The Transportation Security Administration has a very tough job.
We've written previously that the baggage-checking fees the airlines heaped on the traveling public have made TSA's job a nightmare. It is now the norm for citizens to strap one bag on top of another to create "one carry-on item."
On Monday, we were astonished to be in back of a man who had three more bags looped to the handle of what appeared to be a standard sized suitcase. This was his carry-on. Of course, he had to disconnect them for them to travel through the scanner.
The TSA agent working the scanner had four items to inspect for one traveler.
The woman the man was traveling with had an oversized handbag and another travel bag. Six items for one couple. Incredible. Yet the agents patiently handled them and hundreds of others in the line at Honolulu International Airport. Most of them had found some way to have more than "one carry-on item."
It is a shame the airlines have put this burden on these overworked officers.
One other item about the TSA - we haven't noticed it here on Maui, but at HNL there is a separate security line for first-class travelers and members of airlines' frequent-flyer programs. Why does an agency that is paid by taxpayers treat citizens differently based on the cost of their ticket? How did the airlines finagle this?
It is a small complaint, but a legitimate one. It is irritating to be waiting in a line of a hundred folks and watch another guy stroll up in his own personal line.
Such special treatment is due to stir resentment among other passengers - and they don't need to be stirred. Some already seem angry. We boarded the flight home in back of a man wearing a black T-shirt with a silver shield on it and fancy lettering that read "F*** You." But there were letters there instead of asterisks.
All in all, a pleasant way to greet your fellow passengers.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.