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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Two million travelers come in contact with the Transportation Security Administration every day. It is an intense experience all around -- extremely personal in some senses but also impersonal at the same time.

There is no time to talk, to listen, to engage with each other. There isn’t much opportunity for our Security Officers to explain the ‘why,’ of what we ask you to do at the checkpoint, just the ‘what’ needs to be done to clear security. The result is that the feedback and venting ends up circulating among passengers with no real opportunity for us to learn from you or vice versa. We get feedback verbally and non-verbally at the checkpoint and see a lot in the blogs, again without a real dialogue.

Our ambition is to provide here a forum for a lively, open discussion of TSA issues. While I and senior leadership of TSA will participate in the discussion, we are turning the keyboard over to several hosts who represent what’s best about TSA (its people). Our hosts aren’t responsible for TSA’s policies, nor will they have to defend them -- their job is to engage with you straight-up and take it from there. Our hosts will have access to senior leadership but will have very few editorial constraints. Our postings from the public will be reviewed to remove the destructive but not touch the critical or cranky.

Please be patient and good-humored as we get underway. The opportunity is that we will incorporate what we learn in this forum in our checkpoint process evolution. We will not only give you straight answers to your questions but we will challenge you with new ideas and involve you in upcoming changes.

One of my major goals of 2008 is to get TSA and passengers back on the same side, working together. We need your help to get the checkpoint to be a better environment for us to do our security job and for you to get through quickly and onto your flight. Seems like the way to get that going is for us to open up and hear your feedback...

Thanks for joining us,

Kip Hawley



Submitted by Anonymous on

I can't help but think that this site is a huge waste of bandwidth."This is a moderated blog, and TSA retains the discretion to determine which comments it will post and which it will not." Doesn't that pretty much say it all. I believe that any hard questions that the TSA doesn't want to deal with will never make it to this forum anyway.
I do however believe that our tax dollars are being spent on this blog, and that's money that's not being spent on our security

Submitted by Jeff Taylor on

Just curious as to why now whenever i fly I am now pulled out of line for "scrutiny"?? it seemed to start right after i dared to complain that a TSA employee at MHT put a screwdriver into the usb port of my laptop, causing damage to it. It was suggested by the TSA supervisor that i "deal with it" as i might mot make my flight if i continued to put up a stink.seems petty to me to put my name on some list beacause I dared to com[plain.

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSA continues to be a fallible entity. All TSA does is inconvenience the law abiding passenger and crew. Every day, Bomb appraisal officers and Red teams get IEDs and other prohibited items past screeners. These tests are sometimes televised on CNN. Just a couple of things that really make no sense what so ever; A pen knife with a 1" blade will be taken at a checkpoint, yet a pair of scissors 7" long (sharp pointed) or a screwdriver that's 7" long is okay to pass. A person with a full bottle (12oz) of water that declares they're "diabetic" is allowed pass the checkpoint without question. I could go on and on. Tighten the procedures!

Submitted by Anonymous on

What has the TSA done to prevent a recurrence of the deaths of distressed airline passengers at the hands of law enforcement personnel? I'm referring to the cases of Rigoberto Alpizar, an unarmed passenger who was shot on the runway by air marshals, Carol Anne Gotbaum, who died mysteriously while detained at the airport (she supposedly "strangled herself"), and the case in Canada of the Polish man who was tasered to death at the airport. Are employees being trained to avoid the use of excessive force? Why does this keep happening?

Submitted by Kathleen on

well, I hope this will help someone else - I have celiac disease, which means I cannot eat most commercially prepared foodstuffs - I have to avoid any wheat, rye, oat, or barley products, as well as anything derived from those sources, such as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, grain vinegars. Last July (2007), I tried to board a flight from San Jose to El Paso, carrying 2 sealed cartons of yogurt, which I had purchased not 20 minutes before (& had the receipt in my possession). They were confiscated, and I was told I could "buy yogurt inside the terminal" unfortunately the yogurt for sale was not safe for me, as it contained granola, and I was forced to go almost eight hours without anything but ginger ale (the airline's snack peanuts also contained wheat). When I reached El Paso, somewhere around 7:45 pm, I needed something in my stomach and I purchased some trail mix, hoping that would be safe, but it was not (chopped dates, rolled in flour, not disclosed on the label, either - I threw it out, but the damage was done) - it took me over six weeks with severe mouth sores, digestive upsets, to recover from the trip - and I feel lucky I did not have to end up in the hospital. Some celiacs would have had to end up in the emergency room.
I had checked your website before I bought the yogurt, it said nothing about yogurt, other than that you could carry your own food, and I never dreamed that sealed cartons ofyogurt could be considered a hazard to anyone. My contacts with TSA regarding the incident a not much more than a dismissive shrug, but I still feel you need to address this issue, as there are many more folks than just myself that suffer from this disability. As for me, I hope I will be able to just take a bus, next time - air travel is not all that safe for celiacs...

Submitted by Anonymous on

As a Naval Officer on a small ship, I had a Top Secret clearance, and was a qualified cryptographer.I am not the potential bad guy, and don't like to be treated as such. Why can't we have a better system?

Submitted by Anonymous on

The TSA provides better theatrics than most broadway plays. Here's some info I have learned and would love to share with you.

1- You can't have any bottle larger than 3oz but you can have 10 3oz bottles! That's 30oz's!

2- Where does all the liquids that aren't allowed past screening go? In a big trash can, aren't these potential explosives? Shouldn't they be dealt with in a proper mannor?

3- They truth on why we take our shoes off? The bottom 12 inches of a majority of the metal detectors are turned off. The steel in the concrete floors of airports set the bottom portion off so the bottom of them have been inactive for years.

4- Why do we remove our laptops? Years ago a computer manufacturer named Micron made a computer that had a ribbon cable inside of it that looked like a knife on the X-ray. This computer was made 6 years ago but yet we still have to do it here in the US. Not overseas.

I travel about 90,000 miles a year and the TSA isn't providing security. How many news reports do we hear about the TSA thwarting terrorist plots?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Lots of questions, comments and suggestions but no apparent replies or answers! So what's the point of the blog?

Submitted by Anonymous on


I just want to know if you do "racial profiling" as a white female I had never got pulled aside or searched until I traveled with my fiance who is Indian. It seems every time he travels he gets pulled aside and searched. Everytime I have traveled with him I have been pulled aside and searched. This has never happened to me before until I started traveling with him. Just because a person appears to look like they are "middle eastern" doesn't mean they might be a terrorist. I never thought this stuff happened until it happened to me several times. Its embarrasing to be pulled aside in front of the entire airport.

Submitted by TSOinMINN on

As a TSO it is importatnt for the public to know that the TSO's at the airports DO NOT make the policies and SOP(Standard Opperating Policy). We are just the ones who recieve the brunt of the passenger/pilot/employee ire. The procedures are based on the fact that people have caused dammage and loss of life with liquids, shoes, and electronics.

The public seems to forget that anyone can be a threat to our freedoms. Most people are lawfull and respectiful.

Put yourself in our shoes, could you do our job? If I came to your place of business, and raised a ruckus, how would you treat me?

I ask the public, to take a moment, and realize that we TSO's have a job to do. Protecting you from a possible terrorist, is like finding a needle in a stack of needles.

Submitted by Yogi on

The TSA has undertaken a huge task to help maintain the security of the American citizen, they are going to be blasted right wrong or indifferent but at least they are trying.

I do have a question and it is over time an maybe with in my life do you think that we will end up having to carry papers to cross from one state to the next?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I had never dealt with an airport until November of last year. I found the security at the airport I was at to be on the rude side. I have yet to figure out why they confiscated an unopened bottle of dansani water, but left me keep a bottle of juice?? This just seemed really odd to me. Instead of worrying about confiscating every little bottle of hygiene products, and beverages, perhaps the security should worry more about making sure there are no weapons that could leak onto a flight by doing a better search of luggage, and of the person engaging the checkpoint. I found it quite irritating that I had to take my hair clips out because they set off the alarm, and that was the only metal on my person besides wedding rings and dog tags. C'mon now.

Submitted by Anonymous on

My biggest concern as a passenger on a plane is that I see thousads of cars, trucks, tractors, etc. traveling around the airport in a somewhat chaotic manner....It doesn't seem as though there is an appropriate system in place to ensure that these vehicles keep my bag on course (I've seen many items fall off carts and be left while my plane was backing away from my gate) or much worse, nothing that keeps them from traveling out on the runway....think of the trouble a simple S10 Blazer can cause by driving out on the runway while a 777 is landing.....

Submitted by Anonymous on

My husband and I are frequent fliers. We "almost" never carry on any luggage. It is very frustrating to stand in long lines behind people who wait until the last minute to get ready for security. I would love to see an express security line for people like us who travel with no carry on.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I fly a lot and if you think that taking off your shoes, surrendering your tooth paste or any other of the randomly selected "new security measures" (enforced by disinterested employees with random precision)will make flying perfectly safe, you need a reality check. What's next -- a body cavity check?

Submitted by FREQUENTFLYER on

I read most of the comments on this blog and I am glad to see I am not the only person that thinks that all the efforts of TSA are simply window dressing. A really determined individual has many ways of bringing an airplane down if he or she chooses. The policies of TSA seem to be haphazard at best and not very well thought out. For example, why do computers have to come off their bags and not other electronic equipment? You could just as easily conceal explosive materials in a camcorder, a digital camera, a PDA, even a cell phone, or many of the chargers that people carry nowadays with them. And anybody with some knowledge about explosives knows that x-rays machines DO NOT detect explosives. They only detect solid mass.

The issue of the No Fly List kept by TSA is another one that should be done away with until it is accurate. Right now anyone with a name similar to someone on that list is prevented from flying. I read a recent case of a family that could not fly because their 2 year old child had the same name as someone on the list. Do any of the TSA employees really thought a 2 year old could be a terrorist?

I truly believe the TSA should implement a policy of profiling. After all, every single person that has committed an attack on the US in the past 10 years, except Timothy McVeigh, belonged to a specific ethnic group. We have never have a 60 year old grandma attempt an act of terrorism against the US.

As far as the TSA applying their policies across the board, I believe that would go a long way toward improving their image. I was a "victim" of the lack of standardization a while back. I traveled through 3 different airports the same week and found a different policies concerning shoes at each of the 3 airports, even though I was using the same pair of shoes at all 3 of them.

The liquids policy is stupid at best. Like another blogger said, since you can carry 3 or 4 containers of 3 ounces each on board, 10 individuals could end up with up to 120 ounces of whatever liquid they need to cause damage. And they would all have been cleared by TSA at the checkpoint because they had adhered to the 3-1-1 rule. BTW, my wife recently accidentally flew through 3 airports with a bottle of conditioner that contained more than 3 ounces in it before finally being stopped at the 4th. one. And even then she was allowed to proceed after the TSA employee verified the contents of the bottle. So much for "security".

I do not intend this post to be an attack on the individuals who work for TSA at the checkpoints. I have found all of them so far to be courteous and willing to work with you. (except for one in San Juan, PR who claimed they were the only ones that knew and applied the rules properly, even though this was the same airport that left my wife through with more than 3 ounces of conditoner)

It is an attack on policies that are created by bureaucrats far away from the flying public, most of them do not make any sense and do not increase security one iota.

Submitted by Jim on

Jim Berry Winfield Kansas
I fully support everything that the TSA does...I know its for our own safety..Folks should just get to the airport early dont take what they are not suppose to and be glad that someone is trying to keep you safe. However, I do think that if the TSA starts a new program to catch would-be bad guys keep it under wraps...dont make it public..that way plans cannot be made to beat it. Semper Fi

Submitted by Anonymous on

I would like to see the TSA be more neutral with the airlines that use the terminals at the airport. I questioned the motive of a airline clerk bumping me to a later flight which in turn scrambled my whole flight package that I had purchased. I then ended up with the whole TSA rubber glove treatment at every stop of my flight. Just because I wouldn't give in to the changes she made. It was like I bought a new car and had a problem with the dealer and the DMV harrassed me for it!! Dont forget the airlines can be wrong to even after the purchase of the ticket!!

Thank you

Submitted by MacMikey on

I recently had to travel by air from PHL to Birmingham Alabama. In PHL, I had to wait in line to see a ID screener, then I waited in line again to go through the detector. I always travel with my Laptop, my backpack and sometimes one carry on bag ( I rescue tractor/trailers that have been abandoned by drivers). I have a Class A commercial license that includes a HazMat endorsement. This means that I was checked by PA State Police, HomeLand Security and god knows who else to get that HazMat added to my license.
On this trip I got singled out for an extra screening, not just the bags, but taken to a private sort-of area where another screener went through my stuff with his swab thingy.
When he was done, he just walked away. I called after him and asked if I was done. He said yes and I could leave the area with my things. My boarding pass was on a table so I picked it up and went to my gate.
Upon boarding I was stopped by the gate person and was told that TSA wanted me for an extra screening and he could not see how I got to the gate. I told they did a screening on me and the guy let me go. Not good enough. Apparently the screener forgot to put some kind of mark on my pass before letting me go. The boarding gate person walked me back to the security check, a good walk at the other end of the terminal and luckily we found the screener. He remembered me and assured the gate person I was good to go, marked my pass and we returned to the gate where I boarded the plane, about 10 minutes before take off.

Not such a bad thing, but if I had been held up any longer at the checkpoint, I never would have made my flight.

And, I agree with another commenter above, there were several tsa'ers standing around barking orders, but only one line was open and had a very long queue.

This seriously needs to be fixed. With my HazMat clearance and backgrounds checks done, a lengthy screening seems redundant.

Submitted by Chuck Muth on

Hate is a pretty strong word. But not strong enough to express how I feel about the TSA - the Transportation Security Administration or Thousands Standing Around, depending on your point of view - which runs those security checkpoints at American airports. I may fear the IRS, and I may dread the DMV - but for sheer bureaucratic stupidity and its affront to personal liberties, the TSA has earned a special place of loathing in my heart.

And apparently I’m not alone. An Associated Press story this past December on MSNBC’s website is titled, “TSA draws travelers’ complaints: Security screeners are the most familiar - and hated - face of government.” The story notes that TSA receives about a thousand complaints about its operations every month - which doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the number of Americans who quietly seethe at security checkpoints but don’t waste their time filing a formal complaint. Deaf ears and all that.

TSA spokeswoman Ellen Howe, however, bristles at the criticisms leveled at her agency, insisting her screeners “are on the front lines and they deserve our respect.”

No, they aren’t, and no they don’t. From a December 2007 story by Reuters:

“Airport security lines can annoy passengers, but there is no evidence that they make flying any safer, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday. A team at the Harvard School of Public Health could not find any studies showing whether the time-consuming process of X-raying carry-on luggage prevents hijackings or attacks. They also found no evidence to suggest that making passengers take off their shoes and confiscating small items prevented any incidents.”

The story notes that over $5 BILLION a year is being spent on airport security operations and that the vast majority of items confiscated by screeners are cigarette lighters - which at one time were deemed by the TSA to be extremely dangerous, but now are OK. Toothpaste and deodorant are apparently the new weapons of choice by the world’s most vicious, cold-hearted terrorists.

Meanwhile, TSA chief Kip Hawley says his agency is deploying new screening techniques to make the sheep…er, people…in those long lines “calmer” and not “so tense.” The AP reports that Hawley claims new “behavioral observation and document checking are proving to be the most successful in rooting out would-be terrorists.”

Oh, puh-lease.

“Behavioral observation” is nothing more than a cover-your-butt smokescreen to deflect criticism by human “rights” goofballs that TSA agents are “profiling” someone. When a 23-year-old named Mohammed is pulled out of line for additional screening, the screeners can claim he was “acting suspicious,” a totally subjective assessment, rather than note that he looked just like the 19 guys who flew planes into the World Trade Center. Let’s get real here.

But I can now attest from personal experience that these new “behavioral observation and document checking” procedures to root out would-be terrorists are a crock.

My family and I – which means all three kids, including the baby - were returning home from vacation last week and dutifully filed in line for the ol’ “Papers, please” routine at the Honolulu airport. I handed our five boarding passes and our ID to the lone TSA guy who gets paid to look at boarding documents and, according to TSA chief Hawley, use them to root out would-be terrorists every day. But this genius couldn’t find any of our names on the boarding passes and handed them back to me, demanding that I show him where the names were.

In the meantime, the line behind us was getting longer and longer and the folks in that line were getting tenser and less calm by the minute. Finally, I find where the names are located on the boarding passes and hand them back to (offensive term deleted).

We’re finally approved to move to Phase Two of the front-line against terrorists, much to the collective relief of those behind us. Off with the shoes and belts. Out with the laptop. Oops, almost forgot to remove my keys from my pants.

One-by-one we dutifully file through the metal detector, miraculously not setting off any bells or sirens. Whew! At least we can now put our clothes back on, head for the gate and grab something to eat before the flight, right? Not.

Apparently there was something in our “behavior” and/or our “documents” which triggered the crackerjack TSA security guards’ suspicions. Yes, a middle-class white family with three young children, including a 16-month-old baby, returning from vacation set off alarm bells in some bureaucrat’s mind. So we were instructed to move to the side for “enhanced” screening while all of our carry-on bags, including the baby’s stroller, were hand-inspected.

Out of morbid curiosity, I asked if this was simply a “random check” that we’d been so lucky to be honored with. The terse reply from the agent on the front-lines of the war against terrorists was a simple, “No.” So our selection couldn’t even be explained away by the stupidity of random selection; these people intentionally singled us out as a potential security threat.

(Offensive term deleted) then proceeded to get a female agent to pat down my wife and two daughters before feeling me up-and-down himself. At which point my wife was instructed to hold the baby out with outstretched arms like Rafiki did with Simba on the rock ledge in “The Lion King” for a pat-down.

In the meantime, another crackerjack TSA agent was busy rifling through our carry-on bags, and lo and behold, he caught my wife trying to smuggle onboard a tube of skin cream which exceeded the federally-mandated 3-ounce limit. (Offensive term deleted) informed us he was confiscating the potentially lethal tube of Lubriderm, much to the relief of the other passengers standing in line who clearly were worried it might be used to send us all to a watery grave in Davy Jones’ Locker somewhere over the Pacific.

With one of our bags now 5 ounces lighter, we finally were allowed to leave Checkpoint Charlie and proceed to the gate. Now for the kicker.

When we finally get home and unpack, I discover that the girls had inadvertently packed a pair of metal scissors they found at the condo where we stayed in their carry-on knapsack. Neither the TSA’s expensive, super-sensitive X-ray machine nor hand-inspection of the bag detected this pair a metal scissors - but they did find the Lubriderm! Don’t you feel safer now?

I’ll leave you and this topic (for now) with the following CNN story, which came out on the exact same day of our latest thrilling experience with the TSA:

“A passenger who went through an airport security checkpoint — before remembering that he had a loaded gun — is facing charges after going back to report his error, authorities said.”

So a LOADED GUN and a pair of metal scissors can make it past professional airport screeners, but not a tube of skin cream? And once the guy realizes his mistake, HE gets charged with a crime for reporting it? Unbelievable.

The real crime here was perpetrated by President Bush and the idiots in Congress who foisted this asinine airport security regime on the land of the free and home of the brave. And for all the dolts out there who mistakenly think this ludicrous and ludicrously expensive TSA crud is needed to make Americans safer, I can only refer to you the immortal words of founding father Ben Franklin: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Case closed. Next. Papers, please…

Submitted by Jack on

I wish there was a way we travellers did not have to walk in our stocking feet in the inspection area. It seems so unsanitary. Perhaps there is a santizing and safe chemical that could be put on the carpet. Thanks.

Submitted by Anonymous on

How does one go about getting compensated for the pain, suffering and management of the ring worm I picked up walking on the same dirty carpet thousands of others have?

PS. Based on the past history of tsa I do believe this will be held against me.

Submitted by Anonymous on

For the most part TSA does a good job of moving passagers through security zones. My ony complaint is that their staffing does not meeting flight schedules. For early morning flights only 1 gate is open causing long long lines.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why do airport staff and airline crews get to cut in line? Why don't they just show up for work on time like the rest of Americans are required to do? There is no reason for this, and it is frustrating for other travelers. The attitude that the "planes can't fly without us" is ridiculous. The reality is the planes can't fly without the passengers! TSA and the airlines do have jobs to do, but must also keep in mind that the customer is always right. Thus, try to implement policies consistent with this behavior.

Submitted by Ajt on

I fly quite a bit and I believe that the TSA should have been in place decades ago. They do quite well considering the people and baggage they have to deal with. I do however wish they would enforce the carry-on sizes. I feel the larger the bag that goes through the security stalls with people distractions, the more that can be snuck though in small amounts and possibly assembled to be lethal. Keep up the good work.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I’m a frequent business traveler. I don’t mind the liquid rules… or the shoe rules or any of the other restrictions - though I am very aware that this is all mostly a bit of theater designed to reassure the flying public, while the real danger (checked bags) remains at least partially unaddressed. My biggest gripe is the express lane for first class passengers. I can understand why an airline’s customers, who pay more, should expect better service – FROM THE AIRLINE.

But why should they get better service from the TSA, who are paid for by EVERYONES tax dollars?

Not only is this unfair, it creates at least the impression of collusion between the airline AND the TSA. A government agency can’t protect BOTH the business interests of an airline, AND passenger safety, without a very real conflict of interest. Just ask the FAA.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I will join the ranks of those who are informing the TSA about the rude behavior of the screeners. Is this a newsflash to anyone? I sincerely doubt it. (Please do not say the screeners get it all day from nasty passengers that is why they are so curt.... if you can not handle the job quit..... there are many in line for your job)

I read through much of the entries, which are from frustrated passengers and NOT the TSA answering any questions. Oh... they did say come back friday for 3 canned responses...

I get the impression those managing this site listen to us as much as the screeners show any customer service qualitites

Submitted by Anonymous on

I travel with a disabled partner. I am also 66 years old. We are required to remove out shoes to go through security. I asked why there was no place to sit to remove our shoes and I was told "If we provided a bench, people would sit on it". That answer was totally unacceptable and I think we deserve better.

Submitted by Anonymous on

As a traveler and an airline employee, I say take as long as you need to screen. I want the focus to be more on the qaulity of the screening rather than how many people you can get through in a minute. I think most people have come to terms that you need to get to the airport early. I would gladly give up 30 minutes of my travel day to feel safer.

Submitted by Thduggie on

I just flew from Washington Dulles to Tokyo Narita and discovered on arrival that not even the elastic straps that hold things in place were closed again by the TSA personnel that opened and checked my suitcase. This adds to a longish list of little grievances: broken plastic hooks and torn rubber elements on my suitcase interior along with small items lost upon arrival make me wish TSA agents were a little more careful. I'm sure they operate under great time pressure and other pressure, but I for one am beginning to worry about my luggage more than about flight security.

Submitted by Anonymous on

What we are experiencing is a shift of the government from being of the people by the people to one that overrides the peoples rights. Since 911 we have lost more rights then at any time in our history. We are no longer a free people who run the government but rather we have a government that rules the people. The idea that we must give up some rights to have national security is exactly what every oppressive government around the world has claimed.If we really want to make this country more secure then we have to deal with those who want too attack us, not our own citizens. We need to close our boarders, put in prison all illegals and when they complete their time return them to their country.

Submitted by Steve Zytkovicz on

I fly all the time! And usually I find that there seems to be a lot of TSA agents standing around wasting our tax dollars.

Usually there is one agent helping you put your stuff on the belt. One letting you go through the metal detector with one standing in the background watching. One watching the monitor with another by helping the monitor and helping the unload area. Still another 3 standing around by the exit area just talking! This is crazy!

To top it off you have only ONE LINE for everyone to go through the metal dector!

This is our tax dollars at work.

Fire all the ones that our a burden to the tax system or open up ALL lines.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am a 6 times a year traveler and have only limited amount of flights to discuss. I can accept the security as a precaution for the people on the plane and ground below, but I really object to be treated as a criminal as I am going thru the security. As a business owner myself I have gone thru people in my workplace that are not people persons !! I would work on the hiring policy for these positions to help the stress of traveler for your customers.Indeed we are YOUR customers. Keep up your good intentions. It is working

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am a 58 yr old grandmother, Blonde, blue eyed, retired nurse..WHY do I get searched alllll the time??? Everytime I am in Florida especially..I can't even check in early because I am "flagged" by security this ruins the trip for everyone I am with especially on airlines where it is essential to check in early to get a good seat since seats are not assigned. Can anyone tell me what to do about this? Last time I was put in the "bomb" booth! I've never been arrested, I've only gotten one ticket in my life...what gives?

Submitted by Eldee on

I have suggestion about water/liquid restriction. I find that it makes no sense in throwing out bottled water or having us to discard the water first from our own bottle. If TSA is suspicious that the liquid is flamable or explosive, why not have the person drink the water to prove that it's a drinking water? For other cases such as lotion, after shave, etc, just have the person test it on them (apply to their skin, etc). Besides, TSA have that chemical detector anyway, right?

Other than that, I don't mind taking off my shoes, taking out my laptop, etc. I realize that TSA is trying to make our flight safe. I do want to arrive at my destination in one piece. :)

Submitted by Ceruti on

Some government employees in various department of the executive branch, such as DoD and DoE have high security clearances. The government already has paid to clear them and Pres. Bush has mandated better information sharing among government agencies. Why can't federal agents with clearances have them sent to TSA who would maintain a database on cleared and trusted travelers so all these travelers would have to show is their ID with embedded electronic clearance information that would be checked against the TSA database? Then they could and skip all the screening designed to catch people who are at the opposite end of the trust spectrum. It would streamline the process for all travelers not to have everyone wait to screen travelers who are already PROVEN to be honest, loyal and trustworthy. It also costs less for everyone. Time is money. First, try out the system on government agents and if it works, it could be extended to cleared contractors or anyone else who wants to pay $25,000 and wait over a year for a background investigation.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why does the TSA cover up serious allegations such as the time I reported a man go through an exit lane without being screened? Just because someone is in a military uniform they still get screened right?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I sincerely hope this forum helps TSA officials see that many travelers, including myself, see the agency as "Thousands Standing Around" rather than the "Transporation Safety Administration." And, unfortunately, the qualified individuals who really have a desire to maintain safety get a bad name because of the majority that are not qualified. TSA should be made up of highly trained, appropriately compensated American citizens who take this job very seriously. The job requirements for all TSA employees need to be stringent, training must be exceptional and background checks should be thorough--just as they are for air marshals and federal flight deck officers. Instead, many of the airport screeners (the most visible of jobs with the TSA) do not receive extensive and ongoing training in the areas of security, professionalism, crisis management, etc. If our country is serious about maintaining security, it is critical that government agencies such as this reevaluate the current status quo.

Submitted by Anonymous on

As a frequent traveler I would find it most conveinent (and rewarding) to have express lanes for those of us who carry nothing or just a laptop/pocketbook to board a plan. This would benefit TSA as well as it would lessen the amount of items to be screened at the gate area. Those whom must bring all the other items should wait in a longer line to be screened.

Submitted by Anonymous on

As a Federal Employee traveling under government travel orders and/or government travel orders and diplomatic passport. Why do I get singled out and searched? It does nothiing but draw unwanted attention to me.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I think what the tsa does in general is a great thing for all of our safety but I would Like to know why the staff does not treat people with the respect that they get from people oh I know some people of the public are idiots but if you treat a staff member with respect and are nice to them why don't they do the same back for a major example My Wife is the niceist person in the world she treats everyone very nice and with great respect but every time she has flown your staff treats her so bad and disrspectful it is really starting to make me mad she has a hip replacement and every time she goes through the detector of course it goes off and then they ALWAYS YELL AT HER I mean YELL and treat her worse then a dog like shes some kind of crimminal WHY?and her purse has been totally ignored by the staff anyone could just take it and if she asks the staff to get it they YELL and say it will be just fine she had to stop 1 person who took it once already and that is just not right with the way your staff treats people its no wonder people get upset with you if came out of your safty zone and treated her like that in the general public even though I am not a violent person you would not be standing there acting that way very long
act like cowards in your safety zone and treat people like dogs ITS JUST NOT RIGHT

Submitted by Anonymous on

I fly a lot for work and always have something to drink with me. If I can take a drink of something before I go through security, what chance is it that the liquid is dangerous?? This is the most completely frustrating and dumb rule ever. And becuase one man tried to use an explosive device in a shoe, we all have to take our shoes off to be scanned. Seriously??? I mean, How often have we seen something like that repeated? It's now a ridiculous step that we have to take because the TSA thinks "they're" going to try that again! WHY WOULD SOMEONE TRY THAT AGAIN??? Every shoe is examined now. Seriously, the TSA rule makers need to get a little more oxygen to the brain and say to themselves, "Hey, should we stop treating the Americans like severely retarded people?" "Yes, I think we should." "Well, why don't we stop doing that pointless shoe scan for starters"
-See!! See how easy that was? Sheesh, I mean, come on people. If the Coke Zero I bought 2 feet away from the security line is soooo dangerous that I can't take it through, maybe that whole part of the pre-security line airport should be shut down. Apparently they're selling highly controversial liquids!!

Submitted by Anonymous on

I think that the TSA needs to look more closely at the locks they cut off. Even though it was a TSA lock, it was still cut off at the Dayton Airport. I even told them it was a TSA lock.

Submitted by Craig on

Where do I start? I felt like I was treated like a criminal. I had to take off my jacket, belt, shoes and was still frisked. The same went for my 3 year old son. Do they honestly think that a 3 year old would have a bomb?
After I arrived home and checked my luggage, 2 locks were broken off of my bags with a THA pamphlet. I would have gladly opened it for them. Why would they do that behind my back?

Submitted by Dennis "Live Fr... on

I travel just about every week, and my biggest problem is consistence the screening is not the same at anyone one site. Also does the 85-year-old woman who can’t walk so well really need the full security check? Some of the checks just are crazy to me. I know I know, racial profiling is not legal. Another thing would be to have professional training classes for the security young men and women since some are not professional at all; appearance is everything in my opinion.

New Hampshire

Submitted by Anonymous on

I would like to make mention the inconsistencies that I have encountered at different airports throughout the USA. When I visit my home airport, I know the TSA screnning process and what to expect. Accordingly, I plan for the screening so that I can be as little of a burden as possible. However, when it comes time to return home and I experience the TSA screening in an airport that I am unfamiliar with, I am surprised to find a few inconsistencies. Shoes off, shoes on. Computer bag in a tray, computer bag on the x-ray belt. Take your own tagged luggage to the TSA screening point, someone else takes the luggage to the TSA screening point. When ever I encounter these small differences, I am always shocked at the way the TSA Personnel speak with me as though I am some idiot and I should have known exactly what to do without having to be told. I work for a large theme park in Orlando and I would like to impart the importance of training the TSA to remember that people are traveling from all over the world and do not know what to expect in every airport. TSA Personnel need to remember that, YES, they will answer the same questions over and over on a daily basis and YES they will have to bone-up their service skills to be a little more patient with travelers. Now, I would like to offer a few TSA Screening areas (instead of relying on the retrofits across the country) within every airport. This custom area/structure should be consistent no matter what city you are flying from. At least when I walk into a post office, I pretty much know what to expect and what to do. Suggestion number two: Install digital, tourist proof signage that CLEARLY outlines what a passenger will be expected to do during the screening process. i.e. take out your lap top and put it in a tray. Put your computer bag on the x-ray belt, etc. These signs should be EXACTLY the same from airport to airport. Let me end this long post by stating that I DO appreciate the efforts of the TSA. I just want the opportunity when I travel to make their jobs a little easier and less complicated for myself.

Submitted by DJBoomerang on

As a Vietnam Vet and a Comercial Pilot, I have a security sugestion.I call it the Black Box System. Since detecting equiptment varies from airport to airport, every pasenger is led into an enclosure (oversized porta-potty), then any real machine screening is done, but also lights, fans, humming noises are experienced(like a Disney ride). For a small cost, The potential terrorist won't know what test equiptment is at what airport, and will be more afraid of beating the system.

Submitted by Ano on

In early February my mother flew from Orlando, FL to Philadelphia, PA and back. This was not the first time she had flown or the first time she was treated poorly by TSA officials. She is completely ambulatory, fully sighted, and has excellent hearing. She has, however, had 2 hip replacements and 2 knee replacements.

I contacted the TSA in regard to her treatment back on 2/15/07. I could have better spent my time talking to a wall or empty chair. There was NEVER ANY FOLLOWUP. Not with me, not with my mother, not with the sister that traveled with her and witnessed this.


“As the medical implant industry continues to expand--an estimated 20 million to 25 million Americans currently have pacemakers, artificial joints, and other implants, and they are using them for longer periods of time as the human life span increases.”
Retrieval, Analysis of Medical Implants Will Improve Outcomes
Family Practice News, Feb 15, 2000 by Heather Lindsay


“I hope somebody reads this. It used to be stocks and pillory. Now we have TSA for public humiliation. I am one of those who sets off the alarms in the airport because I have four metal and plastic implants in my hips and knees. All have been surgically replaced because without them I would be a helpless invalid.

Boarding in Philadelphia to get to Orlando on February 4th is when this particular set of indignities occurred. I joined the line such as it was that quickly resembled a herd of animals. I took off my shoes, tucked them under my arm. I carried my carry-on bag that contained my purse over my shoulder, and around my neck wore an 8X11 laminated sign that reads, “4 Medical Implants, (hips and knees)” to make sure the passengers around me knew what was going to happen. Experience has taught me that this is kinder than if they think I am carrying a gun when the alarms go off. I had my ticket and boarding pass in one hand and my picture ID between my teeth.

Each member of the pressing herd had to obtain a plastic box for themselves to put their things in for the X-Ray. They were piled high and stuck together, not easy with things in both hands. Then I went through the cage and the alarms went off. I was immediately separated from my shoes and bag and my traveling companion and taken to the cordoned off enclosure. My “attendant” was named Shawn, according to her name badge. It was very noisy and she began telling me, six inches from my face, all the things she was going to do, almost yelling, and as if I didn’t know the procedure. Sit down on the chair, raise your feet, she wanded each foot and leg slowly, before she commanded me to stand up and assume the position of spread legs and outstretched arms. Three times she patted me down, and found the hooks in the back of my bra, my watch and bracelet, my necklace and earrings, and I am sure she knows if I have fillings. Yes, she found my implants and also learned that you can’t feel them from the outside of my body. This process took nearly ten minutes and all the time she was jabbering away with her canned running comments. Right there in front of God and everybody.

To say that I didn’t enjoy this process is an understatement. This whole procedure is so humiliating!

Do I feel safer? Not a bit. I feel that my personal dignity has been unnecessarily violated in public. I feel degraded. I am a white woman of 75 years, not frail but able to travel. I feel resentful and angry at having to submit to all this and believe there must be some kinder way to accomplish safety in the air. There is always the implied threat that if the victim complains or refuses to comply with these demands that police will be summoned and they will be escorted away and thrown on the street. A little authority creates many petty tyrants. Nobody likes to be in such a forced situation.”

So, there it is. This is NOT the first time my mother has been abused by the TSA. She has had her clothing pulled up or down by TSA staff "looking" for her implants. She has had TSA staff PROBE her (not just pat down) looking for her implants. (By the way, some implants can be pushed out of position by pushing on the area.)

I understand that air security is important, but so is human dignity.

Thank you.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am a frequent traveller (30,000+ miles/year) and quite proud of how seriously the TSA takes security.

In the last few years I have travelled to the UK, Europe, Middle East and Australasia. The US has by far, the best screening I have been through. After going through "security" at some major international airports outside of the US I am often a little scared to get on the plane!

Keep up the good work. Thank you for taking our seccurity seriously.

Submitted by Sam on


finally a place to tell the US government that it is searching US citizens who live abroad simply because they live abroad: without warrents and in targeted searches that result in damage to property, embarassment, and in clear violation of constitutional guarantees of the inalienable human rights... such as the right to freedom from unreasonable search and seizure...

the last four time i have flown into the US my checked baggage has been searched on each occassion(twice with the result that items from my bag were either lost or broken with no clear means for providing suitable replacement or compensation)

in particular the last time i flew in (knowing that my bags were going to be searched) i didn't check any items, but carried only a small travel bag with a few changes of clothes...

on this occassion i was pulled aside by armed gaurds and asked a series of invasive questions and my bag was serched without my permission (albeit this time in my presence... and yet with a verbally lodged protest that the search was not random--to which the armed gaurd responded "you're right, but you've been out of the country so long..."--but precisely targeted)

just another thought for you... i don't mind taking off my shoes to put through your x-ray machines... but the very first question you ask me when i try to enter my own country is "have you been walking in dirt?"

do you think maybe you could provide some slippers?

I mean, that is, as a matter of course, the norm for most of the civilized world... in airports from europe, to africa, to asia when they ask me to take off my shoes, they provide me with a pair of slippers so i don't have to walk in the dirt of a foreign land...

but at home they tell me i need to buy my own.

you are the people who want me to take off my shoes, why don't you provide a reasonble means of doing so without soiling my body... why should i have to carry slippers at expense to me, halfway around the world so that you can be satisfied that i am not carrying a bomb in my shoes?

couldn't i just as easily put it in my slippers, and wouldn't your official armed gaurds want to x-ray my slippers as well? again leaving me standing in the dirt?

seems to me the obvious solution is for you to provide resonable footware to those you request to remove thiers.

but hey what do i know... except more than most of the tsa's "highly trained" first line of defence in a terroist attack...

on my last trip home i was flying next to a teacher coming home from micronesia, an armed guard stopped him the moment he said he lived in microneasi... doesn't that belong to us?