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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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TSA Starts Designing Luggage

Comments (19)

As I was contemplating how to optimally pack my liquids and gels into a single quart sized ziplock bag I came across an article in the NY Times titled Bag Helps Laptop Pass Air Security.  Apparently, the TSA has been testing new luggage as a result of an RPF they sent out recently.  They won’t certify these bags – rather they’ll encourage manufacturers to adopt a universal logo akin to "this bag is checkpoint friendly."

So here’s what’s going to happen.  50+ luggage / backpack / briefcases are going to appear on the market that say "this bag is checkpoint friendly" on them.  They’ll work for a little while.  Then 200+ knockoffs will come on the market at 50% lower price points.  All of them will say "this bag is checkpoint friendly."  Half of them won’t work.  It’ll now take even more time to get through security because TSA will have to manually check all of these bags. 

I’m sure this will settle itself down quickly into a nice routine, just like the Clear line has in Denver.  Oh – wait – the Clear line in Denver no longer really gets me to the front of the line anymore because the TSA decided it shouldn’t.

Are there any airports left in the US that haven’t been completely infected by TSA procedures?  I know of a small part of one major airport.  Any others out there?  Leave a comment, but not before you buy a new bag for your laptop.

  • Steve Bergstein

    I'm not sure what the right answer to airport security is. Would you prefer that we go back to having the airlines responsible for gate security as they were prior to 9/11?

    • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

      I don’t know.  I just like complaining about the situation.

      • Aziz Grieser

        Yes. I would prefer to go back to how it was before.

        TSA has not stopped one single threat, but they've managed to steal an insane amount of personal belongings from people's baggage, especially in Washington, DC, and the top officials were caught blowing $500K at a bunch of strip clubs, (a la Marion Barry of DC). TSA has failed 19/20 government tests that consisted of hired pros sneaking bomb devices and Swiss army knives on-board planes, and the 1/20 was not a success: it was a kid that wanted to brag to the blogosphere about sneaking stuff past TSA, and he turned himself in after he landed and blogged about it.

        The 9/11 event, which was terrible, was so effective because it was unexpected. Now, there is a very different atmosphere, and I'm surprised that random ethnic passengers aren't getting tackled in the passageways of airplanes when they get up to take a leak in mid-flight. Face it, the only safety you might feel having a TSA around is a mirage, kind of like wearing your seat-belt on a plane that's crashing. Breathing the oxygen deeply and strapping in tightly, while you plummet to the earth from 10k feet is not going to change a damned thing. You won't be on the news or some Geico commercial exclaiming, “I'm so glad I wore my seat-belt!”

        You trust the airlines to ensure the planes are fueled, well-inspected and maintained, and flown by sober and trained pilots. I think they can handle it much better than TSA does, with some private contractor assistance to help them get started.

    • http://www.kidmercuryblog.com kid mercury

      9/11 was an inside job. that's hugely important and it's a fact. if you're new to truthology, a great place to start is patriotsquestion911.com, infowars.com, 911blogger.com, prisonplanet.com, or my site, kidmercuryblog.com.

      it is the truth that sets us free. free from fake terror threats, free from hyperinflation, free from the TSA.

  • Phil Sugar

    I might want to go back to security. I think the whole thing is one big farcical show.

    You know when it ended that you could high-jack a plane and put it into a building? On 9/11 outside of Pittsburgh on that United flight.

    Do you know they can't see your liquids? I fly at least twice a week….never taken them out.

    Take off your shoes? For what?? You could hide the sole of a shoe on your person.

    I just am thankful it wasn't an underwear bomber…could you imagine that?

  • http://www.village-elder.com John Curry

    I'm a diabetic techno-junkie. I'm screwed. I always feel terrible about holding up the line because I have to haul out: injectable liquid diabetes meds, a frozen brick of gel to keep the thing cool and usually 2 laptops, not to mention the USB sticks, portable hard drives and gadgets that keep me functioning.

  • bill

    What does Clear exactly get you, then? You have a special line, but you still get checked, so what exactly did you get? I'm not asking sarcastically, I really don't know!

    • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

      In almost all airports except DIA, it gets you to the front of the line.  It used to get you this at DIA – not anymore.  If the main DIA security line is long, Clear will cut some time off of that, but you’ll still get shunted to the second line when you want to clear the xray machines. 

      The “promise of Clear” is that there will be a completely separate Clear security line that due to the biometric scanning, will eliminate a bunch of the security check nonsense.  Apparently this is in the “coming sometime soon” category.

      • J.D.

        Feh! And here I was planning to sign up for Clear before my next trip — but since I fly out of Denver too, I guess I'll wait.

        • http://blog.travelfli.com Krista

          Interesting thing about Clear is that if they succeed, the program no longer works. So if everybody gets the Clear card, the Clear lines become as long, if not longer than the normal lines, and then Clear is no longer useful. Any business that can't grow for it to remain valuable is in trouble, IMHO.

  • AustinS

    Hey Brad, have you heard of this company called TravelFli.com (AKA The TripDoor)? I've heard they've got some unique ideas to solve problems for frequent flyers…. they also own the trademark and patent to the clear plastic 3-1-1 bags that you pack all of your liquids in.TM #77259572. TSA approved!!! We'll send you one in AK for your return trip…

  • http://barfieldmanagement.com Chase Barfield

    I have not visited any airports where TSA security both worked and was expedient. I traveled out of Springfield/Branson Regional Airport on my way to Dallas/Ft. Worth for an International connection and my wife made it through the line with ease. She went through without a ticket or a passport. I couldn't find her so I asked a TSA agent if she had somehow passed through the checkpoint. They replied, “Impossible without a ticket and identification.” Then my wife pops up on the other side of the security checkpoint calling to me. The TSA realized who she was, saw her passport and ticket in my hand, and shut the entire airport down. This turned my trip through the line into a long and harrowing one.

    I have since flown out of the Springfield/Branson Regional airport and it is just as slow as the larger airports when you factor the size and difference in passenger count. Gone are the days of being able to have a pocket knife and breezing through security, as long as you didn't have a gun or a bomb, like you could after President Regan initiated the “We will not negotiate with terrorist” rule.

  • http://www.newsgroper.com Greg

    At least they're not asking for the laptops themselves to be certified “checkpoint friendly” — though I'm sure they'll get to that soon enough. Shoes too.

  • Aaron_B

    On our way out to the bay area this weekend from Denver the TSA was taking digital pictures of the computer screens that show your bags contents. They held the line up for at least 5 min while 5 TSA workers tried to get the best digital picture of the items on the computer monitor. Amazing. I just hope they didn't roll out this embarassing procedure all over the country.

  • anamaroopa

    seems ripe for an insurection .. a decently sized mass movement, wouldn't need more than a few thousand on a given day, with prior pr in place … airlines are hurting, maybe vulnerable to a day of half-filled flights, everybody knows the rules are stupid, the tsa needs to be overthrown, it might not be too hard, the only hard part, finding americans with guts

    • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

      Wow.  Love it.  We could organized a Twitter-based sit down strike in the TSA lines at the airports at 9am on a Friday morning.  That would get someone’s attention.  Probably the police, but it’d be interesting to video tape.  Civil disobedience at its Twitterest.

  • gothamgal

    Every time I go through security in the US, I just get frustrated and angry. The TSA defines what is wrong with America today. It is like looking for Al Queda in Iraq, they are in Pakistan.

  • http://www.clizbiz.blogspot.com ClizBiz

    Ooooh, I love the TwitterTSA-overthrow idea … count me in!

    Also, I just called the CLEAR folks and asked them about this TSA problem at DIA and “Tia” assured me that the “problem was corrected last week.” Since I fly tomorrow, she assured me that I would have no problems. In fact, I could count on being whisked to the front of the security line on the shoulders of hunky half-naked male Olympians.

    Okay, I made that last part up but a girl can dream, right?

  • A. Nonymous

    You're really comfortable letting the folks at Clear have all that biometric information? Retina scan, finger print, SSN, address, name, the list goes on. How long before their database gets hacked? The risk of identity theft or other government abuse is no way worth the potential savings in time at the airport. Just get there a little early.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/krista51951 krista51951

    Interesting thing about Clear is that if they succeed, the program no longer works. So if everybody gets the Clear card, the Clear lines become as long, if not longer than the normal lines, and then Clear is no longer useful. Any business that can't grow for it to remain valuable is in trouble, IMHO.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/kidmercury kidmercury

    9/11 was an inside job. that's hugely important and it's a fact. if you're new to truthology, a great place to start is patriotsquestion911.com, infowars.com, 911blogger.com, prisonplanet.com, or my site, kidmercuryblog.com.

    it is the truth that sets us free. free from fake terror threats, free from hyperinflation, free from the TSA.

  • A. Nonymous

    You're really comfortable letting the folks at Clear have all that biometric information? Retina scan, finger print, SSN, address, name, the list goes on. How long before their database gets hacked? The risk of identity theft or other government abuse is no way worth the potential savings in time at the airport. Just get there a little early.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

    I don’t know.  I just like complaining about the situation.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/AustinS AustinS

    Hey Brad, have you heard of this company called TravelFli.com (AKA The TripDoor)? I've heard they've got some unique ideas to solve problems for frequent flyers…. they also own the trademark and patent to the clear plastic 3-1-1 bags that you pack all of your liquids in.TM #77259572. TSA approved!!! We'll send you one in AK for your return trip…

  • Phil Sugar

    I might want to go back to security. I think the whole thing is one big farcical show.

    You know when it ended that you could high-jack a plane and put it into a building? On 9/11 outside of Pittsburgh on that United flight.

    Do you know they can't see your liquids? I fly at least twice a week….never taken them out.

    Take off your shoes? For what?? You could hide the sole of a shoe on your person.

    I just am thankful it wasn't an underwear bomber…could you imagine that?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/jd25531 jd25531

    Feh! And here I was planning to sign up for Clear before my next trip — but since I fly out of Denver too, I guess I'll wait.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/chase_barf55451 chase_barf55451

    I have not visited any airports where TSA security both worked and was expedient. I traveled out of Springfield/Branson Regional Airport on my way to Dallas/Ft. Worth for an International connection and my wife made it through the line with ease. She went through without a ticket or a passport. I couldn't find her so I asked a TSA agent if she had somehow passed through the checkpoint. They replied, "Impossible without a ticket and identification." Then my wife pops up on the other side of the security checkpoint calling to me. The TSA realized who she was, saw her passport and ticket in my hand, and shut the entire airport down. This turned my trip through the line into a long and harrowing one.

    I have since flown out of the Springfield/Branson Regional airport and it is just as slow as the larger airports when you factor the size and difference in passenger count. Gone are the days of being able to have a pocket knife and breezing through security, as long as you didn't have a gun or a bomb, like you could after President Regan initiated the "We will not negotiate with terrorist" rule.

  • John Curry

    I'm a diabetic techno-junkie. I'm screwed. I always feel terrible about holding up the line because I have to haul out: injectable liquid diabetes meds, a frozen brick of gel to keep the thing cool and usually 2 laptops, not to mention the USB sticks, portable hard drives and gadgets that keep me functioning.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/gothamgal gothamgal

    Every time I go through security in the US, I just get frustrated and angry. The TSA defines what is wrong with America today. It is like looking for Al Queda in Iraq, they are in Pakistan.

  • Aaron_B

    On our way out to the bay area this weekend from Denver the TSA was taking digital pictures of the computer screens that show your bags contents. They held the line up for at least 5 min while 5 TSA workers tried to get the best digital picture of the items on the computer monitor. Amazing. I just hope they didn't roll out this embarassing procedure all over the country.

  • Greg

    At least they're not asking for the laptops themselves to be certified "checkpoint friendly" — though I'm sure they'll get to that soon enough. Shoes too.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

    Wow.  Love it.  We could organized a Twitter-based sit down strike in the TSA lines at the airports at 9am on a Friday morning.  That would get someone’s attention.  Probably the police, but it’d be interesting to video tape.  Civil disobedience at its Twitterest.

  • ClizBiz

    Ooooh, I love the TwitterTSA-overthrow idea … count me in!

    Also, I just called the CLEAR folks and asked them about this TSA problem at DIA and "Tia" assured me that the "problem was corrected last week." Since I fly tomorrow, she assured me that I would have no problems. In fact, I could count on being whisked to the front of the security line on the shoulders of hunky half-naked male Olympians.

    Okay, I made that last part up but a girl can dream, right?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/aziz_griese5636 aziz_griese5636

    Yes. I would prefer to go back to how it was before.

    TSA has not stopped one single threat, but they've managed to steal an insane amount of personal belongings from people's baggage, especially in Washington, DC, and the top officials were caught blowing $500K at a bunch of strip clubs, (a la Marion Barry of DC). TSA has failed 19/20 government tests that consisted of hired pros sneaking bomb devices and Swiss army knives on-board planes, and the 1/20 was not a success: it was a kid that wanted to brag to the blogosphere about sneaking stuff past TSA, and he turned himself in after he landed and blogged about it.

    The 9/11 event, which was terrible, was so effective because it was unexpected. Now, there is a very different atmosphere, and I'm surprised that random ethnic passengers aren't getting tackled in the passageways of airplanes when they get up to take a leak in mid-flight. Face it, the only safety you might feel having a TSA around is a mirage, kind of like wearing your seat-belt on a plane that's crashing. Breathing the oxygen deeply and strapping in tightly, while you plummet to the earth from 10k feet is not going to change a damned thing. You won't be on the news or some Geico commercial exclaiming, "I'm so glad I wore my seat-belt!"

    You trust the airlines to ensure the planes are fueled, well-inspected and maintained, and flown by sober and trained pilots. I think they can handle it much better than TSA does, with some private contractor assistance to help them get started.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

    In almost all airports except DIA, it gets you to the front of the line.  It used to get you this at DIA – not anymore.  If the main DIA security line is long, Clear will cut some time off of that, but you’ll still get shunted to the second line when you want to clear the xray machines. 

    The “promise of Clear” is that there will be a completely separate Clear security line that due to the biometric scanning, will eliminate a bunch of the security check nonsense.  Apparently this is in the “coming sometime soon” category.

  • bill

    What does Clear exactly get you, then? You have a special line, but you still get checked, so what exactly did you get? I'm not asking sarcastically, I really don't know!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/steve_bergs2127 steve_bergs2127

    I'm not sure what the right answer to airport security is. Would you prefer that we go back to having the airlines responsible for gate security as they were prior to 9/11?

  • anamaroopa

    seems ripe for an insurection .. a decently sized mass movement, wouldn't need more than a few thousand on a given day, with prior pr in place … airlines are hurting, maybe vulnerable to a day of half-filled flights, everybody knows the rules are stupid, the tsa needs to be overthrown, it might not be too hard, the only hard part, finding americans with guts

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