Posted by: wrmcnutt | November 18, 2010

Dear John – I Mean US Airways

Dear US Airways –

I’m leaving you. Try not to let it get you down. It’s not you, it’s me. Or, rather, it’s the TSA. I’m not going to lie – they’ve come between us. If I have to let someone else see me naked in order to fly with you – – well, let’s just say that I’m not into that scene.

And I don’t think you really are, either. Although, you know, you haven’t been the same since you started running around with those TSA guys.  I can’t put all the blame on them, though. You took away the food. I still loved you. You narrowed the seats, and I stayed. You had the guy in front of me sit on my lap, and still I remained faithful. Charge me for baggage? I’ve been a one-bag carry-on guy since before we started traveling together.

But this nudie-pics-or-get-my-junk-groped is over the line. I’m not going to make a case for it being potentially unsafe. (Although it’s not.)  I’m not going to make a case for my rights, although there’s one to be made.  I’m simply going to state that submitting to that kind of treatment is beneath the dignity of a free man, and I still think of myself as one of those.

I used to fly with you several times a year, but now I’m leaving. Or, rather, I’ve already left. Meeting in Washington DC this month? Drove 8 1/2 hours both ways. It was cheaper, too. Meeting in New Orleans this spring? Driving 11 hours both ways. Cheaper, more comfortable, and more convenient.

Anyway, I just thought it would be fair to tell you why I’m dropping out of your life. Uncle Sam clearly doesn’t care about the minority of voters who fly – I’m hoping you do. You have the traction to make them cut this crap out. I do not. Please push back, for the sake of both of us.



The above is my letter to US Airways, my former first love in business travel, cheerfully cribbed from Megan McArdle’s blog post of today.

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  1. and you know, the only thing that it costs to *NOT* fly is time. The actual dollar cost is much less.

    But I’m so with you on the not flying. It may mean that I never get back to the UK; but that’s just it. Like my friend Andi Wolfe (the woodturner) said, Israel has the safest planes in the world — and *FAR* more terrorism than we do — and they can do it without sexual assaults and nude pictures.

    • Yes – well, Israel uses “profiling” to pull out potential bad guys. That’s apparently a dirty word in this country.

      • yeah — that the idea that groping toddlers and 90 year old people is *better* than profiling ….. shakes head.

  2. How different would the atrocities of Sept. 11th have been if passengers had been allowed by the TSA to carry knives with straight or serrated blades of upto 4″ – the airline standard at the time? If the terrorists had simply “upped the antie” and used guns, well… holes like that that create a significant difficulty in keeping the plane aloft.

  3. My point being, an armed society is a polite society. While I can understand restrictions on firearms (note I did not use the word “prohibition”)
    by regular passengers, I do not believe in disarming anyone who hasn’t given sound reason to be left defenseless and dependent.

  4. I’m pretty particular about who gets to grope me and who doesn’t. It falls into a category of One Other Human Being On the Planet, that being my husband, Paul. Even if I had the inclination to allow anyone else to do it, a total stranger in the employ of the TSA would never get the nod. Ditto for nude photos.

    I wonder what happens when people flat-out say “NO!”? Has anyone done that yet?

    • Gia, I think that’s addressed here by the fellow that said “touch my junk, and I’ll have you arrested” == they’re threatening him with a $10,000 fine ….. Apparently, according to one court case, that once you enter the security area, you have 2 choices — to get on the plane or be arrested. And they won’t let you on the plane if you don’t have the groping or the nudie pics. And I can’t find the blasted link. Check my reply to Bill’s previous post. It gave the link for the court case.

      • Actually – you don’t have to get on the plane, but, apparently, you DO have to complete the security screening before you can leave. Or at least they THINK you do.

  5. Martin and I have already made the choice to drive to Texas this Christmas rather than fly. I used to work in a chemistry department with all kinds of radiation safety regulations and such. There is no way I will ever be convinced that some yahoo with no training in radiation safety should be allowed to nuke people 40,000 times a day. It’s just wrong.

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