My favorite flying moment is – and will probably always be – when my sales partner and flew from LAX to Newark on the first day flights resumed after September 11, 2001. Partly, this is because of the resolve I saw in the eyes of all my fellow travelers, a shared determination not to let the tragedy that had just happened clip our wings.
Mainly, however, it was because when we reached the front of the screening line we were asked to remove our belts. We did, and when my rotund sales partner walked through the screening area, his pants dove down to his ankles, revealing that he’d decided to go commando that day.
Ah, airport security…
Now, of course, we’ve pretty much forgotten why we have increased security. Flying has gotten easier. Planes fly faster. Companies like flynrate (http://flynrate.com/) make it easier than ever to plan our travel. Security is just kind of…irritating.
Here, then, are five suggestions for making airport security even more awkward – which might remind us that today it really isn’t all that bad.
- Put Security Before the Bag Check
Think about it. Most people who are going to try to smuggle something onto a plane is going to put it in a checked bag, so why not force passengers to keep all their bags with them until they get through the security line, so they’re present when the bag is screened and searched? Think of navigating the security queue with ALL your baggage.
- Turn Security Over to Customs
The TSA is assertive enough. Imagine if all the folks running security were customs agents! And why not? An airport is a port. Adding an extra layer of gruffness might not just make us safer; it might cut down on the amount of contraband that’s moved about the country on planes.
- Add K-9 Units to Every Checkpoint
There’s really nothing more awkward than being sniffed up and down by a dog – especially when it’s a German Shepherd trained to sniff out explosives or drugs. (They really get up in there.) The more dogs they have sniffing passengers, the more awkward the experience would be.
- Pay Passengers to Tell on Each Other
Imagine if there was a reward for pointing out another passenger who poses a security threat. Just look at how people behaved in the Soviet Union or Communist China. Passengers would point fingers like you wouldn’t believe! This would not only be awkward, it would also be a great social experiment.
- Make Security Screens Face Out
Have you ever seen the images that the TSA screeners look at when you walk through the full-body scan? The areas you wouldn’t want them to see are faded out, but other than that they’re pretty graphic. Turning those screens so that all the passengers could see them would be ridiculously awkward when it came time to walk through the scan. (Although on the other hand it would be pretty good entertainment the rest of the time.)