THE CIRCULAR

Airport Security: A Very Specific Anxiety

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

Airport Security always seems to unearth a particular anxiety and paranoia in travellers. Despite knowing you have done nothing wrong, followed all the guidelines and have nothing illegal on your person. It’s no surprise so many people opt for that preflight pint.

Twitter user @shelbywolstein had a tweet go viral when she shared her dream airport security experience. “I don’t simply go through airport security. I have a goal. I want everyone in line to be blown away by my efficiency. I want to be celebrated as I push my belongings across the table. I want TSA to offer me a job (I’ll decline). I want people talking about me at their gate. glory.”

The sense of pride following a successful journey through security is unparalleled. No setting off the metal detector, or getting swabbed and the bags don’t have to go through a second time, it sets the tone for the whole trip.

Since 2006 there has been a restriction on liquids being brought on board in hand luggage. No litre bottles of Shampoo, or that forgotten can of energy drink. Passengers are allowed containers of 100ml or less, and everything must fit in a clear bag (often available at the airport). Yet there is always at least one person in the queue that starts sorting out their items as they put their bag on the Xray belt.

Photo by Photo by Longxiang Qian for Pexels

For those who do suffer from airport security anxiety, there is the familiar Tetris like game of trying to fit all essentials into the liquids bag. And lest we forget to question every item that should or shouldn’t go in it, “Should a lipstick go in the liquids bad?”, “Will a hairclip set off the metal detectors?”. Mentally checking everything is one thing, but there’s always that one ridiculous intrusive thought. For example, what if watching Breaking Bad before leaving, meant an illegal substance got through the screen and is now in the carry on luggage?

Another Twitter user @thv_joon replied with their own experience that sounded like a dream come true, stating: “one time a security agent asked to take my liquids bag. I panicked inside and said yes, and she held it up to the rest of the security line and told them that my bag was how to properly store liquids for a carry on. one of the best moments of my life”

The recent delays in Dublin airport had travellers’ airport anxiety in overdrive. Many were afraid to turn up too early, adding to the delays or not arriving early enough and missing their flight. Despite these delays being largely due to staffing issues, if you are due to fly out soon there’s no harm in brushing up on the travel guidelines of the airport you’ll be flying out of.

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