Thursday, January 31, 2013

I Can Fly!

My own personal boycott of the airline industry appears to have worked.  Those nasty, useless and costly naked-image scanners are a thing of the past -- at least for now.

The company, which Stephen Colbert has noted is coincidentally called Rapiscan, could not come up with less revealing software in the time Congress had allotted.  Hysterically, the company denies that the contract was cancelled due to a TSA probe of whether the company had faked testing data.  For that matter, they deny that the scanners were dangerous or invasive.  But they did make buckets of money.

And according to the TSA, these radioactive strip-searches were effective, because they "did their job of screening 130 million passengers."  I suppose that would be an accurate assessment, that is if your goal is to screen a lot of passengers.  My impression was the goal was to find terrorists, which by the way they did not.

Meanwhile, back at the airport, if you are willing to give lots of personal information to the Precheck Program, the TSA will let you go through lines faster, like without having to remove your belts and shoes.  Well worth the trade-off, I think, especially if you are a terrorist who doesn't mind telling a lie or two about your personal life to be able to get comfortable before the flight.

And, since I haven't been inside an airport in a couple of years except to pick up a loved one with no sense of personal dignity or willingness to make sacrifices for our freedom, I can only assume nothing else much has changed.

The airlines still have fewer people at check-in because automation may not be safer, but it's certainly cheaper.

Luggage is still going to get carried on and jammed in small spaces at everyone's inconvenience because the airlines need that $25 per bag.  And then, because the planes keep getting smaller, they will let people check bags at boarding, screwing the people who were honest and sensible enough to pay $25 to store their bag in the first place.

And, I know this makes no sense, but it takes lots more stops to get just about anywhere, and longer to get off those teensy-tiny planes as everyone has to wait for the people in front of them to pull those big bags out of those overhead compartments, so it's far more likely that connections will be missed.  But if you're willing to pay full fare, you're likely to get one of those seats that someone is running to catch, because airlines are able to sell a ticket that's already paid for, even if they know the connecting flight has just landed.

And now I'm feeling a bit more pissed off, and the sound of that damned TSA announcement that repeats itself every three minutes is really getting to me, and I'm trying to find someone from the airline that can tell me why my flight isn't being posted anymore, even though it's scheduled to depart in 15 minutes, and...

Well, I'm glad my boycott worked, but I think I'll wait a bit before I book my next flight.

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