Has Airport Security Gone Too Far!?

Greetings,

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re aware that there is large outcry over the tightening security at airports. The question is “Has airport security gone too far!?” Twitter streams are filled with mentions of articles claiming the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has gone too far. As someone who flies often and doesn’t mind being 33,000 feet above the ground in a sardine can with 100+ strangers, I think they haven’t gone far enough…

Search the headlines and follow twitter, everyone says they have gone too far. As someone who in the past two years has flown considerably more than your average person, I have been annoyed by the security but have never wished they did away with it. Do you realize how little control you have when flying in a magical tin of ravioli above the Atlantic ocean flown by Chef Boyardee himself? If you have a problem up there or some nut job starts going loco, what will you do? There are no points for being reactive, one must be proactive.

Think of the TSA as lifeguards who pre-screen everyone before they can get into the pool because for some odd reason the pool is in outer space and lifeguards can’t be on duty. I can make these statements as I’ve been questioned, searched to the point where I thought the old “cavity” was coming next, thankfully no and on one occasion, brought to a waiting cell for intense questioning. It makes sense, I’m a single guy who at times looks less than dapper with a passport that has more stamps than your average mule.

The reality is that air travel is still the fastest mode of transportation, an extra wait and hassle in the security line to ensure a safe flight is a small price to pay for peace of mind and safety. To anyone who objects, close your eyes and pretend your on a flight, now pretend that someone who should have been searched goes all crazy and the safety of that flight becomes in jeopardy, how does that make you feel? It most certainly places a couple of touchy feel moments and extra waits on the ground seem reasonable, yes? Furthermore, the people doing the job aren’t exactly thrilled about it either but it’s their job. The future? Probably have some sort of “bouncer” on a plane, crazy, I know.

To set the record straight, I don’t care who the TSA goes overboard on, the reality is that they are basically our only safety measure to ensure that we arrive safely when jammed in a smelly SPAM tin flying 33,000+ above the ground. If you don’t want someone touching you to make sure you’re not a nut job (they come¬† all shapes and sizes FYI), you should just drive or not travel.

Question: What do you think? Have they gone too far?

Tips hat,

19 Comments

  1. CowBoy

    October 5, 2011 at 8:31 am

    gone waaayyyyy too far – taking my toothpaste and contact solution is not making the world a safer place!

    • Rob

      October 5, 2011 at 9:40 am

      Rubbish! You probably looked shady and top top it all off – liquids aren’t allowed! That toothpaste could be a bomb, unlikely but hey!

  2. Chef Boyardee

    October 5, 2011 at 10:01 am

    i agree with cowboy, they have gone too far. with 10 min of research around any airport, you’ll find a way to get by and cause huge damage. Besides, CATSA (the canadian version of TSA), only seems to hire high school dropouts and morons, so you’re left with someone with a badge and more power than brains..the stories i’ve heard working around an airport would piss you off.
    That said, security is needed, but its all for show at the moment, it just needs to be re-vamped and people trained properly so that its efficient and serves its true purpose…keeping people like you off of my airplane!!baaaaaaaaaaammm..

    • Rob

      October 5, 2011 at 10:48 am

      Chef Boyardee, if that is your real name. Agree that those being hired aren’t necessarily brain surgeons but a genius working security anywhere is more of an exception than the rule.

      Would agree that it could use some restructuring and as someone who is just a passenger, no clue how you’d get around it as you suggest.

      Suffice to say, thanks for the comment and keep making a mean ravioli.

      BAAAMMM

    • Ryan

      October 6, 2011 at 7:48 am

      lol well said :thumbsup:

  3. Julie

    October 5, 2011 at 10:57 am

    At the end of the day, I would take the extra headaches to feel secure in contrast to what could possibly take place. Nevertheless, it is a nuisance.

  4. Ross

    October 5, 2011 at 11:12 am

    When the TSA confiscated my liquids, they opened them up and poured them into a garbage bin beside the security line up. If the theory is that my liquids are dangerous and could be mixed together to make an explosive – then the TSA should not be mixing them together beside a crowded security line in the airport (there were more people waiting in line than on a typical flight). Maybe future terrorists should just target the security line anyways, they’d get more people that way and wouldn’t have to bother with airport security.

    The problem with TSA “security”, is that a great deal of it is security theater – actions which do not improve our actual security, but waste a lot of time and money.

    http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2006/03/airport_passeng.html

    • Rob

      October 5, 2011 at 3:39 pm

      Not just terrorist but like attention freaks / suicidal maniacs / hijackers headed to Bolivia / whatever. It’s a pain but I’m down with it. I’ve never seen them empty the water bottles into the garbage but believe that it is done some places.

      Like the “security theater” term.

  5. Mark

    October 5, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    I agree with Ross what we have now is security theater.

    168 people killed, hundreds more injured and we can all still rent a Ryder truck without being patted down:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklahoma_City_bombing

    I’m not against wholly against security, but I think what we have now is out of scale.

    • Rob

      October 5, 2011 at 3:40 pm

      I hear what you’re saying but what’s the alternative?

  6. Adam

    October 5, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    I definitely think people gripe and complain too much about air travel. It’s not nearly as bad as many people make it out to be. But I do like the term “security theater” – aptly describes a lot of techniques used by the TSA. I guess I’m middle-of-the-road. Don’t mind security, but don’t like pointless security.

  7. Erik

    October 5, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Yes, it probably goes too far, but it’s one of the necessary evils if you have to get around. I went through Israeli security last year and, while I didn’t like it, I understood why they have it.

  8. Will - Gap Daemon

    October 6, 2011 at 2:56 am

    Interesting comment and one I’m sure warrants an in-depth analysis.

    It’s comparative depending what part of the world you’re travelling in. The picture accompanying the piece is quite horrifying however!

    I’d like to mention that moving between airports in South East Asia is fairly fast and effective and security checks aren’t too intrusive. Back in the UK they’re – quite obviously given the climate of fear – at the worst.

  9. Chris Haughey

    October 6, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    It is pretty OTT nowadays, but in light of the events of the past decade it’s understandable.

    Somethings still seem a little unnecessary though. I once bought a bottle of Oasis orange from the airport shop, before going through security.

    I then had to throw it in the bin as I entered the security-checking area, despite the fact it was still unopened, with the lid sealed.

    Pretty ridiculous.

  10. Ryan @ PauseTheMoment.com

    October 6, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    As much as it sucks to be searched, have toiletries taken from you, etc it’s not the end of the world. In the end of the day I would rather be safe than sorry. I feel it’s the people who travel the most that understand the procedures of the TSA more. Maybe I’m wrong? I’m not saying that I love the things that they do. I obviously want to get past security just as fast as you do.

    These TSA guys/gals are just simply doing their jobs, just like the guy cooking your burger at McDonalds. They are all given duties to perform if they want to keep a job so they do what they have to do. What ever you do, don’t blame the TSA worker.

  11. Ryan @ PauseTheMoment.com

    October 6, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    P.S. – Love the photo for this story. LOL

  12. Graham

    October 7, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Rob,

    I have been reading your site for a while and have to disagree with you on this one. As I type this I am waiting for a flight at SFO. I was patted down a couple of hours ago and it wasn’t as bad as the media has made it out to be. That being said, I am a firm believer that the TSA has gone overboard.

    Any recent incidents have been thwarted by passengers taking action on a flight. As a passenger you have free reign to pummel anyone who is deemed to be a threat on a plane. This is a change in mentality from pre 9/11 when you were told to be calm and do whatever the terrorist said. These passengers are now the bouncers and the cockpit doors being locked are the major reasons similar 9/11 events haven’t been repeated.

    I fly a lot and also take Amtrak up and down the east coast of the US. There is little to no security on trains. I have not once been checked or had my luggage inspected in 6 years as I was shuttled around in a “sardine can with 100+ strangers”. Why is there security for one sardine can and not the other?

    The TSA is more of a security theatre group than a security group. There have been numerous reports of them missing firearms and other contraband. There should be some reasonable level of security. I believe we crossed the reasonable threshold when my bottle of water was deemed to be too dangerous to be on a flight with 100 people but safe enough to be thrown into the trash can in the middle of a waiting line jammed with 100 people.

    Patdowns, body imaging etc. have gone way too far. Flying is still one of the safest forms of travel and the impact of the TSA has done little to change that given the outrageous cost (actual dollars) and the value of everyone’s time based on the new changes.

    Sorry for the long rant but given I’m waiting for a flight I really don’t have much to do.

    Keep up the entertaining blog!

    • Rob

      October 7, 2011 at 5:19 pm

      Appreciate the comment, on a phone so too long to reply. Hope the flight was a good one.

    • Rob

      October 8, 2011 at 8:54 am

      Something I think is different about a train and plane is it’s easier to monitor / check when it comes to the plane. On the train it is near impossible. Also most train routes are rural, if a plane goes down… That said, if someone let a bomb off in a train station from the train… That said, they wouldn’t have to be ON THE TRAIN to do that, could also just walk in.

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