#1 By: Cory Doctorow, July 19th, 2013 17:00
#2 By: Charles_Dayton, July 19th, 2013 17:24
Yes, because a terrorist cell could never pay for that service.
#3 By: FrancesTheMute, July 19th, 2013 17:27
Seems like a hidden "feature" of this program is also creating a (or more likely adding to an already existing) massive fingerprint database.
#4 By: Tim, July 19th, 2013 17:29
They found a solution for that: you're not allowed to join the program unless you sign a form stating that you won't blow up any airplanes.
#5 By: drsam, July 19th, 2013 17:29
I'm sorry -- but I think this is a little overblown. I got PreCheck by signing up for Global Entry (because I used to travel a lot overseas for business). The cost is $100 for 5 years ($20/year), which is hardly a cost that would be out of reach of ordinary travelers. I usually get through PreCheck 80% of the time, and yes, it saves me the 10-15 minutes and the taking off of shoes and removing my lapotop from the bag. When I don't get it, it's no big deal.
PreCheck is hardly an elitist institution, in my opinion. But, you're right, it requires willingness to submit to a background check and you have to be able to attend an in-person interview, so it does take a little time.
#6 By: shutz, July 19th, 2013 17:52
I want to write and shoot a film titled "TSA", just so I can announce TSA screenings.
#7 By: Duncan, July 19th, 2013 18:12
I just came back from travelling in America and I can say that so long as you're only travelling through Hawaiian airports (and don't have to connect through LA) the TSA system worked really great for me. I opted out of all porno-scanners (they were kind enough to point out I wasn't going to be irradiated) and when I told them of my sunburn on the return leg, they were very kind and gentle and everyone said "Thank You" when it was over - including me, because everyone was being polite.
It might possibly, maybe have something to do with those TSA agents getting to work and live in paradise. Maybe.
I will never opt in to those PreCheck/Iris accounts. I think I prefer the theatre. And I do mean theatre; on the return trip the second security pat-down guy asked me to remove my belt, took his time and checked it but completely missed that it was a stash belt with a zipper running down the back.
#8 By: Spencer Cross, July 19th, 2013 19:02
But you're assuming "ordinary travelers" are, like you, frequent travelers, and, as Cory points out, they're not. It's not necessarily a question of whether it's too expensive, but rather whether it's a worthwhile expense for people who don't travel often. For the majority of travelers, it's not.
#9 By: Tim, July 19th, 2013 19:11
That's true. I only fly once every few years or so on average so using that program would add around $100 to every trip.
#10 By: Inquiry, July 19th, 2013 20:51
Well as long as you got yours I guess we should just sit quietly.
#11 By: Matt Joyce, July 19th, 2013 21:00
The longer term problem is that when the rich and influential stop experiencing the full range of checks, they will stop caring about them. There will be no squeeky wheels worth oiling.
#12 By: MasterDave, July 19th, 2013 21:02
Considering part of the process is a background check, in theory no a terrorist wouldn't get through. It's not a card you can buy at Wal-Mart by showing your drivers license, it's a background check and a full interview with a human being. You can guarantee there's going to be some decent racial profiling and one would hope some decent questions asked of any employers listed.
It's not impossible to think that a sophisticated backstory with a long-term setup could beat the thing, but it seems to me that those sorts of terrorists are going to get through any system.
#13 By: flndr, July 19th, 2013 21:50
This program is not for you. If you're flying somewhere every week, you could potentially save a lot of time (for very little money in comparison to the amount of time saved).
#14 By: awjt, July 19th, 2013 22:23
The guy who interviewed me was a decent guy. In his words, being accepted into the program is about 6 in 10 likelihood. He said he dings people all the time, usually for a criminal record they didn't even remember they had. I came up clean and so did my wife. It was no big deal to do it other than time spent, as you said.
#15 By: awjt, July 19th, 2013 22:28
The interviewer said he is specifically looking to establish trust. It's called the "trusted traveler" program. So the interview is geared toward finding out if you are a fuckwad, a smuggler, a druggie, or criminal. I'm white so I have no exposure to the potential racial profiling. I would need to hear that from a better source than me. I would say it definitely could happen based on how the interview was structured.
#16 By: awjt, July 19th, 2013 22:31
Oh he didn't miss it. He passed it.
#17 By: drsam, July 19th, 2013 22:32
In your case, probably yes. Seriously, though: if you fly only once every other year, and PreCheck saves you 10 minutes, then the 30 cumulative minutes you save (assuming 10 minutes saved per trip) is probably not worth the $85 or $100 you'd spend. If you fly 2-3 times a year, then it starts to become worth it (2.5 total hours saved over five years for $100 = $25/hour). If you fly a ton, then it's really worth it.
But if you're going to be snotty over a comment, then you probably don't care to do the math, and you probably view frequent flier status as some horrible insult to equality, so there's nothing outside of blind agreement with the original poster's premise that'll satisfy you.
#18 By: drsam, July 19th, 2013 22:34
Then they shouldn't pay for it because economically it doesn't make sense. But that doesn't mean that you should deprive the people who are willing to pay for the opportunity to trade (at their own risk) some privacy for some time saved. I don't wash and iron my own shirts because it's not worth it to me in terms of the time I should be spending working. That's why I use a dry cleaner. But just because 50% of Americans don't wear dress shirts frequently doesn't mean that it's wrong for dry cleaners to be available to those who do.
#19 By: Noah Django Gross, July 19th, 2013 22:42
there was something about this on BB earlier this year, I think. Hawaii is notable for really friendly security screenings because they've been doing complex screening since well before the TSA. IIRC, this is because it's an island and foreign plants/microbes/animals can wreak ecological havoc, for instance like when rabbits were introduced to Australia. So their security was all set up to be thorough BUT hospitable for tourism long before 9/11.
#20 By: Jonathan Roberts, July 19th, 2013 23:28
I flew into the US (Washington Dulles) this week for the first time in seven years. The major differences were that I was with my (American) wife and my kids, so we got to go through the line for Americans. I'm also older, so I guess that puts me in a different category. However, this was just about the easiest screening I've had in any country, including my own. Everyone was polite at the immigration desk (we had a lot of luggage, so two attendants pushed our trolleys to the check-in conveyor belt for the connecting flight). The last two times I've been here I was treated with suspicion and questioned for quite a long time. Applying for my (Chinese) son's visa at the consulate was a nightmare though, we ended up having about 2.5 hours of discussion and were nearly denied because he could try to immigrate (he's three). I used my Irish passport and was in and out of the consulate within 20 minutes, including queuing time. I guess we may have got lucky on the day of the flight, but it was interesting to see first hand how different groups are treated on entry - Americans/western foreigners/non-western foreigners/foreigners travelling with an American family.
next page →