I feel a rant coming on. It’s a good one, too. Faithful readers know full well how I feel about the TSA. Well, I wrote them a letter today and I even included a dollar of my hard-earned money as a donation in hope that someday, if we all give, they could hire some people who are smart enough to know that 2 2 does not equal “Chicken.” Here’s the letter in its entirety. Feel free to copy and paste it into the form at in this link if you’d like to email it to them.
Transportation Security Administration
601 South 12th Street
Arlington, VA 22202-4220
As a traveler who logs between 75,000 and 100,000 miles per year, I have observed your field workers in many airports throughout this country and others, and I believe I have a few suggestions to offer your organization. First, let me say that I understand the importance of your job and the difficulty in moving so much manpower to address it. Your initial efforts there should be commended.
Now that we’ve been at this for seven years or so, it might be time to re-assess our situation and to take a closer look at some of your procedures. I’ve listed some of my questions and concerns here in bulleted form. It is my firm belief and hope that you can improve your efforts in these areas.
- Profiling: Airports in most other countries in the world have embraced profiling. It works. A sweating and nervous looking middle-eastern person should be searched, period. If they’re found to be safe and they appear to be offended, we should apologize and allow them to be on their way. Detaining 90 year-old ladies in wheelchairs and infant babies in strollers for more than a minute is a ridiculous waste of time.
- Shoes and Laptops: The USA is the only country that forces all travelers to remove their shoes and laptop computers at the screening area. Why? If the U.K., Ireland, Japan, Australia, and even Indonesia (countries with a longer history of terrorism than the U.S.) have the working dogs and technology to screen passengers that quickly, we should too.
- Pilots and Crew: I’ve seen your operative search pilots and crew on a regular basis. Why? Isn’t it true that a pilot doesn’t need a box-cutter to fly his/her plane into a populated area? Flight attendants have access to the cockpit where they could conceivably bonk a pilot unconscious with a coffee pot. What sense does it make to detain them and search them for sharp objects?
- Liquids and Ice: I believe it’s time to rethink the whole “liquids allowed on the plane” deal. We have the technology to detect explosives and explosive liquids, depriving small children of their juice or medication is just silly. Also, I’ve seen many coolers allowed on planes and it will probably come as a surprise to your operatives when ice melts, it most certainly turns into a liquid. I’d like to ask for some consistency in enforcing this very confusing rule.
- Staff: Without offending anyone, I just have to say that the vast majority of the people you’ve hired to protect this country aren’t much sharper than a ball bearing. I would like to suggest that if we cut back on some government welfare programs that we could afford to hire some intelligent, hard working folks to patrol our airports, rather than the lazy mouth breathing inner-city youths who are usually repainting their fingernails at the counter.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this. I know our country is facing some difficult times right now, economically, but I’m enclosing my own donation of $1 to help get you started on a brighter path. Please feel free to leave any comments on my travel blog at http://www.allbusiness.com/technology/software-services-applications/4968724-1.html where I will add them to a podcast and post them for all to see.
Thanks for your time,
Kenneth J. Walker
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please send an email! Your questions will be recorded and Ken will answer the best ones in his Ask the Expert podcast show.