FlyerTalk Forums - View Single Post - President proposes increasing taxes on air tickets to pay for security
Old Jan 29, 05, 4:00 am
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 8,386
Originally Posted by Dovster
Agreed, but consider the following:

Secondary searches only check some passengers. Indeed, as nobody is forced to go through a secondary (he can chose not to get on the plane) no terrorist will ever be discovered through one. Puffers, on the other hand, will check everyone.

The puffers would also allow the TSA to reduce personnel costs. Secondaries could be forgotten (except where the metal alarm is set off). Additionally, you would no longer have to search bags for explosives. If you looked quickly for guns and large knives, and forgot about all the silly things on the list, personnel costs would drop even further.
Secondary screenings are designed to only check some passengers. The primary screening is conducted on everyone who enters the checkpoint (walk-thru, x-ray and pat-downs as the exception for those who cannot walk-thru due to medical or other reasons). Secondary screenings are performed to resolve the alarms detected from primary screenings. (This is why I oppose selectee screenings. They obligate us to perform them even though selectees have successfully passed the scrutiny of primary screening. In this regard, selectee screening is very inefficient.)

As far as the prohibited items list, I agree. TSA could certainly fine-tune it to a more reasonable and practical level. The original list pre-9/11 was centered on firearms, explosives and knives with blades of a certain length. That's how boxcutters were so easily smuggled aboard. So I don't agree with you there. However, I don't see the potential harm in allowing passenger to keep the small, baby Swiss Army knives with the one-and-a-half inch blades or short metallic grooming scissors as opposed to the traditional jack knives with three inch blades and standard size office scissors.

I also believe there has to be greater latitude for discretion given to TSA screeners. For example, if an elderly man enters the checkpoint with a heavy oak walking stick he uses as a cane to help him walk, then to me, it's a cane. However, if a healthy young man, six foot two, 225 pounds with an Arnold Schwartzegger physique comes in with the same type of walking stick, I would have him check it as checked baggage as opposed to keeping it as a carry-on. Some would accuse me of profiling. Yep. That's exactly right. It's based on a judgment call of an item serving as nothing more sinister than a walking cane and the very same item, in the hands of someone else, having a greater potential to be used as a weapon.
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