I was about to get on a Southwest flight from LaGuardia back to St. Louis last week when the gate agent announced, “The TSA will be doing a secondary ID check, so please take your ID out and have it ready as you board.” Great, I thought, more security theater.
This was the process every passenger had to follow: hand your boarding pass to the gate agent, who scans it to get the little “ding” that means you’re supposed to be on that flight. Then you step into the jetway, where you hand a bored TSA officer wearing latex gloves (?) your ID, which she looks at for a second before allowing you to pass. That’s it.
What did that accomplish? All this procedure did was verify that everyone boarding the plane had a driver’s license or passport. I had more scrutiny from a bouncer when I was 17 and used a fake ID to get into a bar. There was no effort to match the name on the ID with the name on the boarding pass, which had already been collected before we got to the TSA officer.
As I have so often in the past in my travels, I wondered whether anyone from the TSA ever flies like the rest of us do — no line-skipping, no badge-flashing — so they can see the nonsense they put passengers through but serves no rational purpose. I’m not a nervous flier and I don’t worry about terrorism, but I can see an utter lack of logic in what the TSA does as it creates more layers in its security facade.