Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What about top level frequent fliers?

I am irked this morning.. With all of the controversy over TSA's invasive Nude-O-Scope scanners and humiliating groping pat down searches there has been a tremendous outcry from the public. From the reports I have read it appears to not be so much from the general public but from those of us who keep the airlines in business anyway, their very frequent travelers. So imagine my "suprise" this morning when I read that not only had pilots been exempted from the scanners but now due to out cry flight attendants too.

Don't get me wrong, I think the Nude-O-Scope scanners are bad for everyone, from concerns over radiation to the invasion of privacy to the fact that they take longer to process a passenger than normal. However, as a frequent traveler whom, like many of us, has also been part of Registered Traveler programs, been through extensive background investigations by the government and passes through security checkpoints without alarming time after time after time (without a grey bin no less, but that is a different post) why are we still subjected to this humiliation and inconvenience?

We are loyal travelers who keep the airlines running with our business, we are more vigilant than the casual traveler because we keep up with the pulse of what is going on with travel, security threats and the world in general more and we have been vetted many many times over the years. Where is our mechanism, our program to show that we can be a valuable part of the security process instead of being penalized by it?

I know some people will read this and say I am against security. Far from it, I want to be safe on flights, but I do not think the TSA and DHS is going about it the proper way. I think DHS & TSA should be working with the legions of us who fly and achieve top level statuses with the airlines to help them make flying more secure. When Richard Reid was stopped from igniting a shoe bomb who was it the stoppd him? A frequent flier. When Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to set off his underwear bomb who was it that noticed and helped stop him? A frequent flier.

Top level frequent fliers should be engaged to help maintain vigilance in the airports and on planes. We should also be afforded the benefit of being able to bypass the ridiculous "special" screenings that TSA comes up with unless we happen mess up and alarm going through the metal detector (which I can say will not happen very often).

If pilots, flight attendants and government officials can be exempted the top level frequent fliers need to stand up and band together and say enough is enough. We are loyal, vigilant and vetted travelers who can be an important part of the security mix.

Just my 2 cents..