Thanks to efforts by union leaders, airline pilots can skip the intensified screening and aggressive pat-down procedures at airports, the Associated Press reports.
But why? Isn't the point of these procedures to make flying safer yet? Why open a hole?
According to the Associated Press, airline pilots get to skip the new security procedures passengers must now submit to at airports, including full-body imaging scans and pat-downs that, if done by anyone but a Transportation Security Administration agent, would be grounds for sexual harassment lawsuits.
While TSA chief John Pistole said he would not lift the new screening regime despite the public outcry, the agency agreed with union leaders that uniformed pilots do not need to go through the body scanners or get the pat-downs, though they will still pass through metal detectors at airport checkpoints.
Union leaders' lobbying was boosted by pilots such as Chesley Sullenberger, who safely landed a US Airways flight in the Hudson River in 2009, commenting that pilots should be treated as partners, not threats, in the fight against terrorism.
However, that seems a poor argument to allow pilots to skip the new security screenings; after all, 99.9% of air passengers are also not threats and have no ill will towards their fellow travelers. Yet the average every day airline passenger will still have to choose between being groped or having every nook and cranny of his or her body on display.
Though it is understandable that pilots are part of the system, for the sake of everyone's safety, they too should get that screening. The phrase "better safe than sorry" comes to mind in this instance. Pilots should not be outraged at this any more than passengers; they should get the treatment passengers get, not because of a sudden demotion in rank or standing, but simply to ensure the utmost safety.
After all, what if a saboteur or hijacker might obtain pilot uniforms and credentials and be able to pass through with dangerous items or devices that might otherwise be stopped at the body scan or pat-down?
Granted, it is very easy to get into the world of "what-if" arguments and conjure up any scenario, but this seems to go against the very purpose of the new TSA screening rules.
The new procedures were imposed to try and make airport security as airtight as possible... this just appears to open a hole in the whole process.
Pilots are not the threat, but, again, neither are the vast majority of passengers.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com