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When you fly, which do you like better? The delays or the idiots of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) who rummage through your things? The taxpayers of the United States are paying $4.7 billions dollars per year to hire & train people to basically detect shit that goes boom inside planes & airports. But when you have some of the same people who couldn't get water to New Orleans after a Hurricane still running the Homeland Security department, you tend to get idiots who are more concerned about using their police powers to enforce the rule on three ounce baggies of tooth paste.

So it's doesn't inspire confidence or speak well of the TSA's ability to keep their personnel up to date on the latest tech when TSA agents stop a guy because they have no idea what a Macbook Air is.

I'm standing, watching my laptop on the table, listening to security clucking just behind me. "There's no drive," one says. "And no ports on the back. It has a couple of lines where the drive should be," she continues.

A younger agent, joins the crew. I must now be occupying ten, perhaps twenty, percent of the security force. At this checkpoint anyway. There are three score more at the other five checkpoints. The new arrival looks at the printouts from x-ray, looks at my laptop sitting small and alone. He tells the others that it is a real laptop, not a "device". That it has a solid-state drive instead of a hard disc. They don't know what he means. He tries again, "Instead of a spinning disc, it keeps everything in flash memory." Still no good. "Like the memory card in a digital camera." He points to the x-ray, "Here. That's what it uses instead of a hard drive."

The senior agent hasn't been trained for technological change. New products on the market? They haven't been TSA approved. Probably shouldn't be permitted. He requires me to open the "device" and run a program. I do, and despite his inclination, the lead agent decides to release me and my troublesome laptop.  My flight is long gone now, so I head for the service center to get rebooked.


Now you could probably excuse something like this as the TSA being zealous about stopping any kind of threat. The only problem with that argument is they suck at doing their principal mission. According to USA Today, in undercover tests, 60% of the time simulated bombs were able to make it through security at Chicago's O'hare. The TSA failed 75% of the time to find fake explosives & bomb materials at checkpoints at LAX.

But the TSA can break a guy's laptop, and then threaten him with arrest when he asks about making a claim.

I wasn't happy about this... I was rather upset! I approached the TSA guard who dropped my laptop and I asked him what he was thinking. He didn't even apologize to me. Then I asked him how we could resolve this matter. And he told me that there were too many people waiting to get through the line, and I should move along as not to hold up the screening process. So I asked him again, where can I file a claim to resolve the damage done to my laptop. That's when the supervising TSA guard walked over and told me that I should gather my belongings and move on to the departure terminals and if I create a scene, he would arrest me.

A little over a year ago, I did a diary where I asked which was the Worst Airline? The consensus seemed to revolve around Northwest (Northworst) & America West (America Worst), which seems to have problems keeping the wings on the planes, although that might not be a problem.

"America West... We boarded, the doors closed, and we waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, the purser comes on and says, 'We apologize for the delay. A piece of the wing has fallen off and we are waiting for a mechanic to tell us if that's important.'"

In the most recent Forbes analysis of the subject, they found.....

The numbers show that Atlantic Southeast Airlines, a former Delta Air Lines unit that still has working agreements for baggage and other ground operations with its former parent in Atlanta, and which ranks at or next to the bottom in all three categories, has earned the dubious distinction of America’s worst airline. Right behind are Delta’s low-fare subsidiary Comair, which has the nation's highest cancellation rate, and American Airlines' unit American Eagle, which ranks among the bottom four in all categories.

Originally posted to 医生的宫殿 on Mon Mar 10, 2008 at 10:41 PM PDT.

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