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The Stupid Agency

2009-12-28 02:00:36.556666+00 by Dan Lyke 9 comments

ProfessorBainbridge.com: TSA: The Stupid Agency.

Yeah. What he said. Can we please have a little sanity in our air travel security?

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-12-29 20:27:16.640911+00 by: ebradway

Amtrak (on the California Zephyr) is only $96 one way from Denver to Emeryville, CA. But it takes 33 hours and only leaves at 8am. I can fly any of several airlines from DEN to SFO. Frontier (my favorite) has four direct flights every day . The flight is about 2.5 hours and costs a little less than the Amtrak.

For $193, you can take Amtrak (California Zephyr to Chicago and then the Capitol Flyer to Penn Station. It takes 72 hours on the train plus a 6 hour layover in Chicago.

Note: that's 72 hours in a seat not unlike an airline economy seat. To get a sleeper, you'll pay out $1100, one way.

In contrast, United offers several direct flights from SFO to JFK for $219 (including taxes) round-trip. The flight takes 5 hours.

So you can spend $1100 one way on Amtrak or you can fly United and spend three nights in a $300/night hotel in NYC and still have your return covered. Somehow, I think you'd get over the TSA hassle in those three nights.

Sure, the TSA is stupid but compared to the convenience of air travel, it's still a minor hiccup.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-12-29 11:34:46.932279+00 by: meuon

Note: cruise ships mimic, but are laxer than airports. They scan your bags.. and made me remove a very small pocketknife.. but the wine bottle opener (with small blade) made it through.

The way to beat the terrorists:

Step 1: Go back to pre 9/11 screening standards.

Step 2: Publish a list of terrorist's sacred places/things that will glow in the dark if something bad happens and their name/agenda is tied to it.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-12-29 10:22:12.655222+00 by: DaveP

If you've got the time and money, the train can be a nice way to travel, Dan. But a sleeper-compartment is going to run as much as a Very Nice hotel room in SF. I'd say it's worth it at least once for the experience, but I'm not sure if it's practical.

I'm already starting to ponder how I'm going to get to SF for Apple's developer conference in summer 2010. At this point, my best guess is driving.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-12-28 21:31:48.506429+00 by: m

During the Vietnam war many US Generals refused to read The Art of War by Sun Tzu, or Guerrilla Warfare by Che Guevara because such writings were beneath them. This caused an enormous number of US military deaths.

It is clear that this is no longer the case. US officials could not be making so many errors in strategy and tactics just by chance. They must be reading these and similar tomes, and always drawing inverse inferences.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-12-28 17:42:52.929642+00 by: Dan Lyke

I'd say the terrorists are getting exactly what they want.

I'm trying to figure out how I can use the train for my March trip out east.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-12-28 17:14:33.862028+00 by: jeff

For maximum "terror effect," terrorists will likely always target public-use transportation such as airlines and trains. Private planes can certainly do a lot of damage if crashed into crowded areas, but they have little terror effect by comparison to strikes explicitly against mass transportation, which have even larger implicit effects on the economy.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-12-28 16:48:58.927925+00 by: Mark A. Hershberger

No doubt that some people would still fly under those conditions. I, however, would not.

Tele-conferencing would really begin to take off. As would ocean cruises for people who just *have* to cross that big blue body.

At least for those of us on the east coast, the train continues to look more and more attractive for many trips.

Also, say I was a terrorist with my own private plane, or say I was able to rent a private jet. How much of this security theatre applies to me then?

#Comment Re: made: 2009-12-28 16:37:18.19197+00 by: ebradway

I've recently stopped bringing my carry-on luggage because I can get on and off faster. I always try to sit near the front of the plane so I'm one of the last to board and first to get off. Nowadays, that means I rarely get to keep my carry-on in the overhead. Either it gets gate-checked or I have to stick it somewhere in the back of the plane - which means I have to wait for everyone to get off. I also only carry a netbook with me which easily fits under the seat in front of me - even in a window seat.

I just got my "TSA Redress Control Number". I filed a complaint that I was being held at checkin sometime around 2003. It took six years for them to actually get back to me?!?

Despite the inanity (a more appropriate term than insanity), I still marvel at air flight and just submit to the delays. Hell, if they had me strip naked and do the can-can, it'd still beat the alternatives. Per Louis C.K.:


#Comment Re: made: 2009-12-28 13:00:37.435098+00 by: meuon

Well, there goes some more of my fun. I usually carry a SMALL carry on (fits of micro sized regional plane overheads, it's not a roller) and a laptop bag.