Airport security and the special few

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 28, 2012 - 8:40 PM

Keeping with an upsurge in some people's resentment of the 1 Percent, Delta has announced a program that lets frequent fliers breeze through security without having their buttocks kneaded by TSA. This will be instituted at our own airport soon, so the experience of being shoved through the Guilt Presumption machinery can be enhanced by pure seething envy.

While they're at it, they could do something about the line the rest of us deal with.

Make two lanes: one for people who know what they're doing and can whip off their belt so fast you're reminded of Indiana Jones cracking his whip, and one for people who have no idea what they're doing.

Excuse me, helpful TSA agent, but I don't know which I am. Well, Ma'am, do you start searching for the checkbook at the grocery store line when the clerk finishes ringing up your purchases? Does it take you a while? Do you make sure you enter the amount in the register while people behind you are staring hot jagged lines because their ice cream is melting, and when they refreeze it, it'll have that awful crystal texture? Yes, I believe that describes me to a T! Then you're in this line here. Right behind the fellow who's heading into the screener wearing his shoes and a hat.

Last month I watched a TSA agent help a young woman get 37 small bottles down to three 3-ounce bottles. It took 10 minutes. Would have gone faster, but she reacted to the triage like a mother being asked to choose which child she would save from a burning building. When everything was stuffed into the Magic Zip-Lock Bag of Complete Safety, there were enough bottles of makeup remover left over to completely exfoliate the nation's entire supply of Kardashians. She was furious.

But how can you not know this? There are signs all over the place. Video warnings. Instructions when you book your ticket. Apparently we need signs along the queue as well: TAKE HEED AND DO NOT / ACT LIKE A HICK WOULD / MAKE SURE YOU DON'T HAVE / EXCESS LIQUID / BURMA SHAVE.

Of course, they'd confiscate your Burma Shave, too.

Anyway. How about extending the Premium Special Person Line to other places as well? Say, a special lane on the highway, where...

Oh. Right.

jlileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858

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