Is airport security a waste of time? Ten Gadling readers’ shocking answers

The other day on the Gadling Facebook page, we asked what some might consider a loaded question:

“Do you think airport security is important or a waste of time? Why?”

We got a variety of responses both in the pro and con camps, and plenty of rants about how foolish airport security has perhaps become. Here are the top ten comments — a great litmus test of how airport security and the TSA is perceived by regular travelers.

1. “Huge waste of time. I think a lot of pilots agree on this. Bottom line: ineffective measures that have morphed into mindless procedures performed by (mostly) moronic TSA agents that yield no increased security and impact travel time. Even more, recently airlines issued statements that security regulations for flying into the US are expensive and unnecessary.” — Raul

2. “Have flown twice to Asia in the last few months … inconsistencies galore … have a friend that always carries this tiny box cutter in her purse … she forgot about it and now realized she has flown several times with it not being discovered … but they have taken her bottled water that she purchased in the airport.” — Kathleen3. “What Raul said. I was just at LAS flying back to NY and I forgot to take my liquids out. They didn’t even mention it and let me go right through. Also, plenty of plastic (non-metal detecting items) can be used as tools or weapons. Pathetic. Israel’s method of profiling is much more efficient.” … Pilots shouldn’t have to go through the security the rest of us do — if they are compromised they can take the damn plane down! They don’t need explosives or anything else to do that.” — Alyson

4. “Different airports have different requirements or strictures. If it’s not allowed at one airport, it shouldn’t be allowed at ANY of them.” … “Airlines don’t like security when it impacts their bottom line, but they’ll be the first to admit that having a plane go down due to an unchecked bomb hurts their bottom line even more.” — Jennifer

5. “It is important but they need to seriously streamline it and take a page out of the European countries airport security systems.” — Lori

6. “After a pat down I always have to ask ‘Should I tip you?‘” — Rob

7. “It’s called security theatre.” — George

8. “Honestly, I think the whole thing is designed to keep the sheeple calm because there really is nothing ‘they’ can do to keep us safe. If terrorists want to take down a plane or use it to take down buildings (again? puh-lease, that is so 2001, the terrorists are up to bigger and better things) they will. with these ridiculous so called security measures, the terrorists have won — we have changed our way of life because of them.” — Alyson (again)

9. “I’ve never worked out why 75 year old ladies need to take their shoes off when they’re only flying internally within the UK. The issue is not whether security is important, it’s whether security checks are valid and efficacious. I don’t believe they are. We should be profiling, rather than searching laptops and shoes. The terrorists will always move on. They must be clutching at straws if they’re putting 300mg of HE into toner cartridges on cargo planes; or perhaps the ‘terrorist’ was simply a nut-case.” — Stewart

10. “Security is important. It needs to be beefed up, tho. I was a flight attendant for 42 years with 2 airlines. I remember when we didn’t need it. Now, we need it.” — Vicki

Got additional comments? Want to join in the conversation? Visit Gadling on Facebook.

[Photo by redjar via Flickr.]

Top ten reasons Gadling readers would change hotel rooms

Though we try to be flexible, sometimes, there’s something so wrong with a hotel room that you just can’t stay. You may remember our article on A seasoned traveler’s top ten hotel peeves, as well as An even more seasoned traveler’s top ten hotel peeves. Those things are all irritating, but sometimes, there are issues with a room you couldn’t even have anticipated.

We wanted to know what would make you change rooms, so we asked our fans on Facebook their thoughts. The most common answer? Cigarette smoke. Read below to see the other reasons people change hotel rooms — and maybe you won’t feel quite so bad next time you have to.

Top ten reasons Gadling readers would change hotel rooms

1. “Cigarette smoke.” — Cherie, Jackie, Jennifer, Martha, Mark, Bill and Jessica

2. “Excessive noise and foot traffic if I’m right next to the elevator.” — Jennifer

3. “A mess, construction, broken furniture, smell, wrong bed configuration, noisy neighbors.” — Karen

4. “Bathroom plumbing issues, TV doesn’t work.” — Carol

5. “Broken air-conditioner.” — Mark

6. “Anything living in the room besides humans — gross.” — Tara

7. “Dead hooker under the bed is always a no go.” — Anita

8. “Dirty/stained sheets, bad odors.” — Rebecca

9. “I‘ve heard a MILLION excuses like color, lighting, proximity to bar/restaurant/ice/etc, superstitious, religious, proximity to other guests (or far away from them), don’t like odd/even numbers (floor or room), etc … you get the picture.” — Despina

10. “The only time I have requested a new room was because the cups in the bathroom were dirty (lipstick stains), the bedcovers had some suspicious stains on them, and the desk was covered in food stains. Sadly, I have stayed in budget hotels that were much better, and this was a Hilton.” — Carrie

Marc had a particularly harrowing experience: “Walked into a hotel room ‘freshly cleaned’ and there were pubic hairs in the sheets, soap tray and likely other places. We got a new room, at a hotel down the street.”


Got more reasons to switch rooms? Want to join in the conversation? Visit Gadling on Facebook.

[Photo by Annie Scott.]

How to research a trip – top ten tips from Gadling readers

Once you’ve got a trip planned, there is nothing to do but wait — aside from the research, that is. Researching a destination, particularly one to which you’ve never been, can be pretty overwhelming. A simple Google search can yield millions of results to sift through. Still, some people absolutely relish the act of exhaustive research. These people have developed shortcuts and tricks, as well as found the best websites to search. These people can help.

One great place to search for information about a destination is right here on Gadling; either by typing your destination into our search box or surfing our Explore the Map tab (above). If you’re still hungry for more, here are some ideas from our readers (collected on Facebook) about how to best research an upcoming trip.

The top ten ways Gadling readers research their upcoming trips

1. “Double-check the site or restaurant’s hours (and seasons), using their own webpage if they have one, to avoid wasting precious time on the trip!” — Lillian

2. “I usually look at the the public transportation options and I look at for things to do then on top of that I use and I Google around to see what other people have said about the area. Sometimes I even check Craigslist for community events and whatnot.” — Anita

3. “New York Times Travel section.” — Evan4. “Always start with locations (cities and how many days), then the hotels, then the transportation, then the daily sight-seeing/activities.” — Saadia

5. “Look up EVERYTHING about it. Wiki, CIA, State Dept, Google, etc. and then look at a map (I think I have paper maps of every area) and plan out routes and points of interest, etc.” — Despina

6. “AAA TripTiks.” — Jeneveve (AAA members only)

7. “I LOVE LOVE LOVE guidebooks, I know, but I love reading ’em.” — Saadia (again)

8. “It is about a two week process that includes internet, books, magazines and tips from friends. I use all that information and cross reference and double check.” — Jennifer

9. “Combination of travel books, Google, TripAdvisor, the city’s tourism website, and when i get to the destinations, I ask around.” — Darvin

10. “It all starts with a particular attraction or life goals to scratch off the list.” — Rodney

Got a better idea? Want to join in the conversation? Visit Gadling on Facebook.

[Photo by celesteh via Flickr.]

Top 10 ways Hollywood could make Sully’s movie more kickass

As you’ve surely heard, Hudson River hero Captain Sully has been awarded the ultimate American prize: a movie deal. You know how sometimes people ask you “who would you want to play you in a movie?” Well, Sully is full-on asking himself that question for real.

We were discussing the movie and came up with one irrefutable problem: landing a plane in the Hudson River, while certainly impressive, does not a 90-minute film make. In fact, our resident pilot Kent Wien published a hilarious story just last month on what is surely the crux of the plot: avoiding the birds. Trying, then failing to avoid birds doesn’t really sound like a feature-length story, does it? Kent’s idea was to try and film it from the birds’ perspective, “Sort of like Jonathan Livingston Seagull but with a tragic ending.”

That would work, but it doesn’t make a hero out of Sully, and that is surely the point. We have faith that the masterminds in Hollywood can make a whopping three hours out of it if they put their hearts into it.

In case they have any trouble, though, here are some ideas.

Top 10 ways Hollywood could make Sully’s movie more kickass:

1. An epic bloody bird bonanza.

The moment the birds hit the engine is key. We’d like to see this achieved on a billion-YouTube-hits, Texas Chainsaw Massacre level. You know what would make it even better? Two words: 3. D.

2. Aerosmith.

This will be a hero movie, and every hero movie needs a power ballad. Perhaps Aerosmith could simultaneously release a music video of themselves headbanging and playing the song spliced with clips of the aforementioned bloody bird bonanza. Suggested title: What Goes Up Must Come Down.3. Emotional foreshadowing from friends and family.

Foreshadowing is essential to this genre of film, and pretty much all dialogue leading up the disaster should have enormously foreboding ramifications. We’re talking teenagers yelling “I never want to see you again!” and wives saying “I still get nervous every time you fly. Every time.” Bonus points if they have a pet bird that won’t shut the hell up.

4. Birds. Everywhere.

Another important foreshadowing element is the presence of birds in everyday life. Not only should there be a pet bird in Captain Sully’s home, but we’d like to see at least one avian actor in every shot. In the best case scenario, the birds would all be looking at him, all the time, Hitchcock-style.

5. Teaser in-flight malfunctions.

The flight is doomed from the start and everyone knows it, so there should be plenty of nefarious bumps and turbulence-related accidents leading up to the actual bird massacre.

6. The moment someone realizes the plane’s going down and gravely says “It’s birds.”

Picture this: no one can figure out what the problem is until a flight attendant sees blood spattered on the windows toward the rear of the plane. She walks briskly to the cockpit and bursts through the door. “Captain Sully,” she says, with the weight of the world in her eyes, “It’s birds.” Did this really happen? Definitely not. Does it matter? Definitely not.

7. Samuel L. Jackson rescues the hell out of everybody.

Truth: the plane landed in the water and a ferry going by helped the passengers to safety. Obviously, the main ferry passenger leading this effort should be played by Samuel L. Jackson, who specializes in ridiculous airplane films. If he’s busy, they should get Leonardo DiCaprio, who should at some point reach his hand out to a frightened woman and say, “Do you trust me?”

8. An arguing couple on the flight falls back in love.

To illustrate the point that all arguments seem petty in the face of danger, there should be a loud, arguing couple on the flight. By the time they are being ferried to safety, they should definitely be making out. This is Screenwriting 101.

9. The plane explodes.

In true blockbuster fashion, the story must end with a bang. We see this being best achieved by the plane exploding, preferably seconds after the final passenger disembarks — with her baby.

10. The hint of a sequel.

What? A sequel? That’s right. All good movies hint at a sequel*. Hudson River 2: The Reckoning (or whatever it’s called) should be hinted at by the glint in the eye of a nearby bird who just watched his broheim slaughtered. Can they get the bird to cry a tear? We hope so.


[Photo by Sebastian Derungs – Pool/Getty Images.]

Top 10 jet lag strategies from Gadling readers

Jet lag is a complex problem. It can be embodied as an annoying propensity to yawn through some of the grandest experiences of your trip, an embarrassing incapacity to stay awake for drinks after a business dinner or a highly inconvenient invalidity upon returning home. It can cost you time and money. It can lose you a business deal or even cause you emotional distress. Everyone hates it, and while some say you can get used to it if you travel a lot, no one really knows how to cure, prevent or outsmart jet lag.

Like in the field of love, no one can be an expert in jet lag. It’s different for every body and every trip. What might work is to read how other people (real people) deal with it and find a plan that works for your style and schedule. We asked our sharp community of readers on Facebook about their jet lag strategies — and we hope one of these speaks to you!

Top 10 jet lag strategies from Gadling readers

  1. “Up til midnight local time, three espressos on day 2.” — Jana
  2. “‎(1) Try to adjust to the new time (meals and sleep time)
    (2) Eat lots of protein, avoid carbs
    (3) Drink lots of water” — Raul
  3. Carbs.” — Terry
  4. Take a pill on the plane and sleep most of the flight, and then stay up the first day to get acclimated to the new time zone. Eat an early dinner and get to bed around 9 PM. Also, no alcohol.” — Alyce
  5. Vodka.” — Kathy
  6. Massage.” — Lawrence
  7. Work out when you arrive, eat healthy instead of high sodium plane food, don’t get all boozed up, and make it to your first night without sleeping too hard during the day (Europe) or crash early and make yourself sleep in a little (Asia).” — Justin
  8. “Slowly adjust body time clock wk b4 u travel … Goin west go 2 bed later … Go east bed earlier … Break travels in 4 hour blocks …” — Troy
  9. “Plenty of water and vitamin B.” — Martha
  10. “A short sleep when I arrive, lots of water and an espresso to top it off. A good long walk always does one good.” — Laura

Got a better idea? Want to join in the conversation and see what today’s question is? Visit Gadling on Facebook.

[Photo by Skunks via Flickr.]