Here’s a hot tip for you if you travel at all. If you’re not flying business or first class, there’s a little trick many airports offer to make things easier.
They often refer to it as ‘Fast Track’. It’s a little pass that lets you skip the customs and security queues that most people cram into when entering an airport.
Most of the time (again if you’re not in business or first) you pay for Fast Track. But it’s so worth it. A couple of bucks and you save all the stress and hassle of airport customs and security…to a point.
Fast Track may get you to skip the queues, but you still must abide by the regular security processes. Now that’s a whole different story…
50mLs of eye drops makes you a terrorist
That means getting to the conveyor belt at security and doing the following:
- Take off your coat, hat, belt, and possibly even shoes. Put them in the tray.
- Take off your watch, take out your phone, wallet, coins, and anything else in your pockets. Put them in the tray.
- Put your bag in the tray. But don’t forget to take your laptop out of its case, out of your bag. And put it in another tray.
- Oh, and don’t forget to put any liquids in a clear plastic bag and then take them out of your bag…and put them in the tray.
If you’re travelling alone, that’s quite a lot of stuff. I usually end up with two or sometimes three trays just to get through security. If you’re travelling with a family, you’re usually about four or five trays deep before you even make it to the body scanners.
Then there’s the body scanner. Sometimes is just the x-ray. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve got this strange little bouncy, ‘I’m not a terrorist’ walk when I go through security. It even feels weird to me, let alone what the security officers must see.
Sometimes I’ll even get the body scan. ‘Stand like the picture please sir!’
That means stand like a silhouette that’s carrying a couple of watermelons under its arms. And then if that’s all good, which it always is, I might be lucky as to have parts of my body cotton swabbed to test for drugs? Explosive reside? Sugar? I don’t really know.
By this stage the two, three…five trays are bundled up at the end of the conveyor. That means sprinting over to do one of two things.
- You stand there and redress and repack your stuff while 15 other people do the same, preventing 15 more people from getting through, preventing 1,000 more people from getting to security (hence the great tip on the ‘Fast Track’ pass).
- You gather up your trays and exit to a quiet location on one of the 18 out of 20 empty security lines to redress and repack.
However, sometimes you forget about the 50mL bottle of eye drops in that 12th pocket of your backpack. That means your bag goes to the individual scan side. They then search your bag, find the 50mLs of eye drops, put it in a plastic bag, and then rescan EVERYTHING AGAIN.
This all sounds convoluted and complex, doesn’t it?
That’s because it is. It’s also standard airport practice getting into the flight departure areas around two to three hours before your scheduled flight.
This is a by-product of a bunch of terrorists hijacking some planes and flying them into buildings. And I can’t see it changing any time soon. This is antiquated regulation at its finest.
It’s the very reason why some of the most exciting technological advancements will stay in limbo for decades to come.
The future of transport…maybe
If I’ve got to put a 50mL bottle of eye drops into a clear plastic bag in a tray before being tried as a terrorist until proven innocent every time I want to board a commercial passenger flight…then what hope in hell do flying taxis have in urban areas?
I’ve been walking the halls at CES in Las Vegas. And two of the biggest, most visually-stimulating exhibitors have been Bell Flight and Hyundai. Bell Flight has a full-scale mock-up of one of their flying taxis (read: helicopter).
Hyundai (yes, the carmaker) has a similar flying taxi on display boasting of their partnership with Uber. Looks like Hyundai now makes flying taxis (read: helicopters) too.
Bell Flight flying taxi. Source: Editor’s own photo
Hyundai’s flying taxi. Source: Editor’s own photo
This is the future of transportation in urban areas. The skies don’t have constraints like roads do. There operate on three axes of movement. They can move in directions that will result in time saving and efficiency of moving people around cities.
And with projections that by 2050 more than 70% of the world’s populations will live in urban areas, this is the future.
Except maybe it’s not. And if it all takes a lot longer than expected to hit the mass market, there will be one reason for it. Regulation and legislation.
These flying taxis from Bell and Hyundai are the vehicles companies like Uber plan to use. And Bell and Uber all admit the ‘safest’ way to implement these to begin with is by piloting them.
Long term however, they expect these to be fully automated. Much like self-driving cars, a fully-automated fleet of flying taxis will be safer than ones with human pilots. The reasons for that is a discussion for another day.
But these are large, heavy, dangerous vehicles. They’re far more susceptible to security threats than a commercial airliner.
But for us to just step onto a giant commercial flying taxi, we’re effectively saying the regulation and legislation that makes me stick my 50mL bottle of eye drops into a clear plastic bag and remove my shoes to pass through security is null and void.
Otherwise if similar requirements needed to board a commercial airliner are required for a commercial helicopter, it immediately erodes the efficiency and effectiveness of the idea.
The biggest fallacy of modern times
What good is a flying taxi if I need to go through an hour of pre-flight security to make sure I don’t hijack the flight? How is it efficient if I can’t even take a bottle of wine on board bought pre-security just in case it’s liquid explosives?
By the time I take off, my self-driving car on the road will have dropped me off and that bottle of wine will be nearing completion.
I’m not saying this future isn’t coming. In fact, I say it’s inevitable. But right now, regulation stands smack bang in the way. Legislation and regulation we live by today is built on a world of analogue technology.
It does not and cannot keep pace with modern technology’s innovation and development. Radical change must take place with regulators and legislators across all industries.
The single biggest threat to investment opportunity are the laws supposed to be there to protect consumers.
That’s the biggest fallacy of modern times. Legislation and regulation doesn’t protect consumers anymore. It damages progress and opportunity. And it ultimately hurts the consumer. That must change for the full potential of the 2020s to be realised.
Editor, Money Morning
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