Planning your summer vacation? Warning, the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) will soon change security rules once again. Those airport security lines will snake around like a Disney World event. Can it get worse? Ah, yes. Indeed it can.
It’s your fault, of course. Mike McCartney’s May 24th article in the Wall Street Journal, Get Ready to Unpack for Airport Security, explains. Travelers pack paper, food, tablets, and books into their carry-on’s. As your luggage goes through X-Ray, item density causes doubt of what is inside. Your bag is pulled for inspection. Another TSA person is called over to “check” the bag. You stand and wait for the procedure to be completed. The “wait line” begins to back-up and your patience quotient drops. You dare not protest.
What is TSA’s solution? Un-clutter your bag. At the beginning of the conveyor belt, you will unload your bag into several of those grey bins: food in a bin, tablets in a bin, shoes in a bin, paper in a bin…you get the idea. More bins, please. We should all buy stock in the grey bin company.
If you’ve flown recently, you know that passengers are trying to avoid paying the bag fee ($25) charged by airlines. As you wait for your group number to be called, the gate attendant announces, “We no longer have room in the overhead bins for your luggage. If you will bring your bag to the desk area, we will tag it and you can pick it up on the Jetway at your destination.” I actually saw a woman roll TWO large bags to the gate door and proudly announce for all to hear: “I do this all the time.” TSA wants the airlines to enforce the small two-bag, carry-on rule. Airlines don’t want to upset passengers. Stalemate ensues.
The elephant in the room: Does airport security stop terrorist attacks? Arguments persist on both sides. Here are some of the comments to Mr. McCartney’s article.
Wilson Gulick observed the following: “Walk through a major airport like DIA or MIA on a busy day and look at the security line. There’s no need to attack an aircraft. You can do as much or more damage by attacking the people waiting to get through security. Just look at the crowds in such an area, go to the dark part of your mind and think about how much damage you could do if you were inclined to do so. Now consider what a group of motivated people who are willing to die in the attack could do. ”
Jim Wolfson pointed out the absurdity of banned items: “I can come up with three or four allowable items right off the top of my head that would be far more effective weapons than nail clippers or Swiss army knives.” Movies have entertained us with Jack Reacher type people who can kill an enemy with something as simple as a pen. A month ago as I was inching my way through security, my handbag was pulled. The reason? I carry a small coin purse. The coins inside, metal, come up black on the X-Ray. A TSA agent had to check it. In frustration, I blurted out, “Can we no longer carry money?” The agent was very nice. “Of course you can.” We left it at that. I don’t even want to talk about the pat-down. And, I’m PRE-Check.
My favorite article regarding airport security comes from Charles Krauthammer’s Washington Post article, Don’t Touch My Junk, November 19, 2010: “We pretend that we go through this nonsense as a small price paid to ensure the safety of air travel. Rubbish. This has nothing to do with safety – 95 percent of these inspections, searches, shoe removals and pat-downs are ridiculously unnecessary. The only reason we continue to do this is that people are too cowed to even question the absurd taboo against profiling – when the profile of the airline attacker is narrow, concrete, uniquely definable and universally known. So instead of seeking out terrorists, we seek out tubes of gel in stroller pouches.”
For the travel industry, this festering annoyance, delays, searches are such an ingrained part of airplane travel that it is causing travelers to seek alternative methods of travel (drive…don’t fly), or, decide to just stay home and BBQ on the grill. Travel drop-outs hurt business. Secretary Kelly, Homeland Security Agency, and TSA are working diligently to make your wait-line longer, the pat-down more “thorough” and your travel experience even more fun! Have a nice vacation.
About the Author:
In 2010, Annie Coburn created Fab Placez. In 2014, she changed the name of her website to FAB Senior Travel to better define her target audience, mature travelers. She publishes travel articles from other writers, as well as her own, in order to provide diversity of locations to match the breadth of interest of FAB’s subscribers.
Website: http:// www.fabseniortravel.com