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Inconsistencies, Part 1 (Commenting Disabled)

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Did you have to take your shoes off in Ohio but not Colorado? Post all of your thoughts about inconsistencies on this blog post.

In response to an cmac's frustration with those who seem ungrateful for the job TSOs do each day...

Don't take negative comments left by a few to heart. People have the right to voice their opinion even when some of those people don't do it with the same courtesy and respect they expect from you. Without question a lot of our brothers and sisters feel the very same way you do sometimes. This blog is intended to bridge the gap with people who have legitimate issues with the TSA, but let's put the negative into proper context. Consider there are at most a few hundred complaints on this site. Of those complaints there are without a doubt many posts by the same author. Now consider there are some 35, 000 domestic flights per day in the U.S. with millions of passengers using our transportation system, all of which have experienced the professionalism and security provided each day by our Officers (and don't forget this site is accessible worldwide as we've seen people from different countries leaving posts). So if this were an election one might consider those numbers to be a landslide victory.

There's no doubt some people have had a bad experience with the TSA. Our job is to fix what's broken, but hey let's face it - security is a tough business. There's an old saying, "Security is a great thing... until it applies to me". Sure some complaints are valid and we need to improve in many areas, but when you look at the posts there are an awful lot of complaints because people brought a prohibited item into the checkpoint which was identified, and when TSA identified the item they claimed the rules were stupid or ineffective. Those stupid rules weren't that ineffective obviously.

Keep doing the job you do, take constructive criticism constructively, and if it doesn't apply to you or your team – take it with a grain of salt. Your commitment and professionalism are appreciated and never go unnoticed.

Jay


lancifer, said

Q: For everyone telling the rest of us how we've not had another terrorist attack simply because of beefed up security, I ask you this: Prior to September 11, 2001, when was the previous terrorist attack against the US? Where was it? What happened? Now, when was the attack prior to that?" When was the last terror attack against the U.S.?"

A: Have you been living under a rock? The answer to that question is simple, available, and lengthy .

Q: "We've seen evidence of potential plots for attacks. The fact is, terrorist attacks in the US are rare and isolated incidents."

A: Thankfully yes terror attacks on U.S. soil are rare events. But when you consider these facts: the last terror attack cost 3000+ innocent lives in a matter of minutes, it has heavily impacted our foreign policy, it has placed military service personnel in harms way costing more lives, and in short order has cost our economy in lost capital and venture to the tune of more than one TRILLION dollars - the investment to protect U.S. interest if even only for the rare or isolated attack is worth the return.


Q: I could get a boat and troll Lake Michigan all day long, catching large fish, and talking about how my vigilance has kept the lake secure from shark attacks. Never mind that the likelihood of a shark attack in Lake Michigan is little to none. Prove that I don't prevent shark attacks in Lake Michigan. That is how I feel about our increased security. We've got the government telling us about how much danger there is around us, but only a handful of people are questioning the validity of their claims. So if you don't mind, I've got to go keep Lake Michigan free of shark attacks.

A: Lake Michigan is a fresh water body; there are no sharks in Lake Michigan.


Your fishing venture on Lake Michigan doesn't change the fact we are still surrounded by sharks.

Jay

Comments

Submitted by B1caswell on

Over the last two years, I have had the displeasure of logging more than 100,000 air miles per year. These trips inclide not just domestic, but Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia.
In the states, the differences in airport TSA staff are staggering. Tke off your shoes in Chicago, but not in Houston. Belt sets off no alarm in DFW, same belt sets off alarm in Logan.

Europe and Asia have been dealing with terrorism long before the US. Yet, when I cleared security in Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing, Paris,Mexico City and Barcelona. I did not have to remove my shoes, my belt, take off my jacket and I got to leave my computer in my briefcase.

My conclusion from all of this is simple. American TSA us the worst organization on the face of the planet. You have terrible policy enforcement and no justification for those policies given procedures applied in airports outside of the US. You are to blame for passenger frustration and airport clog; That's what we get when the federal government takes over anything. TSA makes flying in the US a terrible experience.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Traveling to NJ via Philly from Pullman, WA last year. Made it through Pullman, WA with my toothpaste (a large, extremely explosive tube of Crest). On the way home, the Philly Airport TSA confiscated my dangerous Crest. Must have been Colgate fans. Why the difference? Is toothpaste dangerous on the East coast and not out here in Washington State?
Doesn't the TSA train all its employees the same? Thoughts?

Submitted by Anonymous on

It seems that if you want to make the airports more secure, you would have to hire higher quality TSA screeners. I am in Europe right now, and when I went through TSA, the workers were just kids who were laughing and having fun. No one in TSA really pays attention to non-verbal things. No one really watches people. I don't know if they're too busy watching for waterbottles, or what. But it seems that they've got the minutia. Now, they just need to catch the big things.

Submitted by Joe2171 on

What really kills me about all the comments and negativity being posted here is that most of the passengers that I hear complaining about airports, and inconsistency in screening, are not telling the truth. I've actually had a woman complaining to me about having to remove her shoes and she didn't have to remove them at "X" airport, and their was her husband saying yes we did. Happens all the time

Submitted by Anonymous on

I, too have to agree with TSA re: the Jake/Jacob thing. We all know we need to have the name on the ticket match the name on the photo ID. This has been inforced since the mid-90s. As for the zippered clear bag, good God, how many times have we heard or read the "311" information. I agree with everyone about the shoes...what am I going to hide in my thin-soled flip flops, hmm? Please explain why some airports that have the new screening machine with the "puffs of air" make you take your shoes off before you go through (even though the side states "do not remove shoes"--thank you Jacksonville, FL), and other airports have you take them off after you go through the machine. I appreciate the comment about wearing crocs for east, but you still have to step on a comtaminated surface. Check out the "shoes" section. It states that the airports have no more germs than a locker room. Oh, that makes me feel real good! Back to the 311 thing...get over it, people! Stick to the small size tubes of whatever the hell you need to take on the plane with you and keep them to a minimum.

Submitted by Anonymous on

My husband recently flew out of Tucson and when he boarded the flight there was a lady sitting in his seat. She said her boarding pass had that seat number on it. they compared passes and yes, they both had the same seat number...they also both had my husband's name on them!! She had gotten thru 3 check points with the wrong boarding pass!!

Submitted by Anonymous on

I have no objection to whatever search/inspect policies are necessary to ensure our safety. What I DON'T accept is former Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta's bizarre and apparently still enforced order to airlines forbidding them to search more than two Middle Eastern-looking men (even non-U.S. citizens) per flight because that's "racial profiling," while any number of white-haired grannies from Darien or middle-aged American corporate CEOs--who, let's face it, are not very likely to be terrorists--can be called out of line and detained for thorough, intrusive searches. Both American Airlines and United--9/11 victims--were fined hundreds of thousands of dollars for "violating" this ill-advised and arbitrary directive. Common sense should trump political correctness, for a change; but I'm not holding my breath.

Submitted by Bob on

Please explain why TSA screeners in St. Louis are reserving lines for first class passengers. The supervisor on duty told me that TSA had "negotiated" to do this. It seems that in our class-less society, paying for a first class ticket should entitle one to ride in a particular part of the plane, not to be given preferential treatment in a tax-financed federal process and that TSA has no authority to negotiate the rights of one taxpayer in favor of another.

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSO Tom, your post illustrates one of the reasons why TSA staff are so resented.

People are asking you a legitiamte question. If you don't know the answer, SAY SO.

But, instead you tell them that their experience did not happen. Of course they do not beleive you! If you had a roll for breakfast, and someone told you that, you had tea and toast for breakfast, would you beleive them? Well, why should any sane person react differently when told that the experience they had at a different airport didn't happen?

Submitted by Michaelaeckard on

I am glad that I am not the only traveler that is frustrated with the inconsistencies in airport security. I have experienced the same types of stories shared previously. At my home airport of LAS, you are required to remove your shoes but I've been at other airports where you don't have to. Sometimes they want you to put them in the bins, other times they simply want you to place them on the belt. These standards need to be streamlined and communicated clearly to every passenger PRIOR to entering the security check-point line. On another note, explain to me why smokers cannot bring a lighter onto the aircraft, but matchbooks are okay. On a layover in Chicago I borrowed a lighter from a TSA agent and asked her about this. Her puzzlement was the same as mine. Seems to me that fire is fire and if you're trying to prevent ignition of an explosive device, a fire, etc. matches work just as well. I have some other observations but I will post those under the appropriate heading. I do thank you for taking the time to become a more transparent government agency and commend you on the efforts to keep myself and all of the traveling public safe.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I just wanted to begin by saying that TSO Tom's posting of January 31, 2008 4:09 PM was very illuminating and frankly quite humorous. I am shocked and appalled that he takes pride in performing a duty where out of the hundreds, or more likely thousands, of people he sees every day that "...ONE OR TWO sometimes more...", thank him for the job he is doing...LOL...seriously how blinded by government propaganda must you be to think that this is a good thing and that the general flying public endorses what you are doing or simply believes you are doing a good job...that my friend is the ULTIMATE denial. In all of my travels I have never once heard anyone express admiration for an agent of the TSA. I personally have told agents “keep up the good work” but I certainly hope they understood the sarcasm and disdain I was attempting to convey…but now I am beginning to doubt it.

Now: on to the issue at hand, inconsistencies in traveler’s experiences. I was travelling with my 3 year old son from Detroit to Atlanta in the summer of 2007 and we were allowed to bring sealed juice boxes through security for him on the flight leaving Detroit but not through security in Atlanta...my question is this:

How is the average or even seasoned traveler supposed to report discrepancies? What is the process for disputing the "ruling" or arbitrary enforcement of random rules? There should be a clearly defined and stated process for questioning the conduct and decisions of the TSA agents. I wonder how is a citizen traveler supposed to question the decisions of the agent, most of whom I am sure would be found to have an education average far beneath the average airline traveler...(I would LOVE to see such a study identifying the percentage of TSA agents with nationally accredited collegiate degrees)

One problem I have seen and experienced is that the TSA agents currently hold ultimate power with very little room for recourse; and the vast majority of people are willing to acquiesce rather than face the possibility of delay. There should be a form or card readily available at all TSA check points describing the process of complaint and the identities, perhaps employee ID number or something, of the staff at the check points. Given the hectic pace of trying to get through security and make a flight many travelers are simply too burdened to follow through on complaints. I would bet that you would get more than an earful and some constructive ideas…many more than a blog.

Submitted by Anonymous on

First, to the TSA employees, I appreciate what you are TRYING to do. I've heard that some of the inconsistency is intentional because that way terrorists don't know for what exactly to expect/plan. Is this true?
Second, I would make the case that TSA policy SHOULD either give TSA employees the flexibility use their own discretion as to whether someone/something merits further scrutiny (common sense over rigid policy enforcement) or policy should be consistent enough that at least the airlines know the rules and can therefore inform their passengers. Example: In December I flew out to WA, on the way back (same stuff in my pockets/carry-on etc.)and TSA confiscated my lighter, but wouldn't let me mail it to myself. I was told it was a prohibited item and shouldn't have gotten through security any of the ~15 times before (all post 9/11). Then as we landed at DIA, over the intercom of the plane we were reminded not to light up until we got off the plane. So either matches are OK and lighters are not (which doesn't seem to make a lot of sense) or even the airline didn't know what items were allowed/prohibited (in which case how are we, the traveling public, supposed to stay top of this stuff enough to plan appropriately?)

Submitted by Jeff P on

I hope the TSA thinks a little bit more about the rules for allowed and forbidden items, as currently, they make little sense.

A tiny swiss army knife with a 1" blade is forbidden, but a 6.5" screwdriver and a 9" metal knitting needle are both allowed - this clearly makes no sense from the standpoint of the danger of each item.

I also question the entire liquid issue. Why is a single 6oz bottle forbidden, but the same exact liquid split into 2 different 3oz bottles is perfectly safe? Essentially, we're allowed a quart of liquid, but it must be separated into 3oz units. Logically, this makes very little sense.

All I ask is that some logic and common sense be applied to the safety rules, so that they actually encourage safer travel, rather than simply respond to perceived threats in inconsistent and illogical ways.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The two major things to think about in terms of risk assessment are the likelihood of an event occurring and the consequences of the event should it happen. Unfortunately, we have an answer to the latter. But regarding the former, terrorists are extremely unlikely to succeed with an attack of that nature again because we passengers are now vigilantly looking out for warning signs of potential terrorist activity. And on any given flight there are at least several of us who are willing and able to handle such a situation should it arise. Yet the likelihood of me feeling harassed/annoyed by inconsistently implemented TSA policy after going through security next time I fly is comparatively quite high. For me the increased sense of security is more than offset by the increased sense of frustration this situation creates. That's why I no longer fly when I have a viable transportation alternative.

Submitted by Jack on

Michael, I begin the dissassembly process out of range of the TSA screamers. Shoes off, belt off, glasses, jacket, cellphone & keys and change into jacket pockets. Laptop into a bin. Laptop bag, then Pelican case.

I stay there until everything goes into the x-ray machine. A fast couple of steps to get the stuff as it comes out of the machine. Laptop bag seldom gets checked, but the Pelican case gets swabbed down every time I fly. Something to do with lots of cables, 3-4 hard drives, wall warts, CDs, adapters, etc. The only things I ask is to be there when they go through the Pelican case and that what they take out goes back from whence it came.

Submitted by Jack on

I've noticed that some of the angrier posts that I've posted (no names, no profanity, no spam, on topic) have conviently gone to the bit bucket in the sky. At least 6-10 of my posts have gone away.

Potemkin security + Potemkin blog=

A total waste of good electrons and photons.

Submitted by Bob on

Please explain why TSA screeners in St. Louis are reserving lines for first class passengers. The supervisor on duty told me that TSA had "negotiated" to do this. It seems that in our class-less society, paying for a first class ticket should entitle one to ride in a particular part of the plane, not to be given preferential treatment in a tax-financed federal process and that TSA has no authority to negotiate the rights of one taxpayer in favor of another.
If you don't want to publish on the blog please send an answer to
r_snelson@charter.net Thanks.

Submitted by Chance on

Chance here, I work for TSA, and I did want to talk a little regarding the comments anonymous above made about general aviation (GA). While it's true you're unlikely to see TSA personnel while dealing with GA, we do work with the GA community. I myself have traveled to give briefings to local GA airport owners about the threats they face, and our local offices work closely with many GA airports as well. So, please don't think this is just something we ignore. We have an entire office devoted exclusively to GA issues.

Aside from this, GA is a little different from commercial aviation. The planes tend to be smaller and/or slower than commercial aircraft, making them less attractive for terrorists to use as suicide weapons. Even if you packed them with explosives, most just won't have the destructive power of larger, faster planes. One last point to consider: there are about 300 or so major commercial airports in the U.S., but there are almost 20,000 GA airfields. Some are located at major airports, but others are simple grass fields. Securing all of them would probably take a 50 -fold increase in the number of personnel we currently employ.

Submitted by Curtis on

I'm a US Navy Captain and I have a lot of metal in me. Why do I have to remove stuff to go through the sensor when I set it off every time anyway?

I get secondary screened every single time I fly and frankly I don't care about setting off the alarms since there's nothing I can do about that. Is there really some need for me to undress before crossing into the TSA wilderness?

Submitted by Anonymous on

At Dallas Love Field, a TSA person snarled at me, "Don't you know that you're supposed to take your laptop out of its bag and place them in separate containers?" I said, "No." She said, "Well you are, and don't forget it next time." On my return trip from Salt Lake City, I did EXACTLY that, and got yelled at! I said, "But at the airport in Dallas, they told me to do the EXACT opposite!" Believe it or not, this TSA person said, "Well, you're NOT in Dallas!" What a complete joke.

Submitted by Nacho on

I travel around the world and the show "security" is a joke and a taste of the incompetence of the US government. All of these measurement are reactive in nature not preventing nor effective. Lack of ingenuity an naivety. It's a "feel good" policy. Stinks like the shoe that we smell across the x-ray band.

Submitted by Km on

To all the people who say "Well everyone knows the 311 information" - what about all the millions of people from outside the United States who may be visiting and taking domestic flights? I live in Australia and visit the US every year or two, and I have no idea what the 311 rule is. All I know is that things seem to change every time I visit. I certainly know better than to carry anything sharp or vaguely resembling liquid in my carry-on. But what am I supposed to do with my telephoto lens - the screeners are always puzzled by it, and no it doesn't come apart, and yes it is fragile.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I consider the TSA mission statement bit about "to ensure freedom of movement" is a tad inconsistent with its practices.

The shoe searches, patdowns, faceless rummaging through checked items, and complete disassembly of all effects for x-raying seems at odds with that pesky 4th Amendment right to be secure in one's person and effects.

I miss seeing people greeting at the gate, seeing them come up the jetway and run into a loved one's arms. In a generation, that notion will be as foreign to people as smoking sections on flights. This mindless adherence to the belief that "if it saves JUST ONE LIFE it's worth it" is inconsistent with liberty as we knew it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Having flown thru Mobile, AL, Gulf Port, MS, Pensacola, Fl, New Orleans, LA, Atlanta, GA, St Paul, MN, Las Vegas, NV, SLC, UT, Denver, CO, SF, CA, LAX, CA, Sea-Tac, WA, Phoinex, AZ Dallas, TX (which in my rankings is the worst) and Houston, TX to name a few the only thing that has been consistent with TSA is the inconsistencies. I can have a mechanical pencil and a tube of toothpaste in Gulf Port, but I can't in Dallas, I have been "randomly" searched on almost every flight I have taken since 911 to include my return flight from SLC to Dallas to return to Iraq. I know me and the 4 other soldiers with me must have been a threat!

Submitted by Erder on

My name is Jeremy. I don't fly terribly often but I do take 3 or so trips a year.

Something that struck me as very odd was that my airline put a code on my ticket it read "QQQQ". I went into security (this was TYS) and was told by the very first person checking ID that I had been singled out for additional screening by the airline.

I don't remember being a jerk to the receptionist at Delta. Perhaps every 50th customer wins a free pat-down.

I've been patted down twice now. Once in TYS and once in Ketchican Alaska. Ketchican was likely a bored screener. Still the fact that the ticket itself "required" additional screening is quite unsettling.

If I actually was smuggling or going to blow something up, I'd see the letters, likely have researched a fair bit and abandon the flight. I appreciate you trying to protect us from the low hanging fruit "dumb" terrorists but quite honestly I think I'm just going to rely on them having technical difficulties or forgetting what day their flight is on. Use a random strategy instead of relying on the airlines in some cases.

"He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither." - Ben Franklin

Submitted by Ship It on

Hey Jack you're brave for sending $2000 of tools through as checked baggage. If it's of any value and you're going to send it through baggage out of sight, FedEx it instead. I very rarely check luggage anymore, since once I've spring for FedEx for one thing, might as well just send all my stuff that way. It's expensive, but it beats getting to the destination with no tools because they got dumped all over the floor deep in the darkest heart of some airport.

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSO Tom - maybe you should think about the ratio of 'complainers' to nice comments. What do you really do that helps anyone? Not to pick on you, but TSO's are now simply one more burden to deal with on a trip.

My family used to travel by air quite a bit, but not anymore. The hassles are simply not worth it. At Christmas, we choose to drive 18 hours rather than fly for 2 hours, because it is less of a hassle.
With the known history of the TSA 'finding the water and missing the bomb', I doubt I will travel by air much in the future.

Submitted by Anonymous on

It is not OK.

It is not OK for a citizen who has done nothing wrong to be inspected one inch short of a cavity search simply to travel. One of the comments by a TSA employee said there is no right to fly. True. There is this small bit though:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Keeping us safer includes respecting our rights, not to be groped, not to have our stuff pawed, and to in general be left alone. My person, papers and effects are insecure every time I fly. It is not OK.

You are missing the point. Your job isn't to decide what's important, and enforce that on us, the citizens. We get to decide what's important to each of us - what we want to do. Limitations on that freedom, especially generally imposed and of long duration are to be undertaken only with dire need, and with great circumspection.

Have we forgotten throwing thousands of citizens in concentration camps in WW-II? Not "Japanese Americans", American citizens - full stop. Have we forgotten the red-menace scare?

You are going to protect me by violating me? Let's be clear. Having a blue-gloved hand sliding over my body, the whole performance on display to a few hundred of my closest random strangers isn't protecting anything - it's a violation. It is done sloppily when it is done. The "rules" are massively inconsistent. And, there are more than a few bad apples on the staff.

It is not OK.

Submitted by Tim on

I get so burned up every time I see two lines to go through security, the fast lane for those who pay more, and the slow lane for those of us who can't afford to pay for business or first class. I understand why airlines can and should provide more perks to those who pay more, but why isn't security a burden shared equally by all citizens?

Having people buy their way out of the slow lane is reminiscent of the civil war practice of being able to buy your way out of the draft, and it lead to the biggest riots in American history, in New York.

If you want to keep support for your security measures, they should be a burden shared equally.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Please explain why the TSA does not allow me to carry my penknife through security, when several airlines provide metal knives and forks and glass drinkware to me in flight.

Submitted by Anonymous on

How many bombs have you caught in shampoo bottles? How many terrorists have you caught? I would venture to guess that the grand total is zero. No terrorist is going to try to walk through security with a bomb in their belongings. Any person who gives this a few moments thought will realize that the whole screening procedure is a farce. It is only done to make us feel better. We see that an effort is being made to catch terrorists, so we should feel safe. It is ridiculous. Every day, thousands of citizens are hassled so we can feel that we are at least doing something.

This is why I don't even fly anymore. I think the whole thing could make an interesting psychological study in how much freedom we are willing to give up for the illusion of security.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I don't even know where to begin. But I'll try...

1. Why is it that it is acceptable for workers in the shops in airports to have box cutters (ORD as a example) is when everyone else can't carry a nail clipper?

2. How are the pallets of Gatoraide brought in past the security area screened so much better than a bottle of water held by a passenger?

3. How many tubes of toothpaste at the allowed size would it take to form enough Semtex? In other words, if 5 people all did this, wouldn't they be able to each carry a little bit?

4. Why is it that one way tickets get people 'secondary screened' more often than round trip tickets? I've figured out that you always buy a round trip ticket and this doesn't happen as often. Don't you think others have figured that out too?

5. Why is it that someone can wear a burka through security and not be asked to take it off? If it's because of religious reasons, isn't that the same reason why this happened in the first place?

6. Why is it that if you are flying on a International flight that happens to land in the US, you have to go through the TSA screening process?

7. Does the conveyor belt have some means to weigh how much lithium content is in a battery? I sure haven't seen a TSA agent be able to calculate it.

8. What is the purpose of the airport 'pre-checkers'? Especially in airports where the TSA requires travelers to show their boarding pass and ID after passing through the metal detector? Do they do so bad of a job that the TSA has to re-check? Or is it that the TSA does such a bad job?

9. Why isn't there any signs that inform passengers what the GE EntryScan machines are actually programmed to look for?

10. Why is it that the TSA can't fully man their posts 2 hours before the first flight of the day? If it's recommended that passengers arrive 2 hours early, you would think that the TSA could at least be ready...

11. What is the purpose of the local cop sitting at the end of the security checkpoint reading a newspaper? One would think that the best cops prob don't pull airport duty, so it must be some cripple or about to retire guy...

Someone mentioned here 'Why don't we just give out our manual so people could figure out how to get around the security'? News flash for you... People do anyway. Before the idiotic ban on lighters was lifted, do you think there was a frequent travel who didn't know how to get a lighter pass security?

Idiots.

Submitted by Insertclevernickname on

Not only is the screening inconsistent from airport to airport, the screeners seem to completely miss things that may really be dangerous.

When we flew out of Seattle, the TSA took my husband's (tiny, dull) pocket knife, but completely missed the (sharp, pointed) four-inch metal nail file I'd forgotten about in my makeup bag. If the screeners were doing their job, I should have been hauled off for some extra-special screening, but instead, I walked right through.

Good thing I'm not a terrorist.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I fly several times a month.. and I have asked screeners WHY they x-ray laptops and why they must be separated. Most screeners had no idea.. And really, do they spend enough time looking at the x-ray to determine if there is something in there. I don't think so.

One thing I have noticed that is not consistent is how I pack those 3 oz liquids. Depending on the screener and airport, they make me take them out of my bag and some do not even look at them. I realized I had a 10 oz thing of shampoo that they didn't even notice after I returned home.

Submitted by Handwander on

Don't have much time here, but...


If you have a complaint, that's fine. We hear plenty.

If you have a solution to your complaint, post it with your blog. Help us help you. As said below, we're inconsistent, stupid, all that good stuff.

Taking your calls now :)

Submitted by Hate_airline_travel on

On a recent flight across the country, my wife had her tiny eyeglass screwdriver confiscated at the security screening station. (Yes, that tiny little screwdriver about the size of a toothpick.) Ok, no big deal. Once we had cleared the security checkpoint, we stopped in the Sunglass Hut shop and picked up another one. You TSA guys at least get some sort of kick-back for all the business you're throwing their way?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Inconsistencies.... Yes there are many-wouldn't it be convienient for Terrorists to know that security in the U.S is completely predictable? My question is - Given the chance would you rather board a plane with 150 other people-that have not gone thru security screening? Please tell me! I would love to know which line you'd be standing in!

Submitted by Jillmie on

I flew from Atlantic City, to Atlanta, to Key West, back to Atlanta, on to Charlotte, back to Atlanta, and home to Atlantic City.  All within 10 days.  I carried the exact same items with me on all phases of the trip.  It wasn't until the Charlotte airport that my mascara was confiscated, yet my large tube of toothpaste was never questioned.  I'm all for security, but the inconsistencies are very annoying and frustrating.  It sends out a very mixed signal that we're going through the motions but real security is not as important as acting like we have real security.

Submitted by Anonymous on

According to policy, you do *not* need at ID to pass security and board a plane so long as you are willing to undergo a bit more screening.

I've tried this many, many times, and have had success in only a few locations: Austin, La Guardia, Syracuse, Detroit. In other locations: Boston, JFK, Dallas, I've been treated like a criminal.

Mostly, the TSA folks don't even know about their own policy until I produce the documentation and they ask their supervisors.

It is highly disingenuous to advance the myth that you need ID to travel by air. Although the TSA apparently has been authorized to require ID, it has not at this point done so, and doing so raises many constitutional questions.

So... straight it out. I'm tired of this "papers please" mentality.

Also, when I see those roaming bands of security officers after the checkpoint, randomly screening people... what are the rights of the people that are being searched? I mean, according to this little document I call the 4th Amendment, they have the right to basically say "screw you, go away", but somehow I think that wouldn't "fly" with some of those power-tripped agents.

Lastly, I highly suggest TSA hire somebody like Bruce Schnieder to rewrite their security policies. Under close examination, the vast majority of TSA security policy does nothing to increase security and seems designed to only increase the appearance of security. TSA is the full embodiment of "security theater".

Submitted by BenKenobi on

JAKE: It sounds like you were thouroughly screened because your name did not match your identification. I'm thankful for that. Now maybe you will take the extra what? "One second" to get it right next time you buy a ticket? I'm sure TSA folks get weary of the extra screening simply because folks like you are too ignorant to get the proper name on the ticket.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why will you confiscate a 1" pen knife, and allow a sharp 7" pair of scissors to pass? Why will you confiscate a 12oz. bottle of water from Grandma Betty, and allow Joe to take his because he made the statement "I'm a diabetic." ???

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am a heavy traveler, I hold a Clear pass. There are airports I've been through so often I should put a cot there.

In one of these locations - Green Bay - there was one morning a "Barney Fife" TSA on the line working the screen. Many MANY times I have brought different foods back home. Not this time MS Fife decided I was going ot get a lecture etc.

Livid is a great word....everything was sealed. As in store sealed, and some items frozen. She picks on 1 item saying that if/when it dethaws there will be some liquid in the container.

LETS BE SERIOUS! A product bought froma store that is in the same state it was bought in.... what does the store chain set up terrorists? Complete moron.

If TSA could have these idiots pass and IQ and Common Sense test we all might be a bit happier.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I too am frustrated by the seemingly different standards, and to me it seems that it is more difficult to jump through the security hoops at a smaller airport than a larger one. Although I understand and appreciate the concept, it seems to me the execution leaves much to be desired. I travel 50-80% of the time. Yesterday, I was delayed an extra 5 minutes while a TSA agent tried to figure out what he was looking at on the xray screen. Word of advice, if you can't figure it out, yell "BAG CHECK" and let the line move on!!!!!

Submitted by Anonymous on

1. My favorite was in MSP, back in 2004. I had nail clippers in my carry on that i completely forgot about. Went through security and they promptly informed me i was "not allowed to bring them with me". No problem, 1.99 clippers, toss em, let me get on my plane.

The best part is that i was able to purchase the exact same clippers in a shop just 40-50 feet from the check point.

2. Traveld to florida, MSP-MEM-MCO, for my job to repair a few computers. I flew all the way down with my tool kit, completed my job and tried to return. it was fine to have the tool kit, in Minneapolis, and Memphis the first time. Orlando had no issues on the way back home, but Memphis now decided that i could not have the kit in carry on. As a frequent flier i do not have check my baggage. This poses a problem, fight for my tools ($50) or step out of line, prepare the tools for Mail or Checked luggage AND miss my flight. I chose to make the flight, leaving my tools at the checkpoint.

Submitted by Troutman on

My 2 big inconsistancies are removal of my belt and TSA personnel not paying attention to their job. I travel about 40 times a year. In probably 20% of the airports, I am asked to remove my belt. I don't get it. On the TSA personnel not paying attention, I witness all the time personnel talking and cutting up with each other while they are supposed to be watching the X-ray screen. The Atlanta airport has the worse offenders. In other airports, they take the job very seriously.

Submitted by Anonymous on

If I read one more comment about TSA taking someones nail clippers I will throw up. Give up people!!! the TSA will not take your nail clippers, find someother blog to clog up with your nonsense.

Submitted by Paul on

Sometimes it's not the inconsistency of the process but the inconsistency of the equipment. Sometimes I forget to take off my belt or watch. At one airport the metal detector will go off, at others I go right through. I definately think the settings are different at the various airports.

Submitted by Paul on

TSA Locks: OK I bought new "TSA Approved" locks, not really to secure my bag from theft because that is ridiculous, but to just make sure my underware isn't strewn across the tarmac when Mr. Baggage Handler decides to shotput it onto the loading ramp. So I bought the locks, at one airport I tell the 'Large Bag X-Ray Machine Person' that I have TSA locks and they say OK, at another airport they ask me to open them up because "the guy with the keys hasn't come in yet". Give me a break, how may types of keys are there. I'm sure every baggage handler in the US has a set of keys. Just let us secure the bags somehow so that our stuff stays inside. Other than that, pretty good job.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Jake - I'm on your side with this one for 6 reasons. 1) IDs are hardly worth the plastic they are printed on. No ID is copy-proof. Real criminals with any financial backing would obtain IDs that would pass inspection. 2) Security should NOT be based on identity. One would hope that the TSA is paying as much attention to the average looking Joe than they are to the 5 year old who gets pulled over because his name matches a name on a list somewhere. 3) I highly doubt the average TSA agent is trained well enough to accurately recognize a properly formed ID from all 50 states. 4) Temporary IDs are usually issued on paper and are highly reproducible. I have seen several people get through security on a paper temp ID without any hassle while they were waiting for their renewed license to arrive in the mail. 5) How reliable can a name possibly be if you can just as easily change the name on your ticket? Don't they use credit cards to originate the name on the ticket? We all know how secure THOSE are. 6) COMMON SENSE. Jake is the same as Jacob. Rich is the same as Richard, Mike is the same as Michael, Greg is the same as Gregory. Its not brain surgery. And it does not pose a security risk to anyone to have allow those types of names to be treated as one and the same. Now if my name was Gregory and my ticket said Rich, well that is something else entirely.

Submitted by Bonnie on

The final posted blog from Anonymous with a Clear Pass, addressed an issue I had flying out of Steamboat Springs, CO a couple of weeks ago. Knowing that no food of any kind would be served on my two flights, I packed a small container of yogurt (sealed), hummus (sealed in orig. packaging, a wheel of Laughing Cow cheese that contained 8 wedges (still sealed in orig.pkg). The gestapo-like all-powerful TSA agent confiscated the items bec. "they are spreadible". She then would not allow the young college-age student behind me to bring onboard a frozen tub of margarine--"could thaw and then be spreadible!" THIS IS RIDICULOUS! They don't feed us and then confiscate our foods! What am I going to do with Laughing Cow cheese?!
Almost at my destination, my friend offered me a Hershey choc. kiss. I realized we had gotten on the plane with contraband! If the chocolate had melted, it would be spreadible!!!

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