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Gripes & Grins, Part 2 (Commenting Disabled)

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Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSA needs to train their employees to THINK on some passengers. My Dad is in his 80s, has had bypass surgery, wears a pacemaker, has congestive heart failure, and walks slowly, and has to stop to rest. He brings his medical records to the airport, to no avail. He has put up with the indignity of an employee putting their hands inside his belt. Come on! THINK --this is a church official who travels on church business, never had a speeding ticket or parking ticket--Hands off my Dad! This is clearly invasive --and absolutely not necessary. THINK --this is not a 'bomb-carrying' individual--and the medical papers should be enough to let him pass without the indignities in the extra search. He doesn't complain, but I travel with him, and think you should change your policies to include some common sense.

Submitted by Trollkiller on
Anonymous said...

only a few of us were tsa the were secret service. they were having tsa do their bag checks. their uniforms look really similar to ours. next time look around.

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.
Submitted by Anonymous on

As a traveler with a defibulator, I understand that I must get a patdown everytime I go through security. While inconvienent I understand this. What I do not understand is why some locations require me to leave my belongings and go behind enclosed walls to get to the patdown checkpoint. This happened just 2 weeks ago in San Diego. I was forced to send my belongings through the scanner but since I could not go through the metal detector I had to go around to the exit area while my belongings went through the scanner.

After getting to the patdown area I was asked which tubs were mine. However this was AFTER I had them out of sight for about 2 minutes. The people behind me could have easily taken my wallet, phone, keys, etc. What's funny was after I got to the gate area there was an announcement that you should not leave your belongings out of your sight.

TSA could easily have escorted me and my belongings to the patdown area and then sent the tubs through the scanner. They could have asked before I left which tubs were mine and made sure they were safe, or at least have special color tubs for these instances so that the agents could monitor the situation.

By the way, it doesn't even matter who you are. I am a DHS (not TSA) employee with a top secret clearance and credentials. I was still treated wrong.

Submitted by Anonymous on

From TSA's own website:

3-1-1 for carry-ons = 3 ounce bottle or less (by volume) ; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring. 3 oz. container size is a security measure.

Just for grins I went to take a look at my tube of toothpaste and deodorant. Funny thing is that both of them list the contents by weight instead of volume. FYI TSA weight often doesn't equal volume. How can you possibly state that 3oz of displacement (volume) equals 3, 4, 5 oz of weight? The misaplication of simple mathematics, science, weights and measures calls to question your confiscation of passenger belongings.

Submitted by Anonymous on
By the way, it doesn't even matter who you are. I am a DHS (not TSA) employee with a top secret clearance and credentials. I was still treated wrong.

Please tell them that you get very excited when separated from your belongings and want them to be visible during your screening process.

Good to see someone with some credentials (DHS, TS, ect) complain about the excesses of TSA. Does that mean the rest of us unwashed fliers are now vindicated when we complain?
Submitted by Anonymous on
By the way, it doesn't even matter who you are. I am a DHS (not TSA) employee with a top secret clearance and credentials. I was still treated wrong.

Just wondering if you took any action after the fact to report this problem to the TSA Chain of Command?

Regular civilians only get corrective screening when attempting to voice a concern with TSA!
Submitted by Anonymous on

"TSA could easily have escorted me and my belongings to the patdown area and then sent the tubs through the scanner. They could have asked before I left which tubs were mine and made sure they were safe, or at least have special color tubs for these instances so that the agents could monitor the situation."

I know it may be hard to do, but next time insist on getting your things before you are screened. This IS something the screener should have did for you. It happens at my airport as well.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Here's my two cent's worth on experiences at several airports, in a fair bit of detail. I'm hoping that my describing each situation in some length that the TSA can see where things went wrong and how the experience can be improved.

These comments expand on comments I've made previously about Flint MI, Orlando FL, Atlanta GA and Pensacola FL. More gripes than grins, unfortunately....

The recent stories are all gripes. These unfold from August of 2007 to February 2008.

Flint MI, Story #1

My girlfriend (hereafter referred to as Heather) and I are going through security. Bags go through x-ray, and I hear the infamous call for "bag check".

We walk up to the tail end of conversation between another passenger and the screener. Both are rather brusque with each other in their tone. Passenger leaves. Screener comments loudly to another screener about how rude that last passenger was to her. (I'm thinking that the screener's tone with that passenger set no example of politeness. Neither did loudly making that comment in public.) Screener starts to look in my girlfriend's carry on, and here's the dialog from there.

Screener: Are any "liquids gels or aerosols" in the bag?

Heather: no

Screener: Is there anything metal in the bag or anything I might poke herself on?

Heather: (holds hand above bag, and points to rear pocket) There's a nail file in that back pocket.

Screener: (yelling) DON'T TOUCH THE BAG WHILE I'M SEARCHING IT !

Heather: I not touching the bag. I'm just pointing to the pocket where my nail file is. I don't want you to get stuck.

Screener: (yelling louder) DON'T TOUCH THE BAG WHILE I'M SEARCHING IT !

Heather: Fine, whatever. (puts her hands at her side.)

Screener: (after encountering a tube of lipstick, yelling) THIS HAS TO BE IN YOUR ZIPLOC BAG.

Me: (thinking to myself -- a lipstick has a fixed volume and shape. From what I learned in school, that makes it a solid. No point, however, in arguing semantics of states of matter with a power happy ignoramus.)

Heather: Fine, I'll put it in there. (Starts to put lipstick in her ziploc, which was pretty full.)

Screener: (no longer yelling, but with smug satisfaction) Your ziploc has to be able to close. (obviously thinking "gotcha")

Me: I've got plenty of room in mine. (I place lipstick in my ziploc, close the top, and hold it up for screener to see. My turn to think "gotcha".)

Screener: (Walks away without saying a word.)

Two major comments:

1. The yelling was totally unnecessary and unprovoked. We were being cooperative and trying to play the game by the rules.

2. Heather was concerned by for the well-being of the screener, as evidenced by wanting to make sure she didn't get poked by the nail file. The screener reacted by yelling.

3. As I have said in prior posts, the TSA needs to stop throwing "liquids, gels and aerosols" around like a catch phrase and define what this means in real world terms. I have yet to find a definition on the TSA web site, and have yet to see a link to an official definition on this blog. (TSO NY has posted his thumb rules, but has yet to provide a link to where they may be found for all to see.)

4. If the screener is done with you, they should yet you know that in a definitive manner. (Similar to the phrase LEO's use, "you're free to go.") Just walking away is rude.

5. Less cattiness at the checkpoint, please.


Flint MI, Story #2

I was the first of four passengers in line. The screening area at this airport has very little background noise. I already had my plastic bins on the table, my notebook PC in a bin, my regulation ziploc in the bin and was starting to take off my shoes. The people in line behind me were doing similarly. Obviously, we all "knew the drill."

The screener / wannabe drill instructor started barking orders. "TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES AND PUT THEM IN THE BIN. PUT ANY NOTEBOOK COMPUTERS IN A BIN. KEEP YOUR BOARDING PASS AND PHOTO ID IN YOUR HAND AT ALL TIMES."

Comments on this one:

1. Did the screener really expect people to remove footwear, pull out notebook PC's, pull out ziploc bags, handle bins, etc. one handed in order to keep their boarding passes and photo id in their hand at all times? What is that supposed to accomplish, anyway?

2. What's wrong with a simple request to "please have your boarding pass and photo id in hand as you approach the metal detector"?

3. How about passengers with mobility, strength, or balance issues? For example, there's absolutely no way my Dad could take his shoes off one handed, standing on one foot. I see no accommodation at this checkpoint (or others for that matter) for the elderly, infirm or physically challenged in getting in or out of footwear. Can't the TSA afford a few chairs?

4. Is it necessary to yell at four people in a fairly quiet area? The screener only needed to be heard over a distance of ten feet max. A normal conversational voice will carry that far.


Orlando FL

Screening area is a large open space, and acoustically, it's an echo chamber. PA is blaring endlessly saying to "keep control of your luggage to prevent introduction of prohibited items", interleaved with announcements of the terror alert level de jour.

Screener is shouting something in such heavily accented English that passengers couldn't understand a word being said. We could see her gesturing and pointing in an angry manner, presumably trying to direct traffic, obviously irritated that the passengers weren't doing what she wanted.

Comments on this one:

1. Why do the announcements have to go non-stop ? Put some space in between announcements to lessen the overall noise level.

2. What difference does it make to me whether it's a yellow day or an orange day, anyway? What's the point of the announcement, anyway, since we're supposed to just "be about our lives"?

3. If a TSA person can't speak English clearly, they have no business getting irritated with passengers who don't understand whatever she's shouting. Time for ESL and / or accent reduction training.


Pensacola FL

Heather and I are going through security together. I start the bags through the x-ray, and screener #1 calls for a bag check on one of Heather's carryons. She goes on through the metal detector to resolve the situation, while I hang back to make sure our stuff gets into the x-ray OK (especially not wanting to let my notebook PC out of my sight). Here's the dialog from there:

Screener #1: (pulls a tube of mascara out of carryon, starts yelling) THIS HAS TO BE IN YOUR ZIPLOC BAG.

Me: (I'm through the metal detector and join Heather. Screener #1 has left to go look at the x-ray machine as more bags come through.) Are we done?

Heather: I'm not sure. She made it sound like they want to re-xray my bag without the mascara. I don't want to just walk away if they're not done.

Me: Yeah. Don't want to give them any excuses.

Screener #2: (Walks behind us, and bellows out) THE LINE IS BACKING UP. EXPEDITE GATHERING YOUR BELONGINGS AFTER THEY GO THROUGH THE X-RAY MACHINE. (He shoots a look of contempts at us and continues to where screener #1 is at the x-ray machine.)

Me: (I catch the eye of screener #3, who is standing to the side wearing blue gloves and doing nothing. He immediately looks away and stares into space.)

Me: (Quietly to Heather.) Let's get out of here. That guy wants people to expedite gathering their stuff, so I'll take that as our cue to leave.

Me: (Projecting my voice straight at screener #3) Since he left, I guess they're done with us. Let's get out of here.

Screener #3: (No response. Continues to stare into empty space.)

Comments:

1. Again, no effective definition of "liquids, gels or aerosols".

2. Screener #1 yelled when a normal tone of voice would have gotten the job done. I could hear her yelling from the other side of the metal detector.

3. Screener #1 gave no clear indication that we were free to go, and we didn't want to look like we were trying to sneak away. The thanks we got for trying to cooperate was screener #2 yelling orders, when he could have asked us if there was a question or problem. You don't have to yell when you're standing beside us, and spare me the dirty looks.

4. Screener #3 was less than ten feet away when Screeners #1 and #2 were yelling, so he had to know what was going on. By avoiding my gaze, he gave the impression that he did not want to help.

5. When I got home and was looking in my bag, I found a 1 oz tube of sunscreen in my carryon that Screener #1 had missed. So much for their self-righteous attitude. If minimal contents of a tube of mascara is such a threat to aviation security, that's nothing compared to a 1 oz sunscreen tube.

6. Again, the yelling was totally unnecessary and unprovoked. We were being cooperative and trying to play the game by the rules.


Atlanta GA

Acoustics similar to Orlando -- noisy echo chamber. Same announcements going nonstop, too. Big crowds -- it's a few days after Christmas.

I walk up to the person checking id's. She doesn't say a word, and just glares at me with a major league scowl on her face and a look of utter hatred in her eyes. (Don't have to be a BDO to detect that.) I say hello, then hand her my passport and boarding pass. She looks at them and silently hands them back. Thinking "if you see a person without a smile, give them one of yours", I wish here a happy new year. No response, and no change from scowl.

As I head towards the screening lines, there a person there attempting to direct traffic. He looks pretty frazzled, but I couldn't blame him, under the circumstances. At least he isn't yelling. I wish him a happy new year, and he smiles.

In line, there's a screener shouting at the passengers, but I couldn't understand him over the general bedlam. Since the people in front of me were doing the usual drill with shoes, ziplocs and computers, I did the same.

Screener at metal detector checks my id and boarding pass without saying a word. I wish him a happy new year -- no response. Talk about being treated like cattle.

Get to concourse, and there's a lengthly pre-recorded announcement playing about the 3-1-1 requirement.

Comments:

1. This is the typical "treat passengers like cattle" situation. Even if you're going to have a distant manner, don't look at me with a look of utter hatred. If you don't like checking ID's, get another job. If I greet you, respond -- that's ordinary courtesy.

2. Same comments as Orlando regarding terror alert de jour announcement and keeping control of your bags.

3. Seems silly to have an announcement going about 3-1-1 after everyone has already been through security. Talk about shutting the door after the horse has left the barn !


And now on a positive note

Flint MI, Story #3

This was one of my first flights post 9/11 and before 3-1-1. Still a bit nervous about flying again. (I didn't fly for two years after the attacks.) I get to the checkpoint, empty my pockets into my carryon, take off cell phone, etc. Here's the conversation from there:

Screener #1: (Leans across the table, and looks at my footwear.) Sir, you should probably take those boots off so we can x-ray them. They might have metal shanks.

Me: They don't have metal shanks -- I've seen them with the soles off at the cobbler shop.

Screener #1: It's easier if you go ahead and take them off. If you set off the metal detector, we'll have to x-ray them anyway.

Me: Makes sense. No problem.

Metal Detector: BEEP.

Screener 2: Sir, do you have anything metal on you?

Me: Nothing that detaches. (I grin widely to show my braces.)

Screener #2: Sir, if you'd step over here please. (Points to mat with two yellow footprints on it.)

Screener #3: Sir, if you'd stand on the footprints and hold your arms out to either side.

Me: Sure thing.

Screener #3: (Starts wanding me. As he goes over my right shin, wand give off a little "beep".)

Me: I've got a surgical screw in that shin. It helps hold my knee together.

Screener #3: (Keeps wanding.) OK, thanks. We may have to come back and hand check that.

Me: No problem.

Screener #3: (Keeps wanding. As he goes over my left wrist...)

Wand: BEEEEEEP

Me: That's my bone-headed mistake for the day -- I forgot to take off my wrist watch.

Screener #3: (Pulls my sweater sleeve up and sees it's a watch, and smiles.) No problem. (keeps wanding.)

Screener #3: (Finishes wanding.) Thanks for your cooperation, and have a good flight.

Me: Thanks. Have a good evening.

Comments:

1. First and foremost, note the courteous and respectful tone in the screeners' manner. No yelling, and I hadn't been addressed as "sir" that many times in one conversation since getting out of the Navy.

2. Despite my dumb mistake, the screener was nice about it. No public ass-chewing in front of everyone else.

3. Note that when I questioned the need to take off my boots, the question was answered politely.

4. All in all, a very positive experience. The screeners had a job to do, no doubt, but were able to do it cordially.


Flint MI, Story #4

Another post 9/11 and pre 3-1-1 flight. That trip, I decided to fly in a polo shirt, walking shorts and sneakers. Nothing metal in my footwear, and my right shin is in the open in case that screw trips the metal detector. Remembered to take my watch off that time. I'm approaching the metal detector. Here's the conversation from there:

Screener: Sir, you should probably take those sneakers off.

Me: There's nothing metal -- they won't trip the metal detector.

Screener: True, but you'll have to go through secondary screening if you leave them on, and then you'll have to take them off there so we can x-ray them.

Me: (In a puzzled tone.) OK, but what's the issue with my sneakers?

Screener: It's the thickness of the soles.

Me: The Richard Reid scenario?

Screener: Exactly.

Me: Aha! Makes sense. Thanks for explaining.

Screener: You're welcome.

Comments:

1. Again, note the courteous and respectful tone in the screener's manner and response to my questions.

2. I learned something about the requirements that day.

3. Notice what was missing from the response to my questions -- no authoritarian attitude, no threats, etc.


Summing Up

In the pre 3-1-1 world, the screener's seemed like decent people trying to a difficult job. Post, 3-1-1, though, it seems rudeness and suspicion have become institutionalized.

Unfortunately, the 3-1-1 rule is implemented in typical bureaucratic fashion. “Liquids, gels or aerosols” becomes quite the catch phrase with the TSO’s, but the flying public is not knowledgeable of all the nuances of exactly what is a “liquid, gel or aerosol”.

In the absence of good operational definitions, the TSO's implement their own interpretations of what is a “liquid, gel or aerosol”. Each TSO expects the traveler to know their particular interpretation of the rules. The TSO's treat a passenger who violates their individual interpretation like they are stupid at best, probably uncooperative, and have criminal intent at worst.

The TSO's appear to be inventing requirements, such as the "requirement" that one's 3 oz bottles have to be "labeled" (such as TSO NY's posts), but don't specify in what manner. Hey blog moderators -- can you confirm or deny the "label requirement".

Because of the continued confusion, the TSO’s become perpetually irritated with the flying public as a group. They assume the worst of the passengers, feel the need to shout instructions, bark orders like drill instructors, etc., instead of dealing with passengers as individuals. Ordinary civility goes out the window.

Is it any wonder that the relationship between the TSA and the flying public can be a little acrimonious? Though the TSO’s are tested frequently for their skill at detecting prohibited items by the TSA, there is little or no accountability for their interpersonal skills. Supervisors seem to pay no attention to the way that passengers are treated. The TSA relies on passenger complaints to deal with heavy handed TSO’s, instead of taking the proactive approach and evaluating the actions of the agency in general and the TSO’s in particular from the point of view of a law-abiding passenger.

What about the security camera footage from the checkpoints? Also, I would presume that the checkpoints are also "wired for sound". Why not review camera footage to see how the checkpoint experience can be improved?

Why doesn't the TSA do some secret shopper missions with the express purpose of looking at the security experience through the eyes of the public?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I recently had to suffer through boarding a flight at the Orlando Int'l Airport (MCO) a few days after a new policy of pre-sorting passengers into 3 categories was put into place: Family, Casual Traveler, Seasoned Traveller.

This might have been a good idea, but its implementation was flawed beyond belief. For example:

1) passengers sort themselves. there was no enforcement.

2) it was so crowded and there were no TSA employees to help guide the flow of people nor rails to handle the long lines.

3) as you get closer to the gate, you do see 3 checkpoints, each manned by 2 i.d. checkers. However, beyond the checkpoint, the lines all mix together again! People just naturally went for the shortest line they can see. I got stuck behind a poor mother traveling with her 3 children.

What is the point of segregating passengers at all if you are not going to enforce the separate flows all the way through?

Why bother segregating passengers if they end up getting the same treatment anyway? I did not see the TSA assigning more personelle to help the "Family" travellers or provide wider entrances or ....

It was clear that very little thought went into implementing the idea.

Submitted by Joe Screener on

Anonymous Sandra said...

"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."

Man walks up to the check point with his family, and suddenly remembers that he still has his four inch blade hunting knife on his belt. He thought it was too much trouble to go back to the counter to try to catch his luggage or make other arrangements. So, he slid the knife down the shirt back of his eight year old son in order to sneak it through screening.

Yes, that really happened.

A little girl was given a stuffed animal by someone at the motel a few days before the family was due to fly out. When the family went through check point, TSA found a pistol hidden inside the toy. The person at the motel was using the child to dispose of evidence of a crime.

Yes, that is a true story also.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I was hoping that someone from the Blog Team or TSA would have been a standup guy and addressed why the responses to poster Duane were blocked for 1 1/2 days.

Did TSA communicate with Duane during that period?

What was the TSA motivation for blocking Blog participants from commenting back to Duane?

Was there an effort (this appears to be the case) by TSA to block an investigation by any Law Enforcement Agency of this incident?

How about it TSA, would you care to respond?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...

"Now that a TSA-certified flight deck officer's gun has accidentally discharged during a US Airways commercial flight, who is going to protect us from those who are protecting us?

Can one request "handgun-free" flights from the airlines?

March 24, 2008 3:47 PM"

Oh no! Haven't you been reading the blogs? That armed flight deck officer and the locked cabin door are all the security you will ever need! With them in place all of the TSA and all the things it does can all go away!

Submitted by Anonymous on

joe screener said:

""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."

Man walks up to the check point with his family, and suddenly remembers that he still has his four inch blade hunting knife on his belt. He thought it was too much trouble to go back to the counter to try to catch his luggage or make other arrangements. So, he slid the knife down the shirt back of his eight year old son in order to sneak it through screening.

Yes, that really happened.

A little girl was given a stuffed animal by someone at the motel a few days before the family was due to fly out. When the family went through check point, TSA found a pistol hidden inside the toy. The person at the motel was using the child to dispose of evidence of a crime.

Yes, that is a true story also."

March 27, 2008 10:04 AM

And those two items were going to bring down an aircraft how?

By the way, are you a/k/a "screener joe" who has been ripped a new one so often on this blog because you don't know what you are talking about?

Three cheers to Sandra, winstonsmith, Marshall and all those anonymous posters who are fed up with the TSA and are not afraid to say so.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I have a close relative who works for TSA as a Security Officer.She attributes most of the ill treatment of passengers,poor training,and inconsistancies to the high turn over rate at TSA. According to her, many of her coworkers are brand new or on the way out the door. This would lead me to believe that this is the heart of the problem. There has to be a reason why people would run away from a federal job advertised as a career in such high numbers as reported by many news sources.
What's going on behind the scenes is my question.

Submitted by Anonymous on

What ever you do don't post a comment on how much TSA's turnover rate is responsible for the inconsistancies and poor performance of the workforce because it will be censored. The truth hurts I see. Our tax dollars hard at work.

Submitted by Marie on

I have read every single comment on this post. Some were hysterical, especially about passengars pummeling a hijacker. I think it's true. Save one of them having a gun, they wouldn't last with annoyed mothers who raised 6 boys, ticked off business men who's secretary won't come in for private meetings anymore, and the guy who's girlfriend cheated on him.

Some are a tad off beat, like the one about children screaming if someone touches them. I think it's important for children to be educated about strangers, but in this case I think it's important for children to know that they parent will be there and that there is a law that says some people get searched and others don't. And that this isn't "bad" touching.

I just want to say, I hate TSAs. Honestly, I could care less if you're just doing your job. You picked a nasty job. There is a reason I do not have your job. Because I don't want to be the one people are posting comments about on the TSA blog because I am enforcing rules I may not agree with.

When I hear them say "We're just following the rules" or "We may not agree with them but we have to follow them" I feel like saying "Then get a job that has rules and regulations you agree with"

Same for soldiers. Don't state that you think this "war" is ridiculous and then join the Army/Navy/Marines, etc.

That being said, no I don't like you, but *I* put up with *you* because I'd rather not sit on my plump rump for sixteen hours just so I can have my very own sammich made by my grammy.

I take off my belt, remove my laptop from the case, take off all my outer layers, so I am left in a tank top or t-shirt.

On Tuesday, the 25th of March I flew from JFK to SFO. We got non-stop flights with one weeks notice, and checked in online. My boyfriend and I checked our luggage both under my name, that I was checking too. The agent at the counter didn't even look at his boarding pass but required my ID and boarding pass. Fair enough, he didn't have baggage.

We get to the security line and I think for sure we'll be singled out for selective screening. I would much rather go through selective screening!

1. It's often a shorter and quicker line!
2. The TSA personnel are often nicer because they aren't dealing with hoardes of people. Their human interaction is much less.

When we weren't selected we moved on. I always wear flip flops to go through security. Recently I found out I suffer from an overarch in my feet and even walking short distances, or short amounts without the support of my shoes is very painful. I recently found very supportive flip flops and was excited, thinking I would be able to wear them and not be in pain (flip flops often aren't supportive and for someone like me, it is painful to wear them). I was told I needed to remove them. My bin had already gone through so they were simple tossed on the belt.

And then I had to walk, BAREFOOT on that dirty skeevy floor where all the TSA personnel walk with their chunky black shoes.

Ew.

I just wanted to wash my feet.

Yes, you're just doing your job. Blah blah blah - if you don't have enough faith in the job you do to say "This is why I am doing this" and not "The rules say..."

Don't be a robot. If someone asks "Why?" they are most likely genuinely curious because it's something they haven't encountered yet. Answer the, politely, don't act like they are a criminal.

My mom get's visible upset and frustrated, and ornery and nasty, when she is singled out for a search or they want to look inside her bag. I believe it's justified, albeit embarassing. One time the woman, while my mom watched, knocked open my mom and brothers pill holder that she had in her carryone and proceeded to unscrewed a bottle of lotion and not rescrew it.

M-o-r-o-n. That's uncalled for. And some may say "That was on TSA official, not all are like that" but it's those one's that people remember.

I smile and keep my mouth shut because I prefer to spend less time traveling to a destination and more time at that destination.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I would like to see an itemised account of the TSA's expenditures for the lenth of it's existance. Can we say scandal! This is our money paying for this monstrousity.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I've got a major GRIN based on a news story I just read about a woman being forced or asked to remove her nipple rings with pliers.

If the story is true, my reaction (besides being titillated) is that TSA workers went too far, the really funny part of the story is the official response by TSA spokesman Dwayne Baird:

"I'd be really curious to know what this woman had in her nipples. Sometimes they have a chain between their nipples, or a chain between their nipples and their belly button. It would have to be made of heavy metal to be detected."

Why is this funny to me? At first blush, it seems a case of TMI. But when one thinks about it, one realizes just how much weird information someone like Dwayne is required to know. I'm sure this is a relatively minor example of bizarre human behavior, too.

Anyway, if Mr. Baird reads this, thank you for the laugh. You're handling this with grace and wit. If Mr. Baird's superiors read this, give the man a raise!

Lastly, when can we expect to see a video by Bob on this subject? I seriously want to know which genital piercings are allowed! =)

Submitted by Anonymous on

Thank goodness my airport has camera's at each screening area so we can no longer be accused of taking items out of bags!!!!!!!!!

Submitted by Winstonsmith on

To the nice Anonymous person who wrote:

Three cheers to Sandra, winstonsmith, Marshall and all those anonymous posters who are fed up with the TSA and are not afraid to say so.

March 27, 2008 1:40 PM

It is I who thank you for reading and taking your civil rights seriously. It is only when more people start to do the same that we the people will restore actual freedom to our great country. The TSA is only a symptom (albeit a very visible and painful one) of a much larger problem we have in the US. My mom is just about to turn the corner to 70 years old. I took her out to lunch about a month ago and we were talking about stuff in general and she came out with the pearl of wisdom, "I'm glad I'm on my way out. This is *not* the country I grew up in."

That's why I write. And that's why I'll bet Sandra writes, and Marshall writes, and even Trollkiller -- a man with whom I don't always agree, but for whom I have great respect because he gets it -- there are legitimate questions to debate here.

Please everyone, take it to the next level and start to write your Congress Critters and everyone else in Washington who will or won't listen. Write letters to the editor. Write blogs. Talk to your friends. Get and stay informed from sources you can actually trust. You can make a difference.

Submitted by Dunstan on

"Thank goodness my airport has camera's at each screening area so we can no longer be accused of taking items out of bags!!!!!!!!!"

Phase one of check-in baggage security, partially complete. At least at one of 450 airports....

Now we just need you to do one more thing, secure the bag with a tamper proof seal. Violation of that seal should be a Federal offense....

Submitted by Dunstan on

"The TSA is only a symptom (albeit a very visible and painful one) of a much larger problem we have in the US."

Thanks, winstonsmith.

As we have seen over the past two months on this blog, the bloggers are opening a channel of communication. To a degree we have some insight into the bottlenecks, issues, and problems that the TSA is facing. It is important that both TSO's and passengers report problems, and work towards resolution. We can only hope that positive dialog will continue.

I have been posting anonymously since the beginning, but that is one thing that I can change. I would still like to press for a posted Passenger Bill of Rights.

I urge all of you to vote in November. Your voice matters.

Submitted by Anonymous on

We use to have TSA zip ties and also TSA cavalar ties but we are no longer able to get them. We loved them so why they are not available any more is sad.

Submitted by Dunstan on

"We use to have TSA zip ties and also TSA cavalar ties but we are no longer able to get them. We loved them so why they are not available any more is sad."

Lets work on getting them back. With RFID tags if necessary. It is a TSA issue, but affects your credibility, secure check-in baggage and theft is really serious issue with passengers.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I recently returned home from overseas thru DTW, most of the TSA employees were polite enough except one who was so rude and crude that anywhere else they would have been fired. If I was not in a hurray to catch a connecting flight I would have asked to see a supervisor. What happen to the comment cards that were available? TSA you need to train your employees to be polite also and remember you are goverment employees paid by the people so technicaly being a tax paying citizen you work for me.

Submitted by Anonymous on
I'd be really curious to know what this woman had in her nipples. Sometimes they have a chain between their nipples, or a chain between their nipples and their belly button. It would have to be made of heavy metal to be detected.


Mr. Baird's statement is quite accurate. Unless these piercings were of a heavy gauge -- and based upon the photo I've seen in the media where the woman and her lawyer demonstrated the removal with a mannequin, they apparently were not -- they shouldn't have set off the wand.

I speak from experience here, as I have the same piercings (and one below the belt, so to speak). I used to give the TSA screeners a friendly warning before they'd wand me -- just because I realize this type of thing makes some people uncomfortable -- but I stopped because the jewelry simply would never trip the metal detector. It's really been a non-issue.
Submitted by Anonymous on

"When we weren't selected we moved on. I always wear flip flops to go through security. Recently I found out I suffer from an overarch in my feet and even walking short distances, or short amounts without the support of my shoes is very painful. I recently found very supportive flip flops and was excited, thinking I would be able to wear them and not be in pain (flip flops often aren't supportive and for someone like me, it is painful to wear them). I was told I needed to remove them. My bin had already gone through so they were simple tossed on the belt.

And then I had to walk, BAREFOOT on that dirty skeevy floor where all the TSA personnel walk with their chunky black shoes"

You sound more angry that your pretty little feet had to touch the dirty floor. if you had work orthopedics and you said you had a medical reason why you cant take your shoes off, they wouldnt have made you but flip flops, you cant be serious.

"they simply tossed them on the belt"

is there a point to this? i travel 3 times a week and i love how every moron wastes a bin that i could use for their pair of shoes. its like their shoes will get dirt on them by going through the machine . i find this even more redundant seeing they are ya know shoes.

Its people like this who make the lines as long as they are, people who think they are special and deserve special screening

Submitted by Anonymous on

Don't you people get it? The public is angry because of the extreme lack of transparency, inconsistent policies, and a complete lack of any and all civil liberties once you walk into that TSA checkpoint.

The bad guys have already won. Thanks to you, Big Brother.

Glad to see you treated this woman fairly, without unnecessarily invading her privacy (hint: sarcasm)

Nipple rings? Come on now, you can't be serious. News flash: terrorists are not currently and will never use nipple rings as a weapon.

What really gets me is the oh-so-common line "We can't tell you, national security and all." Half of the general public would be satisfied at this point if the TSA just released some honest to goodness information and not more doublespeak. I will admit, I think this blog is an amazing idea - but it is still in a sad state of affairs. How many times have questions been asked and responded to without any real content being contained in the so-called answer? You can practically hear the TSA squirming in their seats as they dodge providing complete answers to many if not most questions asked here.

I would love to hear someone try and argue why security through obscurity is a valid model in the TSA when it has proven a failed concept in every other application ever imagined? Keeping secrets doesn't provide any ACTUAL security... it only provides the illusion of security.

Of course given the ability of many people to succumb to illusions and doublespeak, how can it possibly surprise me anymore that we as a society tacitly accept this thought process?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Someone really ought to officially inform the body modification community that body piercings are not prohibited items. I have worn large gauge steel and titanium nipple and genital piercings for many years and have passed through many US and foreign airports without ever being detected by the metal detectors. Unless she had little razor blade jewelry, you really need to explain yourselves over this one.

Submitted by Bill on

The worst part about my service in Iraq was not my time there, but the trip home. Thanks, TSA. Upon leaving Fort Dix, I had to take a commercial flight from the Philly airport to get back home on the West coast. Upon reaching the security gate, a Army COL. in uniform who was a Silver Star awardee, was being made to empty all his pockets; he complained that he was not a terrorist, but the screener cut him short and snapped at him "You military folks ARE the terrorists!" I received similar treatment, and when checking my briefcase, her assistant dumped it upside down, mixing up the paperwork and damaging some items in there. The TSA lady told me "If you want to catch your flight, you're going to do nothing about it." I ended up having to put my stuff away without the screeners help, which only delayed me. Several men of Arabic descent behind me were able to pass through without even being given a second look-over by the screener (scared of profiling?).
When I got to San Diego, I checked out of my temporary command, and went to fly back home to Seattle a week later from San Diego airport. I was in uniform at the ticket counter, when a TSA official had me step out of line with my seabag, and in front of the other passengers, empty out the entire seabag, whilst she inspected it's contents. She asked for my military ID, because she said my name was on some sort of 'Terrorist Watch List' and she had to look up to see if I was that person (I wasn't). I was told I have the same name as someone else on that list, but there was nothing I could do about it because "That's just the way it is" as she put it. So now I'm 'flagged' for special treatment everytime I fly! Every TSA person I talked to on my return home from Iraq made it clear directly or suggestively, that they had a problem with me and some of my fellow travellers for no other reason than that we were military personnel. I remained courteous and polite to the TSA folks even though I got nothing but attitude and unprofessional behavior from them in return! This type of discrimination against military personnel by TSA screeners happens every day in our airports. This is how TSA welcomes our heroes home.
I filed a complaint on the TSA website about my mistreatment over a year ago, and they have not bothered to respond to my complaint, or even apologize. That only shows TSA knows about it, and they care to do NOTHING about the problem, otherwise they would have responded to my complaint!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Litigation is the answer. Sue 'em more. Get names from badges and, by god, sue 'em. If they lose enough bling in court they'll come around to acting like humans again.

Submitted by Marshall on

Some snippets posted on FlyerTalk recently:

"So this morning I'm flying CO from NJ (EWR) to Denver, & I packed a backpack instead of my normal roller. To deal w/ liquid regulations I bought plastic bottles @ Walmart & carry my own shampoo, shaving cream etc. Toothpaste however I've always just bought smaller sized tubes & tossed it in the bag. This morning, I failed to bring my plastic bag & had to put the toothpaste in my dob kit. Of course they pull out my toothpaste telling me it's over the limit - TSA agent stated the limit is 3.5oz - TSA website says 3oz by volume which I knew, & my toothpaste was w/i that limit. I asked the agent if she knew what the limit represented, volume or weight..... blank stare. I asked her again pointing out that although the weight was greater than 3.5 oz, the volume was closer to 2... blank stare & a repeat of "the limit is 3.5oz." In the end I walked away, but just another example of the TSA's utter incompetence."

From a recent Patrick Smith column:

"In Latin America, for example, our TSA requires local security personnel to set up gateside screening tables exclusively for flights to the United States. After passing through the standard metal detector and x-ray station, which does not enforce a liquids ban, passengers get in line to have their carry-on bags hand-searched for any oversized containers. Those headed elsewhere are exempt from such nonsense. These gateside checks are not only tedious, but useless. In South America recently I was sitting in a crowded gate and witnessed something hilarious -- or maybe sad is the better term: At the screening tables, a handful of contract guards were ransacking carry-ons, but there was no frisking or pat-downs of passengers themselves. So, as the line snaked forward in agonizing slow-motion, people would simply reach into their bags, remove any toothpaste or other personal effects they'd rather not forfeit, and slip them into their pockets!

Over the past six years I have written upwards of twenty columns on the airport security and the TSA. Through it all I've found myself searching for a word -- a single word that might possibly encapsulate the nonsense that we go through, from the pointy-object confiscations to the shoe removals to the childish folly I just described. Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, there is no single word that can simultaneously account for things wasteful, pointless, humiliating and immature. Neither is there a word to describe the level frustration some of us feel when we are demanded, at the risk of confrontation and hollering, to treat obviously silly rules with unmatched seriousness.

What we're dealing with is, to some extent, human nature. At this point the TSA is the kind of self-perpetuating beast that inevitably results when a bureaucracy is granted lots of power and little actual purpose. But also, we have also spent six years living in a state of institutional denial. Our government, willfully or otherwise, refuses to admit a basic and irrefutable premise: that the attacks of September 11th were not, in fact, caused by a failure of airport security."

Re: episode where woman was forced to remove her body piercings with a pair of pliars. Rather than address the issue directly, the TSA continues to maintain that its screeners are properly trained and further adds to the fear-mongering in order to justify its existence:

"TSA is actively investigating Ms. Hamlin's allegations to ensure procedures were followed appropriately. Our security officers are well-trained to screen individuals with body piercings in sensitive areas with dignity and respect while ensuring a high level of security.

TSA is well aware of terrorists' interest in hiding dangerous items in sensitive areas of the body, therefore we have a duty to the American public to resolve any alarm that we discover. Incidents of female terrorists hiding explosives in sensitive areas are on the rise all over the world. This scenario must be addressed at our nation's airports.

To the right is a prototype training device that TSA will use to simulate a bra bomb in training and testing its officers."

A comment on suggested "overreactions", i.e., child screaming while being patted down:

Any attempt to change a bad situation, such as this country is dealing with at this time, needs to start with outrageous actions in order to garner the attention of the general population, in the case of the TSA, the "SHEEPLE" who just go along with the agency's demands. Most know the rules serve no purpose, but most people are scared to death to speak out. (Thankfully, the phrase "anything for security" is heard less and less these days.)

In order to embolden the general flying public to speak out, we must ourselves be willing to say in a very loud and a very clear voice: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Submitted by Anonymous on

As a former TSO, let me help clarify the mystery of liquids, gels, aerosols, etc. This information is available at the TSA.gov website and I will include the link. It seems that many passengers have forgotten much of the science they learned in school, but . . . if you can POUR it, PUMP it, SQUEEZE it, SPREAD it,
SMEAR it, SPRAY it or SPILL it; then you are carrying a liquid, gel, or aerosol and those items are subject to the 3-1-1 restrictions. Link -- http://www.tsa.gov/assets/pdf/311-insert.pdf

In general, TSO's are not trying to be difficult, but they are required to follow the standard operating procedures.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"We use to have TSA zip ties and also TSA cavalar ties"

Cavalar???

Is that anything like Corbomite? (Ask the nearest Trekker if you're not familiar with that substance.)

Presumably you mean Kevlar, which would make a darned strong zip tie.

Interesting that the TSA did make an effort at one point to resecure bags they searched, but no longer.

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSA IS A JOKE. All they do is make it more expensive and more of a hassle to travel. Air travel is not fun any more. It is not any more safe than it was before 911.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Texas woman claims TSA forced nipple ring removal

LOS ANGELES — A Texas woman who claims she was forced to remove a nipple ring with pliers in order to board an airplane called Thursday for an apology by federal security agents and a civil rights investigation.

Hamlin said she was trying to board a flight from Lubbock to Dallas on Feb. 24 when she was scanned by a Transportation Security Administration agent after passing through a larger metal detector without problems.

The female TSA agent used a handheld detector that beeped when it passed in front of Hamlin's chest, the Dallas-area resident said.

Hamlin said she told the woman that she was wearing nipple piercings. The female agent then called over her male colleagues, one of whom said she would have to remove the body piercings, Hamlin claimed.

Hamlin said she could not remove them and asked if she could instead display her pierced breasts in private to the female agent. But several other male officers told her she could not board her flight until the jewelry was removed, she said.

She was taken behind a curtain and managed to remove one bar-shaped nipple piercing but had trouble with the second, a ring.

"Still crying, she informed the TSA officer that she could not remove it without the help of pliers, and the officer gave a pair to her," said Hamlin's attorney, Gloria Allred, reading from a letter she sent Thursday to the director of the TSA's Office of Civil Rights and Liberties. Allred is a well-known Los Angeles lawyer who often represents high-profile claims.

Submitted by Melissa on

I work at MSP airport. So I travel often. I cant honestly say that I have had a lot of good security experiences with the TSA. The last time my husband and I flew, I was harrassed by the TSA agents for wearing a button-up hoodie that they were convinced was a jacket. They tried to force me to take it off in front of everyone that was also waiting in line to go through checkpoint. Even though I let 3 male and 1 female TSA agents know that I did not have anything on under my sweatshirt they insisted it come off NOW! They were incredibe rude. The worst part of it was when I told one of the male TSA agents that I did not have a shirt on under my sweatshirt he smiled. They are incredibly rude and have no sense of customer service.
They Just dont care!

Submitted by Anonymous on

I'm confused by the "squeeze and smear" comment. I can squeeze a block of cheese or a bean bag. I can squeeze my backpack. I can squeeze an empty plastic bottle. I can smear crayons and pencils onto paper -- that's how they work! These are all solids, aren't they? What about candles? And chocolate bars?

And technically, some would consider glass (eye glasses) to be not solid. Look it up.

So do all of these have to go in that tiny bag as well?

And pens, which do contain liquid, do not need to go into the bag.

This is why the general population is confused. Lipstick is a solid at room temperature and so is peanut butter (Google it) and therefore does not need to go into the baggie.

Maybe we need a chemistry professor at each TSA checkpoint to confirm whether various objects are solid or liquid. Or maybe a printed list at each checkpoint that the TSA can point to. If it's not on the list, and you cannot pour it, it's not subject to the 3-1-1 policy.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"You military folks ARE the terrorists!"

There are liars, and dam liars and you are one. Philly TSO!

Submitted by Anonymous on

We flew from Milwaukee to Phoenix and the screeners in Milwaukee have no respect for personal belongings that have to be screened. They were unnecessarily rough with my son's expensive, delicate camera which he had placed carefully in one of the bins to go through the X-ray. The agent made an exasperated noise as if we weren't supposed to put the camera bag in a little gray bin. Where, pray tell, are the instructions for what goes into the bins and what doesn't? There aren't any posted, and not everyone flies on a regular basis. We fly once a year, perhaps twice a year, and this kind of rudeness and rough treatment of expensive equipment is unwarranted. There is not one sign that states what we need to remove and what we need to leave on...from shoes to jewelry. We've had agents refuse to hand-inspect exposed film; when we have had to dump water out of a Nalgene bottle, there's no place to dump it but into a trash can. Why?

This whole security routine is nothing new by this time, yet every time I have had to traverse its labyrinth, there's no improvement in the communications, no improvement in the efficiency, and highly variable attitudes on the part of the screeners. In Phoenix, the screeners were uniformly polite, kind, willing to make the process go as smoothly as possible, and were more than willing to answer questions for us as well as hand-screen exposed film. Every one of our possessions was handled carefully and we were treated kindly. This was not true in Milwaukee.

We flew into Indianapolis and found the same incredibly rude attitude on the part of the TSA team there. They wouldn't budge to put a sign on a vending machine that was taking money and not dispensing water...."not our job." These people were standing (sorry, leaning) around with nothing to do while we struggled to find a piece of paper, pen and possibly tape to post a sign that the machine was out of order. This was within 3 feet of the TSA people. Is kindness prohibited? To a person, every TSA employee that we encountered in Indianapolis was surly, rude, and unhelpful. Not a good first impression of Hoosier Hospitality.

As far as shipping items to yourself, that's impossible. There is no way to do that when you find that you cannot transport something. By that time, you have no option but to hand the item over to be dumped in the trash. The kiosks for shipping are well-hidden...I looked in Phoenix, Indiapolis, and Milwaukee. As a parent of a child with Celiac Disease, I am constantly worried that we won't be able to travel with the food that my son needs. It's expensive, cannot be checked, and cannot be replaced easily ANYWHERE, least of all in the "secure boaring area." I have comforted myself with the hope that I could possibly ship the food home, but that's not possible from what I can see at the airports.

So, TSA, we need uniformity of rules, communication of rules, kindness, clarity, respect for our belongings (no matter what age the passenger), and follow-through on what you tell the public (make the mailing kiosks visible and accessible in every airport). How can we comply when we don't even know what we're expected to do?!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Well this should be interesting. I've been following the articles written about the TSA since 9/11. All they have done is provide more fact to Homeland Security and the bush babies that they don't know what they’re doing, don't care and someone is pocketing the money that may make a difference. I cannot believe the ignorance of the TSA at airports and the attitude of superiority these junkie monkeys display. COMMON SENSE is not in any of their vocabulary. I'm guessing someone else filled out their employment applications. It's like Homeland Security went out and hired every thug they could find, slipped them some money, put them on the bush dole and said hey just do this and if this happens, act like a "jack" that never had an intelligent thought in their life. COMMON SENSE. The latest posting... TSA has posted that they "followed procedure" at the Dallas airport with the poor woman and the nipple ring. If any of the agents had any kind of decency or COMMON SENSE they easily could have checked the woman's piercing and not have HARMED her in anyway. But no, the female TSA agent, showing no sense on her own (she deserves the exact same treatment at every airport for the rest of her life), asks a bunch of "jack" males who instead of using COMMON SENSE used their nether regions and FORCED her to hurt herself when a look was all that was needed.

It's like the hill, the airports need to be cleaned out of the ignorants as soon as possible and decent people with common sense need to be paid well and establish real protocols that they are RESPONSIBLE for. The TSA lawyers are constantly answering questions with we have establish this or that policy, it just isn't in effect yet, but since we established it, we did our job. NO, YOU DID NOT. I think every TSA agent should be forced to go to another airport, lead to the head "jack" and see what it feels like. People, if you can't do your job, if you're some sicko enjoying the torment of Americans, if you don't like your job, if you're stealing from your job - stop and get out; YOU ARE NOT WANTED. And if you stealing directly from Americans like Homeland Security and the bush babies, I hope your job gets cut, airports shut down because you don't deserve a bailout with your shitty service, and all of you can't find a job for a 2 years. TSA agents, hope you like being a bush baby Americans.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I travel extensively through the US and all over the world and i have to admit my experiences with security in US airports is inconsistent. I can't imagine it is a fun job by any means but I have to say that it would be a better experience for all involved if the screeners realized that MOST travellers are innocent and not terrorists. A smile, a courteous manner, a sense of humour would go a long way in getting people through the screening process without feeling like they are in the movie midnight express!

I am okay with high levels of security if it makes sense and is consistent. I find the whole no liquids thing ridiculous. I am concur that peanut butter and lip glass are far from explosive. I would also appreciate it that if you have to pat me down you ask my permission first and do so in a gentle, respectful manner. TSA employees would be wise to remember this especially if you are patting down, women, children and elderly. Think about how you would want your mother to be treated. I have been manhandled by TSA agents in both Hawaii and North Carolina airports.

I would also show more patience and understanding if some of the security measures made sense. I understand the need to screen laptops and electronics and am happy to oblige. I am also more than happy to take off my shoes, i always travel with shoes that are easy to remove. What doesn't make a lick of sense to me is to screen the bottoms of my bare feet (Hawaii airport). If you can clearly see that there is nothing on the bottom of my feet nor are there any fresh surgical scars that would suggest something had been implanted there. Why waste my time making me go through that only to be sent on to be manhandled by the next screener? I have been dying to ask that question for ages. (BTW this happens every single time i go through the Hawaii airport)

At the end of the day i think you would find the general public is grateful for the attention to security but it would behoove the TSA to spend some time with their screeners to teach them how to not only maintain homeland security but do so respectfully and kindly without evoking the ire of the public. Consistency across all airports would also go along way to building confidence with the public. An innocent person shouldn't come away from security feeling, violated, humiliated or like a criminal.

The public needs to understand the role of TSA and be prepared to adhere to their regulations. They need to anticipate and prepare for screening in advance to make things go more smoothly by getting there early, being patient, being prepared to remove shoes, electronics etc. and remembering it is for everyone's safety.

Submitted by Anonymous on

It has been scientifically proven that an observer will not find what they are looking for accurately if they do not find it fairly frequently (see Wolfe JM, Horowitz TS, Kenner NM. Cognitive psychology: rare items often missed in visual searches. Nature 2005;435:439-40).

Considering that, the lack of science behind TSA screening methods and the distractions the officers have (assuring that liquids, laptops, shoes, etc all follow regulation screening procedures), I seriously doubt the ability of this whole process to protect us.

The system, however, is a major victory for terrorists, since it created the havoc and mania they always wanted.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Regarding the occurance with the woman in texas required to remove her nipple piercings prior to entrance into the airport's secure area.

Now, i fully realize the reasoning and necesity of identifying all detector alarms, however this is a case where TSA has overstepped its bounds, and has shown a clear abuse of power. Yet they claim the incident was handled properly as noted in the update on tsa's website.
As quoted:
March 28, 2008

It appears that the Transportation Security Officers involved properly followed procedures in that incident.
Yet, if the news article is accurate The woman involved identified them and offered to privatly display them to another female TSA officer, which was refused.
She said she heard male TSA agents snickering as she took out the ring. This is proper procedure? She was scanned again and was allowed to board even though she still was wearing a belly button ring.A belly button ring is less dangeous than nipple piercings?

Since, i see nothing in TSA's list of prohibited items relating to this sort of jewelery as being not allowed was she then allowed to keep them or required to dispose of them?

This entire incident is not only unprofessional, but excedes any authority allowed by security regulations, once it was determined she possessed no dangerous or prohibited items. It also raises the question(s) of what adornments then are allowable?

Is it Because of her body being pierced? if so then why was the belly button ring allowed? What then about ear rings that are inserted in ear piercings? or some of the other piercings seen today such as nose, lips, eyebrows?
Are only specific adornments at question here?

This then brings another question to mind. What about a womans bra that contains underwires, and metal adjustment or fastening devices? Is a woman then going to be required to remove her bra because said metal is hidden?

And whats next? "I'm sorry sir (or ma'am) you'll have to remove that artificial joint (knee replacement for example) we cant allow that." or "we're sorry sir, the zipper in your trousers is too long, you'll have to leave your pants here."

Its time TSA takes responsibility for its actions, and if a person is informed they are in violation with a prohibited item, then TSA should if necessary be required, and ready to document that with written copies of said violation.

Sadly this appears to be nothing more than abuse of power on the part of the TSA officer(s), as well as a lack of understanding of regulations in general, and i sincerely hope this woman pursues this through legal channels as necessary.

Based on personal experience, this isn't a totally isolated incident either. Firsthand experience with my spouse, who has BOTH hips replaced, (and again i fully understand the necessity of identifying unknown alarms) When even a pat down discloses no hidden property some airport security employees are at a loss about what to do.
The worst airport for this we have been in is Memphis. and on more than one occasion we have been detained long enough to almost miss a flight which was 2 hours in advance of our arrival.
Denver on the other hand, seems to have a good handle on problems such as joint replacements and has a procedure in place to deal with these issues.

Submitted by Anonymous on

1. I have a high-level security clearance.
2. I am a contractor for DHS (since I am not on site in DC, though, I have no badging).
3. I have a Registered Traveler pass(good only at a few airports).

I think it would be much more efficient - not to mention a good PR gig - if government or contract employees with security clearances were granted some sort of TSA clearance or consistent access to a speed lane.

I have no idea on the number, but I am sure that would speed probably hundreds of thousands of people through security lines.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I travel almost weekly, and it irritates me to no end to have an arrogant, ill-trained, ill-mannered screener treat me like I am something he scraped off his shoe.

Submitted by Bill on

Anonymous said..."You military folks ARE the terrorists!"

There are liars, and dam liars and you are one. Philly TSO!

March 28, 2008 12:39 PM

Thank you Anonymous for serving my purposes! But I wasn't lying, it really happened. You see, the fact that you were able to make that baseless imflammatory comment and the TSA Blog Moderator(s) DID NOT see a problem with it and posted it, only proves my assumption (posted in my first comment) that TSA has a problem with military folks like myself. Otherwise, they would not have condoned the above comment like they did at 12:39PM.
I can only imagine what kind of treatment they find acceptable for the civilian community? If they screen for the bad guys at the airport as well as they moderate their discussion board as shown above...The we should ALL be worried!

Submitted by Anonymous on

I have been reading this blog off and on since its inception. As a Transportation Security Officer for almost six years, I have worked in the smallest airports in Alaska to the largest airports on the east coast. I am amazed every day, of the things that happen and that I see. Certainly, I am concerned about the possibility of a terrorist getting through the TSA checkpoint and onto a plane with an IED. However, I am just as concerned, if not more, by the whiny sucky bottle babies, that write the majority of these posts. It seems most of these people have been spoon fed their entire lives and who knows what they have been fed. Granted, some of the concerns brought up are valid, but by and large... bogus. People, please get your facts straight or at least attempt to do some research before you start throwing stones. I do not agree with a few of the procedures that we must follow, but I do not have a suggestion to repair them and I have not seen anyone offer up any realistic alternatives. Getting through the screening process is only as difficult as you make it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

At which Airports have they said they will limit the amounts of Medical items? If the medical item is over the 3.4oz limit and is a liquid/gel/etc then it should be simply tested and go from there. And as for them being poorly trained...do you know how much they have to go through for each person? Especially that guy stuck on the x-ray machine? He's gotta scan each image and look for components of an IED in a matter of seconds. I'm sure he'd love to take longer but we, the passangers, start to complain over it takeing to long without remembering that they are being thorough for our benefit. And as for them being rude or what have you, I feel we should cut them a bit of slack. Of course they are professionals and should act better but they are people too. They will bite back like any of us would in our own professions.

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