Last week, Detroit Metropolitan Airport introduced the Destination Pass, which lets people without tickets go through the TSA checkpoint to the gates. All you have to do is get one printed at a kiosk after scanning your ID.
Of course, the airport’s website encourages you to shop and dine within the terminals, because capitalism is still a thing. But it also allows visitors to meet someone who’s arriving or spend some extra time with a family member before they depart. Of if someone you know is connecting through your city and has a bit of a layover, give you a chance to sit together and catch up.
In other words, allow access to the airport like we used to have prior to 9/11/01.
I hope other airports adopt this program, although I wonder if it’ll cause more of a bottleneck at the screening checkpoint — especially since people with the Destination Pass can’t use the TSA Pre-Check or Clear queue, which means taking off shoes and belts to get through.
It would be nice if this were a prelude to reducing the amount of security theater everyone encounters at airports. For example, during our recent trip to Egypt, we took two flights within the country on EgyptAir. One was from Cairo to Aswan, the other from Luxor to Cairo. Everything went well until we got to the checkpoint in Luxor.
There, a security guy checking the carry-on bags as they went through the x-ray conveyor belt pulled mine aside. Once I got through the human-sized metal detector, he called me over and said something in Arabic. I didn’t understand him, so I shrugged. Then he mimed cutting with a pair of scissors. At first I couldn’t fathom what he was referring to, then rolled my eyes as I realized he was indicating a pair of nail scissors I keep in my bathroom bag. I’ve carried it for many years through airports all over the US and other countries, and never had anyone make a fuss about it.
But, at his direction, I opened my suitcase, dug out my bathroom bag, and pulled out the scissors, which had a blade less than a half-inch long. He indicated I had to throw them into a waste bin. I looked at him and said, “Really?” He answered in English, “Yes.” So I tossed them away, put my stuff back together and was free to head for the gate, shaking my head in disbelief the whole time.
Now here’s the kicker. We flew in business class so I could have extra legroom. That meant when we were served breakfast on the plane, guess what came with the plates and food? Stainless steel cutlery, including a knife with a serrated edge.
How is that less of a threat to safety than my stupid little scissors? Couldn’t someone who intended to cause harm use that knife — not to mention the fork — to attack someone on the plane and create an incident? Why is it that in all the oddball occurrences that take place on planes, from drunken morons yelling at flight attendants to psychos trying to open the doors in flight and everything in between, we’ve never heard of a stainless steel cutlery stabbing?
By the way, I checked, and the people in economy class were given plastic forks and knives, because apparently that’s the only section of the plane where troublemakers sit. No terrorist would ever buy a business class ticket in order to get access to such dangerous weapons.
Now I wonder if the restaurants beyond the security checkpoint in Detroit give their customers stainless steel forks and knives, too, or force you to try to cut through a piece of chicken with a plastic knife so dull it can barely spread butter.
Personally, I like to carry nail scissors so I can trim my french fries into pointy little sticks.