How long do you think it will be before we all have to show up at the airports naked dragging our belongings in a TSA-approved Red Ryder Wagon? I give it five years. And once you get on the plane, the seats will have been replaced by poles and hangers like on the subway and there will be one attendant there to throw peanuts at you halfway through the flight. It’s gonna be pretty awesome.
In the meantime, though, we’re just going to have to settle for TSA asking to see our sandwiches and books. Baby steps, folks. Baby steps.
Federal airport security officials have begun asking travelers to take books and food out of their carry-on luggage, prompting some fliers to complain about a further invasion of the limited privacy they have left at checkpoints.
Transportation Security Administration officials say they are taking the steps on a test basis at a handful of airports nationally mainly because carry-on bags are getting so stuffed that screening agents at x-ray machines are have a hard time seeing what’s in the bags.
Some everyday items, including books and magazines, can look similar to explosives when going through the X-ray machine, federal security officials said. Screeners may “fan” through books to see if anything is hidden, TSA official Carrie Harmon said, but Harmon said screeners are not checking to see what people are reading.
University of California, Davis, professor Julie Sze is among those who ran into the new screening procedures Wednesday at Sacramento International Airport. Federal screeners were asking people to take reading materials and food out of their bags and to place those items into a separate bin before sending them along the conveyor belt into the screening machine.
Sze, an American Studies professor at Davis, who was not in the pre-check line, took her cookie out of her bag, but left her magazines in, and went through screening without incident. But, she says, she was annoyed that TSA was pushing privacy boundaries even farther than it already has.
“It’s always been a series of insults,” she said of security requirements, such as taking off shoes and standing with your hands over your head. “Books, magazines, food, those are like my three treasured things. It feels personal on a whole different level.”