21 May 2005

Thoughts from ICT

Filed under: Ponderings

Something that I have always wondered about is the disparity of airport security from place to place in this post 9/11 world. It seems to me, and I see a lot of airports, that the smaller the airport the “tighter” the security. I say tighter in quotes because I don’t think that it’s really any more secure than any other security, only that rather there are more people making a fuss than at the larger airports.

For instance: Today at Wichita’s Mid-Continent airport (ICT), from where I’m writing to you now, I had a total of four people look at my boarding pass and ID. One person who by the logo on her shirt appeared to be employed by American Eagle Airlines, and three TSA employees. I also had to have my boarding pass in my hand as I walked through the metal detector to hand to a TSA person who was so non-interested in what it said that when she looked at it, it was upside down.

Why does it have to be looked at by so many people? Either it is superfluous and they know it and are just trying to create jobs, in which case they should be fired; or the people at the beginning of the system are not capable of determining whether or not that is a valid boarding pass and I am in fact Jonathan Reily as my state issued ID states and not someone else, in which case they should be fired. As a taxpayer, I am appalled at this waste of money.

At the larger airports, Phoenix for example, as long as you show your boarding pass and ID to the private, yes PRIVATE, security people at the beginning of the line and don’t walk through the metal detector with a bowling ball shaped object with a string hanging out of one of the holes, no one will bother you, or even speak to you for that matter. I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve had more than one person in a large airport (PHX, IAH, DFW, etc) request my ID and papers a second time. Rather, you’ll end up spending half an hour waiting to go through the system in the large airports because only two of the six lanes are open because they don’t have enough people to operate the equipment.

So why the overwhelming forces at smaller airports? Is the government trying to create jobs in smaller communities? Or is it that every airport gets a certain amount of TSA scarecrows (which is all they are, as the majority of them just seem to stand there in uniforms looking menacing and barking odd orders at people) no matter what the actual passenger load is at the airport? Why not transfer some of these people to Dallas or Phoenix so the hub cities can actually get passengers through the system and not clog up the airports?

So vote for me for Transportation Security Chairman. I’ll get it fixed.

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