Apr 27, 2012
I remember the day everything changed as if it were yesterday. However, I must admit that I had not thought about how much changed that day for a long time. Unexpectedly, it all came back to me as I passed through the metal detector at Boston’s Logan Airport last week fully dressed, still wearing my shoes and sports jacket. The momentary return to civility reminded me of exactly what we lost as a national community in the aftermath of 9/11.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently started an expedited security check program called TSA PreCheck. To participate in this program, travelers undergo a pre-screening process which, once completed, earns a frequent traveler the right to a less involved security check at a growing list of airports. There is a domestic and international version of the program. The international program, however, requires a personal interview and a registration fee of $100.
Once you qualify for the program, you are able to enter an airport security checkpoint through a special line. Flyers in this line are not required to go through the usual gymnastics of emptying bags while removing shoes and belts. You just empty your pockets, put your bag on the conveyor belt and walk through the metal detector fully dressed. It’s quick and easy—just like the old days.
When I registered for the program, I was only thinking of the time it would save. I had noticed that the security checkpoint lines for TSA PreCheck were notably shorter than even the priority access lines. I was envious of the time and hassle that other flyers were saving. I had no idea that going through a metal detector fully clothed would have the cathartic benefit that it did.