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Cheers - AE

Friday, 22 October 2010

One pilot gets it.

If you're my age, give or take, then you might remember when flying was fun. Even into my early teens arriving at the airport felt like the beginning of the holiday. Not any more. These days, thanks largely to a fuckwit in a cave and the spinelessness and paranoia of various governments, it doesn't feel like you're on holiday until you're finally released from the destination airport. Going to your departure airport isn't the beginning of the trip but just the beginning of all the checks and questions and scans you have to go through before they let you squeeze into a space that would make a veal calf claustrophobic. Travelling light is no answer since even with no luggage at all you're increasingly likely to be ordered to take your shoes off. I'd made the mistake of wearing hiking boots the last time this happened to me, and since then I've vowed if I've got the choice I won't fly anywhere again as long as they insist on treating me like a suspect even though in this country it can take a day or more to drive between major cities and well over a week to go from one side to the other.

But of all the insane security theatre in airports now the most window lickingly pointless is putting the bloody aircrew through it. I mean, think about it. You don't need to check to see if pilots have tucked away something they intend to use to gain access to the cockpit for a very obvious reason: it's where the airlines pay them to fucking be anyway. If one of them goes off his head and wants to kamikaze the plane I doubt there's much to stop him. So how many other people are being scanned pointlessly? Well, if the Israeli experience is any guide the answer is virtually everyone. Now one pilot has decided he's had enough of being treated as a suspect as well.
A Tennessee pilot is waiting to find out if he has lost his job because he refused to go through a full body scanner at a Memphis airport.
ExpressJet Airlines first officer Michael Roberts turned up for work on Monday but says he's tired of being manhandled by security agents and went home after deciding he didn't want to be patted down.
Roberts was chosen to go through the X-ray scanning machine at Memphis International airport before getting into the pilot seat to fly a commercial aircraft.
The Houston-based pilot walked off his job after declining to go through the security screening but has said he wants to go back to work.
The 35-year-old says he has an issue with the security procedure because he doesn't want to be 'harassed or molested without cause'.
And good for him. Now if all of us self loading freight can just follow his lead and refuse to accept our unjustified treatment as terrorist suspects by most airports then maybe, just maybe, flying anywhere might stop being the miserable and tedious experience it's become. Vote with your feet and your wallets - it's all they'll understand.
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