Friday, April 14, 2017

Would you fly "Liberty Air"?

With bad flying experiences in the news again, I thought I'd resurrect this article of mine, which made the case for allowing airlines to determine their own security procedures. (You can tell the article is ancient because of the reference to a Blackberry.) Here's how it starts:
Let us imagine there were a major airline that could opt out of all TSA regulations. Call it “Liberty Air.” Liberty Air openly advertises that it takes zero safety precautions when it comes to screening passengers and baggage. Would you fly on this airline?  
The upside to Liberty Air’s approach is a far more pleasant airport experience. Liberty Air has no metal detectors, so there are no long lines after you get your ticket. Get to the airport ten minutes before take-off, not two hours. Pack whatever you want in your carry-on, including “dangerous” liquids, disposable razors, a hunting knife, whatever. If you have a laptop, don’t worry about taking it out of its case. Wearing a metal belt buckle? Have a lot of keys? Don’t want your Blackberry to leave your sight? No problem. You won’t have to juggle your boarding pass, your driver’s license, your cell phone, and your laptop. No need to take off your shoes. Don’t feel hassled to collect all your belongings pouring out of the X-ray machine—there is no X-ray machine!   
Most important of all, Liberty Air does not do body scans. No machine will take revealing photos of you, nor will X-rays zap you, nor will any uniformed official fondle you in the name of national security.   
Not only is Liberty Air more pleasant to fly, it’s also easier on your wallet. Free from paying for security officials and upkeep for expensive equipment, Liberty Air passes the savings on to you. No “September 11 security fee” on your bill. You pay only for the flight, not for the TSA bureaucracy. 
Of course, there’s an obvious downside to Liberty Air: it is clearly more vulnerable to a terrorist attack. Does the added risk outweigh the benefits? This is the question everyone should ponder. Would you fly Liberty Air, or would you still choose a TSA-compliant airline?

2 comments:

  1. isnt that what we already have... there is no airline that runs its own security. all of them offloaded that externality to the TSA and the taxpayers decades ago. The TSA has a monopoly on transportation security so they have incentive to go as heavy handed as possible without alienating customers all together.

    Wouldnt a better solution be to make a second security company to compete with them, then the airline pays them per customer they screen. even if they dont reduce the level of screening they will have huge incentive to speed up the process. i have no problem going through a full body scanner. i have a problem with waiting 30 minutes in line so that people can go through one person every 30 seconds. the TSA has no incentive to buy more scanners or speed them up because everybody has to go through anyway. but if they had to compete for the people to stand in the line, im pretty shure there would be 20 scanners at the end of every line instead of 1.

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  2. "Of course, there’s an obvious downside to Liberty Air: it is clearly more vulnerable to a terrorist attack."

    No it's not, because Liberty Airline sensibly invites concealed-carry permit holders to fly not only armed, but at a discount. So perps and hijackers can never know which innocent-looking passengers will put a stop to any criminal shenanigans.

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