Thursday, August 22, 2002

It happened at San Francisco International Airport and then once again at Kona International. The United Airlines counter person flipped through our tickets, checked our IDs, and then insisted that each of us answer THE TWO QUESTIONS. "Did you pack your own bag?" "Has your bag been out of your immediate control?" We answered Yes and No, as usual. I personally have been asked these questions, or some variant, several hundred times. Since I alway pack my bags and no one has ever asked me to carry something aboard a plane, my answer to those questions is always truthful. My answers about keeping my bags in my possession, in my immediate control, have probably been more "squishy".
- I handed my bag to the taxi driver.
- I left my bags with the hotel bellman all morning.
- I stored my bag in a storeroom at the customer I was visiting.
Those situations probably stretched the definition of "immediate control". So I lied. It turns out that many other people lie. And the people who ask the questions haven't been trained to ferret out the liars. So, the new Transportation Security Administration is phasing out the requirement for posing the questions. The questions never really bothered me, but I didn't like lying so I won't miss them.

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