It's back to the drawing board at the Transportation Security Administration now that a 9-year-old boy has figured out how to circumvent the screening process.
On October 3, the troubled youth successfully bypassed TSA security at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and hopped a Delta flight to Las Vegas, becoming the latest chapter in a long line of TSA lapses. Critics agree, just the sight of a small child alone in a major metropolitan airport should have raised suspicion among security personnel. After all, in addition to confiscating bottled water, TSA employees are supposedly trained to spot potentially troublesome passengers BEFORE they board planes. It's really not that difficult. As a 100,000-mile-a-year flyer, allow me to include a few individuals who, while not dangerous, still are menaces to the quality of air travel. If witnessed, they should be removed from security lines immediately, primarily so they don't suffer bodily harm at the hands of fellow passengers. Beginning with:
Pillow Girl. Late teens to early 20s. Wearing plaid pajama bottoms and clutching a KING-SIZED pillow that will apparently accompany her everywhere, even if her final destination is a yearlong stint aboard a submarine. Ladies, pillows are like your last boyfriend; you found one, it was nice and comfortable for awhile, but there's always a better one nearby. Also remember that, once your pillow is in the overhead bin, it flattens out, particularly when I place my filthy carry-on bag directly on top.
Important Call Guy. Male, 35-55, dressed in a business suit. No need for visual confirmation; just listen for the sound of someone having an animated cellphone conversation the entire time he is in line. Prone to running his phone through the X-ray machines while still connected, saying, "Hang on. Lemmee clear security and I'll get right back to you." If allowed to board, will continue talking despite repeated warnings from flight attendants to "turn it off," "shut it down" or "shove it up your nose." TSA, if spotted, pull this passenger from the line and immediately conduct a full body search. Make sure the offender's phone is nearby so the party on the other end can hear you say, "Okay, Mr. Johnson, we just need to check one more body cavity, and then you're free to go."
Bin Hog. The maximum number of bins for each passenger is two: one for a laptop and one for everything else, massive pillow included. TSA, remind anybody scooping up seven bins and delicately placing one item in each that these items will be confiscated and sold on eBay.
PSP Pubescent. Male or female. Usually 9-13. Playing PSP or Nintendo handheld video game in security line and reluctant to part with it, even for the few seconds it takes to be screened. If identified, take these children aside and calmly explain that, at their age, air travel is a privilege and would it kill them to leave the stupid game at home?
Queen and/or King of Bling. These are the most experienced security line passengers since each trip through the X-ray machine requires several additional trips before an offending piece of jewelry is found and removed. TSA screeners, if you see something, say something, preferably, "Please remove all metal objects, including navel jewelry, tongue piercings, eyebrow beads and nipple clamps." With the possible exception of Important Call Guy, you will have everybody's attention.
Stroller Mom. Despite having successfully done so hundreds of times, forgets how to fold the stroller when approaching machine. TSA, quickly offer to assist as Stroller Dad is useless.
Finally, in addition to these new profiling measures, please remind all passengers of the potential consequences by including Greyhound bus ticket kiosks at every security checkpoint.
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