Traveling home - Cycling the Austrian Alps on a recumbent - CycleBlaze

September 3, 2018

Traveling home

It's not worth it anymore

I never realized how efficient the airport in Minneapolis actually is. I arrived at the airport about 3 hours before my flight left. Usually 2 hours is overkill, but I'm glad I arrived when I did because getting checked in alone was much harder than it needed to be. To start, the bus from the hotel dropped me off at the right terminal, but a long way from the check-in counter. Even with a small 3 wheel trolley my bike box is hard to handle. Usually if you look hard enough you can find an abandoned luggage cart which I was able to locate. Then it's merely the hassle of pushing a 58" wide box through the airport trying not to take out any more people than necessary. 

The next hassle was the check-in lines for Delta. There were 3 lines marked main cabin, and one marked on-line luggage check-in. Having been yelled at in Minneapolis for not checking in online, I had done so this time and had an e-boarding pass so I went to the online baggage check-in line. After standing there for a few minutes I was informed that I was in the wrong line and needed to go stand at the back of the long line of people with luggage. Ok fine. Be that way. I'm just following the signage. 

I finally made it through that line and was grilled by the girl at the check-in counter about where I had been, what I had done, what did I buy, what was in my bags, did I put it in my bags. Um, I'm pushing a heavy box with a bicycle around the airport. I am not doing this for fun. And no, I did not accept anything from anyone else. I'm carrying enough crap without taking anything more. I can't imagine someone that had accepted something suspicious would admit it anyway. Honestly, these safety efforts seem pretty silly, but we'll get to that more later if I don't get hauled away by security for complaining about security. 

After check-in I headed to the closest passport and security line. Why I need to show my passport to get out of the EU I've never figured out, but I digress. I got informed in the first lien that I was in the wrong line. There's a special security line for my gate. How I was supposed to know this, I have no idea. The guy that checked my bike box had motioned to the closest security. Once I finally arrived at the correct security line it was a nearly 45 minute wait just to get to the bag scanning. The Germans apparently are more thorough in their scanning because they take forever and only had 2 scanners running. I was almost through when they spotted the 2 jars of jam I had. Would you know it, jars of jam are not allowed. Sealed jars of jam are apparently too large and very much forbidden. But hey, I could check them in my luggage which was already checked or I could check more luggage, keeping in mind that the whole reason I was carrying the luagge I had with me WAS BECAUSE IT WAS TOO DELICATE TO CHECK. Not to mention that I would never make my flight in time given that the line which had taken me 45 minutes to get through was now considerably longer. So they threw away 2 perfectly good brand new jars of jam. 

That was the last straw for me. It's a hassle flying period. Add in a bike and luggage and it's just not worth it anymore. My frustrations with the process have been growing by the day this trip. Yes, the Tauern Radweg was great, but the rest of the trip has just been more an dmkre frustration on top of more frustration. All these attempts at security do not make me feel safer. Maybe some people find it feels safer, but for me it just makes everything more frustrating. The rules about what you can and can't bring onboard are largely absurd in my opinion. How I could have possibly tampered with a jar of jam that is sealed to put anything but jam in it is beyond me. Bottles of water aren't allowed unless empty, your shampoo is now dangerous. And that's just one aspect of things. The cumulative effect of all of this is that I just don't have the desire to go through all this hassle for 2 weeks of biking, especially when you ahvent no way of knowing what the weather will be like. 2 of my 4 trips have involved terrible weather now. For the hassle and the expense I just don't see myself wanting to do this next year. 

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