Caveats & Assumptions — airport edition

Maura Dunn
2 min readMay 26


At the end of a tiring week of work and travel, I found myself heading to a busy airport, busier than usual with the holiday coming. This is an airport I pass through often so I know its quirks: or I think I do.

Scene: There are 4 lines for non-pre-check passengers: empty. That’s unusual. The Clear line holds 15 or so people — typical for this airport on a Thursday. The pre-check line? 35 people. Usually, 5 or 6.

Assumption 1: half the people in the pre-check line do not have pre-check.

Reality: fewer than half, but more than 1/3 are sent to the other side.

Assumption 2: the metal detector is set very high — no underwire, but this leather belt with just a metal buckle has made it through 2 other airports known for highly sensitive metal detectors this week.

Reality: nope; the belt sets off the metal detector. Sigh. Annoying delay, but part of this travelin’ life.

Assumption 3: the belt is the end of it.

Reality: nope; a ‘random’ — invasive patdown like they used to do a decade or more ago, but I haven’t seen anything like it lately. A man two ahead of me in line: same scenario (although I think it was his watch not his belt). Every third person gets the random? No wonder the pre-check line is jammed.

Caveat: No matter how upsetting the security process is, wait until you are away from the area to mutter ‘I hate this airport’ while pulling your belt from under a suitcase. Because the aggressive TSA agent might be standing right behind you. Whoops.

Admonishment. Abject apology. Admonishment. Walked away.

My win for the day: I did not cry. And my flight to Charlotte left on time!



Maura Dunn

I always wanted to be a writer. Testing out new platforms, different voices - mostly, just having fun!