LONG>APHA and conference travel coping suggestions
larsson at u.washington.edu
Tue Oct 16 09:38:29 PDT 2001
Those of you who are travelling to APHA or to other conferences should be
aware by now that security is much heightened at all the airports. I am
not trying to scare you, just alert you to the increased security and to
provide you with some useful suggestions for making your trip to Atlanta
Having just got back from a whirlwind trip to New Haven, CT to give two
workshops, I'm hardly an expert, but this is what I've learned:
1. Be VERY patient. Lines are long at both ticket counters and security.
Bring something to read, or chat with friends. You will likely have to
check your suitcase although that doesn't seem to be consistent across all
airports. I decided to check mine and the checkin line was hugely long and
moved very slowly. Although airlines expect us to be at the counter 2
hours ahead of time, very often their ticket processors do not arrive
until much later. You may miss your flight if you wait too long to get
Security at PDX (Portland, OR) was interesting. There were 4 X-Ray
machines open and 75 foot long lines as people were processed. This was
at 5am, too. Don't get irritated. This may precipitate a VERY thorough
search, indeed. You are being searched to prevent problems.
2. Don't bring your laptop if it isn't critical. You will be required to
power it up and open a program. Many of the airports do not have tables
yet upon which to power down and reassemble your carrying case. You may
have to put everything back together on the floor. It is not fun if you
have osteoarthritis or other disability.
3. PDAs/Handhelds/CD Players, anything electronic. These are treated like
computers. You will have to turn them on and change the display by tapping
on a program. I was carrying two PDAs and two keyboards since one of my
workshops was an introduction to handheld devices as well as my laptop so
it took me forever to get checked out.
4. Expect to be randomly searched especially if you paid for your ticket
yourself (cash or credit card). In six flights to New Haven and back, I
was searched 3 times. Each included my having to open all electronic gear
up, turn it on and power down. My umbrella was checked but this is the
first week that you could carry an umbrella on board. Security did not
laugh when I said I was from Portland but they were very professional.
It's a hard job to do.
If you are pulled out of line to be checked, expect to be scanned for
metal and even patted down. Your neckline, waist, ankles and nearly
everything in between will be checked.
Take things seriously. Age is no factor. I watched several retirees get
put through this security checking procedure and of course, I am no spring
chicken myself. Males and females are checked equally as far as I could
5. Remove all nail files and nail clippers and anything that is metal and
potentially could be used as a weapon. They will be confiscated. Put them
into your checked luggage or don't bring them with you. Emory boards are
6. Biobreaks. Be sure to take a biobreak shortly before you get onto the
flight or hit the bathroom immediately you get on the plane. Once the
fasten seatbelts sign is on, it may be more than half an hour before it
gets turned on again. They want to be well underway before they let folks
move around the cabin.
If you have other suggestions to make travel easier, I hope you will
forward them to the list so that we can all benefit.
NLM Informatics Fellow, OHSU
Health Services, University of Washington
larsson at u.washington.edu
listowner: PHNUTR-L, PHNURSES, PNWHEALTH, PHSW, HSR-L +
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