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On Airport Security

By maxwell edison ·
I've been travelling quite a bit lately, and have thought a lot about it. There are only a few options.

1. Screen nobody. (Already deemed a bad idea.)

2. Screen everybody. (Obviously very intrusive and inconvenient, oftentimes down-right insulting.)

3. Profile those who will be screened. Neil's mum, for example, might always be waved on; but that 25 year old "Arab looking" guy would always be pulled over. Yep, that smacks of being unfair, and will result in charges of racism (baseless charges, most likely), but the only other options are one and two. Or is there another option?

4. Okay, another option that I've been thinking of. Create some sort of pre-screening process. Let Neil, his mum, my mum (yes, I really DO have one), and others who are not homicidal terrorists, go through some sort of process only once, the first time, and be issued some sort of documentation that allows them to bypass the security process. If I owned a private airline, for example, couldn't I demand that all of my customers agree to background checks and such to get on my list, but once approved, it's clear sailing to get on-board? There are private clubs, for example, that require "membership" cards. Why not airlines? Is flying on a private airline a right that must be extended to anyone and everyone on demand? I think not. Personally speaking, I'd have no problem if I had to become a "United Airlines member" before I could fly on their airplanes. And practically speaking, most major airlines could even share memberships. Once you're a "member" of one, you could gain "security clearance free" access to many others. (Just like my health club membership will get me into many others clubs.)

Possible objection: People might suggest that since the airlines are SO competitive and SO consumer-driven, that they would hesitate to turn away customers who aren't members. However, on the other hand, customers just might flock to such airlines, even to the point of paying more for the privilege.

Another possible objection: We actually have airport screening, not airline screening. Well, since most airports (at least the major ones) are designed with multiple concourses, there could be a redesign of how those are actually managed.

There has to be a way better than what's being done right now.

P.S. Thank you, Neil, for the idea that compelled me to start this discussion. I intended to post it as an answer to this message .....

...... but I thought it might make an interesting discussion itself.

Edited to add the following:

And actually, I think this might even be an issue that transcends political divides!

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My mum

by neilb@uk In reply to On Airport Security

was wearing paper-thin slip-ons that could not have concealed a paper-clip whereas I - a shifty, glowering sort if ever there was - was wearing size twelves that would easily have hidden a Panzer Division. I was waved through.

I like your idea. It will be easier to apply when we all have our biometric passports and maybe we can get stamped as "OK. Not an insurgent". At the moment, I believe, we poor foreigners have our innnermost secrets (including credit card numbers) provided to your government every time we fly in.

I will answer with a little more though later as I actually have to do some work today as our SAN has been bouncing up and down since the weekend when our building power supply overheated.


p.s. You are allowed to refer to your mother as "mom". I will understand.

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Oh, you mean the screeners

by Old Guy In reply to My mum

are supposed to have a little common sense about them. Hmmm, is that possible? ?

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by Tig2 In reply to Oh, you mean the screener ...

A friend of mine was a senior recruiter after 9/11 charged with hiring additional screeners. As I recall, she said she didn't get much to work with- the pay and hours were just not terribly attractive.

Until there is some level of standardisation in screening proceedure, the problem will continue and worsen. The requirements when I fly our of Chicago are different from the standards in Minneapolis which are different from LA.

As a woman, I am always required to remove my shoes whether they are boots or sandals, I am ALWAYS wanded- the wand picks up the metal in my bra. While that is going on, my handbag- containing my ID, cash, etc- has been passed through the scanner and is laying on the end of the machine- where ANYONE can pick it up.


If I can, I don't fly. Not always an option. When I do fly I try to reduce the aggravation. Unfortunately, there is a limit to what I can do- there is no one set of requirements to manage to.

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Yes, we do need a better way.

by Old Guy In reply to On Airport Security

However, how many "sleepers" would be able to get in on this membership type? I mean I could certainly bide my time if that is what I had in mind.

I do think the concept is good but I don't know how feasible it would be. Besides, as the "Baby Boomers" are aging now you don't really know how many little old ladies really are packing. :)

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Surpised as all ****

by Oz_Media In reply to On Airport Security

Max, you shocke dthe hel outr of me by referring to you rmum as mUm and not mOm. Is it regional? Many Americans say mOm, as do many Canadians, and others mUm? I see mUm from towns with more of a British population here (Victoria for example) bu for the most part, canadian's spel it with an O.

Sorry, just a little oddments that caught my eye.

As for screening, they use a form of 'screening' for British Football matches, which I am sure they have a similar system for airports. People are on camera al teh time and watched/profiled as they walk through the parking lot, stadium etc.

Now this works for known offenders but I am sure is far less effective for those not known.

Here's what played my head a couple of flights ago.

I had a Swiss Army knife, the little keychain one, that i had found camping a while back. It was a good find so I had it on my keyring for opening boxes, emergency fingernail trims etc.

They recently passed legislation allowing small pocket knives to be carried on flights, so when I was headed to Eastern Canada I left it on my keyring. The security spotted it instantly and said to remove it and donate it to the airports 'buckets of neat stuff collected each day'.

I obviously agreed without hesitation and gave up th eknife, while doing so I asked; 'Didn't they just pass a new law allowing these on airplanes onw?" but was told, ONLY on international flights, not domestic.....???Whaaaat?

I can bring a knife into teh country, I can fly to the USA with one, but not from Vancouver to Toronto, Montreal or even Calgary?!?

I don't know what is worse, the Canadians for banning these little Weapons of No Destruction or the USA for allowing them on International flights? I think it's a Canadian restriction and an American allowance butting heads that makes it odd, but really it doesn't make much sense, does it?

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by maxwell edison In reply to Surpised as all hell

I did it just to keep in flow with "Neil's mum". It's actually the first time I've done it.

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by Oz_Media In reply to My MUM

You were simply patrnizing Neil (just kidding).

Not too much glue for Oz afterall, I thought I was going mad, seeing an American type 'mum'. !

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Makes as much sense as the no-fly list

by gralfus In reply to Surpised as all hell

The no-fly list is simply a bunch of names of people who may somehow be connected to terrorists. It is regularly used to stop babies, Catholic nuns, US Congressmen, and other nasties from boarding planes. No known terrorists have ever been stopped by it. But we keep it anyway, just in case.

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Of course

by Oz_Media In reply to Makes as much sense as th ...

They had to stop a few nuns, they can't tell the difference between a habit and a burqa. They generally just stop anyone without a camouflage cap on and mirrored aviation shades, driving an SUV with a rebel licence plate.

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Hey I resemble that remark!

by X-MarCap In reply to Of course

Except for the SUV, of course. I drive a car...

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