Today upon arriving at the San Francisco International Airport for our flight back home, I came face to face with my utter dread for the past 6 months. The Full Body Scan machine! Ominously it stood above all of the other old school metal detectors. As I casually watched the line, as to not draw suspicion to myself, people would just walk right in, throw up their hands as if they were being showered down in a pre-incarceration process, and in seconds were on their way again. Folks, the whole thing is just wrong! You can try to argue the point that it is for the safety of all passengers, but I don’t buy it. For starters, it was just days before we flew out of Alaska, a couple of weeks back, that a solitary Air Traffic Controller was left in the tower somewhere in the lower 48, by himself in the middle of the night, and fell asleep! WTF??!! And we are worried about terrorism?! Pilots with long hours and no rest, airline customers who are so fed up with being treated like less than the ‘paying customers’ that they are supposed to be. I am more worried about ‘air rage’ or mutiny in that case.
I carefully studied the system that TSA had in place this day. The answer was simple! Wait, lets go back…. Before we even arrived at the airport, Maryann and I discussed what we were going to go for….the ‘cop a feel’ pat down or the scan. If they say that the scan is harmless to us…to me, that is a red flag that they have no idea. Forget about the privacy issue! I made a conscious decision that I was going to let some poor unsuspecting TSA operative feel me up and just plain screw with him. But this would not be necessary on this day. I detected a simple flaw in their system. There were so many people flooding into security today that it was difficult for the seemingly confused TSA operatives to keep on top of all that was going on. I detected a leak in the main line going into the screening area. The stanchion’s were down where the two incoming lines merged and then split back into 6 or 7 lines through the screening area. I mean, not down for like a second or so, they were just down….period! So, I chose the split in the line that took me away from body scanner line. Instead, I was able to move myself and Maryann conveniently over to any one of the points away from the body scanner with nobody on watch to tell me different!
Now, as you would figure, I, had absolutely nothing to hide other than my boys which I chose not to share with TSA. But what bothers me is that anyone who was lucky enough to be there today, who did have something to hide, would have been able to avoid the body scanner at their own leisure. This can’t be the only time this kind of thing has happened…believe me, I‘m not that lucky. It was an enlightening experience, and I felt achieved that I was able to avoid what I feel to be an utter invasion to my constitutional right to privacy!
Other than that, our flight out of SFO was delayed by 40 minutes because like half of the passengers were apparently held up at Security. More than likely TSA had figured out by now that all of the lines through screening were crammed….all but the scanner line….do ya think?! So, we, the boarded ones, waited and as a result were late to our connecting flight in Seattle, to Alaska! When I brought up my concerns to the flight attendant about the possibility of missing our connecting flight now as a result this, she replied, “oh, no worries!” “Just talk to a gate agent (who we civilians refer to as “Gate Nazi’s”) and they will hook you up“. Huh? Hook us up with what? I mean, if we miss the flight, what are we going to hook up with?? Politely, as to not create a stir like I did last time I flew, with my tainted comments, I pressed her a little…you know, laid out a couple of options, like; Make an announcement when we land that the passengers who are about to miss their connecting flight need to be allowed off first. Or, at very least find out the time the plane will land and at what gate so we can figure out our route before we get off the plane this way we can just bolt in the right direction. Something….anything, but the damned ‘hook up’!
As it rode out, her final answer to our dilemma was to not worry, the plane would land at the gate at 9:30A, the boarding for the connection is starting at 9:30A and we would have plenty of time….. Really?! No potty stop, no food, no nothing. Just bolt. When we arrived at the gate, the plane was about loaded and we fumbled our way in on time to get into our seats for the earlier than expected departure. Yup, just like the nice flight attendant stated, there really was no need to worry! That’s nice….
Other than that the overall experience was typical. Cramped quarters, corralled like cattle, kind smiling attendants that would snarl at you every chance they had. Or, I love this one, “Good morning sir” all bright eyed and bushy tailed. Only to totally diss you when you return the kindness with a smile and “How are you today”, back to them. Believe me, if there was an easier way to do it, I would skip flying in a happy heartbeat. I guess maybe I just expect way too much common decency and standard customer service for the money I’m being fleeced of to fly. That and all of the unnecessary elbows to ass, and body contact sitting in the isle seat freaks me out! Actually though, I do deserve this one as I choose the aisle seats. Unnecessary contact is far better than doing ‘the sardine’ stuffed between two people or ground into the corner of the window for 3 hours.
We are looking forward to getting back home though. It was a trip, man. We accomplished much relaxation and fun times. But despite it all, there truly is no place like home!