Those of us who take the fateful march down Security Shame Lane for the sake of going airborne can take solace in the fact that all travelers share this awful experience like some secret Kubrickian cult (one premised on degrading submission to a perverse overseer, but severely lacking in awesome sex parties). After all, permission to bypass the gatekeepers of the sky is reserved for popes, presidents, and people with deadly frisking allergies -- those rare cases where easing up on security would seem totally reasonable. Plus Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. Wait, what?
Michele Piacquadio/Hemera/Getty In the TSA's defense, searching Kim and Kanye's bag would be like opening the Ark of the Covenant.
As it turns out, airport employees skirt mandatory safety precautions for reasons ranging from "some frivolous bullshit" to "some nepotistic bullshit." In the case of Kim-ye, a star-struck airport employee abused his security clearance in order to facilitate their journey to the plane without pesky security checkpoints, ultimately delaying the whole flight by 50 minutes so that Kardashian and West could be removed from the plane and properly screened. In other cases, government officials and airline executives have also been caught granting friends and family members access to nonpublic areas and helping them skip all those pesky pat downs and luggage X-rays.
How often does this happen? Well, of the 140 confirmed security breaches at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport over a two-year period, about 76 percent of them were security badge violations. In addition to being a slap to the face of all the law-abiding passengers, that's a massive security risk. Take, for example, Damien Young, who had his roommate, a customer service agent at Philadelphia International Airport, perform a Jackie Brown-esque bag switch to get a gun past security checkpoints so he could board the plane with it.
Image Source/Digital Vision/Getty Images"If you tell the stewardess you're an air marshal, you get an extra bag of peanuts!"
Other airport workers have been caught smuggling drugs, money, and even a freaking machine gun onto commercial flights on behalf of dangerous criminals, rendering moot every impromptu breast exam the TSA has performed on travelers in the name of security. And all it took was a flash of a badge -- because apparently the people who could most easily jeopardize lives are also the least monitored.
A.C. Grimes is a raving Cracked fiend who enjoys writing. Feel free to check out his other musings and compositions on the Web.
There's always room for Cracked in your diet. Check out 15 Postcards from After The Invention of Time Travel and 19 Bad Ideas for History Based Video Games.
Related Reading: If you make it past security but you're still stuck at the airport, read Robert Brockeway's guide to surviving while stranded at your terminal. Some airport officials go out of their way to be dicks, like the guys who demanded a fat passenger buy two seats but didn't put them together. In Slovakia, they test their security actual explosives. Because the only place balls belong are on the wall.
Check out Robert Evans' A Brief History of Vice: How Bad Behavior Built Civilization, a celebration of the brave, drunken pioneers who built our civilization one seemingly bad decision at a time.