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It’s different if you’re Special. The last time I flew I was granted “TSA PreCheck” status for no apparent reason. I could breeze through without removing shoes or coat. I could leave my laptop in the bag. Instead of the full-body scan I think someone looked at me with X-ray Spex brought from a comic book ad. It’s like you went back to 1971, and you’ll walk across the tarmac to the plane while smoking a cigarette.
Is showing up early such an imposition? In the old days, the airport had the glee and warmth of a bus station. The food options were nothing more than compacted-sawdust hamburgers and brackish broil-your-tongue coffee; a bookstore with two shelves, TOM CLANCY and JACQUELINE SUSANN; tailbone-taxing seats in the waiting areas that made you yearn for the plush comfort of the airplane seat ahead.
Now it’s a pleasant place. You find a nook, order a beer for $42.00, read a book, get relaxed, and miss your flight.
It’s much less stressful than running to the gate and missing your flight.
Oh, one more thing: if you’re crossing the international date line and moving ahead 24 hours, make sure you arrive at the airport yesterday.
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