The silliness of many airport security measures doesn’t need to be belabored, but I can’t resist noting an absurdity I encountered yesterday flying out of Milwaukee. As a traveler approaches the security screening area, there is a sign identifying “prohibited items.” The sign contains a long list of such items, but four (e.g., a pair of scissors) are singled out with large illustrations, each with a red line drawn through it. One of the four pictures was an old-fashioned caricature of a bomb–round and black with a burning fuse. I tried to picture a situation in which the fact that bombs are not permitted in carry-on luggage would be useful information. It is hard to imagine a traveler seeing that sign and thinking, “Oh my gosh! You mean I can’t bring my bomb on board?” On a more positive note, the airlines are abandoning the practice of asking whether you packed your own bags and whether anyone gave you a suspicious-looking package to carry on board. I always check in electronically; a screen pops up that asks these questions and the customer checks Yes or No. I once checked “Yes” accidentally; a screen then came up that said, in essence, that the right answer is “No” and I should go back and change my response. The check-in then proceeded smoothly. Which shows how seriously anyone ever took this bit of dialogue. So maybe things are moving in the right direction.
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