0651: "Bag Check"

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Nith Azra
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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby Nith Azra » Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:40 am UTC

Thinking of things you could EASILY you get away with in your carry-on:
-Garroting wire into seams of a bag.
-Stiletto blades concealed in lipstick/eyeliner.
-Ceramic blades could be concealed anywhere on your person.
-Fists/feet/knees/elbows.

I mean honestly, if you were going to hijack a plane, all you'd need to do is take a little time for planning.
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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby takatomon » Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:47 am UTC

I'm late for class so sorry in advance if someone already pointed this out.

RANDAL! Now the TSA's gonna start bitching about laptop batteries and possibly cellphone batteries too. This all translates to cramped seat, overpriced drinks, and now no more porn to help me make it thorough the whole flight without going insane. But in all seriousness, great comic.

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby Steax » Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:00 pm UTC

To be honest, dying by an airplane bomb would be a pretty pain-free way to death. Either A) The bomb is stupidly placed or lacking in damage, in which case you might start screaming and chaos reigns while this pilots try to land or B) The plane splits like a banana peel and you either die instantly in the explosion or get to experience a minute or so of weightless sensation before the it all goes dark.

Interestingly, A seems to be a lot better as a terrorist tool.

That aside, the only way we can have near safe public air travel is to have everyone (forcibly) take sedatives and be stored in personal, sealed, life-support capsules (in case someone finds a way to wake up quickly).
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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby eggsyntax » Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:21 pm UTC

My current, non-terrorist-related pet peeve: is my ipod really going to crash the plane if I leave it on? If not, why do I have to turn it off? If so, then come on, now. Are they really incapable of shielding a plane's navigation systems from a friggin ipod? If so (for the sake of argument), why the hell am I flying on those things? I hear people's phones ring sometimes during takeoff or landing. Have I repeatedly and narrowly escaped death?

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el matematico
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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby el matematico » Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:24 pm UTC

I always have that kind of conversation with the people in the bag check, it's the funniest part of passing all the airport controls.

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby Klvino » Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:25 pm UTC

Today's comic is absolute win!

Airport security isn't the only place inconsistent logic is in use.
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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby bane2571 » Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:28 pm UTC

egg, you broke my lurking spree by making a terribly good point. If my iPod is capable of interfering with the plane when I leave it on, what can a terrorist's WIFI enabled custom software PDA do?

Also, "are you carrying anything dangerous", "Weelllll, I'm told my iPod is dangerous if I leave it on during takeoff..."

So basically, I cannot take water on board because I may make a bomb (wasn't that proven impossible recently?) but taking an iPod on board is fine as long as I make sure to turn it off...what?

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby jchauncey » Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:31 pm UTC

I've always wondered about some sort of ceramic or carbon composite based knife as a highly smuggleable weapon. Surely you could make something sharp and tough and nonmetallic, and strap it to your inner thigh (but now they are rolling out those imaging systems, which might get around this loophole).


Break a cd in half and feel how sharp the edges are. It is easily one of the sharpest things besides a knife you could bring on a plane...

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby Steax » Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:38 pm UTC

You're not allowed to have your ipod on during flight? Why? I always have mine on, during cruise. (And knowing ipods, they're never completely "off".)
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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby SolkaTruesilver » Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:45 pm UTC

Ozzah wrote:...Needless to say, I didn't win the airline over, and I ended up having to put my solution in my check-in luggage, and be blind the whole trip.


Ever heard of glasses?

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby Faranya » Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:55 pm UTC

I love how people are still worried about stuff getting onto the plane, to the point where they cram hundreds of people into an enclosed space before anybody actually goes through security.

There will always be an easy target. I am more worried about my safety in the airport than in the air. (more still not being a substantial amount of worry)
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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby Satorical » Mon Oct 19, 2009 1:37 pm UTC

We wouldn't need security theater if we had more effective foreign policy.

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby cout » Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:00 pm UTC

atrain wrote:Liquids are just the flavor of the month...


If you can't take liquids into the terminal, you are more likely to buy liquids there. Follow the money.

I'm tempted to subvert the system by filling my water bottle at the water fountain, but I'm too lazy.

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby cout » Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:02 pm UTC

quadmaster wrote:Also, wouldn't it suck if someone hijacked a plane in the next few days with a laptop bomb? Do you think Randal would go to jail?


Likely all his songs would be banned on all Clearchannel Communications stations.

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby Magic Molly » Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:06 pm UTC

eggsyntax wrote:My current, non-terrorist-related pet peeve: is my ipod really going to crash the plane if I leave it on? If not, why do I have to turn it off? If so, then come on, now. Are they really incapable of shielding a plane's navigation systems from a friggin ipod? If so (for the sake of argument), why the hell am I flying on those things? I hear people's phones ring sometimes during takeoff or landing. Have I repeatedly and narrowly escaped death?



Actually, that rule isn't there so much as for radio interference (even though they say it is) so much as to make sure you're paying attention to the flight attendants in the case of a crash and not trying to store your ipod/laptop/PDA.

I don't get why they don't just say that though, and instead lead us to believe complete bullshit about radio interference.

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby jc » Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:19 pm UTC

atomfullerene wrote:I've always wondered about some sort of ceramic or carbon composite based knife as a highly smuggleable weapon. Surely you could make something sharp and tough and nonmetallic, ...


Back in the 1970s, when the US started its first airline anti-terrorist stuff, some engineering friends at school developed a cute weapon with no metallic parts. It was basically a fiberglass tube like a fat drinking straw, closed off at one end, packed with shock-sensitive explosive and a small ceramic projectile. It was a small, one-shot cannon that could be fired by whacking the closed end sharply with a fingernail. The tube would usually be damaged beyond re-use, but it worked. They made a couple dozen, and verified that they worked by firing them at various disposable targets. I don't think they ever tried taking them on a commercial flight; it was just a lab demo of what was possible.

I read an article a couple of years ago about a physician who had accidentally carried several dangerous weapons on a flight. He routinely used surgical knives that had volcanic-glass blades, which are some of the sharpest knives available. They wear out quickly, so he often carried a packet of the blades in his shirt pocket. He realized during a flight that with the tools in his pocket he could slit the throats of the entire crew, and as a surgeon, he knew how to handle them. But, of course, they passed through the security checks without being noticed.

The operative phrase here is "security theater". That's how the security folks describe the checking in places like airports. It's there to entertain and impress the public that Something Is Being Done, but as security, it's mostly a work of fiction.

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby tehol » Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:20 pm UTC

Sweet comic, very lulz worthy.

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby Thynnmas » Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:45 pm UTC

I fly a lot, and I desperately want this on a t-shirt...

Also, I'm new...So hi!

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby Angua » Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:47 pm UTC

SolkaTruesilver wrote:
Ozzah wrote:...Needless to say, I didn't win the airline over, and I ended up having to put my solution in my check-in luggage, and be blind the whole trip.


Ever heard of glasses?
I don't see how you could fly in contacts anyway, I find the air in the planes way too dry.

Also, I've never heard about having to wait two weeks before changing solution, and generally so long as you look to see whether it's for soft or hard contacts it's fine. But maybe their ophthalmologist is more paranoid than mine.

On the fact of ipods and such like, I always understood it as it causing some interference, and so if everyone was breaking the rules it would be dangerous, but I could be wrong about that.
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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby Random832 » Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:49 pm UTC

rocketrat wrote:Someone I know had two flick knives confiscated on landing at an airport. Not sure what the departure people at the airport he left from were doing.
Wait... what? Since when do you go through security checks at your destination? And what right do they have to do so, considering you're not on a plane anymore nor immediately about to be?
Raptor Jesus wrote:They can't take laptop batteries unless it becomes a huge risk or they would also have to take all batteries. And the amount of people who use laptops on planes is huge.
So is the amount of people who drink water on planes. The difference is they can't sell overpriced laptop batteries inside the secure area. Or no-one's thought of it yet.
bob k. mando wrote:It's amazing how paranoid we are about planes when our entire rail system is a sitting duck.
well, you know, it would be rather difficult to crash a freight train into the Twin Towers or the Pentagon or the White House.
There's a movie plot in there somewhere.
Razuul wrote:Ahemm seems they thought of this already.
Um... even in their bizarre universe, how exactly does it make any sense to forbid in checked baggage what is permitted in carry-on?

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:55 pm UTC

Magic Molly wrote:I don't get why they don't just say that though, and instead lead us to believe complete bullshit about radio interference.
Because it's just easier to ban every device than it is to have an Approved list. It's also easier to tell everyone to turn their shit off or they'll crash the plane as opposed to telling people to pay attention to the safety lecture. Especially frequent fliers.

In other words - people are children, and it's best to just treat them all like complete fucking idiots ahead of time and completely avoid arguments.

Random832 wrote:
Razuul wrote:Ahemm seems they thought of this already.
Um... even in their bizarre universe, how exactly does it make any sense to forbid in checked baggage what is permitted in carry-on?
Because things in a bag in the bottom of the plane can be wired to go BLAPOWIEZOWIE later? I dunno. It's the only thing that makes sense to me.
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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby Jonathan SCE » Mon Oct 19, 2009 3:14 pm UTC

jchauncey wrote:Break a cd in half and feel how sharp the edges are. It is easily one of the sharpest things besides a knife you could bring on a plane...


Hey, you stole my idea. Although all you need to do is sharpen the edge of the CD and you would have a easy to smuggle weapon, with a finger hole. Or you could make a fake CD out of metal and hide it in a CD wallet or your drive.

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby Steax » Mon Oct 19, 2009 3:24 pm UTC

You could also have your laptop turn into a giant robot equipped with missiles, machine guns and various other projectiles.

Random832 wrote:
rocketrat wrote:Someone I know had two flick knives confiscated on landing at an airport. Not sure what the departure people at the airport he left from were doing.
Wait... what? Since when do you go through security checks at your destination? And what right do they have to do so, considering you're not on a plane anymore nor immediately about to be?


Sometimes in immigration they'll do another security check on you — especially if its one of those paranoid areas which can't trust the people coming in.
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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby Taku » Mon Oct 19, 2009 3:30 pm UTC

What amazes me is that not only can you bring a laptop battery, but you can bring the cord too. I mean, come on!

My cousin almost had two pieces of wood confiscated. She had bought two decorative boomerangs and wanted to keep them in her carry-on so they didn't break in the baggage. Security felt that the two STICKS could be used to club someone. Yeah sure, boomerangs are traditionally used as weapons, but these were decorative! They were never intended to do more than sit on your shelf and look pretty. She ended up having to stick them in the checked baggage.

To keep us all safe, right?

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby flguy1980 » Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:05 pm UTC

Being unfortunate enough to live in the USA, I have seen what airports do, and IMHO, only a few post-9/11 things _actually_ helped with security:

- Changed passenger and crew attitude towards hijackers.
- Reinforced cockpit doors.
- Bomb-sniffing all luggage.
- Doors at secure-area exits to keep people from slipping through a crowd and into the exit.
- Vehicle restriction within 300' of terminal buildings. [On-and-off restriction right after 9/11]

My local airport has a vehicle height barrier at the short-term parking entrance, which would be useful against truck bombs _if there were also a barrier to keep trucks away from the passenger loading area_, which, of course, there isn't. Not to mention the wood gate arms that would allow a truck-bomber to enter long-term, snap a gate arm, and be in short-term. Another time right after 9/11, they stationed a TSA moron outside to inspect all vehicles entering short-term parking.

When we consider that the TSA's mall-security rejects are still enjoying a near-100% undercover-test failure rate, it's obvious that there's simply no interest in aircraft bombing. Everybody has a story about these idiots. Mine is when my grandmother, in a wheelchair after surgery but able to walk short distances, was told to get up and walk through the metal detector--no problem. Then grandpa was told to walk her wheelchair _around_ the metal detector and meet her on the other side. Both he and the wheelchair avoided any metal detection.

On the other hand, what do you expect when you hire mall-security rejects, give them badges, and tell them that they're not going to be held accountable for anything they do on the job?

I must admit, though, that I like two post-9/11 changes, despite their having zero security benefit.

- Boarding pass required to go through security. No more entire family going up to the gate to meet their kid, and more seats available in the secure area for actual waiting passengers. Reduce the security check to the old "bags and metal through the X-Ray and walk through the detector", and you'd have a super-speedy security checkpoint.

- Strict curbside parking enforcement. At my local airport, before 9/11, you could damn near park at the curbside for an overnight trip and not be noticed. Now, you have to be physically at the vehicle, and no waiting allowed. The benefit? Less crowding when you have to use the curbside. The only drawback: the police might be enforcing the curbside, but the waiters have moved to blocking the one-lane terminal return road, and if you want to actually use that road, you have to honk your way through.

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby Simpson » Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:17 pm UTC

Platinum01 wrote:
riddler wrote:
mystichobo wrote:I wonder If they would let you take a parachute on as hand luggage?

It's perfectly legal to carry parachute rigs (containing two parachutes) as carry-on. I've done it several times. Forget about using it if the plane goes down - there are too many factors going against you. You would simply not survive the attempt.

I guess the other passengers will try to steal it from you or hinder you from getting off without them. But it should be fine if you also carry a gun and enough ammunition with you to shoot your way to the exit.


I've flown with a skydiving rig both as carry on and in checked luggage a bunch of times. Usually when I carry it on I put it in a roll-aboard so as not to be conspicuous to other passengers. If you don't know what they are, they look pretty terrifying on an x-ray machine though. They're primarily Nylon but the contain all sorts of stainless steel rings, cable housings, links, buckles, a large spring, and in many cases an electronic box with cables coming out of it. I've gotten the full range of reactions by security from no response to "I'm going to open your bag and have a look inside, okay?" in which case I asked for a supervisor and explained what it was. They agreed to just swab it for explosive residue.

My favorite reaction ever from an x-ray screener was in SEATAC when my rig passed through and she asks, "What's all this metal inside your bag?" to which I replied, "it's a sport parachute rig." and she nodded slowly and let me pass through. As I picked up my bag, put my shoes back on, and walked away I thought to myself, "you know... that conversation shouldn't really have ended there."

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby Makin » Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:22 pm UTC

wtf, i was thinking about this this morning, get out of my head >_>

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby neoliminal » Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:36 pm UTC

philsov wrote:Clerk: "Do you have anything that might be considered a weapon in your bags?"
Me: (electric shaver, some string, glass bottle... ) "No sir. Not at all."


This is why MacGyver is never allowed to fly.
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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby HippieJohn » Mon Oct 19, 2009 4:44 pm UTC

First time I flew with a large external drive I was wondering what the TSA would think. I did get a notice of baggage inspection when I looked into my bag later. I wondered even more when I decided to take it in my carry-on

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby firinne » Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:00 pm UTC

...I wish there were some way I could link this to whoever's in charge.

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby scotty2haughty » Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:13 pm UTC

Someursault wrote:
bob k. mando wrote:It's amazing how paranoid we are about planes when our entire rail system is a sitting duck.

well, you know, it would be rather difficult to crash a freight train into the Twin Towers or the Pentagon or the White House.


Difficult, but not impossible! Obviously, it would have to be an inside job.



"Well Mr. President, now you can take a train right to the oval office..."


...the inside man's response to the President's questioning of why train tracks run through the White House.
/s/

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby Random832 » Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:23 pm UTC

Steax wrote:Sometimes in immigration they'll do another security check on you — especially if its one of those paranoid areas which can't trust the people coming in.


I guess I assumed "US citizen flying within the US" by default.

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby ianf » Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:30 pm UTC

quadmaster wrote:The thing is, making the public feel safer is Homeland Security's job. All the show is just to dissuade the majority of potential terrorists, because the people who are good at it are going to succeed anyways.


Actually it's their job to make the public feel *less* safe, so they can push through new legislation on that basis.

I met one of my friends at a conference where he had flown and I'd taken the train. They had confiscated his shaving cream but left him with his razor and spare blades. He thought their priorities were wrong!

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby Ridcully » Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:32 pm UTC

Haha, great strip.
It's all about presentation, the airports want the people to feel safe. The security needed to actually insure safety is almost impractical, so they do the next best thing and pretend to be doing a good job. A couple reporters actually smuggled guns on board an airplane.
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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby diotimajsh » Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:33 pm UTC

Magic Molly wrote:
eggsyntax wrote:...[phones, etc.]...?


Actually, that rule isn't there so much as for radio interference (even though they say it is) so much as to make sure you're paying attention to the flight attendants in the case of a crash and not trying to store your ipod/laptop/PDA.

I don't get why they don't just say that though, and instead lead us to believe complete bullshit about radio interference.
That's at once hilarious and depressing. And it makes so much sense that I marvel at my not having thought of it before.

On a related note, this:
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Blog type thing

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby fanas » Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:35 pm UTC

Seriously, I can't believe there can be something as insane in this world as there obviously is. I would probably get arrested, I wouldn't be able to resist urge to argue with the guards. USA is losing it, and you better do something about it.

hemflit
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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby hemflit » Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:03 pm UTC

Just last Wednesday I got a stern talking-to over a 4cm pocket knife/nail clipper (that had probably been in my carry-on for the last dozen flights). They did let me keep it, with a warning. Then, once airborn, the crew offered me a catalogue of things to buy, including a set of those big wacky zingy razor-sharp oriental kitchen knives that look like tools for a James Bond villain's sidekick.


I understand to some degree these ridiculous policies, though I don't condone. They want to at least make it non-trivial for tairists or just plain crazies to bring weapons on board. And with that many security workers everywhere, it's impossible to school them into applying anything other than very clear, very easy to evaluate rules. Like, you can teach three people to cook, but you can't reliably teach the million of McDonald's employees to do anything more complex than follow a strict, mindless algorithm.


Part of the thing that pisses me off, though, is the "no jokes" attitude. I can see that without anything like that in place, one in every thousand passengers would be the kind of jerk who wants to make an elaborate and very convincing joke intentionally to provoke the security, hold up the queue for everyone, and then whine how his liberties are being endangered when he gets tackled, pinned down and handcuffed.

BUT. With this shit in place as it is, I get this impression that too many of the security people get high on an authority trip. "Doncha let'em act smart with you boy! You can kick them out of the airport for any reason at all, you're the boss there, and make sure they know it! See who'll have the last laugh!" Why the fuck should a reasonable, law-abiding traveller have to constantly worry about how to act and what to say around those bogeymen?


Edited to add:
Fanas, I don't know where you live or how much and what you fly - this is the common state of commercial passenger flight worldwide. The only difference in the US is that they insist more on taking your shoes off, and they make more of those (pseudo?)random extra checks. Nowhere in the world will you get a bottle of water onboard.

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby Technical Ben » Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:23 pm UTC

Valisk wrote:I still cant believe they let people carry pencils on a plane.

Tiny spears!

Or Diminutive Arrows.

With a sufficiently stout paper clip, braided rubber bands, and a pencil case, and some tape i made a quite serviceable crossbow.

This was in middleschool..

Some how through a miracle of scheduling i managed to have 3 study halls in a row.


I'd pay to see/for that cross bow. Any instructions?!
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atomfullerene
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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby atomfullerene » Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:37 pm UTC

I know everyone says these checks are to make people feel more safe, but honestly I've never discussed it with anyone who didnt find them stupid and annoying. I'm not really convinced anyone feels safer. I figure its more of a CYA which helps no one but the politician who can't be accused of doing nothing for security if another attack happens (regardless of if the security would actually help)

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Re: "Bag Check" Discussion

Postby xtifr » Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:39 pm UTC

hemflit wrote: Nowhere in the world will you get a bottle of water onboard.

Yes, they figured out that liquids can be explosives. Once they figure out that solids and gases can also be explosives, the only thing you'll be allowed to carry onto a plane will be plasmas, neutronium, and maybe a black hole. :D
cout wrote:If you can't take liquids into the terminal, you are more likely to buy liquids there. Follow the money.

I try not to be too paranoid, but I have been unable to find a more plausible argument.
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