Wednesday, December 28, 2016

travelling with kids today was hard

Here is how my Canadian airport security experience went today:  we have to stop halfway to Vancouver (which is a three hour flight) and go through the airport security in Prince George.  The waiting in line through security sucks enough, given that the two kids want to go in separate directions all the time, and the concept of a line up is not something that Daniel gets just yet.  We took off our bag packs, our lunch bags, our computers, our camera, my belt, our coats, and cellphones.  We went through the screening gate, and waited for the stuff to arrive.  The kids hands were swabbed and screened for explosives (yep).  Then my camera was swabbed and screened.  Then my computer was swabbed and screened.  Then, at the very end, the kids bag packs came through, and I forgot that they had two water bottles with some water on the bottom.  The airport security guy told me that I had two choices now, "surrender" the bottles (yes, he really said that) or go back outside, empty them and go through security again.  I thought about how hard it is to get kids water bottles in my home town, and how I really wanted to keep those two, that I had to order off amazon.  I said I would go back out to empty them.  I then noticed that the lineup to security looked about half an hour long, and asked whether I needed to wait in the lineup again.  I was told that of course yes.  I pointed out that my kids were inside the airport already, and was not comfortable leaving them there for so long without me, and they told me that I should take the kids with me in the lineup again.

I got so angry that I lost it.  I told the guy that he is lacking civility and basic courtesy.  I am a travelling mother, with small kids, one of which is 2 and in all reality needs his water bottle as he is still not good at drinking from a cup without spilling.  I was ok with going back out and emptying it, as I knew I could fill it again once inside, but being told that I had to line up for a second time, without much consideration of the fact that the kids are small and would not do well lining up or waiting without me was upsetting.

If anybody wants to feel better about their day, think about me raising my voice in frustration at the airport security guy and asking him directly "do you have any idea what it is like to travel with kids aged 2 and 5?"  Clearly, the answer is no, and knowing that should have given me a hint that the question was going to fall on clueless ears anyway, so the simple fact that I asked it shows my extreme frustration.

They gave me a 1800 number to call and complain, and I left a message on that number with the full story.  Will they ever call me back? who knows.  Gone are the days of "I would like to speak to your supervisor" when something seemed amiss.  Nowadays you get a card with a number to call, where a machine answers and you can leave a message.  NICE JOB, Canadian Airport Security!  Good work making mothers with children feel welcome and supported.  And good job listening to my concerns.  Talking to the machine was very therapeutic.  Thank you!
Ps. I called the 1800 number and was told that that is indeed the correct way, making me line up a second time. Also the CATSA agent confirmed that no concessions are to be made for women travelling with children as far as shortening the lining up time for the little ones. This seems a basic lack of civility to me, but I guess if that is the way it is, there is nothing anyone can do about it.

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