Point Me to the Miles

Navigating the Path to Great Travel

Some Thoughts on Security and TSA Pre-Check

I am heading back from the East Coast today after a fun weekend enjoying the Freddies, Frequent Traveler University, and even a visit to Blue Duck Tavern (more on that in a later post).  I jumped at the chance to fly out Baltimore, in part due to being cheaper, but also because it was a city I had not visited.  Despite being home to the despicable Ravens (grr)  it’s a neat city.

Anyway, when I arrived at the airport this morning I was excited (and hopeful) about using TSA Pre-Check.  Though I am not a Global Entry member, and haven’t officially been signed up by Delta, I’ve never been denied from using it, thanks to my Gold Medallion (SkyPriority) status.  The regular security line was decent in length earlier, with 50 or so folks in the cue, and perhaps a good 20 minute wait.

I confidently approached the Pre-Check line and the scanner beeped (approved I assume?)  While there was nothing on my boarding pass denoting that I could use TSA Pre- Check, I had no issues getting through.

What felt peculiar, and the point of this post in fact, is that I felt an impulse to remove my jacket, shoes, and all objects from my pocket.  As I started compulsively discarding my personal effects into a plastic bin, the TSA agent reassured me that I would be fine.

It reminded me of how life has changed in an age of global terrorism and consequently how conditioned I have become to this behavior, and how difficult  it must be to adapt for folks that can recall the “grandiose” days when this was not an issue.

It’s somewhat dehumanizing to admit to, but I suppose it a result of environmental conditioning.  It’s sad to think that the world around us has been compromised  enough for this to be thought of as normal.   Granted, the added security, despite its frequent downfalls, I think most would agree the security screening process has increased air travel security.   Though I can remember clearly times when it was rather easy to reach the gate of an airplane, the majority of my air travel has been post-9/11.  Heck, even when visiting the Smithsonian this pas weekend I fully expected the take off the discard the pockets operating procedure.

And I juxtapose myself against the experiences of those much older than myself.  Void of priority screening and/or TSA Pre-Check, the entire process must come across as quite invase and intrusive.  On a recent, while I drew no attention from the TSA, a roll of quarters in my mom’s carry on had them rummaging through her belongs for a good 10 minutes.

While I am grateful I made it through security in under a minute, I am mindful of the changes that have occurred and how others have been impacted.

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