Drama & Duplicity: TSA Throws Airlines Under the Plane

Aug 30, 2017 by

Drama & Duplicity: TSA Throws Airlines Under the Plane

TSA now (officially?) blaming airlines for their fake Terrorist List

There’s one thing worse than a person who tells on another person for something they did: Someone who tells on someone for something they didn’t do.

Always seeking lower ground, recently the TSA found it.

Let me explain…

In a previous post, I posited the theory that the TSA has rolled back some practices to maintain harmony with airlines. The TSA seems to revel in the public hating them, but the airlines… They may have some strategic reasons to keep peace with them.

Which is why I’m thrilled to re-inflame tensions by breaking the following news

The last two times I’ve flown, the TSA agent at the podium has said the following:

“Your airline has selected you for additional screening.”

Translation: This is the airline’s fault. Don’t hate us. We wish we didn’t have to do this.

Guess what? I’m certain the airlines have no idea the TSA does this.

(They do now. I love a good scandal.)

Not new, but very new

But wait: Astute reader may remember I already quoted the TSA as saying this in an earlier post. So what makes this “news”?

Here’s why: In the past, I’ve heard this line form the TSA maybe twice, but it was in a very specific circumstance – i.e. when I pressed them for details as to why I was on their “terrorist watch list.” Only then, did they say “Ask the airlines. They put you on the list, not us.”

So maybe a couple of conflict-averse TSA’s agents went off-script to avoid taking responsibility and a tense conversation. I only heard it twice in several years, so that’s totally possible.

What’s happening now is different

More severe. More frequent. More scripted. More official.

The last two times I’ve flown, and the only two times I’ve flown since the new TSA rules began the first of the year, I have been greeted with this line.

“Your airline has selected you for additional screening.”

The TSA has now worked airline-blaming into their script. And it’s not just buried between “follow me” and “do you have any areas of your body that are sensitive to touch.” It is now literally how they introduce themselves.

“Your airline has selected you for additional screening.”

Could it be true? Let me state the obvious…

If airlines really are the architects of the fake “selectee list”, and the TSA is being regrettably forced to comply, several facts would have to improbably coexist.

I won’t even list them all because it would be too boring, but the big one is that you’d have to get every airline to agree that freeing animals makes me a threat to US airspace. I’ve flown them all. And I’m on The List every time.

And then there’s the absurdity of a for-profit business arbitrarily compiling a list of random nuns, vegans, celebrities, and politicians who are offering the airlines money for their services, and deliberately making their experience miserable. Bad business in the short term, and the long term (lost business & an ongoing public relations nightmare, respectively).

And then there’s literally every airline agent ever who has told me dozens of times: “This is the TSA’s doing. It’s out of our hands.”

What’s the TSA thinking?

This has all the brazenness of a monkey snatching someone’s necklace through the fence at the zoo and standing around playing with it. The TSA is 50 yards from the airline desk when they tell people “Hey, blame the airlines.” It’s like, they have to get caught for this, right?

Maybe not. There are only two extremely improbable ways this could backfire:

  1. They slip up and say it to someone who works for or has close ties with an airline.
  2. Some guy on The List who runs internet businesses & has lots of free time & flies a lot & likes making fun of bullies online blasts their scandalous secret all over the whole internet and one book.

Funny how things line up to backfire in the most unlikely of ways.

Airlines: Your dignity is on the line

Here’s a list of facts you’re confronted with:

  • You’re enforcing the will of the TSA by voluntarily stamping “SSSS” on the boarding passes of tens of thousands of people.
  • There is no legal mandate compelling your compliance.
  • The List is considered a joke in the eyes of the public, which gets slowly cast on you by extension.
  • The TSA is openly averting responsibility by blaming you.

You’re getting punked so, so hard. This has to be embarrassing.

Here’s the deal: I don’t expect you to believe a convicted vegan. But the good news is you don’t have to. You have those machines that print the boarding passes. Print out one with “SSSS” and send one of your auditors through.

Then have some dignity, band together, and push back.

-Jetsetting Terrorist

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