TSA's Naked Pictures, Clueless Canines, Loaded Guns - and Etiquette

Canine conundrum: ABC reports the TSA "may be wasting millions of dollars in taxpayer money on bomb-sniffing dogs that cannot actually detect bombs." Yet these mutts could be useful in getting more of us into the quick, don't-have-to-take-your-shoes-off PreCheck security line; as TSA chief John Pistole put it last December, canines could be used as a selection tool to qualify passengers for expedited screening, "if the dogs approve" ("Yeah, he smells okay, let him in").

Problems for Passengers

No more "naked" pictures: The TSA is dumping its X-ray backscatter body scanning machines - the ones that show the human form in all its anatomical glory (or close to it). But not so fast: the millimeter wave body scan machines are still in use, and for those who say no thanks to that, your remaining option is an up-close-and-personal pat-down.

Baggage theft: TSA officer at Charlotte's airport is terminated for stealing $36 which is an improvement over past incidents including an agent who was secretly recorded taking $5,000 from a passenger's bag a few years back but as the TSA points out, no amount is "tolerable."

Etiquette of a Pat-down

Manners for screeners: I recently read a fascinating account of etiquette classes for would-be TSA screeners in New Jersey and while it was short on Emily Post-style maxims such as thank-you-notes-must-be-sent-to-cooperative-travelers, it did offer smart advice like listening to people, maintaining one's cool, demonstrating empathy and so on.

Manners for everyone: As much as TSA officers are seen as the bad guys by some, passengers are not always angels either - anyone remember the incredible tale of a drunken woman on a United flight a few years back? She flew into a rage once her alcohol supply was cut off, tried to bite a flight attendant's leg and finished up the festivities by polishing off a dispenser of liquid soap.

No, etiquette won't solve everything. People can't even agree on whether the TSA's methods of protecting us do any good at all. How about this: if you don't like what they do, unload on your congressional representatives. Or protest, if you like - it's the American way, after all - so go ahead, print the fourth amendment to the U.S. Constitution on your chest or strip naked if that works for you.

All anyone asks is that you use a little consideration - yes, even a little etiquette - so no one faces a delayed or missed flight.

The opinions expressed by Rick Seaney are his alone and not those of ABC News.

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