Remember the story about how rich people were hiring disabled people to accompany them in Disneyland, so that they could skip the lines for the popular rides? Remember how it turned out that there was an official service to let rich people skip the lines at Disneyland?
Does it make you feel angry when some entitled 1%er gets to cut in front like that, just because they have money to burn? Well, that’s how I feel about Clear, TSA Pre and the like — except even more so.
The last time I flew — around Christmas — I ended up waiting in line for 45 minutes to get to the security gate. Meanwhile, I could see that there was an entire empty-but-staffed security gate reserved just for the wankers with Clear/Pre cards. Every 5 minutes or so, some lone entitled tosser would cruise up to the empty security gate. The TSA staff would quickly do the standard security checks, wave the traveler through, then go back to twiddling their thumbs and looking bored.
So the TSA was deliberately processing the rest of us more slowly than they had to. They had the staff to speed things up, but they didn’t, because they actively decided to make our experience as shitty as possible, in the hope that we’ll be driven to sign up for one of their profit-making pre-check programs.
There’s no security benefit to these programs. The 9/11 bombers all had valid ID, and Osama bin Laden could easily have bought them Clear memberships if the program had been around at the time.
No, this is about two things: making money, and getting you to hand over more documentation about yourself than you would otherwise be required to. It’s a cynical and calculated move by the TSA, and every time I see it in action it fills me with rage. But as long as there are self-important people with lots of money, it’ll stay.
So if you walk into that Clear line, you are a wanker and I hate you. And so, I suspect, do many of your fellow travelers. Bear that in mind before signing up.
And obviously, I hate that the TSA are deliberately making our travel more unpleasant than it needs to be, just so it can offer an ‘enhanced’ service to the wealthy.
TSA line photo by Josh Hallett. Disney line photo by Emily Burnett