Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Enough is Too Much By Half

I had the misfortune of travelling internationally this week.  That doesn't sound too bad considering that I just went to Canada and it was to spend Christmas at a ski resort.  But the problem wasn't the destination or even the journey there.  The problem was the trip back.
What happens when a Nigerian Jackass tries to blow off his own testicles on an airplane?  The TSA suddenly embarrassed and needing to justify it's existence uses it as an excuse to:

  • Frisk everyone - including children, with their hands down the back of your pants using the same rubber gloves to touch everyone
  • Ban ALL carry-on items - leaving thousands of laptops to the mercy of the throwers/baggage-handlers
  • Not allow anyone out of their seats for one hour prior to landing.  Standing up is a crime during that time - either to go to the bathroom or to access the overhead bins.
  • Change the rules during the process - thereby allowing the first batch through security to keep their laptops but not the cases - which then had to be thrown away on the spot.
At what point to do we, the paying customers, cry 'foul' and draw the line?

Delta airlines has placards posted and pamphlets that they hand out to say that they are not responsible for any property that you lose by 'complying with regulations' - i.e. arbitrary rulings at the security booth are final and you have no recourse to keep your property if they arbitrarily tell you to throw it away.

The Delta pilot went out of his way to lay blame for the 1-hour-in-seat rule on the TSA, Northwest airlines, and the idiot in question - at least 3 times.

If children were required to be frisked to the extent that they did at the airport when they went to school - we would call it Child Abuse.  But you are not even allowed to intervene on your children's behalf because you might pose a danger in doing so - in the same way that you may not touch your wallet as they rifle through it.

How all of this benefits the airlines:
  • More checked bags means more luggage charges
  • 1 hour less cabin service (I watched from first class as my cabin stewardess did crossword puzzles) 
  • No laptops means more sales of in-flight entertainment services on seat-back screens
How to get around this crap:
  • Charter your own plane - a turbo-prop is $400/hour and a jet is $1,200/hour plus the pilot's time for layovers.  This is split across everyone in the plane.  There is NO security at all.  You leave your shoes on and bring your bags from your car to the plane and no one says anything to you with the exception of the pilot.  Money talks and the rich do not suffer the indignities that the peasantry must lightly.
  • Ship your luggage - for $500 I sent my snowboard bag fully loaded on a round trip from New York, USA to Whistler, Canada.  It went through customs without me and was at the hotel when I got there. Zero hassle.

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