Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The absurdity of excesive air traveler scrutiny

The New York Times blog on air travel--Jet Lagged--had a great editorial (The Airport Security Follies), on December 28th, by Patrick Smith, a commercial pilot and the author of Salon's "ask the pilot." Read the full editorial here.

"Six years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, airport security remains a theater of the absurd. The changes put in place following the September 11th catastrophe have been drastic, and largely of two kinds: those
practical and effective, and those irrational, wasteful and pointless. The
first variety have taken place almost entirely behind the scenes. Explosives
scanning for checked luggage, for instance, was long overdue and is perhaps the most welcome addition.

"Unfortunately, at concourse checkpoints all across America, the madness of passenger screening continues in plain view. It began with pat-downs and the senseless confiscation of pointy objects. Then came the mandatory shoe removal, followed in the summer of 2006 by the prohibition of liquids and gels. We can only imagine what is next."

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