Everything is Terrible and It Won’t Change

I used to think that when flight delays started, people would finally get fed up with the sequester and start raising hell with their red state reps, but I’m starting to doubt that shitty airline travel is a pressure point anymore. Since 9/11, air travel has been so routinely unpleasant, with fresh new ugliness added at random intervals, that frequent flyers are just inured to the whole thing, and infrequent flyers either show up completely clueless and gum everything up, or they research flying the way that one would research the diagnosis of a terminal disease, and show up 3 hours before their flight. Each new miserable experience–shoes off, the pint ziploc bag of toiletries, the X-ray Rapiscan strip-search–engenders a bit of complaint yet they all remain. Yes, as Louis CK says, flying is still a bit of magic, and it is certainly better than the alternatives, but just because it beats riding the hound doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be a hell of a lot better.






134 replies
  1. 1
    PeakVT says:

    FEARDOM!

    I think the TSA plans on making any HSR line that gets built almost as onerous. Of course, the lines actually have to get built first, so it’s nothing to worry about for a decade or so.

  2. 2
    cvstoner says:

    Not sure it beats the alternatives that much any more :-)

  3. 3
    Nunca el Jefe says:

    I think it’s because the real frequent flyers get to go through the “Premier” security line then go wait in an airline lounge. Everyone else that flies infrequently just gets to grin and bear it. Much as I lust after the perks of airline status it still gets me worked up that security lines have a steerage class.

  4. 4
    Kurzleg says:

    I suspect that if it gets bad enough frequent flyers – who are typically the most vocal – will make their feelings known in no uncertain terms. Matter of time.

  5. 5
    Kurzleg says:

    @Nunca el Jefe: Infrequent flyers are typically on vacation and traveling to someplace warm/nice, so they’re likely to be a bit more patient. Frequent flyers won’t be, airline lounges notwithstanding.

  6. 6
    PeakVT says:

    Also, too, with fractional ownership, the people who mis-rule us don’t fly commercial so much anymore.

  7. 7
    Baud says:

    No one ever knows what the tipping point will be. That’s why it’s so important to persevere.

  8. 8
    Jon Rockoford says:

    You may not live in a state with total Republican media control so you may not know how sequestration is being manipulated to blame Obama: the Columbus Dispatch (in central Ohio) has run their second editorial lambasting Obama for the effects of the Republican sequestration on air travel.

    Yes, it’s all Obama’s fault! The sequestration is not the problem, it’s how it’s applied that’s wrong and that’s all Obama.

    They have a pay-wall, so the link may not work, but here’s a taste:

    Airlines for America is taking a page from the Obama administration by taking its case directly to the people to build grassroots support for its cause. The industry has set up a website, dontgroundamerica.com, for people to oppose the furloughs.

    Even if one isn’t planning to fly, flight delays and cuts could cost money and jobs in an already-fragile recovery. As with painful cuts being made in everything from White House tours to national park hours, this is another example of the administration appearing to be deliberately and shamefully making the sting worse to score political points.

  9. 9
    JPL says:

    The repubs are already saying it’s Obama’s fault. The current House of Republicans has thrown out the constitution and just rule with there ideologies.

  10. 10
    JPL says:

    The repubs are already saying it’s Obama’s fault. The current House of Republicans has thrown out the constitution and just rule with there ideologies.

  11. 11
    JPL says:

    whoops! double post
    what the heck.. it’s a triple post

  12. 12
    Lee Rudolph says:

    @Kurzleg: The infrequent flyer who is “on vacation and traveling to someplace warm/nice” may be “likely to be a bit more patient”; the same infrequent flyer, going back to work someplace cold/nasty, less so.
    Much less so.

  13. 13
    BGK says:

    @Kurzleg:

    Infrequent flyers are typically on vacation and traveling to someplace warm/nice, so they’re likely to be a bit more patient. Frequent flyers won’t be, airline lounges notwithstanding.

    Ha ha, sadly no. My origin/destination airport (Ft. Myers) is primarily a tourist market, and the infrequent fliers are the biggest complainers and jackasses. Also too, their jackassery is proportional to their ignorance of security norms and how badly they’re holding others up. Orlando, as one might imagine, is second only to Las Vegas for number of people with whom one really doesn’t want to share a security line. Orlando does, however, have a “expert traveler” line. If one is without children and knows the ropes, there’s neither much rigmarole nor wait, and it’s open to anyone regardless of airline status. One will, though, have random verbal abuse directed at him or her from frayed parents in the adjacent “family” line.

  14. 14
    MikeJ says:

    They should completely shut down all ATC at National airport if they insist on calling it Reagan. Wasn’t he fond of the government that governs least?

  15. 15
    Don K says:

    Well, I’m guessing lots of business travelers are convinced Obama did this on purpose to make the cuts as visible as possible (I’ve seen comments to this effect on FlyerTalk), so therefore the answer is for the Reps to hang tough. There really are lots of people who believe that you could cut substantial amounts from the federal budget through the magic of eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse, or else by eliminating unnecessary administrative positions, so any cut that inconveniences them obviously is a punitive action inflicted by the Kenyan Socialist Usurper.

    Now if it was up to me I really would target the cuts on programs that largely benefit Republican constituencies (you want to cut the budget, right? so you shouldn’t mind this inconvenience), so from my point of view this is fine.

  16. 16
    Mandalay says:

    just because it beats riding the hound doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be a hell of a lot better..

    How? If you want to complain about the situation, and claim that it could be “a hell of a lot better”, then let’s hear the specific changes and improvements you propose.

  17. 17
    debit says:

    A few years ago I decided that if I can’t get there by car, I just won’t go. Yes, it’s limiting but I refuse to deal with all the bullshit now associated with flying. I’m sure the airlines don’t miss my dollars at all.

  18. 18
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Jon Rockoford: That is simply par for the course for the Dispatch.

  19. 19
    Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS) says:

    @Mandalay: Did you even read the sentences immediately preceding the one you quoted?

  20. 20
    Dave says:

    Ugh, there is no magical value of suffering at which people will simply rise up and start to make demands. People basically accept whatever shit sandwich is handed to them. Fantasies about the people uniting over air travel border on insane.

  21. 21
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mandalay: Stop doing security theater.

  22. 22
    Mandalay says:

    Did you even read the sentences immediately preceding the one you quoted?

    Yes. Are you seriously suggesting that you and your carry on luggage should not be inspected before you board a plane? Seriously?

    Again, whining about the situation is easy. What would you change?

  23. 23
    Schlemizel says:

    @BGK:

    Having had to fly out of Orland when I lived in Florida I will second your observations. I never saw so many stupid things done or a bigger bunch of jackasses than mom/dad/kids coming from or going to the Mouse House.

    This was pre-9/11 and their inability to prepare for the security was marginally understandable. Their outrage and ire at it would have been humorous if they were behind me & not in front of me in line

  24. 24
    Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS) says:

    @Dave: I’m not sure I totally agree with this sentiment. I think, rather, that most people will believe that their voices will have little impact on their elected representatives. I mean, they just saw how the American public overwhelmingly supported background checks, and yet got a hearty “Fuck you, we don’t care” from 54 Senators, and likely would have gotten more from the House if they’d been allowed to vote.

    In Illinois, the lege keeps trying to gut the public employee pension programs, and they keep getting overwhelming calls against, but they keep trying. It’s a very frustrating experience. I expect it’s magnified exponentially when you talk about the national level.

  25. 25
    mistermix says:

    @Mandalay: Get rid of the 3 oz rule (no threat was ever proven), shoes off rule and the Rapiscans, which don’t work anyway. Let me carry on a small pocket knife. Those are just for starters. You’re obviously trolling since the answer to your question is so obvious.

  26. 26
    Schlemizel says:

    @debit:

    The wife and I have taken the same approach. There is a price to be paid as it added 3 days to our trip to NYC. But the upside is we do get to see some nice country, we entertain each other while driving and we meet much nicer people

  27. 27
    magurakurin says:

    then let’s hear the specific changes and improvements you propose.

    1. No priority line for security. Better food, better service, bigger seats, whatever. But security should be everyone together. That is a kickback laden boondoogle if there ever was one.

    2. Fix the nonsense with the shoes. It’s been a long time now, but it is still completely ad hoc. No where to take the shoes off, no where to put them back on. And not all shoes are subject to it.Put in area where everybody takes off their shoes and then run a strip of carpet through where nobody walks with shoes on. Nobody. Then have an area for people to put their shoes back on. Alternatively, have the same area but have a supply of slippers (like they do in Japan) and have people wear them through.

    3. In the same area there needs to be a larger space for people to get out their laptops, liquids, electronics etc. There needs to be a space for people to stage and get ready other than just everyone fumbling at the end of the line and balancing shit on a pole or the edge of the conveyor. Likewise at the end a similar place for people to gather all their shit and repack.

    4. More training and higher pay for the TSA workers. The level of professionalism compared to the Immigration and Customs officials is shockingly low. They don’t know how to deal with people and they really don’t know how to deal with non-English speaking people.

    5. More non-verbal signage directing people and greater standardization throughout all the airports. I’ve gone through a lot of airports in the States, and everyone is different. The TSA is supposed to be a full-fledged agency,so it needs to stop acting like an ad-hoc solution to a problem that started more than a decade ago. A security system needs to be standardized and implemented in a nearly identical fashion at every airport.

  28. 28
    Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS) says:

    @Mandalay:

    Are you seriously suggesting that you and your carry on luggage should not be inspected before you board a plane? Seriously?

    My, you build impressive straw men.

  29. 29
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS):

    and yet got a hearty “Fuck you, we don’t care” from 54 Senators,

    I think you have that backwards. It died on a filibuster.

  30. 30
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    It’s a major pain at the beginning, for sure. But, for the most part, it’s pretty easy after that. Especially when you compare it to the car ride going to the same place.

    Also, you forget human nature. Most change doesn’t occur because 80% of the people get fed up. Eighty percent of the people throughout history would still be living in caves if the 20% that make change hadn’t done anything. Most of history is the 10% that wants to make progress fighting against the 10% that wants to return us to the trees.

  31. 31
    magurakurin says:

    @mistermix:

    that works for me as well…

  32. 32
    magurakurin says:

    @debit:

    I decided that if I can’t get there by car, I just won’t go.

    Tell me how to get from Japan to anywhere in just a car, and I’d be game.

  33. 33
    Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Yeah, 46 senators. need more coffee to do numbers. :/

  34. 34
    Citizen_X says:

    @Jon Rockoford:

    flight delays and cuts could cost money and jobs in an already-fragile recovery

    So does the Dispatch tell us what magical budget cuts could be made that won’t cost money and jobs in an already-fragile recovery? Or are those too obvious, and we’re just experiencing mean old President Angry making us suffer out of spite?

  35. 35
    Schlemizel says:

    @magurakurin:

    I’d add one thing – go back to the regulated airlines stage. Sure fares might have been a little bit higher but the service was good, planes clean & maintained and you were not treated like a refugee.

  36. 36
    raven says:

    Yep, I fly to Providence next month on an early morning flight and I went ahead and booked a hotel room at the airport so I won’t have to sweat the small shit.

  37. 37
    boortzlistener@yahoo.com says:

    @Jon Rockoford:

    Yes, it’s all Obama’s fault! The sequestration is not the problem, it’s how it’s applied that’s wrong and that’s all Obama.

    Exactly right. That is what I keep hearing. Folks keep telling me it would be simple to cut 125 million out of a 16 billion dollar budget without disrupting air travel. If only Obama was not trying to rub his shit in our faces!

  38. 38
    Schlemizel says:

    @(fka AWS):

    I’m hoping for legalized dope so I can do numbers before coffee B-{D

  39. 39
    BGK says:

    @Schlemizel:
    Advantage Las Vegas: no children having meltdowns.
    Advantage Orlando: child-burdened parents unlikely to wield shiv as part of wallet theft.

  40. 40
    magurakurin says:

    @Schlemizel: Agree. The deregulation of the airlines has been a failure. The pricing now is just insane, totally unfair. That is one thing we can’t really lay at the feet of the Republicans either. Dems did that in the Carter Administration, I gather.

  41. 41
    Another Halocene Human says:

    OT: Can somebody explain the Kyrgyzstan connection? Yes, I know I’m fucking obsessing. I looked on a map of the world and Kyrgyzstan is way the fuck in Central Asia, not so far from the Pakistani border, absolutely nowhere near Dagestan. Is this a common place for Russian citizens to go when they want to get away from it all?

    The only Russian emigres I know personally were Jews who came to the US via Western Europe and Israel.

  42. 42
    magurakurin says:

    @raven:

    I went ahead and booked a hotel room at the airport so I won’t have to sweat the small shit.

    I’ve recently started doing the same. Also on late returns(I have to take a three hour bus to get home). It really is worth the extra dough. Much, much easier.

  43. 43
    Central Planning says:

    infrequent flyers either show up completely clueless and gum everything up,

    Yes, they do.

    or they research flying the way that one would research the diagnosis of a terminal disease, and show up 3 hours before their flight.

    No, they don’t.

    I fly for business maybe 8 times a year. When going through the inspection line in ROC, I try to pick out which people are business travelers and get in the line that has the most of them. They know to take off shoes, watches, glasses, belts, anything metal, that the general public seems to think they don’t need to. “Oh, I need to take off my pewter bracelet too?” Oy.

  44. 44
    Mandalay says:

    @mistermix:

    Get rid of the 3 oz rule (no threat was ever proven)

    It’s not really a threat that you would want to prove:

    Tests showed that a container of a certain size is needed for an effective explosion. Separate three-ounce containers limited in number to what will fit inside a single one-quart bag do not have “enough critical diameter” to blow up an aircraft, he said.

    The rule was ridiculed. Critics scoffed, Mr. Hawley said. “Holy smokes! Three ounces in a one-quart baggie! Who made that one up?”

    But the science, he said, is clear. “With certain explosives you need to have a certain critical diameter in order to achieve an explosion that will cause a certain amount of damage.”

    “The size of the container itself,” he added, “is part of the security measure.”

    You’re obviously trolling since the answer to your question is so obvious.

    I thought you were.

  45. 45
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS): I think there is a natural tendency to assume that a piece of legislation doesn’t passed simply because it failed to get a majority. Filibusters do not compute at all pre-coffee.

  46. 46
    Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS) says:

    @Central Planning: I’m in much the same boat. I don’t wear a belt to the airport, I wear slip-on shoes, and I don’t carry any liquids in check-in baggage. If anything, I’d like them to do something about “carry-on” luggage, and the fuckers who pack for a weeklong trip and try to get it all in the overhead compartment. THAT gums up the lines. They should reverse the charges on luggage or something so people use the cargo hold.

  47. 47
    Ken T says:

    Fortunately, I retired a little over a year ago. As soon as I did, I tossed my Frequent Flyer card in the trash, and swore that I will never fly again unless and until the situation gets better. With no time restrictions, there is no place in North America I can’t reach by car; Europe will just have to get by without seeing my smiling face again. (With the dollar-to-euro exchange rate what it is, I can’t afford it anyway.)

  48. 48

    @Central Planning:

    Seconded, from another ROC flyer – though I have to say, in my relatively limited experience, the TSA crew at ROC is actually pretty professional and businesslike. I’ve had very few problems with them, versus at other airports.

    (On the other hand, I think some of them are subcontracted? Please correct if I’m wrong on this.)

  49. 49
    raven says:

    @Schlemizel: I was at a Hertz counter at Midway on the Saturday morning of a holiday weekend. There was only one agent there and a crowd began to build. People started getting really ugly with this woman and I finally said in my best DI voice “You know it would be a lot easier if we just let this lady do her job”! Some fucker behind me kept it up and I went full meltdown on his ass. He started whining about me assaulting him, I guess pointing in a punks face is assault, and I told him he better get his mommy and then the cops! I got the greatest smiles from folks in the line but my bride, who was sitting a good way’s away, was not amused.

  50. 50
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @magurakurin: Well, let’s break that down, shall we?

    All forms of transportation in this country are subsidized.

    ALL forms of transportation in this country are subsidized. Even if they say they’re not. They are. The infrastructure was taken by eminent domain, got tax breaks, or was out and out paid for by local government. Operations were regulated, subsidized, etc. Regulation sometimes forced internal subsidization within the private entity, kind of a monopoly situation like with the utility, we’ll guarantee you a profit but you have to serve every house no matter how rural, at the same rate.

    What’s happened is that the days of generous, unquestioning subsidies to air travel are over. Of course deregulation didn’t work because the underlying activity was not an independently profitable one. The true result of deregulation has been to beat up labor and leave it bloody on the floor. But wages weren’t the real imponderables on the balance sheet and they know it. So paying airline pilots like bus drivers but without HOS regulations (thank heaven THAT is changing–that is one thing where the elite have gotten religion) has not solved the inherent insolvency. And without regulation forcing that cross-subsidization, no amount of capital dollars shoved into rural airports is going to entice a level of service there.

    But I think there is some feeling among many that that service had to die. So the airline industry is reaping the whirlwind that was sowed earlier with the creation of Amtrak and the taxing-into-oblivion of passenger rail services during the mid-century to finance the interstate highway system.

    Other countries decide on a policy for transportation and attempt to rationalize between different modes–which they ACKNOWLEDGE to be subsidized, instead of pretending like they do here–and put money behind the most sensible option. This means they don’t have to climb political mountains to put in HSR. And they still build highways, bypasses, and run a lot of short flights. I bet you can do more things if you don’t waste money all over the place due to sheer resistance to any sort of change.

    The Congress has pushed local and state governments to produce transportation PLANS, unfortunately this process is not only highly politicized but relies on a very unscientific field to do its forecasts. They’re just wrong all the time and it never seems to matter. It’s the equivalent of putting somebody who has a 12-month phlebotomy certificate in charge of a medical PhD research program. It’s not that we don’t have people in this country who can actually do this stuff right, it’s that we don’t put them anywhere near the levers.

  51. 51
    Central Planning says:

    @Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS): The other thing that annoys me is the people that decide to put on their shoes/belts/jackets while standing at the exit of xray machine so nobody else can get their stuff.

    I wonder if the TSA Pre-Check program is worth the hassle of signing up. The trick is figuring out some way to make my employer pay for it ;)

  52. 52
    raven says:

    And, let me say, NO Richie Havens thread! WTF-K

  53. 53
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @PeakVT: You are correct, TSA has been asserting supremacy over Amtrak police. This really has Amtrak pissed off at all levels, but unless Congress explicitly forces them to butt out, there’s not much they can do about TSA encroachment except to use the time honored Amtrak union tactic of static resistance.

  54. 54
    Central Planning says:

    @Lector Peregrinus:

    (On the other hand, I think some of them are subcontracted? Please correct if I’m wrong on this.)

    I think they are all subcontractors. Not just at ROC but all the airports.

  55. 55
    Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS) says:

    @Central Planning: I would probably never sign up, but I thank FSM for my smartphone, which at least allows me to pass the time in line without too much concern. I also am somewhat meticulous about getting to the airport really early (almost 2 hours, depending on the flight), so I’m not pressured. I can’t control all the airport aggravations, but I can minimize my stress level some ways.

    It also pays to look around and see if there’s a “side” check-in open. I’ve found people piled up at one check-in spot and right down the terminal, there’s another one with only a few people in it. Weird how that works.

  56. 56
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @mistermix: Didn’t they just recommend to allow swiss army knives again?

  57. 57
    Schlemizel says:

    @raven:

    It always amazes me that the dingleberries think its all the counter persons fault or that screaming at them will get good results. My bride can be a bit of a hot head & I have had to step in and calm her down a couple of times.

    Here is a big secret – the counter person probably can’t make the situation any better because it is out of their hands. They can, however make YOUR situation a lot worse if you piss them off. Be sympathetic, their job sucks particularly when things go bad (weather, over booking etc.). Be nice – you can always get angry and be an asshole later is you have to be. If you start out an asshole there is no going back.

    I got many upgrades and ‘front of the line’ deals from this tiny bit of human decency

  58. 58
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Stalin. He liked to solve problems with people by moving people around. During WWII, the Chechens decided to use the opportunity to revolt. Stalin send a lot of then to Kyrgyzstan. When things started to get bad in the 1990s, a lot of Chechens who didn’t want to get involved with a civil war or who were on the wrong side probably moved to Kyrgyzstan because they had existing connections.

  59. 59
    Maude says:

    TSA is getting rid of the scanners.

  60. 60
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    The subjective experience of airline travel changed very much for the worse in the thirty-something year span wherein I a was a frequent to very frequent flyer. By the time I debarked from my last airline flight in early 2001 I never wanted to see the inside of an airliner again. It went from being a reasonably pleasant, though expensive, means of covering large distances to a cramped, claustrophobic, bottom-line-driven test of human endurance. This was before the added frisson of annoyance provided by TSA.

    Not-flying is a gift.

  61. 61
    Central Planning says:

    @Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS):

    I’ve found people piled up at one check-in spot and right down the terminal, there’s another one with only a few people in it.

    That’s not true in ROC – there’s one big line now. I have had luck doing the same thing you have – I seem to have the best luck in SFO with that.

  62. 62
    Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS) says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Here is a big secret – the counter person probably can’t make the situation any better because it is out of their hands. They can, however make YOUR situation a lot worse if you piss them off. Be sympathetic, their job sucks particularly when things go bad (weather, over booking etc.). Be nice – you can always get angry and be an asshole later is you have to be. If you start out an asshole there is no going back.

    This needs to be repeated. I have had a couple of times when traveling with another person when I was the person doing the talking, and taking the zen approach to getting rebooked on another flight, while my traveling companion was fuming and threatening to book a rental car and drive or some stupid shit. It’s not their fault, and I couldn’t imagine doing that job for long. So sometimes nice folks do finish first.

  63. 63
    Raven says:

    @Schlemizel: I mean really? It was obvious she was doing her best and there was NO way fucking with her was going to make it better. I just hate a motherfucker that will try to take advantage of that kind of situation to try to throw their weight around. I’ll proly end up going down in a hail of gunfire for it but fuck it.

    eat,, Come to think of it an airport is probably a good place to do it since chances are they won’t be packing!

  64. 64
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Another Halocene Human: I believe reading somewhere that the Soviet governmentss would move ethnic Russians to the Central Asian “republics” as a way to Russianize them. I don’t remember how they picked the people they moved.

  65. 65
    Raven says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Despite all the whining about how badly we were treated, the stews were always great to me when I flew standby in uniform.

  66. 66
    Another Halocene Human says:

    You don’t have to drive to avoid flying. Don’t forget about 1-800-USA-RAIL and they even have buses that connect to train for even more destinations. If you have time, why not take the hotel on wheels? Your tax dollars are paying for those track access fees anyway.

    You don’t have to go through airline style crap, although they do have some rules about luggage size and items allowed on board, and some of the bigger stations have questionable boarding procedures (*cough* New York Penn) but that can be avoided if you buy a first class ticket. Er… “business class”.

  67. 67
    Kurzleg says:

    @BGK: I guess I should restrict my comments to my likely response. I mean, I can put up with some delays since I only fly every 2 or 3 years or so. But if I flew every week and had delays that I knew were the result of the sequester then I’d start putting heat on my Senators and congressperson. I guess others are less patient.

  68. 68
    Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS) says:

    @Central Planning: Never flown through ROC (yet). But I’ve had it in STL, OHare, one of the New York airports, and some others. Usually because I was scouting out how to get outside for a smoke and get back through security quickly. One time I was in OHare and there was a huge line at the main check-in, and literally nobody at this other check-in at the side of the terminal.

  69. 69
    Kirbster says:

    I have this fantasy about replacing TSA personnel with trained border collies. They have acute senses, will keep people in line, are excellent judges of character, and will work for kibble.

  70. 70
    MikeJ says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    Not-flying is a gift.

    Skype has made the world a better place.

  71. 71
    mistermix says:

    @Mandalay: Here’s the former head of the TSA:

    2. Allow all liquids: Simple checkpoint signage, a small software update and some traffic management are all that stand between you and bringing all your liquids on every U.S. flight. Really.

    http://professional.wsj.com/ar.....reno64-wsj

  72. 72
    SectionH says:

    @Central Planning: Mr S was very happy with Pre-check, which his airline apparently gifted to their top tier flyers. Then his number disappeared, which was either the airline’s IT morans enhancing the database, or the deal with the TSA was ony a teaser. He doesn’t have an employer to pay for it, but he probably will himself if necessary to get it back.

  73. 73
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Schlemizel: It always amazes me that the dingleberries think its all the counter persons fault or that screaming at them will get good results.

    I remember the day I realized that an airplane was just a big bus with wings and the passengers treat the crew the same way they treat a bus driver. We came in a little early on an airline, hm, known for being early but NOT the airline that controls Hartfield-Jackson, IYKWIM(AITYD)! So we got BUMPED from our gate and set halfway across the airport (which is a long way, especially since planes aren’t built for ground speed). The way those supposedly experienced business travelers whined, bitched, and cussed was shameful. And they blamed everybody but the actual controllers and management at the airport who had done it. Nope, it was the pilot, the crew, the airline, etc, etc.

    It’s shocking how people act on planes.

  74. 74
    artem1s says:

    @Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS):

    They should reverse the charges on luggage or something so people use the cargo hold.

    this. but then airports/airlines have to pay more luggage handlers.

    personally, I’d prefer a system wherein one dropped off everything they were traveling with 24 hours before, which was then packed in a bomb proof cargo container and put in the cargo hold, and everyone shows up with a small handbag/backpack and the clothes they are wearing for the flight; The airlines should give 25% off to anyone who agrees to this and charge 25% more to anyone who carries on anything larger than said handbag (expedited check in for lite travelers).

    The only reason I can fathom they would discourage checking in baggage is they have to pay someone to move it around.

  75. 75
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Kurzleg: I think the heat has been on. Republican congresscritturs have been crying about this aspect of the sequester since day 1.

  76. 76
  77. 77
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @PurpleGirl: @Suffern ACE:

    Thanks.

  78. 78
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Raven:

    Despite all the whining about how badly we were treated, the stews were always great to me when I flew standby in uniform.

    Very true. They were also very willing to ply me with free drinks. Caught a milk run out of Corpus to LA one time and I staggered off of that aircraft like a Sailor.

  79. 79
    Capri says:

    @magurakurin: Many of the local hotels around the airport I use have a stay and park option – I stay one night at the hotel and can park my car in their lot for up to 14 days for free. It’s actually cheaper to do this if I’m away for more than 6 days than to pay for airport parking or the shuttle from my home town.

    So my typical business trip now involves going to the Baymont Inn the evening before the flight, taking their van to the airport in the a.m. (5 minutes to the airport), then calling the van to be brought back to my car when I return. It sure beats getting up at insane-o-clock and driving 1.5 hours to get the airport for a 6:30 am flight.

  80. 80
    Mike in NC says:

    Elderly conservative types seldom fly, but there might be a stink come Thanksgiving and Christmas when some have to go visit the grandchildren. But of course they’ll blame you-know-who.

  81. 81
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    some of the bigger stations have questionable boarding procedures (*cough* New York Penn) but that can be avoided if you buy a first class ticket. Er… “business class”.

    It’s frustrating… the Northeast is the best place in the US for passenger rail, and the centerpiece of the Northeast Corridor is New York City, but Penn Station sucks so hard it sours the experience all by itself.

    I particularly like the way that, on the underground platforms, you have to squeeze your bags around those concrete freight-elevator columns that fill up the entire width of the platform except for a three-foot ledge of death on either side.

    Also, the TGI Friday’s in the station seems to function as some sort of New York hazing ritual. Everyone who enters that big, drab room with terrifying crowds crushing and running in all directions instantly wants to get out of it, about half of them are intensely hungry, and it’s not obvious that there are better places to get a sandwich even in the LIRR/subway concourse. It looks like a mysteriously uncrowded oasis that will at least give you a mediocre chain-restaurant experience, and it’s only once you sit down and notice the prices on the menu that the catch becomes apparent.

  82. 82
    Ben Franklin says:

    I pray the Senate doesn’t pass CISPA, so that Obama is not blamed for not vetoing.

  83. 83
    Mandalay says:

    @mistermix: From the article you linked to:

    Existing scanners could allow passengers to carry on any amount of liquid they want, so long as they put it in the gray bins. The scanners have yet to be used in this way because of concern for the large number of false alarms and delays that they could cause. When I left TSA in 2009, the plan was to designate “liquid lanes” where waits might be longer but passengers could board with snow globes, beauty products or booze.

    Getting rid of the 100 ml limit would still mean that all liquids would have to be checked, and as your link points out, having “liquid lanes” would actually increase delays – one of the very things you seem to be complaining about.

  84. 84
    gene108 says:

    @JPL:

    The repubs are already saying it’s Obama’s fault.

    They started blaming Obama for sequestration in January, before anything hit.

    They said it was “his idea” and he “forced it” on a “helpless” Republican House.

    The MSM nodded and ignored the hostage taking of the debt ceiling.

  85. 85
  86. 86
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Mandalay: Where are the airports where we can just start adding new security lanes? Our airports weren’t designed with the security lines we have now.

  87. 87
    The Moar You Know says:

    They should reverse the charges on luggage or something so people use the cargo hold.

    @Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS): The space in the cargo hold that is not being taken up by your giant suitcase is being taken up by very profitable UPS and FedEx overnight deliveries.

    The airlines really don’t want you using the cargo hold. Every suitcase checked is a loss of revenue for them.

  88. 88
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    It’s frustrating… the Northeast is the best place in the US for passenger rail, and the centerpiece of the Northeast Corridor is New York City, but Penn Station sucks so hard it sours the experience all by itself.

    That’s o.k. Our airports are pretty bad out here, too. I can imagine at one time JFK looked grand and futuristic, but it is no way to enter the country. If we’re going inconvenience people with long crowded lines and strip search fever, we should at least have decent surroundings for the trouble.

  89. 89
    Redshirt says:

    I fly enough to know mostly what I should be doing, but damn do I keep losing high end beverages. My Vitamin Water is an obvious threat to the world.

  90. 90
    mistermix says:

    @Mandalay: I took that part to mean that the liquid lines were an earlier proposal, and the part I quoted to mean that liquids in all lines, scanned, with better software to pick up “bad liquids”, i.e., the hydrogen peroxide threat he mentions, was the later proposal. The important point is that the supposed liquid explosive threat is based on a few chemicals that could be detected.

    Right now people can carry on large bottles of saline by saying they are medical products so there’s a loophole anyway, so it’s all security theater.

  91. 91
    Mandalay says:

    @Suffern ACE:

    Where are the airports where we can just start adding new security lanes?

    Those airports are in the fertile imaginations of armchair experts who know better than the TSA.

    Just about any change to the existing procedures will increase risk, and/or increase delays, and/or increase costs. So, for example, removing the 100 ml carry on limit for liquids would definitely increase cost and delays, and arguably would increase risk as well.

    The hard part is identifying the most worthwhile changes. Post #27 had a lot of really practical and worthwhile ideas.

  92. 92
    Laur says:

    I’ve never had problems at the airport. I don’t find it unpleasant. I fly about 7 or 8 times a year. maybe I’m just supremely lucky. *shrug*

  93. 93
    Redshirt says:

    I love photos from the 50’s and 60’s of people flying. So luxurious! Everyone’s all dressed up and smiling, and everything’s a class act.

    Also too – from Boston, I routinely traveled to NYC entirely by rail. It was awesome. Walk to Boston subway – subway to Amtrak – Amtrak to NYC subway – walk to destination

  94. 94
    weaselone says:

    What percentage of Americans actually fly on these airlines regularly? The reason it’s getting attention is not because it impacts the majority of Americans, but because of who it impacts: Business and professional travelers not important enough to merit a private charter or use of a company plane and leisure travelers in the upper-middle class and above who can’t afford to charter or buy their own plane.

    That includes a large cadre of individuals who operate under the illusion that they are actually important and the vast majority of our media, but I repeat myself.

  95. 95
    Mandalay says:

    @mistermix: You may be correct, but in the scheme of things the the core issue is only some passengers being inconvenienced by having to put their liquid luggage in the hold. I’ll take that in exchange for the certainty of decreased risk.

    Post #27 has a lot of simple and constructive ideas on what could improve air travel for all travelers (except the fuckers who want a VIP lane).

    The single thing I would change is strict enforcement of what can be carried on the plane. No exceptions, and the selfish assholes who are over the limit pay a fine and/or cannot board. That is a no-cost change that would be easy to implement and make life better for all except those trying to cheat the system.

  96. 96
    handsmile says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    Having now read through this thread, I see that your question re Kyrgyzstan has been answered. Here’s a little more detailed information on Soviet population resettlements:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P.....viet_Union

    (You might also wish to take a look at works by historian Robert Conquest on the 1930s Soviet Union.)

    But a question for you (should you care to disclose) prompted by your replies here and on a number of previous threads: how is it that you are so knowledgeable about transportation matters, especially railroad? Profession/hobby/catholic interests? Merely a personal query, as I find it impressive and informative.

  97. 97

    Somewhat related: I recently traveled to Los Angeles on Virgin America, and it was the best flight I have EVER had in my life (excluding of the TSA security theatre, of course).

    Every passenger had his/her own personal touch screen that offered music ranging from Air to Duke Ellington to Of Montreal to Waylon fucking Jennings. Satellite TV, which allowed me to spend the redeye home watching the Boston standoff. On Demand TV, including free episodes of Portlandia. Beer was not free, but s there another airline that offers Anchor Steam?

    Hell, even the pre-flight safety video was fun to watch.

  98. 98
    Eric U. says:

    for me, flying is so much torture that I just boggle when my wife wants to fly somewhere. Two days wasted. The airlines seem to have backed off just a little from what seemed like an adversarial role in the whole ordeal, but it never was pleasant and now it’s just so much worse. I can’t understand why I would want to pay for the abuse.

  99. 99
    NotMax says:

    @Redshirt

    Air Trip From Hell in 1961.

    9 planes and 3 days to get from Brazil to New York, including one plane losing one of 2 engines and being aflame while over mountains, then threatened with being shot down due to a military coup attempt at the airport it limped to.

    True story from that travail:

    Was a kid at the time and just looking at a plane, much less being aloft in one, made me violently airsick.

    By the time we got a hop that landed in Mexico City, between the lack of sleep and the various planes involved in getting that far, my complexion was decidedly green.

    Sitting on the airport floor, up against a column, softly moaning and looking like death warmed thrice over, Mexican peasant women who normally begged from the passengers were coming up to me and tossing coins in my lap.

  100. 100
    TS says:

    @Mandalay:

    Yes. Are you seriously suggesting that you and your carry on luggage should not be inspected before you board a plane? Seriously?

    Never happened to me before 9/11 – I can remember days of walking onto the tarmac to have a picture taken with the plane – the excitement of it all.

    Last time I flew was 2006 – doubt I will ever fly again – too much b.s.

  101. 101
    gene108 says:

    @magurakurin:

    A security system needs to be standardized and implemented in a nearly identical fashion at every airport.

    Security is non-standard on purpose, from what I’ve read.

    If you standardize security, then terrorists need to only figure out one method to get around security at any given airport and apply it to where they want to do the most damage.

    The randomness is a feature, not a bug.

  102. 102
    Redshirt says:

    @NotMax: That’s not glamorous at all – stop ruining my fantasies of “Times that were”!

  103. 103
    Central Planning says:

    @Laur: I wasn’t really complaining. I like to fly. I also try not to get frustrated there. Getting mad there is a recipe for misery.

    And FYWP on iPhone.

  104. 104
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Suffern ACE: Yeah, and at least Penn Station is centrally located and trivial to get to and from on the subway, which I can’t say for any of the airports.

  105. 105
    Mnemosyne says:

    @TS:

    Never happened to me before 9/11 – I can remember days of walking onto the tarmac to have a picture taken with the plane – the excitement of it all.

    Sorry, I call BS. I started flying in the mid to late 1970s and there was always some kind of security that would x-ray your bags and make you walk through a metal detector. The rules were looser so (for example) you could go through security and then meet your friends/family at the gate, but I don’t remember any time pre-9/11 when there was no security.

    And if you miss walking out on the tarmac, fly out of one of the smaller airports, like Burbank/Bob Hope. The nice thing with that is that Southwest opens both doors on the airplane, so you can load in faster by going through the back door while everyone else crowds the front door.

  106. 106
    PurpleGirl says:

    @handsmile: Thanks for the link to the Wiki article. It’s an interesting topic. (Actually, I find way too many things interesting to read about.)

  107. 107
    Mnemosyne says:

    @TS:

    To be clear, I’m not saying that I disbelieve you about there being no security when commercial flights first started, just that you don’t remember any security pre-9/11. I think they started implementing security measures at airports when there was the rash of airplane hijackings in the 1960s.

  108. 108
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Mnemosyne: Definitely, there was security earlier than 2001. I flew a number of times to South Florida before 2001. And there was always some security, especially to South Florida because of hijacking/drug smuggling issues. I’m sure, although I don’t remember, that there was security of some level to Boston, and L.A. (1976), Buffalo, Albany, and Washington D.C.

  109. 109
    pat says:

    Back in the days of the airplane hijackings, at Frankfurt airport (Germany) we would have to walk to the plane on the tarmac, all the checked luggage was sitting next to the plane, and we had to point to ours in order for them to load it on the plane for the next leg.

    This was before the hijackers decided to go down with the plane….

  110. 110
    handsmile says:

    @PurpleGirl: :)

    Aaarrrgghh, tell me about it! :(

    (and the blogs are such Sirens…..)

  111. 111
    Matt McIrvin says:

    I think we do forget some of the things about air travel that have actually gotten better. The ban on smoking in the plane being item #1.

    Modern communication means that you’re much less likely to spend hours stacked up over the destination airport because of traffic delays; you’ll instead spend that extra time in the departure lounge, which all things considered is a better place to be.

    (I admit, it’s a crapshoot: there’s also a chance you’ll be stuck in the plane on the ground at the source airport, which from the passenger’s perspective is probably worse than being stuck in the air, though it’s less wasteful of fuel.)

    Airport security is a far worse experience, but some other things about airports have actually improved since the 1970s or so. The food and public facilities in the terminals are better. It’s more like being stranded in a shopping mall than being stranded in a middle-school cafeteria, which to my mind is a step up. The prices will be jacked up, but sometimes the markup’s not even all that unreasonable compared to what you’d find in a shopping mall.

    Regional travel to smaller airports is more likely to be on a small CRJ-type jet than a turboprop puddle-jumper; the little jets are much faster and less puke-inducing.

  112. 112
    TS says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Maybe I’m thinking of 70s/80s when I did most of my flying – but I can remember going to major airports without having to walk through whatevers and put carry bags through xrays – no doubt having an affectionate look at the past. I would no doubt swear in court it was the same in the 1990s – but you say differently – either way – I don’t fly anymore.

  113. 113
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    Am I the only one who really doesn’t get what the big deal is with the TSA? Last time I flew, at the end of last year, I waited in line about twenty minutes, then stepped into a weird-looking machine with spinny bits. Then I went to the gate and got on my plane.

    Sure, it’s a bit of a pain in the ass. And it likely does almost nothing to help. And it should be gotten rid of. But come on, people; if you think this makes the top ten on the “Where’s My Civil Liberties, Dude” checklist, you might need some perspective.

  114. 114
    Ben Franklin says:

    TSA is 47,000 strong with a $7.5 BIllion budget.

    Jobs……

  115. 115
    raven says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Hell it was so bad I smoked herb on planes and no one was the wiser.

  116. 116
    Mnemosyne says:

    @TS:

    I’m thinking of the same period, flying to and from O’Hare and LAX or Long Beach, and I always remember there being metal detectors and x-ray machines. Maybe I noticed them more because I was a kid and fascinated by them, but they absolutely were there in the pre-9/11 days.

    I’m pretty sure that banning people from meeting you at the gate happened pre-9/11, because my dad was annoyed about having to meet me at baggage claim or the curb instead of getting to meet me at the gate when I got back from visiting relatives.

  117. 117
    scav says:

    @Mnemosyne: Santa Barbara had tarmac last time I was there and Ontario when I was a kid, although I’m sure that last is undoubtedly gone. Some big airports in Europe have tarmac sections although usually after a short bus ride so it’s not the saunter out of the terminal.

  118. 118
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Re Airports: It depends on which airport you mean and how old it is. West Palm Beach was good to wait in because the chairs were comfortable and it was mall-like. OTOH, Fort Lauderdale smelled of bleach/disinfectant and was awful. If possible I flew into and out of West Palm when going to South Florida. The renovated and new parts of LaGuardia aren’t too bad.

  119. 119
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @TS: I did a lot of flying in and out of Washington Dulles and other major airports in the 1980s and ’90s, and I always had to put my bags through an X-ray and go through a metal detector. Usually the metal detector was even set sensitively enough that I had to take off my belt, and I got used to doing it in advance. Sometimes I’d have to get a pat-down. This stuff didn’t just spring into existence in 2001.

    But the post-9/11 changes caused incredibly massive backups before (if) facilities could be expanded to take them into account.

    Some of the worst problems were at smaller airports where they didn’t have a lot of security lanes or staff. I remember the first time I went through security at the Boise, Idaho airport after 9/11. There were only two metal-detector gates and no table in front of them where people could easily juggle their stuff without holding up the line, and it was a multi-hour wait. The security line curled all the way around the airport staff offices and down the stairway to the baggage claim/car rental area on the first floor. They fixed it by rebuilding much of the terminal and putting in an entirely new security station.

  120. 120
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Matt McIrvin: …huh. I just found a review of the Penn Station TGI Fridays that insists the prices aren’t bad… for drinks. Maybe the bar is catering to a regular commuter clientele, and it’s just the sit-down food menu that is oriented toward shafting clueless tourists who have just arrived hungry.

  121. 121
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Matt McIrvin: I agree that the Amtrak waiting area is the pits. It’s always been bad, but it’s gotten worse over the last few years. At least at Grand Central when they took away the benches they put in the food court downstairs and there are some general table areas there. (Although I miss the old waiting room spaces there too.)

  122. 122
    Tripod says:

    I love the smell of sepia toned bullshit. Those old timey airline vidoes on youtube? Fucking commercials. They feature model slash actors, and they’re wearing what wardrobe put them in. Same with the publicity glossies.

    In my experience, the two major changes from the regulated era are load factor increases, since they can now match capacity to demand, there are no longer half empty planes to stretch out in, and me getting old and fat.

    I’d also be interested in an explanation in how returning to 1920’s mail routes would speed up the security choke points at the terminals.

  123. 123
    Andrey says:

    @Mandalay:

    Are you seriously suggesting that you and your carry on luggage should not be inspected before you board a plane? Seriously?

    Sure, let’s explore this path. Why should I and my luggage be inspected before I board a plane? What are you looking for? What are the chances that you’ll find it if I have it? What is the cost of not finding it when it’s present? What is the cost of the search?

  124. 124
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Tripod: Yeah, part of the reason the planes themselves are less comfortable is just that they’ll cancel flights so that they never fly half-empty planes. That also has the effect of cutting down their fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions, so I’m not going to condemn it.

  125. 125
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Andrey:

    Okay, I’ll bite:

    Why should I and my luggage be inspected before I board a plane? What are you looking for?

    Weapons, particularly guns and explosives. Hijackings surged in the 1960s and 1970s, and security measures were implemented to prevent them.

    What are the chances that you’ll find it if I have it?

    Pretty good, actually. Sometimes things are missed, but it’s pretty common for people to be caught with guns in their carry-on baggage.

    What is the cost of not finding it when it’s present?

    The cost of not finding it is disruption of the flight at best (with the plane making an unscheduled and unplanned stop at the nearest airport) and loss of the entire aircraft, crew and passengers at worst.

    What is the cost of the search?

    Are you asking for sheer dollar amounts? A 737 will cost you between $75 and $100 million. Add about $200 million to that amount if you estimate $1 million in compensation for every crew member and passenger on the crashed plane. The TSA’s budget is about $7 billion.

    So, I guess if you look solely at the dollar amounts, we could easily lose 3 or 4 airliners full of crew and passengers to hijackings every year and not equal the TSA’s budget, so solely from a money point of view, running the TSA is a loss.

    Strangely, though, most people would prefer to get onto an airliner feeling reasonably secure that none of their fellow passengers have a gun or a bomb rather than taking their chances on this being one of the three or four airliners that explodes in any given year. People are funny like that.

  126. 126
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Andrey:

    Also, too, I remember the crash of American Airlines 191 pretty vividly. They were picking body parts up from the field for at least a year afterward.

    But I’m sure people wouldn’t have any problem with that happening a couple of times a year so as not to impinge on anyone’s freedom to carry their gun on an airplane.

  127. 127
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Grand Central is a nicer station but for one thing the clearances are too low to bring in Superliner equipment.

    Penn has been bad since they built above it but apparently it’s always been bad. Moynahan should be an improvement but not that much of an improvement.

    However, the plans for Washington Union Station are cool beans!

  128. 128
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @handsmile: I work in the transportation industry but I’ve only dabbled in rail. Used to be a member of NARP, so I’ve followed Amtrak for many years although I kind of stop following the drama in the mid-2000s.

    One of my great satisfactions in life was interrupting a George Takei autograph line (this was right after he came out) by prompting him to start his Amtrak Ambassador shtick. His face lit up, he was so excited (preaching to the choir in me, of course). The trekkies with their copies of his book to be signed (which they apparently hadn’t read because it feels like half of it covers his time on the LA Transportation Board) started groaning and grumbling and finally I was hustled away, but he wouldn’t shut up about it, that old leftie. *love*

  129. 129
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Mnemosyne: I think that’s right although it wasn’t implemented at all airports at the same time, eg Logan International was ahead of the curve thanks to the efforts of the Irish Republican Army to raise global awareness of the importance of airport security.

    (That’s on the passenger side, of course, and those changes went into place before Massport was headed by the unqualified GOP functionary who held the top spot just prior to 9/11.)

  130. 130
    NotMax says:

    @ Matt McIrvin

    One of the more egregious major metropolitan blunders was allowing the razing of the glorious old Beaux Arts Penn Station in NYC. (photos)

    Granted that Madison Square Garden was by then in desperate need of newer and larger space, but there was no pressing necessity for locating it on that spot. Much of the old Penn Station ended up as landfill for then-unbuilt the New Jersey sports metroplex.

  131. 131
    RaflW says:

    Each new miserable experience–shoes off, the pint ziploc bag of toiletries, the X-ray Rapiscan strip-search–engenders a bit of complaint yet they all remain.

    Oh good lord, what a pantsload.

    I’ve flown 8 round trips since Jan 1st. 16 trips through various TSA extravaganzas. They’re mildly annoying and take between 5 and 30 minutes. What a life-changing agony that is!

    Can we complain about something that’s actually consequential now?

  132. 132
    Mnemosyne says:

    @RaflW:

    It also depends on the airport. For a while there, Phoenix SkyHarbor was teh suxxor. They once insisted on searching my bag because my 2-ounce bottle of hand cream (the only toiletry item in my carry-on) was not inside a quart-size Ziplock bag, so obviously they had to search my entire bag for other contraband.

    They seem to have chilled out quite a bit since then, though — they didn’t even really kick up much of a fuss when I refused to be x-rayed and had to be patted down instead.

  133. 133
    Ken T says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Blame it on D. B. Cooper and those nutcases who wanted to go back to Cuba. That was the start of security screening.

  134. 134
    Rafer Janders says:

    @Mandalay:

    But the science, he said, is clear. “With certain explosives you need to have a certain critical diameter in order to achieve an explosion that will cause a certain amount of damage.” “The size of the container itself,” he added, “is part of the security measure.”

    Umm, but you can bring on a container of any size you want. They just restrict the liquids in a container, not the empty container itself, so you could bring in three full three-ounce containers and one empty nine-ounce container, and no one would stop you.

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