Since I’ve been flying a lot lately, I have become a target of airport security. While there are all kinds of creepy-looking characters walking through security without being searched, scanned or swiped, I, on the other hand, have become a prime terror suspect in Ann Taylor Loft pants. Let’s start at the beginning.
The first troubling search took place a few months ago in Seattle when I was traveling with my mom — a soft-spoken grandmother with a sweet disposition who happened to be carrying a make-up bag containing several airport code violations. Let me just preface this by saying that before mom got to Seattle, she managed to make it out of West Palm Beach and LAX without waving any red flags. But somehow, in Seattle, a friendly airport security guard decided to do a search of her make-up bag and proceeded to toss out several items. You never know what a retiree from Boynton is going to place in her liquid foundation.
Fast-forward to winter break, and I’m traveling with my family to West Palm Beach and on the way home, I’m so tired I forget I’ve shoved several items that violate the “don’t bring any liquids that are more than two ounces on the plane code because we believe if you are bringing anything in a large container, you could be carrying contents that could potentially be used to make an explosive device.” So as we walk through the security line and place our bags on the belt, my carry-on bag is pulled out and searched and within 10 seconds, I lose my sunscreen, hair gel and a bottle of soothing aloe because everyone knows that a jar of aloe is incredibly dangerous when you rub it on the shoulders of sunburned passengers.
Next airport encounter — LAX. As I’m loading my computer, shoes, jacket, belt, carry-on bag and laptop bag into one of several gray bins, some guy next to me who is covered in tattoos and piercings and reeking from cigarette smoke, waves a lighter in the face of a security guard and asks if it’s OK to bring it on board the plane. And guess what the guard says? As long as it’s plastic, lighters are totally fine. Lighter guy then walks through the security gate, no bells go off and all the guards wish him a safe journey. I begin my walk of shame and while I don’t get buzzed or frisked, the guard in charge of the scanner flags my overnight bag and whisks me over to a private room where a menacing German Shepherd gives me the evil eye while a guard swipes it for explosives. You have got to be kidding me.
And finally, my most recent airport security snafu took place in Dallas. While walking through the gate, something in my pants buzzed. And, so, they instructed me to step into a scanning machine where they proceeded to do a full body scan. While I stood with the guard anxiously awaiting the verdict, he shook his head and said, “We’re going to have to bring someone over to check you.” And then it hit me. I knew exactly what triggered this latest security breech. My Ann Taylor Loft tag. You see, every time I buy a top, pants or dress from Ann Taylor Loft, I never cut off the tags.
And therein lies the problem — if you don’t cut the tags off, they trip security systems at airports, department stores, and Office Depot. When I tried to explain what I believed was the culprit setting off alarm bells, the female guard looked at me like I was nuts and then set me free. Later that evening, as I was busy surfing Twitter, I noticed a man had been detained aboard a United Airlines flight for allegedly threatening to light his shoe on fire. I wonder if he was carrying a plastic lighter because last I checked, you can’t set fire to footwear with an Ann Taylor Loft tag.