Are security measures for air passengers too strict?

Air travel officials in Europe are challenging American security requirements as burdensome and unnecessary. Today’s Question: Are security measures for air passengers too strict?

  • Clark

    Yes, yes and yes. I travel international flights every month and I am always amazed how quick t0 go through most security in Euro nations vs U.S.

    The other big problem is different U.S. airports have different rules for what need

    is to be placed in carts.

    I believe the TSA tries but is basically a jobs program.

    As is typical, the U.S. overreacts to everything.

  • Tina Shaw

    Yes! Every time I slip off my shoes, and now dig out my toothpaste, I think how ridiculous this process is. These requirements are a diversion away from real problems of security.

  • John O.

    “Strict” is a relative term. It’s the inconsistency that is frustrating. Haphazard staffing levels add to the frustration when the passenger line goes on and on and lanes that could be open, aren’t.

    I’ve had cases at MSP where the delay was significant enough that TSA agents were combing the long lines seeking passengers for certain departing flights that were stuck in line. Those folks got pulled from the line and ushered to the front, justifiably.

    If I were one of them, I would be grateful. But please TSA, look at your staffing levels.

  • Kathy

    Like other posters, I’m frustrated with the inconsistency. Another problem I see is that many TSA officials — especially at Minneapolis — have terrible public relations skills. When I travel with my small son, who has ADHD, I always have to grit my teeth through security at Minneapolis as they aren’t patient with him. Denver, on the other hand, is the exception. The TSA staff in Denver is WONDERFUL, but vigilant at the same time.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Yes, but Americans have always been reluctant to admit that good ideas might come from Europe, bad European ideas notwithstanding, so it’s not likely to change. We’re too unwilling to let go of our arrogance and learn from other countries’ successes. (Consider, for instance, our allergic reaction to anything vaguely resembling socialized medicine.)

  • Aaron Victorin-Vangerud

    In America we often obsess over explicit control of information; we fear vulnerability. This tendency appears anywhere from cell phones to detainee torture.

    We need this control to explicitly identify and punish the immoral:

    the death penalty

    opposition to extension of health care benefits

    marginalization of illegal immigrants

    anti-tax ideology

    theologies of Hell

    It’s a purity war.

  • Alison

    Yes. When it comes to making air travel inconvenient, the terrorists won. But that might not be a bad thing for our country. It is making more fuel efficient rail travel an attractive option for shorter trips.

  • Elizabeth T

    Strict isn’t the question – the question is “is it necessary?” My answer is a mostly unqualified “no”.

    As a question of risk management, it fails to meet my basic requirements. We’ll never be able to prevent everything. Efforts should target the most likely security problems.

    e.g. 3 fluid ounces of shampoo is *not* a security risk. One “shoe bomb” and suddenly every single person needs to scan her shoes?

    I agree with the comment about TSA public relations. It needs to be spectacular enough to balance the b.s. some people meet. Once traveling with 2 small children (9 mo. & 3 yr.), it was a major production getting through security with

    >> a double stroller, which I hadn’t even realized was collapsable

    >> 2 kids,

    >> a diaper bag,

    >> a carry on bag,

    >> taking my shoes off,

    >> taking the 3 year old’s shoes off,

    >> they wouldn’t let the kids go through the scanner holding hands with me,

    ** I had to give my 9 mo. old to someone to hold while taking the 3 year old through,

    >> then have TSA restrain the now screaming 3 year old while I went back for the 9 mo. old

  • Alan

    No! Are they reactionary as opposed to proactive? Yes. That doesn’t mean they are too strict. These are a response to actual attempts. If the rules didn’t change, terrorists would have simply tried again until it did. Remember, 9/11 was not the first WTC attck. They just found a way to do it more successfully.

    Second, I find it amusing that Europeans are telling us anything about security. People are actually listening when they have had many times more terrorist attacks (although smaller scale than 9/11) than we ever have on our soil? Give me a break. This is like the UN telling the US what to do after the fact in the Balkans when they were too cowardly or weak to do the right thing (ending genocide is the right thing afterall) themselves.

  • Lawrence

    Considering what other countries do, I’d have to say no, they aren’t too strict. Obviously, some cities don’t need as much protection as others. New York, Boston, LA, DC, Philadelphia, Dallas, Las Vegas, Chicago, San Fran – lots of security is probably needed. Louisville, St Louis, Boise, Jackson-Mississippi, Columbia-South Carolina, not as much needed.

  • stu klipper

    Strick, schmrict.

    Security expert Bruce Schneir’s term “security theater” is spot on.

    Whatever the case, the issue for me is TSA inconsistency.

    My my light sit is just too discretionary. I can carry the same camera bag thorugh MSP and other airports again and again — always with the same contents — and its always a crapshoot as to whether it will be pulled aside for individual inspection.

    Furthermore, Its been a few years since I kast found an official

    TSA notification in my checked baggage — this was once much more common… Have these standards been eased?

  • James

    I would like to see more profiling.

    Let the non-burqa wearing grannies slide and concentrate on the males 20-45 years old.

    Also, put a uniformed Air-Marshal on every plane, with a loaded MP5 machine gun loaded with explosive ammo.

    TSA is a joke,,, kind of like Swiss cheese—lots of holes.

    The loveable little beagles that sniff your luggage for contraband fruit should be replaced with nitro sniffing German Shepherds.

    DTOM

  • Steve the Cynic

    Doesn’t anyone but me pay attention to the news? I distinctly remember hearing that the “inconsistency” in what TSA screens for is deliberate. Rather than screen for absolutely everything every time, they change the criteria randomly around the country to keep the terrorists guessing. There are plenty of legitimate complaints one might level against TSA, but inconsistency is not one of them.

  • Kevin VC

    No.

    One can never become NIEVE again.

    But also the TSA as it adopts new technologies must understand they ‘should’ consider privacy issues.

    Also those who are worried about privacy MUST consider alternative means to travel if it bothers them…. Honestly….

    The Threats to the US is not just outside, but inside our nation. After all those WACKO idiots who blew up the FBI building….. Or the psychos in Texas who preached gloom and doom then killed themselves….

    We just need to embrace being alert, ‘look’ to live.

  • T N

    Too strict? Hardly! US airline “security” is nothing more than an amalgam of theater and public relations. You want real airline security, think El Al the Israeli Airline. El Al doesn’t recognize political correctness, rather they interview airline passengers before they get on the plane. We call this “racial profiling”, which will be our undoing. In case you haven’t noticed, not all Moslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Moslims.

    I recently flew to Atlanta and a TSA agent swabbed my hands supposedly to detect explosive residue. OK fine, whatever…. but what about the guy behind me or the one in front? To me, to have the palms of my hands swabbed gave me NO greater sense of security, instead I perceived it as a process no more restrictive than having my boarding pass scanned at the gate.

    The problem I have is that why the TSA agent picked me out. Not that I’m “offended” heaven forbid, but if I am subject to additional scrutiny then so should everybody else be also? If swabbing the hands of passengers is a security measure available to TSA then why not use it for everyone? I guess this is a matter of politically correct random sampling. Maybe it was my long hair or graying beard that prompted the TSA agent to give me a second look. I wonder, would he have done the same if I was wearing Islamic clothing?

    I am waiting for the next Islamic-derived airline act of terrorism, (presuming they are smart enough to actually pull it off), to occur which will prove the US airline security structure to be an abject failure. Thus will be exposed this feel-good public relations charade of so called airplane “security” we’ve had to put up with since 9/11.

    Hopefully I won’t be flying to Atlanta when that happens.

  • Steve the Cynic

    “In case you haven’t noticed, not all Moslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Moslims.”

    Wow! Timothy McVeigh was a Muslim? I had no idea.

  • Joey

    Let’s say, “Obnoxious, and not helpful”.

    Traveling by air for the first time in a few years, I recently forgot about some new super-secure policies and had to talk to security about my carry-on luggage. The reason? I had a few ounces too many of toothpaste.

    Toothpaste? Really? Let’s think about this. If I’m not a terrorist, you’ve just made it harder for me to brush my teeth. (This is the most common scenario.) If I am a terrorist, you’ve merely diverted my attention to any of a million other ways of wreaking havoc, with no net increase on public safety.

    It’s as if we think terrorism is limited strictly to airplanes. What about trucks with fertilizer? Remember that? Biological weapons in a public arena, anyone? Dirty bombs? A terrorist need only apply a little creativity to cause serious harm. We can’t stop this stuff. And while that notion is terrifying, taking my toothpaste away won’t make it any better.

    So please: check me for knives and for guns, and make sure I don’t have a history of hijacking airplanes. But if I’m just one of the n million Muslims who are our fellow citizens, or I care about my oral hygiene, leave me alone.

  • DNA

    I don’t know … I haven’t flown since 2004.

    They weren’t so strict then. Though I don’t know if I were carrying an ounce of Ganja that I would have gone through so easily. But that wouldn’t be about security, would it? Because more and more people are realizing the criminalization of the world’s most useful and versatile plant, Cannabis/Hemp/Marijuana, was Unconstitutional … a crime against humanity and nature.

    May all travelers be safe.

    Om Gum.

  • Steve the Cynic

    If the Gang Of Plutocrats want to repeal the (thoroughly inadequate) health care reform law, maybe a deal can be struck where Bush’s Heimatswehr (a.k.a. the Department of Homeland Security) also goes in the trash heap.

  • RANDTINKER

    THE BIG MACHINES-BOMBZILLAS-ARE CHERTOFFS HYBRID SECURITY RESPONSE—-TO WHAT? REMINDS ME OF A SCENE FROM ROBO-COP-THE BIG BORG THINGS! HOW ABOUT SERIOUSLY ARMED CARBINE ARMED GUARDS POSTED-WITH 45 CALIBER UMPS-AND EVEN MORE PLAIN CLOTHES PROFILE OBSERVERS IN CONCENTRIC ZONES LEADING TO THE CONCOURSES? THE ONLY OFFENSIVE MOVES WOULD BE TO CLOSE IN AND SHOOT REAL OFFENDERS WHO ARE TERRORISTS-OR POINT OUT SUSPICIOUS PERSONS. “TOUCHY-FEELY” ISN’T GOING TO WORK-AND NOVEMBER 24TH WILL THROW THE MONKEY-WRENCH IN THE COG WHEELS. ENJOY INEPTITUDE,FOLKS-YOU EARNED EVERY PENNY YOU INVESTED IN NOT HIRING LEGITIMATE SECURITY—–FOOLS!

  • RANDTINKER

    THE BIG MACHINES-BOMBZILLAS-ARE CHERTOFFS HYBRID SECURITY RESPONSE—-TO WHAT? REMINDS ME OF A SCENE FROM ROBO-COP-THE BIG BORG THINGS! HOW ABOUT SERIOUSLY ARMED CARBINE ARMED GUARDS POSTED-WITH 45 CALIBER UMPS-AND EVEN MORE PLAIN CLOTHES PROFILE OBSERVERS IN CONCENTRIC ZONES LEADING TO THE CONCOURSES? THE ONLY OFFENSIVE MOVES WOULD BE TO CLOSE IN AND SHOOT REAL OFFENDERS WHO ARE TERRORISTS-OR POINT OUT SUSPICIOUS PERSONS. “TOUCHY-FEELY” ISN’T GOING TO WORK-AND NOVEMBER 24TH WILL THROW THE MONKEY-WRENCH IN THE COG WHEELS. ENJOY INEPTITUDE,FOLKS-YOU EARNED EVERY PENNY YOU INVESTED IN NOT HIRING LEGITIMATE SECURITY—–FOOLS!