WASHINGTON—If nail clippers and miniature shampoo bottles pose a real threat flying at 30,000 feet, imagine the pain and suffering the crying baby and her bickering parents seated in row 14 are capable of inflicting. Mitigating such risks is the niggling task sitting in front of the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.
Under their new requirements, passengers on long-haul flights bound for the United States from certain airports in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa will be required to surrender themselves to the authorities should security deem their family unit inoperative, dysfunctional, or otherwise “likely to terrorize the flight attendant with explosive outbursts and incessant demands for another Jack and Coke.”
The TSA and DHS are also asking over a dozen international airports to confiscate any electronic devices that cannot be powered up successfully. Intelligence reports suggest that terrorists may be hiding volatile materials in hollowed out phones or that empty place where love and respect for family members would normally rest.
“Aviation remains an attractive target to global terrorists, who are consistently looking for ways to circumvent our aviation security measures,” said one U.S. official with knowledge of the new screening procedure.
“It’s not always easy to identify the problematic families from afar,” he admitted. “They tend to bury the sibling rivalries, bad habits, and unchecked rage they’ll unleash in the cabin under layers of sweatpants, Snuggies, and Cinnabons.”
Now, new behavioral detection methods have been designed to detect subtle passive-aggression. Once through the body scanners, nuclear families will be placed in contrived situations to identify chinks in their defenses.
“Security locked me and grandma Ruth in a small room with no ventilation and asked if we wanted an overpriced tuna fish sandwich,” recalled Susan Finke. “I was hungry, so I bought one.”
Finke’s grandmother then proceeded to “nag, nag, nag—about my wasteful spending and my inability to chew with my mouth closed. She then had the nerve to ask for half of the sandwich. I couldn’t take it, so I blurted out that uncle Peter was gay. That shut her up.”
The Finkes’ tickets were revoked after the elder Finke exclaimed that she was so embarrassed that she “could kill someone right now.” The two eventually agreed to undergo counseling in the airport prayer room, so long as they did not have to share the same kneeler and Susan could sit closest to the stained-glass window.