Airline [lack of] Security

Ah yes, here come more scare tactics from DHS head, Michael Chertoff. Has this gentleman done a damn thing since being given the job? The USA today reports, “Chertoff warns of airport security cutbacks.” The nation’s airports still remain a top target for terrorists, but are they any safer than prior to 9-11? As part of the 2007 budget request the DHS proposes doubling the $2.50 security tax paid by each passenger on non-stop flights to $5.00 each way. That increase would cast air travelers about $1.4 billion dollars.

Obviously the airlines are going to fight the increased fee. The Air Transport Association that represents the US carriers said an increase would, “cause further economic damage to the already-crippled U.S. airline industry.” Chertoff already has his alibi ready, “the worst thing would be if something happened and a plane blew up.” No shit Mike! But in all the reports that have come out, airline security is no safer now than it was before when we witnessed airplanes flying into buildings.Now thankfully, I was born and raised as an American and feel lucky to live in the United States. I do not worship the prophet Mohammad, or any other religious figurehead. Sure there are “American Taliban” like John Walker Lindh living in the US who follow the writings of Mohammad. I am not one of them. But going to work every night I look at the security or lack of it and I can honestly its pathetic!

Chertoff talks about what happens is this fee is not increased, “…then lines are going to be longer, and customers are going to be more ticked off.” Air travelers are already pissed off when they have to deal with TSA checkpoints and airline employees. Increasing funding won’t resolve these issues, nor will it make the airports any safer.What is to stop someone on the inside from placing a bomb on an aircraft? As I said, without having to go through security (it’s not an airport requirement) what’s to stop me from committing an act of domestic terrorism? Nothing at all. I walk across the AOA (ramp) in street clothes with only a badge around my neck. Rarely am I ever stopped to ask what I am doing. If I had a death wish, I could skirt security with my bag in trailing and walk onto a flight and act like Richard Reid or any number of other wackos who wanted to blow an aircraft up.

How about air freight Mike, how much of the air freight that is accepted has been through an x-ray? Anyone want to take a guess? All of it? Half of it? How about none! Here we go with the same doomsday scenario. But I guess that $2.50 increase will remedy all the security problems that still plague the airlines. Chertoff said. But he said he believes most people would be willing to pay “an extra couple of bucks for safety.” I can accept line of thinking, but the truth remains, the level of security with an infusion of $1.4 billion would not be improved.Personally, I don’t want to fly anywhere, any more. I am tried of the hassles air travelers put up with on a regular basis. From long security lines to rude airline employees, to over sold airplanes to lackluster service. Consider the airlines the Greyhound Bus Lines of the sky, you buy a seat but don’t expect a damn thing!

It really is a sad state of affairs because this is the ONLY industry I have ever known growing up as a child. It provided myself and family a very comfortable life. When I started in 1995, the airlines were not as pristine as years gone by, but still provided a good living. Then 9-11 happened, which was the proverbial “icing on the cake” that destroyed any image (real or imaginary) the airlines had created.

The airline industry was much better off during the days of government regulation, back when service was still in employee vocabulary and airlines were profitable. Now its, sit down, buckle up and shut up. Now its like walking a line at a concentration camp when going through security at the airport. So you tell me, will that $2.50 increase really make a difference?

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