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#41 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 05:20 PM

The TSA is a massive and growing impediment to the free and practical movement of millions of innocent travelers.  Not surprisingly these problems seem to be lost on folks who rarely fly, folks who enjoy limited impact thanks to living in bumblefork nowhere, and folks who enjoy priority service thanks to special status or disposable income.  I happen to have priority screening access but that doesn't mean I've forgotten what it's like to be scanned without status.  Nor have I failed to notice that as TSA increases in importance as a revenue earning vehicle the primary screening process has become slower and more taxing for average travelers.  Eventually PreCheck will no longer be enough and we'll need to start stacking priority screening services on top of each other just to make the plane on time.  Prior to the TSA I could park my car thirty minutes before takeoff and still have time to spare.  Not in some deserted spoke airport in the middle of nowhere, but right here in the seventh largest city in the country.  Now you need closer to two hours for the average traveler to be sure they can make it.


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 19 May 2016 - 05:22 PM.

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#42 Ryan

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 08:00 PM

That I wholeheartedly agree with. I certainly recognize that I'm lucky to have the benefits of pre clearance. That said, the realistic view also isn't the dehumanizing strip and grope fest that some people make it out to be for all travelers.
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#43 Bob Dylan

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 08:23 PM

Yep, it's somewhat amazing. Even with just PreCheck, it's not uncommon for me to walk into the terminal, drop my bag (if I have one) and walk straight through security w/o waiting in line.


Is that @ BWI or National Ryan? ( I'll never call it by the Bogus name that the T-publican Congress gave it!)
 
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#44 Ryan

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 08:33 PM

BWI.
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#45 neroden

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 09:07 PM

And of course the bit about "stripped and pawed" is just an overstated fantasy of those that for unknown reason need to repeatedly justify their own choices about the mode of travel by dreaming up nonsense.

No, it's been done. There are plenty of reports and you can look 'em up. Are you surprised that it's generally done to good-looking women? Because I'm not surprised.

TSA did not hire quality people. They ended up with a fair number of abusers hiding in their ranks. I'm sure it's a small minority, but they've made no effort to get rid of them.

As far as I can tell, TSA is a giant jobs program with no other function other than to scare people. We know it's completely useless against any serious terrorist attack; there have been enough tests, and a serious terrorist attack would of course target the *waiting lines*. I suppose it's better than our biggest giant federal make-work program, the US military, but honestly I'd rather just give everyone welfare and stop wasting money on ****.


FWIW, the next serious terrorist hijacking or bombing of a plane (they don't happen very often) will *undoubtedly* come from someone with "precheck" clearance of some sort. The prechecking is essentially worthless because they're working with outmoded models of who's likely to want to commit terrorist acts. Our federal government, and particularly the "security services", are staffed almost entirely by people with zero clue geopolitically.

Edited by neroden, 19 May 2016 - 09:50 PM.

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#46 Ryan

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 09:55 PM

I don't think that anyone is saying that it's never been done, just that it's not the norm by a long shot.
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#47 RSG

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 03:09 AM

I guess my state is bigger than your state. :)

 
Well, considering I don't live in AK, and yours is the second largest state, why yes...yes it is!
 
But then my state isn't served by SWA, which as most travel observers know, was created to make it just as cheap to fly within TX as it was to drive within TX.

Edited by RSG, 20 May 2016 - 03:18 AM.


#48 jis

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 08:15 AM

The TSA is a massive and growing impediment to the free and practical movement of millions of innocent travelers.  Not surprisingly these problems seem to be lost on folks who rarely fly, folks who enjoy limited impact thanks to living in bumblefork nowhere, and folks who enjoy priority service thanks to special status or disposable income.  I happen to have priority screening access but that doesn't mean I've forgotten what it's like to be scanned without status.  Nor have I failed to notice that as TSA increases in importance as a revenue earning vehicle the primary screening process has become slower and more taxing for average travelers.  Eventually PreCheck will no longer be enough and we'll need to start stacking priority screening services on top of each other just to make the plane on time.  Prior to the TSA I could park my car thirty minutes before takeoff and still have time to spare.  Not in some deserted spoke airport in the middle of nowhere, but right here in the seventh largest city in the country.  Now you need closer to two hours for the average traveler to be sure they can make it.

I do agree with that.
 
Since I am in the software business my analogy of the situation comes from what I am familiar with. We all are kinda stuck with whatever Microsoft throws at us, or at least have been. TSA is sort of like what Microsoft throws at us. We the hapless travelers, or developers in the analogy figure out ways to work around the obvious gaps and faults. This in the software business has caused entire sub-industries tio develop, like the whole virus protection business. As in the case of TSA these add-on fee ways of bypassing the mainstream has developed. Eventually events overtake the situation, which in case of Microsoft has been Linux and Android and iOS and OS-X the various variants of UNIX rising from the ashes in a manner of speaking. Maybe in the case of TSA we are reaching a turning point where the ludicrousness of it will finally move those that can actually dismantle it and replace it with something more reasonable and practical. What is it, or will be - I don't know for sure. But one thing I know is that we will not be returning to completely unchecked access to airplanes, and the other thing I know is the current method is impractical and does not scale and therefore in its present form is unsustainable.
 
As a part of the overall situation I think a solution should include reorienting the infrastructure so as to remove most under 500 miles passengers from the use of air transport as a first step, whether it be by rail, bus, ride share or some combination thereof. The second is to redesign airports to have more integrated and large airsides allowing for multiple entry points and reduce the need for security checking when you move from one terminal to another. This can be achieved by providing airside connections using buses, from terminal to terminal. This is something that is already being done at many airports, though it could be advertised better. This removes people from security queues. And the third is to make it easier in terms of price point, for people to get into the Pre program. $85 for five years may be quite impractical for a family of four that just travels on vacation once a year.
 
Meanwhile of course the band of inactivity on everything plays on on Capitol Hill unless it involves interfering in the private lives of the underprivileged to keep control of them and their bedroom and toilet behavior somehow, and also make sure that everyone has to pay more and more for healthcare so that the keepers of our laws can get bigger and bigger kickbacks for serving their paymasters.
 
Sad is the situation. What can I say?

Edited by jis, 21 May 2016 - 05:21 AM.


#49 Anderson

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Posted 21 May 2016 - 12:49 AM

One thing they could do is permit pre-checking on folks under a given age (18? 16? 13?) if they're with an adult who qualifies and/or permit "piggyback" pre-check within a family (e.g. the parents would pay $85/ea but let the kids in for $20).

I've been mulling this over, btw, and my sense is that the TSA is being semi-intentionally obtuse in their handling of things (e.g. "keeping on keeping on" even as it became apparent that Precheck wasn't selling like they wanted it to, not to mention often botching up handling Precheck by not having the Precheck line open even when the main lines are extremely long).  Basically, if next week a domestic airline attack (or foiled-in-progress attempt) occurred it would basically be all on the TSA's head (witness the dubious-to-criminal use of funds and documented bumbling).  If, however, Congress starts seriously meddling then the TSA can at least /try/ to play the blame game.  Yes, I recognize that their hands are tied in various ways but I get the feeling they almost WANT Congress to start ordering them around so they have some level of defense when the shoe inevitably drops.


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#50 MARC Rider

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 12:21 PM

Yep, it's somewhat amazing. Even with just PreCheck, it's not uncommon for me to walk into the terminal, drop my bag (if I have one) and walk straight through security w/o waiting in line.

 

Depends on the time and the day of the week.  I had been having good luck with reasonably fast entry at BWI until one day last summer (it was fairly early on a Sunday morning in July), I decided to come an hour and a half early instead of 2 hours early, and between the baggage check line and security, I managed to get to my gate just in time to see my plane backing off.  The funny thing was that when I checked by bag, the computer spit out a notice that the bag was being checked late, so I should expect a delay in its delivery.  However, when I finally got to San Antonio later in the day, my bag was waiting for me, having made the original flight, even if I hadn't!



#51 MARC Rider

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 12:39 PM

I've got some questions about Pre-Check, given that there seem to be some people here who have it.  My wife and 25-year old daughter are flying with me to California in July for a family wedding.  Leaving BWI on a Thursday morning, returning, leaving Oakland on a Saturday morning.  Given all the hoo-hah I've been reading about TSA meltdown (and my own unfortunate experience last summer), I'm wondering whether we should apply.  Of course that's three of us at $85 bucks apiece, but it is good for 5 years.

 

I looked at their website, and it seems like you don't have to make the initial application online, but you can just go to the interview (they have a couple of locations in inconvenient parts of Baltimore and also downtown DC.)  Is it possible to schedule interview appoints for all 3 of us at the same time?  (The appointment schedule form on the web site appears to only allow you to make one appointment at a time, but they have a phone number to call.)

 

If we do get an appointment, what has the experience been in terms for time from appointment to time that you receive your KTN ("known traveler number?")  That is, what's the absolute latest we need to get the appointment in order to apply it to our flight in early July?   We already have the reservations, but the website said you should be able to call the airline and have them apply the KTN to the reservation before the boarding pass is issued.

 

Is this worth it, or should we just suck it up and arrive at the airport 3 hours early?  (Of course, I'd hate to go through the process, fork over the cash, and find out there's no pre-check line that day.)



#52 HighBall

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 02:20 PM

Speaking of TSA and incompetence - As of 5.23.16

TSA's Head Of Security 'Removed' From Office, Says House Panel
 



#53 Palmetto

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 02:31 PM

For MARC Rider:

 

I pre-applied online, then I went to Miami International for the actual sign-up.  You can walk in, but if you have an appointment, you'll do better than walk-ins they say.  BTW, there was no one in the office when I showed up, so the whole thing took about 15 minutes.  I got an online answer in a couple of days, and a follow-up letter in about a week, both containing my KTN.



#54 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 02:38 PM

I didn't have to deal with the TSA directly since Pre membership comes with GE, but it sounds like signing up for Pre will probably take longer than before and is likely to mean less to those who already have it once everyone currently in the backlog finally gets signed up.

 

Link:  http://www.wisn.com/...rogram/39693824


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#55 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 02:42 PM

I didn't have to deal with the TSA directly since Pre membership comes with GE, but it sounds like signing up for Pre will probably take longer than before and is likely to mean less to those who already have it once everyone currently in the backlog finally gets signed up.

 

Link:  http://www.wisn.com/...rogram/39693824

I'm just waiting for everyone to have signed up for pre-screen and get in that line then I can breeze through the regular line.  :D  It might just pay to be poor (and not travel much).  :lol:


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#56 MARC Rider

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 03:01 PM

 

I didn't have to deal with the TSA directly since Pre membership comes with GE, but it sounds like signing up for Pre will probably take longer than before and is likely to mean less to those who already have it once everyone currently in the backlog finally gets signed up.

 

Link:  http://www.wisn.com/...rogram/39693824

I'm just waiting for everyone to have signed up for pre-screen and get in that line then I can breeze through the regular line.   :D  It might just pay to be poor (and not travel much).   :lol:

 

 

Actually, what it means is that when they sign up everybody, security screening for most passengers will be the way it was before they started going nuts about it.  That is, you'll be able to keep your shoes on, laptops in your bag, etc.  That's part of the attraction of the pre-check program.

 

The taking off your shoes and belts, and having to pull laptops etc. out of the bags is what slows up the security lines in the first place.  But it seems like they're happy to have most people not have to do this, as long as the passengers pay the ransom  fee.  So why not just end the silliness of the shoes and belts, etc? If they want money, they can just add a "security charge" to the ticket prices and be done with it.

 

BTW, the year after 9/11, I had occasion to travel to Tijuana, Mexico, and when I entered the pedestrian border crossing to return the the US, I had to go through a metal detector.  I was about to empty my pockets, when the soldier (yes, there were genuine US Army (or maybe California National Guard) soldiers at that border crossing in June 2002)  supervising the operation told me not to bother.  Apparently they can set the detectors up so that they can distinguish between a cellphone, change and keys in the pocket and a weapon in the pocket.  Of course, they don't have detectors that can distinguish between Cuban and Dominican cigars, but that's the point of the interview with the customs officer. :P   (I brought no cigars over, but I did have a bottle of tequila in hand.) 



#57 bretton88

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Posted 24 May 2016 - 06:13 PM

One thing they could do is permit pre-checking on folks under a given age (18? 16? 13?) if they're with an adult who qualifies and/or permit "piggyback" pre-check within a family (e.g. the parents would pay $85/ea but let the kids in for $20).

I've been mulling this over, btw, and my sense is that the TSA is being semi-intentionally obtuse in their handling of things (e.g. "keeping on keeping on" even as it became apparent that Precheck wasn't selling like they wanted it to, not to mention often botching up handling Precheck by not having the Precheck line open even when the main lines are extremely long).  Basically, if next week a domestic airline attack (or foiled-in-progress attempt) occurred it would basically be all on the TSA's head (witness the dubious-to-criminal use of funds and documented bumbling).  If, however, Congress starts seriously meddling then the TSA can at least /try/ to play the blame game.  Yes, I recognize that their hands are tied in various ways but I get the feeling they almost WANT Congress to start ordering them around so they have some level of defense when the shoe inevitably drops.

Pre check has allowed kids 12 and under to come with their eligible parents for a couple years now.

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