Pity the Poor Airlines


Is there a worse business in the world to be in than the commercial airline industry? That’s the thought that keeps coming to me as I watch the nightmarish TSA security screening story unfold in all it’s gropey, feeley, naked-scannery ugliness.

It’s bad enough that any company that wants to turn a profit by flying large numbers of people form point A to point B has to contend with a half dozen or more labor unions, all competing for a tighter grip on your short hairs. That fact, along with rising fuel costs and increased competition from upstarts that don’t carry the crushing burden of decades of union pension obligations, forces you to try to cram more and more people into jets with fewer and fewer amenities.

On top of that, over the last ten or 15 years blowing up one or more of your planes has become an obsession for a large, scattered group of religious fanatics. Meanwhile, an insane level of political correctness grips our culture, particularly our government, rendering it impossible to take rational security measures. Thus, only irrational security measures remain on the the table.

There are other, more troubling questions that keep presenting themselves to my mind each time I read another TSA strip search horror story . . .

What does the TSA know that we don’t know? What have our intelligence services uncovered that is driving this maniacal level of vigilance? And is the information of a nature that revealing it could panic the public, or represent a crippling blow to an already struggling airline industry?

The stubborn insistence by the TSA to continue these screenings in the face of a tidal wave of public outrage means something. The question is, “what?”