I am usually very critical of the Transportation Security Administration and will continue to be critical as I observe the out-of-control agency wasting tax dollars. But I am also a fair person, and will give them praise when praise is due. Friday, they earned some praise.
Friday was moving day for my 87-year old uncle. He is relocating from California to South Carolina and needed someone to travel with him. Naturally, I was the candidate even if that meant flying from Philadelphia to Los Angeles to pick him up. With my generous baggage allowances (we checked six bags) and complimentary upgrades from United, it was a no-brainer.
My uncle has been through quite a lot health-wise and security screenings at airports have been a nightmare the past few years. In fact, what really turned me against the TSA was the treatment my uncle had to endure after we arrived in Denver from Frankfurt a couple summers ago and had to clear security before continuing on to Los Angeles. The agents were rude and barked at my uncle to walk through the security checkpoint without any assistance from others (I usually walk beside him to steady him). With all sorts of metal inside him from various surgeries, he naturally set off the metal detector. He was herded into the “holding pen” and made to wait for five minutes before anyone showed up.
A rude supervisor–a hillbilly who must have been pushing 70 and must have been a former law enforcement officer whose power had gone to his head–performed an extensive and invasive search of my uncle and his belongings. I asked him if that was really necessary and his snippy response was “terrorists come in all sizes.” I told him the real terrorists assume American citizens are guilty until proven innocent, which probably slowed down the search even more as he seethed in anger.
So I was actually going to deliberately take my uncle to a full-body scanner at LAX on Friday since that would have been a little easier for him to deal with. While I will never go through a full-body scanner myself in the United States, I do think they are useful for people who lack mobility because they avoid the need for an invasive and humiliating strip-search.
My uncle can walk fairly well, but I ordered a wheelchair for him so we could skip the long morning security lines and hopefully receive a bit more humane treatment from the TSA. It worked–a very nice TSO searched my uncle. His shoes stayed on, he did not have to empty his pockets or take off his coat, and the search was not overly invasive. I appreciated that and thanked the TSO for his consideration.
See, even a broken clock is right twice a day and even I can say something nice about the TSA once in awhile.
Things have been quiet here at Live and Let’s Fly for the last couple days because I’ve been spending time with family in South Carolina, but I’ll be back in action tomorrow.