This week saw the vitriol of travelers (and travel writers) directed at the TSA. The new TSA regulations that were imposed in light of the terrorist attempt on a Northwest Airlines flight led many to unleash the proverbial hounds and attack both the TSA and Department of Homeland Security with great fervor. It became quite fashionable (and deservedly so) to use blogs and Twitter to mock the TSA’s plans for keeping us safe.
However, this hysteria is not new in the travel community. Travelers have a long history of finding a target for their angst and attacking it like cat on a Roomba. The TSA is just the latest object of travelers’ derision. There were others before it and there will be others after it.
Let’s take a look back at travel complaints through history.God – The Garden of Eden was the original all-inclusive resort. Despite the absence of a “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” policy, the Almighty actually had pretty stringent rules. While there was a veritable buffet for Adam and Eve, apples were off limits. The first guests to violate this policy were removed from the property and led management to blacklist all human visitors. Is that species profiling? Sure seems like it.
Christianity vs. Islam – Europeans have always enjoyed traveling. However, their motives for getting out and about during the Crusades were pretty shady.
India – Christopher Columbus never forgave India for not being in the Americas. Annual parades have yet to appease him.
Lack of produce – Scurvy was no joke back in the day. Now it’s a pretty good joke anytime someone offers you an orange.
Babies – They cry. They kick the back of your seat. They have little comprehension of the expletives that you’re shouting at their mothers.
People who recline their seats – I am one of these people. I make no apologies to anyone.
Airline food – Did you hear that airline food is gross? Yeah, so did every comedian in the 1990s.
Travelers vs. Tourists – The travelers vs. tourists debate is an epic one pitting blowhards against windbags. It has, however, kept the soapbox industry in business.
Cruises – When you’re the cause of a Twitter hashtag getting hijacked, you’ve officially made it as a preeminent target for travel complaints.
TSA – They’ve been accused of racial profiling, enforcing their policies arbitrarily and reacting to incidents with asinine updates to their rules. This latest episode is practically old hat for them. A hat that must be removed during the screening process, of course.
So, what’s my point here? At the end of the day, travelers will always find something about which to complain. Sometimes it will be justified while other times it will simply be a matter of opinion. People will always enjoy pointing fingers, making judgments and mounting their high horses.
But I think we can all agree that people who wear socks with sandals are just plain wrong.
Photo by Flickr user Aardvark of Fnord.