#81 - First Class Airport Screening (Watt Thoughts)
Since the terrorist acts of September 11th, we have been examining our airport and flight security in the Unite States. For some of us, what we have learned has been surprising. We have revised the system, and now some are expecting special treatment.
Soon after 9-11 I was surprised to learn that the screening you were going thru at the airports at that time was paid for by the airlines. In some airports they had set up special lines for first class and frequent fliers. The airlines said they could not afford to do the screening properly, research by the federal government showed airport screening in many instances was more a case to just keep the honest honest.
In the fall Congress voted to for the federal government to take over the screening. Although I could see the argument that it should be a local or state government function, I could also see it as a federal function. It does fit within the constitution definition of the federal government to protect the citizens in interstate commerce. Having it run by the government as I think a government police force, which is what screeners should have been, and will be belongs in the government hands and not privatized. However we have now discovered these were low paid jobs by low level employees. The first thing the feds need to do is raise the standard, and train and pay them better. Expect them to be professionals. In the short term it means longer lines to get through as they are short of help, but in the long term we can be expected to be treated well, and feel secure as we get on a plane and fly.
With the new long lines, the airlines suddenly decided this was not making their more frequent customers happy. So they decided to put in express screening lines for these customers. This now means we have a mix of the old and new, some by federal government, and some by airlines. Everyone that is a passenger should have to wait in the same lines. If the airlines wanted to do it this way, that was fine when they were paying the bill. However since it is now a government function, no special treatment should be given to those who spend more to fly. The airlines can still wine them in special rooms, load them separately on the plane, etc.
I do believe one group does deserve to go to the front of the line anytime they approach the screening area. That is the crew on the planes. As with any other job, they have to be thru for the plane to fly. Simply allow them to always go to front of the line. If they are not a member of the active crew, then wait in line also.
We need to treat our citizens equally when the government is providing the work force. We don't provide special lanes for those driving new luxury cars on the highways. Why should it be different when being screened at the airport. If the extra time means they may decide to drive instead, why not? Be like the rest of us. If we force the government officials and airline officials to wait in same lines, I suspect it won't be too long before the lines are solved. We can live with the screening, and we can learn to do it efficiently.
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