To make matters worse today, while checking in at the US Airways ticket counter to get our boarding passes for the flight to Omaha, we were “randomly” selected to receive the special security screening. They don’t wait to decide this as you’re going through the security checkpoint, but instead print “SSSS” on the boarding pass in big letters. So, if you know what to look for, you will know up to 24 hours in advance that you’ve been selected to for the shakedown. How this is supposed to improve air security is totally incomprehensible to me.

Let’s say I was a terrorist trying to sneak something deadly onto the plane – an explosive concealed within a Chapstick, for example. If I’d done any research whatsoever, I’d already know that “SSSS” on the boarding pass means I’m going to be singled out for special screening. So I would team up with some other nasty individual. We’d make reservations separately, of course. And then we’d both check in using the online check-in function on United’s website, where we could both print boarding passes. Now, let’s say mine prints out with the dreaded “SSSS” label. What do you think we’d do? Continue with the operation as planned? Of course not! I would pass off the deadly Chapstick to my friend who didn’t get “SSSS”. Or, if I didn’t have a team mate, I’d just not show up! Or rebook the flight! Or something! What good does a random search do, if you know in advance that you’re going to be searched? I just don’t get it.

But, I did get searched. That means that in addition to the usual routine (take off jacket, belt, and boots, take the laptop out of the bag to send through x-ray separately, put coins, cell phone, keys, and wallet into the separate little bowl) I got patted down, and then wanded, and then they did a hand search of my backpack. They did, in fact, find that I had left some sunscreen in there, and that it wasn’t in a “quart size zip top bag”. The nice TSA agent, though, had a bag handy. He put my sunscreen (both tubes), the dish washing soap sample I got at some festival last summer, and my chapstick into the bag and warned me that I needed to send that bag through separately in the future. He was a nice guy about it, at least. But I still can’t imagine how my sunscreen is going to be a threat to national security. If you can imagine how, please comment on this blog article with your hare-brained scheme. Thank you.

Categorized as Travel

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