Nov 16, 2010

Is this really the time for a family holiday in America?

Thinking of taking the kids to Disneyland, or better by far, going further into America to see its many beautiful sights, and enjoy its music and its monuments? That’s fine. But th

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Thinking of taking the kids to Disneyland, or better by far, going further into America to see its many beautiful sights, and enjoy its music and its monuments?

That’s fine. But think about the risk that your children might be touched in places and in ways by strangers that you have always told them to avoid, and done everything to protect them from as they grow up.

Or just ask yourself, do I need to go to the US so badly that actions that would amount to indecent assault in this country are accepted as a condition of travelling by air in America?

The adverse public reaction in the US in recent days to these intimate pat down searches or the alternative of being electronically strip searched by scanning machines in airport terminals is gaining in momentum with threats of boycotts by pilot unions.

This confronting cartoon (below) is all over social and general media in America today.

image001 183

So are the experiences of a traveller, John Tyner, in San Diego, who was threatened with a $10,000 dollar fine if he choose to leave the airport without flying rather than having ‘his junk touched .’

During the course of that stand off, the passenger’s mobile phone recorded the conversations (below), and the Transportation Security Administration officials engaged in this situation waved through a number of other passengers to the boarding gates unscreened.


This second You Tube (below) records TSA officials threatening him with a fine for electing to discontinue his trip and leave the airport.


In other Orwellian developments travellers have reported that at some airports a refusal to be scanned by the machines leads to a loud speaker message OPT OUT, OPT OUT, booming across the terminal concourse.

What is happening at US airports has Australian relevance. Successive Australian governments have resisted the excesses of US airport security procedures but generally endorsed the basics.

There are very good medical reasons, never mind issues of decency, for pilots, cabin crew, and terminal workers who must often cross the landside/airside division to wish to avoid the strip search scanners that generate radiation which on a highly repetitive basis could be harmful.

And there are very good reasons why anyone would object to themselves and their children being examined in the nude by machine, or manipulated by hand because of the possibility that they had loaded their ‘junk’ with explosives.

This is shaping up to be a significant confrontation between state mandated molestation and a travelling public that has reaching breaking point when it comes to the political investment in security paranoia.

The viral anti-scan or touch campaign is calling for a National Opt Out day for mass civil disobedience by American travellers on November 24, which is the day before Thanksgiving, and usually the biggest day for domestic air travel in the US.


Leave a comment

10 thoughts on “Is this really the time for a family holiday in America?

  1. harrybelbarry

    Holiday at home and take the train.

  2. Roger

    It’s a difficult one.
    If the authorities declared that 6 year olds will never be body-searched at airports, then terrorists and drug-runners would immediately start using little kids for their evil purposes. What you need is a regime/process with checks and balances to prevent anyone abusing their position of authority (eg posting naked images of travellers on YouTube).
    And the fact that someone could OBJECT to being searched (or probed) doesn’t make them guilty of anything.

  3. mrsynik

    I love the descriptive term “junk” the American’s use to describe men’s privates.

  4. Fueldrum

    Welcome to a new kind of tension…

  5. TomTom

    Roger is correct. Recall the incident a few years ago, where a man was sending his own pregnant wife and baby on board a flight out of London with a bomb in her carry-on, which was caught by El Al security. Can you imagine that?

    However, does that justify the low-tech method of sexually molesting every granny and child in every airport, every day? I don’t think so. Do you want want your young or teenage daughters touched like that by anybody, whether in private, in front of a crowd or with perverts watching via closed circuit TV in another room? Imagine what psychological damage this is doing to our children. We let them drive cars with drunks on the road, let them get on an airplane without being assaulted and molested.

  6. nonscenic

    In international flying one thing that is evident that different countries have different perceptions of what the threats are. In Australia, airport security keenly removes knitting needles from anybody attempting to take them in cabin bags but it is quite common to see knitters on US domestic flights. Frankfurt among other European airports allows knives with blades up to 6cm long. The major issue facing the TSA and other security authorities is that they are unable to implement a common set of rules globally because they pay their “operatives” peanuts and wonder why they end up with monkeys.

  7. Does anyone actually believe the TSA? - SoWal Beaches Forum

    […] Travell with Kids.. This poster comes from a nice blog post from Australia on why no one should travel to the US with kids. __________________ Freedoms will not be […]

  8. Official: No sexual feelings at Australian airports – Plane Talking

    […] scan, no fly. Simple. (Maybe). Certainly different to the inane situation in San Diego in which John Tyner, a software engineer, who refused to have ‘my junk’ touched by a TSA official, was then […]

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