Posted On: Saturday - June 6th 2020 8:49AM MST
In Topics:   US Police State  Peak Stupidity Roadshow
As mentioned 2 posts back, I want to add a bit more about the Police State Security Theater outfit known as the TSA, you know, those blue-clad goons. Really, after traveling quite a bit, I can only hold so much animosity toward the individuals working there themselves. Decent jobs are scare. They are just people trying to make a living. I've been even friendly with the people I run into a lot there, but it doesn't make the whole thing right. "It's just my job" and all that ...
What I've noticed is the various stages of sickening (at least to me) these unreasonable search-and-seizure operations are, depending on the venue, the size of the airport being the main thing. There are the big hub airports, the medium-sized out-stations, and the small out-stations (some with 4 airline flights per day, even in normal times).
We can all see the sad mess of cattle lines, indignities, and general mayhem at the big airport hubs. The lines can be as long as Disneyland's Space Mountain, but with a loss of privacy and possible groping at the end of it, rather than a cool, scary ride. (You get the hopefully-not-E-ticket ride later on, for, well, about the same price as Disneyland nowadays.) Its loud, it's shameful (to me), and we all are glad to get into the big terminal and forget about the whole thing. That is, until the occasional time, these people go to the airline gate for "extra-special screening".
The medium-sized airports are probably the best for my liberty-minded sanity. You see, the TSA area, retrofitted in the early '00s for most airport terminals and set up in the design of new airport terminals, are usually in a central wide hallway area. The ticket counter [WTF is a ticket? - Ed] and all that is well outside from there, with TSA guys still involved in checking and moving around the checked luggage that rides in the aircrafts' bellies, or other cargo bins. When you get past the TSA area, you can get into the nice quiet gate area(s) and not see the whole mess.
It's the small airport terminals that look the most like medium-security prisons. I have not seen any concertina wire... .YET. However, the way these place are set up, in their small buildings, passengers go through the TSA lines into what is nothing more than a holding pen. OK, it's a holding pen with two bathrooms and usually a couple of coke and nabs machines. "They don't have THOSE in prison, so there, you muh-Constitutional freak!", I will be told next time I mention this, the vending machines, that is.
You can't just walk up onto the airplane until the gate agent is working at it. However, that door to outside or the jet bridge will be locked whenever the agent(s), who do double duty going outside "security" to the ticket/baggage area a lot. Without even an agent there part of the time, it's just a pen, with no way out besides back past security, and, no, you don't wanna' do that.
The passengers coming off the plane that does a 30-45 minute turn-around will walk through a corridor that guides them out past the TSA. Many times, there are glass walls between the holding pen and the exit aisle. If you see someone you know, it's like some old movie or the prison visitation areas - you hear each other from the space over the wall, and you press your faces to the glass and give a kisses, hugs, or handshakes through the glass... then, of course, you pull out a stack of wipes, cause, you know... Corona and all....
PS: I don't have a good picture right now of the small airport terminal layout, but I'll get that later to illustrate my point... vs another 1,000 words.