And its only going to get worse, not only for workers but for travelers. On Wednesday, the biggest air travel day of the year, protestors are asking travelers to "opt out" of going through scanners and engage in other sorts of civil disobedience to disrupt security procedures at airports. Because pat downs take far longer than going through scanners, protesters expect to be able to get a lot of attention for their cause by holding up the lines. They'll probably succeed. The Associated Press is reporting that even small protests on that date could cause huge delays and create massive security lines. They quote Paul Rudin of the American Society of Travel Agents as saying "Just one or two recalcitrant passengers at an airport is all it takes to cause huge delays." Some passengers may even miss their flights home for the holidays.
What will be accomplished? Damned if I know. Because though people are up in arms about the idea of being patted down in sensitive areas, or scanned with a machine that will show a naked photo of them, none of the protestors has put forward alternative methods that will keep the public safe. None have addressed the sad fact that just last Christmas a man hid explosives in his underwear and was nearly successful in blowing up a plane. At that time, many voices were raised in anger that we didn't have scanners that could detect the pouch in his underwear. Where did those angry voices go?
My father has an excellent piece on the lack of concrete alternatives being suggested right now, and the unsustainable costs of the methods being proposed. Rather than repeat his arguments, I'll urge you to read the blog.
And I'll also urge you to "opt in". Protesting on Wednesday is irresponsible. It will cause widespread chaos, affecting travelers who rarely set foot on airplanes--the families who are traveling for Thanksgiving. A protest during a normal business day would be more to the point as it would bring the issue to the attention of those who'll be most affected by enhanced security: the frequent flyers.
And it would be the kinder action to take. Do we really want to stop average folks from getting home for the holidays? I didn't think so.
Have a heart. Opt in.