Airport Security and Your Kids
Unless you’re under the age of 13, you probably heard about what happened on September 11, 2001. The death of thousands of Americans in New York, Washington and in Pennsylvania as a result of terrorists hijacking planes have changed the way we travel. Airport security is strict, slow and as far as I’m concerned, effective since there haven’t been any planes hijacked in the United States or Canada since 9/11.
For well over 11 years, people have had to stop bringing sharp instruments like the deadly nail clipper and bottles filled with liquid with them on the plane. People have had to remove their shoes, belts, empty their bags and purses, brushed with a wand and at some airports experience a full body scan. It’s just as much a part of commercial flying as is complaining about the size of the complimentary peanuts you get in the middle of the flight. It will not change in the near future and this is where your kids come in. PREPARE THEM.
Most kids know about good guys and bad guys. They may not understand the subtle differences but in the majority of cases they know that bad guys hurt people. That’s why their bad. Airport security is the good guys and they keep the bad guys from going on the same plane and doing something to hurt you and your kids.
Sometimes these bad guys try to sneak drugs on the plane and they do that by hiding it in people’s bags and even in toys without those people knowing it. This is not new. Airport security HAS to check to make sure the bad guys haven’t hidden anything illegal or that can be used as a weapon before they get on the plane so that everyone is safe. Fairly simple explanation so far but this is when the stupidity begins.
Sometimes, Airport Security will have to physically touch your kid to make sure there is nothing on them. It’s done in the open and with most likely hundreds of people standing around waiting their turn. This should be explained to your kid long before you arrive at the airport. Explain that you will be there with them and that it’s okay as long as you are there. Ask security if you can be checked first just to show your kid that it’s okay.
If you feel your kid has been inappropriately touched THAT is not the time to start yelling and screaming for two simple reasons: 1) Airport security doesn’t care. They have a job to do, like it or not; 2) your kid will become upset and may feel like he/she has done something wrong.
If your kid does start to get upset, reassure them that everything is okay and that you are there. DO NOT start filming your child with your cell phone and start yelling obscenities at the staff. See the two reasons above.
Once you get through security, ask to see a supervisor and tell them your concerns, preferably away from your kid. Make a note of the staff members’ ID and launch a complaint. This is for the benefit of your kid which should be your priority.
Prior to the trip, get your kid excited and explain that security is part of the plane ride. Practice with your kid to let them know that it’s okay as long as you are with them. Have them stand with their arms out and pretend their being pat down or even use something like a soup ladle as a wand just to show them what it will be like. You might want to dress them in casual clothing to make it easier and faster to get through.
Posting video of your kid getting upset at Airport Security will only make you look like a stupid parent and immortalize your kid on the internet forever. This includes family, friends, future classmates, future friends and future co-workers watching your kid lose it. If you don’t believe me, search “star wars kid” and see for yourself what kind of hell that kid went through.
Prepare your kid for Airport Security and leave your cell phone in your pocket.