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On all five flights this weekend the "randomly" screened pax was the 1st one in line

On all five flights this weekend the "randomly" screened pax was the 1st one in line

 
Old Mar 12, 02, 7:33 pm
  #1  
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On all five flights this weekend the "randomly" screened pax was the 1st one in line

On Friday flew SFO-SAN-LAX-DFW, and returned today DFW-DEN-SFO.

On all five flights the "random" secondary screening was of the first pax to the jetway door.

If it wasn't so farcically annoying, it would be humorous: Clearly most FC and many Premier pax have caught on; today on the DEN-SFO flight boarding for FC and Premier and *G was announced, and not a single person headed for the gate reader (all of us standing about 15 feet back waiting to see who would be the victim). So the CSR announced general boarding and the first hapless pax to the door got screened. And at LAX Friday night, inside the 20 minute upgrade window (please, no off-topic and undeserved "employee class" responses ) and a couple of minutes before boarding, several FA's were upgraded; I and one other "civilan" FC pax and those 4 UA FA's stood milling around waiting for someone to go first, like one of those bad Monty Python sketches ("No, no, after you. No! I insist! After you. But no, after YOU.....")

I feel so much safer. How about you?


[This message has been edited by cblaisd (edited 03-12-2002).]
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Old Mar 12, 02, 7:58 pm
  #2  
 
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I couldn't agree more. This has become one of my biggest pet peeves. Once there is a predictable pattern to the "random" searches it is no longer random and defeats the whole purpose. I've taken to doing what you and others did, waiting for a victim to get snagged and then boarding. It's really too bad that most of the new security measures are just cosmetic to make someone, namely the ignorant flying public and the politicians, feel better.

Thanks for the opportunity to rant.

Doug
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Old Mar 12, 02, 7:59 pm
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This has been the case probably about 75% of the time I've watched. Doesn't seem to be the case at ORD the last few times I've gone through there. The game is also more complex because I've found that hanging out at the RCC until 10 minutes before and showing up after everyone has boarded and the "screeners" are bored, also guarantees a search.

However, insofar as going about fifth can guarantee no-search 75% of the time, I'm happy with the current system! Please keep it this way! It puts on the proper show to make people feel "safe," yet doesn't inconvenience frequent flyers. Also, those National Guard people should carry more weapons. That would make people feel safer too, without inconveniencing me in the slightest.

BTW, anyone else notice that making eye contact with the "screeners" at the metal detectors leads to a secondary search? I now keep my gaze on the floor the whole time. Which is funny, because that's exactly what one is supposed to do when dealing with paramilitary thugs in the third world. Oh beautiful, for spacious skies...
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Old Mar 12, 02, 8:29 pm
  #4  
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by pynchonesque:
However, insofar as going about fifth can guarantee no-search 75% of the time, I'm happy with the current system... </font>


<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2"> BTW, anyone else notice that making eye contact with the "screeners" at the metal detectors leads to a secondary search? I now keep my gaze on the floor the whole time...
</font>
Anybody up for an experiment? Instead of eye contact, how about winking, or blowing a kiss, or.....

Seriously, I'd be curious to know whether "nab the first pax" is somehow UA management policy or suggestion, or how this has come to be this way.

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Old Mar 12, 02, 8:48 pm
  #5  
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From what I was told by an agent at DEN, it is a "FAA regulation" that there is "constant" screeing going on while passengers are boarding. I don't know if this was the "rule d'jour" but it would then make sense that the first person is chosen I guess.
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Old Mar 12, 02, 8:57 pm
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I think you will find the problem is the new FAA rules as they were initially implemented. There were several closures and rescreenings after the new rules came into effect when the FAA decided that the airlines were not doing random gate screenings. I think the fear of the airlines was that while boarding was occuring there should always be someone being searched. That means grabbing someone in that first 3-4 people and the first person is the easiest. This blame should go to the government and by the letter implementation of rules.

------------------
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Old Mar 12, 02, 9:22 pm
  #7  
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I wonder how much luggage the #1s have. I have found that they look for people with not alot of luggage.

--Jim
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Old Mar 12, 02, 10:55 pm
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by pynchonesque:
Oh beautiful, for spacious skies...
</font>
Specious Skies

O beautiful for vacant skies,
on towards the fast track lane
for screeners mounting travesties
and on the empty plane!
America! America!
Please stop this lunacy
Don't crown thy good with ineptitude
at gate and security

O rubber-glove clad screeners proved
they can liberate a knife,
tweezers, corkscrews, clippers too
even groping this man's wife!
Swing in the air, your underwear
God mend thine airport door,
confirm thy soul in gate-control,
yield thy freedoms to the law.

O beautiful for pilot's dream
to have no one on their plane
flyers frozen motionless
afraid to board the plane again!
America! America!
God shed his gates to thee,
Don't crown thy good with ineptitude
at gate and security

With thanks to Katherine Lee Bates

http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/o/o003.html



[This message has been edited by LarryU (edited 03-13-2002).]
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Old Mar 12, 02, 11:37 pm
  #9  
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i, too, have just been waiting for someone to get pulled aside before boarding. however, i found it working much better when i departed from hong kong in january.

one agent was doing the searching. another agent was next to him pulling people out of the line and asking them to wait.
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Old Mar 13, 02, 4:33 am
  #10  
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My experience is the opposite.

As those who have traveled with me can attest, I strive to be the first to board and I'm successful about 95% of the time.

I've never been pulled aside as #1. Never. And that's about 35 flights YTD.

And I have a new favorite story to tell on this subject:

My ladyfriend and I were traveling together (on Continental...gulp, sorry folks) and we both were up front when it came time to board. Keep in mind that she wanted to board early too.

I said to her, "After you." She said, "I don't want to go first. They'll probably pull the first person!" "Okay," says I, "I'll go first."

Me (#1) to Ticket Taking Person: "Hi."

Ticket Taking Person: "Welcome Aboard."

Ladyfriend (#2) to Ticket Taking Person: "Hi."

Person Tapping Ladyfriend on the Shoulder: "Would you mind stepping over here?"

Ladyfriend's Eyes To Me: "I hate you."

Sooooooooooooooooo...

On the return flight I says to Ladyfriend: "Okay, pick your poison."

Ladyfriend: "I'm going first this time!"

You can probably guess what happened next.

She (now #1) gets nailed again, while I (this time #2) snake past her free and clear. To more dagger eyes and cold shoulder treatment later.

Maybe I shouldn't have been so openly amused by her plight and lack of luck.

As I hang out hugging the Gate Reader I make certain to look directly at the Security folks, smile, nod, whatever, before boarding. Maybe that helps.

But cblaisd's observations do ring true to what I have experienced in this regards:

I can say that since random searches began, that many people do subscribe to the "First person will get picked" theory. Because I now notice that most folks don't crowd the Gate Reader any longer and hold back into what they must preceive as some sort of safety zone just a bit back. And when boarding begins, there is now sometimes an uncomfortable delay as the feet shufflers titter about waiting for someone to step ahead first!

So these days it seems, as I wait at the Reader, I look back over my shoulder and often see a bunch of people nervously milling about, eyes on me like they are thinking, "That poor dope is just asking for it!"

Hee, hee.


[This message has been edited by PremEx (edited 03-13-2002).]
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Old Mar 13, 02, 8:38 am
  #11  
 
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Over at DL, they tend to begin the "random" searches before boarding begins, which allows me to be on the plane first without incident.

But it is true, as long as there is someone on the tables, you won't get picked, that is unless they "randomly" pick you.
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Old Mar 13, 02, 9:10 am
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by PremEx:
My experience is the opposite.

As those who have traveled with me can attest, I strive to be the first to board and I'm successful about 95% of the time.

I've never been pulled aside as #1. Never. And that's about 35 flights YTD.
</font>
My observation is that the "random" screening appears to be handled differently at each airport. Perhaps it shouldn't be that way, but this inconsistency is the only thing that is consistent with other aspects of the overall security process. As has been discussed in earlier threads, at "pre-screening" some airports no longer require presentation of the passenger's picture ID (PDX, MIA terminal F, JFK terminal 7), whereas at others, they always ask to look at both the boarding pass/E-Ticket receipt and the ID (EWR terminal C).

Regarding the gate situation, I have noticed that LAX and SFO often employ someone who walks through the line, examines each boarding pass and then "randomly" redirects passengers to the screening area, according to criteria that currently elude me. PDX most definitely picks the first passengers on line to be their "victims". While boarding a flight to LAX last month, none of the passengers seemed willing to board the plane. After a lengthy five minute wait, I willingly volunteered myself by simply stepping forward. Instantly, two screeners who had been hiding behind the privacy barriers descended upon me, rubber gloves in hand. So, I haven't the slightest doubt that the scenarios as presented above do indeed happen, at least at some locales.
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Old Mar 13, 02, 9:10 am
  #13  
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Forget that, make them clean the bathrooms if they need to be "constantly busy".

What a waste of money.

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by ldsant:
From what I was told by an agent at DEN, it is a "FAA regulation" that there is "constant" screeing going on while passengers are boarding. I don't know if this was the "rule d'jour" but it would then make sense that the first person is chosen I guess.</font>


------------------
"Those who would sacrifice liberty for safety deserve neither." - Ben Franklin
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Old Mar 13, 02, 10:16 am
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I have actually heard a gate agent mutter to the screener: "OK, first one in line, take him."

In my experience, it is the first person in line who gets pulled aside for the "random" screening.
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Old Mar 13, 02, 10:20 am
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I heard the "constant use" FAA regulation at SEA with regards to the big Xray machines used for checked baggage. They know that they don't have the capacity to screen everything yet, so they at least want the machines to be used constantly. It would be pretty dumb for them to sit idle while unscreened luggage was loaded onto the aircraft.

More generally, I've found security to be improving at SEA both in efficiency and apparent effectiveness. I've been selected for a couple searches at the gate lately and they were far, far more thorough and professional than the ones I had last Fall.
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