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Gripes & Grins, Part 2 (Commenting Disabled)

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Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on

what's equally disturbing to me is how many people (including me) are reluctant/afraid to post their names. We are choosing anonymous. Even though we have code linking to us, we are "afraid" other people may deem us unpatriotic with potential repercussions. Total paranoid society is developing/has developed.

Submitted by Anonymous on
Consider this;
A. in the majority of airports the most 'private' space a screener can take a break, is usually a coffee shop
B. often, when a supervisor needs to have a briefing with their team, they do it in a very public setting
C. Being a screener is like being 'on stage' 8-10 hours per day...with every mis-step or frown being noticed
D. Screeners are not empowered to effect change - how many times have you questioned a policy and gotten a 'good' answer?

None of those issues are the traveling public's responsibility. If you don't like your job then find another (sort of like TSOs who've said "if you don't like the screening process then find a different way to travel.")
Submitted by Anonymous on
Does anyone honestly think a plane can by highjacked in this day and age? At least 25% (a guess) of the passengers would be attacking the terrorists...aka...pennsylvania plan heroes on 9/11

Terrorist: Remain calm. This plane is being hijacked.
Passengers: WTF?
Lots of noise and some screams from the hijacker.
Passengers: He's pretty much stopped moving. You don't have to stomp on him anymore. No, really, his hands are crushed.
Passengers: Just one more kick to the head for inconviencing us?
Submitted by Anonymous on

I love the phrase "I ain't buying it", don't p*** on my shoes and say its raining. thats just gold

Submitted by Trollkiller on

Paragraph breaks are mine.

BGR TSO said...

The TSA officers in question were on loan to the Secret Service. This has been common practice since at least the 2004 election.

We have the training to conduct searches. While working these events we are following Secret Service directions.

I would hardly call this practice waste or fraud.

If we did not assist our brother agency, they would have to hire outside contractors. These would have to have some sort of background check and training.

Instead, the government is being smart and efficient for a change by using its own employees that are already trained and vetted.

The employees that do these events are working on their days off so security at the airport is not compromised.

Sorry I am not buying the "outside contractor, background check" argument. If the Obama rally was a "one of" event I would support your "loaner TSO" plan. The fact is TSOs are being used at rally after rally. According to you TSOs have been loaned out since 2004.

Do you really think it is more efficient to use a security team that is unfamiliar with the venue, unfamiliar with Secret Service protocol and changes day to day and venue to venue?

Don't you think a more efficient use of resources would be hiring a contract security company, assuming the Secret Service does not have enough of their own people, to screen at Obama rallies day after day?

The use of TSO instead of professional contract security brings up a few questions.

What budget do the loaner TSOs get paid from? TSA, Treasury Dept., or Obama's campaign?

What law or rule allows for the loaning of TSOs? (Just a general answer here is good. No need to make Francine look up all the case law on a Easter weekend)

Who paid for the moving and setting up the equipment?

Are TSOs allowed to take other off duty security jobs and wear their TSA issued uniform?

If a TSO makes rude comment or steals, what department takes the complaint? TSA or Secret Service?

The TRANSPORTATION Security Agency needs to stick with transportation security until they can do that right on a consistent basis.

If the TSA wants to be the Wal~Mart for all the Govt. screening needs, they need to change the name. How about "The Screening Agency", that way you don't have to change the monogram on the Kip's towels.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Orlando Airport. Friday 10 AM. Tried to report an unattended bag to Burger King staff since it was at their table counter. Nobody cared. Walked to the nearest gate. They told me to use the courtesy phone. TSA isn't an option. Lost and found is. They said they dont have the manpower to go all over the airport and pick up bags. (this was all recorded on the phone call). Why play "report all unattended bags using the courtesy phone" when you cant actually do it?

Submitted by Trollkiller on
Anonymous said...

Consider this;
A. in the majority of airports the most 'private' space a screener can take a break, is usually a coffee shop
B. often, when a supervisor needs to have a briefing with their team, they do it in a very public setting
C. Being a screener is like being 'on stage' 8-10 hours per day...with every mis-step or frown being noticed
D. Screeners are not empowered to effect change - how many times have you questioned a policy and gotten a 'good' answer?
*****************

None of those issues are the traveling public's responsibility. If you don't like your job then find another (sort of like TSOs who've said "if you don't like the screening process then find a different way to travel.")

I disagree, ALL those issues are the traveling public's (read American citizens) responsibility. The TSA works FOR us. They are OUR employees.

If we allow poorly trained employees, improper procedures, bad management, or poor working conditions to continue because we take the "too bad so sad" attitude, we will get what we deserve.

We are the bosses of our Government. It answers to us, not the other way around.

EVERY government employee from the President down to the janitor answers to us, but we must demand answers and not rest until we get them.
Submitted by Will Kamm on

"YOU WILL NOT HAVE ACCESS TO SUCH INFORMATION AS IT IS DEEMED SENSITIVE SECURITY INFORMATION BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY."

Standard operating procedure is now considered SSI? I smell a rat. Why would someone need a security clearance (which, by the way, I have. Are CAC readers so expensive you can't put just one in every airport?) to find out whether or not they need to remove their shoes, and what their basic rights are?

Someone later on said something to the effect of "you void your 4th Amendment rights when you travel without photo ID". Though the TSA, through executive charter (which has not yet been reviewed by a judicial body - I'll give it a couple years maximum before it's completely overturned), has "voided" 4th Amendment rights in the first place (who needs probable cause, anyway?), there is no case law or precedent for "no ID = no 4th". In fact, I believe that there's been at least one case that has decided that NOT showing ID is in fact an exercise of one's 4th Amendment rights - which is why the TSA can't require photo ID for domestic flights.

Your agency needs to have clearly documented and implemented procedures for every single one of your employees and contractors to follow. There are 43,000 of you total, according to your website. There are three million active and reserve members of the United States military, and we do a much harder job than you much more efficiently. I know you've only been a real government agency for a little under six years, but it's time to pull it together. You often state that "lives are at stake" - please act like it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I've been reading this blog for a month or so, and what strikes me is that the TSOs who post don't understand that they'll never get the trust they want until the TSA changes its approach. Uneven enforcement of rules and refusal to standardize and disclose requirements has created in the minds of many Americans the impression that the TSA is either corrupt or incompetent. Neither impression inclines Americans to be particularly cooperative or sympathetic, as reflected in the comments here.

Terrorists seek to disrupt the normal functioning of society through the use of violence, and I'd say that the TSA is proof that OBL and his gang have succeeded nicely. Personally, I preferred this country when it was less safe and less fearful.

Submitted by Anonymous on
EVERY government employee from the President down to the janitor answers to us, but we must demand answers and not rest until we get them.

Want to fly today? Want us to call a LEO over to have you arrested? Go over there for additional screening.

Neither the President nor the janitor can have us summarily either detained or arrested. On the other hand a TSO who has a burr under his saddle can do all of those things plus some. They are an agency running open loop and answer to no one, especially the unwashed masses who fly.
Submitted by Screener Joe on

winstonsmith said: "The TSA has not been responsible for finding so many as one of these so called "plots" or foiling so many as one of these would be "terrorists"."

Do I understand your opinion correctly: you are saying that since we can't prove we're perfect we should quit trying?

TSA is not supposed to "catch" terrorists as you seem to challange us to do. We are supposed to create a barrior between the terrorist and the passengers on that airplane. Our job is to make it difficult enough for the bad guy that he does not make the attempt.

I cannot prove that the work of the TSA has dissuaded anyone from trying to attack a plane. You cannot prove that we haven't.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Standard operating procedure is now considered SSI? I smell a rat. Why would someone need a security clearance

BOY, YOU ARE MISSING THE POINT COMPLETELY - DID IT EVER ACCUR TO YOU DO NOT NEED A SECRET CLEARANCE FOR YOUR JOBS SSI INFORMATION THAT USE MUST USE TO PERFORM YOUR JOB??

IF YOU ACTUALLY WERE AWARE OF THIS, YOU WOULD NOT HAVE COMMENTED ON THAT.

Submitted by Winstonsmith on

Oh Screener Joe... let's look at what you said:

winstonsmith said: "The TSA has not been responsible for finding so many as one of these so called "plots" or foiling so many as one of these would be "terrorists"."

Do I understand your opinion correctly: you are saying that since we can't prove we're perfect we should quit trying?

Joe, you clearly don't understand much. What you don't get is that you can't claim that you are keeping us safe from plots such as the London bomb plot or any other plot that never actually makes it to a TSA checkpoint. You and other TSOs seem to like to support yourselves by saying that "they're out there and we're catching them." Well, "they're" out there, and actual police and genuine investigatory agencies are catching them while you good people at the TSA are busiliy treating innocent travelers as if they were criminals. Not only can't you prove you are perfect Joe, you can't even prove you're effective. So yes, quit. Please. Take checkpoint security back to what it was pre 9/11 and leave the cockpit doors bolted. We'd all be better off for it.

TSA is not supposed to "catch" terrorists as you seem to challange us to do.

That's your "challenged" interpretation of what I said. I never used any such language. What you are supposed to do as an agency is to keep guns, large knives, and actual explosives off of planes, a job that was done just as well if not better by the private security companies pre-9/11 as you do today and without all the needless and wholesale violation of people's rights and sensibilities.


We are supposed to create a barrior between the terrorist and the passengers on that airplane. Our job is to make it difficult enough for the bad guy that he does not make the attempt.

And your own agency's audits, as well as audits by the GAO in 2003, and 2006 have shown that your efforts are largely ineffective in keeping dangerous items from going through the checkpoints (in addition to numerous anecdotal items that appear right here on this very blog about missed items that passengers were surprised made it through). So why are you still on the job?


I cannot prove that the work of the TSA has dissuaded anyone from trying to attack a plane. You cannot prove that we haven't.

March 22, 2008 9:53 PM

Joe, it is not up to me to prove anything. Your agency is making the extraordinary claim to be providing us incremental safety, therefore it is up to the TSA to provide the extraordinary evidence to support the claim. I make no claims, but I do point out the demonstrable facts that you as an agency aren't doing anything any better than we had before, but at a much greater cost to the flying public, to the airlines, and to the rights and civil liberties of all people who fly in the United States.

The burden of proof is on the TSA and on the government in general to prove that its extraordinary measures have yielded extraordinary results, not on the flying public to prove that governmental claims of "trust me" are all wet.

What's that I smell?... oh that's right, you are still telling me it's raining and my shoes are wet yet there's not a cloud in the sky. No sale Joe.

Submitted by Trollkiller on
Anonymous said...

Want to fly today? Want us to call a LEO over to have you arrested? Go over there for additional screening.

Neither the President nor the janitor can have us summarily either detained or arrested. On the other hand a TSO who has a burr under his saddle can do all of those things plus some. They are an agency running open loop and answer to no one, especially the unwashed masses who fly.

The President may not be able to but his security team can, or at least Cheney's security can.

You are right, at this point the TSA is running in an open loop. It is up to us, to close that loop.

I encourage you, do not bow down to threats. Stand up. Refuse shoddy treatment from TSOs.

Stand on every one of your Federal Constitutional rights and your State Constitutional rights.
Submitted by Anonymous on

I'm sure the TSA has noticed since they initiated these blogs the repition of how passengers report how they are treated or mis-treated. Despite that the TSA has never officially addressed these complaints. Sure the TSA bloggers have at different times and in different tomes replied to some of those complaints but never a blog decicated to treatment of passengers. Yes there has been a blog on liquid, a blog on the legal foundations of TSA, how the TSA searches bags, etc, etc. But nothing on the basic most common gripes posted here. I find it even more surprising that the TSA Mission, Vision and Core Values does not address this most fundamental aspect.


Mission
The Transportation Security Administration protects the Nation’s transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce.

Vision
The Transportation Security Administration will continuously set the standard for excellence in transportation security through its people, processes, and technology.

Core Values
To enhance mission performance and achieve our shared goals, we are committed to promoting a culture founded on these values:

Integrity:
We are a people of integrity who respect and care for others.
We are a people who conduct ourselves in an honest, trustworthy and ethical manner at all times.
We are a people who gain strength from the diversity in our cultures.
Innovation:
We are a people who embrace and stand ready for change.
We are a people who are courageous and willing to take on new challenges.
We are a people with an enterprising spirit, striving for innovations who accept the risk-taking that comes with it.
Team Spirit:
We are a people who are open, respectful and dedicated to making others better.
We are a people who have a passion for challenge, success and being on a winning team.
We are a people who will build teams around our strengths.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Screener Joe - You said:

"I cannot prove that the work of the TSA has dissuaded anyone from trying to attack a plane. You cannot prove that we haven't."


The TSA can do better than that.

Of all the passengers that have been arrested due to suspicious behavior or fraudulent travel documents, or had firearms found at checkpoints, or artfully concealed prohibited items found at checkpoints, or were involved in a checkpoint closure, terminal evacuation or sterile area breach, or were disruptive on flights, how many actually were involved in a terrorist group or plot?

Certainly all of this above issues were further investigated by TSA or LEO. How many were involving a person with terrorist intentions? Any?

If some were just "testing" the system certainly the TSA or LEO would have investigated their backgrounds and affiliations. In that case how many were found to have connections to known terrorist organizations?

All of the items that were used in the 9-11 hijackings were allowed, then and now, to be brought on a plane. So what is different? The principal difference is that passengers today, like those on United 93 and American 63, will rise-up and defend to the death, any threat to the safety of the aircraft and fellow passengers.

It would be totally impossible for an aircraft to be hijacked today and used as a weapon.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Sorry I made one mistake in my previous post.

One of the items reportedly used during the 9-11 hijackings were box cutters that were allowed then but are currently not allowed. However one item allowed today, and then, are scissors less than 4" in length. As everyone knows a scissor blade less than 4" length is still greater than the length of the exposed blade in a box cutter.

Submitted by Zak on

i would like to just post a grin and a gripe at the same time...

just got home from RSW in FL (Fort Myers)and here is what happened, got to the airport at 430 for a 730 flight (ok, early) checked into Delta, and bags checked in too, and then got boarding passes and then went through security, no problem, fast, the agents were nice etc. go through security, FLIGHT CANCELED... have to go back to delta counter (outside security) and have them book us on a continental flight to NEWARK instead of LGA... then new boarding passes, and into security again and surprise surprise, pulled over for random check cause we had left, got new boarding passes and all...

ok, the agent who checked my things was really nice, so i am happy about that as were the female agent who did my sisters things and the other male agent who handled my dads. we got our boarding passes stamped cleared by TSA and the date. went to the gate and then when the 630 (full flight) NEWARK left, we asked if we could get seats together, ok, the ticket agents at the desk for CONTINENTAL were happy to change our seats, but took our freshly stamped TSA CLEARED boarding passes and didnt return them...

gripe- went to board the 830 flight to NEWARK already 15 min late, a alarm went off when the new agents checked the boarding passes- hmm we were supposed to be checked by TSA and werent, so we have to be again... telling the agent for continental- ummm we were checked, look it up- they said they had to have a TSA agent come and check us again- is it possible to maybe get a computer system where- TSA agents can input the passengers name on a list, with the airline too, so the airline can pull it up, if a seat change has occurred or if, the alarm goes off?

grin- two TSA agents came over, and the female one had already checked us, and was like, you again, and told the flight agents that we were clear and stamped us and sent us on our way... whew!!!! that is awesome, and thank u TSA for that!

Submitted by Michael on

A couple of recent experienceshave left me deeply troubled about the state of the TSA and airport security in general.

In October of 2007, I was returning to Honolulu from Miami International. In the security line, I showed the TSA attendant my photo ID (a Hawai'i driver's licence) and my boarding pass. He told me that my ID was not valid and that I needed a passport. After a moment of stunned silence, I asked why it was valid enough for me to get to Miami but not for the return trip. He once again said that I would need a passport. I then asked him if he realized that Hawai'i was a part of the U.S., at which point he said that he'd "let me go this time" but that in the future, I should have a passport as a valid ID.

On another trip between Honolulu and Hilo in December of 2007, my wife and three daughters (ages 4,2,and 9 months at the time) as well as myself were singled out for extra screening. All of us, including my infant, were patted down and thoroughly inspected. I have absolutely no problem being inspected, and I realize there are issues with profiling, but there seems to be a disconnect with reality on the part of many of the screeners. Of the more than 100 passengers on that flight, a couple with 3 young children are singled out for extra screening? Gimme a break!

Submitted by "beChange" = If... on

Lowlights~

LowLight 1.~
Screener Joe...being curt in your response to the individual with a physical hardship, when they simply asked how they would be handled. Just like the checkpoint...unhelpful at times.
* HOW ABOUT THIS - anyone who alarms the WTMD will need to have the source of the alarm identified. If that means taking a sterile piece of cloth and 'tracing' their shoes etc...then that's what will happen. DID THIS JUST VIOLATE SSI...nope...common sense Screener Joe.

LowLight 2.~
NO VOTING BUTTONS on TSA posts. You would have an immediate feedback mechanism that tells you how your answers/statements are being received. MAYBE this preponderance of evidence/response would be enough to wake some folks up to how things are being done?

LowLight 3.~
LACKING FACTUAL STATEMENTS -
1) Testing - has anyone bothered to see the results of the Red Team Testing?

WATERED DOWN EXPLANATION - (Red Team Testing) - a bunch of folks from Washington DC hit each checkpoint simultaneously with tests that are meant to measure screening effectiveness. Once the first test is registered, a call goes out to the other checkpoints to be on the alert to testing. Despite this...the results are no better than when private screening companies were working the checkpoints.

IS IT THE TRAINING? (IMO) - the TSA screeners receive 5x more initial training than the private screeners before them. TSA screeners receive recurrent training that eclipses what private screening companies were budgeted for...yet the results are the same.

COULD IT BE THE EQUIPMENT? - the x-ray equipment etc that is used to screen for IEDs etc are inadequate. If one understands how the machines actually function technically, the ability to thwart them is even easier.

WHAT THE ISRAELIS DO DIFFERENTLY THAN WE DO - they do through review of boarding passengers (profiling or what the TSA now calls 'behavior officers' or something akin to that). After all...one could have a 10 lb bomb on an airplane...and unless that person had ill intent...the plane is safe.

THE LESSON HERE - it is not 'what' is on the airplane...it is 'who' (with the exception of explosives in cargo).

OH, and before we have to read another politely structured statement from the TSA about testing effectiveness...can some writer for some paper use FOIA and get the results, as it is shocking.

LASTLY...the comments I posted earlier on these points (copied at the bottom) are meant to highlight that Washington is letting down their own people. When the TSA rolled out, the screeners were promised break rooms, lockers, internet access to be able to manage their payroll accounts, proper anti fatigue mats etc...of which the screeners received none of those things.

SCHEDULING...WASTED RESOURCES...how many airports are still using excel by a 'Scheduling Manager' who has no way of tying the passenger loads of the airlines into their manpower forecasts? How ridiculous is that...to be unable to 'forecast' the passenger load when every airline knows their loads in advance?
THE IMPACT -
1. tax payer money being thrown away by inefficient practices
2. Screener Morale is impacted - consider the impact on the screener who asked for a day off...and is told 'no' only to find a half empty checkpoint because the TSA can't forecast passenger loads.
3. Higher burnout and turnover
4. Long lines and not enough resources to handle them or too many screeners manning empty checkpoints (back to point #1)

If the TSA was less like a government organization and more like a business, these practices would have been fixed out of necessity. Wasteful practices abound...

It makes me sad to see a screener have to sit in a gate area to take their break and eat something.

It makes me sad when a screener can't have a moment of privacy to call family or loved ones during a break.

It makes me sad that the way the screeners have been let down by Washington has caused some to feel like their behavior to the public is OK...like being rude or impatient or unwilling to explain is somehow forgiven...because of what they were promised and didn't receive.

Consider this;
A. in the majority of airports the most 'private' space a screener can take a break, is usually a coffee shop
B. often, when a supervisor needs to have a briefing with their team, they do it in a very public setting
C. Being a screener is like being 'on stage' 8-10 hours per day...with every mis-step or frown being noticed
D. Screeners are not empowered to effect change - how many times have you questioned a policy and gotten a 'good' answer?

Thanks for listening!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Please fill the trunk of your car with food, drinks, and condiments and drive to your destination!
Don't forget your GAS card!

Submitted by Anonymous on
Please fill the trunk of your car with food, drinks, and condiments and drive to your destination!
Don't forget your GAS card!

I do that if the trip is less than 500 miles.

1.5 hours drive to airport
2.0 hours early
1.5 hours flight
0.5 hours waiting for luggage
0.5 hours waiting for rental car
total 6.0 hours

I also get $.51 per mile, tax free, when I drive for business. In flyover country a person can drive at 65-75 MPH.
Submitted by Anonymous on

"Please fill the trunk of your car with food, drinks, and condiments and drive to your destination!
Don't forget your GAS card!"

What a pathetic comment. If you are a TSO you are a disgrace to the job and your fellow TSO's who are attempting to keep people safe. Your attitude is why you personally are held in such low esteem.

Any one in this country that wants to avoid people in the TSA who think like this can easily do so, still fly to thousands of locations in the country, and never run into this joker. It is called General Aviation, you are treated with respect, and you will wonder why there even is a TSA.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"Please fill the trunk of your car with food, drinks, and condiments and drive to your destination!
Don't forget your GAS card!"

Well you pretty much sum up what is the worst attitude a TSO could possibly have. Do you hate your job? Do you think that abusing the public is a right that comes with your TSA uniform? I hope your fellow TSO's root you out, their workplace would be a much better place without you.

Submitted by Anonymous on

To Duane

Obviously I don't have all the facts, but your side was horrifying enough to warrant further investigation. Please don't stop at the Albany FSD. If you indeed believe a crime was committed, contact the local police and file charges. TSA needs to learn that government is "for the people" - and not against them. Maybe if screeners realized that they may have to explain their actions in a court of law, some of this would stop.

Submitted by Anonymous on

At the Kalispell, Montana airport, they did not open the security check line till less than half an hour before flight time. We joined the line in plenty of time, but were at the end. The plane took off before we got through the line. We surmise that the contractors maximized their profit by minimizing the time the line was open.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...
"Please fill the trunk of your car with food, drinks, and condiments and drive to your destination!
Don't forget your GAS card!"

Why do you automatically assume that this was a TSO?

It could just as easily not been a TSO who made this post.

If it was a TSO, Shame on you, Quit and go to work at a fast food joint!

If it was not a TSO, this shows the abuse that TSO's have to deal with when everyone assume it was a TSO making that statement.

P.S. Naysayers, (especially winstonsmith) Please consider the following:

What if the terrorist plot is to blow up the plane in the sky over a major American city and not a repeat of 9-11?

Does this change the equation for you?

Well, does it?

Submitted by Anonymous on

The traveling public is comprised of many travelers today that are ignorant to the fact that the world we live in today is not all "PEACHY" and well. I do agree that PEANUT BUTTER nor STRAWBERRY JAM can destroy you. But why make the job harder for TSA or TSO's from doing their job? Because you want to make a point that your hungry and that PEANUT BUTTER won't blow up? If the Dept Of the NAVY would allow me to again volunteer to go overseas and take someone with me to show them what kind of people there are out there. And what they are capable of, I would gladly do so. But in the meantime enjoy your peanut butter and Jelly sandwitch because I will continue to do my job and discard it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I do not understand the TSA policy by which my identification card/passport and boarding pass is checked by a TSA officer at the head of the line, and then the boarding pass has to be checked 10 feet away as I pass through the metal detector. Why can't the first check enough - there is no place for anyone to go or for anyone to join the queue.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Figure this one. I have a TSA approved lock (i.e., one for which the TSA has a key) for my suitcase, although I usually carry on. On one flight recently, however, I checked my bag .. but forgot to lock the suitcase. Thus, the lock was attached and secured, but not preventing the suitcase from being opened. When the bag arrived, the lock was removed, gone. Only a TSA person could have removed the lock.

Submitted by Joyce on

My husband and I are travelers in our 70's. We are so fed up with long lines, humiliating searches and inconvenience that we now skip flying entirely and take Amtrak whenever possible. Good food, nice seats, great scenery. We need more trains!

Submitted by HSVTSO Dean on

Michael wrote:

In October of 2007, I was returning to Honolulu from Miami International.

...

He told me that my ID was not valid and that I needed a passport.

...

I should have a passport as a valid ID.

Oh.. my.. God..

Far be it for me to rag on my own organization, or one of my fellow coworkers that work for that organization, but God-Almighty that is just stupid.

On another trip between Honolulu and Hilo in December of 2007, my wife and three daughters (ages 4,2,and 9 months at the time) as well as myself were singled out for extra screening.

...

Of the more than 100 passengers on that flight, a couple with 3 young children are singled out for extra screening? Gimme a break!

Yeeeeeah... about that...

See, the airline does this thing called selectee designation, which, so I understand, is done through a computer system known as CAPPS - Computer-Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening. While the ins and outs of this system are above my pay-grade, and are probably SSI, I can tell you that the reasons for being so selected number into the small thousands. Everything from a flight being cancelled and being rebooked on a different airline (as far as the computer is concerned, you just walked up to the counter and got the ticket) all the way down to good, old-fashioned random selection.

It's one of the more common questions I've been asked over the course of the past six years - "Why was I selected?" - and that's the best I can tell them. I really, really don't know all of the things the airline associates with designating people as selectees; I only know that we have to screen them.

And there's not a choice in it for us. One time, an entire flight of 12-year old girls flying home to China after a week in Space Camp got designated as selectees, and the only option we, as the TSA, had was to screen them and perform the bag searches on all of their carry-ons.

And, on a final note, the way an airline designates people as selectees is not the much-maligned no-fly list nor even the "terrorist watch list" - it's something seperate from the two of those. It's more like a coding requirement in computers.

If (this) is (that[+the other]) then (X), else (Y).

Submitted by Anonymous on

The TSA does not make me feel safe at all. I was travelling on business out of BWI and when I was in the line to go through security, the "child" that was screening the bags had his head turned away from the screen and was having a conversation with his girlfriends. What is the point of screening bags when noone is watching?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said: All of the items that were used in the 9-11 hijackings were allowed, then and now, to be brought on a plane. So what is different? The principal difference is that passengers today, like those on United 93 and American 63, will rise-up and defend to the death, any threat to the safety of the aircraft and fellow passengers.

This statement is entirely untrue. The items used in the hijackings on 911 are not permitted items any number of them or even all of them being caught by xray would have taken the tools used out of the hijackers hands. This includes the boxcutters, playdough/clay used in the fake bombs to control the passengers, and knives. Also those hijackers would be on no-fly lists as known terrorists and stopped while trying to purchase tickets. If they managed to get tickets a ticketchecker or BDO most likely would have picked up the very obvious signals and body language and sent them for extra screening. One or any number of these scenarios should have prevented 911 and the great loss of life.

I have just mentioned the things the TSA does to prevent another 911. I'm not talking about the cockpit doors, the passengers being aware and willing to stop hijackings as that has also changed post 911.

TSA screeners

Submitted by Anonymous on

I would like to see what would happen if the tsa stopped working for 1 week. I assure you that after 20 plus firearms, god only knows how many knives, and maybe even an ied or two, gets onto an airplane then youll be a little less likely to complain about losing your 2 dollar toothpaste.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I have no idea who some of these TSO's are, responding to some of these "Anonymous"idiots who post here.

But as far as I am concerned, my greatest fear is that someone will walk in amongst people waiting in line and detonate a IED! The second fear I have is that I miss a IED that goes on a plane and blows up not only killing the "Anonymous" TSO haters here but those beautiful people who I swore to protect.

Here is a few facts...first of all the late flights, the cancelled flights, the over booked flights are attributed to the Airlines and not the TSA. Our job is to do our best to protect you according guidlines set by the Department of Homeland Security.

....Long Lines? One of the problems we have is that passengers do not understand or follow the instructions for the screening process. THE LESS ON BOARD BAGGAGE THE BETTER. Follow the 311 rule. If you pack a bag full of electronics and wires, its going to be search. Do you know what a detonator looks like? I do, but when you insist on bringing a bag on board with items that you won't need on the flight, there will be bag searches.

Do you know what the latest intel is on IEDs being made to blow up a plane? We do and you won't be happy to know what they are doing. Someone say Peanut Butter earlier? We go to class and learn everyday. We are tested on our job knowledge and capabilities on a daily basis constantly.

I am extremely cordial with passengers and go out of my way to greet the passenger, smile at the passenger, give helpful hints to the passenger, and wish them a great day and a happy flight, no matter what duty station I'm on.
If you have a situation with a TSO, talk to the STSO and a Complaint form will be filled out. It will be submitted for review.
This week I received three written compliments which made me very appreciable. Have you ever tried either one?

In closing I see some legit complaints and I see others that are so off base it is pathetic. I thank you very much and if I can be of further service, let me know and folks, you have a great day!!!!

Submitted by Anonymous on

In regards to the comments about the retired naval officer with the hip replacement, there is nothing in our policies at TSA that says that all passengers must remove their shoes, no exceptions.

If a passenger states for any medical reason they are unable to remove their shoes then we are to do additional screening on the shoes and allow them to leave them on.

No passenger can be forced to do anthing, we can only make suggestions. I am under the understanding that the whole screening process is done through passengers decisions. And to the people making the comments that the passenger should take a bus or train, that is not what TSA is about.

Security may be number one priority but customer service follows close behind that and as a TSA officer it is our job to work with person's with disabilities and medical requests.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I would like to post a complaint. Last week after picking up my checked bag, and getting to my car in long term parking, noticed that the TSA lock on my bag wasn't mine. Had to drive to the terminal, lug the suitcase into the counter, then was told to go to security, where they had to try 5 different keys to get the lock off my bag. Thank goodness they only switched the locks, my clothes were still in my suitcase. Don't think I'll bother buying another TSA lock...

Submitted by Sandra on

Patting down a child is disgraceful. Patting down a 9-month old is beyond belief.

It's my suggestion that all parents teach their kids to scream for help if someone from the TSA touches them. They would just be putting into practice what hopefully they are already being taught - that you never let a stranger touch you and if someone does that, you scream.

Submitted by Anonymous on

On a direct flight from Memphis to Detroit, jewelry was stolen from my suitcase. The jewelry was packed inside of a box, which was packed inside of a zipped up bagged. The jewelry were the only items taken, and no card was left to indicate that my luggage had been searched. I know that my suitcase had been tampered with, because the zippers were in a different location than where I put them. The only time my suitcase was out of my possession was when I turned it in to the TSA people at the airport in Memphis.

The only way someone could have known that the jewelry was there was via Xray. My claims with TSA and the airlines were denied.

Now, you tell me - who could have pulled off this theft? It MUST have involved a TSA employee, perhaps in cahoots with someone from the airlines.

In any case, DON'T TRUST ANYONE with TSA. They're human beings and not all of them are honest!

Submitted by Anonymous on

As one with a replacement knee, I am set aside for "special" treatment. Some TSA employees follow the necessary procedures pleasantly; others go far beyond the minimum procedures.
For example, I have been asked to empty my pockets completely, even of items such as handkerchiefs and dollar bills that are clearly non-metallic. In one instance, my wallet was taken to be put through the detector, and was left unattended in plain sight for anyone to steal.

Submitted by Adb on

I flew from Detroit to Amsterdam in early March. I normally carry a fair amount of tech toys; I get pulled over about half the time, which is understandable. However, this time the TSA official explained I had to remove my portable DVD player ahead of time. I remembered reading this, and pulled up the site on my iPhone; sure enough, it said 'full-size DVD players'. I explained this to the rep, explaining that's what you hook up to your TV at home. His response? "There's no such thing as a full-size DVD player." Since he had been quite polite up to that point (and thanked me for putting all my power cords in a bag), I didn't push the issue, but obviously at least one rep @ Detroit isn't quite familiar with what 'portable' means.

Submitted by Anonymous on

How about training ALL TSA inspectors to recognize basic medical devices? I can't believe I still run into TSA inspectors who act like they have never seen nor heard of a CPAP machine.

The last time I was at ELP the inspector obviously did not only know what a CPAP machine was, but became downright twitchy when the smear he ran on my CPAP machine came back positive. I explained to him that CPAP machines such as mine have air filters that trap organics and, thus, can give false positives in devices that test for explosives. It was clear to me that he had no idea what I was talking about.

Submitted by Anonymous on
....Long Lines? One of the problems we have is that passengers do not understand or follow the instructions for the screening process. THE LESS ON BOARD BAGGAGE THE BETTER. Follow the 311 rule. If you pack a bag full of electronics and wires, its going to be search. Do you know what a detonator looks like? I do, but when you insist on bringing a bag on board with items that you won't need on the flight, there will be bag searches.

The only reason I fly is for business reasons. I fly at least 2x a week for 49 weeks out of the year. I carry lots of computer equipment with me (again job related), no liquids in carry on luggage, and have dealt with snotty TSOs (quite often) and professional TSOs (rarely). I know the routine (empty pockets into laptop bag, shoes, belt and glasses off, coat off, laptop out of bag and into a bin). I've arrived at an airport at 0430 to catch a flight at 0630 only to discover that neither the airlines nor TSA have opened up (what about the 2 hr rule?), have been rousted by a cop (MPLS) for standing at an empty line waiting to be first in line when they opened up the counter, and have been subjected to excesses by TSA hirlings.

Your organization has a long way to go before I would consider it professional. I recently traveled through Amsterdam and Helsinki and was pleasantly surprised by how those security types handled passengers (both passport and gate screeners). Why can't TSA learn a lesson from those guys (who've a much longer history dealing with terrorists than the US)?

I wince when seeing little children and the obviously disabled getting the 'treatment' from TSO's and have refrained from commenting. No more will I do that. Outrageous conduct, witnessed by me on the part of TSA will be reported to the local FSD and TSA hqtrs. I usually have lots of time on my hands while at the airport (arrive two hours early for check in and security screening).
Submitted by Anonymous on

My family and I just flew from Phoenix today. The TSA folks were helpful and friendly through the security checkpoints. When we got home though, it was a big surprise to find all of my husbands sampoo, body wash, toothpaste and cream medicines with caps off leaking all over his clothes. My daughters suitcase had similar issues. I don't see why it has to be this way. It seems as though the people we are trusting and paying to secure our baggage are taking advantage of us.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Here's an idea. Seal off the captain's cabin from the rest of the airplane. Give the cabin a separate entrance. Terrorists will not be able to enter cabin. Terrorism problem solved. We go back to reasonable (vs. excessive) precautions at our airports.

Submitted by Winstonsmith on

Another anonymous poster said:

P.S. Naysayers, (especially winstonsmith) Please consider the following:

What if the terrorist plot is to blow up the plane in the sky over a major American city and not a repeat of 9-11?

Does this change the equation for you?

Well, does it?

So what if the terrorist plot is to blow up the plane in the sky? Is the TSA equipped to catch these terrorists any better than the private screeners were pre-9/11? Nope. They are not. They are certainly no more capable of capturing things going through the checkpoints. Cargo is not yet screened 100%, so we can't claim that. We were already checking for explosives pre-9/11. People's ability to create actual explosives on planes has been debunked thoroughly on this blog and elsewhere, so no, this does not change the equation.

Any other questions you want to ask me?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I have to agree with retired navy man Cliff Woodrick and others with disabilities who have posted with similar complaints. To the wag who told us to take a bus or cab or train or drive instead, many of us already have chosen to do so.

I’ve given up flying until more sane accommodations are made for people with titanium prosthetics. I had both hips replaced ten years ago and since 2001, flying has become an exercise in humiliation that I refuse to participate in any more.

I was issued cards following my surgery that are useless. TSA personnel have pointed out that they can be forged and even if they were legitimate, I could still be carrying a weapon. So I understand the predicament. I just don’t like it.

Every time with absolutely no exceptions, I have been singled out for searches whenever I fly. Every time it is embarrassing. 80-90% of TSA personnel have been professional and courteous about the situation; but I’ve had enough of the finger pointing and snickering by other passengers. The Denver airport was the worst and the straw that broke this camel’s back. I was put in an elevated plastic cage in full view of all arriving and departing passengers and left there for ten minutes while passengers streamed by and made fun of my situation. Finally being searched in the cage was even more embarrassing. I can now appreciate how fish in a bowl and caged zoo animals must feel.

I consider myself a professional in my field, I am civic-minded and active in my community, and outside of a few minor traffic tickets, have a spotless record. So I naturally resent the fact that my country’s security personnel constantly consider me a potential criminal. All because I have fake hips.

I wish I had a simple solution for this problem, but alas I do not; but until one is found, I’m driving no matter what the cost of gas or distance.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Hi -

I fly 1-3x / week and know airports pretty darn well.

The TSA is one of the most poorly-run organizations I have ever encountered. Coupled with the significance of their role, it's shameful that we sit still for it.

Screeners make under $10 an hour? No wonder I have an awful feeling of "lights on, absolutely no one home ... for years ..." when speaking to many of your employees.

Your QA systems - if they indeed exist - are inadequate. Screening is haphazard, rules are not only enforced inconsistently, but there is a constant thrum of belligerence in many of your employees. When I spoke my mind about the intrusiveness of one TSA screener in McCarran (Las Vegas), he followed me into the terminal, yelling at me as I walked away. He was eventually told to stop by a police officer (blonde man, about 30, working the first-class lane in Terminal B). While perhaps more noticeable, this is not an isolated incident. TSA staff are often uneducated, hostile and simply unintelligent (another favorite: having a bracelet of rhinestones mistaken for "drill bits," also at McCarran's first-class lane - wowzers, the stupidity!).

This is a problem about which you not only CAN do something, you owe it to us, as well as to whatever shred of personal dignity you folks have left: teach your employees to be fair, rational, and courteous. You are NOT 'doing us a favor,' and the constant sanctimony about "thuh terrorists" sounds like so much self-justifying drivel.

As it is now, I get more intelligent and polite service at Del Taco drive-throughs than TSA. What does it take for you to finally become embarrassed to the point of improvement?

Submitted by Anonymous on

"But as far as I am concerned, my greatest fear is that someone will walk in amongst people waiting in line and detonate a IED! The second fear I have is that I miss a IED that goes on a plane and blows up not only killing the "Anonymous" TSO haters here but those beautiful people who I swore to protect."

So it is them or us again. FYI the beautiful people mostly fly through General Aviation, so they never get the benefit of your "protection".
Passengers don't hate TSO's indiscriminately, they just have no liking for the unprofessional behavior that some of them exhibit. Once those few bad apples are eliminated, things will be more pleasant.

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