Don't worry: This post isn't about the election today. But the subject could become a political issue, depending on what happens if a frequent-flying member of Congress happens to experience what some ordinary passengers are at airport checkpoint these days. Continue reading to find some good analysis of that topic, and a personal report on an ordinary day of waiting for 20 mintues to clear security at PHL's Terminals D-E.
Airport security screening by TSA officers has taken on a whole new meaning recently with the addition of full-body scanners at Philadelphia and other airports. See the Inquirer's story on their PHL debut posted below. For those concerned about privacy or the X-rays emitted by the new scanners, New York Times columnist Joe Sharkey has a tale to tell about what happens if you decline to be screened by the machines.Here's his column from today about what the alternative, full-body grope is like.
This week, there may also be stepped-up screening at checkpoints because of the threat of explosives shipped by air cargo jets from Yemen to the US, including one enroute to PHL before it was intercepted. (Here's some late news about that topic, about whether the packages sent were a dry run for the real thing.)
Here's why I'm wondering about this. Last Friday, clearing security at Dallas Love Field after attending Southwest's annual media day, TSA officers were yelling at everyone in my line to take the little plastic bag with 3-ounce liquids and gels out of carryon bags and place them separately in a bin. Last summer, I asked Winging It column readers if they had noticed that the TSA seemed to not be enforcing that particular rule anymore. About 20 readers said that their experience for the last year or so had been like mine: They said that they had not been stopped if they didn't follow that particular rule. On one day, at one airport at least, trust me, they were enforcing it.