“Ah-hah!” My mother must be saying to herself. “I knew it!”
Ever since 9/11 the rules have changed. One of them is that our luggage can no longer be locked due to the privilege of airport security to search whichever bags they feel they must. My bags are always a must I guess because every time I open them I find that scrap of white paper telling me my belonging have been searched. It’s always the bag with my underwear on top. Coincidence? My mother doesn’t think so.
Police have busted a ring of Delta baggage handlers in St. Louis, Missouri responsible for countless dollars of stolen goods. Ipods, laptops, jewelry, cologne, gameboys, medicines; if it was in your bag, then it wasn’t safe. St. Louis isn’t the only city fallen victim to the rule that our bags can’t be locked anymore. Surfing the internet there are innumerable stories about bags arriving at their destinations minus, well, a lot. Delta in Philadelphia, Continental in Las Vegas, American Airlines in Chicago, USAir in Phoenix, AlItalia in everywhere…Delta however, is a repeated offender with complaints from interestingly enough, military employees. Many of our brothers and sisters in the armed forces, who are forced to travel extensively, reported thefts from their luggage when schlepping back and forth from overseas. In every case the story is the same, between TSA and the airline carrier’s “policies” victims will not be reimbursed for the stolen goods. File a claim if you want, but don’t hold your breath.
So my mother was right. Traveling these days isn’t just about $4.00 waters that we have to buy because we’re not allowed to bring in liquids. Nor is about getting half-naked to walk through the metal detectors or racial profiling, long lines, body searches, small seats, paying for checked luggage or 15 different taxes to pay for the rude, insufferable, and robotic TSA agents who give us a hard time about a half-empty 6oz bottle of shampoo. No. It’s about stoicism. How much can we, the American people take before we just don’t travel anymore? As for me, I’ve decided check-on luggage only. I can buy all the rest at my destination. It’ll give me a good excuse to go shopping. And maybe that’s the plan. Maybe that’s how Obama figures he’ll get us out of this economic crisis; shopping to avoid checked luggage.
Postscript: most airport employees are ‘outsourced.’ In other words, the airline hires a secondary company to supply, handle, and pay the minimum-wage workers so that the airline can just requite an invoice each month and not have to deal with it. These employees are by no means heavily vetted.