I'm not a frequent flier, and I usually purchase domestic tickets in the US at the last minute, except for vacations, so my observations probably aren't reflective of typical conditions, but . . . my experience last week on the short one-hour flight from O'Hare to Pittsburgh (and return flight) left me feeling sad, angry, amused and depressed about flying. Sad because, for example, I saw a couple of instances of the proverbial "little old lady" subjected to the search routine, including the shoes-off business.
Angry because the US government is throwing billions of dollars at a problem that requires something more than the shotgun approach of the TSA. Also angry because it feels so reactionary - one guy tries to blow up a plane with explosives in his shoes, so we all have to take off our shoes? Or anyone who buys a ticket at the last minute has to go through two additional layers of screening?
Amused because the TSA officer screening carry-on luggage at ORD didn't know if stainless steel sewing scissors were banned from carry-ons. Really. Also amused because the entire security screening procedure has a Kafkaesque or absurd feel: For example, there were about 6 people working at the CTX machine at Pittsburgh, and they treated each piece of luggage as if it carried diamonds, and at the end one worker ran over with my bag and shouted "Moore OK", and another worker carefully wrote down all relevant information before handing me my ticket, although since he was hard of hearing the first worker had to shout "Moore OK" three times. I wonder when they are going to just start going through the motions?
And finally depressed, because this isn't the way flying used to be, and so I am driving more and flying less, especially on all driving trips under 5 hours.