Security Theater

I am a little late to the game, but in case you have not seen the new DHS regs (apparently only in place until December 30, when they will no doubt come up with something even stupider, here they are.


  • Physical patdowns of some but not all of a passenger's body, to exclude areas of the body actually used by the recent terrorist to secret his bomb components.
  • No getting up in the last hour of the flight, for no good reason than the last threat occurred in the last hour of the flight.  Of course, the 9/11 hijackings occurred in the first hour of the flight.
  • Services that are actually starting to make air flight more tolerable are banned, including midair Internet access and real-time satellite TV feeds.  And no more of that telling you where you are and how long until you land - you'll just have to wait for the landing gear to kiss the ground to know when you are landing.
  • Everything that was inspected at the security point has to be reinspected at the gate
  • Don't bother trying to read anything on the flight or occupy your mind in any way - personal items banned in the first and last hour.
  • Only one carry-on, so plan to check your bag, paying the airline to do so, and then add an extra 45 minutes at your destination to wait for it to finally be delivered back to you.

I used to fly about 100,000 miles a year in this job.  I am now down to 25,000, despite the fact my business is even more spread out.  A bit more effort from the DHS and I will get it down to zero.


  1. silvermine:

    These rules are pretty much un-doable for much of the population I'd say. Anyone with circulatory or bladder problems. Anyone with kids under, oh, 10? Anyone pregnant.

    Not a lot of people can sit still and do nothing for an hour.

  2. Mike:

    The new directive is only for international flights bound for the USA.

    I am a big supporter of having all passengers fly nude. There would be little need for TSA and the line lengths would be very short. Another perk of first class travel would be Playboy caliber models, however us coach fliers would have to sit next to hairy uncle elmore.

  3. James H:

    Flying nude wouldn't be enough, as there are still places one could hide a device. These measures are all so silly, and easily bypassed. Obviously, a bad guy would know the flight path and duration of the flight, and so a simple watch would be all that is needed. I'm sure that watches are next up on the ban list. Maybe everyone will need to be sedated prior to boarding or something. That I could possibly withstand more than the no-getting-up restrictions. On some flights, the seat belt light is on most of the time, with only a few minutes of time to use the lavatory. I guess we'll need diapers to get through the flight.

  4. Xmas:

    The funny thing is, almost every international flight has entertainment screens at each seat. Through the screen you can pull up a map showing your current location and time until landing.

  5. thebastidge:

    Yet another reason to get my pilot's license.

  6. Jess:

    Xmas - not now. They're turned off (as of yesterday, UA FRA/IAD).

  7. John Moore:

    While we were sitting at the gate in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Christmas Day, they announced that ALL liquids, gels and aerosols were banned - unless one had a prescription. Since we were already through security, we didn't get rid of our liquids, gels and aerosols (we had all three).

    I guess they came up with the other rules while we were in flight, so we weren't tortured with them. However, flying the unfriendly skies in coach is now already terrible torture - at least for those of us with long legs. The seats are too close together, and all seats are full.

    After that trip, I decided that I will avoid airline flights wherever possible - TSA or no TSA.

    Meanwhile, I wonder if they'll ever get around to just keeping bad guys from flying (you know, like known Al Qaeda guys who were ratted out to the State Department by their fathers).

    Perhaps El Al will expand its franchise. I'll be glad to fly with them.

  8. Andrea Massucco:

    I have a solution: cutting the demand for flights. Well, maybe it's not a solution, but at least our stupid and coward Governments will not get they tax share out of tickets and stupid and coward airlines and airports will see their business going down.

    I've significantly cut down on flights since a good 6-7 years now. I'm simply not interested in subsidizing hypocrisy and traveling uncomfortably. I don't flying for leisure anymore, only for business and only if time constraints and/or distance don't allow for alternative transportation.

    Plus, as next spring I'll have videoconferencing in all three offices, I plan to cut flying time even more.

  9. tomw:

    "Hi, I am from TSA and I'm here to help you." ... go belly up. What more can they do to discourage air travel?
    Hint: if you own airline stock ... Don't.

    AirTran just spent a bazillion dollars installing WiFi [whatever it would be called aloft] and has been advertising it as their 'one-up' advantage over their competition. Wonder if the One has buddies at UA, AA, or Delta that were getting pinched, or didn't want to meet AirTran feature for feature. If I were AirTran, I'd be po'd at the TSA pulling this arbitrary and capricious crap because they don't do their job, nor do they hold inbound foreign flights to any standard as a criteria for entering USA airspace.
    Be damned if I will be 'spam in a can' at 32,000 feet.

    What more can TSA do to demonstrate their ignorance and stupidity? Ban CO2 on airplanes? Make them fly lower and slower so they don't fall so far when they are blown up?
    This too will pass.

  10. me:

    And just when I thought it could hardly get worse... I find it baffling that people capable of riding to the decision making layer of complex organizations can sign off on such obvious BS. Anyone else wishing for some accountability? Or a private jet?

  11. Not Sure:

    Flew home today, and at the metal detector portion of the Airport Security Theater show, they had me take off my baseball cap so they could look inside it. Nothing there, so they sent me on my way.

    Clearly, whatever it was they were looking for in my hat could never have been hidden in my pockets, which weren't checked.

    I feel safer for the trouble, though- yes I do.

  12. Cory:

    yes get that pilot's license and buy a lancair 360 and write it off. Anything with 500 miles will be quicker when you factor in parking, tsa and the time for a commercial bird to get into the air and then wait for bags on the other end.

    Today is my first commercial flight in years and I look forward to it with dread...

  13. me:

    The unfunny bit, of course, is the actual security.

    On my last camping trip to middle America, on which we were singled out for hand-searching of our carry-on luggage, the screener confiscated the sun screen. I had made a packing blunder (long difficult story - trusting the wrong person) and what I ended up carrying on ended up containing things that should not have been on the plane.

    Interestingly, that included a pair of scissors, a fixed knife and a camping lighter (5cm blue flame, contains gasoline), which neither the hand screening nor the x-ray inspection found. I am glad nothing was found, angry about my mistake and not suprised about the efficacy of the inspection.

    We'd be better off with no connection between the passenger cell and the cockpit and armed air marshals on as many planes as possible.

  14. jon:

    Small Business owners are largely forgotten. Thats why I only focus on them. I have experience several members of my family file bankruptcy due to small business failures. I also I suffered through 2 destroyed businesses due to failure however, in my failings I have learned some of the secrets to success. (Who can say they know it all?)
    What I like about small business owners is that they are not afraid to take huge risks and lay it all on the line. But, I agree they do need a lot of help with their marketing. I think having them go the social media and email route is not only the least expensive but its also the most effective. Thanks for the stats!