The Letters

Here are the letters I've written and will be mailing out tomorrow.

At the end of this post I've included the contact information for the major airlines in the United States as well as of the FAA and the TSA. I also recommend looking up the contact information for your Congressional Representatives. If you care about this matter please use those addresses and send your own letter.

This first letter is for the airlines:

To Whom it May Concern,
We regret to inform you that we will no longer be customers of your airline.
We think it is only fair to explain why this is the case, because it is not a reason for which your company is directly at fault. The reason we will no longer be customers of your airline is because of the actions of the Transportation Security Administration. We consider the advanced imaging technology equipment to be invasive and demeaning. When these devices were initially deployed we tolerated opting out of their use and being subjected to a cursory pat-down. However, the changes put in place by the TSA on October 28 (which require a more invasive pat-down procedure for those opting out of the advanced imaging technology) are unacceptable to us. Given that we no longer have a security screening option which we find tolerable we are forced to no longer fly until the security requirements change.
We're not writing to argue about the efficacy of the equipment or any purported necessity of the screening. We are simply informing your company that we will not participate in these invasive and demeaning security checks.
We are not very frequent air travelers and we realize you probably won't notice any change to your company's profits because of our decision. Nevertheless, the airline industry in general will now receive a few thousand dollars less income next year than it did this year because of our decision.
The actions of the TSA are costing your corporation money and customers. We hope you and the other airlines appreciate this fact and do everything within your power to try to change the problem. We would be happy to return as customers if the security screening requirements returned to a level we consider tolerable. We are law-abiding citizens and refuse to be treated like imprisoned criminals just to travel within our own country.
Kyle & Jessica Dickerson

This second one is for the FAA, TSA, and political representatives:

We have decided that it is not worth sacrificing our personal privacy and Fourth Amendment rights to travel by plane. When the Transportation Security Administration originally began deploying the advanced imaging technology we chose to continue flying while opting out of the AIT devices. We considered the cursory pat-down to be a nuisance but tolerable for occasional travel. At that time we also decided we wouldn't bother if we could drive to our destination within 12 hours.
The new changes put into effect on October 28, however, are unacceptable. We will not subject ourselves to an invasive and demeaning security procedure for the right to fly on a plane. As law-abiding citizens we refuse to be treated like imprisoned criminals.
We refuse to live in fear. We accept the risk that we are exposed to in a free society. We do not accept trading our freedom for an unmeasurable potential reduction in that risk. Until the security requirements are returned to a level we consider tolerable we will not fly.
We hope to see changes to the current policies. We plan to only vote for representatives who have shown a commitment to protecting our personal rights and our ability to travel within our country without abusive treatment.
Kyle & Jessica Dickerson

Delta Air Lines, Inc.
P.O. Box 20706
Atlanta, Georgia 30320-6001

Southwest Airlines
P.O. Box 36647-1CR
Dallas, Texas 75235

United Airlines
Customer Relations
PO Box 66100
Chicago, IL 60666

American Airlines Customer Relations
P.O. Box 619612 MD 2400
DFW Airport, TX 75261-9612

US Airways
Attention: Customer Relations
4000 E. Sky Harbor Blvd.
Phoenix, AZ 85034

JetBlue Airways Corporation
Att'n: Customer Relations
P.O. Box 17435
Salt Lake City, UT 84117-0435

Federal Aviation Administration
800 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20591

Transportation Security Administration
Office of Civil Rights and Liberties (TSA-6)
External Compliance Division
601 S. 12th Street
Arlington, VA 20598

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

I refuse to participate

I was going to wait to write this post until I'd written the letters I intend to send, but I want to write this now while there is some media attention on the matter.

I refuse to participate in the TSA's X-ray backscatter devices. I refuse to participate in the TSA's "enhanced" (read: extra-invasive) pat-downs.

Given that we purchased our plane tickets for Christmas many weeks ago before the TSA changed its pat-down procedure, December will be the last time I fly on a plane until some semblance of rationality is restored to the screening process.

I put up with the normal pat-down; it was an inconvenience but no worse than being frisked at a concert. However, I won't put up with the new pat-downs.

I don't consider a full-body scan a reasonable condition for boarding a plane. I don't consider a full-body pat-down a reasonable condition for boarding a plane. I will travel by means that have sane security checks or I will not travel.

I plan to write a letter explaining my position and sending it to all the major airlines, the FAA, the TSA, and my congressional representatives. It will be sad if the only way to get this to change is to destroy the air travel industry. But apparently we need to convince some large corporations that the TSA is hurting their business.

Yes, not traveling by air will be inconvenient. But there are options. I've been looking into long-distance travel with Amtrak. You can book private bedrooms. They're not amazingly cheap, but I'm willing to travel less often and spend more if it means maintaining some semblance of my civil rights. I've already written to Amtrak explaining why they have a perfect opportunity to make me happy to travel again. I really hope they don't disappoint me.

I hope more people will join me in refusing to participate in the TSA's invasive and demeaning security checks. We are law-abiding citizens. We shouldn't be treated like criminals just to travel within our own country.

I felt completely safe boarding planes with an X-ray scan of luggage and a simple metal detector. I will feel perfectly safe returning to that level of security.

Disaster Averted!

Kyle made hot chocolate this afternoon (it's rainy and dreary and wonderful today), and I was just washing the Cocoa Latte machine. (Christopher and Jenny gave it to us last year for Christmas, and we love it!) Well, the spigot comes apart into several tiny pieces for washing, and I totally dropped one down the garbage disposal. I got it back out, but then I realized I was missing the spring, too, so I kept looking in the disposal (I've never had to have my hand down one of those for so long!), but it was NOT THERE. Kyle came over to help look, though he was admittedly unsure what else he could do, but when I turned to him, I saw the spring on the counter, between the sink and myself, where I couldn't see it. HUZZAY! I didn't want to be the one responsible for breaking the hot chocolate machine. That would be sad. 🙁

But it's okay! Happy! 😀