So, a couple of weeks ago I booked an impulsive 24-hour jaunt to Chicago to attend a christening. Said jaunt began yesty morning and ended today. Yikes!
First, I flew Porter - thank Christ for small mercies. I was expecting more scrutiny at the regular security station - none happened. I did get a full-body pat-down and my purse checked (somewhat desultorily) just before boarding. That's when it got fun. Everything - but everything - had to go overhead. Purses included. Then, thirty minutes into the flight they handed out the US customs cards which were to be "filled out prior to landing". Um, filled out how, exactly? Lots of delays as attendants retrieved purses etc individually so that people could get out pens. As the flight was longer than an hour we were allowed to go the bathroom in the available window only if we were escorted by an attendant. Otherwise we were not allowed to stand up.
I was expecting lots of scrutiny at US customs on landing but there was none. Coming back, today, I was not subjected to any unusual searches but we had the same stringent requirements on board. I was pulled aside at Customs, I guess because I had done the trip in so brief a time, but the guy opened my suitcase (a little one I ordinarily would have carried on board) and made a joke about what a "light" traveller I was.
So, all in all, I emerged relatively unscathed.
I, too, wonder about the new specification of "small purses" only. Srsly? I was travelling with a fairly capacious leather tote, but that was before the newest rules issued this afternoon.
By a strange coincidence a best buddy was also scheduled to fly to Chicago, but from Pearson. On Boxing Day he arrived at the airport in plenty of time only to be informed that his flight was cancelled. Yesterday he was in line waiting to clear US customs for NINE HOURS. At some point he discovered that his flight had left an hour earlier. He said there was a strange camaderie among the masses - that if it had gone any loger they would have set up their own alternate civil society.
I think Pearson is probably the worst place in the world to be right now, given the combination of sheer volume and the pre-clearing of US customss.
I'm treating my buddy to lunch tomorrow.