I didn’t get groped!

Now that I have my official government TSA “precheck” status, so I can enter that number when I make reservations and it’s printed on my boarding pass, so I’m no longer a pleb. And although I’ve been groped before with precheck status, this time I went through the entire security line in less than two minutes, from showing my boarding pass to picking up my scanned luggage. I even wore my belt, my cowboy boots (which have a metal shank), and my wallet through the scanner, and yet nobody touched my buttocks.

If you’re a U.S. citizen, I recommend that you get TSA Precheck ($85 for five years), or, better yet, Global Entry, which costs only a tad more but includes Precheck as well as immigration goodies.  I hesitated to recommend it, though, for as people cotton on to this status, it will make the sparse security lines even more crowded.

Here is a selfie from the airport mirror to celebrate my unsullied nether parts:



  1. merilee
    Posted June 17, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    You’re lookin’ awful skinny there, Jerry;-)

  2. darrelle
    Posted June 17, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Getting a little big-headed aren’t you?

  3. Posted June 17, 2016 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Where’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade when you need it? 🙂

  4. Petrushka
    Posted June 17, 2016 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    I’ve read that Ted Kennedy was on the No Fly list, and with all his clout, could not get off.

  5. Posted June 17, 2016 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Yep, I just traveled from Ecuador to Milwaukee and back again without once waiting in line, without taking my laptop out of my backpack, without taking off my shoes, and with no screening except a metal detector that let my belt buckle through 50% of the time. And actually being treated very nicely. I don’t know what I did to earn precheck status, since I never paid or applied, but it was printed on my ticket and I did not complain…

  6. Posted June 17, 2016 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    I’m sure you have your LA meals thought out but I strongly recommend “Shamshiri” in Westwood- incredible Persian food. As an appetizer, “kashk-e-bamedhjan”, a warm eggplant dip, is simply amazing. Also be sure to get the rice with orange peel and pistachio (can’t recall the name). I’m moving out of LA next week and that restaurant is one of the primary things I will miss.

  7. DrBrydon
    Posted June 17, 2016 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I read in the last few weeks, relating to the huge TSA delays, that the Agency had expected many more people to sign up for Pre-Check that actually have. Even if the number increases, at two minutes per person, the throughput is high enough to still make it better than regular. Also, since they do less, it would be easier to open more Pre-Check lines than regular security lines.

    • eric
      Posted June 17, 2016 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Yes, as you somewhat allude to, TSA’s plan is to increase the ratio of PreCheck lanes to regular lanes as more people sign up, so that (at least in principle) the security checkpoint throughput never goes down, it only increases. Sort of like toll stations and EZ Pass on the East Coast; the more people get it, the more lanes they allocate to the system.

      That’s also the answer to Jerry’s comment I hesitated to recommend it, though, for as people cotton on to this status, it will make the sparse security lines even more crowded. Don’t hesitate, statistically speaking it shouldn’t create crowding (though there will always be outlier events and locations).

  8. Posted June 17, 2016 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Isn’t there a sort of “Red Queen” problem in paying to get expedited service somewhere?

  9. sabre422
    Posted June 17, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Since 9/11 I have averaged more than 100 k miles in a dozen of those years. I have air miles coming out my butt. I have been through all of your trials and more. However, I have not been groped in more than 10 years. Yet some business associates who I travel with seem to get “the business” as much as you. Your photo offers a possible explanation. I travel with a very nice custom soft leather (fairly large) carry on dufflebag and a matching leather briefcase… very tasteful!! The associates who I often have to wait for and watch getting groped, having gotten speedily through security, almost always have backpacks, and wear drab tee’s like you are in the photo. Could it be the damn backpack. Do you wear hoodies too?? Watch out!!

    • Newish Gnu
      Posted June 17, 2016 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      I have a nephew who makes this same argument. Not just for security but for generally getting treated better by anyone and everyone in the travel industry.

      He wears a sports coat, carries a nice leather satchel, etc. It is his perception that it works compared to his 20-something, white, male peers who are more slovenly (casual?).

    • Posted June 18, 2016 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      “Drab tees”? Jebus! that’s a nice light-blue polo shirt. If you’ve read my posts, you’ll see I get groped because almost inviariably a yellow “warning” patch appears on my scan from the see-you-naked machine.

      And no, I don’t wear hoodies. You could be a bit more civil with your comments on my dress.

  10. Michael Day
    Posted June 17, 2016 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    As a US Federal Gov’t employee, I have an “Official” United States passport that I use when I’m traveling internationally for work. Every now-and-then, that red passport gets me shuttled into a “diplomat” line at certain airports, which has resulted in smooth sailing. I’ve never tested whether that affords me diplomatic immunity, however.

  11. Posted June 17, 2016 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Obviously, TSA folks don’t consider real expensive Texas leather cowboy boots as upscale enough. Good lookin’ boots there, pard.
    No comment on the bootocks.

  12. longsmith
    Posted June 17, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    You should see what my husband has to endure with two replacement knees. “Oh, yes, officer, that scar is hiding a bomb.”

  13. William Bill Fish
    Posted June 17, 2016 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    What no groping? What’s the point?

  14. Diana MacPherson
    Posted June 17, 2016 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Canadians can enroll in TSA pre check. I think you have to be part of Nexus though.

    • Posted June 18, 2016 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      Also if you’re a permanent resident.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted June 18, 2016 at 8:31 am | Permalink

        I never liked the Nexus thing – thought it was too invasive – but Canada and the US share practically all intelligence about their citizens anyway so I might just sign up for the next time I travel so I can get the pre-check thing too. Even the Nexus lines are practically empty so it would be faster. Last I saw, they used retinal scanning so quick.

  15. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted June 17, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m not enrolled in Precheck and am ambivalent about doing so for a couple of reasons.

    First, as a matter of principle, I don’t like the idea of government tracking the movements of law-abiding citizens, and while I’m sure they do it anyway, I’m reluctant to give them my permission to do it.

    Second, as a practical matter, I wonder what sort of legal distinctions will hinge on this down the road. Will courts decide that by enrolling in Precheck, you’ve voluntarily forfeited some of your privacy rights? Will your personal travel plans, paid for out of your own pocket, become fodder for FOIA fishing expeditions by nosy journalists? I don’t know if this has been tested but it seems likely it will be, and it’s not at all obvious the answer will be one we’ll like.

    On the other hand, I’d love to know if Wayne LaPierre is enrolled.

    • Adam M.
      Posted June 17, 2016 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

      I think there are more reasons not to enroll. Programs like this tend to be slippery slopes, where at first there’s a benefit to enrolling, and then after enough people have enrolled, they start penalizing those who haven’t.

      It’s like “loyalty” cards at stores, where first you get a discount for enrolling, but eventually prices rise to the point where those with the cards pay about as much as before, but those without are penalized by higher prices.

      It’s even more like insurance company plans where they offer to reduce your payments if you let them track your movements, eating habits, etc. Sure, it’s voluntary now, but I imagine soon there’ll be a penalty for not letting them track you…

  16. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted June 17, 2016 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    I don’t like the idea of government tracking the movements of law-abiding citizens, and while I’m sure they do it anyway, I’m reluctant to give them my permission to do it.

    Unrestricted travel may be a right, but unrestricted air travel? Different thing.
    Do you have the right to drive anywhere you want without carrying insurance as mandated by the government (whichever level)? And a driving license. I think you’ll find that the question of whether or not the government can regulate travel plans was settled – probably with the introduction of the driving test. Unrestricted, unmonitored travel is likely still available on horseback. I’m not at all sure about whether you can travel by train without monitoring. If you can, that won’t last beyond the first moderately successful attack on a train station (the USA Govt. may already count the Madrid 2004 station bombings as such).

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted June 17, 2016 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

      A driving license requires me to demonstrate my qualifications to drive. It doesn’t require me to disclose my itinerary every time I get behind the wheel.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted June 17, 2016 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

        And with the spread of ANPR and the ability of the US “security services” to obtain tracking data without … what’s the phrase … “prior cause”? Well, you’re probably being tracked already.
        The wife discovered the prevalence of ANPR a couple of months ago when she stopped at a motorway service station (ummmm, “freeway mall”?? in EN_US?) and had a couple of hours sleep during a long drive. ANPR clocked her on drive in and drive out – 15 minutes over the 3 hour limit. £60 charge.
        It’s only logical to expect the “security services” to have access to this information. With that and phoning the DVLA (Driver & Vehicle Licensing Authority) whenever you hire a car these days … you’re being watched.

        • Gregory Kusnick
          Posted June 18, 2016 at 12:04 am | Permalink

          As I said, I’m sure they do. But if they’re doing it anyway, whether I consent or not, then I choose to withhold my consent, even at the cost of taking off my shoes.

  17. Posted June 19, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    My wife and I did the Global Entry pass so we could avoid the long lines that plague many airports. I am sure that the US government already had access to the information I provided on the form. They don’t ask for anything extraordinary and I’ve submitted to background checks before when applying for work. It’s difficult to imagine the lifestyle we’d have to live to avoid having our personal information in a government database. I don’t want to go off the grid and move to an undisclosed location in Montana, so I’ll deal with this reality.

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