Fear of flying

TSAsecurity

Actually, I have no fear of flying. I’ve always enjoyed flying. (Or did before they shrank the seats to about half a normal adult’s size.) My problem these days is fear of airports. Or more specifically, fear of TSA security lines.

Of course, it’s possible things aren’t as bad as I imagine. I haven’t had occasion to fly since 2003. It wasn’t bad then, but now, when I see pictures of the security lines at airports (not to mention all the new and totally unfamiliar rules about what to wear and not wear, pack and not pack, etc.), I get a little ill.

I’ve little doubt that the next flight I make will be under the worst possible circumstances — a death in the family. It will be a traumatic occasion with little time to plan what to pack for an expensive last-minute reservation. And that will be after I hurriedly shop for appropriate clothes, which I don’t currently own.  Also, I understand airlines no longer offer bereavement fares.

But it’s those security lines I fear most. They are currently three hours long in Denver and I hear they are up to four hours elsewhere. It’s all I can do to stand in line at the supemarket for 20 minutes! (And there, at least, I have a cart to lean on.) Three to fours hours would be impossible for me, not to mention the obvious absurdity of having security take twice as long as my 90-minute flight.

I’ll be one of those folks asking for and desperately needing a wheelchair. It pains me to admit it, but that’s the only way I’ll make it through an hours-long security line.



Categories: Society, TSA

34 replies

  1. I do not have a fear of flying. My fear is getting to the air port only to find a 2 to 4 hour delay in making my flight.. The cost of air fair is already costing me more money than what is fair. Now add the cost of a long delay such as food lodging and even lost wages at work because I will be gone longer than anticipated. Either the TSA or the Air Line should ante up for the extra cost unless there is an actual emergency declared.

  2. I used to travel weekly and it was great. Then it wasn’t.
    One of the last times I flew I was with my 90+ yrs dad and an idiot TSA person selected him for special pat down….and asked him to stand on one foot. While she check something. Really? Despite their frowns, I lunged to his said ena snarled, he can’t do that unless personally plan on picking up the hopsital bills – she jerked her head around and saw him trying to accomodate her wishes – that generation never questioned requests – and realized he was about to topple over. I steaded him and they immediately rushed up both through.
    You thought it couldn’t get worse – but it has! We are currently trying to decide whether to fly or drive your way. I’m skittish about big crowds, standing in long lines with crying children, line rage, germy people and other possibilities for less time will be spent in the air.
    Did you see the large amounts TSA spent last year on new furniture for offices and job advertisement on FaceBook and other social media. Seriously? Hogs at taxpayer trough.
    Privitaize like Canada does immediately!

    • I had a similar experience to your dear ol’ dad in 2008; altougth somewhat younger at 73or74 something like that, at Honolulu first, when we arrived for a few days stop over before continuing to the mainland, my daughter Emma was in our party of 5 and her name rings all sorts of bells with your TSA/Homeland security whatever, so the 5 of us were dragged out of the line and went through a disgusting period of humiliation before being cleared.

      All eyes turned our way as we were dragged out of line.

      Naturally when we departed, we were again put through the wringer, and on arrival at San Francisco you guessed it; again subjected to humiliation.

      However worse was yet to come, when we were leaving Boston to start our return to Australia we were pulled from the line, again, and corralled inside a fenced off section reminding me of a sheep pen; there to be ogled at by all those passing through the check point.

      I, too, had to stand on one foot, I’d find that particularly hard these days, being whisper thin and top heavy, ( I’ve got a big head; in more ways than one,)I’d topple over for sure.

      My wife keeps suggesting we go overseas for a holiday again, I’d love to go back to Hawaii as would she, but the thought of going through the TSA business puts a damper on it; she suggested we go to Vietnam, our other daughter has been there a few times and can’t speak too highly of the treatment the Caucasians receive from the Vietnamese; but it doesn’t appeal to me, I’d like Honolulu again with a quick flip over to Las Vegas but somehow I can’t see us doing it; might have to settle for a trip on the Indian Pacific, instead.

      • The TSA sure knows how to kill our tourist trade. I’m sorry you had to go through that and can’t imagine why those idiots thought it was necessary.

        • My daughter Emma has unfortunately got the exact same name as somebody on the blacklist, not to be mistaken for Mr Spaders ‘Blacklist’; who apparently was involved in drug running, That my Emma was travelling on her Australian and English Passports made not a skerrick of difference. Same name must be the same person. If we as a family ever travel to the US again we will send her by a different airline and flight XD

      • That whole one foot thing is insane. I feel better knowing it’s not just that airport.
        I can’t tell you how many times I saw young teenagers/college girls with their families singled out for “special treatment”…ususally cute blonds. Their moms fretted all the way through the line up to the check points. Once all of use were taking bets on who got picked. I’ve seen toddler dragged out of mom’s arms and forced to walk through the scanners alone – no touching theire hands! And the kids get scared and sit down and cry reaching for mom. Then there was the very frail elderly woman TSA forced out of her wheel chair and she shakily in her pink sockies toddled through the scanner – desperately trying to smile and be cooperative. Meanwhile, some well covered up wives/sisters/daughters were rushed around when the dad started loudly yelling about “Rights”, “Freedom of religion”, “Respect culural diffences” “Freedom of speech” “sue over discrimination”. And TSA backs off…more than you can shake a stick at. I guess some are more equal /have more rights than others.
        The whole mess is keeping us stateside (which is so sad. So many more places to see.) But I do have to say that one of the most professional screening lines at an airport was down at the border by MX. The young women/men were polite, respectful, very quick, but much more thorough than even the bigger airports in the interior. No nonsense. No stupidity. No problems for anyone. Outstanding)
        We’ll drive this year.

        • Betcha change could happen real fast if enough people stopped flying. But that won’t happen. Too many travel on business. Just curious — do first class passengers get treated the same way or do they get special shortcuts?

          • Even the gov “trusted travelers” program lines are equally long here the past 2 weeks.
            TSA asked airlines to stop charging for bags and to tell people to check their bags (supposedly the carry-on’s is what is the problem according to TSA chief here last weerk for airline industry conference…yeah, right.) America Airlines hired 50+ people here to “assist” TSA screenings ( and to try to get their customers to their planes on time. It’s not the airlines – it’s TSA. They do want a pay raise, they say…for a job well done, I guess (Some upper management did get big bonuses recently…)
            Canada’s private security companies seem to be doing a great job…or else with their 1 yr contract getting pulled. Hmmmm?

            • Private companies routinely function more efficiently than the government, I’ve always heard. It sounds to me like the delays are defintiely TSA’s fault — understaffing, poorly vetted and trained staff, time spent searching the wrong people, etc. Seems to me logical and good business for the airlines to hire their own security people; after all, they have reputations to maintain and should be the most concerned about security on their planes.

        • I’ll stay here in Australia 🙂

    • I can’t imagine what TSA is looking for by asking people (especially the elderly and/or infirm) to stand on one foot. Sounds more like the sobriety test that cops might do. Don’t see what it has to do with security.

      Yes, I’ve considered driving to OKC if necessary, rather than spending those 12 hours in airports and a plane. But I doubt I could make it in one day, alone, like I used to. It was grueling, even then, and required a bit of recovery time, and a worthwhile number of days before the return trip.

      They spent all that money instead of hiring the additional personnel needed to keep the airports running!?

      At one point during the Christmas holidays at DIA, there was only one security line open for the entire airport! Passengers reported waits of up to four hours.

      I don’t suppose any of the presidential candidates has promised to do something about the TSA …?? (Why should they care? They all fly in private planes.)

      Bleh, I’ve already ranted too long. Sorry.

  3. Thank god we have Global Entry. If you can afford to fly, you can afford to get a Global Entry card and save yourself a ton of aggravation.

  4. We had been contemplating a vacation to a favorite spot in Maine this year but have now cancelled the notion because of air travel problems. I’ve got some joint and back pain that doesn’t do well with shrinking seats and knee spacing, especially since I’m 6′ 2″. Also, we found that the airlines have changed flights so the schedule is worse, plus we would have to take the smaller, less-comfortable planes. And finally, of course, the TSA hassle. The wife now has a pacemaker, and that requires that she undergo a methodical pat-down instead of the machine. Like you all say, it seems humiliating.

    Why anyone should be required to stand on one foot is beyond me. I would fail because nerve damage ruined my balance.

    I have thought since 9.11.01 that the U.S. should emulate Israel’s screening techniques. They emphasize profiling, and it works. So far as I know, no caucasian 70-something grandmothers with pacemakers have blown up any planes and are pretty safe. I on the other hand am a known risk. Last year I tried, and failed, to get aboard with a keychain penknife.

    • I absolutely agree; we should be profiling like the Israelis do. Our system is absurd. If you’re really serious about security, you don’t worry about political correctness. You don’t waste time and resources patting down 70-year-old white grandmothers. Besides, the searches already violate our constitutional rights, so what’s a little profiling going to hurt.

    • and you’re still free????????????

  5. If the government hadn’t relieved the airline companies of the responsibility for their customers safety, the true stake holders in air travel would be running the show and charging us whatever the security was costing them.

    But… we’d rather ignore the hidden cost and ignore the unconstitutional government intrusion and meekly obey untrained, hourly paid people who won’t even be chastised if our flight goes down because they missed a carry-on bomb. They’ll be back to work tomorrow and won’t miss their next payday… which is the only reason they took the job.

    The TSA is no different than any other socialized effort. It will never have enough money to prevent the rationing of services to those with the least ability to avoid those same services.

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