TSA, Mail, and Forbidden Items

A good while ago (pre Covid times, when people would travel) I spent some time with the TSA, the Transportation Security Administration, the government agency that operates under the Department of Homeland Security to make our air travel safer. TSA has a variety of hard to understand rules about what you can and cannot take through security when you fly on a commercial airliner. The rules often seem arbitrary and changeable though to give TSA the benefit of the doubt, they are probably responding to Intelligence intercepts alerting them to dangers that would be counterproductive to inform the public of. If you are like me though, you have brought to security “forbidden items” by accident which you have to toss away or, in the case of a bottle of fine champagne I had to toss recently, donate to the TSA party fund. Several years ago I had my favorite pair of stamp tongs in my briefcase, a pair that I had had for over twenty years and which had the exact right tension and fit for me as well as having been my pair through thousands of hours of work. I had forgotten to take them from my briefcase before a flight and I can tell you I almost cried when they were taken from me. Few years after I lpost my favorite pair, as I came through the Charlotte airport I saw that there was a firm which has addressed this problem and created a private mail service that will mail contraband from the security line to your home. Its not cheap but it would have saved my tongs. And it is just a modern example of how innovative firms use mail type services to address communication and transportation needs. The first that I can think of to do this in the stamp period was the Pony Express. And the modern service exists for the same reason- people willing to pay huge premiums for non-traditional mail service because the value of what they need to transport is, to them, enormous.

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