I didn’t think it was possible. But it could be happening. I have had some small enjoyment through the years poking fun at TSA over some of their airport security procedures. And although I have noted recently that they seemed to be getting noticeably friendlier, the basic hernia checking procedure has remained largely the same. Until today.
For several months I have heard friends happily cackling about “Pre-Chek”, the expedited screening program for qualified frequent travelers. Because I am a diehard Southwest Airlines aficionado, and they are not set up for Pre-Chek, I have never qualified for the program. Consequently after conferences I watch my friends prance down the “special person” aisle to be whisked through screening, whilst I prepare to drop trou, bend over a steel table, turn my head and cough. It’s never really bothered me because, frankly, I am flying Southwest and they are flying some other guy. Their colonoscopies are waiting for them on the plane.
Wednesday morning I arrived at Tampa International to board a flight ultimately bound for Boise, ID, where I am presenting at the Idaho Industrial Commission Annual Workers’ Compensation Seminar. I immediately noticed a change after I entered the Fly By Priority Lane (the hoity-toity playground of the “A List Preferred”), where I was directed to a different area. An agent first admired my new Smart Watch, an early birthday gift from my wife, then swabbed my hands. This was presumably to confirm I had not been handling a bomb, or just to make sure my hand washing practices were up to snuff. They checked my ID, and told me to leave everything including my laptop in my bag.
They also told me to pull my pants back up. In retrospect that part was embarrassing. I just really prepare for security.
After making sure my pockets were empty, I was allowed to stroll through a metal detector fully clothed – shoes, belt, the whole deal. And I was done. Fast and simple. I was ecstatic. Caught up in the euphoria of the moment, I asked a female TSA agent who had seen me through if she would marry me. She politely declined, suggesting I fill out a comment card instead. I dutifully complied. It was a better solution, as my existing wife would likely require an explanation, and you really just had to be there.
I don’t know what the TSA calls this new expedited process, but it is a winner. I am writing this article and posting it during my flight specifically as a clarion call of support for this procedure. PLEASE KEEP IT. And please let me use it every time I fly.
I’ll leave my pants on. I promise.