In case you were wondering what you, the airline passenger, can do to help the Transportation Security Administration during the upcoming holiday weekend, TSA Administrator James Loy offers some tips on "how to shorten security lines" in a Washington Times op-ed piece:
Tip One: Place all metal items in a carry-on bag before going through the checkpoint.
Tip Two: Take laptops out of their cases.
Tip Three: Take coats off.
This much is not exactly news to anyone who has flown in the last couple of years. Still, Loy surely is right that waiting until the last moment to stash your cell phone, keys, and change can slow things down.
But so would following another of his suggestions: "Passengers provide additional millions of eyes watching for suspicious activity." It's anybody's guess how many false alarms would be generated if those millions of eyes became thousands of mouths reporting anyone who didn't look quite right. Security probably would not be improved, and lines definitely would not be shorter.
Apparently the Times itself took Loy's message with a grain of salt. The op-ed piece, which refers to "the fine job our security screeners do every day," was illustrated with a cartoon referring to the ease with which North Carolina college student Nathaniel Heatwole smuggled box cutters and dummy explosives onto airplanes.