Editor’s Scratchpad

Thursday, January 3, 2002

‘Enhanced security’
or bad management?

It seems that much of what causes delays in airports these days is blamed on "enhanced security."

In San Francisco the other day, it took 90 minutes of standing in line in the lobby before reaching the check-in counter. The reason: Only two agents were processing a packed planeload of passengers; that went up to four agents as we approached the counter. "Enhanced security?" Humbug.

After that, going through the X-ray screening was a snap because there was no line. Even asking my wife to dump out the contents of her carry-on didn't slow things down; apparently her comb looked dangerous. Then the plane was held for 45 minutes to allow the passengers behind us to check in, clear security and clamber aboard. The captain apologized, again citing "enhanced security." Humbug.

Indeed, we are patently less secure standing in a crowded lobby where most terrorist assaults have taken place in the past. It would have been child's play for a terrorist to walk in -- there was no obstacle to getting into the lobby -- and nonchalantly drop a suitcase laden with a bomb and a five-minute fuse. He could even have sauntered away without committing suicide.

"Enhanced security?" Humbug.

--Richard Halloran

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