The TSA is funding the rollout of exit pods at major airport terminals across the country that temporarily detain passengers before they are allowed to leave, another example critics say of how the federal agency’s policies treat travelers as prisoners.
Travelers are forced to be bottlenecked through the pods as they leave the airport terminal. A robotic voice gives instructions to wait inside the pod until a green light is shown and the door opens.
The pods have already been installed at Syracuse International Airport as part of a $60 million dollar renovation and are likely to make their way into other major airports soon. Once travelers exit the pods, they are unable to re-enter the terminal.
Some of the passengers exiting through the pods at Syracuse thought the machines were performing x-ray body scans, according to CNY Central.
“It was odd, I was like – where did they come up with this?” asked Patricia Goodrich.
“We need to be vigilant and maintain high security protocol at all times. These portals were designed and approved by TSA which is important,” said Syracuse Airport Commissioner Christina Callahan.
The justification for installing the pods is that they replace police or security guards who would normally stand at the exit, therefore saving money, something which the TSA isn’t normally concerned about given how it is now selling abandoned naked body scanners to prisons for 10 per cent of their value.
According to Karen De Coster, the pods are a way “to remind you that you are a captive” and are “meant to make you feel like a prisoner who cannot leave.”
The prison inmate feel of the devices compliments numerous other TSA policies which critics have charged serve little other purpose than making travelers feel like they are under constant suspicion.
Last week, a Government Accountability Office investigation revealed that the TSA’s $1 billion dollar “chat down” program has been a complete failure in that it is “no better than chance” at identifying genuine security threats.
While threatening to arrest passengers who make jokes about airport security, the federal agency has also instituted a ludicrous “freeze” policy whereby travelers are ordered to stand in place like statues while TSA agents resolve some unexplained security threat.
Another policy that has provoked questions is the TSA’s random testing of passengers’ drinks for explosives after they have already passed through security and purchased beverages inside the secure area of the airport.
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