Prague Twin

Monday, December 04, 2006

Terrorists Like Aisle Seats

"Oh mon, I and I tink me should have paid with credit card!"

By now I'm sure you have all heard about a previously secret government program that screens passengers based on such things as meal preference, seating preference, method of payment, previous one-way travel, and previous destinations amongst other things. Passengers receive a score and are not allowed to either see or challenge that score.

At least now I know why I get twenty questions every time I come to the states. My Czech wife actually gets through faster than I do. I've traveled to Arab countries and Russia, I prefer the aisle (because I like to get up a lot and because I have long legs), and I have paid cash plenty of times since I have bought tickets in the Czech Republic when I didn't have more than $20 in my account (but plenty of Czech Koruna), and my first two times traveling to Europe I traveled one way (There is a Belgian company that offered cheap one-ways). Unwittingly, I have probably racked up a pretty decent score. Also, being a resident of a foreign country with no obvious financial benefit probably doesn't help (no one likes a defector). Hey, at least I'm not a vegetarian!

So now I am just waiting for the day when I get to the front gate of my home country and I am turned back because I pose too great a risk. If they have put two and two together (which I'm assuming they have) and they know who writes this blog, that probably will add a couple points to my nearly perfect score. Sooner or later I will be banished to Europe forever. If not, well then the screening system doesn't make much sense. That is to say, if they don't banish me with my astronomical score, what is the point of the system? So I imagine it is just a matter of time before I make my last trip home.

I'm torn as to how I feel about this. On the one hand, who wants to go to a country that would banish one of their citizens for such innocuous behavior as sitting in the aisle? On the other hand, I sure do like to see my Mom at least once every couple of years (and my Dad, and my Sister, and yes, you too Uncle Jeff... damn, I just gave them another clue!)

Of course, only 25% of Americans have a passport so I don't suppose there will be much public outcry over expatriates being banished or international travelers being scrutinized. I've found people like me don't represent much of a voting block.

Once again the authorities are enganging in activities that do little to prevent terrorism, but do plenty to invade our privacy and subject us to Kafka-like jurisprudence.

This is the freedom our ancestors died for?

I prefer the local brand.


  • Quite the screening technique. Very Corporate/Madison Ave, imo.

    By Blogger copy editor, at 11:00 PM  

  • Yea, so long as you are a corporate/Madison Ave type, nothing to worry about. Too bad I'm not.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 11:44 PM  

  • I dont know exactly what it is they are looking for, but as I have an Islamic name and am of the correct age group, I have always wondered why additional scrutiny has never been paid to myself.

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 4:35 AM  

  • You are a bad, bad man!

    On the other hand about 33% of all airline passengers sit on the aisle. Now there's a thought. OK, forget I said that first thing.

    By Blogger Kvatch, at 8:07 AM  

  • Arch,

    When was the last time you flew out of the country? The domestic version of this program went down in flames (no pun intended; that is a really bad joke).


    It's not my fault! The devil made me do it!

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 9:11 AM  

  • Wonder what the perfect score might be and wonder who the hell is going through all this info and making heads or tails of it. My guess, no one.

    By Blogger pissed off patricia, at 5:01 PM  

  • PT

    I was just recently to Antigua (I don’t know if that counts seeing as the main hub to the region is Puerto Rico) and have also been to Cozumel and Switzerland post 9/11

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 7:36 PM  

  • Ahah! You've let it slip. You mentioned your Uncle Jeff. We've got him; he's on his way to Gitmo as we speak.

    By Anonymous Tom Harper, at 8:28 PM  

  • Patricia,

    Welcome (if this is your first time, I'm not sure because I have seen you around other places). Those are my questions. It seems like another way they can use the information or disregard it depending on the person.

    I mean, there must be people with high scores like me, so how do they decide when to actually deny someone entry.

    That is the question.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 9:12 PM  

  • Switzerland would count, but having an Arab name doesn't (unless it is something like al-Zarqawi). I'm sure you pay with a credit card and you haven't been going to places like Egypt and Yemen so you should be fine.

    Take a look at the actual system, forget about your name, and see what kind of score you might have.


    Damn! Sorry Jeff! Oh hell I did it again!

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 9:15 PM  

  • PT, I meant that the idea seemed like something cooked up in a 35 minute meeting. I meant it more as a comment about our corporate culture. But, your interpretation is valid as well.

    By Blogger copy editor, at 9:28 PM  

  • AHA!

    You will have to forgive me. I can be pretty dense.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 9:56 PM  

  • PT

    If only you would be so true as to what my politics actually are and not what you purport them to be! ;)

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 3:16 PM  

  • Arch,

    Total non-sequitor there. Can you explain that?

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 4:56 PM  

  • PT

    Sorry, I must have been off base, I was referencing Toms comment, I guess I "didn’t get it"

    By Anonymous Arch Stanton, at 6:13 PM  

  • Yea, no one is talking about your politics on this thread.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:12 PM  

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