I've flown to Newark far more in the past two weeks than any rational human ever should. I now know that the easiest way to induce rage in someone is to tell them bestow them with artificial status and privilege (TSA Pre-Check, airline Priority,) and then insist said flyer stand in the regular line, with the rest of us unwashed plebeian masses. Travel since 9/11 hasn’t been fun, but if you’ve felt like security lines are reaching Beckettian heights as of late, you’re not imagining things. It sucks.
The TSA is a mess, but before you passive aggressively grumble at the poor soul tasked with sending you through the body scanner for the umpteenth time - FFS people, TAKE OFF YOUR BELT ALREADY - remember they are not to blame. They’re overworked and underpaid, tasked with inconveniencing thousands of travelers while enforcing a system that often doesn’t work. Have you met me in a 5 am security line at SFO before I’ve had my coffee? I promise you, it isn’t pretty, and I’m a notorious morning person.
According to Politico Pro, the TSA has requested the shift of $62 million to help make full-time or hire new airport officers. Why? In part because TSA agents have been reassigned to security for political rallies; about 1,500 officers have been put on campaigns. Some say budget cuts are to blame. Some say the whole thing’s been busted from the start. Meanwhile, this summer is looking to be one of the busiest travel seasons on record.
All that’s to say, if you find yourself stuck in a never-ending line of grumpy travelers, children blasting video games for all to hear while ear buds dangle off their shoulders, as you’re surrounded by dramatic sighs and death glares while futilely trudging towards a flight you don’t even want to take at this point, praying for the sweet release of high-speed rail or death, don’t take it out on the TSA agent who gets to stare humanities depths in the face before going on lunch.
After all, we’re all in this together.