TSA continues to improve experience of rich people

Charging people not to go through something that only exists because you created it is generally a reason for them to be upset. In fact, in many other contexts it’s called extortion.

Because people who don’t have lots of money definitely have the spare time to hitchhike across America.

Is it required that every time someone complains about the TSA doing something, someone else has to pretend the alternatives to planes - taking time off for long voyages, finding new jobs, giving up on family - are always super easy for everyone?


Sorry, @chenille: you are simply, and obviously, factually incorrect here. You’re charging people to go through screening in a different way (via a background check and linking their background to their airline ticket/travel habits), and in return you’re excusing them from a redundant screening. You’re not charging people and letting them out of screening. And you’re not coercing or forcing people to go through the PreCheck process, which is why it’s not extortion, and which is exactly why people shouldn’t be upset about it. If they don’t want to do it, then they can simply stand in line.

Uh, me? My boss tells me when to fly. And in a previous company, my boss would tell me how much the fly should cost. Did I ever get any say in the matter? No. Would my previous boss have ponied up $85 for my convenience? No – big companies skimp especially on marginal costs, it’s how they make their [m|b]illions. Lowly employees don’t get to choose anything.

Besides, I have a family that would like to see me at home every once in a while, so taking a ferry from Liverpool to S.Francisco has never been a realistic option. Ah sorry, ferries are not eco-compatible, I should have “made a choice” and gone sailing, or something.

This is basically a flat-tax, which is naturally regressive. And if you don’t pay, they’ll humiliate you. How fun! But like all flat-taxes, you’ll always find somebody ready to defend it, for some misguided reason or other.


And that’s fair game so long as there’s no chance anyone is encouraged to sign up by making the regular screening unnecessarily punitive, say by things like groping genitals or harassing anyone with less common body types. Although I guess that’s not really a problem yet, if as DuncanX says they don’t actually excuse people who pay from those things.


So you’re saying you’re not a conspiracy theorist? Because you sound like one actually.

At least by what you write, you’re not an American. If so, you wouldn’t even be eligible.

That said, if your boss makes you fly that much then it seems to me perfectly rational to pay $17/year for an easier TSA screening (if you are/were even eligible) to save time at the airport. I paid for mine out of pocket because it was worth it to me. Others may choose to spend their money different. However, if you have a job that involves travel, I’m willing to bet that you can afford $17/year.

By the way, your assertion that it’s a “flat-tax” is absurd and incorrect. Taxes are not optional. This user-fee-based alternative pathway for screening is (optional).

Indeed I’m not eligible (and yeah, I can’t really opt-out of pornoscanners either, because they can kick out dirty foreigners on a whim and clearly I can’t risk it), but I bet even in the States you have people who are forced to fly for work and don’t have any say in the matter. Besides, if people like me were eligible, you’d soon have queues even in your special lanes, and then why would people keep paying…?

Which is probably why you’re rationalising the fact that now you’re paying $17/year to avoid periodic humiliation. It’s like car taxes: they’re optional, just don’t buy a car; you can avoid this one as well: just let TSA humiliate you before you fly.

But I like “user-fee-based alternative”, it’s a nice euphemism.

EDIT: btw, your first comment on 19 July was on this same topic – in fact, it looks like this is your main topic on most recent posts. On that day you said it was $100 for 5 years – did they lower prices since then? Did you get a refund?


Your baseline assumption is that I was somehow humiliated by TSA screening. I wasn’t. The millimeter wave scanners don’t show any anatomy or expose me to any ionizing radiation. Being patted down is annoying and unpleasant but it doesn’t humiliate me, because I don’t give a shit about what the person patting me down thinks about me. If anything, I think that the TSA screeners run the higher risk of being humiliated - wearing those silly blue shirts and polyester pants, having to move empty plastic bins around for a job, and having to pat down little old ladies with titanium hips who stand no chance of being a terrorist, to make a living. Now that’s humiliating.

TSA checkpoints are, however, a giant pain in the ass because they’re slow and dumb (and by dumb, I mean they treat everyone as an equal threat). I’m paying to avoid the huge cumulative waste of my time because I am willing to proactively prove that I am not a threat, and I’m willing to pay the government to do the paperwork/electronic work necessary to substantiate my assertion by doing the background check.

I am very sorry to hear that you can be made to feel humiliated by something that is, in the grand scheme of things, so minor, such as a security checkpoint at an airport.

Pre-Check, Clear, and similar services are all the TSA’s way of extorting a bribe from frequent travellers in return for not harassing them as much. They don’t improve security any, and provide a fast-track method for any real terrorists to check whether they’re on watch lists or not.

Letting Pre-Check and First Class passengers wait in a much shorter line just means that the TSA knows that they’re not paying for enough rent-a-cops and pornoscanners to handle the traffic load, and are willing to add more capacity in return for money.


I guess you’re not a clumsy italian that struggles to keep his trousers up whenever he’s forced to take off his belt, and who might be embarrassed by looking like a shoeless clown holding his trousers in front of hundreds of people, while somebody else opens his luggage for everyone to see – and I don’t mean the TSA people, I mean peers, colleagues, acquaintances who are often in the vicinity while this happens. I’m sure there are ways around it (ceramic-based belts are not one of them: guards don’t care if it’s made of rock or gold, it’s a belt and it must go), but why should a bureaucratic nightmare dictate what I should or should not wear, what I should or should not pack? If I wanted that, I’d have enrolled in the Army.

And the most humiliating thing is the constant lying. “You’ve been randomly selected”… 6 times in a row (true story!). A bit shitty that /dev/urandom, hey? Could it have anything to do with my nationality being different from the one of my home airport? Noo, of course not, all random. Oh, and this water I have here, it doesn’t matter if I drink 6 gallons in front of you or perform a chemical analysis on the spot that proves it’s coming from the purest river on Earth, I cannot keep it with me, because it would clearly explode.

The sort of treatment that does wonders for one’s self esteem, isn’t it? Not humiliating at all.

having to pat down little old ladies with titanium hips to make a living. Now that’s humiliating.

Well, they do get to play guards in this mass-scale Stanford experiment. There are worse fates: like having to play prisoners when you can’t pay your way out of it.


So TSA is adding government sanctioned extortion to the institutionalized sexual assault they put in place in 2010.

TSA said that “anyone could be a terrorist” when they started taking naked images of our children and groping them in 2010. Now they will give someone an exemption based on frequent flier status or their ability to pay a fee. This is no different than allowing people who buy a Volt or belong to AAA to ignore the speed limit.

Why would the average person be happy about biased program that favors the frequent fliers and treats them as being more equal than everyone else? We all pay the same amount for TSA and no one should get special treatment from TSA because they spend a lot with an airline or pay protection to TSA.

Would people be happy if TSA offered this only to millionaires, whites, men or college graduates? If not then they should oppose this along with the exemptions for other ‘special” groups.

If these security measures aren’t applied to everyone equally, then they simply won’t work and should be stopped.

This blatantly unequal and discriminatory treatment of average travelers who pay the same amount for government supplied security.

Irresponsible media reports like this ignoring TSA’s failures and promoting their propaganda is slowing reform of this failed agency and making air travel less secure.


The TSA are the only people I can get to grope my junk these days. :frowning:


I’ve taken several long road trips to avoid flying. The reasons are: cost (cheaper to drive my stupid hybrid than to buy tickets for 2-3 people, and fees for any sort of baggage which can’t be avoided when traveling with more than yourself), hassle (long security lines, which are the biggest hole in security evar), concern that my kid will be traumatized by TSA asshats, and a desire to not have any of my shit stolen in this whole process. How long a road trip will I endure without giving it a second though? Well, it currently stands at 14 hours, but I think we could handle longer. 8-12 ain’t no thing at all.

I’m not drsam (duh) but yeah, it seems they did lower prices. Global Entry is $100 for 5 years, and in addition to getting you into the Pre line includes being able to use immigration self-service kiosks and (sometimes) skip the in-person immigration line, also a priority line at customs. Sounds like the new $85 price only gets you Pre and not the border-crossing bennies? Or maybe they just dropped the price, period.

While I’m commenting, a non-sequitur: All the “if you fly enough the $85 is in the noise” misses one point, which is that if you fly quite a lot, you’re probably already in some airline’s elite frequent flyer tier and thus are already getting routed into the Pre line, gratis. So the $85 is only of interest to people that fly less than 50,000ish miles a year on a single airline, but still enough so that you can assume their income will support the extra $85. Probably a good-sized group, though.

To repeat the blazingly obvious:

  1. The last terrorist activity involving aircraft in the USA required several years’ preparation. Do these bleep-heads at TSA really think terrorists couldn’t hang around long enough to qualify for this program?
  2. It’s still bullshit because even after paying the $85 you can’t bring your fluids and pocketknives etc. onboard.
  3. For double-bleeping-sake, nobody is forcing you to fly on vacation. Write the place you were going to go and tell them exactly WHY you are not going there. Heck, if even 5 or 10% of business-flyers told their bosses that dealing w/ TSA is unacceptable, things would change fast. USAians are so chicken.

When you are taking steamer voyages to Europe, then I’ll know you’re serious.

One of the problems is that the pat-down and security check procedures vary from airport to airport. TSA training is not nearly as consistent as they want you to believe. The first time I set off the rapescan, the TSA agent grabbed me and basically punched me in the offending, highly sensitive area, without saying a word to me before he did. I tried opting-out the next time I flew, but that got me taken to a back room with two huge dudes, who had me strip half-naked and disassemble my appliance. With the doctors’ note and all my documentation now, usually the TSA people want to do the full touch-my-junk pat-down, whether or not I go through the rapescan first. I’ve decided that nobody is allowed to touch me anymore: I will leave the airport before I will consent to a pat-down. I was ready to bail the last time I flew, but apparently got lucky.

When was the last post of his that wasnt melodramatic?

TIL the following:

  • spending $85 makes me rich.
  • radioactive can be redefined at will
  • not paying the $85 will let me see a Grand Guginol horror theater performance. Not sure if this includes time & space travel to 19th Century Paris or not.

I always find this particular blogger to be so educational!

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Pfft. I’ll be taking a tall-ship, thank you very much. Steamer ships are for busybodies with no patience for enjoying the beauty of the Atlantic.

IRL, I’d fly out of Canada. Because I live too close to Canada to not take advantage of less hostile travel.