As a frequent flyer I’d like to weight in on all the recent changes TSA is implementing this travel season. Personally I sypathize with John Tyner’s statement which inspired the title of my blog post. I’ve thought the same thing many trips through security yet because I fly for work I can’t afford to get thrown out of the airport so I keep my mouth shut. So what is it about airport screenings that is so uncomfortable?
First let’s start with the Full Body Imaging machines. In little Harlingen, Texas, where I fly monthly, these are installed. I can only imagine this was an earmark project as this infrequently travelled airport boasting 5 flights a day is full of senior citizens and not exactly a terrorist hot spot. My first time through after the new scanners were installed I asked to bypass them and was told I couldn’t. My reasoning is that I’m already getting a ton of radiation as a frequent flyer and avoiding unneccessary amounts seems like a good idea. After I got home I did research and found out I could ask for the pat down instead. So next time through, pat down no problem. Then one day two weeks ago I was running late but still asked for the pat down. I don’t want to say it was deliberate but they took 10 minutes to come over and pat me down making me miss my flight. I will be flying back from Indianapolis Sunday where Full Body Imaging machines are in effect & I can’t wait to go through again and find out how the new proceedures are (sarcasm!)
The Pat Down really isn’t that bad although tomorrow will be my first trip under the new standards. However over my travelling life I’ve been patted down numerous times. It’s really no big deal. I think what is so irritating about it is that it feels like an accusation. When someone asks to pat you down it feels like they’re saying “we’ve got you now!” Now the new full body pat down is going to feel like even more of an accusation.
I appreciate the hard work TSA and law enforcement are doing to protect our safety. However on more than one occasion I’ve been treated rudely for using the Elite Access Security Line. The last 3 times through the line in San Antonio I was made to wait longer than a person that entered after me into the normal line. This to me is a result of what I call a superiority complex which some agents can incur. Instead of this action I think people in the Elite Access Line should be subject to less screening than other passengers (normal pat down only). These are people who fly more than 30 times per year. Thats a lot of flights and it means we know the proceedure and we’re frequently on the radar of TSA.
People want to say that flying is a priviledge but I beg to differ. In a country where our train and bus system is utterly inept flying is a necessity. So we must make flying safe for all without compromising the rights of American citizens.