Tips for Coasting Through Airport Security

Humorist Brian Unger presents his 2005 Thanksgiving travel tips — a wholly unscientific and highly ironic guide for speeding through airport security...

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

The Air Transport Association predicts that more than 20 million passengers will fly on US airlines this Thanksgiving season. And once again, the Unger Report has issued its wholly unscientific annual travel guidelines designed to help you fly through airport security and including something to offend almost everyone. Here is Brian Unger.

BRIAN UNGER reporting:

Thanksgiving is that special time of year when you find yourself standing on a filthy floor in your socks. A large woman with four-inch fingernails is barking orders at you. Your pants are falling down, your arms are splayed, feet apart, and there's some kind of battery-powered stick dangerously close to your private parts. This is not an S&M club in Lower Manhattan; this is Boston's Logan Airport. A man wearing latex gloves is picking through your carry-on with no timetable for withdrawal. Everyone stares at you with a hateful gaze, someone whispers, `Moron,' all because the metal detector is calibrated so acutely, it sniffs out mercury in the fish you ate the night before. Airport security; it's humiliating but necessary, like a prostate exam.

Still, the process can be less painful and invasive by following the Unger Report's Thanksgiving travel tips.

(Soundbite of bell ringing)

UNGER: Number one: Put your children in a kennel this year. It sounds controversial and untested, but airport check-in will go faster. Or think of your child as a handgun. Now why would you bring that to the airport? Otherwise, place children, along with your laptop, in the plastic bins and just X-ray them. It's like Space Mountain with radiation; kids love it.

(Soundbite of bell ringing)

UNGER: Number two: Go to the airport in your pajamas or your robe, leave your slippers on, forget clothes; as if you're going to a party at the Playboy Mansion. If you insist on wearing pants, don't wear a belt; wear a rope around your waist. Looking as if you've escaped from a hospital, you'll sail right through security.

(Soundbite of bell ringing)

UNGER: Number three: Don't fly if you're old. This Unger Report Thanksgiving travel tip is bound to upset some of the more senior among the 21 million airline passengers this week who have a high rate of metal implants in their hips, knees and backs, all of which brings airport metal detection to a standstill. My own mom has a titanium knee, and, well, after careful consultation with the Unger family, we decided she should take the bus. At the latest, she'll get there by Christmas.

(Soundbite of bell ringing)

UNGER: And the final Unger Report Thanksgiving travel tip...

(Soundbite of bell ringing)

UNGER: ...leave your ass at home. Airlines permit one carry-on bag that fits under the seat in front or in the overhead bins above. When it's as big as a mule, trust me, it's too big to carry on. Without kids, seniors, clothes or farm animals, we all fly safer, faster. Happy Thanksgiving, and that is today's Unger Report. I'm Brian Unger.

BRAND: And you can hear all of the Unger reports, along with everything else we've ever broadcast, at our Web site, npr.org. And you can send us your comments there, as well. Just click on the `Contact us' link. It's at the top of every page.

DAY TO DAY is a production NPR News, with contributions from slate.com. I'm Madeleine Brand.

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