Tag: "security"

Head to the front of TSA’s security line

In US airports, fliers can pay to cut the security line. Why do some get preferential treatment from the TSA? Do they pay the airline for this or do they somehow pay TSA through more than just taxes?

At a growing number of airports, special agents will meet these celebrities, high-powered executives and wealthy vacationers at the curb and will privately escort them from check-in to security to boarding.

American Airlines built a private check-in lobby in Los Angeles for VIPs who are greeted by name, given preprinted boarding passes and then whisked by elevator to the front of the security line.

First, I wonder if it’s fair for richer folks to cut the line. Sure they pay more the first class ticket, but that’s for a big seat in the front of the plane. TSA is supposed to be there to provide security and you would think that their service should be applied equally to everyone. It’s not like a former Miss America should be immune to getting searched so why would someone special get to skip the wait?

Second, I wonder if the elite who get to skip the line are treated differently than the common fliers. If common sense tells you that they do receive special treatment, does that mean they are screened quicker / less thoroughly? Are they less likely to have their bags opened or to be strip searched or whatever is getting TSA in trouble at the moment?

What will TSA do with 40 million dollars worth of full body scanners?

TSA will stop using full body scanners because…

“Due to its inability to deploy non-imaging Automated Target Recognition (ATR) software by the Congressionally-mandated June 2013 deadline, TSA has terminated its contract with Rapiscan,” the agency said on its website. “By June 2013 travelers will only see machines which have ATR that allow for faster throughput. This means faster lanes for the traveler and enhanced security. As always, use of this technology is optional.”

This probably means that the 40 million they spent on the machines has basically been flushed down the toilet to fix a problem that didn’t exist since I don’t think you need nude pictures of a person to determine if they have weapons. TSA could have used that money for better training and higher salaries which would draw candidates who don’t do stupid stuff and make stupid statements.

Any time a passenger requests a private screening, they should be granted one

Another TSA controversy. Sometimes I take a shot at defending TSA but not this time. This time they wanted a woman dying from cancer to remove her bandages so they could get a look at the tubes in her torso. Everyone else in line got a glimpse as well. According to the victim, Michelle Dunaj, she suggested a private screening:

“I asked them if they thought that was an appropriate location, and they told me that everything was fine,” she said.

“Any time a passenger requests a private screening, they should be granted one,” Northwest Region spokeswoman Lorie Dankers said.

I’m not sure if that’s technically a request for a private screening, but it shouldn’t take more than a mild suggestion for someone to have the tubes keeping them alive kept private. In fact, TSA should suggest more privacy. And obviously they should be more careful (they ripped one of her saline bags) and polite (they were as rude to her as they are to everyone else). At least they didn’t allow a passenger with a sword on the plane.