So I was flying out of my home airport, Portland International, this morning. First had to head through security – luckily with my TSA PreCheck, so I could fly through security in front of all of the other regular travelers. It’s faster, right?
Umm, no. Not that the two TSA PreCheck lines weren’t going fast. But the other lines nearest the PreCheck lines had TSA agents screaming (naturally – their default behavior) that the lane was a “Throw and go” lane. Remove nothing from your bag (like your liquids and such), leave your shoes and coats on, and just put your phone in your bag, then walk through the magnetometer. Not even the fancy new porno-scanners – just the regular magnetometer.
So basically TSA PreCheck is now the same security as every other TSA line, at least at Portland International. And like TSA PreCheck, the general public only went through the porno-scanner when they set off the magnetometer.
I guess I can explain my tweet of last night. Flying out of PDX, for some reason I didn’t get TSA PreCheck again. Three weeks in a row. I made a “Ugh!” type comment, was overheard by a TSA agent, and she proceeded to “bait” me into a fight. Here’s the exchange:
Me (to TSA ID Checker): Oh jeez… Three weeks without PreCheck? You guys are killing me! (said in a more jovial than not tone).
TSA ID Checker just rolled her eyes. I made my way into the regular security line.
TSA Overhearing Agent: “You know there’s a line over there?” she said, pointing to the other lane.
Me: “Yes, but that one is wrapped around and this one is shorter, thanks.”
TSA Overhearing Agent: “I’m not arguing with you, sir. I know you’re angry for not getting PreCheck.”
Me: I rolled my eyes at her obvious bait and asked, “Do you want me to switch lines anyway?”
TSA Overhearing Agent: “I said I’m not going to fight with you, sir.”
Me: “I’m not fighting with you; I simply asked if you wanted me to move to the other line.”
TSA Overhearing Agent: “I understand that you wanted to get PreCheck. It’s not our fault; it’s handled elsewhere. I’m not going to fight with you, sir.”
At this point, I closed my eyes, counted to ten, and just stayed where I was. I had a TSA Agent arbitrarily provoking me for whatever douchy reason she had. I never raised my voice, said anything derogatory, or anything to the woman. She just wanted me to snap at her for some reason.
Well I wouldn’t take the bait. But that’s not going to stop me from calling her a giant douchenozzle and blogging about it.
Seriously, you simpleton? That’s just… Well, for lack of a better word, stupid.
What’s better, this guy’s an umpire – so you know he’s used to making quick decisions. And this one was a bad one. Seriously. What’s worse? This guy isn’t allowed to leave Alaska, because he’s a flight risk.
Okay, so that’s a little overboard. But still.
Totally reminds me of yelling at the private security firm that’s at the MCI (Kansas City) airport as I was passing through security a few years back when two of the officers, who were working the baggage x-ray machine, were “joking” about planes crashing and exploding. Seriously. Except they got to keep their jobs, whereas this dillhole in Alaska’s stuck until his hearing.
This is frustrating… People – including me – have gone off about the TSA and their ‘porno scanners’; what an invasion of privacy they are, how unsafe they are, and the like. A judge ordered that the TSA was supposed to hold public comments, so that we could hear from people and experts. You know, like the fact that the backscatter machines can cause up to 100 cases of cancer per year (and that’s when they’re working properly!)
So finally, the TSA has set up – 19 months later than it was ordered to – a public comment period, scheduled for February 2013. Get ready, folks! Unless you like having your ‘nads subjected to radiation or photographed every time you go to the airport.
Remember a few months back when there was a guy who protested the TSA by stripping naked in the middle of Portland International Airport? Well he went to trial on indecency charges, and they were dropped by the judge.
I can’t believe they even bothered to take the guy to trial, but they did. But there’s a ruling in Oregon that freedom of speech/freedom of expression can include being naked, and that’s why the judge threw the charges out.
I don’t know about you, but I’d be mortified. First, I wouldn’t have opened the jar to begin with; no sane person would. But we all know sanity isn’t a strongpoint for the TSA. And if I was stupid enough to open the ashes and spill them, I sure as hell wouldn’t laugh about it!
And you know what’s even more sad? This part of the article and quote from the wronged family member:
The TSA agent kept laughing without offering help, he said. And passengers waiting to get their bags were stalled behind him as he spent 10 to 15 seconds on his knees grabbing what he could, Gross said.
“I didn’t want to cause a scene because I didn’t want them to throw me off my flight or put me on the no-fly list,” said Gross, 30, a restaurant manager. “It didn’t really hit me until I got on the plane.”
Mentally abused to the point of not responding to the TSA Asshat’s laughter and being afraid to speak up because the TSA might put you on their “no fly list”? Jeez…
So yes, Virginia. There is a hell. Because if my remains were scattered about TSA agents, I’d be in hell, too.
So you’ve probably heard about the TSA agent at JFK Airport in New York who didn’t realize his metal detector was off, right? If not, have at it – the “exclusive” is over here at the New York Post.
Now I’m no friend of the TSA. Even when I say something nice about them, I counter it with a criticism, so you know I’m critical of them. But that’s because of their rude, nasty attitudes and their perceived incompetence. It has nothing to do with the color of their skin or their ethnic backgrounds. But as soon as I’d heard about this story, I knew I wanted to follow it. Why? Because the TSA agent in question’s name is Alija Abdul Majed.
Whoa… Sounds foreigny and therefore scary, right? ::facepalm::
Trek on over to the New York Post. Or if you want, you can read the whole racist-filled rants right here. I’ve even highlighted the worst of them. And this was just the first batch; there were more than 100 more to go!
It’s not often that I say something nice about the Transportation Safety Administration. Their usual treatment of individuals is pretty horrid; and I should know since I travel every week. But I just recently became part of the TSA Pre✓™ program – and it’s glorious.
Here in Portland, Oregon, our local airport has joined the TSA Pre✓™ list of approved airports. And since I joined myself (as a frequent flier of Alaska Airlines, they joined me up automatically, but only for flights on Alaska), it has taken me no longer than 7 seconds to get through TSA after showing my identification. It has been glorious!
So if you’re a frequent business traveler, I’d look into it. It’s so worth the $100 fee.
One note of caution. When you join TSA Pre✓™, they will give you a few options. I chose their Global Entry option, because it made the best sense for me. Your decision may be different. But they give you a “Global Entry” identification card, and it’s an official identification from the Department of Homeland Security, and can be used as proper ID. It can, no matter if a TSA agent refuses it or not. I fly out of the tiny airport of Prescott, Arizona, and the TSA there refused to accept my Homeland Security ID and wanted my drivers license.
So there you have it. I did manage to balance some good with some bad, so take that, TSA! But seriously – join Global Entry. You’ll definitely be glad you did! And drop me a line if you have questions.