Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Moment You Set Foot on That Casino Floor, They'll be Watching You Like Hawks. Hawks With Video Cameras

I'm not thrilled about the heightened airport security. I already think the TSA is not only useless, but a complete joke, so the fact they are spending MILLIONS of taxpayers money on new machines that no one wants and they've admitted won't keep us safer, makes me mad.

I'm a little worried about the radiation, I'm a little worried about my naked X-ray picture ending up on the internets or on the iphone of some perverted, lonely TSA worker. I'm even more worried about voicing these concerns in the security line because I am very opposed to a TSA agent sticking their hands down my pants.

So, once the announcement was made that every airport would have a Backscatter X-ray or a Millimeter Wave Scanner I did a little research. I looked up a list of which airports had which machines and purchased tickets based on that information. For instance: There is a small airport here in Sunland that does not have either machine. They are not the closest airport to us, but that's where we decided to fly from. I also discovered that the HomeTown airport only has a Millimeter Wave Scanner in one terminal, meaning as long as I didn't fly Delta, I was safe.

And thus, I purchased tickets for us to fly to HomeTown for Christmas. I admit, I was really hoping it wouldn't be an issue. I was hoping "National Opt Out Day" would get some attention and by the time I flew in December, the machines would be ancient history.

That's not how it played out. The security at the Sunland airport was fine. Not a Backscatter X-ray or a Millimeter Wave Scanner was in sight and all the agents were polite and professional. We arrived in the HomeTown airport without being blown up, but as I walked passed security I stopped dead: people going through security were being ushered through a very big and expensive looking machine.

"Is that a Backscatter?" I asked the TSA agent in charge of making sure people did not go in the exit.
"No, it's a Millimeter Wave. We just got it yesterday. Pretty cool, huh?" She said.
My mouth fell open. But, I did research! I drove farther than I had to! I didn't fly Delta! I'm not supposed to even see one of those machines! But I just nodded, not sure how anyone could think that it was "cool". There are multiple security lines in the HomeTown airport and only one Millimeter Wave, so maybe I could avoid it anyway.

Thus, I was a little anxious about flying home. We had an early flight, so Drek and I wanted to get there just an hour early, instead of ninety minutes early. We knew we could do this if we checked in online. The night before Drek got online and checked himself in, then turned the computer over to me. I went through the link, but when I entered my name it took me to a screen informing me that the TSA had flagged my lap infant as a possible terrorist and they needed additional information about her.

Really? I'm not flagged but my daughter is? Really?

So I entered her full name and date of birth. Except when I got to the year she was born, the drop-down menu only had two choices: 2010 and 2011.

Seriously? Because four day olds are known terrorists? Where was the 2009 choice? Drek looked it over and decided the programmer must have thought that since lap infants are two years old or younger, he would only put two year choices. And clearly it's more likely that my child would be born in the last four days, than in the entire three hundred and sixty one day span of 2009.

I tried entering her birthday as 2010, but it said what we entered didn't match their records (of course) and to see a flight agent immediately. I called my airline and explained the problem. The girl tried to override the system, it didn't work. She tried to give me 2009 as an option; it didn't work. So she tried changing my daughter's birthday to 2010 so the records would match. This only succeeded in having us red flagged. Great.

We got to the airport the next morning (an hour early. I was not going to get up at four in the morning because some web programmer is a moron) and to my dismay I realized that all the security lines had brand new Millimeter Wave Scanners. However, I also noticed that one of the machines had orange cones in the entrance, and no one was being ushered inside. Hah! Less than three weeks old and already broken. So we went through that line.

They did not pull Ash aside and they did not pat us down. In fact, besides the fact that one of the TSA agents was a complete jerk, it was business as usual in the security line. Still, I don't think we will be flying anywhere anytime soon. The entire situation is one I want to avoid.


  1. Haha. So my naked x-ray picture is out somewhere since I had Delta??

  2. RESIST! You're doing it right K La.

  3. Good call! Those machines are scary. And stupid. I'll be driving to all my destinations from now on.

  4. Personally I think that the purpose of TSA is not to secure the passengers but to terrorize them. TSA IS the Terrorist Sucker Agency, designed to terrorize Americans who are suckers enough to fly. The slogan of flying is no longer "Fly the friendly skys" but "Fly with us and we will terrorize you all we can, you stupid American!" Ok, not as cute but more accurate.

    I used to love flying. I now hate it and only do so under protest. I hate feeling like a crook. It's a good thing the airline industry is in such robust shape because TSA would kill it...


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