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The elusive pre-check

There are many elusive things in life: the double-rainbow, the work-life balance, the Phoenix summer day under 105º. But most elusive of all is the TSA Pre-Check.

I've seen Sky Harbor as busy as Kohl's on Black Friday, as deserted as a Texas ghost town, and anywhere in between...but this morning was an exception. Imagine the Mall of America on Black Friday, Boxing Day, and New Year's Day, and add those images together. That, in a sentence, described Sky Harbor this morning.

When I caught sight of the security line out of Terminal 4's A concourse, I just stopped in my tracks. (Probably not a good idea, because in those three seconds another 10 people got a spot in line.) Even with an hour and a half before my plane took off, there was no way I could make it to the front in time. As I got closer, still a little dazed, a security officer pulled me aside and asked to see my ticket. I fumbled in my bag, dropped it on the floor, had to inch my way into an awkward squat so as not to let my golden retriever-sized backpack slide over my head, and struggle back up again. The officer took one look at my ticket and waved me off to the side, through a separate entrance -- an entrance without a single soul in it.

The elusive, mythical TSA Pre-Check.

Laptop and liquids remained zipped up, shoes and cheetah-print scarf still on. The officer on the other side of the metal detector held her hand up for a high-five, waved me on through, and I was in.

The line behind me hadn't moved.

I might have woken up nervous and already a little homesick, but this mythical encounter was just enough to turn my day around. It's the little things in life...although I wouldn't have said no to a double-rainbow.

Ready for take-off!

t minus 20 hours until I'm Paris-bound! I'm packed (in a backpack larger than I am) with Euros and passport in hand, and equipped with a step-by-step itinerary that would put Rick Steves to shame.



In case anyone was doubting that step-by-step, 27-day itinerary... bam.