Quote of the Week:

"He is no fool, who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." (Jim Elliot)

Drop me a line if you want to be notified of new posts to SiTG:

My site was nominated for Best Parenting Blog!
My site was nominated for Hottest Daddy Blogger!

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from Woodlief. Make your own badge here.

The Best of Sand:

The Blog
Greatest Hits
DVD Reviews
Faith and Life
Judo Chops
The Literate Life
News by Osmosis
The Problem with Libertarians
Snapshots of Life
The Sermons

Creative Commons License
All work on this site and its subdirectories is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Search the Site:

Me Out There:

Free Christmas
Don't Suffer the Little Children
Boys to Men
A Father's Dream
WORLD webzine posts

Not Non-Fiction
The Grace I Know
Coming Apart
My Christmas Story

The Craft:

CCM Magazine
Charis Connection
Faith in Fiction
Grassroots Music

Favorite Journals:

Atlantic Monthly
Doorknobs & Bodypaint
Image Journal
Infuze Magazine
Missouri Review
New Pantagruel
Southern Review

Blogs I Dig:

Education & Edification:

Arts & Letters Daily
Bill of Rights Institute
Junk Science
U.S. Constitution

It's good to be open-minded. It's better to be right:

Stand Athwart History
WSJ Opinion


Home School Legal Defense
Institute for Justice
Local Pregnancy Crisis
Mission Aviation
Prison Ministries
Russian Seminary
Unmet Needs


Cox & Forkum
Day by Day

Donors Hall of Fame

Susanna Cornett
Joe Drbohlav
Anthony Farella
Amanda Frazier
Michael Heaney
Don Howard
Laurence Simon
The Timekeeper
Rob Long
Paul Seyferth

My Amazon.com Wish List

Add to Technorati Favorites

August 02, 2002
Rebellion at the Airport

I'm not a confrontational person by nature. If my steak is too rare, or someone breaks in line, I'm not one to make a fuss about it. But I have my limits.

I led a revolt against airport security yesterday. They've had it coming. I'll wait longer in line in order to keep the airplane safe. I'll submit to having my less than fresh boxer briefs fluffed on the return trip by someone named Delbert who couldn't spot a shank if it was stuck in his porkchop gut. I'll have my luggage x-rayed, my belt buckle checked and re-checked by unusually interested minimum-wage rent-a-cops, my children patted down while swarthy young men with no luggage board unmolested.

I will put up with all of it, but I will not let this nonsense, this massive managerial incompetence disguised as security enhancement, cost me my flight. Today, they pushed me too far. I arrived at the Wichita airport with my wife and two little ones 45 minutes before our flight. We endured an especially slow trip through the American Airlines ticket counter line. Here's a quote from the effete little man who took our bags: he didn't say "I apologize for the confusion," or "sorry we didn't separate people who are on the earlier flight," but instead, "I have to put up with this every day." How difficult for you, Emile, or Jamey, or whatever girly little name you go by. Tell the other girls at the hair salon about it.

So, we rounded the corner and saw a 150 foot line waiting to get through security. Let me paint the complete picture for you, because this helps one see why people who don't get paid very much generally deserve what they earn. At the head of the line is a single security guard, checking tickets and ID's, taking about 30 seconds per person. Thirty feet beyond him are two x-ray machines, but only one metal detector for passengers to walk through. Security guards are manning the x-ray machines, and one is searching people who set off the metal detector. A clump of security guards are standing to the side, having a nice conversation.

Now, here's how they do things in a real airport. One guard will stand at a table, helping people get their computers, phones, etc., into plastic trays. Another will assign people to x-ray machines and metal detectors, in order to save the inevitable time people take trying to make up their own minds. In an airport where the security is really on the ball, like Dulles, for example, a thick crowd can move quickly.

But this was Wichita, and the security guards didn't care whether that line stretched two feet or two miles. At this point we had twenty minutes remaining before take-off. After waiting seven or eight minutes and moving 15 feet, I did some quick math, and figured we weren't going to make it. As I was doing the math, the gate agent announced over the intercom the last call for our flight. So I led my little troop to the security guard at the front of the line.

"Excuse me," I said to the guard, "that was our flight they just called." The guard gave me an annoyed look, then took another person's ticket before replying.

"There are people in front of you."

"Yes, but we'll miss our flight."

"Some of them might be on that flight too, and they were in front of you."

Like I said, I'm not a confrontational person. But my options, as I saw them, were pretty narrow. Do the job these slobs should have been doing, or miss our flight. So, I shouted to the crowd behind me: "Okay, people, who's on the 11 o'clock?"

Several people raised their hands. The security guard started shifting from one foot to another. "C'mon up!" I shouted. "Fall in behind me!" About 20 people stepped out of line and congregated behind me. My wife was mortified.

"Okay," I said to the guard, "now all those people are right here."

"That's not what I meant, sir. You shouldn't have done that. There are people who were here first."

I shouted again to the larger crowd. "Does anybody mind if those of us on the 11 o'clock go first?" Some people towards the front shook their heads no, and a couple of people told us to go right ahead. I turned back to the guard, who was looking exceedingly uncomfortable. "There," I said, "nobody minds if we go ahead."

"You're not supposed to do that, sir. You can't go in front of people."

"Look, I'm not trying to make trouble here, but if you don't let us through, we're all going to miss that flight." The guard looked at my newly formed platoon, then at me. He sighed and held out his hand for my ticket. We all made it to the plane.

Power to the people, baby. Fight the Man. Dare to challenge stupid. Take a stand, and your fellow man will stand with you.

Much later, on the plane:

Wife: "You were pretty confrontational back there."

Me: "They left me no choice. The people in the crowd dug it."

Wife: "I can't believe he let us through."

Me: "He was intimidated." (long pause) "I suppose he and his buddies could have forced me into some back room" (only if I let them, I thought).

Wife: "Yep, and all those people who were digging you would have gotten back in line and left you hanging."

Me: "Sheep."

Posted by Woodlief on August 02, 2002 at 12:09 AM


Start by firing that idiot Mineta. I keep my eyes on all swarthy characters now.

Posted by: Bob Strauss at August 2, 2002 8:08 AM

Minetta is clearly to weakest secretary. Days after September 11 Minetta held a press conference and proposed that Navy Seals and Special Forces ride the airplanes to provide security...Minetta clearly forgot that he has his very own military force, the US Coast Guard, that even has personnel trained to carry firearms on aircraft plus statutory authority. Not content to piss off the hard workers in the USCG, Minetta now continues to search little old ladies in a bizarre desire to avoid any display of rational action. Minetta must go.

Posted by: Bosun3rd at August 2, 2002 8:17 AM

Mineta is a dope. Woodlief rocks.

Posted by: Doug Levene at August 2, 2002 8:29 AM

Norman Minetta leaving is not enough. He must leave in shame.

Unfortunately, this will not happen until the NEXT horrible event in the War Against Islamics.

I hate that we have to pay such a price to move these dolts out.

Posted by: Paul A'Barge at August 2, 2002 8:38 AM

I saw an analysis about why Mineta is dragging on arming pilots, and being effective.

Seems the TSA or whatever they're calling the dopes with federal arrogance now will have more people under arms than the Marine Corps, according to their desires.

So the "fix" is to have more armed TSA people, etc.... and soon, you'll think it an improvement. So they think. Sadly, theymight be right as to the general acceptance.


Posted by: Addison at August 2, 2002 8:46 AM

You da man, Tony!

(But did you _really_ need to make that hair salon crack?)

Posted by: Will Wilkinson at August 2, 2002 8:56 AM

There is no doubt that Mineta is an idiot. But what about the president (who passed concealed carry in Texas as governor) who opposes armed pilots?

Pilots have their nail clippers and belt buckles confiscated while most checked bags aren't screened for explosives. But hey, we did federalize security screeners.

Posted by: Naomi at August 2, 2002 8:59 AM

Not to be a crank, but....

Couldn't you have avoided all of this by planning to arrive at the Wichita airport more than 45 minutes before your flight? I thought that the first thing we all learned about The New World Order of air travel was to show up 2 hours before your flight. And bring a book, dammit!

And another thing: what if those security guards "having a nice conversation" off to the side were actually committing an act of civil disobedience by staging a slowdown right in front of their supervisors? Then would you feel so empowered about roughing up the nominal guard who is working because otherwise they would ALL get fired?

Listen, I like poking The Man in the eye as much as the next guy, but I tend to think that The People are only interested in agitation when it serves selfish interests.

Posted by: Dot Idiyu at August 2, 2002 9:07 AM

Fifteen years ago I flew into Washington National. No scans at the starting point in Dayton.

When I left, we had to go through metal detectors. A bank of three, with two guards, one to watch people and one to stand back and wand anyone who set it off. My friends walked through with me to see me off.

No problems at all.

Nothing that happened on 9/11 would have been prevented if we still did it that way - and if you look carefully, nothing that happened before 9/11 would have been stopped either.

Tony was right to rebel - except they should have stormed the gates and ignored the detectors enmass.

Posted by: Dan at August 2, 2002 9:23 AM

My wife and I recently flew from Newark to Paris. We left lots of time (I am a fanatic abou that) but the security line couldn't have been longer if they were handing out money. We had over an hour before our flight and zero chance of making it.

Here's the strange part: when my wife went up front to scout she came back immediately, beckoning me to the front of the line. A security guy had a list of soon-to-depart flights and was reordering the line accordingly. He clearly was a supervisor but not a suit. Apparently he did this on his own, um, initiative.

Needless to say, no one complained - hell, my wife wanted to kiss him.

Posted by: Ron at August 2, 2002 9:51 AM

Um, Dot,

Isn't the whole point of air travel convenience and the saving of time? So, just because the unfortunates on three of the four airliners on 9/11 were the sheep they were trained to be, the rest of us who know better now never to be sheep are to be massively inconvenienced and to have our time wasted on pointless window-dressing? I don't think so.

These security guards are supposedly on duty for our protection. To paraphrase Calvin Coolidge when he put down a strike by police circa 1920 when he was governor of Massachusetts: No one has the right to strike against the public safety anytime anywhere. The security guards' oh-so-noble act of "civil disobedience" should be rewarded by prompt dismissals. That way they can slack off all they want-- on the sidewalks outside.

And, Dot, I too like to poke "The Man" in the eye, especially when he won't obey the supreme law of the land, the Constitution. And, somehow, I don't think it's selfish to insist that it be obeyed in spirit as well in letter. After all, he does work for us. Remember the first three words of the Constitution?

Posted by: Hale Adams at August 2, 2002 10:13 AM

And to think, the local airport in this cesspool of a town is named after him.

Posted by: Bashir Gemayel at August 2, 2002 10:29 AM

Your reorganization of the security line makes perfect sense to me, and your frustration is familiar to probably everyone. I'm even sympathetic about the ineffectual airline employee. But you cracks about his manliness, or lack thereof are just mean not to mention irrelevant to the story. And had you arrived the prescribed 1.5 hours ahead of time maybe you wouldn't have had to get so worked up. There's no reason you should have expected to make that flight when you showed up 45 minutes late.

Posted by: Cecil Klein at August 2, 2002 10:34 AM

Good for you, Tony. It was the American thing to do. "Confrontational"? I don't understand that description at all. What you did was the perfectly sensible - pointing out the problem and effecting its solution, no muss no fuss.

I have enough experience in the world to shudder at any indication that traditionally can-do Americans have become so decadent and so deficient in initiative that we are willing to resign ourselves to bureaucratic sloth, arrogance, and ineptitude. There was a problem. It had a simple solution. You solved it. That's the way it should be done here. We're Americans, damn it!

Posted by: Moira at August 2, 2002 10:42 AM

I traveled in and out of San Diego's Lindberg Field over Christmas, and the airport staff were organizing the line to go thru the security in just that manner. They patrolled the line (which was horrendous!) sorting it out by passengers' flight times, and sending those with earlier times up to the front. I'd have thought this was being done everywhere, apparently not.

Posted by: JDH at August 2, 2002 10:51 AM

Dot, that was the silliest comment I've read in a very long time. You obviously have never travelled with small children. Bring a book!

And where did you come up with the idea that those guards having a "nice conversation" were on a work slowdown? Thin air? I'm all for giving the benefit of a doubt when called for, but your assumption that this is what was going on is ludicrous. In the world I live in, there is nothing unusual about government employees googing off. I think it's written into their contract.

Bravo for standing up to the slugs.

Ditto on Mineta.

Posted by: Dee Bates at August 2, 2002 10:56 AM

You're lucky those security guards didn't beat the heck out of you, have you arrested, and put your name on the list of troublemakers to be harassed at every site.

Posted by: Charles Mitchell at August 2, 2002 11:22 AM


You are now my personal hero. I will build a shrine to you and worship your graven image.

Nah, I'll just add you to my blogroll.


Posted by: The Indepundit at August 2, 2002 11:31 AM

Wait, if they actually were having a work slowdown, then it would have been okay?!? I don't care how low paid the job is, you know the wages when you get hired. If they aren't acceptable, then find another damn job. If you can't find a higher paying job, then guess what? That's how much you're worth right now, deal with it, suck it up and do the job.

Watching the gross incompetence on display at airports makes me think we're paying them more, not less, than they're worth.

Posted by: Celeste at August 2, 2002 11:33 AM

I personally agree with Dot. I allow sufficient time to get myself through checkin and security. If I am forced to sit in line and wait for last minute arrivals to be ushered ahead of me I am penalized for my trouble.

The last time I arrived at the airport this happened. I was there in plenty of time to check in. I sat for 45 minutes and watched people who were about to miss their flight be ushered to the front of the line. This continued until I was one of the ones about to miss a flight and then I was ushered to the front of the line. This is what happens when anarchy takes over.

I guess the lesson I should take away from this conversation is that I should strenuously object and lead a counter-rebellion the next time a group is lead to the front of the line.

Posted by: Scott at August 2, 2002 12:22 PM

Real men don't fly.

Posted by: Gene 6-Pack at August 2, 2002 12:32 PM

While I don't disagree with any of the comments about Mineta, Homeland Security, etc, this isn't just an American problem. The situation in Europe can be worse. CDG in Paris was, in June, a total nightmare, with about a three hour line to get through security at the International Terminal. I am very grateful to some unknown charming family that let us inline, despite the frowns and glares of the personnel trying to enforce line rules.

Posted by: rzg at August 2, 2002 1:21 PM

Hey congress voted for gov't control of the security function. Did anyone seriously doubt airports would start looking like DMVs? The problem isn't the security guards, the problem is the congress people who voted for this idiotic system.

Posted by: Tom V at August 2, 2002 1:29 PM

Well Tony, I was going to name you as my new personal hero but I see the Indepundit beat me to it. I guess I'll have to settle for naming you "Guy I'd Like To See in Charge of Some Stuff."

Posted by: Sekimori at August 2, 2002 2:05 PM

First time I spotted your site, and found some signs of intelligent life on this planet!

HOWEVER: doesn't anyone tell Prez Bush about these solvable problems?

Same as: doesn't anyone tell PM Sharon that dropping a candy bar down a chimney in Damascus, Baghdad or Teheran (a la LIBYA) would bring some tryrants to heel?

Everywhere, tolerance of irresponsibility is a disease of the times. (No pun intended.)

Posted by: Yehoshua Kunkel at August 2, 2002 2:29 PM

Why so much venom at the "effete" dude at the ticket counter. No mention of the masculinity
quotient of the security guards. Or do you save your real anger for the obvious fags?

Doubt he moonlights in a hairdressing salon or hangs out in one off hours. What jackchick comicbook you living in? His faggy name was probably on his lapel name tag, btw. You could have looked. (Emile is a girly name, now? Tell it to Zola.)

Maybe he picked on your visceral disdain and
gave you back a piece of it. boo-hoo. I know you think this disdain is your hidden super-power but most of the human objects of it will actually recognize and react accordingly. You might want to keep that in mind next time you think you're invisible.

And since when do luggage check-ins operate on anything but first come first served? You get there 45 minutes before take-off and you deserve to be bumped to the head of the line AND an apology from the swish at the counter?

I'm ready to applaud all spontaneous uprisings against stupid and shoddy service wherever, whenever. So part of your story works for me.

But then part of me is "well if someone had to suffer, might as well be this lameass."

Posted by: tom brennan at August 2, 2002 2:41 PM

Good for you.

I did almost the same thing in October at the Little Rock, AR Airport. My flight was about to leave, the line was taking FOREVER so I pretty much did the exact same thing you did. Asked security guard to let the people who's flights were leaving go ahead (denied), asked the people in line if those of us whose flights were leaving in ten minutes could go ahead of them (everyone said sure), then had to deal with security guards who just wouldn't accept it. My parents were waiting to say good bye to me and they were mortified (although i think my dad was amused too). Unfortunately, only a handful of the early flight people got through quickly (I was one of them to get through), because the completely obnoxious security person starting making announcements to the crowd along the lines of "dont' let anyone ahead of you, do the right thing" and turning away anyone who had gotten out of line to go ahead.

On the plus side, the flight I was on had heard about the disturbance and that there were people who needed to board the flight so they held it for us.

The problem is that the small airports either have no idea how to make the lines run smoothly, or they just dont care if they run smoothly. Probably a combination of both. The worst lines are ALWAYs at the smaller airports.

Posted by: Shanna at August 2, 2002 2:45 PM

This isn't what happens when anarchy takes over. We didn't suddenly de-unionize the airline security employees. This is what happens when the Government takes over.

Posted by: Celeste at August 2, 2002 2:59 PM

Dot Idiyu writes: "I tend to think that The People are only interested in agitation when it serves selfish interests."

That's a peawit statment. The author served his family. If that's selfish, so be it. But notethat his "agitation" as you deprecatingly term it, served other passengers, too. If more people like the author served their own interests in the face of thick-headed bureaucrats they would serve the public interest.

Posted by: A different Scott at August 2, 2002 2:59 PM

The employees sound like typical Wichita idiots. Split Lip Rayfield rules, though.

Posted by: Abu Hamza at August 2, 2002 3:08 PM

Way to go!

I've got another suggestion on the subject of inane searches ready to post, but users2.ev1.net is taking a nap right now.

Posted by: Laurence Simon at August 2, 2002 3:57 PM

swarthy young men named Mohammed

the effete little man who took our bags

How difficult for you, Emile, or Jamey, or whatever girly little name you go by. Tell the other girls at the hair salon about it.

lol! dude, i'd love to hear you rip into some kikes, niggers and spics, too. america is for whites and whites only. i'll be glad when all these hebes, queers, ragheads, dotheads, porch monkeys and tree-huggers get the fuck outta here.

you sound like my kinda dude. i love the internet. it's great to hear someone tell it like it is. fuck minorities and sexual freaks. they should be rounded up and deported.

Posted by: Luke Wayne at August 2, 2002 4:11 PM

I've had it with the bagging on Wichita here.

So the ticket clerk was snippy, and the security guards were more interested in posing than in getting people safely and efficiently to their flight. Is that any different than airport workers in other cities? I've only flown 3 times since 9/11 (twice out of Wichita, as it's where I happen to live), in and out of 9 airports, but from my observations, the employees at ICT are on par with those at LAX, O'Hare or those other airports.

The fact is the other passengers here in Wichita universally showed some kindness and did their part to help (which is in sharp contrast to behavior I have seen in other airports, Kansas City for one). Why has that gone unnoticed here? Because it's much more enjoyable to mock the hicks.

And by the way, I don't blame Woodlief for the efforts to get on the flight, and sure, security could have been more cooperative, but I have to agree with Dot that regardless of whether 45 minutes is not sufficient time to get through ticket counters and security, and everyone knows it. (As it happens, 45 minutes-before-flight-time was the perfect arrival time at ICT pre-9/11.)

Posted by: denise at August 2, 2002 4:24 PM

Having lived in Wichita my whole life until 4 years ago and having moved to an even more desolate place than Wichita (New Mexico) I can safely say. Mid Continent Airport sucks.

I don't even fly into it anymore, it costs around $200 more to fly in or out of the "Air Capital of the World" than it does to fly into KC or OKC. They have ALWAYS had only one metal detector and one x-ray machine and 7 people to staff it with only one wand. pre-9/11 and post 9/11.

I follow the guidelines and show up 2 hours ahead of time when I fly out of Albuquerque and usually end up waiting an hour or so for my flight to board (although I'm usually flying out at off hours rather than the normal commuter times).

There is no reason why an airport with one 4 or 5 flights in or out a day should have that long of a wait.

My advice to anyone having to go to Wichita, fly into KCI and rent a car. It's only a 3 hour drive and you end up saving $150 on average (more if you have kids) and some sanity as well.

Posted by: Scott at August 2, 2002 5:28 PM

I flew out of Milwaukee right after Thanksgiving on a very early ("O dark thirty") flight. It didn't make any sense to be there two hours ahead of time as that would put me in the airport at 4:30 AM. I arrived an hour early at the ticket counter.

A security checkpoint had been set up in the corridor to the terminal for my flight. There was one metal detector and ten people to man it. There were also fifty people already in line.

By the time the line ahead had worked down to thirty ahead of me the line behind was over two hundred. I don't know how many over two hundred because I couldn't see back farther than that into the main concourse.

I studied this new security operation (not having anything better to do). Of the ten people manning this station only four of them moved in all the time I watched.

The plane was boarding when I got to the gate. The pilot announced that we were missing a family of four. No, they're not missing. I know exactly where the are; standing in that line. We left without them.

If people can't get through security at a rate to match the flights going out someone is going to be left behind no matter how early you arrive. This is not rocket science.

Arriving two hours early vs. one hour early is actually counterproductive. If everyone arrives an hour early then the people present in the airport are those whose flights are leaving in the time span from now and up to one hour from now. At any time there are people for one hour's worth of flights.

When everyone arrives two hours early you have people for the next two hours of flights standing around and all that has accomplished is to double the crowding.

Fire Mineta. Take back your country.

Posted by: Fred Boness at August 2, 2002 7:23 PM

Hi everybody. My name's "Norm" And I'm a multi-culti-aholic.
"Hi, Norm" "Buenos Dias,Norm" "Salam, Norm"
"It started for me when I was a child. Pearl Harbor was attacked, and because we were Japanese- American, we were all put in detainment camps. This was done by liberal Democrat heroes FDR & Earl Warren. J. Edgar Hoover said no, but he was overruled. So,naturally when I grew up , I joined the party of...FDR! I think all this time I have been identifying with my childhood oppressors, to gain a sense of power." (Audience nod their heads knowingly) "A kind of Stockholm Syndrome, I guess. Anyway, I swore if I ever grew up to be a Cabinet Secretary, I would make those people pay.
Yeah, those big,fat white Grandmas from Des Moines.We were surgically removing her hip replacement down at the AA counter, while Ali was capping Jews over at El-Al. Oops! Did you see where we harrassed that 85 yr.-old Medal of Honor winner.FDR gave him that medal. It should have been mine! Nearly got it too, but the stubborn bastard wouldn't give it up. But we had to do it. He could have been Al Queda. You never know who they are. Except, they're never Japanese! Remember that! NEVER Japanese!"
("Norm" pauses to regain his composure.)
"Now I was supposed to be a good little token Asian-Am. nominee and a nod to my fellow Democrats,tucked away at an insignifigant little Cabinet post. I got your "New Tone" in Washington, W.! How come McGaw got fired? Only 2 people fired since 9-11, and one of them is my guy! Well, I don't want guns in planes either. They remind of the Camp.Which goes to show you; even dead liberals can fuck things up . Thank You."
"Uh...Thank you,Norm", "Gracias, Norm", "Allah Akbar,Norm".

Posted by: "Norm" at August 2, 2002 7:37 PM

I've already posted one rant about this, but today I got material for another from my poor wife.
I fly a lot and Fred Boness is DEAD RIGHT. Getting there ahead of time just extends the time we all have to wait. The only solution that will work is staffing levels that allow people to move through at an adequate speed, at all times. Unfortunately, the government is taking over, and you know how the post office works--they staff for the average load, not peak loads.
Rule Number One of the Entire Universe: Never give money and power to government.

(Note: I have always found it interesting that for a group that never hesitates to call people that so much as disagree with them "racists" and "Nazis," liberals are hypersensitive to the slightest slur, and usually respond with ugliness and vitriol far worse than the original language. See above for examples.)

Posted by: Toren at August 3, 2002 12:05 AM

To those who deplore Woodlief's assertiveness or his anger at inefficiency and stupidity I say this:

Tyrants succeed because people like you find excuses for their transgressions. Futhermore, those excuses are designed to save you and your ilk the discomfort of standing up for your rights or the rights of anyone else. In the 1770s you likely would have found excuses for George III, then whined like crazy when your lack of willpower resulted in your having to move to Canada.

On a personal note, the only time I have had to deal with the new regime of airport security was during a schedule mixup at Cleveland. The guards were as helpful and reasonable as could possibly be expected. Maybe I just lucked out, or maybe we are more likely to publicize the bad news.

Posted by: Richard Donley at August 3, 2002 12:12 AM

Good for you. By the way, you really SHOULD complain when your steak is too rare. (Whatever that means) I wish I had been there.

Posted by: Llana at August 3, 2002 1:17 AM

Good for you -- I have my own small airport security experiences to share -- though not in the US. I haven't had the "pleasure" of flying in the US since October -- a time when most people hadn't returned to flying. I'm an American living in Asia and fly very frequently. I fly frequently to the Philippines -- where the US was concerned enough about security to have sent consultants to make sure there was adequate security in place after 9/11. Indeed there is a ton of security throughout the city (where most businesses have an armed guard at the door and you might have your bag searched before going into the local mall). And the Ninoy International Airport in Manila is no exception. There are often very long lines to get through security especially during peak travel times, but I have never missed a flight even when cutting it close -- 45 minutes is usually more than enough time (when all of your flying is international you can forget about the rule of getting to the airport 3 hours ahead of time -- a complete waste of time and often longer than the flight itself!) There are multiple layers of security: ticket and passport inspection prior to even entering the airport, xray and metal detectors immediately after entry into the airport where all of your bags (to be checked in or carried on) are screened (and searched if warranted). After going through the metal detector, each person is patted down -- then you can check in for your flight. After getting your boarding card, a security officer checks that and your passport before going to wait in another line to pay your airport tax; after paying, you need to wait in another line to clear immigration control. Then, on to the gates: there is another xray and metal detector where your hand carried bags are screened again. Afterward, another security person pats you down. To enter the waiting area for your gate, you need to pass through another security screening -- this time your hand carried bags are opened and manually inspected. Sometimes you are patted down again and asked for your passport. In one instance, we were stuck in the famous Manila traffic jams and we had just over 15 minutes before departure when we checked in -- so they had a representative from the airport escort us through security all the way to the gate and we made the flight. Maybe the Filipinos can teach US a thing or to about getting people through security?

Posted by: frequentflyer at August 3, 2002 6:27 AM

Was the comment about "swarthy... Mohammed" necessary? Is swarthiness a marker for terrorist? I get the point, but I think the language is loaded and unnecessary.

"Minimum wage... rent-a-cops" - do you prefer federalized 'real' cops? why?

Posted by: DC at August 3, 2002 9:22 PM

So many comments -- thank you!

Those of you with issues, I took them up in the post above. Well, mostly -- I don't think I have the rhetorical firepower to counter Tom Brennan's rapier "lameass" accusation.

And DC, really, have you seen pictures of the 9/11 hijackers?

Posted by: Tony at August 3, 2002 10:55 PM

Frankly, I'm shocked. That a civilized person. . . a person in Kansas, no less. . . could ever say such a horrible, ignorant thing.

There is no such thing as a steak that's too rare.

Posted by: Jane Galt at August 4, 2002 2:19 PM

Scott- Just wanted to let you know that the airfare situation is much improved here in Wichita these days. A low-cost carrier (Airtran) has come in and another (Frontier) is on the way, so prices have come way down. Of course, this has happened before and they have not lasted, but for now anyway, it's as cheap to fly out of Wichita as out of KC.

(Oh, by the way, it also means ICT is busier these days. It still only has 12 gates, so it can only be so busy, but it has more flights going in and out than 3 months ago.)

Posted by: denise at August 4, 2002 5:41 PM

THAT'S my boy! You get 'em Tiger and don't take that junk.

Posted by: Aunt Debbie at August 4, 2002 9:30 PM

Mineta Sucks Ass

Posted by: angry at August 21, 2002 11:53 PM

Hey! I hate to break youse guys' bubble, but I know an airport that isn't a problem to fly outta-Harrisburg, Pa. (MDT) Maybe it is a little more expensive, but it is SSSOOO much more pleasant than Baltimore (BWI), easier to get in/out of, & doesn't have idiots running it! My family has flown out/into it about half a dozen times since 9/11 & it has been very enjoyable-(Hard to believe!) My daughter-in-law wrks for a major airline & agrees that it is one of the best places to "sojourn" from if one HAS to fly these days.
But, hubby drives when he has to go to Pittsburgh as he can actually drive it faster than flying when considering all the time to park (long-term), get to the terminal, go through security, board, leave, fly, get there, deplane, get to the rental car place, pick up the car, drive through Pittsburgh with the "Tubes" closed for repair, & finally get to his destination 2 miles from where the Trnpke. exits. Moral: drive when less than 200 miles to a destination.

Posted by: AuzzieVick at August 22, 2002 7:12 AM

There's nothing like a REAL MAN...I think I'm in love.

Posted by: Sisyphus at August 22, 2002 7:15 AM

Instead of looking for inane objects as an olive fork or nail clippers (it'd take the whole flight to utilize that for hostage negotiations or crash landings), they should be looking at the people!!!! I'm a frequent flier, and I've seen nuns and a parapalegic (for Christ's sake!) get frisked while Rasheed hop-scotches onto the plane like a happy school girl. If I recall correctly, all of the significant terrorist attacks (Two embassies, WTC x2, USS Cole, etc) minus Oklahoma City in the last decade were carried out by Arabs, not Anglo retirees, not Nubian businessmen, not Oriental tourists, but 20-ish male Arabs with stolen Ramada Inn towels on their skulls. I don't think the Slovakian exchange student is going to pose a significant threat to the passengers of any flight. Look for Arabs, not safety pins!

Posted by: Pogo at August 22, 2002 8:08 AM

Real men DO fly...they fly themselves!

Posted by: woodsma at August 22, 2002 9:17 AM

I completely agree and have had similiar experiences. I have been searched 4 times before just to board one flight whilst obviously middle-eastern non-english speaking men are allowed to go right on through to board. This is a travesty. The time for political correctness is over. It is not blacks, whites, asians, or native americans trying to blow up planes here people. It's 30 something male Arabs who wish to wipe us off the planet. Until people realize that comments like these aren't sensationalism and that they are in fact an understatement of the severity of the situation, Americans will continue to have airline hassles like this or even worse as on 9/11/01.

Posted by: justin at August 22, 2002 9:46 AM

While on business trips over the last few weeks, I've been poked, prodded and paraded around the airport security area, talked to like a dog, and treated like an unwelcome guest. These truck-driver-turned security screeners have to go. They are rude, inefficient and quite offensive. Even airline employees agree. Is this just some social-economic effort to employ retirement aged grumps, or is it the best this country can do? If our security and intel depend on these "Dilberts", thank you, but I'll walk.

Posted by: Doug Davis at August 22, 2002 10:32 AM

Hey All,

First, Dot, What planet did you say you came from? The Rent-a-cops were just gabbing. That's a givin due to the fact they wouldn't have enough brain cells between them to come up with the idea of staging an act of civil disobedience. They probably wouldn't be able to tell you what that even means! Give me a break! OK - some aren't that stupid, but on the whole intelligent people will be in more challanging carrers. Then as for arriving 2 hours earlier? Yes, I do go 2 hours early, but why should I have to. I shouldn't!! Neither should anybody else. It's is simply buracracy run amuck!

Second, to all who seem to have the PC problems. Racial profiling isn't bigotry! It's using common sense. As said all the major terrorist attacks, outside of Ireland and OKC, have been perpitrated by Arabs. Common sense indicates they are they most likely suspects for future attacks. If the average law abiding person of arab persuasion has a problem with this then maybe they sould confront those who are creating the problem (ie. the terrorists). If there was a white group running about attacking people, then the law should be looking at whites as suspects. It has nothing to do with race or religion from the stand point of the USA. If however the group of terrorists is based on a religious or ethnic cause then those are the people who need to be examined. Though even this should be done within the constitutional laws set up to protect the rights of all US citizens.

Finally, I'd just like to say I'm glad to see a site like this. It's good to know there are some Americans out there who are watchful of a government that's getting out of control. We need to be ware of letting this government of the People become a government of the politicians.

Posted by: ED Stryker at August 22, 2002 10:55 AM

What's wrong with pork chops?

Posted by: jason at August 22, 2002 11:09 AM

Good for you! I see a lot of people saying you should have arrived earlier... but, why do we have to arrive so early? If these airports were on their toes, they would hire more people to scan luggage. I know most airports I go through, don't have all the security stations lit up. I just flew out of Seattle, and I was very pleasantly surprised to find absolutely NO line! Though, they had barricades up that would probably hold 200 or more people. We can have higher security, and good speed, there just needs to be higher-quality security guards.

Posted by: Kevin at August 22, 2002 11:11 AM

Let's be done with the morons, already! They were bad before Sept. 11, and they're intolerable now. Let us, each plane-load of passengers, take care of our security ourselves. Gather all in a room half an hour before take-off and we'll see to the questioning, searching and general security of one another. At least that way it's possible someone with the intelligence to form a complete sentence, maybe even a speaker of English, will be at work securing the flight. Let's remember who let the hijackers on the planes...then fire them, wholesale. It should have been done years ago. Or, hire the competant, and pay them appropriately. I dare say no one bitching about the nonsense going on called 'airport security' would mind delays that actually made flights secure. Godspeed to you and anyone else revolting against the security pretense which is serving only the egos of the otherwise powerless with understandably low self-esteem.

Posted by: Walking-with-blisters at August 22, 2002 11:37 AM

Mineta is Bush's man. It's no good to fire Mineta and keep Bush. Both have to go.

Posted by: Steve Gray at August 22, 2002 1:04 PM

Because the security guards don't use an ounce of common sense they have created the problems. I will not fly unless absolutely nesessary. I drive an eight hundred and fifty mile round trip now, rather than fly.

Posted by: Al Evans at August 22, 2002 2:06 PM

I've decided to chronicle these absurd stories and
deliver them to Mineta et al. I started a chat on
the idiotic airport security stories we've grown
weary of on a daily basis. If anybody would like
to share their story, please go to

Posted by: Steve at August 22, 2002 2:18 PM

Mr. Gray, Mineta is W's token Dem. A mistake to do, but a nice gesture after a split election. Mineta's a buffoon, and W's semi-trapped due to his gesture (which shows what a mistake it is to mix politics and mushiness). Mineta milked some time from his one good call (to down all planes on 9/11), but he's been clueless since (and before as well). Mineta needs to go...Bush needs to quit playing footsie with Dems.

Posted by: Gray'd out at August 22, 2002 2:25 PM

Well, I agree that the so-called airport security is beyond common sense. But I think you are looking at the wrong end of the stick when you complain about Mineta (or Bush as the last note said). I worked for the feds for 12 years, at the low end of the ladder. Believe me it is usually those where the 'rubber meets the road' who need changes. I had finger clippers broken because they were a 'dangerous weapon.' Years ago I was at an airport outside the USA and had to arrive three hours early for security check. But I didn't complain when 12 hours later an airplane arrived from a European city (my destination) with several terrorist who killed several at the airport I had just left.

Posted by: Arnie at August 22, 2002 3:05 PM

Wasn`t "Airport Security" and FAA regulations the very thing that guaranteed even a lightly-armed hijacker would succeed, in the FIRST place? Who benefits from knowing with near-certainty, that all his fellow passengers are disarmed? Now, almost a year after long-established victim-disarmament laws have spectacularly demonstrated their folly, we are doing MORE of it, instead of rethinking the whole idea of viewing a fuselage full of unarmed passengers and crew as "safe and secure" flying, when there is no way(and STILL no way)of guaranteeing with absolute certainty, that EVERYONE on board is unarmed.
If the free market were allowed to work it`s magic, there would soon be new, upstart airlines run by mavericks who`d eschew this whole "security" farce, allow and even encourage passengers to bring their legal personal weapons on board(hell, give a 10% discount to these fine citizens), and in essence, create a very risky enviroment for any would-be hijackers. Perhaps it`s time to get the gov`t OUT of the airline regulation business, and let people who actually know how to run one, do what they do best.

Posted by: Codeine Priest at August 22, 2002 3:15 PM

Show up on time, and don't cut in line - jerk!

Posted by: Anonymous at August 22, 2002 4:30 PM

There is an easy quick fix to the whole
situation. Too easy, and too quick for the
average politician.
So here it is:
All passengers must change Into very upscale,
nicely designed jumpsuits.
No carry on anything. You need diapers, tissues,
or any extras, airline staff provides them.
You need medication, bring a note.
Your clothing and luggage goes in a "bomb proof"
container in the cargo hold.
(Saw that on a News report, they have them...)
Then at your destination, you get dressed again
in your street clothes, and move along.
If it's good enough for the Astronauts, and
the Air Force, you could deal with it.
Actually I think it would be kind of cool,
all those passengers wearing the same suit,
feeling like they are a part of something.
No "I'm dressed better than you" or people
having to hang their suit coat somewhere.
Could make for a more pleasant journey.
That eliminates a whole lot of security and
screening costs. Pays for the dry cleaning.
A bit Orwellian, yes, but this is a new age.
I tend to be over the edge anyway.
The "unmasculine" and "swarthy" cracks made
me whince a bit also. I want to find terrorists.
The ones who do not fit the standard are on their own. I don't care. Damned boring place if we were all exactly the same.
Try something I have done with malingerers
in the past. If you see a bunch of employees that
are just hanging out, pull out your camera.
They scatter, presumably back to what they were supposed to be doing in the first place.
Works every time.

Posted by: SpottedOwlStew at August 22, 2002 7:01 PM

Right on, Richard Donley! I'm amazed at the acquiesence of all the people here who are saying that it's Mr. Woodlief's fault because he didn't "follow the rules". Will you people meekly knuckle under to any and every stupid, inane rule and law that our so-called "leaders" pass? SHEEEEP! BAAAAAAAAA!

Posted by: Steve at August 22, 2002 7:37 PM

SEARCHES SUCK!!...If heavy solering wire (available at any home depot type store) is bent into letters and glued to a piece of cardboard and placed inside a bag then the message (e.g. "SEARCHES SUCK" ?!) is visible on x-ray machines.

Posted by: rexatious at August 22, 2002 8:05 PM

The problem with airports is that the passenger usually wants to take the plane trip so the passenger is forced to submit to offensive searches. But there are other places where searches are performed and the public doesn't want to enter. Many people object to the assembly line searches that exist at some courthouse entrances. Are prospective jurors objecting because they believe that there is no probable cause for the searches, or are they just trying to avoid jury duty?
I am an attorney doing research on the following topic and would appreciate it if you could publish this request for information in your letters to the Editor or other opinion page and otherwise publicize this where it would gain the most response. I am interested in details about any instances where individuals have refused to be searched at the entrance to any courthouses. Many courthouses have search procedures that include metal detectors and baggage x-rays. I am interested in researching whether courthouse searches are treated as consensual encounters and how courthouses have dealt with refusals. I am particularly interested in refusals by seated jurors, prospective jurors, subpoenaed witnesses, defendants, lawyers and anyone whose attendance is compelled.
A classic example would be a complainant in a domestic violence case who no longer wishes to prosecute and who does not want to cooperate with the authorities, and who then refuses to enter a courthouse or other government building on the grounds that she/he will not consent to a search. Also, the federal court system has nationwide service of process, which means that a subpoenaed witness from a distant locale can be summoned to travel by prepaid airline tickets. Any such arrangement presents opportunities to object not only to any courthouse search, if he makes it that far, but to any airport searches enroute.
I am researching whether there have been any of the following: If seated jurors, prospective jurors, subpoenaed witnesses, defendants and lawyers have arrived at courthouses at their appointed times and announced that they would not submit to courthouse searches? If they
telephoned (or wrote letters) ahead of time and announced that they would arrive on schedule but not submit to the courthouse searches? If any had lawyers file motions ahead of each scheduled appearance to object to the prospective searches and to announce that they would arrive on schedule but not submit? If any "Fully Informed Jury" groups have pamphleted courthouses with
information about refusing to submit to courthouse searches? And when prospective jurors object to searches, is it because they philosophically oppose the searches on the grounds of a lack of probable cause, or is it merely used as a way to avoid jury duty? Anyone who knows of any such incidents please send details to rexatious@hotmail.com or to the location below.

Posted by: rexatious at August 22, 2002 8:16 PM

I absolutely refuse to fly. If I wanted to be treated like a prisoner, I'd go steal someone else's money, not lay my own hard-earned dollars down to do it. The only way I will ever fly again is if I am force to on official orders, and since I leave the military next year, I highly doubt I'll have to worry about that. I will drive any distance, where I am the Captain of my own ship, thank you. My own father, an FAA inspector, had a lighter stolen by one of these goons in Utah. Get this, he was "allowed" to take one lighter, but he couldn't have two. So he told the "agent" that he was not going to let him steal the expensive re-fillable lighter he owned, he would let him steal the cheaper one. "But sir," protested Mr. Federal Security Guard "it's not stealing." to which my father replied "You are taking property from me that does not belong to you against my will, that is stealing." Security is an absolute joke, the terrorists are smart, they knew that we'd do their work for them. Because they correctly assumed that we would, and we have played right into it. Airline service was sinking fast before 9/11, now it's sunk, and probably forever. Power to those who refuse to fly! Send all these clowns a message.

Posted by: George at August 22, 2002 9:22 PM

Since I live on the border I asked if the travel agent could get me a ticket on a Mexican airline when I wanted to go to a conference in Puerto Villarta. I was extremely glad I did as it was as nice a trip as flying in the US was many years ago.

Everything was in English as well as Spanish and they fed us and the ticket was cheaper for just going across the river.

They were courteous and if you only had carryon luggage you were expected to be there 15 minutes before flight time.

Posted by: Marilyn Steffen at August 22, 2002 11:04 PM

Well done. One of the things people generally don't understand is that all airports in the US are government run. All of them. They have been for decades.

All the problems I have read about air travel, except food on board which has improved greatly, can be traced to the airports being owned and operated by government bureaucrats.

There is no more incentive to be responsive to the needs of their customers than the Department of Motor Vehicles, and no more requirement for efficiency than the highway department. You're a captive market, you have no place else to go. By law.

Sure, choose not to fly. That's my preferred method, and I note several other people are doing the same thing. Good for them.

Another would be to at least attempt to return air service to the private sector. Who would deliberately take an airline that let private citizens with valid CCW's, off-duty cops, and their own flight crews carry their own weapons on board? The beauty of the free market is that no one would be forced to take such an airline. I know I would.

There is at present no market force for positive change, their budgets only get bigger when there are problems. Think about THAT for a few minutes.


Posted by: Curt Howland at August 23, 2002 1:22 AM

The Desk found the same thing talking to people recently.

We the People are NOT afraid of terrorists. However, we are afraid of stupidity in airports and having to undress for convicted sex offenders.

see article: http://drleftover.tripod.com/flying.htm

Posted by: Dr Leftover at August 23, 2002 5:29 AM

WHY did a member of the public have to do what someone from the airline USED to do.

In the distant past a rep would often call a flight and move those people to the front of the line.

Posted by: The Eggman at August 23, 2002 8:46 AM

Um Steve,

Mineta was first hired by Monica's old boyfriend.

Posted by: Nunya at August 23, 2002 10:46 AM

Finally! Has everyone lost their minds? Since when does getting on public transportation mean we waive our Constitutional rights against search & seizure? What's next? Pat-down searches to enter a McDonald's? Somewhere, a line HAS to be drawn, or our rights will be gone. Searches at airports have never worked, and never will. Even after 9/11, over 25% of weapons still go through. When we collectively give up our right against unlawful search and seizure, we become sheep being led to slaughter... Fight back! Refuse to be searched without probable cause! Force the issue into a court! Stop being sheep!

Posted by: proberman at August 26, 2002 10:53 AM

Rave on, man! Way to blow their pea-sized minds! Truly a blow for the customer against the tide of humiliating experiences flying has become.

However, you could probably avoid the hassle if you manage to get to the airport at a reasonable time. Even prior to 9/11 an hour before was the minimum required to go through the rigamarole and clear up the requisite pr-flight ticket confusion.

Posted by: Anonymous at August 29, 2002 11:35 PM

If I have to show up at an airport 9 hours early, then I may as well drive. Then I won't have to be wand raped by some min wage worker!

Posted by: Noelle at September 3, 2002 9:15 AM

in the tokyo airport the guards take one person at a time, stay with that person until they have done their checks, and then when that person is on their way, they take the next available person.

the result is much faster processing as all guards know exactly what they have to do... not the who's on first approach to US security.

handing travelers from guard to guard to guard is very not a good way to handle things. people end up loosing track of their bags, their laptops, etc. the one to one approach in tokyo is better, faster, and more respectful of travelers.


Posted by: robert reddick at October 4, 2002 2:23 PM

Had a security guy take a charm from my key chain because it looked like a bullet. Asked if I could get it back and the answer was no! It is now the property of the U.S. Government... However, they did not pay for the charm that was given to me by my dead dad... I informed them this was very personal and would do no harm to anyone on the plane... It sat in my pocket on my key chain not around my neck where anyone could even see it... But, they were hell bent on stealing my charm... When are folks going to get the hint, we are now living in a police state... They can take your personal items for any reason they seem fit... They don't pay for the items they take, and refuse to give them back when you call after the flight... FOLKS THIS IS PLAIN AND SIMPLE STEALING... The government has a history of stealing, look at all the property they take away from people and sell through the U.S. Marshalls sales... It's my understanding some of the folks that lost the property never went to court... Go figure... Or, better yet read a bit about Germany or Russia pasts... America is no longer the free country that our forefathers died for... They would roll over in thier graves to see what has happened...

Posted by: Dante at January 20, 2003 5:11 PM