The increasing indignity of air travel

As a frequent air traveler, I fully understand the value and wisdom of following the rules.  But the rules are constantly changing.

This morning, I was subjected to a pat-down, apparently as penance for the cardinal sin of failing to completely empty my pockets and put everything in those grey plastic bins for an x-ray look-see.  Not just metallic items, as we've had to do for years.  Everything.  Including my handkerchief.  And I have a cold.  You get the picture.

The reason the pat down was necessary, I was told, was that I'd been "randomly selected" for a full body scan and my pockets "had to be empty for the scan to be effective."

With all due respect, bullshit.

Here's where Demon Inconsistency creeps in.

The last time I went through a full-body scan was at the Indianapolis airport.  During that scan, I was required to hold my wallet in front of me as the scan was completed.

Apparently, the rules are different at Seattle's Sea-Tac Airport (SEA).  Or they've changed in the last 20 minutes.

I know. I know.  Being unpredictable is part of the strategy for keeping terrorists off-balance.  But come on!  At some point, it becomes unproductive and just plain annoying. 

I would argue that we reached that point long ago.

After all, it was fellow passengers who subdued shoe bomber Richard Reid and a few others with nefarious intent, not the minimum wage rubes who work for the TSA.

Not that I'm advocating the abdication of all security measures in favor of trusting in the largess of our fellow travelers.  But if we keep going down this path, the logical question must be, "What's next?"  A requirement that we shed all of our street clothes and don paper suits before we're allowed to fly?  Please don't make the mistake of thinking it's all that far-fetched.

Aldous Huxley and George Orwell were right:  it IS a brave, new world and Big Brother IS watching!
Visit my main page at for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.