The Department of State Warns Against Visiting the United States

Department of State warnings and alerts

I wrote a post on Saturday talking about how political and economic issues can lead to decreased demand and result in cheaper travel. I focused on currency devaluation, but even in the absence of monetary policy issues, anything that discourages tourism might lead to lower demand and therefore lower prices. One reader pointed to Egypt as an example. But another reader called me out for not … [Read more...]

Did You Know You Can Complain to TSA on Twitter?

TSA Twitter

This is a quick post because I'm locked in a war of words with the TSA. Apparently someone over there does read what I write. That may not be a good thing. If you ever want to voice a complaint about the TSA, I suggest you tweet their lead PR guy, @TSAmedia_RossF. He actually responds to what you say, whereas tweets to other TSA accounts generally disappear into the ether. But don't expect him … [Read more...]

Adding Millions to TSA PreCheck Could Be a Disaster

PreCheck Seattle

MJ on Travel linked to a USA Today article last week discussing plans by the Transportation Security Administration to use private companies to enroll more members in PreCheck. Apparently only 600,000 have signed up to pay $85 for five years of PreCheck access, while there are 2.5 million have paid $100 for five years of Global Entry (which includes PreCheck). Scott McCartney of The Wall Street … [Read more...]

Free Travel by Hacking Your iPhone

Anthony Hariton, a computer science student in Greece, plans to give a lecture at a conference in May on how he managed to generate fake boarding passes with his iPhone. (HT to Slashdot) On the surface it doesn't seem too difficult. Not that I know how it works from a technical perspective, but I've already shown that some information on a boarding pass barcode can be decoded to estimate your … [Read more...]

TSA Union Says Frequent Security Lapses Are “A-Plus”

Only government employees would claim that an oppressive security regime -- which requires pat downs, advanced body scanners, and easily circumvented restrictions on liquids -- in order to keep terrorists at bay should be ecstatic about seeing 800 security lapses per year. For 56,000 employees, that works out to roughly 1.5%. (I'm hoping not many were given the opportunity to become repeat … [Read more...]

Your Chance to Comment on TSA Nude-O-Scopes

Screen Shot 2013-04-21 at 6.19.40 PM

The Transportation Security Administration has finally complied with a court order to re-evaluate its use of body scanners, requesting public comment on its Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) in the process. (Hat Tip to trims on Slashdot.) This Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is being issued to comply with the decision rendered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District Columbia … [Read more...]

Staying Three Beeps ahead of TSA PreCheck

A boarding pass from a recent flight (the code has been corrupted).

TSA’s PreCheck service is great. In fact, I’m even willing to call it a “service” because it's the one thing the TSA has actually gotten right as far as airport security is concerned. TSA officials claim that they want to make PreCheck the future for most passengers -- not just elite passengers -- and I sincerely hope that’s the case. In the meantime, I am increasingly frustrated by its … [Read more...]