Sunday, February 27, 2011

Airlines Out of Control

I recently traveled internationally, and let me tell you, I may never fly again (well, at least until I have to go home.) Airline security in the US is as ridiculous as I ever want to experience it, and feels like a prison camp.

The first thing is the full body scan. Earlier, I had done a far amount of research (due to the fact that I am a Fact Finder as classified by the Kolbe test which has heretofore redefined my life. I like it so much, I'm now considering doing a post just to talk more about it). Anyway, I had read all these horrible things about it: like that it is dangerous for the elderly, children, and women who are pregnant. This is because of all the cancer-causing x-rays they shoot at you, and so I am an aspiring member to the latter category, I decided to opt out.

This created an interesting scene in the airport, but first I read all the rules on it. First, the only other option to the cancer box is a full body pat down (I saw one youtube video where the guy said, "If you weren't wearing your uniform this would be a molestation charge," which I think does well to create the general impression of what it's like. ) It must be done by a same-sex officer (is that what we're calling them?), they have to tell you exactly what they're going to do, and when they get to the 'sensitive' parts of your body, they have to use the back of their hand. There were other things, but I feel like those were the main three.

I went and opted out, and the whole scenario wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. But here's a play-by-play for those interested: First, the lady told me, "Get in the cancer box and put your hands in the air" or something like that. Then I said, "Yeah, I'm going to do the pat-down thing." She then corrected me and said, "Are you opting out?"

"Yes."

She then yelled, "We have an opt out, female!" And everyone looked at me. But I had long decided to shake them hater's off, so I played it cool and didn't notice, though I'm sure this is definitely meant to embarrass the individual. Then I was told to go to the side, with all my stuff that had been scanned, and wait. It took about 4 min or so, fast service, and then the same lady walked over and did everything right from what I remember. I then stood with my hands in a Tshape and stood with my legs wide so she could feel up my legs. I hadn't been working out, so I was a little self-conscious. Overall, I think it wasn't too invasive; she definitely felt around my breasts pretty thoroughly. I wanted to make a comment or laugh at the situation, but I was continually reminded over the loudspeaker that we're at threat level Orange (whatever the hell that means) and "any comment of joke about the security procedures may result in your arrest" (which I know that means 'create false sense of authority in TSA'). So I kept my mouth shut. She then said, you're free to go ma'am. Then I said thanks and immediately regretted it.

The next big ordeal was actually getting onto the plane. This was the worst and I've never felt so insulted in my life. Maybe that one time in middle school when my friend's dad made a racist comment to me, that was close, but this was worse. We were boarding, but we were first led into a hallway and told to put our carry on luggage on one side of the wall, and line up across from it on the other side. This was all yelled at us. A dog then sniffed all out stuff, then us, and the luggage that he lingered at was pulled aside, along with it's owner, and was searched. Some random searches were done too. The whole time though, this man kept yelling at us. To stay still, keep quiet, line up. It was awful. I kept thinking that I was an American citizen and not even Russia treats people this bad. Spain sure as heck didn't. It was patronizing and belittling.

I think the whole purpose of that ordeal was just to create this false sense of fear. All of that extra security is so freaking unnecessary, on top of the rudeness of this group's delusional sense of authority. Actually, I'm wrong. They only have as much authority as we give them, and we're just letting them treat us like that. On top of that, where did these body scanners come from? Were they asked for? I mean, when I went to get my teeth x-rayed last year, they put a giant lead coat on my body and hid behind a lead screen as they pushed the button. I don't think people want x-rays shot at their unprotected bodies but people are stupid enough to line up and take it. Ugh, this gets me so mad. Once they become mandatory, I'm never flying again.

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