If you've ever wondered if this would fly...

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Old Dec 21, 10, 8:19 pm
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If you've ever wondered if this would fly...

Greetings frequent travelers of the sky. I am one of many lurkers that flocked here in horror during the past month or two to find out more about what just happened to our country. I'm a once a year type flyer, which I believe makes me a kettle? Could someone tell me where that comes from? Not offended, just linguistic curiosity.

My first instinct was to join the outright boycott of flying. But after the TSA propaganda spins and the media muffling of NOOD, I decided that since I don't have to worry about a wife or kids being subject to this, I would keep my one flight and make a statement. Since many criticisms of this movement involve the lack of visibility, I figured I would do what I can to change that. We have seen several protesters stripping down to get attention. While that certainly works, I decided to try a different approach by dressing UP for the part
.
So yesterday, I went through LAX T5, two airports, two planes and halfway across the country looking like this:





No seriously.

Anywho, here is a detailed account of my experience:

I entered T5, and stood before a set of stairs that went to an exalted platform for security gates. There was a woman there shouting directions above the clamor, which I translated to mean "down the stairs, commoners! Off to the basement with you!". So instead of the exalted platform, off to the left I went, down to the basement with the masses. I took an opportunity to duck into a bathroom and fully change into my new flying outfit, and followed the signs to a very long hallway, to a long line. I don't know if other passengers in line said much, but I did overhear one woman say something with the word "crazy" in it, and later a man said something along the lines of "huge statement". There were several signs in a row, the typical messages such as "If you want a private screening, just ask", "We're testing AIT", "Thank you for cooperating in your own degradation", etc. But the one that struck me was the color coded terror alert. I guess that disproves the reports that we got rid of that system. But more importantly, the terror alert is yellow. Hasn't it always been orange? Did we lower the terror alert and force extraordinarily invasive screening tactics at the same time?

The real fun began when I stepped up for the ID check. The TSA clerk lingered on my driver's license, and immediately called for a lead. I thought my getup was getting an immediate reaction, but apparently my state's license reacts differently to the blue light thingy. Lead said it was no biggie, and I moved on. Having educated myself on this forum, I saw the Backscatter off to the left, with an WMTD right next to it, but forward a few feet. Taking a different approach than most, I fell in line with the surrender lemmings for the express purpose of demonstrating an opt out. When my turn came, I stated that I refuse the scanner.

TSA girl: "oh, you're opting out?"
me: "correct"
TSA girl: "Male assist!"

I had been contemplating walking through the WMTD for my stroke down as a sign of complete rejection of the NOS, but I decided I was already making enough of a statement. To my surprise, they directed me toward the WMTD anyway.

What I hadn't noticed is the tiny side gate that was between the two machines. So when I started to move around to the WMTD I got a chorus of "No, no, no, no!". It seemed wildly important that I go through the toddler gate. They got my items, and I got a stroke down that matched what I expected. Collar, back, front, butt, inside waistband(t-shirt tucked in, didn't intrude on underwear waistband) double leg stroke( once behind me, once in front of me ), contact with pubic bone. They ran a swab from his gloves through the ETD, and then conducted a physical search of my carryon. I'm an avid gamer, so they did a double take with this:



I don't think they swabbed anything, but thank the Lord Jesus in heaven above, they found my 4.6 oz container of Colgate. That's 0.4 ounces of pure death that almost made in onto an airplane. While the bag search was going on, some little girl walked up to me, flanked by two fellow backup smurfs to ask for my boarding pass, name and destination. I told her my first name, and Detroit (just a connecting flight). I was about to make a snarky SPOT comment, but she didn't ask any more questions. They guy that screened me said have a nice flight, and I continued on.

Waiting for the plane, I overheard a young woman on a cell phone saying "...and if you opt out of that, they like, search you up and down". I guess I'm still amazed at how many people are still vague about what's going on. Once I was on the plane, I passed a couple of guys that were like "whoa, what's that about?" I explained it was about airport security, but I don't think they were fully aware of the situation. They guy next to me was really cool, though. He asked me how comfortable my flying outfit was. It is actually quite comfortable, which is what I told him. When I specified it was about airport security, he gave me a genuine "Good for you, man."

While walking through a calm DTW, I particularly enjoyed the recorded announcements of "If you see anything suspicious..."

As I was boarding the second plane, a passenger at the counter said (half jokingly)"You sure you wanna let that guy on the plane? Looks like a prisoner!". I offered that this is just an F-you to the TSA.

Other than that, things were pretty uneventful. I occasionally overheard things like "must be about security..." so at least some people got it. I'm not confident that they outnumbered the number of people that were simply bewildered. It disturbs me how many Americans still don't really know about this problem, even after the media blitz. Oh well. Maybe that prisoner -looking whacko will cause some of those people to ask questions.

Last edited by RATM; Dec 22, 10 at 12:04 am
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Old Dec 21, 10, 9:21 pm
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Originally Posted by RATM View Post
...I'm a once a year type flyer, which I believe makes me a kettle? Could someone tell me where that comes from? Not offended, just linguistic curiosity.
...
So yesterday, I went through LAX T5, two airports, two planes and halfway across the country looking like this:

[images removed]

No seriously.
...
There were several signs in a row, the typical messages such as "If you want a private screening, just ask", "We're testing AIT", "Thank you for cooperating in your own degradation", etc.
....
Taking a different approach than most, I fell in line with the surrender lemmings for the express purpose of demonstrating an opt out.
...
I was about to make a snarky SPOT comment, but she didn't ask any more questions.
...
I offered that this is just an F-you to the TSA.
....
Maybe that prisoner -looking whacko will cause some of those people to ask questions.
A hearty welcome to FT and thanks for a great story!!

Judging from your story, you are definitely NOT a Kettle!! (Usage varies, but generally a term for those who don't know what they're doing at the airport and whose ignorance causes delay or disruption to others. It's not necessarily a derogatory term; the airport has become a complicated experience and I believe new or very infrequent travelers can be forgiven for being confused by it.)

Last edited by essxjay; Dec 22, 10 at 3:53 am Reason: images removed for readability
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Old Dec 21, 10, 9:21 pm
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Applause! Hearty applause! And welcome to FT, whose denizens tell it like it is. (I think a Kettle is a reference to Ma and Pa Kettle, from the Beverly Hillbillies?)
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Old Dec 21, 10, 9:21 pm
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Welcome to FT Great Story!!

BTW Ma and Pa Kettle - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma_and_Pa_Kettle

Those who just go with the flow with the least resistance without thinking no matter where it leads.

IMHO I don't think you qualify.
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Old Dec 21, 10, 9:23 pm
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Welcome to FT, RATM!

And welcome to the resistance, fellow Patriot, er... Domestic Extremist!

x 1776
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Old Dec 21, 10, 9:26 pm
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Welcome to FlyerTalk, RATM.
Originally Posted by RATM View Post
... I'm a once a year type flyer, which I believe makes me a kettle? Could someone tell me where that comes from? Not offended, just linguistic curiosity.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma_and_Pa_Kettle
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Old Dec 21, 10, 9:33 pm
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I love it! Right on.
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Old Dec 21, 10, 9:38 pm
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Awesome!

The suit and barcode reminded me a lot of the society in both Tron and Tron: Legacy - have to wear a special suit with a disk that keeps track of everything you've done.
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Old Dec 21, 10, 9:40 pm
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Originally Posted by RATM View Post
<snip>
Your statement was lost in the masses.

Last edited by essxjay; Dec 22, 10 at 3:52 am Reason: unnecessary repost of entire OP
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Old Dec 21, 10, 9:46 pm
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Originally Posted by eyecue View Post
Your statement was lost in the masses.
that you felt compelled to react demonstrates it was not...
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Old Dec 21, 10, 9:53 pm
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Now here's a man who really deserves to hear the phrase "Thank you for your service". OP
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Old Dec 21, 10, 10:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Superguy View Post
Awesome!

The suit and barcode reminded me a lot of the society in both Tron and Tron: Legacy - have to wear a special suit with a disk that keeps track of everything you've done.
The barcode and bald head reminds me of the police state of THX 1138.
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Old Dec 21, 10, 11:50 pm
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Thumbs up

Originally Posted by RATM View Post
So yesterday, I went through LAX T5, two airports, two planes and halfway across the country looking like this....
Brilliant! Thank you! Very effective look.
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Old Dec 22, 10, 3:51 am
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Originally Posted by RATM View Post
Greetings frequent travelers of the sky. I am one of many lurkers that flocked here in horror during the past month or two to find out more about what just happened to our country.
A most auspicious debut! Welcome to Flyertalk, RATM.
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Old Dec 22, 10, 3:57 am
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Originally Posted by ghostrider10 View Post
The barcode and bald head reminds me of the police state of THX 1138.
Someone always steals my best responses! Talk about dredging up the legacy scifi...

Other than that, things were pretty uneventful. I occasionally overheard things like "must be about security..." so at least some people got it. I'm not confident that they outnumbered the number of people that were simply bewildered. It disturbs me how many Americans still don't really know about this problem, even after the media blitz. Oh well. Maybe that prisoner -looking whacko will cause some of those people to ask questions.

Disappointment is not with the process, it's with the people. The process won't change until the people are willing to become more involved with the governing process. Ignorance (either by circumstances or design) is the ally of leadership. Gawd, starting to sound like a third-world right-wing activist.
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