TSA screening and airport security (RW74, RW76)

At the airport they randomly select people for screening even if they are TSA pre-checked, which is just infuriating! The choice is made randomly by the metal detector, meaning you cannot yell at anybody specifically and this additional layer of security theater is supposed to make us feel safer. If John is selected, he will normally ask for a pad-down instead of the radar-machine. In Israel, they are visually profiling people (see this article), because you can probably tell if the grandmother with her two children has bombs strapped to her. In America, profiling is nothing than can be institutionalized, because there is too much opportunity for discrimination and abuse. It is infuriating to put 5-year olds through increased screening just to create an environment of ruthless equality. (RW74)

Dan got his TSA pre-check in July of 2017, but he hasn't used it yet. He always opted out of the cancer-machine, but he is anyway someone who will be at the airport two hours earlier. When he was in San Francisco to attend WWDC, he bought a sweater from H&M because it was quite cold in the evening and he hadn't brought a sweater. Dan considers almost all clothing from H&M as disposable because those clothes are not actually made from fibers, but they are made purely from chemicals. At the airport they feed your stuff into a machine that will determine if there are any explosives and Dan came out positive, even when they tried again, so they had to get the supervisor and took Dan into a private room where they did an extra pad-down and checked his bags. The whole thing took like an hour! In the end they determined that Dan had bought a new sweater and had been using the shampoo in the hotel, which sometimes triggers the machine as if they were explosives. The supervisor wasn't supposed to let Dan go, but in the end, Dan was allowed to move on. At least he had something to do for an hour and the supervisor could possibly tell that Dan was fine because he was laughing in the right kind of way and was mostly amused by the whole thing. (RW74)

Listener Jonathan from Tel Aviv, Israel provided some follow-up about the topic two weeks later:
Passengers have contact with about 10 layers of security personell between arriving at the airport and stepping on the plane.
1. There is a roadblock on the entrance road to the airport with armed guards
2. On the entrance way from street level to the airport building entrance, there is an armed guard with a metal detector.
3. In the departure hall there are security cameras everywhere.
4. At the entrance to the check-in lines, an attendant will ask you where you are flying to.
5. Before check-in, there is a security check.
6. After check-in and before the metal detector, a person looks at your passport and boarding pass. Only passengers can keep going.
7. There are metal detectors for carry-ons, but no rotating cancer machine.
8. One person checks your passport and boarding pass, another one waves you through the machine
9. All flights are international and you get a QR code from the Border control.
10. A security checkpoint for scanning your QR-code
Those are the minimal layers you must pass through and they are more than in any other airport. There are patrols in any open area. None of this feels like a hassle. (RW76)

Those layers exist in America as well, but there is no coordination or no sense of it working as a system. The front of the airport has become a very congested and poorly run operation, beause they are trying to solve for truck bombers. None of the people in the building behind the counters feel empowered with their job and they don't see themselves working together in a multilayered process. The person checking your ID is trained to catch fake IDs, but the process i randomized. The people they should be looking for in Seattle are the ones with high-and-tight blond crew cuts wearing sleeveless sweatshirts and who listen to Screwdriver. There are way more white supremasist terrorists like Timothy McVeigh out here than any other group of people. Within the American system it is a problem of unity. Island rightfully feels under siege, so everyone in the country is vigilant to a certain degree. In the states we would never think with such a coordinated program and that is what's infuriating! At every level it is even more clusterfucked. Each tier of people are doing their perogative which is small in scope. The cops at the front of the airport should facilitate the smoothest possible operation, not be agents of chaos. Truck bombers will just drive up and set it off, they do not normally put their flashers on, park and walk away so any cop could come up to them and prevent a bombing. That's what makes it theatre! (RW76)

Airport Lounges (RW74)

John has friends who really like to hang in the Delta lounge and eat the free yogurt, but John is not enough of a VIP to have access to these lounges, although he should of course be much more of a VIP globally than he is! The world does not agree and says that he neither has the bare minimum to be a VIP nor is he able to pay to be a VIP. On the other hand: Every 1 out of 10 times when John hits a jukebox, one of his songs comes on. The Delta Sky Lounge doesn't seem to be worth it anyway, not even if it were free. They have some cereal and some oranges, but the room is full of people who are just sad. They are only there because it is special. It is this cultural thing we have where everybody wants to be sequestered.

Dan was in the American Airlines lounge in Dallas once, and inside there you are literally above everyone else, looking down on them. Some of their lounges have free food, some of them have restaurants, but Dan never got that sad vibe that John is talking about. When Dan had a 2,5 hour layover and the airport was crowded and noisy, he went in there, plugged everything in that he had and relaxed, which is of course the perfect circumstances why a thing like that lounge was made. John instead just wanders around, looks at some "I've been in Denver" teddy bears, plays a little Bejeweled on his phone and there go 2,5 hours! He does not need to sit in some special lounge with his laptop and work on his presentation, because he does not have a presentation. It is what you see! John is not a business person doing business. He does deeply care about getting the right airplane seat, but he doesn't care about anything else. Just throw your bag down in a corner of an empty departure hall and take a nap! He even has a pretty good built-in clock to wake him up in time, which is a really good talent to have! All of his bags are soft, pouchy, leather bags that can double as a pillow. Incidentally, they had "Away" as the sponsor for this episode and his daughter loves her Minion-styled, hardcover wheely bag.

F-104 Starfighter (RW63)

At on time in Chattanooga, Tennessee there was a privately owned F-104 Starfighter strafing the sky. They are not built to be quiet. This was peculiar, because you don't see them anymore, not even at airshows and John might not have seen one in flight before that day.

The introduction of the Boeing 747 of the lake in Seattle (RW69)

Seattle has always used this long lake to run jetboats or helicopters. When they introduced the Boeing 747 in 1989, they did it at the Seafair and flew a long low pass right in the center of the lake. Even more famously, they had their well-known test pilot Tex Johnston flying the jet and he did a barrell roll right down in the center of the lake without having told anybody he was going to do it. There were 10s of thousands of people lining the lake and no one managed to take a picture of the plane upside down. When he landed they were super-mad at him, but he told them he just sold them 1000 airplanes by doing that.

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