Arnon Grunberg



Dear T.S.A.

I know life has not always been easy for you and even though recently David Brooks appeared to ridicule members of T.S.A. Pre ("It’s not clear our Thought Leader started out believing he would write a book on the productivity gains made possible by improved electronic medical records, but having written such a book he can now travel from medical conference to medical conference making presentations and enjoying the rewards of being T.S.A. Pre.”) I’ve to admit that I’m extremely happy every time T.S.A. Pre is printed on my boarding card.

I know it’s bourgeois, it’s petty, it may be even worse than that but it’s a big relief to not have to take your shoes off, to not have to remove any single item from your pockets. Yes, it’s one of my main goals in 2014: remain T.S.A. Pre.

It has been said before that the T.S.A. Pre line can be longer than let’s say the other line, the non-Pre line, alas. I do not want to come across as a snob, as somebody who insists on exclusivity.
But if there are more T.S.A. Pre members than non-members I do hope that T.S.A. will start T.S.A. Pre Plus. I’m drifting away; this is not the subject of this letter.

Yesterday I flew out of Kennedy and I noticed that at least half of the travellers on the T.S.A. Pre line did take their shoes off, removed laptops from their bags etcetera. They had no clue that they were T.S.A. Pre.
And even though there was a big sign saying that on the T.S.A. Pre line the traveller didn’t have to take their shoes off, didn’t have to remove their laptops from their bags etcetera, apparently these travellers didn’t pay attention to this sign. Or they did pay attention and they decided: “What the heck, regardless of this sign I’m going to take my shoes off, because that’s how I like it.”

No, my guess is that many maybe even most travellers don’t read signs. How they manage to arrive at their gate on time is a small miracle, and this miracle may be used as proof that there is such a thing as a good God.

All I would like to ask you kindly is to provide the T.S.A. Pre people with a kind T.S.A. employee who is shouting, whispering or asking: “Please do not take off your shoes. You are on the T.S.A. Pre line, you are not dangerous, good people. Leave your laptop and your iPad in your bag, don’t take off your belt; wait till you are in your hotel room then you can strip. This is T.S.A. Pre, do not undress. I repeat: leave everything in your bag.” Etecetera.

This is all what is needed to make T.S.A. Pre a really enjoyable experience.

Thank for keeping our country safe and our fellow travellers tame.
I wish you happy holidays.

Kind regards,

Arnon Grunberg

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