Okay people. This is a story about stupidity in the relentless pursuit of better airport security.
I was reading the whole security breach misery that happened at Newark Airport which set off alarms all over the place a couple of days ago. Besides the fact that a breach like this is absolutely not unusual and easily to perpetrate, I think that Senator Lautenberg should get on a plane and check out Miami International, if he really wants a soapbox to shoot from. Here is what happened to me and my group a while back.
Flying in on an American flight from St.Maarten to Miami the following craziness was bestowed upon me and my travel partners.
In St.Maarten I had a little matchbook in my carry on which would allow me to smoke a quick one in Miami’s famous gate D34 smoker’s room- yeah yeah I know, but that’s not the point. Thought matches were allowed, just no lighters. Well one of my travel partners had a full large box of self striking matches and another one had forgotten that he had a lighter in the back pocket. No problems for them however.
The very friendly flightcrew on the flight donated a bottle of good wine to me in exchange for a good time on the island next time they were going to be down there. We planned to show them around all the hotspots. I put the bottle in my carry-on not anticipating the stupidity I was going to run into once landed in Miami. First point of entry into the US, so as a frequent traveler I am very well aware that this is where I check into the country with all my luggage, fully expecting that after custom clearing, I quickly check the luggage through for my ongoing connecting flight, make a run for the smoker’s room at Gate D34 and catch the 50 minute flight on my way home to Amelia Island. Uh no. Not in Miami.
They put you on a stupid yellow stipped walk of about a mile, to a drop off point for your luggage in an area less than 10 feet from the exit doors to the taxi stands. And guess what?:….. you have left the secured area of the airport’s flight operations and all at once find yourself in a long line of irritated travelers at a security check in, waiting to be manhandled, followed by another barefooted walk through a technological concoction that goes off if a long forgotten dime has nestled itself in the lining of your coat pocket. And by the way what is with those machine that spit air at you?
Anyway, here is the thing.
On the issue of protecting my belongings, I realize how easy it is for someone to step inside the exit doors and either put something in my luggage or make a quick getaway with it. There is absolutely no TSA around to keep an eye on something like that not happening. On the issue of travel comfort I have this suggestion: Avoid Miami International like the plague if you can. If you can’t, just travel with one carry on and take a couple of extra bucks to buy what you need. It will save you a lot of hassle.
On the issue of waste I have this observation:
Miami International handles more than 100 incoming international flights daily with an estimated capacity of what? 20,000 passengers? More I would think, but anyway, let’s assume 100 passengers per plane have connecting flights to other US destinations. An easy calculation states that Miami International’s homeland security needlessly double checks at least 10,000 passengers daily. Needless, because these passengers are forced to go from an airport secured area into an unsecured area and then have to go back into the secured areas to catch their connecting flights.
Wasted money, wasted manpower and ever increasing travel irritation.
In man hours this wastes easily a 1,000 hours daily, which translates into 125 TSA employees doing a useless 8 hour job, day after day. Money wasted. Who knows how much? I don’t know what these people get paid. A major slap for you Miami International. Get with the program, if San Juan Puerto Rico knows how to do it right, why can’t you keep international travelers in secured areas and saves us all a lot of unnecessary irritation and money.
Of course I lost my pre-screened, homeland security approved bottle of Merlot to some TSA treasure chest of confiscated goodies, but I raise my glass of vintage claret at my home to hope. Hope that one day someone up there in Washington grows brain cells and figures out that this whole airport security thing is not working. That’s my opinion, let me know what you think.
Well this was written about 2 years ago.
Apparently they still haven’t grown any brains up in Washington since.