Tag: TSA

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How a Hotel Chain Transformed an Airport Security Area

June 10, 2014 at 9:42 AM | by | Comments (0)

Those departing Chicago on the way to their summer vacation are about to have another reason to smile, as heading through airport security at O’Hare just got a little better and little more bearable. For most the shoes still need to come off and the laptops will need to go on the belt, but the whole scene will be more enjoyable thanks to some sponsorship and decoration from the folks over at Marriott and SpringHill Suites.

We’ve seen something like this before, but we certainly can’t complain about anything that makes the airport security process that much more enjoyable. Through a partnership with the aforementioned hotel chain as well as the TSA and the airport authority things are a little bit different over at checkpoint number three within the airport’s Terminal 1.

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Yes, It's True. TSA's Old Body Scanners are Now Being Used in Prisons.

May 29, 2014 at 3:39 PM | by | Comments (0)

We saw this story break two weeks ago on the insidery Federal Times, which is a place where DC bureaucrats go for hour-by-hour updates on all the things they've broken that day. At the time we hoped the news wouldn't get wide traction, partly because it's not actually that interesting but mostly because we knew that Internet conspiracy theorists would blow it completely out of proportion (actual email sent around Jaunted HQ in case it became a thing: "Suggested hed for scanner/prisons post: TSA scanners first tested on sheeple, now used on convicted felons!").

Anyway here we are. You can now read all about how the government yanked TSA's full-body scanners out of airports and then sent for use in prisons. The story is on Slate and at TIME and posted to the LA Times or on The Blaze and screw it here's the Google News Search. As we read on one conspiracy theory forum, it all proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the government was trying to break the will of its citizenry in preparation for giving our children school lunches loaded with GMO tomatoes (give/take).

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Sin City 'Celebs' Star in New Airport Security Videos

May 21, 2014 at 9:30 AM | by | Comment (1)

You might just be smiling on your next trip out of Las Vegas, and it will have nothing to do with all the money you won — ‘cause we all know that’s unlikely. Some of the city's most well known celebrities, entertainers, and performers have teamed up to make a few cutesy little videos, as it’s all in the spirit of getting travelers through airport security quickly and efficiently.

Folks like Louie Armstrong, Carrot Top, and the Blue Man Group are all some of the featured acts, as airport officials hope that this kind of “Only in Vegas” approach will speed things up while at the same time having a little bit of fun.

Check out the video above, have yourself a chuckle, and remember not to make jokes when in the line to meet and greet the TSA—it’s not funny.

[Photo/Video: YouTube]

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The Convoluted Tale of a US Spy Plane and an FAA Ground Stop

May 6, 2014 at 6:32 PM | by | Comments (0)

When last we left off, the FAA had just gotten over imposing a ground stop on four Southern California airports - LAX, Burbank, Ontario, and John Wayne - because of unnamed "technical issues." Or maybe it was because of mysterious "computer issues." Or maybe because of "the system" that managed the airspace for a particular air traffic control center. The agency wasn't exactly being helpful or clear on why they decided to ground, delay, or divert hundreds of flights. That frustrated at least one local outlet to the point where they kind of snarked that the FAA was sending journalists to functionally useless websites.

We'll remind you that a ground stop is a big deal. It's not just that planes get frozen on the runway at whatever airport gets slapped with the stop. It's that any plane anywhere in the country bound for the ground-stopped airport also gets grounded. These things cascade very, very quickly.

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This Wasn't Exactly a Banner Week for the FAA and TSA

May 1, 2014 at 4:46 PM | by | Comments (0)

What is it about the various government agencies charged with overseeing American travel, do you think, and how they're gratingly bad at what they do? We assume there are parts of the federal government where bureaucrats get things done roughly as well (or not) as they would if they were working anywhere else. But hot damn, do the FAA and TSA screw things up occasionally.

The FAA is an agency that is - literally and metaphorically - standing in the way of the future. It's not just that it took them two years to even draft a policy on in-flight electronics, to the point where the FCC had to initiate a formal procedure to ask them what the hell was taking so long. These are people who are so incompetent that they might end up delaying futuristic private spaceflight just because, hey, they're not sure what they think about all that yet. But at least they keep the planes in the air, right?

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The Latest TSA Scandal Sweeping the Internet is Hardly a 'Scandal'

April 29, 2014 at 12:10 PM | by | Comments (0)

How is this nonsense still a story? How - after it broke more than a week ago, and was already hopelessly tired back then - are journalists still producing new copy about "outrage" and "fury"? What details remained unexplored through the first three dozen articles, such that we needed more information a week later?

If you don't troll conspiracy theory forums or have a Google Alert set up for TSA, you might not know about video documented barbarism under discussion. You'd be the only one though, since the YouTube upload has been viewed by over 200,000 people in the last 10 days. It's at the bottom of this post too. You're welcome.

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Investigation: Report on TSA Scanning Technology Was Secretly Altered

April 24, 2014 at 5:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

This story goes way beyond travel politics - it's likely to reignite a long-simmering national scandal - but there's enough travel news in it that we figured we'd put it on your radar.

For the last year Congress has been conducting a bipartisan investigation into whether a previous inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security, Charles K. Edwards, modified or delayed his investigations at the behest of administration officials. Edwards's job during his tensure, which went from 2011 to the 2013, was to keep DHS honest.

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Government Study Proves TSA Behavior Profiling is Useless, TSA Expands It Anyway

April 17, 2014 at 3:43 PM | by | Comment (1)

Last fall the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a study showing that TSA's behavior profiling program - creatively named "SPOT" - was useless. The technical language was that the project succeeded in catching bad guys at a rate only "slightly better than chance," but that's GAO code for "worthless."

Naturally people assumed that the program would be scaled back. Instead - per a Washington Times report from last week that made its way around the Internet - TSA has expanded the program to BWI. Because why should a failure, especially a failure that members of Congress blast as "an intrusion into the privacy of the flying public," prevent programs from steamrolling forward?

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Video Interlude: Cadbury is Crazy with Airport Dance Fever

April 4, 2014 at 10:15 AM | by | Comments (0)

To the 3 of you who obsessively follow our travel politics posts: apologies, but content is going to become increasingly sparse as we enter the silly season of an off-cycle election. We just can't take it. We're not sure what exact second we snapped, but the story responsible was this "TSA unions support armed guards" nonsense. We've already written extensively about the dishonest bait-and-switch that was used to install TSA unions. We've already written extensively about how TSA tries to protect ill-thought policies with hastily-thrown together band-aids. We've already written extensively about how politicians grandstand against TSA but won't give the agency the resources to do things right.

The convergence of those topics kind of short-circuited our brains. You probably don't want to read about the internal politics of labor plus safety plus electoral considerations. We certainly have no desire to write those posts. It's a shame because the story is actually really important both as a substantive matter and as an illustration of how the way we talk about aiport security is broken. And yet.

Instead, how about a video where someone tries to sell you chocolate by dancing through various parts of an airport?

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Should TSA Confiscate Things That Look Like Grenades, But Aren't?

March 18, 2014 at 11:02 AM | by | Comments (0)

It's been a week since we've had a post describing some potentially stupid TSA confiscation - the last one involved Lena Dunham and something shaped like a cat - so we're practically overdue. Meet country music promoter, PreCheck member, and perfume wearer Lois Lewis. Two Saturdays ago, she tried to get a 2 ounce bottle of Jimmy Choo perfume through security at PHX. The perfume comes in a case shaped like a grenade.

Cue "womp womp womp" music. The security lane was closed for an hour, bomb experts were called in, and so on. We've embedded a news report at the bottom.

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Hey, Who's Up for Another Round of New Taxes on Airline Tickets?

March 13, 2014 at 6:35 PM | by | Comments (0)

Last May we gave you the heads up on a particular grating travel politics story, where the Obama administration was trying to use the budget process to hike taxes on airline tickets.

The justification was that increasing how much people paid for airline tickets would increase the number of people who purchased airline tickets. The reasoning went as follows: right now, people don't purchase airline tickets because it takes too long to get through airports; new taxes could pay for more airport workers, which would decrease the amount of time it takes to get through airports; therefore, more taxes would make more people would purchase airline tickets.

We were not kind. In between words and phrases like "giggle-worthy logic" and "stupid," we pointed out that TSA had once floated the exact same theory, except they were going to raise the fees outside the normal budget process. It was shot down despite being trotted out in 2010 and 2011 and then again later in 2011, because it was moronic.

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Lena Dunham Explains Why TSA Confiscated Her Cat Keychain

March 11, 2014 at 4:06 PM | by | Comments (2)

This is a story about Lena Dunham, the TSA, and cats. The only way we could cram more Internet-friendly content into this thing is if we added some kind of Upworthy-style headline - "I Thought I Understood Airport Security; But Then I Saw This Outrageous Tape of A Celebrity Telling Her Brave Story" - but our blogging software won't let us use titles that long.

"Girls" star Lena Dunham was trying to get through airport security at LAX when she was pulled aside for what she later described to Seth Meyers as a "self-defense keychain" in the shape of a cat. Apparently it's the kind of thing where you slip your knuckles into the metal (maybe the eyes?) and then use the sharp bits (maybe the ears?) to stab another human being. The Seth Rogin Twitter feed subsequently tweeted an illustration for viewers who might have been struggling to form a mental picture.

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