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Big Girls Don't Fly
Margaret Jackson, head of Quantas, was held up at LAX after some dumbass TSA dude couldn't believe a woman could be top honcho of an airline. Do you feel safer, or just more inconvenienced...and embarrassed...for what passes for "security" in this country? Here's an excerpt of the story:

Mrs Jackson said yesterday her briefcase was searched after she went through a security check at Los Angeles airport.

Among her documents were detailed plans of new aircraft, including cross-section diagrams showing seat layouts.

"The guy said 'Why have you got all of this?'," she told the Herald Sun.

"And I said, 'I'm the chairman of an airline. I'm the chairman of Qantas'. And this black guy, who was, like, eight foot tall, said, 'But you're a woman'."

Mrs Jackson revealed the incident yesterday in Beijing during a media conference to promote Qantas' new direct flights between Australia and Beijing. She raised it after a Chinese journalist complained that airport security at Australian airports was the most strict after the US.

Mrs Jackson, who was travelling with her husband, said her LA experience took about an hour.

After proving her identity, Mrs Jackson produced paper with her letterhead on it and wrote a note to the guard, whose name was Bill.

"And I wrote, 'Dear Bill, this is from the chairman of Qantas, who is a woman'."

Posted by aalkon at January 12, 2006 9:52 AM

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You probably missed their advertising campaign -- Howard Gossage, I believe -- on "Why there is no 'U' in QANTAS." Hell, it was probably before you were born.

Answer: it's an acronym for, as I recall, "Queensland and Northern Territories Aerial Service."

Posted by: Todd Everett at January 12, 2006 11:14 AM

I find the story a bit hard to swallow.

As a long-time airline employee, I'm familiar with TSA regulations and know that airline employees with valid employee IDs are exempt from additional screening procedures at the airport checkpoints. The exemptions are mainly to expedite the processing of flight crews and ground personnel who are reporting for work. Since airline employees must pass a 10-year background check in order to be given secure area access priveledges, the risk of not subjecting them to body-cavity searches is minimal.

So Margaret Jackson claims that the TSA were searching her bags? Highly unlikely. Unless she forgot her company IDs, which you'd think a company CEO would know better than to do, there was no reason for them to do that.

By the way, why do you think she felt compelled to tell everyone the race of the alleged TSA agent? Seems fishy to me...

Is Qantas hurting so bad for attention that they have to resort to this sort of thing for publicity? Even the CEO of Independence Air never stooped THAT low. ;)

Posted by: Bear at January 13, 2006 9:12 AM

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