Orlando's theme parks can't afford for parents to decide not to fly
The Orlando theme parks go together with the airline industry like a hot day and a frozen Butterbeer. Airlines flies millions of visitors into Central Florida each year, delivering a huge percentage of the visitors to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld. As the heart of the travel business, a healthy airline industry helps ensure a healthy theme park industry.
So anything that threatens people's willingness to fly endangers the Orlando parks. That's why I'm watching closing the growing outrage over the U.S. federal government's new screening procedures for airline passengers.
My kids find it hard to believe, but not all that long ago it was possible to fly anonymously. When I was in college, I flew from Indianapolis to Orlando using my friend's father's ticket. No one checked any identification. We had paper tickets, and if you presented the ticket, you got to fly. The only time you saw anyone checking travelers' ID was in the movies when the bad German or Soviet border guard was trying to catch the hero (who, inevitably, was traveling with fake papers.)
Obviously, that's changed in today's environment. Not only do you have to show ID to get on a plane today, but under this year's new security procedures, the name on your ID must match exactly the name on your flight reservation. I can't recall ever being able to get on a plane without going through a metal detector, but for the past several years you've had to take off your shoes to be X-rayed before boarding and can't carry onto the plane more than a tiny amount of liquid from outside the secure area, either.
But that's not been enough, in the view of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. Starting last month, the TSA mandated the use of new high-resolution "backscatter" imaging machines at all major U.S. airports for randomly selected passengers. You can refuse to go through the machines (which produce what looks like a naked image of your body), but if you do, you will be subject to a new, much more invasive pat-down, which travelers and security experts have compared to the pat-downs that new prisoners are subject to when they are checked into jail.
The new pat-down procedures don't stop with an agent feeling your arms and legs, as before. They also require TSA personnel to place their hands inside your waistband and also to touch your groin area, to check for hidden contraband.
What's driving some parents over the edge is that fact that children are also subject to the new screenings. Obviously, many parents object to having to choose between a TSA agent taking what amounts to a naked picture of their child or having the agent placing his or her hands on what most kids have been taught are their "private areas" that no stranger ever is allowed to touch.
Complains are pouring in (link displays TSA scanner images that may be NSFW), and some parents have declared that they won't fly again until the new procedures are rescinded.
Airlines aren't happy with the new procedures, and pilot and flight attendants (who are also subject to the screening) are livid. They're concerned about the health effects of the cumulative doses of radiation that they'd be exposed to going through the new screening machines on a daily basis. And they're not thrilled with the alternative of being felt up by TSA personnel daily, either.
So what will happen? As I see it, travelers have three choices:
1. You can accept the new procedures, and keep flying.
2. You can reject the procedures, and stop flying.
3. You can protest the decision to take this approach toward security, and call or e-mail your elected representatives to demand that they rewrite the law to order the TSA to change its screening tactics - if not for adult passengers at least toward children. (Of course, if change doesn't happen, then you're left deciding between choices 1 and 2.)
That decision is your call, of course, but I know that they theme park industry is really hoping that their fans who live outside a reasonable driving distance of their favorite theme parks don't choose option 2. Disney, Universal and SeaWorld can't afford for the nation's parents to decide that, in order to protect their children from what would otherwise be called abuse, they won't be flying anymore. Which is why I wouldn't be surprised to the see the industry's lobbyists start contacting those elected representatives, too.
Well first of all, I think that parents are over reacting. As a parent myself, I am pleased that the airlines is taking strict steps in security so that my family and I are flying safe.
Personally, I don't think that these needle-in-a-haystack random screenings help make flights safer at all. And I find it frustrating that while our current courts seems so intent on expanding rights for corporations, they have no interest in protecting Fourth Amendment rights for individuals. (Yes, I believe that civil rights are important. I don't want to live in a police state.)
So it appears the terrorists are winning...because the government is taking away the rights of its citizens for the sake of fear. I'm all about safety and preventing a bomber on a plane, but not at the cost violating the privacy and rights of citizens. There are other ways to make planes safer than by frisking and x-raying children and harassing honest law-abiding citizens. I don't buy for a second that these searches are random and not selective. Anyone who does is naive I highly urge readers to go with option 3 and complain very loudly to your representatives. I suspect that if enough people do that, then things will change. This issue is very related to the theme park industry, but the scope of it is a whole lot bigger. I'll leave with a quote from Benjamin Franklin.
It takes too long to drive so unless you can transport us like on star track, many folks will be stuck flying… I will not forgo my 8 days every May because of a little pat down. Heck some might even enjoy it..
I too think it is being blown way out of proportion as well since how could we have stopped the "underwear bomber" at the airport (never mind the warnings, paperwork, etc). I am curious if there is another way. I mean, I too think its a little weird, but I have no idea what the alternative is.
The two new techniques are a huge invasion of privacy! I have no choice but to fly in January, but if TSA keeps using these techniques, it will definitely prevent me and my family from flying May 2011 and November 2011.
Over-reacting? You have a choice of having your children's naked bodies on an X-Ray machine, the health impact and long-term consequences of which are unknown, or having their privates groped and fondled by a TSA goon? If having you and your kids private body parts groped and scanned doesn't wake us up to the loss of our freedoms, what will? You have heard of the 4th Amendment, right? And it's not even the case that this outrage will make us safer. No, treating the entire US flying public, including nuns, old ladies in wheelchairs, and little kids, as guilty until proven innocent, does nothing to protect us from terrorists. The few, very few cases were discovered by police work, or the perps stopped by their fellow passengers. The head of security for Israel's airline says these Nude-o-scan machines are useless. What they do is interview people, especially those who fit the profile of a possible terrorist. Oh, yeah, we can't profile, can we? That would be "politically incorrect." I did so want to take my family to Disney World someday soon but I will not subject myself or them to the group of losers and perverts known as TSA. The TSA should be abolished and airport security turned over the the airlines, who have a vested interest in not having their passengers blown up. What's next, body cavity searches?
Martha you are wrong because if you choose to fly and these are the things you are agreeing to by flying.. You can choose not to fly and no one will grope you.. You can simply say no by not flying or taking alternative means to vacation…
I think it is interesting that Martha states that she wasn't overreacting, then presents a false dichotomy of having to choose between getting groped by a pervert or getting yourself subjected to things we don't know the after effects of. Perfect example of the overreaction.
But TSA's "theater" hasn't stopped a threat from occurring. And theater is exactly what it is. It gives the performance of safety.
I echo the sentiments of several other posters whose writing is much more eloquent than mine: the more our government tightens the clamps on our freedom, the greater the victory of those who seek to advance political/religious agendas through cowardly attacks on otherwise innocent victims.
BTW, this does not keep me from wanting to fly in the future!
The head of the TSA's getting called in front of Congress to testify on Wednesday. So messages to Congressional offices on Tuesday (pro or con) will have the attention of the office staff, more than would be usual for any given topic.
When you give up freedom for security you end up getting neither.
The argument that designates flying a "choice" or "privilege" is missing the point. Flying is a method of transportation, just like driving in a car, taking a train, or walking. I shouldn't have to be subject to a virtual strip search in order to get to the place I'm going just because people didn't do their job 10 years ago. Also, I bet we don't see these kinds of searches on people who are boarding private planes and jets, which are just as dangerous in the air as airliners. These searches are nothing more than a lazy reliance on technology in lieu of actually doing it the right way. They trample on people's rights for the sake of their convenience and use fear to justify it.
Has everyone forgotten how to drive? I live in the Detroit area and have been driving to Orlando since 1972. On the first trip we took we stopped at the rest area between Disney World and Orlando. Surprisingly when we left the restroom there were 5 cars parked next to each other with Michigan license plates. Now you hardly ever see out of state plates. We drive to just north of Atlanta the first day and are at Universal Studios by 11 AM the next day. Don't give me any crap about being tired. I'm sixty and I'm not.
I don't have children, so I can't comment on that aspect until I have kids... but as an adult, I have no problem as I know I have nothing to hide. I check the rules and regulations of what I can and can't bring on a flight, so I have no problem being checked. And I know that not everyone gets checked. But I'd rather be groped than to be scanned. Those scanners are too new and I know I'm in the minority, but I don't have as much problem with "personal space". But I think it's not as big of a problem for men... I can see it being a problem with women considering the way society is when the amount of male perverts there are around.
As I lack kids I wouldn't know but frankly I don't think I'd want mine subjected to that kind of thing. Besides, my kids should have to do it the same way I did. Stuck in the car, bored as hell and being yelled at every ten minutes!
I don't particularly mind security, generally if everyone forms an orderly queue, we'll all get through it. It is invasive, but if we want to fly we've not an awful lot of choice.
Wow! What a mixed bag of thoughts. All very vaiid. But I just went thru OIAs new scan. And no big deal really. It was all very professionally. My bag wnt on the belt and I walked in hands up scanned and bag in hand left for the monorail to my gate. I look at it this way I travel maybe once twice a year by plane. And your in and out in a lot less time then youd think. I agree children should not need to be body sanned ..the walk thru detector should do. But as a full grown adult. Well like they say you wanta fly. then you gotta follow there rules. And flying is not a requirement for a vacation. ROberts correct use your car. So you and the little ones only get three days at the "happiest place on earth" instead of a full week. But who knows you just may find that little gem tucked away enroute. And discover America. There are great places to visit. Some take a day some a few hours. But its a nice break. And make for a more leasurly vacation. When My son was small we would drive to Orlando from Jersey. stop and visit Williamburg, Go vist Padro at SOuth of the Boarder and he learned to enoy theses as much as his 3 days at DIsney WOrld, or one of the other major parks in Fl.
I think some people need to think about this security "issue" it's not some pervert getting kicks out of a naked photo of you or your child it's a professional doing their job to make sure thousands of people don't get killed by some terrorist nut, the scan is viewed once then deleted,its only if you don't agree to this that you get a more envasive pat down, it is not a removal of your freedom it's a way to keep you safe, the underwear bomber could have killed a plane full of people, had he been subject to one of these scans he wouldn't have even been able to bored the plane and as a few people have said..... You could always drive! I still intend to fly and these this new system actually makes me feel safer!
I understand that many people are upset by this new system but you have to understand, it's in the best interest of the populace.
Andy, the main reason Virgin flights are becoming more expensive is mainly down to the government the tax you pay on a flight is decided by them, Richard Branson is not happy about this either, the tax hike that's just come in is based on your destinations capital city,(for example it's now more expensive to fly to the Caribbean than it is to fly to LA) also the cost of fuelling the aircraft has increased over the years, given a choice Richard Branson would not increase the prices of the flights so much!
Sadly I feel these infringements of our rights and liberties are here to stay. The American people have become addicted to feel-good security measures. It isn't just the airlines. We can't be bothered to learn how to drive our cars, so we just insist the automakers load them down with three tons of airbags, "blind spot" monitors, traction and stability control, tire pressure monitors, etc. Americans love having something tangible they can point to and say "because of this I'm totally safe."
"Those who would trade liberty for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin. There's risk in life, people. You are far more likely to be killed in a car accident, eaten by sharks or stung to death by bees than blown up by terrorists in a plane. We cannot be totally secure and it's not worth trashing the 4th Amendment to do so. However, these TSA measures, according to security experts, are just "security theatre" and don't really even do anything to make us safer. If we really wanted to secure air travel, we would take a page from the Israelis. They say these machines are worthless and they profile and interview passengers directly. They haven't had a terrorist incident on planes in years, and lots of Islamic nutjobs hate Israel more than they hate us. It would nice if the TSA would act professionally while they are taking naked pictures of your teenage daughter or fondling your son's genitals but too many of them are rude and insolent. And it has been forgotten that even after 9/11, airports have the capacity if they wish, to dismiss the TSA and take over security on their own. I say let pilots carry weapons, most of them are ex-military anyway, and profile those in high risk groups (single Muslim males from Africa or the Middle East). Leave the nuns and little kids and old ladies in wheelchairs alone! When was the last time a 3 year old kid tried to blow up a plane??? And how many terrorists has the TSA caught--none!! The shoe bomber and the underwear bomber were stopped by passengers. And why do they search kids but do nothing about the ground crews and not search cargo planes? They are always responding to the LAST threat.
As Robert stated, detective work is what is needed. I feel that TSA is trained to do certain actions and not think outside the box.
These new measures, if approved, will continue to keep honest people honest. Nothing more.
I feel that scanners should be for EVERYONE on every trip, i would much prefer me or my child being scanned than flown into the side of a building... im not silly enough to think that this is enough to stop terroist acts as we see with the printer cartridges, ther is always another way.. this time it didn't work and fingers crossed it never happens again but i would prefer a scanning than be responsible for kicking up a fuss now, getting the rules changed back to not being scanned then having a plane come down because someone managed to get something on board ! every one who complains now has the power helping the terroists, giving them an easier life ! as a world we should stand up and let every check possible being done to prevent this or any other attack being able to happen,Not making it harder for the people on our side to do there JOB !
Are you looking forward to having nude pictures of you and your children
A body cavity search… hahaha – Don’t go “nuts” here Bobby… Getting a little carried away here now…
Too often, we take things for granted, and this is no different. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but flying is a privilege, not a right.
Brian Emery, I happen to have a copy of the Constitution of the United States, and I will quote you the relevant section:
Definition of privilege...
"Experts in medicine, biochemistry, and biophysics warn that one type of machine, backscatter X-ray, concentrates in the skin rather than diffusing through the body as medical radiation does; therefore, the dose you receive is shockingly high -- far higher than the government admits. Dr. Jeff Zervas, a surgeon in Montevideo, Minnesota, told me, "As far as living tissue is concerned, the less exposure to ionizing radiation, the better. Zero is best." Dr. Zervas also worried about the TSA's legendary incompetence: "What happens, for example, if some clown leaves the machine on, and a passenger's standing in the field? And who calibrates these things? I wouldn't trust a bureaucrat or anyone else without a stake in its safety to do it properly."
Where in the constitution does it say “You have the right to fly”… It’s a choice and a privilege… You have several choices in travel…. So chose not to fly… If you choose to fly, then you are subject to all federal standards and guidelines… Therefore you are choosing to be searched and maybe if randomly selected a pat down…
Yeah, but I don't need a pat down to get into my car.
Brian, you are absolutely right. Any type of public or private transit is a privilege, not a right. For instance, I see nothing wrong with asking certain passengers to ride in the back of the bus. It is not their right to ride the bus at all, so they should be glad to submit to any regulation or policy.
Amusing and fun?????? Seriously????? Did you see the video of the little 3 year old kid screaming as a TSA person touches her all over? Don't we teach our children not to let people touch their private parts? If someone touched a kid the way TSA agents do and that person didn't have a tin badge and a uniform, they'd be arrested for child molestation. And the scanner photos are child pornography by law. I for one do not want myself or my grandchild groped and touched. Even the most fervent apologists for the national security state don't say it would be "amusing and fun". And judging by the hearings in Congress and the nationwide outrage about this whole issue, a lot of people are not willing to be "we the sheeple". It's not about security, it never was, it's about control and seeing how much dignity and freedom we will give up. I think maybe the frogs might have woken up and are starting to jump out of the boiling pot. And the Constitution doesn't have to mention all our rights in detail. The 4th Amendment covers this situation well, as do the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. The government's powers are strictly enumerated and all powers not specifically delegated to it are reserved to the states, respectively, and to the people. The government does not grant us rights, we have rights, including freedom of association (travel) which are inalienable and come to us from the Creator and these rights cannot be granted by government, only defended. Nor can they legitimately be taken away. Enjoy being a serf, but as for me, I will stand free and tall and not let these bastards push me around!!!
Either let me live in freedom or die in the fight for it. I will not give up my liberty for a false sense of security. Anyone who really believes that the TSA's measures are effective at catching intelligent terrorists should click the following link:
Time to add a little humor to this discussion:
Here's what I would like to see:
I agree with Robert, this would be minimally acceptable. However, I see in the news today that Orlando Sanford International Airport is opting out of TSA for their own security measures. I would prefer that we search for terrorists, not explosive materials, which are almost impossible to find, by profiling and interviewing like they do in Israel (and people get through security there in 25 minutes or so, usually) but because of political correctness, the government does not have the balls to take up the Israeli model. The State of New Jersey has introduced a bill to halt some of the worst abuses in New Jersey airports, California is planning to prosecute any TSA personnel who violate California law, and a bill has been introduced in Congress. So this has gone viral and is not just a few libertarians making a fuss. However I found out there is an Amtrack train which goes from Lorton Virginia to central Florida which carries your car along on the train and until the government ruins train travel, I am will be taking the train on any visits to Florida. That or take 2 days to drive. Just much less hassle.
New legislation from Ron Paul has been introduced. It basically removes immunity from the TSA and their employees from being arrested or sued for violating local and state law. Very short and to the point
We stopped flying with the kids after our first WDW trip. Due to security procedure, (which I respect), my 3 year old had a book as a comfort item to transition from airport to plane, which security took to check for contraband. We told him it was a gift from Mickey for being a good boy at WDW. He could not handle having it checked, because the security staff said, "I just want to check this out." He knew it was his book, not a library book, (which gets checked out) and he lost it.
The terrorists have won. we have lost all of our freedoms. Big Brother is becoming reality. 1984 was only off by 26 years. I'll get off the soap box now.
Law enforcement can not pat you down without probable cause, but the TSA seems to think they are immune to that very protection we are afforded. I would like to see lawsuits brought against the TSA for every person subjected to the full body scan or the intrusive patdown techniques now being employed. We are all assumed being terrorists and have to be scanned or patted down to prove our innocence. Seems backwards to me. The shoe bomber and the underware bomber boarded aircraft outside the United States, correct? And bomb equipped packages were intercepted on the way from Yemen to the U.S. So why isn't the FAA and the Congress putting more pressure on foreign governments and airports to stop the threats where they have been originating? Profiling may be the best tool law enforcement has to find and limit threats, but being politically correct seems to trump common sense, and we all suffer for it.
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