Last week, the the Director of Homeland Security suggested to Congress that the TSA get a cut of airline baggage fees. The fees encourage travelers to carry on their bags, and this in turn leads to more bags that have to be inspected by hand at security checkpoints. Should taxpayers keep picking up the tab, or should airlines give the TSA a piece of the baggage fees? How about neither? What if instead the TSA looked for more creative ways to offset costs and even increase revenue? Here are 10 modest proposals:
1. Replace controversial backscatter scanners with X-Ray specs. They’re only a few bucks, and you can get them in the back of Boy’s Life.
2. Ask that everyone who plans on blowing up a plane today to please put a red sticker on their luggage.
3. Sell “sexy passenger” pinup calendars of the hottest travelers passing through the full-body scanners. None of those image are stored? C’mon, even my Mom knows how to access the image cache on Internet Explorer.
4. Along these lines, take a page from the luge ride at Disney World and let people buy a picture of their own scan afterward. I’m talking souvenir frames, mugs, and t-shirts. Who wouldn’t want to commemorate the first time a total stranger felt up their privates?
5. Cut down on that big lag time when everyone is putting on their stuff after the scanner by turning it into a game. Now it’s a race to see who can get to and empty out your bin faster — you, or the TSA worker! Finders keepers, losers weepers, and the TSA can sell the spoils on eBay.
6. Instead of patting down nuns and toddlers, adopt the Israeli system of “human factors” airport security by using a mix of advanced technology, behavioral profiling, and analyzing tone and body language when travelers are asked a few simple questions. Wait, that one is for real. Sorry, someone else helped me pack this top 10 list today!
7. Encourage travelers to opt to “Go Greyhound” instead of flying by running an ad campaign playing up the virtues of how you’ll get in touch with the real America by striking up conversations with teenage runaways, parolees and those who don’t carry photo identification.
8. Give people who fly naked extra frequent flyer miles. You might wonder whether the savings of reduced screening time will offset the costs of the miles. Don’t worry, nobody can figure out how to redeem them anyway.
9. When that guy passes the ultraviolet light over boarding passes, have him ask a riddle. Everyone knows that terrorists can’t parse the linguistic complexities of a riddle.
10. Airport security is a burden we must all shoulder. Do your part, and please grope yourself in advance.