Because the US travel ban needed to get worse

If you’re an American, you already know that people around the world either hate us or think we’re just plain stupid.  Then again, let’s see what happens in France this weekend, and we’ll see if we get a pass.

Anyway, so there’s now a ban on anything larger than a cellphone traveling in the cabin of any airliner coming to the United States from 10 different Arabic countries.  The UK has decided to jump on that bandwagon as well.  But now, just about a month later, someone in charge was wondering, “So how do we make travel even more unbearable?”  And even though we thought it couldn’t be done – it’s one of those Ronco, “But Wait! There’s More!” moments.

Now it looks like you won’t be able to travel with anything larger than a cellphone even from European countries.  Seriously.

Think about it.  A five, ten, fifteen hour trip with just your cellphone.  No iPad, no Samsung Note, no portable DVD player.  And as you’re taxiing away from the gate, you hear, “We’re sorry, but Chief Purser Gopher just deleted all in-flight entertainment.  But somewhere we’ve got a VHS copy of Biodome with Pauly Shore somewhere,” screamed from the overhead.  Won’t that be great?

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Has the TSA just thrown in the towel?

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.

What the hell, TSA?

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How I knew it was going to be a bad TSA day

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.

Aah, adventures with the TSA.  Fun, eh?

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Dear Idiot, Welcome to Jail

I can’t believe this kind of thing still happens these days!

So some brilliant man decides to joke about having a bomb in his bag when he goes to check into his flight at Anchorage International late Saturday night.  Well, really his friend’s bag – but still.  And he said he was “joking” and “flirting”.

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.

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Dear TSA: WTF?

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.

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Freedom Of Expression v. The TSA

And who wins?  Freedom of Expression!

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.

One for the good guys!

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More on the TSA porno body scanners

Anybody remember the video from last March about getting things through the TSA body scanners?  Well the original guy is at it again, and has video of his incident via a “freedom of information” act.

Here it is.  Support this guy!