I love to travel and fly anywhere from a few to a dozen times a year. I haven’t been pleased with the post-9/11 security crack down but have mostly agreed that it was necessary and put up with the poking and searching. Sometimes it is more difficult: I have been in minor trouble before for commenting when a security screener was, frankly, getting too touchy. Many of my female students report uncomfortable exchanges with security pat-downs.
I don’t have a flight anytime in the near future, but I expect increased security at airports and questions about the electronic equipment I always carry: my laptop, my iPod and my cell phone. Again, it will be annoying but I don’t feel as though I have a choice.
I was definately concerned, however, when I read this article in the Wall Street Journal about a pilot program to test biometric data on potential passengers. Advocates seem to think that blood pressure, pulse and sweat levels will tell you if you are the next sports-drink-bomber.
It seems to me that someone that thinks that your blood preasure might identify you as a terrorist hasn’t spent enough time actually traveling. As much as I love to travel, I find flying to be a very frustrating experience. Security? Nerve racking. Worry about someone lifting my backpack? Nerve racking. Annoying flight delays and rush? Nerve racking. Other travelers? Nerve racking. Being told something that’s not true by an airline employee? Nerve racking.
Reading the article, I don’t think these companies get it. They report that “just 4% of innocent travelers” are sniffed out. Have you been to a big airport lately? That would be 10 passengers on a jumbo jet. That seems like an awful lot of false positives to me.
I get it: airline travel has changed. But I just don’t get the administration’s attitude that you can somehow use an objective criteria to decide which passengers are the bad guys.