airport security Posts

Support grows for airport security risk analysis

The busy 4th quarter travel period in 2010 coincided with increased roll out of increased security procedures such as the full body scanner combining to produce unprecedented criticism and loathing for airport security. The head of the Transportation Security Administration, John Pistole believes that airports should make better use of the data collected on passengers to better profile potential security risks. Another idea tabled is to create a trusted passenger scheme which could see passengers sign up to a paid background check which will expedite or even remove the need to go through security.

Searched Again, at the Jetway: A Needless Delay

I recently returned from a quick trip to Cancun, flying out of Hartford/Springfield’s lovely Bradley International Airport.  Sadly, there used to be a little more international at this convenient airport, but Air France/KLM decided to give up their weekly flights to Amsterdam, despite flying full most of the time.  So we have to settle for Cancun and Canada as their international destinations.

When I was in Mexico, getting ready to board the plane, I was surprised to see the Mexican TSA setting up tables right beside where you enter the jetway.  We had all been through security, having donated our water bottles and any large tubes of Crest to their trash, so we were all clean.

Yet after they scanned our tickets, they were having every single person get their carryons and even their body searched again!  The spectacle of seeing these 10-year-old kids being patted down, checking inside the three-year-old’s Batman backpack was ludicrous!

I kept thinking, come on, if you are going to do this to the next 200 passengers, then we’ll never get off the ground and back home.  But they did. Every person had to be searched again, and it took quite a while for our barely full plane to depart.

Was this retaliation for the way we treat our Mexican and other foreign guests when they arrive in the US? It felt very unnecessary and just plain a pain. I hope that this isn’t the way it’s going to be forever!

Get Ready for Longer Lines with new Scanners

How much time does it take now to go through security?  Probably longer than most travelers wish. Well, news of the new airport scanners has given rise to the possibility of much, much longer lines as people wait to be scanned for bombs and other hazards in new, bigger machines.

USA Today reports that people are going to have to wait longer for the up to  40 second body scans, versus today’s approximately 10-second treatment of walking through a metal detector.

These are the machines we’ve warned you about—the ones that distinguish between boxers and briefs. They take  up a whole lot of room in crowded TSA checkpoints but soon will be a part of every large airport’s security arsenal.

This month the first of the scanners, with the TSA planning to put in 950 in total over two years. This move was driven mostly by the idiot from Nigeria who tried to light a bomb in his underwear.

Most people, though, after they are familiar with the machines should be able to get through in 15 seconds. Still, we all know those people who who end up ahead of us are usually the ones who don’t get it and take forever!

What Kind of Pie Is That? Demanded the TSA Agent

Chris Elliot reports on his fabulous travel site elliott.org that the TSA recently tried to bust a woman for bringing her apple pie on board a flight.  Jessica Bruder, of Portland Oregon, was flying to Illinois over the Thanksgiving holiday and almost had her pie taken away.

“What kind of pie is that?” the TSA supervisor asked her.

“Apple. With some raspberries,” Bruder answered.

“Does it have lumps?” he asked, then told her that the TSA keeps watch for pies with cream and custard fillings. Anything, he said, that can be construed as a ‘gel.’ He’d already said no to a pumpkin pie on the belt, saying that the insides of the pie ‘has the same consistency as plastic explosives.’

Elliott goes on to wonder just what the TSA is protecting us from, since the price tag is $4.7 billion a year for these screeners.