Airport 24/7: Miami is the Travel Channel's latest reality send-up, following a rag-tag bunch of airport employees at our very own MIA.& The series premiere introduces us to the cast of characters and laid down a good framework for a season which is certain to be rife with "only in Miami" shenanigans.
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The episode starts with an exuberant, "Welcome to the beautiful M-I-to the A." Oh. Great. Not even two minutes in, and we're already displaying a particular brand of, um, flava.
Miami International sees over 115,000 passengers every day, making it a Category X airport (not XXX, as Skrawberry might have it). In Department of Homeland Security speak, that's the highest level of risk. Director of Security and Fabulous Necklaces Lauren Stover takes us on a tour of just how risky your future flight might be by showing off some of the items people have tried to sneak on board: boxcutters, a belt saw, a grenade (awesome), and a medieval mace, among other things.
Speaking of sneaking things through, the episode then takes us to the security line at Checkpoint J and one of the quirkier moments on the show, as a woman tries to bring her full-size jar of Jif peanut butter through security. The smooth kind. I checked. The jar violates the 3 oz. rule, and she is forced to discard it. And she. Is. Pissed. I'd be pissed, too, if I couldn't get my Ants on a Log action in the air. It would be the only thing that could get me through another in-flight showing of [RomCom Box Office Bomb].
Much ado is made about the Lufthansa Airbus A380, the largest passenger aircraft, coming into MIA and the 140 minutes it will take to turn the plane around from one flight to the next. The race against the clock isn't as particularly thrilling as the Customs and Border Protection folks make it out to be, however.
The real drama happens at Checkpoint J, where a bag is scanned that appeared to have a gun in it. TSA Coordination is notified, and they find out the passenger is international and has no gun permit -- all this after a dramatic cut to commercial break. Miami PD detains him, where he'll probably just hang out in the drunk tank overnight and face some "hefty fines."
Meanwhile, back at Lufthansa, we meet a dog trained to sniff out currency odor, which has to be one of the coolest dog tricks ever. A German couple is flagged by the pup, and it turns out they're carrying $20,000 in straight-up cash between them (precisely the amount they're allowed to carry)--in small bundles, wrapped in rubber bands. Yeah. That's not sketch at all. Apparently, the couple checks out okay, because looking ripped out of a Ralph Lauren ad and having that much cash to burn isn't a crime... yet.
There's some manufactured drama filler from Customs and Border Protection agent Kevin Kennedy (something about checking the plane and once finding a human head, blahblahblah) -- but screw that. The best part of the episode is our introduction to Triangle Services Ramp Duty Manager Albert Cordeschi, who is probably going to end up being the break-out star of the series. Cordeschi is one of those unsung heroes who performs "doo-doo service" on the planes. His brief segment is punctuated by his brilliant description of what he sees coming through the lavatory hose -- "turds the size of...HUGE, though" -- and the basic tenet of not "[letting] the blue juice hit the floor," a rule I wish more club patrons would follow.
Another drama filler segment in the form of getting late passengers onto a Lufthansa flight follows, but the real shit goes down right at the end of the episode, back at -- you guessed it -- Checkpoint J. A Middle Eastern passenger with three different dates of birth is suspected of having a concealed blade in his shoe. Shouts of "Code Sierra!" echo through the checkpoint as the FBI and air marshals are notified, and all security screenings are halted. The man is detained by police and awaits trial. Director of Security Lauren Stover claims, "This is when security works."
Tell that to the devastated peanut butter lady.
Episode Rating: 3 1/2 Doo-Doos out of 5.
Pros: There'll be enough "only in Miami" stuff to make you laugh and cringe.
Cons: Would NOT recommend watching an episode directly before your next flight (like I did).
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