travel security silliness tidbit

Since the new silly regulations on airplanes and fluids went into effect, I’ve been on at least six flights (possibly 8 or 10, not sure) with my large timbuk2 bag. This bag is so large, and has so many pockets, that I apparently have been carrying around several rule-violating liquids (lip balm and nasal spray) without knowing it. Of course, TSA hasn’t noticed either- it was only on Friday, after I’ve done this at least 5 times and possibly up to 9, that any screener caught the two vials on the x-ray machine. Utterly absurd- either the liquids are actually a risk, in which case the TSA is criminally incompetent, or the liquids aren’t a risk, in which case millions of hours are being wasted annually dealing with them. (Note that at Atlanta, where I flew out of tonight, security does not mention the ‘little plastic baggie’ approach to dealing with the liquids, so I flew again with even more liquids/gels/etc. in my bag than I have in the past, and again, TSA didn’t notice.) Tempts me to buy a Kip Hawley Is An Idiot shirt for my next flight.

12 thoughts on “travel security silliness tidbit”

  1. While i personaly think that the no liquids law is delusionaly paranoid, in your case i’d have to opt for the first option – last time i flew with a connection in the US, by mistake i boarded carrying a nail file (of the professional 10″ long kind – smaller weapons were used by the 9/11 terrorists), which was undetected by 2 metal detectors, an x-ray screening (or whatever they use these days) and a manual search through my bag.

  2. The UK security is far more tight. They have spotted everything I’ve carried through security, I’d doubt very much that you’d manage to get your lip balm through over here.

    My only complaint with it is that you can take 100ml containers of liquid on, but my contact lens fluid only comes in 110ml bottles and having the liquid in the proper container makes things so much easier (to both use, and explain)

  3. […] travel security silliness tidbit (5) July 30, 2007 04:54 AM Luis travel security silliness tidbit July 30, 2007 04:54 AM […]

  4. Just got back from an Oakland-Vegas trip where they were literally checking the size of each bottle and saying “Nope, can’t take this… this is 3.6oz. The limit is 3.4oz… –TOSS–” I don’t know where they pulled “3.4” but given that every airport handles it differently just goes to the arbitrary nature of the stupid rule. I usually don’t deal with that hassle and check a bag, but it is just so much faster just to do carry-on.

    And given the fact is there is absolutely no way you can fit any real amount of toiletries in a 1qt ziplock bag, it is completely ridiculous.

  5. One thing that I didnt realize til one security class was that TSA compliance standards are regional (maybe sort of like court cases?). So what one airport might do is not what another might. The origins of this absurdity had some actual sense (not all airports could meet equiptment standards at the same time, allow airports to have some flexibility so that bad-guys might not have a standard playbook).. but do to the usual lack of funding, oversight, and the fact that the airlines/airport owners and TSA are in a passive aggressive relationship.. its all gone to hell.

  6. I went through security about six times flying from Bolivia to the US. It was… not fun.

    In La Paz, we were not permitted to bring water onto the plane– even if we bought it post-security. Also in La Paz, they dithered about my girlfriend’s insulin and syringes. The first decision: well, the insulin is OK but no syringes. The person conducting my screening stopped doing mine to help the person doing hers, and explain why insulin and syringes go together. Then they sort of forgot about me and I went on my way. To be on the safe side, though, they took her mascara.

    She also got the pat-down screening in La Paz and Miami because of the diabetes equipment. But in New York, it passed unnoticed.

    My favorite part was the two rounds of bag-rummaging, which was mandatory for all passengers but wasn’t very carefully conducted. They sort of opened the bags up, looked at the pile of dirty laundry, and closed them again. I guess that long as your luggage isn’t 100% explosives or drugs, you’re pretty much OK.

  7. It’s funny how the TSA head gets to say “security theater” in a New York Times article, making people think – for an instant – that he isn’t a complete loser:

    “Taking lighters away is security theater,” Mr. Hawley said. “It trivializes the security process.”

    And then the instant passes and we all remember that smoking is in serious decline (new Gallup report, and we still can’t bring lip balm, medication, or even water through security. Oh, and we’re still taking off our shoes.

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