Join Date: Apr 2006
Thanked 162 Times in 159 Posts
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Yes, rather. I spoke to the TSA help center this summer and they took about 25 minutes to refer me to an FAA online site that says what can and can't be brought on the plane. According to the FAA, who follow the UN conventions, the CO2 bottles in life jackets can be brought in the cabin.
And as I explained to the TSA man, that's nice but that's the FAA, where does the TSA affirm this? He said nowhere, it was up to the airport supervisor at each airport--in their individual discretion and hold on a minute he would connect me to the local (major) airport supervisor. Who said no, absolutely not, it doesn't matter what the FAA or the UN treaties say, he won't allow them on the planes.
Bottom line? The US is obliged by treaty to allow them. The TSA prohibits them by individual discretion, claiming this is a matter of national security that goes beyond international treaty obligations.
So I'm taking the Alice's Restaurant approach: Encourage the TSA staff that their job is too dangerous and they need to resign. Example: Pack a small wheel of cheese or some frozen sausage or salami with your lunch. Apparently either of these has the same appearance as plastic explosive on the xray machine, so your handbag will be manually inspected.
When the nice person says "Do you mind if I open your bag?" SMILE and say "Not at all, I bet you are looking at my lunch. It's so hard to tell the difference between cheese and Semtex these days, isn't it?" And, immediately after they OPEN your bag, SMILE and politely remind them "You know, if that was something bad, you could have tripped a deadman switch and set the cheese off. Don't they teach you guys anything about safety? Or anything about protecting yourselfs from suspicious objects in the bags?"
There's a thin line, make sure you don't cross it and you only express concern for your mutual safety, and sympathy over the difficulties of the job. Which include telling the difference between cheese and Semtex. And various other confusions, like whether you've got a Walkman or a detonator.
They examine plenty of lunches every day, you won't get strip-searched for this. Just remember to smile, co-operate, and sympathize with their plight.
Passive resistance can work. Wear a leather belt, make sure to slow down the entire system as you take it off and put it back on. If we all squeeze the system till it stops working---they'll be forced to change it.
The dog and pony show we have now MUST be stopped, because it is not security, it is a DANGER to us all. And an expensive one, to boot. All that money could be spent on real security issues--like armoring the baggage cubes, as some foreign airlines do.
Last edited by hellosailor; 01-04-2008 at 12:36 PM.