Monday, April 3, 2006

Airport security: feel the irony

A shout out and props to whomever has to travel a lot, either for work or life because I think that the airports on the eastern coast of the United States of America are the most ridiculous, mismanaged thing on the planet. The local 7-11 is better run!

Spent yesterday being personally searched as I was chosen "at random by the airline" to be one of the potential terrorists attacking the airport. I noticed that none of the people chosen randomly by the airline to be my fellow potential terrorists were elderly people or traveling with young children, just a lot of single women traveling on their own. Hmmm, yes, I suppose that we single women traveling alone ARE a threat: we could get all crazy and premenstrual on the flight attendant. SNORT. I sure wouldn't have wanted to be the TSA man who got the personal treat of going through my carry-on bag; it was full of dirty laundry.

I flew into and out of Heathrow three years ago while there were tanks on the tarmac as a security precaution, and I was treated better, less incovenienced and felt safer than I do flying around the US now. First off, there is no standard code followed by all of the airports: case in point - some people make you take your shoes off, others don't (stupid shoe bomber, I would SO like to kick your ass.) Next, in my experience, the people who work security for TSA are NOT happy employees, and, therefore, they take it out on their customers, ie. the traveler. I am convinced that some of those people are on a major power trip. Also, why do two separate TSA inspectors have to look at your I.D.? Thank goodness they have stopped doing the triple check at the gate. I am convinced that one of these days I am going to lose my driver's license at an airport, and THEN where will I be? Lastly, if you are going to subject someone to "the Full Monty" as my inspector jokingly referred to it, don't keep them waiting in line for fifteen minutes before you "get to them." It doesn't make for a happy traveler.

I know that these new procedures are supposed to make things better and safer for travelers, but I really think that the Europeans, who have been more actively concerned with terrorism in their airports for longer than we have in the US, are a model at which we need to take a long and serious look.

1 comment:

  1. I actually DID lose my driver's license at an airport once - at the check-in desk. This was while I was flying to Florida from BWI in 1997 or 1998, before the post-9/11 ramping-up of security theatrics. I was checking in and handed the person at the counter my ticket and my driver's license. They somehow managed to miss the fact that I had handed them my driver's license, picked up my ticket, and flipped my license into a gap at the back of their desk - a place they called "Never-Never Land".

    After a few minutes of panic during which I was preparing to begin taking the desk apart to retrieve my only acceptable form of photo ID that would allow me to travel, they called over another clerk who was about 7 feet tall and 120 pounds. Using his long, thin arms, he reached into a small opening under the desk and began to pull out several years' worth of paper scraps, pencils, gum wrappers - and, finally, my license. If it weren't for him, I don't know how I would have gotten my license back.



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