Airport security has always been a headache, especially after 9/11. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) advices to arrive at the airport a few hours prior flights, ensuring sufficient time at hand to pass through security checkpoints.
The process of removing shoes, jackets, metals as well as removing laptops and the quart-sized bag of liquids may be a hassle but is essential to everyone’s safety. With thousands of passengers passing through checkpoint, sometimes people’s experiences are not the best. However, some of the cases below to hit media are far from a “bad day.” These cases bring light in whether U.S. flight security too much or not enough.
On June 24, Olajide Noibi got on the Virgin America Flight 415 at JFK Airport with no ID and an expired boarding pass that did not belong to him. Even though he was caught on the flight, he was able to walk off the plane and spend several days in the Los Angeles area until Wednesday, June 29, when Noibi tried to board a Delta flight for Atlanta, again with an expired boarding pass in another name and no valid ID.
After searching his bag, authorities found about ten other expired boarding passes, none of which were in his name. Olajide was taken into custody at LAX on June 29 and was charged with being a stowaway. He will be fined and could even face jail time. He had gotten through security at JFK with a University of Michigan student ID and a police report saying his passport was stolen. He was even subjected to screening at checkpoint, and yet he still managed to board.
This incident is another in a string of TSA mishaps with the pat-down techniques and full body scans. TSA had strengthened security after 9/11, in hopes to prevent future terrorist attacks. Since 2001, there have been many cases where the agency has been at fault for their security measures. Recently, TSA’s definition of the types of people targeted for pat-downs have gotten out of hand.
Last month TSA’s actions against one passenger raised questions as to how far this agency can go before they are stopped. A few agents stopped a 95-year-old woman, wheelchair-bound with final-stage Leukemia and forced her to take off her adult diaper for pat-down purposes. Jean Weber, daughter of the woman, described the incident.
“My mother was first pulled aside into a glass-partitioned area and patted down. Then she was taken to another room to protect her privacy during a more extensive search,” Weber said. “Security personnel came out and told me that they would need for her mother to remove her Depends diaper because it was impeding their search.”
When asked to comment, TSA spokespersons simply said “the procedures are the same for everyone to ensure national security.”
If there is a record for “youngest child to get a pat down,” then this child wins. According to Kansas City Star, a picture was tweeted by Rev. Jacob Jester of Independence, Mo of an eight-month old baby getting a pat down.
“An 8-month-old doesn’t pose a threat to an airplane or national security. I am grateful for TSA’s willingness and desire to protect, but I believe in this instance that was extreme,” Jester said.
Though these cases show that TSA security precautions are a bit extreme, if not for these measures in the first place, then our nation’s safety may be at risk.
According to TSA’s official website, the primary goal is to treat all passengers with courtesy, dignity, and respect during the security screening processes. In order to do so, security officers are trained in the proper treatment of passengers and their belongings and are required to search all belongings.
This method includes walking through a metal detector and a possible pat-down or full body scan. All of these procedures are in place to ensure the safety of passengers, pilots, and anyone else who travels on airplanes.
Is the flight security too much or too little? Are the incidences previously mentioned a reason to relook the security procedures? Clearly, no one wants a repeat of 9/11 or any other future potential terrorist attacks. Yet, it seems that whichever method this nation uses to protect the citizens’ safety, it will be taken into question.