Thursday, December 23, 2004

Getting Less Touchy-Feely At The Airports And Other Sins Of The TSA

Sure, they're nominally better than the minimum-wage drones who formerly manned airport security checkpoints. But too many Transportation Security Administration employees still feel the rules are what they say they are, which is often different than official policy. So, the jury will be out on the latest directive involving pat-down searches. No more excursions to your breasts, crotch or tush unless you set off an alarm.
Which still leaves us nowhere when it comes to the most maddening ordeal for road warriors, dealing with the shoe police. As many of us have found out the hard way, the official policy is you don't have to remove your shoes.
But if you're asked to do so and choose to follow that "policy," you're automatically labeled suspect and you and your possessions will get up close and personal with someone who'd much rather be on his coffee break. The more you protest, the longer the search and the more surly the TSA employee gets.
What's hard to understand is why is it OK to keep your sneakers on at JFK, when it's verboten in Des Moines? That's where I saw one poor guy get everything short of an anal probe because he may have looked at someone the wrong way.
I've already waved surrender if my footwear is flagged. It's just not worth the hassle any more. Most TSA employees apparently are disinclined to read their employer's memos. But is help on the way? Maybe, says someone who's in the position to know.
For now, though, don't take them off at your own peril, as Joe Sharkey reported in The New York Times. Reading this piece I quickly discovered that misery really does love company.,0,160982.story?coll=sfla-travel-print

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