Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Current State of Flying

Here's a powerful column by Christopher Hitchens about the current state of flying in the West.

This comment therein really struck a chord with me:

A while back, I was traveling internationally and I experienced some airport security that actually impressed me.

It started off in the check in line before I even got my ticket. I was approached by a sergeant in the national military and was asked a series of questions while he went through my bags. And I do mean went through my bags. He asked the usual ones about did I pack it, blah blah, and then he asked me

"What color is the bag on the inside?"

"When did you buy this bag?"

"Why did you buy this bag?"

He did the exact same thing for each and every one of my checked bags and my carry on. After that, I went and got my ticket and went through a metal detector and x-ray machine. Then I went through passport control, then another metal detector, then another passport control, this time with a brief frisk. After that, it was a third metal detector (not x-ray this time) and finally a full on frisk by another representative of the national military. Let me tell you, this was not a friendly pat, pat like what TSA gives you. This was a full on search like I was an enemy prisoner that they were concerned had a knife hidden somewhere on me.

After all of that, they stuck me in a windowless room with all of the other passengers until our flight was ready to board (About 1/2 an hour). There were no shops, no bathrooms, and only one room with men and women with automatic rifles posted at the exits.

What it gave me the impression of was people who had had issues with hijacking and terrorism before and REALLY didn't want it to happen again. People who didn't give a shit if I was inconvenienced or annoyed because they knew that it would be far more of an inconvenience for me if some asshole blew the plane up over the ocean somewhere.

When I think about the TSA procedures and I think about the procedures at this, foreign, airport I have to laugh at the TSA. The TSA are people trying to make us feel better without actually doing anything. The TSA are, as one person put it, "security theatre". As evidenced by the most recent episode.

By the way, in case you were wondering, the airport I was flying out of was the one in Maricaibo, Venezuela.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They're (Chavez) worried about currency being 'exported', not bombs.