Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Well, I Went Through The AIT Radiation Machine

I know, I know.  I've ranted and raved about how I wasn't going to go through this thing, the AIT device at the airport.  I was flying home from LaGuardia, and ended up in a line that was mainly AIT, randomly splitting into the metal detector when the AIT got backed up, which was often.  (These things are so freaking slow.  They are unusable alone.  Both of the last times I've flown the airports have had to open up the metal detector just to keep the line moving.)  I've been lucky up until this point in that I've been able to slip into the metal detector line.  Well, that didn't happen on April 18.

Ugh.  So, here's what happened.  I was tired after a weekend in New York.  My flight was delayed, so I was annoyed.  I had three bins of stuff -- one contained my iPad, one with my shoes and quart sized baggie, one with my coat.  I also had my Louis Vuitton bag and my carry on on the conveyor.  Five things on the conveyer.  The line for the AIT wasn't that long, maybe three people, but it was slow.  The metal detector was roped off for the moment.  I was worried about my iPad, even though I bought a flourescent pink case for it, so I could spot it if someone tried to grab it.  I was also somewhat worried about the Louis Vuitton.  All of the luggage was going through the conveyer, and got backed up.  It was all just sitting there, out in the open.  Meanwhile, I'm waiting in line way back away from it, and I couldn't even see any of my stuff, which had made its way through the conveyor.  I don't trust anyone anymore.  If someone grabbed my purse or iPad, what are they going to do?  I'm sure the answer is nothing.  And I'm screwed. 

Anyway, the last time I "opted out" and requested a pat down, I got led off to the side and I couldn't see my bags at all.  I didn't know at the time that I should demand that they be brought over to me.  It worried me that I might be taken God knows where to be patted down, and have to wait God knows how long to be patted down, and then have to deal with some moron putting her hands in the waistband of my jeans and all that with the new patdown rules, and then maybe have to get into an argument about someone bringing my bags and bins over, and possibly get into an argument over the groping.  I mean, the fact is, neither option is particularly appealing when it comes to the patdown or the radiation.  They have you trapped -- do you want to fly home or not?  I just wanted to get back to Chicago.

So, I just sucked it up and went through it.  I don't fly much anymore, so one blast of radiation won't kill me.  It's more the privacy issue that bothers me given the employees hired, but the hassle and the fear that you might say the wrong thing or get uber pissed off about the whole thing...this is how they get you. 

But, this doesn't mean I am always going to walk like a sheep through that machine in the future.  I'm not.  I will opt out in the future.  I just wasn't in the mood for a battle or a groping on that particular day.


  1. I have never even been on a plane (I know!) but I always thought it was like any governmental building where you go through the detector and place your things down on the conveyor as you enter it and it's done when you are. That is no bueno to not be able to pick your stuff up immediately!
    they really do want people to act like sheep!

  2. I really hate the backlog created by those machines. As flight crew, I don't have to go through the AIT machines. I flash my badge and they let me go through the regular metal detector without a pat down. But then there is a huge pile-up of everyone's luggage on the belt. And not even counting someone doing it deliberately, the chances of someone walking off with your stuff are great because everyone gets so flustered and the TSA is hustling everyone along.

    Part of me thinks these machines are the stupidest things ever. They don't HAVE to use these sorts of machines in other countries because the TSA-esque agencies in other countries are trained to profile potential terrorists and they are allowed to pull people from the line for additional screening. If we did that in America, people would freak out about it. I feel like there has to be a better solution.