My Flight to Gen Con 2016 (and Two Reviews)

Geek Culture

Living in Atlanta, I’ve gotten used to long security lines at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. It’s just common knowledge that you need to get to the airport two to three hours before your departure time. You may have even seen some recent news reports about long security lines at airports across the country, and Atlanta seems to be featured quite often as the perfect example of waits times in the hours.

On the morning of August 3rd, I was doing my last bit of packing and preparing to head to the airport for Gen Con 2016. My plan for the long line was to watch a movie on my iPad with headphones. I figured I could get more of the movie completed in the line than on the actual flight… the flight from Atlanta to Indianapolis is only about 50 minutes.

Imagine my surprise when I arrived at a bustling Atlanta airport, checked my bag and then proceeded to the security lines. Apparently, in the last month or so, Hartsfield-Jackson has made a MAJOR change in how it handles queuing. My previous flight (a few months back) worked like this (and is probably typical of what you have experienced, too):

You stand in line, get your boarding pass and ID looked over and then move into the area where you must remove your shoes, remove a laptop, grab two to five plastic bins, and start piling your stuff into the bins while waiting for the people in front of you to do the same. The person in front of you who can’t seem to unzip her bag to remove the laptop slows the line down. The man in front who didn’t take his shoes off is stopped and he removes them as everyone waits. The family with four children is trying to squeeze their stuff into eight bins but the bin stack is empty and everyone behind is now waiting and waiting and waiting… you get the idea.

But here’s what August 3rd was like:

Ahead of you are five stalls, each with their own stacks of bins. You are directed to an empty stall where you can take as long as you like to pull out your wallet, your laptop, take off your shoes and get everything into bins. Each stall operates independently, so when you’re done you place your bins on the track and move through the scanning area. You’re no longer forced to operate in FIFO (First-In-First-Out) mode… you and your backpack easily jump in front of the traveler with carry-on and roller bag who is emptying his pockets and hasn’t yet removed his shoes. And EACH security scanner had ten of these stalls. And when a bag going thru the scanner needs more attention, they now have a way to pull it out into its own area where you’re directed so you don’t further hold up the line. Incredible!

I’m not kidding when I tell you that my expected two hour wait in line was reduced to about fifteen minutes. I never had time to watch my movie! Kudos to Hartsfield-Jackson for implementing some changes that I hope will make their way to other airports across the country. And at no point did I see any reduction of security. As a matter of fact, the security folks looks a bit less stressed (as did the travelers) and I imagine this has a positive effect on their attention and focus. All in all, a great experience at Hartsfield-Jackson.

BB BluRay

Because I had prepared myself for standing in a lengthy security line, I was looking forward to enjoying The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension. Shout Factory has just released a Collector’s Edition of this classic 80s sci-fi flick that includes a new multi-part documentary titled Into the 8th Dimension that includes completely new interviews and audio commentaries of the film on the Blu-Ray Disc 1. Disc 2 (a DVD) contains a bunch of specials, including the Buckaroo Banzai Declassified featurette, an alternate opening sequence, deleted scenes, a jet car trailer, and a theatrical trailer that Blue Blaze Irregulars (fans) are sure to love.

Because I flew through the security lines so fast, I was still able to enjoy the ENTIRE movie while enjoying some food and drink at a comfortable table in the terminal. Unfortunately, my neighbors weren’t able to enjoy the exploits of Buckaroo because I was using a loaner pair of headphones from Sharkk – the Bravo.


The Bravo is currently having a very successful Indiegogo campaign with over $100,000 raised. Bravo sent me a pair to check out, and I’m happy to report that they do sound great. Apparently that sound has to do with its method of producing sound:

Bravo Headphones: 10x Better Sound Quality. The most affordable Hybrid Electrostatic Headphones® that come with Hi-Fi sound, power bass, & noise isolation. Designed using award-winning Hybrid Electrostatz® technology, Sharkk’s Bravo Headphones feature an ultrathin film. When a static electric charge is placed on the film, the headphones emit an exceptionally vibrant, natural, and ultra-dynamic sound with crystal clear vocals up to 45,000Hz… The true innovation of these headphones lies in its requirement of only .1 volt of electricity to drive the electrostatic effect. This incredible solution allows for audiophiles to enjoy professional-grade audio from their smartphone, computer, or other handheld device.

I don’t know much about how exactly sound is made using a static charge and this thin film, but it works. Again… the sound is just great. And given that similar headphones that use this tech run upwards of $2000 or more, the $200 price tag on the Bravo is amazing.

The things also look pretty cool. I had one guy on the return flight from Indy comment (positively) on the look of them. The black leather with red trim is definitely eye-catching. And the cord exiting the left-ear can is covered with a heavy rubber that isn’t going to break or wear out easily. And the headphones only weigh 10.5 ounces… very light!

There’s only a few days left to back the Bravo headphones. You can get more information on its Indiegogo campaign page.

Between the short security line, watching an old 80s movie favorite, and enjoying a break from the hustle and bustle of the airport crowd with the Bravo headphones, my trip to Indy was one of the least stressful travel times I’ve ever had.

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