Monday, February 4, 2013

It’s Everyone’s Junk or No One’s Junk

I’m home (from training in Florida) the kid is home (from a ski trip in Canada) and I’ve discovered that there isn’t much to write about when it’s just me. Evidently I’m not that entertaining.
The pickup from the airport went like this. The kid had a ticket home for 9:30 tonight. Piece of cake you say. Leave at 8, get there at 8:30, plenty of time to wait in the enormous ticket line and get a security pass. It would appear so, but no! I’ve done this enough times that I know it won’t work that way.
Sure enough, I get a text from the kid at 5. She is on an earlier flight and will be in at 6:30. (As an aside, it appears to take an amount of foresight and planning to arrange for travel that is unattainable by the, well let’s say, the arranger of such things.)
Oh no you say, rush to the airport now! No, no, not yet (I say with a little smile while shaking my head.) Wait until 6 because there may be an additional text reporting a continued inability to complete the travel arrangements. By 6, no additional text so now is the time to leave.
Hit the ticket counter at 6:30 where, ta da, they have lost the kid. Panic you say! The kid is missing! No, no, not yet. It isn’t even time to start raising my voice. After many minutes of consultation and clicking the computer keys, they find the kid. (I don’t know why, but that is how the procedure works. Either that, or they can’t decide if I am truly authorized to pick up my kid.)
Now here is the dicey part. If you’ve read my other posts, you know my feelings for the airport transportation system and the TSA in particular. (If you haven’t read the posts, my feelings are not characterized by love, admiration or even feelings of security that they are “screening” potential terrorists.)
This time the altercation does not involve me. The agent is arguing with an elderly passenger who has kept her shoes on. Now this I did not know. Kids under 12 don’t have to take off their shoes so my kid is exempt. However, passengers over 75 can also leave their shoes on. Who knew?
I wonder how many older travelers have slipped while bending over to take off their shoes. I find it difficult to take off my shoes while filling the bins and pulling out the computer and the liquids and emptying my pockets and taking off jewelry and disrobing from any additional layers. And all the time my bin is being pushed out of reach by the passengers waiting behind me. (Well, passengers except the crazy lady from the prior post, The Airport God.) I imagine that this procedure could be especially taxing to people of a certain age.
I looked up the policy on the helpful TSA home page. How is the age of such passengers determined? Not by ID. The agent makes a visual assessment to determine age. Well, nothing could possibly go wrong with that policy!
And how do they justify such a thing? (I would guess any slime ball terrorist would not hesitate to strap a shoe bomb on their grandmother.) Per the home page, because they will “improve screening by better focusing resources on passengers who may be more likely to pose a risk.” What!?! If we are selecting risky passengers then either let’s do it, damn the ACLU, or treat everyone with equal indignity. I say, peek at everyone’s junk or no one’s!
The arguing agent is thwarted by more reasonable coworkers and the passenger is allowed to walk, in her shoes, to the nudie scanner.

No comments :