Tag: FAA

United, Obamacare and Big Coercion

 

Flying home recently on a United black-eye red-eye to Los Angeles, I couldn’t help but reflect on how the parallels between the airline industry and Big Government go a long way to justifying Americans’ contempt for both. The former has for years been shoehorning ten seats into rows which previously had only eight, which is fair enough: that’s the free market in action. But to then charge a fee for the “extra legroom” made scarce as a result? That suggests a scorn for customers normally associated with the political class for its customers.

As evidence, consider how both parties to varying degrees cater to those who receive health insurance subsidies as a result of Obamacare while largely ignoring those who have lost their health insurance as a result of Obamacare. Seen in this context, the ordeal of passing TSA inspection is a kind of boot camp to harden soldier-flyers for the real deal.

The fee-based model now favored by airlines becomes increasingly indistinguishable from a racket: “Nice carry-on you’ve got there, it’d be a shame to lose it.” Some are asking why don’t airlines simply institute a bidding system in which those passengers willing to cough up the most money can avoid an ass kicking altogether. The reason why not is simple: because government regulations place a cap on the amount of money airlines may compensate passengers booted from their flights in order to accommodate employees of the friendly skies. Gee, I wonder who came up with that idea, regulators or the airline industry? (Google “regulation capture” and see if an image of a smiling airline lobbyist waving back at you doesn’t appear on your computer screen.)

Member Post

 

As I was saying… When airlines began charging a fee to check-in a single piece of luggage, I was downright naive: “Now my bag is more likely to arrive with me!” I thought. I assumed the fee wasn’t for placing my bag on just any plane but on my plane. It was bad enough in […]

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50 Shades Of TSA

 

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We’re just shy of fifteen years into the Global War On Terror. While the law of averages says the next fifteen will yield better results, at this juncture simply being allowed to keep our shoes on when boarding a plane seems like a major victory.

No serious person expected this war to be won in less time than it takes to fire TSA serial gropers (i.e., three months). But at least the consolation for participating in this airport kabuki was knowing that the terminal and plane was free of guns, makeshift explosives and excessive concentrations of toothpaste. Now we learn that the head of the TSA has been “reassigned” after covert tests conducted by the agency’s inspector general found that screeners at airports failed to detect prohibited items 95 percent of the time.

Five Proposals For Reforming The TSA

 

Your tax dollars at work.Fourteen years is more than enough time for the so-called services of any government agency to go from “controversial inception”  to an “untouchable entitlement.” No agency exemplifies this quite like the the Department of Homeland Security and its enforcement minions at the TSA.

Why is this so? Much of it is due to the managed expectations of Americans themselves. Far from being resentful, many Americans seem grateful at the FAA’s overturning of its long-overdue ban on such brazenly unpatriotic behavior as reading a Kindle after the plane has left its gate.

No longer is the government the last one in the room to get the joke – that attribute belongs to government’s primary constituency: progressives.

The Joylessness of Air Travel

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 11.02.51 AMThe proliferation of needless regulations breeds cynicism and contempt for government, which is about the best thing you can say for it. Nowhere is this more obvious than at airport security, where I was recently instructed that I must forfeit a tin of pomade. At John Wayne airport, no less.

For the record, I didn’t let them take it: I simply applied it to my hair where, apparently, it’s perfectly permissible. That’s right: six ounces of hair gel in your carry-on bag and the assumption is that you could be a terrorist. But six ounces in your hair? “Well then! Welcome aboard!”

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve endured the humiliation of an airport pat-down. More than once I’ve been told by the TSA agent “When I reach sensitive parts of your body I’ll use the back of my hand.”

Airport Security vs. Being Admitted into Prison: A Comparison

 

Passing through airport security seems more and more like being admitted into prison. First they confiscate two things: anything remotely sharp and… your belt. Then you’re standing in line with a bunch of barefoot people holding up their pants up with one hand and their sole possessions in the other. The travelers who passed through security hours earlier are looking on and chanting “Fresh fish! Fresh fish!”

Upon reflection, that last part doesn’t sound plausible enough to deem reliable memory. But you get the idea.