What does this machine do?

I don’t do it. When I was in my twenties I sort of used to like flying on commercial planes. Kind of a treat. But it got old quick.

My dad picked me up one time at the airport in the early 1990’s and chided me for not dressing up in slacks and a blazer when I flew. He said I would be treated better wearing that instead of the jeans and t-shirt I was wearing. It had obviously been a long time since he had flown. A different era.

The last time I wore a blazer and slacks on a plane I spilled my drink on my pants just after the stewardess handed them out. I had nothing to clean myself up with but the tiny napkin. I press the “call” button and waited for help. I waited and waited. The guy next to me gave me his tiny napkin. I waited. When the plane landed I cleaned myself up in the airport bathroom.

So even before 9/11 I hated flying because the airlines had made it as much of a dehumanizing chore as they could manage by themselves. I suspect that airline execs held countless meetings and even a few retreats to try to come up with new ways to treat their customers like crap. They made the seats as small as they could.  They put the rows so close together that when you recline you look like your asking the guy behind you to give a scalp massage. I expect at the company retreat they eventually thew up their hands and said, “It would take a miracle to treat our customers any worse!” Well, gentlemen, you asked for a miracle. I give you, the TSA.

The U.S. Travel Association, in fact, is worried that the more onerous screening process will discourage air travel.

Trust me, it is. And hey, it isn’t just about the wait time. It is about how it robs me of freedom and dignity without actually improving my safety.

I don’t fly commercial. Luckily I don’t have a job that requires it. If I did I would do it for work because I must. But I either drive, or I will hardly go. I drove 12 hours to Alabama for a seminar. I spent a day driving there, two days at the seminar, and a day driving back. Two days of driving for two days of seminar. Totally worth not flying.

If you are a freedom loving person, if you routinely rail at “the man” about intrusive government, if you rally for “less government and more freedom”, but still fly for reasons other than work, why? If you and I stop flying I can guarantee the system will change. As long as you support it, you’ll just get more and more of it. After the backscatter X-Ray, and the guy with the blue gloves feeling up your junk, this will be your next stop:


UPDATE: Scott Ott is on the same page.

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  • Jennifer  On November 10, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    I haven’t flown since…hmm…Oh wow! It’s been a long time. 1993

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