Anecdata sought: American air travel and border crossings

mudbunny wrote:
clover wrote:
1Dgaf wrote:

What's so important about the belt? Do people wearing braces have to remove them? (That's braces that hold up trousers. Not suspenders, which are what women wear as a prelude to braces being taken off.)

The buckle is generally metal and sets off the metal detectors.

Yup. Getting through the detector without anything beeping is the goal.

I thought there was someone post 9/11 that had some explosive material hidden in his belt a while back? Like that one guy whose shoes were made of explosive material and he got caught trying to ignite it on the plane. And there was the guy who was trying to ignite his tube of toothpaste that resulted in the 3.5oz rule being instated.

Also, how about some Actualdata:

EDIT: yep, the Shoe Bomber

I fly 5 - 10 times a year. I fly internationally at least twice a year. It's fine. It's mostly about answering questions, following the rules and keeping your head down. In fact, the insanity of security theater is just how little it has to do with actual security and how much it has to do with fear and control. If you can brush that aside it should be fine.

That said, I have done border crossings between Canada and the US and they're much less stressful and more sane.

Seth wrote:

My best advice is "don't have brown skin." Anecdotally, that seems to have the biggest risk of getting people inconvenienced.

Edit: that anecdote being watching on at least a half dozen ocassions, a pleasant, chipper, efficient person check me through security and then watching his/her demeanor immediately turn dour and suspicious for the guy behind me in line.

bnpederson wrote:

Being white has certainly helped me through line quite a few times but I wouldn't suggest someone bleach their skin to prepare so it's not the most useful of anecdotal information. :)

I guess to be cynical a white person could arrange to get in line behind someone melanin-enhanced so that the TSA person unpuckers when they see that radiant, European face.

I fly a bunch between Seattle and San Francisco. Since airlines started charging to check bags, I now only take a carry-on.

The only thing I've had to do to make that work is switch my aerosol deodorant for a solid/stick one, and buy some travel-size toiletries.