The US is about the only country that requires passengers to take off their shoes...
The Philippines does too. It hasn't changed anything.
It does seem like the default auto-bitrate tends to set things on the low side. Try control-shift-alt-b to manually select from the three available bitrates, and control-shift-alt-m for a menu of other interesting stuff.
than's not "handy", that's a handful. they could've made a better way to expose those commands since people could want higher bitrates if they have faster connections.
Retirement means that when someone says "Have a nice day", you actually have a shot at it.