Sunday, December 19, 2010

Another beer, sir? Flying in Australia

Flying within Australia is very different than flying within the US. Clearly this is a place that has never experienced a 9/11 and isn't on code red or DEFCON 5 or whatever the States has been on since then.

Much of the security requirements around flying in the US are just theatrics. I can't take tweezers but I can take a pen or pencil, which could be used to stab someone. Or I could break a credit card in half and cut someone's throat (happened on 24). Or someone with a black belt could simply use his martial talents to break some necks. There was a sign at LaGuardia Airport last Christmas explicitly saying "No snow globes." Seriously, is that necessary? Are all the precautions relevant? Probably not.

In Australia, security is less rigorous than at a trendy nightclub in Manhattan so they don't bother with all these charades. For starters, you don't have to take your shoes off. As for liquids? If you got 'em, bring 'em. As I was about to go through the security checkpoint I realized I had a full bottle of water with me. I asked a security guy where I could throw it away. You don't have to, he said, you can bring it through. Amazing!

They don't even check ID at any point. I could literally buy a ticket and let someone else fly for me. (Maybe they should work on this one actually....)

You also don't board by row here, but queue up at the gate. It doesn't matter whether you're in first class or in the last row by the toilets, it's first come, first board. 

Air travel is also more civilized here. I've only been flying Qantas so I can build up my points, so other airlines may be different, but on every flight so far I've gotten a free meal or at least snacks and tea. And the snacks are usually fancy-schmancy, like gourmet crackers and dip or cookies -- nothing like the miserable bags of six peanuts you get on American airlines. Qantas also serves complimentary wine and beer, though for what airfare costs I probably deserve a six-pack.
Not much variety...

1 comment:

  1. I love flying in Oz. Michelle has even flown as "me" at one point (sssshhhh), the no ID thing blows me away. I can rock up to the airport 15 minutes before my flight and still catch my flight...US air travel sucks