But the increase in air transportation security has had an impact. Fewer people are flying. The airlines don't like to discuss this, but customer satisfaction, and travel, surveys show that people, especially business flyers (the most lucrative kind of passengers) are flying less. The reason is the increased, and seemingly irrational, screening methods. These antics also have a negative effect on the security personnel. There are now 2,100 air marshals (versus 33 on September 11, 2001), and half of them are unavailable (all or part of the time) because of health issues caused by too much time in the air. The air marshals work a heavy schedule, averaging twenty flights a week. Not that it's doing much good. Until this Summer, air marshals had to fly wearing suits, despite the fact that most passengers go casual. Thus the air marshals stick out, giving any potential bad guys an easy way to identify, and take down, the law.
And I read last night that passengers can now carry up to 3 ounces of previously banned toiletries on board a flight--if those toiletries are in a 1 quart ziplock bag. As Instapundit said and I've been saying for some time, if making us act stupidly is a victory, then the terrorists have scored one.
Update, 9/27/06: Kip Hawley is an idiot. (He's the head of the TSA.)
Update, 9/30/06: A real big idiot.