firecat: gorilla with arms folded looking stern (unamused)
[personal profile] firecat
My willingness to use flying as a form of transportation was drastically reduced when the TSA instituted rules limiting the amount of liquids through the security checkpoint. Originally, empty beverage bottles were not allowed through the checkpoint either. That was a boundary for me because I consider it a basic need to carry a lot of water with me when I travel, and I consider it an unreasonable burden to be required to purchase an overpriced bottle of water after clearing the checkpoint. (I can't find any rules about empty bottles on the TSA site right now and I've had reports from people who fly that they were able to bring empty bottles through the checkpoint, so maybe that rule has changed.)

As a person with medical conditions, I am exempt from the rules about liquids, but it offends me that the rules are imposed on other people. It also strikes me as pointless to have rules that people can exempt themselves from just by saying they have a medical condition.

So for the past several years I've flown very rarely.

The fact that I need to buy two seats to be comfortable also contributes to my choice to limit flying.

The new rules about full-body scanners and more intrusive pat-downs strengthen my resolve to limit the amount of flying I do. I don't have a lot of body modesty and don't fear sexual harrassment, so I don't think I would be personally harmed by going through the scanner or being manually searched.

But I believe people have a right not to be subjected to invasive searches without probable cause, and I'm not willing to relinquish my right.

I am privileged and fortunate that I have a choice whether to fly, and I am not making any recommendations for other people.

This mainly affects my likelihood of going to Wiscon. Theoretically I could drive to Wiscon and I'm not ruling that out, but I looked into it once and it seemed like it would be more driving than would be enjoyable for me. I'm not making any decisions about flying now, because a lot of things could happen between now and May, but I'm somewhat less likely to go if the scans and invasive searches become standard.

Date: 19 Nov 2010 10:27 pm (UTC)
laughingrat: A detail of leaping rats from an original movie poster for the first film of Nosferatu (Default)
From: [personal profile] laughingrat
I love your big tough gorilla icon (why don't I have a Kong icon here...?), and I agree with what you are saying.

Date: 19 Nov 2010 10:51 pm (UTC)
graymalkin: (Default)
From: [personal profile] graymalkin
That all makes perfect sense to me. I doubt I'll ever use air travel again, for these reasons and more. That limits my ability to travel at all -- for example, to visit my husband's relatives, who live on another continent -- but it's a trade-off I choose to make.

Date: 20 Nov 2010 01:02 am (UTC)
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
From: [personal profile] urocyon
It makes sense to me, too. I already disliked flying enough, but now it would take extraordinary circumstances to get me to venture through an airport. And I'm living on a different continent from my own relatives. :-|

But I believe people have a right not to be subjected to invasive searches without probable cause, and I'm not willing to relinquish my right.


Date: 20 Nov 2010 01:25 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] flarenut
Even if I felt this wasn't a gross violation of rights for no purpose other than to furhter a police state and pour money into few well-connected pockets, I just wouldn't want to do it. It makes me kinda sick.

Date: 20 Nov 2010 04:52 am (UTC)
sashataakheru: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sashataakheru
Man, I'm not even in America and your crazy airport security puts me off air travel in my own country. o.O

Then again, I get irrationally nervous about any security devices (shop ones, airports, anything) anyway. Stuff like this doesn't reassure me at all. I just get scared I'll get pulled up for some irrational reason and Bad Things Will Happen. D: Especially as someone who IDs as outside the gender binary and may at some point possibly transition in a halfarsed kind of way (chest surgery?, low doses of T? IDEK anymore) and still would like an 'other/genderqueer/something of that nature' as a gender marker but they don't let you do that in Australia and it's all a lot of bullshit and people are sucky. :/ (I'll save you an essay on that particular issue.)

tl:dr This is why I like trains. Trains are safe! Trains are nice! Trains don't make me super nervous with bullshit security measures! :D

Date: 20 Nov 2010 07:09 am (UTC)
bibliofile: Fan & papers in a stack (from my own photo) (Default)
From: [personal profile] bibliofile
I like trains, too! Even in the US, where the train from the Bay Area to Chicago takes about two days. If all goes well, you're awake during the interesting scenery (mountains) and sleep through much of the Great Plains. Still, it takes time.

Date: 20 Nov 2010 06:18 am (UTC)
trixtah: (Default)
From: [personal profile] trixtah
Yes, I've wanted to go to Wiscon for at least the last 5 years (and do a bit of a trip in the US in general), but I've been avoiding the place since they implemented the requirement for foreign nationals to be completely fingerprinted when entering the country. Or even transiting it - no Canada either, unless I fly via Japan.

And the security theatre is getting worse rather than better, so unless and until all the other places I travel to start up with the same routines, I won't be going to the US for the foreseeable.

Date: 27 Nov 2010 02:26 pm (UTC)
eggcrack: Icon based on the painting "Kullervon kirous ja sotaanlahto" (Default)
From: [personal profile] eggcrack
I don't do much traveling in the first place, but just hearing about the security over there makes my dream of visiting New York one day even unlikelier than it is. You are saying smart and sensible things here and I agree with them.
From: [identity profile]
I had a pat down last July when I left my MP3 player in my cargo pants pocket. It wasn't a big deal. My cat just gave me worse.

I don't want the back scatter radiation. It hasn't been tested properly. I know because my cousin works at NIST.

So each airline trip is going to get careful scrutiny.

BTW I've had no problem getting an empty plastic water bottle through security. I just fill it up with drinking fountain water after the checkpoint.
From: [identity profile]
If they are doing the new patdown properly, it will be more than the one you described--I've had the old patdown but it didn't involve anyone touching the underside of my boobs or running a finger in the waistband of my undies.
fauxklore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] fauxklore
They changed the patdown procedure on November 1st. It is substantially more invasive.

Date: 19 Nov 2010 10:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I haven't flown since well before 9/11, and don't think I will do it except in the most dire emergency. I feel the way you do about the water. The air on airplanes seems to suck all the moisture out of one's body. I've had a terrible time with my sinuses. I think a road trip can be a real treat, especially if you can spend a lot of time and make plenty of stops. I wouldn't hesitate to do it if I had the money.

Date: 19 Nov 2010 10:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
and if I could bring the dog!

Date: 19 Nov 2010 11:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The last time I flew, I was sick and brainless, and I had to go through the metal detector twice, and I forgot to empty my water bottle. I always bring my own bottle, and I've never had a problem--the guy even told me just to empty it.

Date: 20 Nov 2010 02:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Buying that expensive water on the other side of security is an annoyance (and expense). You're right that it's important to have it -- the air on the planes is really dry and you will be dehydrated and at higher risk for deep vein thrombosis, etc. etc.

Flying was sucking rocks before the nude scanner and the grope fest. I knew that one little thing would make me stop flying since I was at my capacity for tolerance. They came up with a biggie rather than something tiny.

You could take the train part of the way to Wiscon. There is one from San Francisco to Chicago, and then you can take the bus to Madison. It would mean time, and quite a bit of extra money if you get the sleeper car. I'm getting my first sleeper car for Ft. Worth when I go see my brother this March.

I'll let you know how it is!

Date: 22 Nov 2010 06:49 am (UTC)
sev: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sev
I took the sleeper from Seattle to Minneapolis several years ago. It was a little claustrophobic -- little closet, barely big enough for the fold-down bed (though the big window helped with the claustrophobia). The bed seemed remarkably sturdy for a fold-down -- no alarming creaks when I rolled over, for instance. I'd have been unhappy if I'd been too much taller, because I sleep with my arms above my head.

I've been thinking about taking the train for Wiscon this year, too. I want to go, but I'm ticked off enough at having to fly next month.

I was patted down as a kid, once, at the airport when my little sister and I were flying without an adult. It was very creepy and weird and still makes me skin crawl.

Gah. This whole thing makes me mad.

Date: 20 Nov 2010 02:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
They're working on a different kind of scanner ( where it shows only the outline of the person and a square where something has to be checked.

Date: 20 Nov 2010 08:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This kind of scanner already exists. We saw them in use at the airport in Amsterdam. We refused the scanner anyhow and got patdowns (the normal kind, not the kind where they stroke your crotch). The security woman there told us that they initially had the more detailed scanners, but replaced them with this kind because too many people complained.

While this kind of scanner is less visually intrusive, the radiation concerns still apply.

Date: 20 Nov 2010 03:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I won't fly if I can help it. I resent the way the airlines treat their passengers (like cattle) and the TSA putting their mitts on me where they don't belong.

Incidentally, there's word that the TSA may become privatized. I wonder who'll get the cntract - Blackwater or Xe?

Date: 21 Nov 2010 08:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm quite surprised to see all the comments about water. Firstly, compared to the price of an air ticket - in fact, even compared to the price of long-stay airport car parks - bottled water costs next to nothing.

And secondly, the liquids ban is due to a very real plot to kill thousands of people by detonating explosives carried onto planes in drinks bottles. The perpetrators were arrested just days before carrying this out and were convicted - see for example

The tighter security is on the ground, the safer I feel in the air. I'd much rather they gave people free water in the air (which they do on long haul flights anyway) than let people have medical exemptions to get round the ban.

Date: 23 Nov 2010 12:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Your likelihood of getting to Wiscon is still orders of magnitude higher than mine.

Date: 15 Dec 2010 06:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I vaguely recall being allowed to bring an empty water bottle onto a commercial plane.


firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
firecat (attention machine in need of calibration)

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