BACK TO BUSINESS...

BACK TO BUSINESS AS USUAL AT THE AIRPORTS. The Department of Homeland Security may claim that the nation's airlines are still taking additional security precautions because of the "elevated threat" of terrorist attack. Yet I just accidentally took both a reasonably sharp set of scissors and a five-inch tube of hand-cream through airport security here at Boston's Logan Airport, without incident. (I'd forgotten they were in my purse and found them around 20 minutes after passing through security.) I realize that the actual threat posed by liquid explosive components is probably quite a bit lower than the public was originally led to believe, but still, if security authorities are going to announce a rule, and annoy passengers by asking them to place even lip gloss in their checked baggage, shouldn't they be alert enough to detect a tube when it does go through? I asked the TSA supervisor at the screening station about this, presenting her with what I thought were banned items, and she said: a) that the scissors were permitted; and b) that the hand-cream was a "judgment call," since the tube was close to empty and probably contained no more than one ounce. She seemed reluctant to confiscate it, though she ultimately did once she realized it had gone through her screening station. So now I'm taking my scissors, with their nearly three-inch blades, on the plane, while my apparently highly threatening lip gloss rides below in the cargo hold. Go figure.

--Garance Franke-Ruta

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