Yes, my Stainless Steel Bottle made it through TSA Airport Security! – The Coldest Water
I don’t know many people who enjoy traveling. You have a starting point and you have an ending point, but not enough people realize that it’s journey between the two that matters most, so why not enjoy every second of it?
That’s what I told my friend Stacy while I drove the two of us to the airport. She is a self-described realist, but if you ask me, she is more of a pessimist. While I preached to her about the joys of traveling in the modern age, she rebutted with all of the worst-case scenarios while getting from point A to point B.
“First of all, you have to find parking. Just what are you supposed to do with your car at an airport? Then there is the pre-TSA line. Then the actual TSA line. Then going through TSA! I can not stand lines. Even after you get through TSA, you need to find your gate, and then when it finally arrives – guess what? Another line!”
I politely nodded while focusing in on the cling and clang of my Coldest Water bottle clipped to the side of my backpack in the back seat as it’s stainless steel casing vibrated against the floorboards of my truck. Stacy is a good friend, but sometimes her “realism” is more than I can handle.
When we arrive at the airport, Stacy makes a B-line for the pre-TSA line. I can’t help but laugh. With her holding a spot in line, that leaves me free to meander about the airport at my leisure.
Here is an interesting fact: The McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas is the airport in the United States with slot machines. Yes, even our airports resemble casinos. In fact, someone passing through McCarran just last month won close to a million dollars on an airport slot machine.
When you live in Las Vegas, slot machines become a part of everyday life. Slot machines in grocery stores. Slot machines in gas stations. Slot machines in restaurants. It takes some time to get used to, but after a while you learn to filter out all of the flashing neon lights and loud chiming bells that people traditionally associate with Las Vegas.
I print out boarding passes for Stacy and I at our airline’s kiosk, then proceed to the water bottle refill station next to the restroom. I fill up my Coldest Water bottle ¾ of the way with the cool and (assumingly) filtered water that McCarran airport has graciously provided, then pop an Airborne dissolvable vitamin into my Coldest, screw on the sports cap, and give it one good shake. I had filled the bottle half way with ice cubes before leaving to the airport with Stacy. The Coldest Water claims that their bottles keep liquids cold for up to 25 hours and I wanted to put that to the test.
As someone who travels a lot for work, I’ve found that sipping vitamins in a bottle of ice cold water throughout the flight is the best defense against the Airline Flu. Is it always necessary? Maybe not, but I’ve sat next to people who are as sick as dogs on airplanes before, so I totally subscribe to the “better safe than sorry” philosophy.
First of all, those commercial airplanes? Filthy, germ-infested metal tubes just waiting to get you sick, is what they are. On my last flight, about a month ago, when I got to my seat, I found it covered in candy and dried up, sticky soda from the last flight. No one had even bothered to wipe it down. Everyone is always in such a hurry at airports that when one plane lands and the passengers leave, there isn’t a moments pause before they fill the plane with a new set of passengers again and take off. I pulled out one of those in-flight magazine, opened it from the spine and sat on that the whole flight. It wasn’t until the place landed and I got up that I realized someone had stuck a piece of gum in the middle of the magazine – right where I was sitting for the entire 6-hour flight. It was smeared all over my new Neiman Marcus slacks that I had only worn once previously, and the magazine was stuck to my rear when I stood up. I was never able to get all of the gum off of those pants, so I wound up tossing them in the garbage.
And today I was flying with the same airline that I swore I would never fly with again. When I book my flight online and see the convenient departure times and low, low airfares, I think you myself, “Eh, how bad can it be?” And I regret it every time. So, did I learn anything from that experience and throwing away my $350 Neiman Marcus slack? Sure – I no longer wear nice pants when I travel.
By the time I found Stacy in the pre-TSA line, she had hardly budged an inch. She clenched his jaw and glared at the long line of people ahead of us. I knew that waiting in lines was at the top of her list of least favorite things. For the same reason, you could never bring Stacy to an amusement park.
I reached back to grab my Coldest Water bottle dangling from a clip on my backpack, flipped open the sports cap and took a big swig of refreshing, vitamin-infused ice water. I might be in the minority here, but I enjoy the taste of Airborne dissolvable vitamins. When I offered some to Stacy, she made it clear that we did not share that sentiment when she compared the taste to “fermented hog sweat”. I’m not sure how Stacy knows what fermented hog sweat tastes like, and I certainly don’t plan of licking any sweaty pigs anytime soon, but at least I won’t get the Airline Flu.
While Stacy stood there and glowered, I made conversation with the people around us in line. The gentlemen standing behind me wore a snazzy baby blue business suit and I couldn’t help but tell him to story of how my Neiman Marcus slacks got ruined the last time I flew with this airline. He cracked up so hard that everyone in the TSA line was staring at him. After he caught his breath from laughing so hard, we got to talking and it turns out that he was a marketing executive on a business trip. He shared a few insider marketing tips with me as we neared the front of the line, then we exchanged business cards went through TSA.
I freaked out for a second because, although I had already finished drinking the vitamins in my Coldest Water bottle, it was still half-full of ice. Despite it being completely harmless, I wasn’t sure what the TSA’s policy was on ice, but it was certainly more than their famous “3 ounces of liquids” rule that has gotten plenty of my favorite shampoos, exotic cooking sauces, and lotion tossed out every time I fly. Really, TSA? Lotion is a dangerous liquid??
To my surprise, all of my stuff made it through the X-ray scanner unscaved. They didn’t even open my Coldest Water bottle. Then, when I went to collect my bin of belongings, a guy from TSA approached me.
He told me how lucky I was that the ice was still frozen in my bottle, otherwise he would have had to throw the whole thing out. When I asked him why, he told me something that I though was very interesting:
“The 3 ounces of liquid rule doesn’t apply if it’s frozen because it’s a solid. That’s why, whenever I fly anywhere, I freeze a whole pint of beer. But if you had been waiting in line for just another 30 minutes, we would have had to throw that whole bottle out.”
I told him about how The Coldest Water keeps cold liquids cool for up to 25 hours and how I was testing it out. He insisted that Coldest would not make a great bottle for flying because he likes to drink his beer on the plane.
I’m not sure how I felt about my encounter with the alcoholic TSA agent, but our flight was boarding in just a few minutes, so I decided not to linger on it.
While Stacy was practically in running to our gate, I stopped to find another water bottle refill station. After replacing the sports cap on my Coldest, I took another swig. Yep, 5 hours in and still ice cold.
As I made my way to the gate for my flight, I suddenly realized what a great place airports are for people watching. It’s one of the few places where you can see people from all over the world interact with one another. Different languages, different cultures, different languages, races, and people of all kinds travel by airplane, yet with all of that diversity you hardly ever hear about or see an altercation at the airport. In fact, everyone is super polite to one another. And something tells me that alcoholic TSA agents are not the reason for that.
The next time you fly anywhere and you have some time to kill at the airport, instead of hopping on your cell phone to update your social media, just sit and watch the people around you for a bit. It can be a surprisingly insightful experience.
By the time I arrived at our gate, Stacy was waiting in the back of the line to board the plane with her arms crossed, tapping her toes. She asked me where I went and I answered by point to my Coldest Water bottle. Then he asked if I was worried that our plane would take off without me and I answered by pointing at the long line of people in front of us.
Well, I didn’t miss our plane and my seat wasn’t covered in soda and candy, so this flight was already lightyears ahead of the last time I traveled with this airline. It was a relatively short, 3-hour flight, and airplanes have historically been the one place where I actually get more work done than back in my office. While I’m typing up a storm on my laptop, Stacy is snoring loudly in the seat next to me. Thankfully it wasn’t a red-eye flight, because the one person who snores like thunder on a plane full of people who are trying to sleep is public enemy number one.
As soon as our plan landed, Stacy didn’t hesitate to find a taxi to bring us to the hotel where we were staying. It wasn’t until we finally checked into our room that she let out a sigh of relief – Stacy had finally arrived at her long await destination.
The next morning, Stacy looked like she had been bitten by a zombie with dark circles around her eyes, a running nose, continuous coughing, sneezing, and a bit of a sag in her step. Not only did Stacy have the Airline Flu, but she was dehydrated. She confessed that she hadn’t had anything to drink literally all day, save for a cup of coffee in the early morning. She said that she planned on grabbing something to eat and drink on the plane, but slept through the entire flight!
What’s the moral of the story? Those cheap airfares can be pretty alluring, but do yourself a favor and spend the time it takes to read a couple of customer reviews before you book. No one expects an airline to get all 5-star reviews, but by spending the extra $20 to $40 for a different flight, you might just save yourself a lot of time and frustration in the long run.
Regardless of what airline you’re traveling with, bring a water bottle with you to the airport. Heck, bring a bottle of frozen water if you want to. Just make sure it stays frozen before you go through TSA.
Most importantly, whether you’re traveling by plane, train, car, bus or boat, remember that the journey from point A to point B is matter most.
And my bottle of Coldest Water? 25 hours later, it was still ice cold.