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The Sorry State of Security Theater

January 27, 2010 12:15:49.375

Security theather is in full swing in Toronto, at least for the US bound flights. The stupidity began early today, at the entry area for US flights. A little tyrant named Carla was defining what was and was not a laptop bag. My backpack didn't fit her definition, which meant I had to go back to the desk to check my clothes bag. I mentioned her name to the people there at the Air Canada desk - they rolled their eyes, apparently familiar with her gatekeeping ways.

Once past the queen of laptop bags, the rest of it was just insane lines, followed by a complete inspection of every bag for every person coming through. I barely made my flight because of that - and there's simlpy no way that such a regime can be sustained in the long term, unless they want to severely cut down on the number of flights - it just takes too long. I suppose it's "fair" though - search everyone and gosh knows, you sure don't have to actually examine people passing through to assess actual risks. It's like "zero tolerance" at schools - remove all the judgment to make it completely fair (and utterly ineffective and annoying).

My actual flight seems ok (I'm typing this from the cabin of my flight). Uncrowded, comfortable enough, and the flight crew on the plane seem nice. I even got about an hour's worth of sleep while we waited in the de-icing line. At least I don't need to travel to tomorrow's event - it's at BWI, within minutes of home.

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posted by James Robertson


Re: The Sorry State of Security Theater

[A former Torontonian] January 28, 2010 10:38:21.183

1. The extra security is coming from US requirements.

. If it continues you ought to consider flying into a border city and driving the rest of the way. For Toronto fly into Buffalo, etc...

. Were there any changes on the flight, eg. nothing in your lap for the last hour of the flight?

Re: The Sorry State of Security Theater

[James Robertson] January 28, 2010 11:36:41.535

Oh, I know that's all US requirements. My only local level complaint was the witch who took it upon herself to define what a laptop bag was :)

On the flight itself, the Air Canada staff was very nice, and there were no issues about what I could/could not have working beyond the normal ones (i.e., no electronics under 10,000 feet).

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