww."

Little Maroon TigerLittle Maroon Tiger

Now that I got the kitten issue out of the way, I can get to the important stuff. Last week I went home for spring break. I flew home as usual, but I noticed something about how Atlanta's airport and Ft. Lauderdale's airport handle the security checkpoint. Both had short lines if anything at all, a sign that things are speeding up. I'll continue with Atlanta's airport.

It took about five minutes to get though the checkpoint here. First an attendant checked my plane ticket against my photo ID to make sure the name of the ticket matched the person holding it. That's no big deal. Then I get to the x-ray machines. Before I go through, I remove my laptop from its case, place it in a tray, and send the computer and the bag through the machine separately. I go through the metal detector without a problem, as do my bags. I put my laptop back in its case and was on my way.

There was more of a line in Ft. Lauderdale, but it still took about 15 minutes to get through. There's a reason why it's longer. The sequence started the same with the laptop going through the x-ray machine separate from the case, but after that there was extra stuff. First they wanted me to turn on my computer and turn it off again. Unfortunately, the battery in it is dead so I couldn't turn it on. As a result, they brought me to this machine that checks the computer for dangerous materials. They wipe down the outside of the computer with a special cloth and the cloth goes into the machine for analysis. It passed, of course. Then they did the same process with my shoes. After I put my shoes back on, I was on my way.

The differences in procedure got me thinking. Atlanta's airport is supposed to be the second busiest airport in the country, yet Ft. Lauderdale's airport is more thorough in its security check. Why are the standards higher in Ft. Lauderdale? I thought the federal government was regulating the whole operation. I did see a lot of uniformed men in both airports. I guess I won't worry about it too much.

Written 3/20/2002 by Chris Taylor

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