Posts Tagged ‘SAN’

TSA at SAN – Clueless

31 March 2012

I didn’t have the best experience going through security at the SAN commuter terminal today. A little background: SAN has a curfew for takeoffs that ends at 0630. My flight was scheduled to depart at 0620; there were five flights scheduled to depart from the commuter terminal right at 0630.

Each of the five flights were regional jets, about 50 passengers on average. That’s up to 250 people going through security in the 1.5 hours from when the terminal opens until the flights close about 30 minutes before departure.

Now, the TSA has two lanes there. One was open; there were over 100 people in line when I checked at at 0500. I note for the record that TSA had the normal number of people staffing that lane (six), and another eight standing around watching.

TSA was using their horrible backscatter “we MUST see them naked” machines. Now, it takes extra time for people take off all belts, pens, wallets, chapsticks. Then the machine takes 10 seconds or so to get loaded with the traveling public that has had the million-dollar monstrosities forced on us (using our own tax money, I might add). The stupid machine takes 10 seconds to irradiate you, and then at least another 10 seconds for the hidden TSA person to finish staring at the naked body. So that’s at least 30 seconds per person to (1) strip you of your clothes and your rights, and (2) get a single person through the checkpoint (and that doesn’t count if they have to do secondary screening because the damn machine doesn’t work – more on that later). So to get a couple hundred people through the checkpont using the backscatter machine would take more than 1.5 hours, which is impossible since they have roughly an hour to do it.

So somebody came to their senses (finally), and they opened up the standard magnetometer, and started cranking people through in less than half the time. At that point the line really started moving.

So I was next in line for the magnetometer, and some TSA guy who is working the backscatter literally interposes himself between me and the magnetometer and pulls me over for the backscatter. Now I had to take off my belt. And take my chapstick out. I managed not to take my wallet out. THAT got me secondary screened.

Side note to TSA: Your policies are stupid. The NO METAL policy is dumb – they treat a quarter in your pocket like a 9mm pistol. And their magic million-dollar machine is not bright enough to figure out that a Chapstick isn’t a threat (I found that out in Boston last week). Or a wallet. But really, TSA, how many square leather guns do you run across?

So now that the Invisible Commissar Of The Backscatter Machine has Detected An Unauthorized Wallet, you have to have it Inspected by yet another TSA guy. And that also means that they swab your hands, because TSA apparently Knows For Sure that if you have a wallet that isn’t taken out during the scan, then you, a loyal American with a security clearance since 1984, have probably handled explosives and You Might Be A Threat.

TSA is, as an agency, stupid. The security situation is NO different than it was pre-911. Except, of course, it is hideously more expensive due to having twice as many TSA people than they had before, and they have spent huge amounts of money on machines that detect that you have an Chapstick in your pocket. And let’s not forget the tens of millions expended on machines that puffed air at you, AFTER you went through the magnetometer, in an attempt to find out if you have had explosives on you recently.

I’ve read many releases from TSA “Administrator” John Pistole, and he has a deaf ear to the taxpaying traveling public. They need to rethnk, or actually think, through their policies, and abandon the strip-us-naked machines and stick with what works, the magnetometers.

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Cool Things From the Air, SAN-DFW-OKC, 02 Sep 2011

1 October 2011

As I came back from my last trip to San Diego, I saw a couple interesting things from the air. There was a decent fog over the area, and some of the mountains were punching through.

About an hour and a half later, I saw this. I am still trying to find out what it is. Through dead reckoning using the timestamps on the photos, I think this is in the far southeastern part of New Mexico, perhaps part of Fort Bliss. I will keep after it on Google Maps.

Finally, as we came into OKC, I got this photo of Lake Hefner. It is way down.

That’s it!

Cool Things From The Air, SLC-SAN

25 October 2010

I flew on a Delta flight from SLC to SAN this morning. The cloud cover was too thick until just south of Las Vegas. As we got of the cover, there was a river, and it ran into a couple lakes, and then off to the south. My friend Google Maps, and a little dead reckoning, led to the following:

This is the Colorado River starting about 25 miles south of Boulder Dam.

The Colorado flows into Lake Mohave.

This next item is Searchlight, NV. The Coyote Mine is just to the north of town, which is below the town in this photo, since we were flying to the south. The Coyote Mine is a silver and quartz mine.

This, although fuzzy, is Laughlin, NV, and Bullhead City, AZ.

This is the Hart Mine in California. It is another silver mine.

OK, this was kind of strange. These markings are around Mile Marker 100 on I-40, the Needles Freeway. I think that they are draining channels, since they seem to interconnect a number of dry washes, and, then connect to other dry washes south of the freeway.

Just a little farther south, something new and different. These are salt evaporation ditches or pans. I do not know what company runs them.

This is the Desert Center, CA area. I do not remember what about the area that caused me to take the picture.

This is the north end of the Salton Sea.

This is the Mount Laguna Air Force Station. It apparently only has an FAA radar now.

On approach to SAN, we had good views of the San Diego Bay Bridge, and Point Loma.

That’s it!

Sometimes It Pays To Walk Around

5 February 2010

I’ve been flying into SAN for years. I think my first travel there was in 1986. I’ve been there dozens of times. I have flown mostly into or out of Terminal 2. Once out of the Commuter Terminal, and a number of times in or out of Terminal 1. I have always found Terminals 1 and 2 to be a lot like the old OKC terminals – unrelieved brown-gray concrete. There isn’t a good choice for food in Terminal 2 or the Commuter Terminal, but Terminal 1 has decent choices.

Today I got out to SAN early for my flight out, and had a bit of time on my hands. I was in Terminal 2. I didn’t want to fire up the computer, so I decided to take a walk. I went around from the east side of the Terminal (where American is based), around the big loop to the west side.

WOW! Once you get to the first part of the west side, there is a food court! I had no idea it was there. The terminal has high ceilings, and wood and glass, and looks good. There are a number of sit-down restaurangs, and a couple of book/newspaper sellers. There is a really cool fountain towards the end of the terminal as well.

The gates have better chairs, there are plugs for power, and there are more chairs as well.

The whole thing is open and light and airy. I like it!

I am glad I took the walk around. That opened up a number of food choices that I had no idea where even there.

SAN is building a new terminal, I hope it is built like the west side of Terminal 2.