I was struck by the stark contrast between how the airlines and the TSA manage their queues. Note the complete lack of queue at the airline check-in counter (left), and the usual long queue at the TSA checkpoint (right).
There were no innovations like touch-screen check-in kiosks on 9/11. In the 6+ years since then, most airlines have streamlined their own check-in processes so that they are faster and easier, not to mention more secure – even for we cattle who must fly in coach.
During the same 6 years the government, through the TSA, has done very little innovation. Though a high percentage of travelers are frequent (meaning weekly) flyers, the TSA security policies do not
discriminate differentiate among any classes of passengers. All are subjected to the same process, day after day. The unimaginative uniformity of the TSA’s policies continue to severely damage the airline’s business-critical customer experience, all the while the TSA goes on charging the airline’s customers a fee for its work, and thus contributing even further to the woes of the airline industry.
Many Democrats seem sure the government would do a much better job than this of managing all our health care policies. I’m sure it would be fairer in the same idiotic sense that TSA security policies are fair – meaning uniformly inconvenient and thus questionably effective.
This lunacy of TSA policy reminded me of Peggy Noonan’s remarks last week in The View From Gate 14:
America is in line at the airport. America has its shoes off, is carrying a rubberized bin, is going through a magnetometer. America is worried there is fungus on the floor after a million stockinged feet have walked on it. But America knows not to ask. America is guilty until proved innocent, and no one wants to draw undue attention. America left its ticket and passport in the jacket in the bin in the X-ray machine, and is admonished. America is embarrassed to have put one one-ounce moisturizer too many in the see-through bag. America is irritated that the TSA agent removed its mascara, opened it, put it to her nose, and smelled it. Why don't you put it up your nose and see if it explodes? America thinks.
And, as always: Why do we do this when you know I am not a terrorist, and you know I know you know I am not a terrorist? Why this costly and harassing kabuki when we both know the facts, and would agree that all this harassment is the government's way of showing "fairness," of showing that it will equally humiliate anyone in order to show its high-mindedness and sense of justice? Our politicians congratulate themselves on this as we stand in line.
All the frisking, beeping and patting down is demoralizing to our society. It breeds resentment, encourages a sense that the normal are not in control, that common sense is yesterday...