Travel Advisory


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.


NEXT: Miami Mayhem

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Thanks for the tip, I wouldn’t want to circumvent Authority as a business model, but I was thinking along the lines of an airline co. that came right out and said “We don’t safety check anybody!”

  2. Good idea!

  3. Geez, David, I haven’t had a bad DMV experience in IL UNTIL Jesse White took over. I had one guy insist my height was wrong. He wanted to put me down as 6’2″; I’ve been 5’10” for the last twenty years and I’m 39! What, I shot up 4 inches in my late thirties? The last time, the woman insisted my hair was brown; it’s been red since the day I was born and it’s not changing color (unless flesh is a hair color). No one ever said anything about my weight, the one vital statistic that does change!

    And the one time I flew since 9/11, the TSA asshole got pissed at me for putting my bag on “her” platform. I just said “Fuck you. You want to be reported?” and she shut up. All I was trying to do was help her out since the bag was heavy.

  4. Osama, yeah because a lot of good security did for 9/11. And without the FAA, who knows, the laws of physics would likely stop working and planes would begin dropping from the sky.

  5. Right on, Citizen (you’re last post)!

    Not true, RST, many airline flights start at uncontrolled fields – now call “untowered” because “uncontrolled” sounds well, sort of out-of-control-like. Vice versa, too, plenty of general aviation flight start at tower-controlled fields. That doesn’t mean there’s a lot of security stuff at the FBO’s (general aviation ramps and fuel-selling businesses). After all, what can I do in my Piper Arrow that you can’t do with you’re rented panel van??

    Even at some of the small airports, there are way too may government dickheads. I’ve seen TSA people outnumber passengers before on some regional jet flights (as in 25 TSA, and 20 pax).

  6. oops, I meant “your” instead of “you’re” TWICE, and plural on “flight”

    Need to start checking my work….

  7. Knitting needles are now allowed (I checked ’cause I knit).

  8. Citizen wrote:

    “But currently, it doesn’t make much sense to take a 50 min flight from LA to Vegas because you’re gonna spend 2 hours at the airport and it only takes 3.5 to drive. That’s true for many short commuter flights. What’s the work around for this?”

    Simple–the work around is to drive. Not only is it cheaper, it’s now faster!

  9. No kidding, speedwell? Thanks for the tip. My gf is taking a flight this week and will be delighted. I know I know, who would fly on Thanksgiving?

  10. Hey Russ D!

    1999 was a terrible experience here, too at the thompson center. but last week was incredibly efficient and full of good spirits (maybe that was the reason!!), also at the T. Center. Congrats on yer growth spirt, grin!

    cheers and have a Happy, Safe Holidays!


  11. the lines at ORD have been long, but at least the fellow asylum waiters have some humor about it. And the quality of the fed-o-screeners is pretty good. also, United has done a good job, the times i’ve gone through, with having some outgoing, friendly people there to direct, field questions, and even sing a song (much to the chagrin of all the people who were still in the line).

    combine that with a positive DMV-Jesse White HQ experience, and my whole bureaukrat-suspicion is on the way out…

    phew. read the article. much better… got over that. now i’m waiting for public health people to go after thanksgiving.


  12. Hey, as long as the pilots are sober, whatever. I don’t generally doubt the need to observe a slightly thinner pantheon of rights in an airport, but I have long wondered how effective the overall process is. How many people (like the NC student) have snuck the same contraband onto planes over and over again? Taken in that perspective, while there’s some overpaid idiot rummaging through my luggage it makes me wonder who they’re missing on account of my dirty laundry.

  13. I’m curious how much of the security is as a result of govt mandate and how much is corporately instituted. Specifically, who is telling who what their passangers can and connot bring on a plane? If I have a buddy that owns a small jet, can he let me on with a knitting needles? What if I’m not his buddy and I pay him for a ride instead?

    Point being, is it at least possible for a small airline too introduce it’s no-security-lines flights? It’d be a huge insurance issue, I know. But currently, it doesn’t make much sense to take a 50 min flight from LA to Vegas because you’re gonna spend 2 hours at the airport and it only takes 3.5 to drive. That’s true for many short commuter flights. What’s the work around for this?

  14. Specifically, who is telling who what their passangers can and connot bring on a plane?

    I think the FAA rules extend to commercial flights only. So the thing with your buddy, you can bring whatever you like with you. And in a private arrangement between two parties, a commercial flight may be created, but the FAA would have to enforce its guidelines in order for them to matter. If there’s no FAA/airport official in the area, who cares? A law is only as good as its ability to be enforced anyway. When you get back into airlines again, then you’re talking about flights originating from FAA controlled towers, where there are supporting airport procedures to facilitate those flights. You probably can’t get past the long line. If you’re flying out of a cornfield, chances are there won’t be any lines anyway.

  15. “What if I’m not his buddy and I pay him for a ride instead?”

    Then you are breaking a _different_ Federal law and your pilot could easily lose his Private Pilots license.

    Read Section Sec. 61.113 of the Federal Aviation Regulations.

  16. EMAIL:
    DATE: 05/20/2004 07:02:32
    In his errors a man is true to type. Observe the errors and you will know the man.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.