Sunday, March 01, 2009

Adventures with Air Travel and Big Brother.

I recently came into possession of a book by Steve Alten entitled "The Shell Game". It's a book that details, in no particular order, the impending oil crisis, Neocon plots to steal elections, faked terror strikes on American soil, global warming, and the excesses of the government under the USA PATRIOT act.

It is, of course, a work of fiction. But it's also just about the user's manual for every questionable crazy cook conspiracy theorist out there.

As I continued to read, I became thoroughly convinced that Mr. Alten was six kinds of crazy in hearts and spades.

However, recently I've re-thought my feelings.

Because I have traveled on a domestic flight.

Let me detail what happens with modern air travel:

First, you must check in. The size varies by airline, but generally if you are carrying any bags larger than 24 X 14 X 10, you must check them. Again, depending on the airline, you may pay up to $25 extra for checking the bag.

Second, you must then endure the security checkpoint. Please remove your shoes. Empty your pockets. Your carry-on baggage is subject to search, including childrens' backpacks and womens' purses. You have no choice in this matter. Turn on your laptop. Open your wallet. Do not object or resist. We know where you live. We know where your family lives.

Third, if you manage to make it past security (no liquids, sharp objects, medals of honor allowed) you may board the plane. Please not that this is far easier said than done. You see, most domestic carriers opt for the smaller, more fuel-efficient (if such a thing can be said about a commercial jetliner) planes to carry passengers, and they book their flights as full as possible.

They have also made the seats smaller. MUCH smaller. Legroom? Ha! I checked. There was not enough room to fit the aforementioned hardcover Steve Alten novel between the front of my seat and the back of the seat in front of me.

They have also stopped serving free non-alcoholic drinks. My father paid $3.00 for a 12 ounce can of cranberry juice. I didn't even ask how much alcohol cost, or if it was even available.

Then, we, the very definition of a captive audience, were subjected to a commercial announcement for the Airline's credit card.

Please notice that I have not mentioned the specific Airline in question. I don't want to be sued, or renditioned.

It would seem that everyone EXCEPT the air travel industry has realized that nothing like September 11th will ever happen again. After all, the cockpit doors are now sealed at all times. The only way a plane will ever be flown into a skyscraper again is if the pilot or pilots are in on the plot from the beginning.

And if that is the case, no amount of security will stop it.

The only reason for the increased security any more is to keep us like the cowed sheep we seem to have become.

Big Brother is watching.

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