ACLU Plans Lawsuit Over Welfare Drug Test...

Discussion in 'Civil Rights & Privacy' started by FetePerfection, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Enlightening. And discouraging. If we can't even get the airline employees -- who used to have to go through all this sh*t, too -- on our side, what can we hope for?
  2. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    I'm with you!!

    I do stuff like that too. I'll poke where I can poke. One of the not nicer things I have enjoyed in the past is traveling with my old mac laptop. I have two stickers on it - one says 'got satan?' (in that font) and the other says 'satan inside', done with the same graphic as the 'intel inside' stickers. No, I'm not a satanist, but I do have a warped sense of humor.

    It's hilarious to take that laptop through security; the effect is even better if I'm doing the jacket and camisole thing. The TSA screeners want so badly to say something to me, but nine times out of ten they don't. One TSA screener looked at my laptop and was visibly distressed. Eventually she said, 'I have jesus inside'. I almost felt bad about that one. Almost.
    barbell likes this.
  3. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    No apologies necessary. That is exactly what is done. Data can be dug down to the individual ticket and analyzed, by segment.

    The analysis, the data dumps, everything is so complex it's all just a bunch of data sitting around waiting for someone to pull and do something with it.

    The problem, today, is two-fold:

    1. Someone has to want to do it
    2. Traffic is down systemwide and can't be pinned on a single date/occurrence/route
    Now, what would be interesting would be to look at a route between 2 particularly bad TSA points, say between RDU and PHX where the TSA is especially nasty on both ends and loves, loves, loves the NoS using it as primary for practically every.single.traveler. The problem here is that RDU is a rather large PtP for a couple of carriers, and PHX is a hub for 2. The data is skewed before you even look at it. Also, because TSA is consistently inconsistent, a booking trend may not develop.

    All of that said, what's important in our discussion here is the forecast. The best data is historical bookings because it looks at segments booked v. segments flown v. refunds, invols, the whole gamut. Forecasting is tricky because it requires a "feel" for the data. The current "feel" is bad economy+weak dollar+cheaper to drive+TSA. They will look at the confluence of factors and most likely throw out TSA because a) it's a wild card and b) for a variety of reasons you can't blame TSA, one of which is retaliation in your hubs. So they'll say bookings are down and blame the economy, then say revenue is down and blame low bookings and high fuel. Watch for that in January's conference calls.
  4. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    I tried to push a very, very good friend to push a few thoughts up the chain. This is what I got:

    • I wish I could go through it so I could make funny faces at the person viewing it.
    • I've lost a lot of weight recently and it would be nice for someone to see my smaller body.
    • Once they see our airline badge they won't let us go through them, even though some of us ask to.
    It's all a big joke to some people. This from someone who rails at all of the other government intrusion. When I jokingly said (because it is a reliable way to get her riled up) "You know, the only reason these things are everywhere now is because Obama demanded it, AND he used TARP funds to do it," the response was, "Well, you voted for him." :confused:

    I just had to stop at that point.
  5. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    And another thought, the recent CNN Money article, is that TSA has cost the airlines about $1 billion in revenue a year, or something like that. In all honesty, that sounds like a big number, but it isn't.

    And now that I reread that quote, I think it may be saying $1.1 billion since 9/11, not necessarily per year.

    To put it into perspective, DL lost $3 billion in one quarter prior to entering bankruptcy. Compare that to $1 billion over an entire industry over the course of a year, it's literally peanuts.
  6. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    Hey barbell - how much of this data is public and can we get to it (legally) and do an analysis that teases out the TSA effects? There's some brain power and experience on this site -- maybe we (as TUG) can produce a paper on it.

    If we can produce such a paper, I'm sure we can get a lot of attention called to it and maybe it will help make a difference.
  7. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Except that much of it comes out of their profit margins -- your last $1B is much more important to your P & L than your first $1B.
  8. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    None of it.

    Not that I'm aware of.

    We could probably tease out some numbers using our knowledge and make some cases.

    Off the top of my head we could take current corporate earnings for each US airline, compare them to last year's, then do a very high level market fare comparison in certain O/D markets that are notorious, say BWI, EWR, PHX, ORD, and LAX. There's a story there, we'd just have to figure out how to tell it. I think the best story may be comparing 4Q '11 to 4Q '10 and 1Q '11 to 1Q '10, because that, in theory, would be mostly FF road warrior traffic. We'd be pulling data from each individual airline as well as DoT data.

    What we can't do is drill into market-specific data for each airline, which would be the best data, but we may be able to make high-level arguments. This is something we should definitely revisit early next February after 4Q data is published at the end of January, usually around the 20th...
  9. N965VJ

    N965VJ Original Member

    Creating classes of people that are exempt from the more intrusive screening is a great way divide and conquer, just like Pistole dangling out the carrot of the Trusted Traveler program (which I predict a lot of people will become severely disappointed when they find out they are still selected for a 'Scope 'N Grope).

    The issue of exempting airline employees from having to transit the checkpoint is a weird thing. After the PSA 1771 incident in 1987, all crew members had to go through security. Well, except at all the airports where they didn't and still don't. And it was a ground employee employee that caused the crash, and ground employees still regularly bypass the checkpoint at airports all over the country for administrative convenience. So in reality, what has changed to keep this from happening again? I guess we're just lucky we don't have more airline employees that decide to go funny in the head.

    When we have incidents like the gate agent in PHL that bypassed security with a firearm that he passed off to his roommate before boarding a flight (which was spotted by an alert passenger, not one of the Behavior Detection voodoo practitioners), it's "Whoops, sorry 'bout that!" and policy does not change. It was the same case for the DL flight attendant that bypassed security with a firearm in ATL. She didn't get caught until the next day while transiting the checkpoint in IND (golf clap for the eagle-eyed screened working the x-ray that morning).
    myadvice likes this.
  10. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    Well, not to disagree because these are all great points, and true, but what we have is not necessarily a change in policy: airline employees that can actually do damage still routinely circumvent screening. The airline employees I know are management employees. Even though they get the same background check and scrutiny that crew, rampers, and gate/ticket agents get, they go through screening.

    Now, if you're like me, and you're smart, you make friends with people who can bypass screening and they take you with them to bypass screening. I don't work at the airline anymore, so it was more convenience than anything. But you can bet your bippy that if I was still there today I'd be doing everything I could to bypass screening like I did before scope and grope was even a glimmer in Chertoff's soulless eyes.

    But more to the point, when things like VJ mentions happens, the typical TSA response is to rewrite policy by further abusing passengers. Ticket agent bypasses security with a gun? Random gropings at the gate. FA absent-mindedly travels with gun? "She was caught at IND - the system works!" :rolleyes:

    And still, at every airport, gate and ticket agents routinely bypass security through secret doors that are completely unmanned. At America's largest airports, crew and ramp agents go through unmanned side doors with nothing more than a swipe of a badge (those never get lost :eek:). All for TSA's administrative convenience.

    The next time you're standing around in sock feet, with a Kippie Bag of liquids in your hand, holding up your unbelted pants, waiting for your strip search/genital fondling, ask yourself how many uniformed airline employees, or TSA agents for that matter, are standing in line with you? The answer is likely zero. So then you should ask yourself why.
    myadvice likes this.
  11. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    myadvice likes this.
  12. N965VJ

    N965VJ Original Member

    Oh, no doubt. There's been plenty of times when I told my crew "Hey, I'm friends with a gal that's a GA. She'll be working tomorrow morning and will let us through the door behind the ticket counter." (This was a long time ago when I was still at US) It wasn't that the issue was bypassing screening in and of itself; it was not having to stand in line which maybe meant leaving the hotel at 7 in the morning instead of 6:45. I mean, not having to divest yourself of metal objects is nice, but the real issue was time. When that deal went down with the GA in PHL, I told all my buds over at, if this really happened, there's just no way I can support bypasses like this, sorry. I don't think anybody really disagreed with me.

    Somewhere else, I was having a conversation about this loophole with, IIRC, our friend TSORon. He seemed to imply that screeners could go confront crew members and do some kind of "security check". I told him sure, go down to the Crew Room in PHL and try to riffle through a senior mama's Travelpro. By the time they're done with you, you won't know whether to cry or wind your watch. :eek::D
    Doober likes this.
  13. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Revenue management data is very tightly held. They're not going to be publishing it, ever.

    I've attended some very candid executive Q & A sessions at CO & DL, where they would answer just about any question put to them, but frequent flyers are more interested in things like award availability, elite competition, upgrades, having "F" seats stolen by air marshals, etc. At an event like that, you might get an answer if you were to ask the right question of the right person.
  14. Superguy

    Superguy Original Member

    The government has asked me to pee in a jar when I worked for them, and as a contractor, I'm still subject to random drug testing.

    Whether I work for it or are on welfare, we still get money for the government. Why is it fair that such a drug test is required for me to WORK for that money, but shouldn't be required when just GIVEN that money?
    DeafBlonde likes this.
  15. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    Well, foo.


    Hmm, yeah.

    I think we should pursue this....

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