Lines Are Terrible

In the past two weeks, I’ve six separate airport security screening checks (IAD to LAX, then LAX back to IAD, then IAD to Frankfurt, then they made me re-screen before going to Berlin, then in Berlin back to Frankfurt, then again rescreening before going to DC) and despite my view that we irrationally overweight the importance of airport security I’m honestly not so moved by privacy concerns. To me the problem is just the long-lines and the waste of time. Waiting around in lines is really misery inducing, and the unpredictable duration of the lines leads to extra post-screening waiting and more waste of time. Time is such a precious commodity in a world where we’re always inventing more things to do!

I’d gladly use full-body x-rays or whatever like in Total Recall if that meant the process moved expeditiously:

All things considered, though, I’d still rather just put less emphasis on airport security. Actually preventing terrorist attacks is a valuable thing to do, but it seems to me that very intensity security at airports doesn’t so much eliminate attacks as encourage people to set off bombs on crowded city streets instead. That doesn’t strike me as a particularly high-value undertaking.

One calculation I’d like to see is this. What proportion of Portland-Seattle flights would need to be blown up by terrorists before driving became the safer option?