Saturday, November 13, 2010

TSA's Latest Options for Air Travelers: Zap or Grope

"Growing backlash against TSA body scanners, pat-downs"
Phil Gast, Travel, CNN (November 12, 2010)

"A growing pilot and passenger revolt over full-body scans and what many consider intrusive pat-downs couldn't have come at a worse time for the nation's air travel system.

"Thanksgiving, the busiest travel time of the year, is less than two weeks away.

"Grassroots groups are urging travelers to either not fly or to protest by opting out of the full-body scanners and undergo time-consuming pat-downs instead.

"Such concerns prompted a meeting Friday of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano with leaders of travel industry groups...."

Aside from passengers not wanting to give someone the jollies by playing one-sided pat-a-cake, there are health concerns:

Glow-in-the-Dark Pilots?

"...'Pilots should NOT submit to AIT (Advanced Imaging Technology) screening,' wrote Capt. Mike Cleary, president of the U.S. Airline Pilots Association, in a letter to members this week. USAPA represents more than 5,000 US Airways pilots.

" 'Based on currently available medical information, USAPA has determined that frequent exposure to TSA-operated scanner devices may subject pilots to significant health risks,' Cleary wrote...."

The Lemming does not envy anybody working in the TSA and trying to manage a system that seems to be getting invented as it goes along.

There's Common-Sense Security: And There's Moonbat-Crazy Stuff Like This

That said, I've opined about the TSA, security, and common sense in another blog. Before someone has a stroke, let the Lemming point out that, in the Lemming's opinion, the safety of the flying public is one thing - the sort of weirdness I've discussed is something else:Like the fellow said, 'you can't make this stuff up, folks.'

On the other hand, note the dates of those posts: These may be comparatively uncommon incidents.

The CNN article does a pretty good job of covering the latest X-ray-or-grope effort to make America's skies safer. Including this wonderfully-polite statement from the USTA:

"...'While the meeting with Secretary Napolitano was informative, it was not entirely reassuring,' the U.S. Travel Association said in a statement.

" 'We certainly understand the challenges that DHS confronts, but the question remains, "where do we draw the line"? Our country desperately needs a long-term vision for aviation security screening, rather than an endless reaction to yesterday's threat,' the statement said. 'At the same time, fundamental American values must be protected.'..."

Solution to Frequent-Flier Headaches: Don't Fly

The Lemming's son-in-law has to do a lot of traveling for his business. For example, he'll soon be heading to Louisiana to do some filming. We discussed the pros and cons of air, rail, and other options for getting him, his wife, and equipment down there and back.

This evening he rolled into the Lemming's back yard - with an RV he bought.

His equipment fits in the stowage space, there's plenty of room inside for the sort of digital editing equipment he uses, and the couple don't have to eat out when they're on the road.

With what they'll save on restaurants, motels, and air fare - it won't take long for that thing to pay for itself.

How About Web Conferencing?

Not everybody travels enough to justify buying an RV: but the Lemming's guess is that quite a few families will be deciding whether some webcams and a bit of software will solve the problem of how to get the family together over the holidays.

As for the airlines and the TSA? Like I said: the Lemming doesn't envy folks in the TSA who are trying to do their jobs. As for airlines and everyone else who makes a living flying other folks from on place to another? I've been laid off, fired, let go, and lost jobs in a few other ways. I hope that the TSA and the air travel industry work out some way for folks to fly without risking their health - or getting groped.

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