When I first started flying, I had my own personal pilot. My ex obtained his pilot’s license in the middle of our on-again-off-again relationship which meant free flights on the weekends to neighboring airports. It was fun to be able to hop on a plane and take off with no real destination in mind, no required hoops to jump through with TSA, and no hassle of what to pack for the trip; just grab a pair of sunglasses, a set of headphones (the aviation kind), and away we went.
I’ve only just recently started flying commercially on a semi-regular basis. Back in 2017 Fella and I flew to England, which was my first time ever flying out of the country, so my understanding of TSA rules was very slim. All I really knew about TSA checks were: no liquids in amounts greater than the equivalent of 2 shots of whiskey and you have to remove your shoes at some point, so cute socks were a must. That was about it.
I wasn’t aware of what was/was not allowed in terms of food or drink going in, so I opted to purchase all my snacks and beverages once through security; although safe, this plan was costly.
The last time I flew somewhere was for our honeymoon and I was more prepared. I had my pre-packaged sweet and salty snacks and my empty water bottle ready to fill once through security. I had also read Hot Mess’ post on How to Be a Decent Human Being on an Airplane, so I was practically a pro.
Our flight out was at the ass-crack of dawn (6AM-ish), but because of the circumstances and destination (honeymoon and Belize), I was on my A-game. The TSA check was a breeze, we made it to our gate with plenty of time to spare, and I even remembered to fill up my water bottle. A pro I tell ya!
Our layover was in Atlanta where we had breakfast, made a stop to the restrooms, I topped off my water bottle once more, and we boarded for our final leg to Belize. Once we arrived we found out our puddle jumper plane that would take us from the international airport to the island we were staying on was supposed to be departing in a matter of minutes and we hadn’t even exited the plane or made it through customs.
We became those people running across the airport full speed asking everyone in line if we could cut to the front so we could make our connection. Everyone was very accommodating and understanding (we had made it to Belize after all; no way we would have received the same treatment stateside). We made it to the security check with 2 minutes before takeoff. We told the TSA agents our situation and they rushed us through with just one little, itty-bitty hitch: my water bottle was still full.
The lovely agent told me I had to either drink the entire contents of my newly-purchase-just-for-the-honeymoon water bottle (which equaled around 40 oz.) or trash the bottle in the nearby receptacle. Knowing full well my guzzling capabilities were no where near on par with that of a frat dude shotgunning a beer, I considered tossing my precious bottle.
That was until I spotted a lovely looking palm tree-like plant in the corner. No one else may have seen it, but that poor little plant was in desperate need of some water, and not just any water. No. It was craving exactly 40 ounces of tepid American-produced H2O, expertly crafted 60% Dulles International, 40% Atlanta International. It was practically begging for it.
Instead of options A and B, I chose option C; I unscrewed the cap off my beloved canteen and threw my contraband into the planter without even blinking an eye. The TSA agent shrugged and sent us on our way.
We made it to our gate at exactly the designated departure time, come to find out the flight crew delayed the departure due to the late arrival of our original plane.
For the flight back home, I was going in a fair bit wiser. I understood the possible repercussions of smuggling in water from a foreign country, and I was determined to be not only an upstanding airplane passenger, but a respectable American citizen by golly!
Fella and I shared a row of three with one lonesome guy propped up against the window. I plopped down next to him in the middle, exchanged greetings with the man, and settled in. Once in the air I remembered I needed to start drinking my water so that when we landed in Dallas, I wouldn’t bring shame upon my family by unknowingly (for potentially the second time) trying to smuggle in drinking water.
I extracted my bottle from my carry-on bag, pressed the button to release the mouthpiece, when to my shock and horror, water came gushing out of the straw which was pointed directly at my neighbor’s face, and no–I don’t mean Fella.
I. Was. Mortified.
In my attempts to stifle the eruption, I began spinning the spout in all directions, trying and failing at concealing the handheld fire hydrant’s flow with my jacket while apologizing profusely to my newest friend turned foe.
Once the premature ejection of my drink had ceased, I looked over at my neighbor, then to Fella, both stunned at what had just happened. For the millionth time I apologized to my seatmate as I handed him my jacket to dry off with. A peace offering if you will…
To my relief he cracked a smile and told me it was fine; that the unpredicted shower was actually quite refreshing.
I turned to Fella (who might I add at this point in the story, has a doctorate in engineering) and expressed my incomprehension as to what the hell had just happened. He told me that since takeoff, the cabin of the plane had been pressurized, hence the
unexplained now-explained turn of events (Don’t you hate it when uber-smart people explain things in a way that make it sound like it’s common knowledge…?).
In a little less than 3 weeks Fella and I are off again on our next adventure. We’re heading out west to take a ski/snowboard trip to Salt Lake City. Guess who won’t be bringing a water bottle?