I know to most of you out there won’t understand the significance of this. You may be thinking “Just show your ID and get it over with.” Since TSA came into existence after 9/11 we have been frogs in boiling water. I didn’t travel more than once a year pre-9/11, but just in the almost 4 years I’ve been a weekly traveler the changes are extensive with no real benefit. They’ve just been charging us $2.50/flight for the privilege of being harassed.
- It started with mainly requiring a ticket to enter the secured area. This was OK because that weeded out the families welcoming home people and blocking your ability to deplane. It also got rid of *some* of the pickpockets and other scammers past security. Most of the people who posted on the Flyertalk thread recently seemed to agree with this move.
- After the shoe bomber we were all required to get shoes x-rayed. This has caused me to get athlete’s foot several times even though I always wear socks through the checkpoint. I just realized I have a case again!
- then in August 2006 (nb this was NOT September 2001!) the liquids plot resulted in a complete ban on in cabin liquids for a couple months followed by the current 3.4 fl oz (100 mL) container in a 1 qt/1L baggie. This limit is arbitrary and a joke. I think it’s just a plot to increase concession sales and travel sized items. I flew on that day and due to TSA wait times (over an hour in STL) and the lack of being able to bring a lot of things through security the few places to eat in STL’s A concourse were out of food/beverage.
- One of the newer things is the list of approved IDs and the loupes and blacklights. Before 9/11 ID checking was done at the gate to prevent people transferring nontransferable tickets. It had nothing to do with security and Australia does not check IDs for domestic flights nor to many other countries. They also seem to forget that the 9/11 hijackers all had valid IDs.
- The State Department began issuing passport cards which are a valid form of ID for anything except international air travel. Many TSA officers will not accept them because they haven’t studied the list of acceptable IDs.
- Last time I was at the DMV there were 4 other people waiting in line with me (3 of them over 65) who were needing to get a new state ID or license just because they were about to fly.
- There are virtual strip machines. Child pornography is illegal, but it’s perfectly legal for TSA to look at your child naked. No parent should ever let their child in one of the virtual strip search macines.
- Now there is this Secure Flight garbage requiring full name, date of birth, and gender. When does it end? Will I need a chip implanted in me to verify I can fly across my own country? So much for the right to travel freely.
So back to my buddy Phil. While the rest of us are frogs getting boiled he decided to jump out of the hot water and try to do something. Props to you and I wish I had the guts to do the same. I read his story right before I boarded my flight in LAS. Two TSA officers talked to the gate agent and then stood in the jet bridge during boarding. They didn’t have gloves so I knew they couldn’t be doing bag searches, but I feared they might be doing the random ID checks at the gate. I thought very hard about declining if this is what they were doing, but they just stood there for a reason I did not determine before boarding.