It’s time to trust the TSA

The TSA offered Sue Speck an early Christmas present when she checked in for a recent flight from Columbus to Los Angeles: a coveted Precheck designation on her boarding pass, which allowed her to avoid removing her shoes, taking out her laptop and most important, get around the agency’s dreaded full-body scanners when she was screened.

“It was easy,” says Speck, a sales administrative assistant who lives in Columbus. “There was no line.”

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So easy that she found herself wishing for Precheck privileges on her next flight, even though she didn’t belong to the exclusive program.

Stories of heartwarming customer service at the latex-gloved hands of the TSA seem to be common during the holiday travel season. The agency assigned to protect America’s transportation systems is inviting passengers to experience its faster, more civil Precheck lines, even those who haven’t paid for a membership. It’s turning airport screening areas into hotel lobbies, featuring mood lighting, designer furniture and artwork. Its agents seem to be on their best behavior.

The charm offensive is meant to send a clear message: You can trust the TSA again.

That’s exactly what travelers should do.

They can trust the TSA to do what it always promised — to offer what it calls “random and unpredictable” security measures throughout the airport. Apparently, that means giving away Precheck to untold thousands of air travelers who never asked for it. Maybe it’s just a coincidence that the TSA recently announced the opening of a new enrollment center and a new site to accept applications at $85 a pop. If the agency’s goal is to sell more Precheck memberships by letting non-elites such as Speck crowd the fast lane, look for a large “Mission Accomplished” banner at your airport in 2014.

But even card-carrying frequent fliers who already belong to Precheck know their cards offer no assurances they’ll avoid intrusive TSA screenings reserved for mere mortals, where they’re forced to unpack liquids and gels, take off their shoes, then make the agonizing choice between an invasive full-body scan or an “enhanced” pat-down. No one is guaranteed expedited screening to retain “a certain element of randomness” to prevent terrorists from gaming the system, according to the agency.

Travelers can also trust the TSA to stay true to its core values. Sure, the re-imagined checkpoints in Charlotte and Dallas are impressive. They feature plush red couches where you can put your shoes back on, and full-length mirrors where you can replace your jacket after your screening. There’s mood lighting and alt-rock pumped in, all designed to calm passengers, says the TSA. Best of all, the agency isn’t paying for any of it. Marriott’s SpringHill Suites is picking up the tab in exchange for the advertising opportunity.

But makeovers aren’t really the TSA’s thing. Remember what happened in 2008, when the agency switched from its plain white uniforms with embroidered logos to its current royal-blue shirts and gold badges, which made screeners look like police officers? A few months later, the agency implemented some of its most unpopular policies, which led to protests such as National Opt-Out Day. When passengers see changes, they worry — and with good reason.

What about the kinder, gentler TSA that some passengers have reported? For example, one reader recently told me he witnessed a group of World War II veterans who were not only being screened in a thoughtful and compassionate way, but that the agents also took the time to thank each GI for his service. It’s these stories that are the hardest to reconcile with our traditional image of TSA agents barking orders at passengers as they’re being herded like cattle through the screening area.

Then again, wouldn’t you behave if you were on probation? As a series of Congressional reports makes clear, this agency is on the government’s “naughty” list. One study concluded the TSA is a bloated, top-heavy agency in need of reform. Another, released last month, found that the agency’s behavior-detection program, which has cost $900 million since 2007, doesn’t work and recommends that Congress “limit future funding” for the program.

You can trust the TSA to do whatever is necessary to keep itself from being defunded, privatized or eliminated. Even if it means sending random passengers to its Precheck line, remodeling its checkpoints or treating a select few with the dignity we all deserve.

Do you trust the TSA?

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What is it? Precheck is the TSA’s expedited screening program. It allows passengers to leave on shoes, light outerwear and belts, keep laptops in their cases and have bags of regulation-size liquids and gels in their carry-ons.

Where can you use it? Precheck lines are available at more than 100 airports. Participating carriers include Alaska Airlines, American, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest, United, US Airways and Virgin America.

How much does it cost? The $85 application fee is valid for a five-year membership in the program.

How do you enroll? Apply at or in person at Indianapolis International Airport.

65 thoughts on “It’s time to trust the TSA

  1. “she found herself wishing for Precheck privileges on her next flight, even though she didn’t belong to the exclusive program.”

    so how did she get it? was she flying business class./first class? I have gotten it when i was flying business class/first class- that is a better deal then paying a yearly fee (unless you travel alot- I travel maybe once or twice a year)

    1. She got it by mere chance (the random selection). Your airline may invite you to participate so check with your frequent flyer program, or apply to the Nexus program for $50, or apply with TSA through the link above for $85, or through the Global Entry program for $100

    2. From TSA website:

      Risk Assessments are conducted using TSA’s Secure Flight system to identify travelers who may be eligible for TSA Pre✓™ screening using information already collected and provided to TSA by the airlines. This program is used on a flight-by-flight basis and does not require passengers to enroll in a DHS Trusted Traveler program. If a passenger is eligible for TSA Pre✓™ for a particular flight, a TSA Pre✓™ indicator will be embedded in the barcode of the boarding pass so that when scanned at the checkpoint, the passenger may be referred to a TSA Pre✓™ lane.

  2. 1) TSA is a waste of tax payer money and time. (Thousands Standing Around) adequately describes the long lines and impersonal nature of the whole charade.

    2) The TSA has yet to “Catch” a single terrorist. Underwear and shoe bomber boarded successfully, leaving passengers to stop both individuals.

    3) One might argue the TSA deters “terrorism”. So does my magic rock. I have never seen a tiger in my back yard. A Chinese man promised the rock wards off tigers. Therefore, the rock MUST work! False logic.

    4) No one advocates the total removal of security. However, this whole “Fearism” of our government has gone too far. The boogey man is out to get us. Hide, Run, Coward, and give up your freedoms. Big brother to the rescue! The NSA shall save us, the Constitution No Good. Trust Ol’ big brother.

    Well folks. We have 16-20,000 murders yearly. 80% involve handguns. 40,000 Car fatalities a year. How often do we have “Terror Attacks”? Why not just ban Guns, Cars, and “Life”. Americans can live in a bubble. I’d rather ASSUME the risk of living a “FREE”. Freedom comes with risk.

    Ultimately, the old metal detectors work fine. I Opt out at Airports. Feel free to Pat me down. I will NEVER go through a body scan (did once) again. Run your bomb test. Fine by me. However, I’ll draw the line there. Pretty much the SAME as “Pre-Check”.

    1. Very well said and I couldn’t agree more. I’ve said more times than I care to count: I trust my fellow passengers far more than the TSA to stop an attack on an airplane. We’re told all the time that we need to leave a better world for our grandchildren and I’m afraid of the day when my grandchild asks me why I let the government stomp all over the constitution and what “rights” I gradually allowed to eke away.

      1. Reminds me of a famous speech. RIP Constitution.

        First they came for the Communists,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Communist.

        Then they came for the Socialists,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Socialist.

        Then they came for the trade unionists,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

        Then they came for me,
        and there was no one left to speak for me.

          1. O No… Countries like Sweden are destroying the world. With their health care, happiest people in the world, and ranking of least corrupt place to reside. O Dear!

          2. You’re just a little behind the times. Sweden is, at this moment, running up against the problem that all socialist societies eventually face; too many takers and not enough givers. In the past 5 – 7 years the average “time on the job” has shrunk incredibly as those workers who used to be very happy and bust their butts, putting in hours on the job, have started to realize that the “takers’ (many of whom have come from very depressed countries to feed off the Swedish system) are eating into the social safety net there. And this formerly very productive workforce now finds itself unable to support these interlopers AND a Swedish workforce who doesn’t see the benefit of busting their butts anymore, just to get what the “takers” get for doing nothing. Sound familiar? The entire European socialist system is collapsing as we speak.

          3. Funny. Sweden and the European model is endangered by interlopers and not from within. The bleeding heart, like here in America, is to leave the doors wide open. While we stuggle to care for our own, we admit more and more.

            The trouble facing Europe are those facing America. It’s time countries learn to stand on their own two feet. We’re cannot remain a world refugee haven and nor can Europe.

            Therefore, the problems are not the result of Socialism, but poor decisions from policymakers.

          4. There are plenty of problems with Socialism than can – or should – be discussed here. Sweden wasn’t in full-blown Socialist mode for more than 15-20 years before the cracks started. And they were the best example that the pro-Socialism crowd had going for it. Who’s the poster child for Socialism now? North Korea? China? Venezuela? France?

          5. Socialism has NOTHING to do with the downfall of countries. Sweden has a very successful economy. If policymakers didn’t let everyone in the door, the system wouldn’t break. The United States faces the exact dilemma.

            Problem? Door is WIDE OPEN and I don’t care if you’re a Capitalist country, Communist, or Socialist market. There’s no way a country can absorb large influxes of migrants who fail to give back.

            Read my reply to Polish. I’m not going to type everything out twice.

          6. The problem is that a Socialist country – and we in the US have Socialist elements within our Capitalist society (our education system, our healthcare system – now) – invites immigration. The Socialist system itself invites people to take advantage of it, to rely on the Government for everything. It encourages folks to stop producing. What’s the incentive to work harder than the next guy if the reward is the same? We’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one; Socialism has MUCH to do with the downfall of a country. As I’ve asked before, name a successful. long-term socialist country. And I mean one that you would want to emulate. The USSR and China are/were not successful by my definition. The Chinese standard of life is atrocious.

          7. China and Russia (USSR) are communist countries. At no time in history have either been socialist.

            Second, Rome had it’s downfall. Countries come and go for various reasons. The United Kingdom is socialist and is still a Powerhouse in Europe. Far older than the U.S.

          8. Wow! Just wow! I guess if you define Communist countries as those governed by The Communist Party, then, yes, China and USSR were/are communist. However, neither fit the definition of true communism. True communism has no Government, no class system, probably no money. Everyone is equal. I don’t think that you’d agree that everyone was equal in “communist” Russia, or today in “communist” China. Socialism is the necessary stepping stone to communism. There have NEVER been any true communist countries. All countries that define themselves as communist are actually varying degrees of socialist.

          9. Oh, and I forgot to address your UK reference. The UK has Socialist elements (health care, welfare; again, sound familiar?) but they are not as far along on the “socialist ruler” as many others in Europe. Perhaps that’s why they are relatively – and I emphasize RELATIVELY – strong in Europe. The Scandinavian countries who have embraced socialist concepts more are struggling much more than the UK. Coincidence? I think not.

          10. Justin, just as National Socialism degenerated into fascism (both in the common use of the term by “The Dude” and the classical definition of Mussolini’s economic policies), socialists can’t help but wind up getting cozy in bed with corporate interests and then turning upon its own citizens.

            My Polish friends who live in Sweden told me a term that many PC immigrants who mug the locals refer to the Swedes: “Kittens”. Because they’re so easy to rob and assault. Ho ho ho!

          11. Precisely why countries like Sweden need to grow a backbone and stop the immigration fiasco. Sweden has become a haven for Roma / Gypsies / Refugees. These people are causing a huge degradation and strain on social systems.

            Instead of entering the country / countries with intentions of participating or contributing to local economies, many settle into ethnic neighborhoods. Rosengard (Malmo) I hear has a huge problem with unemployment and immigrants refusing to learn English.

            America suffers the same fate. We have a huge problem with illegal immigrants coming here, starting gangs, causing crime, and straining local economies. We’re not socialist and these people harm our economy, too. States bordering Mexico have suffered huge influxes of illegal migrants.

            When these illegals show up to our hospitals, we have to treat. A hospital cannot turn away care. So there goes tax dollars. They lie about residency, and children are enrolled in our schools. Albeit no tax dollars are paid, because many work without legal recognition.

            Long story short, “YOUR FRIENDS” are a worldwide problem. Countries need to crack down and start being selective on who comes and goes. Otherwise, systems DO BREAK.

          12. I regret saying what I already said because this blog isn’t a political forum. Putting things back on topic (kind of), the TSA like all government agencies becomes self-interested in the long run ahead of its charter. This happened to NASA when it covered up on shuttle accident and then let another one happen. The whole system ultimately seeks to bring in more recipients. Whether it’s state workers in Sweden or TSA workers looking to hold up people, the more inconvenient it is for taxpayers the more money they make. This also happens with private industries that gets their hands into people’s pockets (GM, Realtors, to name a few.) Sadly, the solution is not easy or intuitive.

          13. Tis the season to be political. Fa la la la la! La la la la!

            OK, seriously, google the term “national socialist” and see what it means. And Sweden? Well, I have many good Swedish friends and have loved visiting the country. Unfortunately, Obamacare doesn’t look ANYTHING like Swedish healthcare and Detroit doesn’t look much like Stockholm.

            The wonders of Sweden existed long before Karl Marx lived in his capitalist sister’s factory…

    2. 2) Both the Underwear and Shoe bombers boarded at foreign airports under control of the security teams for those countries where the TSA has no presence. How is it the TSA fault?

      And the TSA does not have the job of “catching” terrorists, only in preventing anything from getting on the plane a terrorist might use. Of course, the TSA might not be doing that great of a job at that if you read all the stories about how many guns get through the check.

      1. 2) Agreed but the point remains steadfast. The TSA’s is unable to substantiate their methodology has stopped or prevented terrorism. We hear about all the items that sneak through security. So far, we haven’t had an incident where a “Terrorist” has boarded. I doubt that’s due to the TSA alone and more in line with regular security practices.

        There have always been metal detectors. Add explosive detection. When I get a pat down, they run the film through a machine. No biggie. I’ve had worse than a “Club Style Pat Down”.

        – Now to the point. We cannot, nor will ever, be able to control other countries. Someone intent on doing harm always finds a way. Whether the person drives a car into a building packed with explosives, detonates an explosive at 30,000 feet, or goes postal and starts shooting.

        The world doesn’t have mind readers. Plenty of these events happen every day. Especially the people going “Postal”. My point, life is a risk. Do your best at mitigating risk WITHIN the confines of the Constitution. I don’t need to be sold or told that GIVING away my rights makes me safe.

        It makes me LESS FREE but still doesn’t stop the dangers.

        1. I agree with all you said, but I take offense at the going “Postal.” Lumping all postal workers into a category because a few had problems and made headlines is unfair to the rest of the hardworking people in the USPS.

          1. Postal being the terminology describing the act and not necessary a Postal Worker going nuts. Going Postal has become common verbiage for someone entering an installation and shooting up the place.

    1. Likewise at Tampa International (TPA). The airside terminals here have all been rebuilt since 2001 and have plenty of room for the TSA to operate the way that they would like to. Each of the four airsides has space for at least five screening lanes. I can’t remember ever waiting longer than 20 minutes to go through screening.

      My wife, Sheila and I flew round-trip twice in November. TPA-LGA on Delta and TPA-LAX on Southwest. When returning from LGA, Sheila was invited to use the Precheck lane. I was sent through the lane used by First/Business class passengers. In both lanes we were able to keep our shoes and jackets on. At LAX, we both were directed to the Precheck lane. Neither of us has status in any FF program. Neither of us flies often enough to justify joining Precheck. I’m grateful for the opportunities for both of us to get special treatment, however, I would like to know what the criteria is for being chosen to receive these privileges.

      1. There is no justification for choosing you, to answer your question.

        All Americans should get PreCheck – another name for 2002 security screening. It worked then, it works now, it will work in the future.

        1. If all Americans should have it, is there a justification for the TSA charging extra to get it. Why not just revert all airport security to 2002 levels of screening and do away with the ineffective dog & pony show that the TSA uses to justify its $7.5 billion annual budget?

    2. I have never had a problem with the TSA personally either. But I have witnessed enough other people around me in the airport experiencing multiple problems with them so I know my time is gonna come.

  3. The fact that the TSA allows some of the unwashed masses through the PreCheck line on a random basis, and still no one has tried to hijack a plane, just proves the naked scanners and pat-downs are over-kill.

  4. A TSA agent once berated me because he felt that my coin purse was a weapon as I had too many coins in it. I was struck speechless as was the supervisor I requested come and talk about the problem. I am sure the flying public (who were treated to this agent’s loud diatribe) felt very safe after knowing that this guy made a valiant effort to confiscate my British pound coins.

    1. I had a similar issue because I had a roll of quarters in my carry on. I was carrying them because where I was going I planned on doing some laundry and the machines at the hotel took coins which the hotel front desk never seemed to have enough of. I unrolled the coins, put them in a clear plastic bag and then they became acceptable.

  5. I recently flew from LaGuardia to Orlando and noticed that my boarding pass said “Precheck” on it. The TSA line was quite long, but about 1/2 way through, there was a TSA agent standing next to a fork in the line. The masses went to the right, but the line to the left was non-existent. I asked the agent what “precheck” on my boarding pass indicated, and was ushered to the left, where 15 feet later I discovered a stack of gray tubs with not a single person in front of me. 30 seconds later I passed through the checkpoint and for the first time in about 8 flights, I did not have to “opt out” of the full body scan. This is what flying used to be like. For the record, I did absolutely nothing to warrant the opt out. My flight was with Delta, an airline that I haven’t flown with in years.

  6. ” For example, one reader recently told me he witnessed a group of World War II veterans who were not only being screened in a thoughtful and compassionate way”… I know some WWII veterans. They are circa 1922, and therefore over 90 years old. Of course they are being subject to “extra screening”… at that age they frequently need canes and walkers. That they are screened at all is just plain stupid. Sorry. Another case of rapists bringing flowers and candy. Do I trust the TSA? You’re joking, right?

    1. My grandfather is soon 90, a WWII veteran, and due to health issues as of the last few years, utilizes oxygen and a walker. I’m fearful of the greatest generation and their ready access to geriatric aids. All told, the walker or cane is a “Deadly Weapon”. A ruse by the senior crowd to instill fear upon us and garner sympathy.

      What an absolute crock our country has become. If someone has made it all the way to their 80s and 90’s, I truly doubt we’ve got a whole lot to fear. Between age and physical ailments, any wise person can fill in the blanks regarding risk potential.

  7. “heartwarming customer service” ???

    Most likely, the Blue Gloved Granny Gropers were just tired of people screaming at them from the end of security lines that — 11 years after 9/11 — continue to snake backward into the terminal.

    Under its creepy head John Pistole (who has been shown time and again to have lied to the American public and even Congress) the TSA still manages to slow the economy to the tune of billions each year by delaying travelers in long pointless lines and continues to be the reason that many don’t fly at all. On the other hand, they are NOT the reason that we are any safer in the skies, having missed (how many times do we have to say it?) the underwear bomber, the shoe bomber, the Times Square Bomber and a few f-bombers.

    If the “no tolerance” TSA (which has stopped passengers for jokes and clothing with pictures of weapons on it) is now randomly sending passengers who have not been pre-Checked through the pre-Check line, they are finally admitting that their odious little empire is unnecessary.

    Stop with these nonsensical suck-up pieces, Chris.

  8. Do I trust the TSA – no. Not when I continue to see them yell at the flying public about just about everything and we still see stories about them being arrested for theft and various other crimes (not saying every TSA person is a criminal, I’m sure many are decent people).

    I have been through the Pre Check line 3 times now. First was the day that the LA airport got shot up. They wanted everyone to get screened as quickly as possible, so everyone in the 1st class / expedited frequent flyer line was being sent through Pre Check. Amazing how quickly things move when the dependable metal detector is used. The other two times were when I flew Southwest recently. I have not flown WN for over 2 years yet I got Pre Check clearance both ways on my trip, while flying with UA weekly I have never been granted that privilege. The experience is nicer, but you still have people who are so used to the other lines that they are taking off everything and holding up the line. I have noticed that the Pre Check agents are friendlier and seemingly better at dealing with the public than those in the standard lines.

    What the government is not getting about the security screening process is that keeping everyone standing in a line for an extended amount of time before passing through is where the problems can happen. Their process should get everyone through as quickly as possible.

  9. On my last trip last weekend OMA-SAN on Southwest and SAN-OMA on Delta, I got Pre-Check both times. Only a few short years ago, booking a trip on two different airlines each way was cause for alarm and suspicion, with the dreaded “SSSS” on my boarding passes. Now, it seems the opposite is true. Why pay for Pre-Check if the TSA is going to also grant it free to many fliers regardless of their flyer status and frequency? I read that TSA is using its Secure Flight data on each passenger to do its magic to determine if it thinks you are at risk…and paying for the privilege only subjects you to more scrutiny by the govt and no guarantee of always getting the privilege anyways. It went exceedingly smooth both at OMA and at SAN, neither known for their fast lines, and I enjoyed being treated like pre-2001 at those airports. Fast, efficient, and courteously.

    1. And if they give PreCheck to people randomly, then why are we having non-Precheck screening in the first place? That is the better question to ask…..

  10. Fear of being defunded has managed to make TSA more customer friendly. Last time I flew out of Tampa, I was allowed in the precheck line. It was easy. First time I ever felt that they were just doing a job. I have run into confrontations with them in the past, but not lately. On the other hand, I fly smart. I know what I can and can not take with me on a plane, I pack minimally, and I stay quiet…sort of like in one of the old WWII movies where someone is boarding a train and avoiding the Gestapo. Seriously, though I’d hate to have all those people lose their jobs just because I think their job is pretty worthless.

  11. The opposite just happened to me. I am premier on United, and have been cleared for and using TSA Pre this year. However, I just checked in for my flight tomorrow morning and my boarding pass is not marked TSA Pre. And it’s a first class ticket to boot! Not a happy camper. The one day of the year I was looking foward to using my TSA Pre. Ugh.

    1. And one airport I fly through a lot (HOU) is having 3 hour waits at the TSA checkpoint today. Probably because only about half of the lines are open. This would be a good day to have Pre Check.

      Glad I don’t have to travel this week.

        1. IAH is good. HOU is less expensive for just about everything. It just depends where I am flying from and to and which airline which airport I end up at.

          1. I used both when living in Houston. Intercontinental and Hobby. After a while, I started flying Continental (forget which airport) and had great experiences.

  12. Do I trust the TSA? Not really a relevant question. Do I think the TSA is actually a meaningful deterrent to terrorism? No. Do I think the TSA is wasting taxpayer money? Yes indeed.

    Though the idea that I can buy back my 4th amendment rights for $85 is certainly encouraging.

    1. You have the right idea, instead of just whinging at the injustice, like me you are prepared to pay a very small sum to be treated the way that we should be treated. It’s worth every penny.

      1. Buying back the chance of having your rights is more expensive and dangerous in the long run than you may realize.

        What the TSA selleth, the TSA may jack up the price or simply take away.

        1. Actually I got my TSA Pre through Global Entry which is not a TSA program. In any case, it’s there, and as long as it’s there, I’ll take it, and since I moved to this country because I trust the government here, I don’t see “buying back my rights” as more expensive and dangerous. In any case it’s not “buying back my rights” because you don’t simply buy the rights.

          1. What I meant is that the TSA took our rights and are trying to sell them back to us. Like a thief stealing our property and selling it back.

            In fact, exactly like a thief because a lot of the property confiscated by theTSA is turned over to the states, who sell it in their surplus stores.

  13. An editorial in Thursday’s USA TODAY:

    Pistole’s response to that editorial:

    Do you believe TSA’s vaunted BDO’s personally interviewed or observed 219,000 on December 1 of this year and allowed them access to PreCheck-type screening? I certainly don’t.

    And, no, I do not trust the TSA.

  14. I recently flew from Miami to NYC. I’m still not sure why I was selected for Pre
    status; was it something they knew about me, my airline frequent-flyer status,
    random, my age, or as someone guessed, the other lines were just so overloaded
    that to relieve them, they began to send some people in the above categories
    through the Pre-line.

    I didn’t have to remove my shoes… and that was something I didn’t have to do before because I’m over 75. I did have to take all the metal out of my pockets, but I could leave my jacket on; it was much like it was years ago after 9/11.

  15. I only trust the TSA to continue violating our Constitution, rights, privacy, and property. Paying $85 to get background searched and fingerprinted (goes into FBI database) for a chance to be treated like I have rights? No way.

    I have seen some more polite screeners mixed in with the gruff, rude ones. I think the TSA has the screeners who actually know what customer service is work the precheck line, but it’s all security theater anyway, so just let everyone keep their shoes on, stuff packed, go through metal detectors, stop the molesting, and let us bring our own water into the airport.

    1. Exactly. PreCheck = 2002 Security, which no one was demanding we get rid of in exchange for intrusive searches culminating in unconstitutional scanners and criminal touching pat downs.

      1. That’s not true, you had to take PCs out of the bag in 2002, and I think you also had to take off jackets and maybe even shoes. I remember it was even worse at one stage before 2001, you had to switch on the laptop.

        1. No, the MUST take off shoes thing started slowly, with metal detector sensitivy being jacked up so metal shanks in shoes set them off, which then could mean a hand detector wanding, then it was “encouraged,” meaning if you didn’t take off your shoes you’d be treated like a criminal, to “SHOE BOMBER!!! We’re all gonna die!!!!!!” situation now.

          Unless you’re ages 0-12, 75-????, fly a lot, work for DOD, are active military, or randomly get picked by a poorly trained gov’t employee, perhaps holding an overpriced iPad with a magical “randomizer” app. (Give the guy a six-sided die and a printed chart for which numbers to send down which lane.) Y’know, because that’s all “risk based security.” ROTF!

        2. I stand corrected. Richard Reid, the miserable failure of a shoe bomber, was in late 2001 so 2002 was the year they instituted that.

          We should return to reasonable screening and stop letting Osama Bin Laden’s crushing victory stand. He even defeated the NFL when it outlawed women’s pocketbooks and adopted the TSA “baggies”.

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