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Gripes & Grins, Part 2 (Commenting Disabled)

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Submitted by Bill on

I totally see what you're saying. I'm not upset that I was searched, and I agree military personnel should not be exempt from it. TSA has many fine employees just like anyplace else.
What I'm upset about is that we're often unnecessarily singled out in a crowd of passengers, and the screeners who are usually rude, arrogant and act with impunity go out of their way it seems to publicly humiliate us. (Examples include Joe Foss and his MOH, or the Marines at Oakland airport, and so many other related stories). This is a real problem. Me personally, coming back from 9 months of almost solid combat, and an 18-hour flight, all we wanted to do was get home to our families. We shouldn't have to deal with TSA thugs (as just those people were) the way I did as I mentioned in my first post.
The TSO's behavior(s) by all government standards was totally unacceptable. Does TSA even have a UCMJ? If they do, I hope it works better than their official complaint system, because it's a joke that does not seem to resolve the complaints, including mine. Otherwise, those bad TSO's would have been held accountable for what they said and did to me and my fellow soldiers a long time ago!

STSO DP: Please read my post from the other day (2 days ago, late night)and tell me what I SHOULD have done, putting yourself in my shoes that day. Maybe I'm going about the complaint process the wrong way; What could I have done differently?

Thank you.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I do not fly any longer due to a bad TSA experience. My 80-something year old father and myself went to Denver to visit my sister and her family. We came back a day or two early and I guess this set the bells ring for the TSA. We were forced to go through the extra security lane. TSA agents in the same age bracket as my father manned this lane so the line wasn't exactly moving fast. We had to take our shoes off, had our bags sorted through, the broke my Dad's camera and lost his belt and I had my chest prodded. I guess an under wire bra is a dangerous item. They made us miss our flight. I've never been so angry and insulted in all my life and I no longer fly because of this.
Yep, we were real security risks. I am a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and currently work in the aviation industry. My father served 14 years in the U.S. Navy, 19 years in the US Air Force and retired from Wright Patterson Air Force base. He served in WWII and had a security clearance while he was in the AF. My brother-in-law served in the Air Force and he is flying/instructing for a major airline.
Most of the TSA checks are reactive and more than likely, no one will ever try again to use the same methods for evil behavior. Even if our shoes weren’t being checked, I’m sure the bad guys are smart enough to know that people are paying attention to shoes.
Speaking of security risks, I find it really funny that the flying public is treated with such scrutiny when it has been made public that some TSA agents have been employed and later it was determined that they had a criminal record.

Submitted by Heather Alvarado on

I like the TSA and I like the job they do, but I do not like being rushed through security with my two children at San Jose airport in CA. The TSA people could see that I was the only adult traveling with an infant and a toddler so naturally I need more time to break down the stuff and put it into the bins. That is just going through the xray and then I have to put my stuff back together again on the other side. Please give moms more time to get through and why don't you help a little more? If you think I am moving too slow then you put the stroller through the xray. Don't tap your foot waiting for me to get all of my things and handle my two kids because I will take my time to ensure I have all of my stuff. It is not a tragedy that I hold the line up because you don't know how to get families through nicely and efficiently.

Submitted by Anonymous on

2 majors areas of concern....
First is our inability to get off the plane when setting for mechanical proglems. This has to be changed.
Second.....we really need to quit the very stupid way of selecting people and get to who really is a terrorist. Yes, we have had a couple of americans do it, but the threat is from non-american folks. Profiling has its place in this work and should be enforced. Profiling is necessary and needed. We are Americans and need to be treated as such. If you aren't American, then go to another line and strip down.
As for preventing anything, there hasn't been a single case of anyone caught smuggling explosives aboard. If I were given full immunity to prosecution I could get most anything aboard you would need to do damage or harm. The flaws are readily apparent to anyone who looks hard enough. For that matter a simple radio controlled plane can do the same damage from offsite.
Not a threat, just an observation many who travel discuss, just not at the airport, for obvious reasons.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I would like something to be done about the TSA people in LAX who work at the entrance to the passenger screening area in the Northwest terminal. (This is located at the base of a set of stairs leading to the screening area. Boarding passes are examined and stamped here.)

In this particular location, certain TSA employees are acting in an extemeley hostile fashion towards passengers, and seem to actually be going out of their way to cause incidents. Examples of bad behavior would be: Asking for a second form of identification after a US passport has been presented, asking for a second form of identification after a valid US driver's license has been presented, taking a long time to 'read' a valid US passport, and then stamping the passenger's boarding pass with a red stamp so that they have to go through additional wanding and searching.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Look up the bio for Mr. Ernest B. Tremmel. Tremmel has/had top security clearances, flown on AF 1;google him, go on. He's on AEC/NRA sites.

Why should a person with his kind of background be subjected to pure medical humiliation? In a TSA line he had to explain he'd had a hip replacement, knee surgery, the rest I didn't hear clearly enough to post here.

I watched as he stood in physical pain
as a fellow I guess was maybe 21 yrs. old asked and asked again what was it that was really wrong and why shouldn't he be searched by 'the team.'

Perhaps you could get together with the Department of State and when one's passport is issued or renewed, a clearing card could be enclosed so that
disabled, or surgical passengers, can be passed along such as do airline staff?

I read Mr.Tremmel's bio on Google. You should too! He deserves awards for his service to the USA, not embarrasments.

Submitted by Anonymous on

In April 2002 she was seriously hurt and had been laid up ever since
In Dec 2005 my wife and I flew from Austin TX to Vegas. My wife is an invalid and uses a wheel chair which we take with us on the plane. We had flown many times to Anchorage with no trouble, at that time she was in good health. At the Austin airport was our first time going through security and had no trouble with the security people.
BUT coming back from Vegas my wife was told to get out of the wheelchair and sit on a different chair and while I was going through the screeners with my shoes off, they removed hers, at this point I will say that her shoes were soles and a few straps to hold them on, this was not done at Austin and I didn’t have go through the scanners, the security fellow put all our things in a basket and he took them thought the scanner. My wife, while still in Vegas wanted me to help her put her shoes back on but I was not allowed to go near her which at this time I told security to get a supervisor over as I wanted to talk with them. I told her how we were treated in Austin and they were playing the same game but with a different set of rules.
We got back to Austin and had no trouble there, I would park my wife in her chair just inside the exit door, get the car, and then go back just inside the door and get her to the car.
In Sept. 2007 our daughter, who lives in Michigan invited us to her home for our 60th wedding anniversary. We left Austin, again no trouble, had a good time in Michigan and had no trouble in Grand Rapids.
Arrived back in Austin and used the same procedure with my wife, went out to the “long term” lot to get the car and when I came back I parked just outside the door where my wife was and this so called ‘Security” guy came up and said “you can’t park there” I told him I was just going in to get my wife and he said I could not leave the car unattended, I said “fine” you go in and get her, she is just inside the door and he said he could not get do it. I said OK you watch the car, get your supervisor and I walked in and got her. The fellow threatened me saying he was going to write me up, at this time Le Roy, the supervisor showed up and we had a little talk. The whole jist of this is that the security agents should be a little more helpful and help the people that have a disability. I did service work for 40+ years and there were many times I would do things to help the customer that I was not supposed to do.

Submitted by Erin on

i have never had any problems with a TSA officer. They have always been more than kind. I appreciate that a lot!!

I do have a question, however; the last 4 or 5 times (in a period of 3 months) I have flown I have been tagged with a "SSSS," meaning I frequently get checked out. I just would like to know why? I kind of feel like I've been tagged, or something. I've gotten used to it, and I don't mind, really I'm just curious!

Thanks for keepin' us safe to the best of your ability.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I would like take a moment just to comment. March 2007, My son (a Lnc Cpl., in the United States Marine Corps.) had to experience while on his way to war. He entered Bishop International Airport. He had 3 teenagers in front of him. They went through the process, their case breifly open then closed and went on. When it was his turn, they completely emptied out his sea bag. That was boots on the bottom, and neatly, folded laundry clothing on top. The TSO unfolded all the clothing, stuffing everything back into the bag unfolded, boots, and running shoes, on top.
I know that for me, and others like me that it is required to search through our belongings. And for me this is fine. I'll go through this and not complain. But for what I saw that day, A Military personel being treated like this, was totally improper. The attitude of that TSO Officer was completely wrong. The Marine Corps. Lance Crp. was treated with no respect at all.
In this case who is really fighting war on terrorist? He will soon being leaving for his second deployment, and I fear of this same disrespect to happen again. Considering he was shot while on patrol last june. What is he truely fighting for?

Thank you for allowing me to air what has bothered me for more than a year.

Submitted by Anonymous on

nMy in-laws are from France; they are elderly and do not speak much English. When we are at our regional airport in Pellston, Michigan after they have visited us, inevitably both of them are singled out for a luggage and body search. Their passports are French, obviously. It seems incredulous to me that we are expected to acquiesce and accept that this selection is passed off as random, and the agents "can't do anything about it." "Won't" is the correct word here. It is clearly, clearly harrassment. Nobody working for the airline or TSA has ever tried to explain to them why they are subjected to these extensive indelicate searches, and they absolutely will not tolerate any attempts on the part of me or my husband to do so. The last time this happened, my husband, quite understandably, became upset, because the man in charge refused to talk to us, or to let him talk to his parents. When I calmed him down and tried to talk to the same man myself, he called airport security and the police on me, claiming that I was a troublemaker. All the while, my in-laws were being treated like criminals, having received no notice that they were to be searched, no reason as to why they were chosen, nobody with whom to speak about it, and having to watch helplessly as their relatives were accosted by security personnel for trying to help them get fair treatment. Come on!!! An elderly married couple who just happen to be from a foreign country, chosen at random????

Submitted by Anonymous on

I have never had a bad experience with TSA screening. While I'm sure that there are a few negative incidents, I think that many of the negative comments come from people who have deceived themselves about the strong risk of terrorist attach.

Because I have metal implants, I have to be "wanned". I have been treated with respect and in a reasonable timely manner.

I would rather be slightly detained and would rather surrender a little of my privacy than to be trapped on a sabotaged aircraft that is falling out of the sky.

Bottom Line:

I would rather be slightly delayed than totally dead.

Jim Winter

Submitted by Anonymous on

While traveling to NYC from Ontario, CA last Christmas, my girlfriend and I were screamed at by airport security for having liquid makeup (this just after the no liquid policy was put into effect). I honestly saw no signage, nor were we being hard to get along with. I realize that TSA is trying to do their job, but the unprofessional ego trip some employees go on when they're stressed is inexcusable. My girlfriend cried for 4 hours after we were belittled for not reading the non-existant signage, watching her $100 makeup bag be thrown in a dumpster (while the employee locked eyes with her smirking) and for holding up the line and ruining everyone airport experience. I'm still so confused by the whole thing.

After attempting to calm my girlfriend, I approached a TSA service person and explained that I was upset that we had been yelled at and humiliated in this way and asked politely if there was a way to file a complaint or if I could speak to a manager. I was told that no one would speak to me, that I could try the TSA website, but that Ontario was the "best of the best - better than LAX" and it was my fault that I had been yelled at because I had liquid make-up.

Again, I realize you all have a tough job, but I bought a ticket to fly to NYC safely...I didn't pay to be screamed at, humiliated, or made an example of. I used to fly alot, I avoid it at all costs now due to this experience.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am 20 years old and have physical diasabilities. The first thing TSA needs to realize that being physically diabled does not make me retarded. If anything people with disablities are usually more aware of what is going on around them and thier rights.
Most of the time I am able to walk with asstaince (orthotics and leg braces) but I also travel with my crutches fairly often. I always state that I am wearing metal knee braces, orthotic shoes that I cannot walk without, and that my cary-on contains syringes for one of my medications.
On one trip I have had both my best and worst experiences with TSA. I was flying from Indianapolis to Houston three weeks after having surgery to realign my leg (it had been broken and set with screws). On the trip there I had a very nice agent who took me to the seperate area and brought all my stuff for me to have near me while I went through additional screening. She helped me to remove my shoe from the broken leg while I removed the other and then took them both to be screen. She did pat down my imobilizer but was very plesant about it and told me to tell her if she was pressing to hard. she also helped me get my shoe back on since I could not reach the foot that was in the imobilizer.
On the way home my trip could not have gone worse. My crutches were taken from me at the walk through metal detector and I was expected to hop to the seperate screening area instead of allowing me to get to the side area and then taking my crutches for screening. The agent also insisted on removing my imobilizer, even after I explained that it was doing the same service for my leg as a cast and could damage my leg if removed. I was 16 at the time and flying alone and was more worried about getting home at that point, but my doctor was livid when I told him it had been removed while I wasnt under supervision of him or my physical therapist.
This summer I will be part of a group of about 400 people with a condition called Ehlers Danlos Sydrome trying to fly to Houston for an Education confrence and I can only hope that Houston has improved its disablity services accordingly.
It is one thing to be inconvienced and another when TSA is risking your health and safety.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I have several issues to comment on from my travels in December. The first part of the journey, traveling from Denver to Akron with my 2 year old daughter, was piece of cake. All of her milk, OTC medicine, etc. went through the scans quick and easy and security was very helpful.

Traveling from Akron to Denver was an annoyance. First, one security person asked my daughter what her name was. Keep in mind that she is two and does not talk to strangers. Then, the security lady told my daughter that if she did not say who she was that she couldn't go on the plane with her mommy. What kind of threat is that? It was utterly ridicously. Thankfully, my daughter identified herself, but what would have happened if she did not? What about my non-talking three year old niece who visited me last summer? Crazy! They need some training about how to act around kids who are already nervous.

Then, at the next checkpoint the security screener scolded me for leaving the medicine in my bag, although I had done that from Denver. How was I to know that the milk and medicine had to be in the plastic tub? Seems strange that it is policy in one place and not the other. And, in Akron, they treated me very condescendingly because I hadn't removed them from my backpack. A nice reminder would have been nice, especially with me toting around winter coats, my daughter's stuff and my stuff too. I only have so many hands and at least one of them had to carry my tickets and ID.

I would love to hear back on training for security personal and children.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am an airline pilot. It is ridiculous that I am required to go through security in the first place (seriously, if you don't trust us to be safe, why in the world do you put us in charge of flying the plane???) but my real complaint is with the way I am hassled because I require a CPAP machine (due to sleep apnea) and must bring this through security. TSA officials do not put on fresh gloves before opening the case, pulling out the accessories, handling the mask and hose which touch my face and swabbing parts of the machine with a chemical to test to make sure my CPAP machine isn't really a bomb. I feel this is incredibly unsanitary, an invasion of my privacy, not to mention time consuming. I am an airline pilot wearing my uniform on the way to do my job. I take my CPAP machine with me through security somewhere in the country 3-10 times a week. Could you possibly come up with a letter of exemption for air crew carrying a medical device so I could avoid this treatment in the future?

Submitted by Anonymous on

My only real complaint with the entire airport screening process is the speed. If a trip is within 4 or 5 hours, I choose to drive now because I don't want to deal with airport security and the absolute incompetency of the airline industry. I have never had a negative experience with a TSA agent (I fly about once every 3 weeks, usually to or thru O'Hare). My only complaint is how God-blessed slow the entire process can be. You just never know how many TSA agents will be working and how many lanes will be open.

To everyone complaining about the TSA, they're saints compared to the airlines. At least the TSA has the brass to create a blog like this. I wish the airlines had one. For that, I congratulate the TSA. In my last 4 flights, not once has any leg of a flight been on-time and my luggage has been lost twice. What's worse is that the airlines don't even apologize for their incompetence anymore. What's even worse than that is people have come to accept and expect that atrocious level of service from that industry. If I have to listen to another pilot tell me "Thanks" on the way out of the airplane after a two hour delay, I'm going to lose it. They should be saying, "I'm sorry", not "Thank you".

Submitted by Steve on

I wish all individual "hands-on" screens would be done behind a privacy curtain or screen. I think it is rude to pull that person out of the line and have them screened in front of everyone else for no other reason than because it's part of the system to randomly check people.

Yes, I know someone can request a private screening, but how difficult would it be to put up privacy curtains as the rule? And why does this even need to be suggested? It should be self evident as far as I am concerned. You're frisking someone, for goodness sake! Who wants to be frisked in front of a group of strangers?!

Even worse are airports like the Springfield/Branson airport (SGF), where there's a window in the giftshop that looks out at the screening area. During a recent flight, I was looking at the magazine rack in the giftshop. A grandma brought her two grandkids into the giftshop so they could look through that window and gawk and laugh at the people taking off their shoes and having their carry on baggage dug through.

It's bad enough to have an audience of my fellow travellers, but to also have an audience of people who just happen to be in the airport? I don't need that.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The flying public are customers, but are treated like cattle going to slaughter everytime we fly.

The color-coded alert system is ridiculous. Nobody knows what the difference is between a code yellow and a code orange and a code anything else, so these announcements are meaningless.

We are overwhelmed with security, such that everyone has begun to disregard it. I was in the airport in New Orleans in January, when an announcement came on telling everyone to evacuated the airport. Not a single person moved from their seat -- people did not even look around, even though the power had gone out in the airport. It was a false alarm, as we were notified after about 15 minutes, but for that 15 minutes all of the customers and airline employees simply disregarded the announcement telling everyone to evacuate.

The lines are excessively long to get through security at all of the major airports, and the security personnel regularly scold passengers for not being quick enough with removing their jackets and shoes and electronics and jewelry and liquids and getting all of that into 3 or 4 separate buckets that must then be maneuvered along unwieldy tables onto poorly aligned conveyor belts. For people travelling with children, the process is nearly impossible. For older people, the process is very hard to accomplish. And it is as unpleasant as it could possibly be for everyone.

It would help a lot if: (1) the lines were shorter; (2) the rules were consistently applied at all airports; (3) ridiculous rules were eliminated; (4) uninformative security announcements were discontinued, so that when you tell us something we really believe we need to listen.

Submitted by Stephen on

I was just wondering if it was common practice to pick out military in uniform. Everytime i go through checkpoints in the airport I am pulled off for the secluded screening even though i am in full dress white uniform trying to catch my plane. Its not easy to get in and out of uniform items and stay clean. Its a pain in the butt to be pulled off and remove all metal articles AGAIN after we just dealt with them once.

Submitted by Anonymous on

While travelling through Port Columbus airport, where the TSA agents are notoriously aggressive, I was pulled out of line and searched due to the metal detector going off. I was repeatedly patted down, emptied all my pockets in front of three agents, and was run over with the metal detector wand countless times. The beeps kept going off in the same place. The coin pocket of my jeans, which like all jeans, has a metal rivet. I told the TSA agents it had to be the rivet. No, no, no - I was hiding something. This went on for twenty minutes. Time and time again they found nothing but the metal detector wand went off by the rivet. After twenty minutes of finding nothing, I was allowed to leave with the stern warning that I had better not bring whatever it was I was hiding in again or I'ld be arrested. This is what is supposed to protect us? Give me a break. Your agency is a joke, your agents are clowns and rules are asinine. Every chemist in the world of note says that the liquids, cosmetics, toiletries, etc ban is a joke. Can't make a bomb out of the stuff - just a myth. Plus, if it WAS dangerous how moronic that you keep it there in a bin with all of us around. If it's REALLY dangerous, get it the hell out of the airport! Also, removing my toddler's shoes? Her foot isn't BIG enough to contain any explosives that could be dangerous. It's moronic, it flies it the face of science and fact and it harasses honest law biding people while the people that load the planes aren't screened at all. TSA is a joke, a farce, and a complete waste of taxpayer money and a huge detriment to our economy. Any politician that ran on the platform of disbanding the agency would win in a landslide. I sincerely hope that if there's an afterlife, each of you will spend it in an airport being screened. That would be heaven for all of us that have to put up with all of you.

Submitted by Kvhach on

I have an artificial knee (chromium cobalt). Thus, I will always set off the alarm and require a "pat down". My complaint is that the "pat down" is absurdly done. The same area (my left knee, as an example) is patted down 4-8 times in a single search. Why?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I fly on business roughly once a month. I would say that I've been through a pretty representative cross section of airport security screening. From my experience I have to say that Seattle/Tacoma International Airport is the absolute worst airport to go through security screening. They are slow and behave like they are just going through th motions and trying not to snore.
Did the TSA hire the stupidest and slowest to work at Sea/Tac? My travel regimen is pretty well unchanged (except for the changes imposed upon us by TSA)since after 9/11, yet Seattle can't seem to screen my carry on items and get me through the checkpoint in a reasonable amount of time. Essentially all of the other airports I have been through do not exhibit the kind of ineptitude that Sea/Tac does. At Sea/Tac I show up two hours before my departure time and get through security with a minimal time margin to spare. Other airports get me through screening and I end up sitting around with nothing to do.

Now when I fly out of Sea/Tac I arrive two and a half hours early. When I fly out of everywhere else I arrive an hour and a half before departure and get along just fine.

In addition to their obvious lack of proficiency, the screeners at Sea/Tac are sure an unfriendly lot. I really do understand that they have a job to do, but there isn't any need to be pissy all of the time. If you hate your job that much, find some other line of work.

In a nutshell, flying out of Sea/Tac SUCKS! Going through security there is a form of torture.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Last summer TSA went through my bag and totally disassembled my CURLING IRON. The circuitry was exposed, the cord detached from the wand, it was in pieces. This did not happen from mishandled luggage. I sent an email to customer service and NEVER received a response. That is why I am so surprised to see a blog for passengers. I never get so much as a form notice and now you have a blog..which is a move in the right direction, but don't your customer service people ever read email?? Probably because they are too inundated. Here is a copy of that letter written last summer. July 30, 2007

On 7/1/07 I flew from Dallas to Phoenix on Southwest Airlines. Upon my arrival at home (in Tucson), I opened my suitcase and found a cursory note from TSA. It explained that TSA had examined my suitcase after x-raying it. I've had my bags examined on previous trips; I have no problem with these examinations. However, this time as I was unpacking, I noticed my curling iron had been totally dismanteled and left in pieces. With THIS, I have a problem. I would have thought that if you dismantle a personal item it should be reassembled. It was damaged beyond repair. I was forced to purchase another one.

I understand I should have been given a TORT claim form to file with TSA. I never received one nor was one placed in my suitcase
I am very upset about this situation. Even though it may not have cost a lot, it was the principal of the matter.

I would appreciate your attention to this matter.


Maybe this time someone will respond. My email address is I am a school teacher in Tucson, AZ and am not one to carry bombs, especially not in my curling iron. I need it for my HAIR.

Thanks in advance for hopefully reading this this time.

Submitted by Anonymous on

We are an English family of 5 who live in St.Lucia West Indies. Everytime, and I mean everytime we fly anywhere in the USA we are issued with boarding passes sporting SSSS which means we have to go through the extra special security check. This seems discriminatory to me and I have commented many times to TSA agents, the airlines, and even to the TSA website. Noone will take responsibility for getting us off this list. We travel in and out of the States at least 3 or 4 times a year and it is the same each time. What can we do?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Personal Insight from a New TSO

As someone new to the TSA (less than 2 months), it didn't take me more than 5 days on the job to understand the gripes and complaints issued by people on this blog. One word can thoroughly describe the TSA: INCONSISTENCY!!!

For all of you passengers who have taken the time to write your thoughts and ideas, I sympathize with you. Being on the other side, I have personally witnessed and taken part in some of the ridiculous policies outlined by the TSA for proper passenger security. While I get most of what is required of me and know a lot of the basis for reasoning of these policies, there is absolutely no consistency within even the multiple checkpoints of an airport, never mind between airports.
You have to relaize 1 thing; TSA / DHS is a GOVERNMENT AGENCY. Therefore, it is an inherent, innate characteristic to not make sense to even those employed by it.
While there is no excuse for rude people taking the little power given to them by the TSA, the policies and procedures taught to us are constantly being updated, interpreted differently by individuals instead of groups and we are forced to work under different situations every day.
I wholeheartedly agree there are ignorant, mean, rude, small-minded, and even less intelligent people working for the TSA who really should not be employed in such a capacity. There needs to better weeding-out procedures put in place before a person is ever offered a job and stricter reprimand penalties enforced for the deleterious behaviour being witnessed and endured while going through security.
Here's the problem: The TSA is so hard up for help that many flags are ignored so as to have a warm body at the metal detector. A person with intelligence, experience, and education is actually frowned upon because they actually question the system from within. The standard response from an immediate supervisor has been: "It's my checkpoint and I want it that way, that's why." An answer from a few levels up the chain of command goes something more like this: "You've got to understand that TSA is still a very new agency compared to other agencies and there is going to be some growing pains along the way."
Those pains are being felt every day by not only the passengers but the actual TSOs hired to do a specific job that is changing all the time. Mis-communication, under-communication, and no communication is the norm of the TSA despite the real underlying true desire of a lot of employees to do the right thing, help people out, and discourage any would be criminals from taking over an aircraft.
It is a sad note that I have wanted to quit nearly every day because of the frustration encountered with my "supervisors". What has kept me coming back is the interaction I have with the majority of the traveling public who understand there are certain rights or privileges that get taken away or modified in order to fly as safely as possible. I enjoy helping other people and trying to alleviate their stress as much as possible but my desire to do this is tempered by my own frustrations with my employer.
All I can say is, you are not alone . I would encourage people to continue to vent for at least a little satisfaction of getting it off your chest. I would like to think it will get better for both passengers and employees.

Good Luck!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Recently, my companion and I experienced a 2-hour departure delay due to weather, meaning we would wait 3 hours minimum until departure. Frustrating, but unavoidable…the situation offered time to visit, watch news or play a game. Unfortunately, most of that was nearly impossible due to a loud announcement regarding unattended luggage every 3 minutes. (I timed them.) This meant 60 announcements interrupting conversation every 3 minutes. This announcement is made at every airport, but I don’t recall it that often or that loud. Therein lie my concerns.

First, are there TSA guidelines as to how often, how loud and where this announcement must be made? Could the frequency and volume requirements be reduced?

Second, why is this announcement being made in the departure gate where everyone has already passed through TSA screening?

Finally, frustration level is high at most airports these days, due to unavoidable delays and cancellations. Two airports visited recently were making an effort to diminish these feelings. MSP (Minneapolis/St. Paul) played light, classical music through their P.A. system intended to calm people. ATL (Atlanta) had a live pianist in the main area playing light, calming music. Perhaps more of this could be encouraged at all airports along with less frequent and quieter necessary announcements to help everyone’s frayed nerves during these difficult days.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...

I had an umbrella confiscated by the TSA at the Portland (Oregon) Memorial Coliseum prior to a Barack Obama rally

"I thought TSA = Transportation Security Administration.

Why in the world is the TSA providing security for Barack? Does the Portland Coliseum have an airport, bus or train station?

Providing security for anything other than transportation is CLEARLY NOT YOUR JOB.

Who approached the TSA with this idea?

Who authorized this outside work?

Who paid for the TSA's time and equipment?

I think this falls into the category of GROSS mismanagement, GROSS waste, and fraud."

TSA was there (and in many other states) by request of the secret service. Secret Service sets all the rules and pays for it at many political functions; not just rallies for Mr. Obama. It IS TSA's job because we are part of Homeland Security. Homeland= everywhere we need to be.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"Anonymous said...
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."
Right; had to be TSA since those highly paid, thoroughly checked, baggage handlers couldn't have got there hands on a bolt cutter. Why would TSA waste there time removing your lock if they didn't have to? Why would anyone? Perhaps you forgot to secure the lock and it fell off in the "gentle" baggage handling. TSA only handles you bags once per trip. The airlines handle it as often as they need to; like when you have connecting flights or they just need to move it around to make space.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Passenger Multilanguage Check Point Instructions (Protocol). In the NEW Check Point video I saw panels (flat panels) that could be used to inform foreign passengers in their native language instructions to go through the check point. I am a TSO working in the Miami airport in check point H where the destinations are Italy, France and the Middle East and when I am announcing to divest shoes, computers and so on, most people don’t understand me and the check point back up tremendously.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I agree with the need for security at the airport and have no problem following TSA guidelines. I am concerned about my flight from BNA to DFW today when I forgot to remove the full baggie of liquids from my carry on suitcase and my bag cleared security with no comment. While I appreciate the generally polite treatment from TSA, I would prefer more attention to detail and safety.

Submitted by Darla on

We were leaving Orlando on 12/24/2006, and had arrived at the checkpoint, where I was waiting for a tub to put my coat, etc, in. The security person told me that I didn't need a tub, and made me put my things directly on the belt. Well, my coat has drawstrings with round metal slides on the ends. These made the coat get stuck on the rollers inside the X-Ray machine. The security man promptly crawled inside the machine and fumbled around for what seemed like 5 minutes trying to get my coat unstuck. I'm sure my camera and film got a extra dose of radiation, as he sent my suitcase through at least one more time as it got stopped in the machine by my coat. There has got to be a copy of this on video somewhere, as I know checkpoints are monitored. We were leaving on Delta to catch a connecting flight in Atlanta going to Dallas.

Submitted by Ftpolkbunny on

I've read through much of this blog and the people that are so angry at TSA keep saying that TSA isn't catching or stopping the bad guys, but on the home screen for they list all the weapons that have been recently confiscated. I'm happy to be travelling,knowing that all those guns, knives, concealed weapons, etc are not on the airplane travelling with me. I commend the officers for the job they do if they have to deal with such angry people at the checkpoints on a daily basis. They also talk about picking people that look like terrorists or state that they don't look like a terrorist, but Timothy McVeigh did not look like our normal thought of a terrorist and yet he took many lives. The people that we do picture as terrorist don't hesitate to use children, mentally retarded individuals or the disabled. My husband is serving in Iraq as I type this and his soldiers have had people roll up to them in wheel chairs that were loaded with explosives. They've put explosive vests on mentally retarded children and sent them into markets. They do not value human life at all and they don't have all the political correctness stopping them from fulfilling their intentions. I guess my main thought process is that there are still attacks in England, Europe, and the middle east, but none have occurred here since 9/11 so our government is doing something right. I think all airports should have the same equipment and that would go along way to streamline the screening process.

Submitted by Anonymous on

What do you expect to get from a person that you pay $12.00/hour. TSA screeners make 24,000-$30,000 per year. How is a person supposed to live on that. If you want intelligent, qualified people you must pay enough to attract them to the position. training only works if the person is trainable. how can we put the security of our country into the hands of people that are making $12.00/hour. Honestly, what do you expect to get for $12.00/hour

Submitted by Screener Joe on

anonymous said: "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?"

Of course you missed the point. And posted your response in a fashion that encourages others to miss the point.

The point was, that we cannot assume anyone is safe, just because they are disabled, or very young, or any of the other vague complaints posted on this blog. In order to be complete we must treat everyone as nearly the same as we can.

You know, you were very rude in that post. And personally insulting to me. In order for anyone to have "ripped a new one" they would have had to be right and me wrong, and that simply hasn't happened.

Let's see... three years enlisted military police, bachelors degree in history, nine years as an infantry officer, including a tour in special forces, post graduate work in history and education, ten years experience in security work, and five years with TSA. Don't know what I'm talking about? Suuuuure...

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."
If you want to accurately complain about the cost of TSA, then ask the airlines why they charge you a "9/11 fee" but have never paid a dime of it.

Submitted by Screener Joe on

There are several people who come onto this blog to troll. These people trolling begin to bother me. It is not just the trolling. It is not the arrogant self righteousness. It is not the naive approach to world and national problems. It is not the constant repeating of the same half truths, assumptions and urban myths, or the strident claims that those misstatements must be true because they are said so often. (I think it was Himmler who said that if a lie is repeated often enough people will begin to accept it no matter how foolish it is.)

No the thing that bothers me about the trolling is simply that they make it so hard for anyone to use the blog for the intended purpose.

I come here maybe once a week or so. The people trolling seem to come here two or three times a day. The blog was created to open an informal line of communication between passengers and screeners. I post when I think I can make a comment that will help someone better understand what we are doing. The trolling is insulting, misleading, and generating such a volume of hatred that I fear passengers and screeners who might benefit are intimidated away.

I generally make it a point to avoid arguing with trolls. It is a waste of time.

Submitted by Joe Screener on

anonymous said: "Speaking of security risks, I find it really funny that the flying public is treated with such scrutiny when it has been made public that some TSA agents have been employed and later it was determined that they had a criminal record."

When TSA was created five years ago, the Department of Transportation was tasked with the job. They hired a contract human resources company to do the job. That company hired vast numbers of temporary employees and set up recruiting and testing stations around the country. But in their hurry to ensure that they met the time requirement in the contract, the corporate office put a great deal of pressure on those branch stations, and some of those stations cheated.

At some stations they hired people who simply were not qualified. And at others they failed to finish the required paperwork. TSA as a functioning organization didn't even exist yet. But as TSA began to operate, these problems surfaced. TSA had to fire several score people who were unqualified; the commercial headhunters created the problem, but TSA got the black eye. TSA had to resubmit background checks and other paperwork on many good screeners; again it was the contract outfit at fault, but again TSA got the black eye.

Submitted by Joe Screener on

"First, are there TSA guidelines as to how often, how loud and where this announcement must be made?"

No. TSA provides the text for the announcements about security, but the airport puts them up.

"Could the frequency and volume requirements be reduced?"

Sorry... Again that is up to the airport.

"Second, why is this announcement being made in the departure gate where everyone has already passed through TSA screening?"

Not the airport where I work, so I can only guess; but I suspect that the Loud Speaker system covers the whole airport, not just selected portions.

Submitted by Screener Joe on

anonymous said: "We are an English family of 5 who live in St.Lucia West Indies. Everytime, and I mean everytime we fly anywhere in the USA we are issued with boarding passes sporting SSSS which means we have to go through the extra special security check. This seems discriminatory to me and I have commented many times to TSA agents, the airlines, and even to the TSA website. Noone will take responsibility for getting us off this list. We travel in and out of the States at least 3 or 4 times a year and it is the same each time. What can we do?"

The airlines have a piece of software in their computers that puts the SSSS tag on passengers when boarding passes are printed. The software predates TSA, and was approved by DOT at the time. It is designed to pick out elements of ticket purchase that may indicate some risk.

It is not a "list" that you could be removed from. And I am not familiar enough with the criteria to guess why it might select you.


Submitted by Wisconsin on

"TSA has a problem with military folks"
Bill, you couldn't be more wrong. TSA has a very high number of current and former military in its ranks. I don't think they've hired them just to fill a quota. At my airport, out of 82 officers, I know we have at least 6 VietNam vets, 4 Iraq vets, 2 currently deployed, and 2 dozen or so former military members who did not serve in a War. TSA has the highest respect for military; past and present. If you receive screening you don't think you should have to, remember that it is fairly easy to aquire a military uniform. The IDs are easy to replicate in appearance as we do not have the technology to "read" your ID's microchip. If you have quad S's on your boarding pass (SSSS) meaning your selected by the airlines for additional screening, you are exempt if you are on orders and in uniform. If you have those S's, ask to speak to a supervisor.
I sincerly thank you for your service to our country.

Submitted by Bill on

Thank you. I know there are many former military personnel in TSA, and we do have many supporters with-in the agency. I can appreciate that. But did you read about my experience though with TSA at Philly/San Diego in my first post a few weeks ago?
I know people can pose as one of us, and our ID's are less than desired; but what about when it's established as fact that this is indeed a military person, and the said individual is getting grief for it, like I did by the screeners?
I know enough fellow servicemen who had their orders stamped 'Do not screen', only to have the order ignored (often intentionally) by the screener and supervisor. I worked for a Chief once who even had his diplomatic passport ignored and he and his party were threatened at gunpoint in Atlanta when they refused to show the screener/supervisor their secret documents and the contents of their weapon cases the Navy authorized them to carry on their official business (if you don't have a Secret clearence, you don't get to view secret documents)!
I don't have a problem with the fact I was searched; but HOW they went about it, and their attitude torwards me and my travel companions. These screeners made it clear to us they had a problem with us because we were military. As I mentioned in my first post, why else would the screener have barked "You military personnel ARE the terrorists?"
I know there are bad apples in every group, but it hasn't helped that the complaints I submitted to TSA have totally fallen on deaf ears, and they've done NOTHING to apologize for or correct what happened that day. I wish I could agree with you, but it's true, like that day, first impressions are everything.

Submitted by Tom on

I travel almost every week and I hear the same old announcement at airport after airport "the homeland security threat condition has been raised to ..." - I can't tell you how many times I would prefer to hear "Welcome to "city or airport name" we are glad you are flying with us today and wish you a pleasant trip"...the current policy is fear based and does nothing to unite our citizens or our country. I would suggest it actually has the opposite effect. Are we the "United" states, or have you redefined what this country really stands for. Shame on you TSA for your fear based policies...they create division not unity and are doing nothing to uplift and encourage the millions that travel by air. I submit that this country will only be stronger when we return to compassion and sensibility for each other.

Submitted by Anonymous on

This is a very minor, but annoying, situation. I handed my bag to a TSA employee at the Las Vegas Airport on 4-7. He looked at it and said, "Oh good, a TSA-approved lock." Well, I no longer have that TSA-approved lock. They apparently opened my suitcase (which was not done for my flight to Las Vegas) and didn't put the lock back on, so I am now out about $10 for a TSA-approved lock.

Submitted by Robert on

I was aware after reading on the tsa website it would be possible to lock my luggage with a special lock approved by tsa. They have a key to the lock. The trouble was they didn't want to unlock it. They just decided to cut it. Guess it was easier for whoever it was that decided to cut it. The locks are not cheap and I sure did not appreciate it being cut. I traveled out of the Charlotte NC airport on 4-1-08. I know of at least one other person that had the same problem. I'm sure there are probably more. Robert

Submitted by Anonymous on

Sorry this is a year old complaint, but just recently learned of this website.
Returned from Paris in May, 2007, connecting through Chicago O'Hare to DFW. The TSA locks on both of our checked bags were broken, and a very expensive bottle of cognac was stolen from my husband's bag. Of course, no one is accountable for theft. TSA needs to monitor the baggage handlers to prevent theft. If was a big downer after a great trip! We're flying on direct flights this year so we can at least carry on our cognac from the duty-free shop.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why isn't the TWIC being used as a form of Frequent Traveler or Safe Traveler identification? The TWIC is proof that the holder has been through extensive background, immigration checks and fingerprinting. It should be accepted at airports as a 'pre-screened' passenger credential.

Submitted by TexasKmq on

I really do applaud the TSA's thought in hosting this blog......if it really is used as a tool for change then it has served its purpose. I have noted an increase in the professionalism of the TSA staff at various airports (St. Louis, DFW to name a couple).

If your compatriates in the industry, such as American Airlines, would follow suit in attempting to solve their abysmal customer service relations abilities with 98% of their ticket staff instead of concentrating on their management staff doing great PR but not being able to solve problems, then they could also go a long way in solving some major issues.


Submitted by JP on

At OAK there was a line for "expert travelers." In actuality, this was used by whomever stumbled upon it, and in fact was more likely to be used by those not paying attention (and were therefore rewarded by a shorter wait). Not a good idea.

Submitted by Shell45 on

On a recent trip (April, 2008), I had a silver bracelet stolen at the Dayton, OH, airport. When I tried to walk through the security metal detector, I was sent back through when the alarm sounded. I was asked to place my bracelet in a "doggie bowl" to pass through on the conveyor belt. It did not go through with the rest of my belongings, which had already passed through. When I did not immediately pick up my bracelet on the other side (I was hurriedly trying to put back on my shoes), it was taken. I explained to the TSA employees what had happened and asked them to help look for it, but they were totally unsympathetic and even disinterested. One gentleman did try to play back the security cam video tape of the last few minutes, but stated, "It's not letting me rewind...I don't know why it's not working right now." Hmmm...sounds like that was planned. Boy, did I learn a valuable lesson...hope you also learn from my story. Very disappointing way to begin a vacation!

Submitted by Flipper on

I would like to read the official statement on TSA employee Alvin Crabtree in Denver. Nothing came up in a search of the site.