TSA as air travel mafia

By | March 20, 2012

“You pay me a little, young lady, and I’ll make sure those nasty security guards keep their paws off you.” Ok, so the Transportation Safety Administration isn’t running around like one of Tony Soprano’s crew collecting protection fees, but they may as well be. Stumbled across this one at Moonbattery, and just couldn’t let it go.

TSA Fast Pass - Zappatrust

Zappatrust


Selected travelers will soon be able to avoid the more invasive portions of the airport screenings by ponying up $100 for the privilege. While the concept of offering a way for frequent flyers to avoid the annoyances of enhanced screening procedures at airports might seem like a good idea, the way it’s being executed isn’t. First, there’s the obvious – if these people will mostly be skirting around the more annoying portions of screening, won’t they be costing the government less money? I mean they won’t be taking up the valuable time of the TSA screeners, after all. Perhaps the argument that they are paying for convenience could be swallowed if the fees weren’t going to the government – as it is, the situation leaves one with a terrible case of indigestion.

It wouldn’t be so objectionable if TSA was showing even a modicum of respect for some of least likely terror suspects. I mean really, did that inspector really think there was a weapon of mass destruction hidden under that handicapped child? Sure, they’re starting to lift some of the nonsense from seniors 75 and older by not making them take off their shoes, but don’t forget, this is the agency that was considering easing restrictions for Muslims not so long ago.

And of course, we mustn’t forget, this is a governmental agency and program that we’re talking about here. We can’t be silly and expect efficiency or logic. First, it’s only available at a limited number of airports. As for how it works, here’s a short explanation offered by the TSA:

If TSA determines a passenger is eligible for expedited screening, information is embedded in the barcode of the passenger’s boarding pass. TSA reads the barcode at designated checkpoints and the passenger may be referred to a lane where they will undergo expedited screening, which could include no longer removing the following items:

Shoes
3-1-1 compliant bag from carry-on
Laptop from bag
Light outerwear/jacket
Belt
TSA will always incorporate random and unpredictable security measures throughout the airport and no individual will be guaranteed expedited screening.

That last sentence is the catch, of course. Now, I am not suggesting that the TSA should exempt anyone from random searches simply because that individual payed a simple $100 fee. However, the value of that investment goes down dramatically when one considers it doesn’t guarantee a thing. Of course it is up to the travelers out there to decide. Personally? I say take the train!

Artwork by Zappatrust.

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