Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Our Thanksgiving travel just got a little easier

Plaintiffs as photographed by the Sacramento Bee, back in the day
Ever since our stint as plaintiffs on a lawsuit demanding information about the "no fly" list, I've always joked that I was one of the few people in the United States who could be confident I was not on a list. After all, the government ended up having to pay $200,000 to the ACLU for court costs as a consequence of holding us in an airport in the summer of 2002.

Now I can make the joke with even more confidence. Twice in a row at San Francisco airport I've been directed to the "TSA pre-check" line where they dispense with removing shoes, those damned quart bags for gels, and the "take off that coat and take out the computer" rule. I never applied for this status. It almost feels like realistic security, instead of the theater of fear.

I don't expect this at all airports, but the TSA claims to be expanding the system rapidly.

I wonder, is this program available to Muslims, Sikhs, Asian and other immigrant groups? I hope so.

1 comment:

Rain Trueax said...

My husband, who was flying a lot as a consultant during the years after 9/11, got on one of those lists. His let him fly but always pulled him aside for extra surveillance. It was time consuming and a nuisance. His name isn't Middle Eastern but maybe Irish, and I wondered if they mixed in names from those years with the current excuse to make some go through extra hoops. We were and are big donors to Democratic candidates (well not big on the millionaire status but more than average) but that seems unlikely as a reason.

For him it was irritating to never be able to get pre-boarding passes which used to help with the speed of travel. The last time he flew on business, he wasn't detained at all; so maybe they finally got realistic. Bad publicity due to a lawsuit might've helped. I know when we tried to call back then to get answers, nobody had them. Easy to get on such lists but hard to get off them.