USA Flag

Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Transportation Security Administration

Inconsistencies, Part 1 (Commenting Disabled)

Archived Content

Please note that older content is archived for public record. This page may contain information that is outdated and may not reflect current policy or programs.

If you have questions about policies or procedures, please contact the TSA Contact Center.

Members of the news media may contact TSA Public Affairs.

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.


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.



Submitted by Anonymous on

Why is it that, for international travel if there's an infant ticket attached to an adult's ticket or boarding pass, the TSA cannot accept that and an agent must write "With Infant" on the boarding pass? Infant edits do not automatically print on curbside-issued, self-service issued, or printed-at-home boarding passes. The INF code is on the infant's ticket. Is too much to ask TSA to flip the boarding pass over and accept as is?

Submitted by Anonymous on

How's this: I have two eight-inch metal rods embedded in my spine. It's detected in European screening and at the local high school stadium but not at U.S. airports. Inconsistent?

Furthermore: I have two eight-inch metal rods embedded in my spine. What exactly am I supposed to do about it when you DO have a properly calibrated metal detector? In London they used a hand-held scanner to confirm the location and let me pass after maybe a 15 second delay. Why do I have the feeling it would not be so simple here?

Submitted by Annoyed on

Anonymous at 10:44 said :"I suggest that a bunch of you TSA people leave your TSA ID behind and take a few flights around the country. Have one of your kids pack your bag for you after reading the rules, and see how YOU get treated.
Don't forget to bring some gels and liquids, some food items, and a bottle of water, a laptop, and wear lace up boots. Then get back on your private TSA blog, and share your experiences. I hope you learn something from the trip."

If that is how you prepare for security, no wonder you have problems!! As a TSO, I do travel a lot. My badge gets me no special privileges. I have had my nail clippers taken away in Mexico, even when the US was allowing them. I had my lighter taken away in MIA when lighters were still banned. Did I blame the TSA then? No, it was my mistake. I should have known better. If you purposely set yourself up to be inconvenienced, that's your own problem!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why is DEN by far the most difficult security to go through in the US...I travel in and out of ORD all the time and never, ever have an issue with liquids I'm carrying or the type of bag they are in...DEN scrutenizes everything and made such a big deal over a liquid which was below 3oz that made the tiny bag they provided not close. I was just in Europe through AMS, MXP, FCO, and YYZ in Canada and never even was stopped...
TSA is DEN is the worst and most inconsistent!

Submitted by V on

Wow...people have a lot of pent up anger on this topic! I fly often and yes, there are inconsistencies. And they are minorly irritating while I'm going through the process. But really, people, how much of your day does this take up? Line waiting aside, the actual interaction with the TSA employees is typically anywhere from 30 seconds if you pass through without issue, to maybe 5 or 10 minutes if you require more thorough screening. This is a small portion of your trip, an even smaller portion of your day and a miniscule portion of your life. These people are at this job several days a week, where they have to stare at monitors and try to assess risk in luggage, people, behaviors, etc...the whole time getting yelled at, ridiculed, verbally abused and the like. Maybe if we were all a little nicer it would help them to follow suit. Either way, even if someone is having a bad day and barks an order at you (take out your laptop, take off your shoes, etc) is it really going to ruin your day? Follow the order, smile and know that if your job doesn't make you that unhappy then you should probably have a pretty good outlook...and your attitude should probably match that. I find that if I'm ready as I approach the conveyer - that is, coat off, plastic bag of liquid out, shoes off, etc...if I ask did you want me to take the laptop out, or can I put my coat on top of my purse in the bin, or whatever...I usually get a very pleasant answer and go on my way. Treat people like you want to be treated...even if they don't do the same.

Submitted by Susan on

TSA TSO NY, please get your fact straight before you post as you do nothing to improve the credibility of your position by posting inaccurate facts.

The Privacy Act has nothing to do with divulging one's social security number at a checkpoint but everything to do with telling the public what the government is going to be doing with the information you say you have the right to collect.

Read my lips:

Every time the federal government asks for information from an individual, it is required to inform the individual of what it is going to be doing with the information collected.

For some reason or another, the TSA believes itself to be above the law with regard to the Privacy Act.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Wow, I have read some pretty nasty words on this blog concerning the TSO's. Come on "America" lighten up on the harshness towards your fellow Americans. These individuals put in some very exhausting hours to provide you and your family members a safe environment. They are dealing with ALL walks of life, happy, sad,angry,frightened,and stressed out people all day.

I can assure you that when they took this job, it was not with the intent to disrupt your lives and make your travel experience a living hell. They are doing there job under the direction of what Congress has mandated them to do.
It saddens me to read the venimous words used towards the TSO's.
I challenge most of you to do their job for just one day, maybe you will receive a wake-up call as to how demanding the job is, with very little thanks from the American public.

I say to all the TSO's "Keep your chins up, Stand Tall and Be Proud"
most of the public appreciates all that you do! Keep up the good
Ignore the individuals who complain and whine, I bet if they were given the option to take one of two flights, One Screened verses One not, they would eat crow and get on the flight screened!

Submitted by Anonymous on

In January, Bruce Schneier blogged about a gun slipping through security, and wondered why the owner was arrested for voluntarily admitting his mistake while trying to fix it.

Can somebody at the TSA explain how this helps security? Isn't this punishing people for trying to do the right thing?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am wondering why my updated passport (new name when I was married in 2003) causes confusion with TSA agents. My updated name is listed on the back page of my passport, and I am routinely asked to provide a second form of ID just to "prove" my name is really as it is listed on my passport and ticket. It's very frustrating.

Submitted by Tess on

Over the past decade, even post-9/11, I've been given conflicting instructions at various security posts on how to manage my laptop. These days, I'm always told to take my computer out of my bag, but some screeners have told me that the laptop has to be in a bin with nothing else, and others have told me to put other items (like a coat) in that bin. Likewise, some have told me that the bag needed to be alone, and others have told me it could have other items with it.

When I have apologized, and explained that I was following the rules I encountered the last time I flew, I have every single time rudely been told, "No, you didn't." I wouldn't have a problem if the screeners said something like, "We are following nationwide procedures," but I'm appalled that I am instead accused of lying. I've had security screeners in foreign countries wave guns around, and brusquely confiscate my AA batteries, but at least they didn't have the audacity to cal me a liar, in the process.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I work for TSA at a small airportin NC. I read this and here all the complaints aginst us on every thing that we do. Most of the complaints are things that we do at our airport. For example how we bark out orders while paeople stand in line. The reason we do this in my mind is to heple things move smoother. Ay my airport the airlines ask if you have any liquids in your bags. Then you give your bag to my baggage TSOs and agian they ask if you have any liquids. There is an anouncement that constantly repeats the rules over the PA. Then there are signs as you wait in line as to the rules. Lastly I try to have some one at the front of the line to help you seperate your items fo the xray and agian that person ask if you have any liquids and they will help you seperate them out and we even will give you a quart size plastic bag. After all that we still get yelled at and cursed at times when we find that item in your bag and we are told that thaey were not told and didnt know. The public asks why we get irritated. I had a passenger yell at me once after I took his knife from him that it wasnt fair and that this was the third time that we took a knife from him. One more can we do to help you know the rules. Many of us enjoy are jobs and are nice a corteous, but all that ever seems to get out is all the bad things that happen to people. I have been here since day one and I have had only one complaint against my airport. We try under bad circumstances and our still looked down upon. I dont think that we will ever make the public happy no matter what we will ever do.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Perhaps my comment was too obtuse?
I said nothing about my personal travel routine.

My comment:
"I suggest that a bunch of you TSA people leave your TSA ID behind and take a few flights around the country. Have one of your kids pack your bag for you after reading the rules, and see how YOU get treated.
Don't forget to bring some gels and liquids, some food items, and a bottle of water, a laptop, and wear lace up boots. Then get back on your private TSA blog, and share your experiences. I hope you learn something from the trip."

Maybe I should have added a couple of diapered kids and a stroller to the mix....

Your Reply:
"If that is how you prepare for security, no wonder you have problems!! As a TSO, I do travel a lot. My badge gets me no special privileges. I have had my nail clippers taken away in Mexico, even when the US was allowing them. I had my lighter taken away in MIA when lighters were still banned. Did I blame the TSA then? No, it was my mistake. I should have known better. If you purposely set yourself up to be inconvenienced, that's your own problem!"

Actually, I seldom get hassled while traveling by the TSA. I play by the rules, whatever I personally think of them. I've been through security about 60 times since 9/11, with only minor issues about items not recognized during scanning. I generally dress appropriately, even putting pocket change in a small zip lock bag. I do prefer the much less obvious but equally effective General Aviation security, they get the job done, too.

I simply condensed some of what I have read here and suggested that some TSA employees pack and travel in a similar manner. Just try it, you'll have much more appreciation for the questions and (valid) comments people are making here. It is a tough job, you do have the power to make it less thankless.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I used to travel a lot for my job, so here's a few things I've noticed:

At RDU, I always have to take off my shoes, even when I am wearing flip-flops, which seems a little ridiculous. Other places don't seem to care if I'm wearing sneakers or flip-flops, and will wait till I go through the metal detector to see if I need to take them off.

I'm also unsure about how the TSA handles wheelchair bound passengers going through security, since I've witnessed (again, at RDU) them insisting that a man get out of his wheelchair and walk through the metal detector, despite his and his daughter's protests that this wasn't possible for him.

In Chicago, there were lines for the metal detectors, but one of the TSA employees began insisting that we should all press forward into a giant mob of people and THEN separate into lines - once no one began moving out of the lines, he began pulling people specifically out of the lines and yelling at them, saying they shouldn't wait and instead should "make it for themselves" - one middle aged woman almost started crying.

Almost everyone was entirely confused by his behavior, but we mostly attempted to obey since we were sort of trapped there, with the metal detectors standing between us and our ability to get on our planes.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I just made a trip to Australia, returning via LAX.

The Australians handled security, searches, and everything else like real pro's, while the TSA People at LAX treated us like cattle. I'm just waiting for cattle prods next time I go through.

I've never been yelled at so much, and generally been treated so rudely as the LAX Crew.

This was my second time through that checkpoint in the past 12 months. The first time was exactly the same.

Would it hurt TSA personnel to treat the traveling public with a little respect instead of yelling, being demeaning, and generally being a unprofessional?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I travel every week usually DIA to LGA and back. Why does LGA perform a second check on your boarding pass after you go through the metal detector, whereas DIA does not?

Submitted by Coko on

I would like TSA officers to stop asking irrelevant questions during bag inspection. One time, I was travelling with my laptop, and as I was getting it scanned and validated on the conveyor, the TSA agent in Miami asked me "Where did you get the cover for that laptop?" I didn't understand the question, and I was very confused. After looking puzzled, and asked her to repeat her question, she clarified. To my relief the questions was of no consequence. I think small talk and chit chat with customers should be strictly professional. Ask your questions, I'll provide you with answers. Don't get into the personal details of my life because you're bored! You're already on edge going into inspection points just because of the nature of them. I don't need a TSA agent asking me irrelevant information during inspection.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Think about this...

would you rather travel knowing that TSA is there, and keeping the bad things out?

...or would you rather them not be there at all.... and letting just anyone in with anything???

I personally feel safer, and aplaud them for their hard work, and determination... They're keeping our Nation - and the World safer..

Thank you.

Submitted by NYFlyer on

I think I've got this figured are the same people who complain when they get a speeding ticket for 60 in a 55, aren't you? The same people who show up to city hall meetings, month after month, to complain about the neighbor down the street's cats. The same people who gather in a crowd to whisper and speculate. Come on, give the TSA a break. 3.4 ounces is 3.4 ounces, not 4, not 6, it's 3.4. Shoes come off, period. Coats come off, period. And for all you flight crews who are appalled at having to be subjected to the same screening as passengers... if you're not in uniform... guess what, YOU'RE A PASSENGER!!! You, of all people, should be ashamed of yourselves for encouraging "mob mentality" from the very people you earn your paychecks from as well.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I work for TSA as a TSO and i'll be the first to hop on the band wagon that we are NOT perfect. Every one of you on here complaining about rude or ignorant TSO's are probably telling the truth, but I challenge you to take a look at your workplace and see what you find. Every employer has these "substandard" employees. It just so happens that your job is not as closely scrutinized as mine is. Believe me when I tell you how much I would love to rid my organization of these jerks (I work with more than a few). They give us all a bad name. Unfortunately a majority of these complaints could be avoided by simple following directions. I pride myself on being a courteous and friendly TSO who explains things calmly and confidently, but when you cross that line and feel you need to tell me how stupid I am for what I'm doing and you don't look like a "terrorist" I will treat you with respect and professionalism when I get the same in return its common courtesy. So stop your whining and give some viable solutions to your problems. We would love to streamline the security process for you to make it as easy as possible (without degrading security) for you to pass through my workplace. Imagine how you would treat people at the end of an 8 hour shift where upwards of 5,000 angry people stomping through your office throwing shoes at you (extreme case but it does happen) telling you what an idiot you are (because i can't follow simple directions) and verbally degrading everything your trying to do. I'm not looking for your sympathy, I'm merely saying take a look at how you act in my workplace. Wouldn't you expect me to act like a professional in yours?

Submitted by Steve on

I thought pre-9/11 was bad. I went through once in my USMC uniform and had to practically strip to my skivvies to get past the metal detector - everywhere: emblems, buckles, pins, medals ... Something like a police pat-down would have been a little more convenient and dignified. It's not like I had a saber or a 45 on my hip for crying out loud.

Post-9/11 ... I absolutely hate to fly now. Nearly every security person I've dealt with treats me like I'm a terrorist before my gray bin even hits the xray or I step through the metal-detector. I wouldn't even mind the procedure, it's the attitude that ticks me off, and it's unnecessary. I'm not saying all security personel are like the ones I've met, but the ones I've met seem absoltely thrilled at the blank check of power they've been given to act like complete jerks. OMG, get the lone wooden chair and the bright lamp ready ... he's got a ... *gasp* ... a paperclip!

P.S. "Jake" is short for "Jacob", it's not like it's a nickname or anything. But now I'm going to be paranoid that my ID says "Stephen" and the tickets my company booked are under "Steve". Hopefully the guy with the rubber gloves will be gentle.

Submitted by Jon Stanley on

Well, I've travelled lots since 9/11, including last year, when I travelled pretty much every week. I've not been pulled aside by TSO's, thought they treated me disrespectfully on any occasion.

The one inconsistency that I've noted is that last year, I was travelling between NYC and STL pretty much every week. A screener at LGA calmly asked to look through my bag, asking if I had liquids or gels in it. I said that I didn't think so, but let's look. They found a tube of anti-fungal cream (I think). They let me keep it (where it was), and just told me to get rid of it when I got home. I would have had no problem giving it up, since obviously it's a forbidden item that I had been travelling with in the same bag for who knows who long that no one had ever either caught or challenged, until this very nice, very professional woman calmly told me to get rid of it.

Another positive experience (at EWR I think) that I had last year - I fell and hurt my ankle fairly bad, to the point that taking off my shoes was painful. The screener required that I take off my shoes at the magnetometer - I told them that I really couldn't do that right there since my ankle was hurt and I'd have to be sitting down in order to do it. They said that they could take me aside for secondary screening, and that I'd be required to remove my shoes there, while sitting down. I happily agreed, and they took me to the side, let me sit down and remove my shoes at my leisure, and proceeded with a quick, painless screening process.

I've really got no complaints. If you know the game, play along with it, then everything will be fine. And yes, I make sure to extend human decency to these folks. They're just trying to do their jobs.

The one *minor* thing that I can say is that I just flew from ORD to LGA last week, and the TSO that was checking my ID inspected it fairly closely, and told me that I should expect having to take it out of my wallet more in the future. Why make me take it out? A NJ ID has holograms all over it that you can easily see through the display window. I don't think that removing it serves any purpose other than just snarling up the line.

Submitted by Jack on
Are you serious??? Maybe you are in the wrong field, because you surely lack sympathy!
Furthermore, those screeners are essential to the TSA by having the ability to bridge any communication gaps there may be with passengers who don't speak English. I guess the TSA should apologize to you for not hiding these employees in a closet until they are needed to translate!!

So screaming at someone makes them understand you better? Talk about the UGLY AMERICAN. I would like to pick you up and drop in in a foreign country where English speakers are a rarity. Let's see what you eat and drink for a week. Let's see where you sleep at night. Obviously you've never been a stranger in a strange land.
Submitted by Robert Johnson on

Think about this...

would you rather travel knowing that TSA is there, and keeping the bad things out?

...or would you rather them not be there at all.... and letting just anyone in with anything???

I personally feel safer, and aplaud them for their hard work, and determination... They're keeping our Nation - and the World safer..

Thank you.

With TSA's 80+% failure rate, we might as well have no one there. People can pretty much get on there with anything now.

I'm glad you feel safer. That's the Kabuki in TSA's security theater. Too bad we're not safer.

Submitted by Anonymous on
Anonymous said...
"Think about this...

would you rather travel knowing that TSA is there, and keeping the bad things out?

...or would you rather them not be there at all.... and letting just anyone in with anything???

I personally feel safer, and aplaud them for their hard work, and determination... They're keeping our Nation - and the World safer..

Thank you."

February 7, 2008 5:54 PM

And Just so the Traveling Public Knows... I do infact work for TSA, I joined with them, so that I could do my part in helping protect the Country that I so love and Cherish... I signed on so that I could PROTECT the world I care so much for...

...and like so many of you.. I travel as well... It isn't hard, or unfair to do what TSA is asking of us.

If you don't think we're helping keep you safe, look to recent events that happen else where because some countries do not have such an upstanding, and dedicated agency such as ours.

Take some time out of your busy scheduel, and note that we don't have to do what we do... we CHOOSE to do so... and doing that, we are serving our Country, and the World... and keeping them safe.


TSO at DFW Intl. Airport
Submitted by Anonymous on

A few questions for TSA:

3oz or 100ml/3.4oz. The TSA website still says 3oz?

ID, is my United States retired ID ok or not. Its good till I die so the experation date is unknown at this time (I hope)?

Disposed liquids at the checkpoint. Hazardous material or not? If they are not considered to be possible hazards then they should not require disposal. If they are condsidered hazardous then they should be treated that way which would require Explosive Removal experts and Hazardous Material Handlers.

Collection of personal information. If a screener asked for my ID and records any information should I not be provided a "Privacy Act Disclosure" as required by US law.
If your screener does not supply the required disclosure will they be arrested on the spot since they have violated federal law?

What electronics remain in the carry-on? Your website is not clear to me. How about some clear direct information.

Will travelers continue to be abused with additional screening, threats of delays and such for asking your people to not abuse us in any manner. If you don't think this isn't happening then you need to get out of the office!

I really think that the white shirts and ties need to do a little "managment by walking around" and learning what is really going on in TSA.

Kip should be really proud, "NOT".

Submitted by Big Country on

Since my original post I've been tracking this blog quite closely. I've noticed a COMPLETE lack of ANY response in the TSA in their dealings with both Active Duty COMBAT personnel, and us 'obvious' (i.e. wearing the ACU/DCU uniform) military D.O.D. Cilivians and Contractors.

Funny story, and maybe this will help: I flew home on a "freedom bird" from Iraq in 2005 for R&R. This was in June/July +/-

Quick Pause, then I'll continue: Earlier in Baghdad, my trailer suffered a direct hit from an insurgent Mortar shell... amazingly, my Dell survived a direct hit. Unfortunately, The damned thing had MAD explosive residue on it. My company sent me home that week, (09/2004) and when I went home, the security kids (German TSA versions) in Frankfurt did the the 'swipy' test on it, (thats the one where the take the laptop and wipe a little swab all over it, then give it to a sniffer machine) and subsequently, I hit the 'jackpot' so to speak in Germany. Bells, Whistles and "HES GOT A BOMB" alarms went off. Thankfully, I had a letter signed by then Maj. Gen. Sanchez explaining WHY I had residue on my stuff, and the Germans, once reading it were cool with it. In fact they felt bad that I had lost everything I owned in the attack, and were amazed that my laptop had survived with only minor shrapnel damage...anyways...

The jacked up thing, until the incident I'm about to relate, I have been on the "grab your ankles" search. No matter what, where or why, every flight out of or around the US (never going in... international airports seem to have the benefit of the doubt, esp. to a man in uniform, on orders and generally a good guy)

I guess just having tripped the "Bomb" test got me on the "Search him til he squeals" search list until I did what I did on this flight home.

I landed in VA on ORDERS and went to catch my connecting flight. Now mind you, I had changed out of DCUS on the plane so as to appear 'normal' enroute to the states. Didn't matter. At the TSA (Thousands Standing Around (uselessly) checkpoint, they insisted on every aspect of the search that could be done without the assistance of a proctologist. Well... fine n dandy. I was wearing my Harley Davidson UAE longsleeve T-Shirt, a pair of cutoff DCU shorts and Teva sandles. Thats it... no froot 'o ' da looms... no nuthin.

When they told me 'loosen your belt and raise your hands over your head' I did so with MAD glee knowing I was about to cause a scene and give some hardcore payback to the TSA.

See... I don't wear drawers... Nada... Bupkiss.. Freeballing as they say... so as soon as I loosened said trousers, they fell to the floor, leaving NOTHING to the imagination and I raised my hands HIGH above my head and yelled out as I learned in Ft. Benning so many years ago "NO BRASS NO AMMO DRILL SGT!!!!"

You want to talk about a frak out? OMG was it glorious... I was threatened with arrest and beatings and who knows what else. The girl who was my 'minder' turned 900 shades of red. Every time they screamed at me, I screamed back "I ONLY DID WHAT YOU TOLD ME TO!!! ITS NOT MY FAULT!!!!" and I knew, KNEW, just TOTALLY knew I owned it.

Yeah... since then, I've only been subject to minor searches since... of course it only took me dropping my laundry and exposing my junk to hundreds of innocents, but in my book, well worth it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

people. if you would just read the signs at the airport, they will tell you everything you need to know, otherwise look at instead of posting your complaints here. use your time online a little more wisely! the tsa are here to help you. for those of you who ask "how many terrorists has tsa caught?" instead, ask "how many hijackings have taken place" how many "9/11"s have taken place since tsa has taken over. instead of asking why tsa doesn't use common sense, ask "why am I not using common sense" the screeners hear the same complaints day in and day out, you know what? it goes ignored. airport security is here for a reason. save your breath and embrace that someone is looking out for the safety of strangers

Submitted by Anonymous on

Here's the latest nonsense I've run into...

I have a real, valid, actual, o-fficial United States Government ID. Says so right at the top, has the seal of the agency on it, my picture and everything. I've used it for several years, rather than my driver's license. Never a problem.

Suddenly, some (but only some) airports are giving me a hard time about I have an ID with an expiration date on it? Huh? No, this is valid, official ID. Just because it doesn't have an expiration date doesn't make it invalid. But only *some* of the several people who look at it, even at the *same* airport have an issue with the "missing" expiration date.

Frankly, the repeated checks of ID is stupid, anyway...what exactly is being accomplished here? Verifying that the name on the ticket matches some piece of plastic? How many people here got fake IDs as teenagers? Think a well-funded terrorist organization wouldn't be able to create a bogus ID card? Stupid, and accomplishes nothing.

Submitted by Anonymous on

To all of you that think TSA is inconsistent- First of all, I think being inconsistent is the best thing TSA can be! We really never know what can happen next. Second, for all of you that complain about the floor- bring security socks for your trip! To that person who believes TSA officers are illiterate, I believe you are very ignorant to the world and I truely feel sorry for you. I leave all of you passengers with one thought- everytime you fly I want you to say to yourself "What if today is 9/11?"

Submitted by Maverick on

about 2-3 years ago I took a couple hard drives on the plane with me out of FCA to SEA, I asked them to look at them by hand so that they would not get damaged in any way by some odd discharge of any kind from someone elses items or the machine itself, they oblidged I asked at SEA and they made me put them in anyways. More recently in 2006 I had a CD with me that I'd copied because I'd lost my disk here at home. well I got home and the disk was ruined, this disk had been checked prior to the flight and found to be working. what's up with that? I also see folks being forced to have other sensitive equipment taken out of their protective casings and put through the xray machines instead of hand checked. this is inconsistent. Items like laptops, Cellphones, and Ipods need to be hand checked and screened in the explosives screener if your concerned enough about that. Why not make people feel better about having their high tech equipment looked at instead of forcing them to or not to put it through the machine? I understand putting it through an Xray machine is faster but having it hand checked and needed compartments popped open on a laptop or phone if accessable without a screwdriver are just as fast. it only delays us a few seconds and puts less stress on both the passenger and the TSA agents. 2006 I was scheduled maybe 2 days after the liquids plot to leave SEA for FCA I had bought and asked prior to going through security at the check in counter about a starbucks drink. was told fine. I was waiting to open it and clearly labled ect in a clear bottle. I was asked to either consume it or get rid of it at the security point. well, I asked to consume it on the other side they said yes. but I had to do so under their watch. I looked like a pig and ended up dribbling some of it down my chin because I was nearly late for my flight as it was. talk about a slightly embarrassing situation. I quickly headed over to the new sushi bar in seatac airport and bought some food, I was asked to toss a closed soy sauce and ended up getting on the plane by accident with one that was IN the box that neither I nor the TSA gate agent saw. on the same trip I got yelled at about my shoes as well. I completely forgot about them and some security guard was about to pounce on me.. mind you that guard had seen me 2 weeks earlier at the airport, recognized me and held off. Secure security? Yeah but my shoes were of the more obvious type that were so ragged in the heels that I couldn't even get them on and off quick enough for the agent.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The reason TSA yells is because nobody listens. All the passengers want to get through the checkpoint quickly and safely-- and the TSA tells the people what they need to do in order to process through the checkpoint efficiently. The passengers seem like there are off in space somewhere. TSA tells them, "please take out your liquids", and not a second later, a bag check is called on a liquid.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I'm a TSO who was deployed to Iraq. It angers me to see adults throwing tantrums about taking off shoes while men and women in the U.S. Military are risking their lives in Afganistan, Iraq, and other places that you dont hear about. I'm convinced that most of these "checkpoint crybabies" are from the Sixties generation, who were too busy dodging the draft to know what sacrifice means.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am an American living overseas. I travel back to the US several times a year, always through Europe.

This past Christmas I was carrying an antique crystal decanter in my hand carry. I know all about lead crystal and x-rays so was prepared to take it out each time at security.

LHR - I just had to open the bag and show them the problem

Frankfurt - Did not have to open the bag just had to tell them what it was.

Frankfurt - 2nd time due to flight delays...screener just looked up and asked if my crystal decanter was filled. Never once touched the bag or asked me what it was. He just knew

Chicago O'hare - completely treated like a threat to national security. Had to hand them my shoes out of the bin for extra search, had to take the decanter out of the bag, remove the bubble wrap etc. The TSA girl then proceeds to ask me if the bottle was empty. I just looked at her and said, "Yes, that's why the lid is wrapped over here." She then proceeds to open all my paperbacks causing my bookmarks to fall out, and further touching every single item in my bag.

For anyone that has ever traveled in Europe, you know that LHR and Frankfurt airports have the best security out there. Their agents are highly trained and always treat you with respect.

Having someone ask if a decanter without a lid on it is empty does not make me feel secure.

All that being said, that is not what make me angry every time I travel throughout the states. It's the bad attitudes that some of the TSA's have. If you want to go through my things, fine. I expect that. But, do treat me with respect. I don't speak to you at all because I know that it only makes matters worse. Please don't treat my small 5 foot, blonde hair person like the enemy.

Submitted by Winston_of_minitruth on

If the rules need to be inconsistent to prevent "terrorists" from being able to detect the weak spots in them, then the rules aren't the problem. A team can only be as strong as its weakest teammate. You x-ray our bags, and our shoes, but I doubt a good majority of TSA agents even know what to look for when it comes to explosive devices and the like. We'd all feel safer if some of the agents we had to deal with weren't inept. Consistency doesn't have to mean ineptitude. Of course, people will complain. They complained before these extra "security measures" were in place. The difference was that they didn't have much to credence to their complaints before 9/11. Now, as soon as we near the airport, our 4th amendment rights are suspended under the guise of national security. Heaven forbid anyone should have a "problem" with this disregard for our right to unreasonable search and seizure.

As far as not being customer service oriented, you're right. You aren't customer service, but think about this little fact. YOU represent the airlines. You're the ones that are dealt with right before boarding the flight. In an indirect way, you are representing the airlines. It's too bad that the airlines have no choice in the matter. After all, if we didn't have to go through the TSA security circus, we wouldn't. If one of the major airlines offered that option, I'd gladly fly with them. We're no safer now than we were before. We just have the presence of more personnel to give us that cozy illusion.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am also bothered by the inconsistencies in multiple airports. Some airports require showing boarding passes not only to get into the screening area but then again through the metal detector; one airport told me my carry on was upside down (never heard that one before) and rudely flipped it over (I had breakables inside; I went through several airports with an 8 oz tube of toothpaste rolled up with a scant amount left and one airport threw it away, saying it said 8 oz, when clearly there was less than one oz left in the tube.

One time I forgot to take a hair clip out and set off the metal detector twice and then realized why...but when I started to take it out of my hair and explain what happened I was treated as a criminal, put into the clear plastic room and then searched and wanded right next to the security area for all to see. It was horribly degrading. And it was the hairclip that set the thing off. Could have saved everyone alot of time if the TSO at Oakland had just let me take it off and then go through the detector again.

I'm always afraid to say anything or ask any questions because the attitudes are such that I'm concerned I'll be whisked off to some isolation area and miss my flight. I know this is a difficult job but I feel that some TSOs have "power issues" when dealing with the public.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Its crazy we have the bravest troops in the world but the scardest country in the world. Is common sense ever used ? And is there any physical and/or mental standards for a TSA employee ? I would have more respect for you guys if you had more respect for yourselves. Are we going towards socialism, I would like to know and Ill start brushing up on my Communist Maniphesto . Respectfully Submitted Tavarish :))

Submitted by Anonymous on

I used to travel a lot. Luckily, my current job doesn't require it. Given my past experiences, I would recommend that companies consolidate offices, encourage teleconferencing, or do whatever is possible to avoid the costs, risks, and hassles of having their employees fly. At various airports I've had a cell phone and its SIM card confiscated, a PDA physically opened and its warranty consequently voided, and a laptop disappear for four hours while its data (including address book, email archives, and browser history) was copied, all without a peep of justification from the TSOs. For those executives who seriously consider the value of the company's private data, the potential for having sensitive information being copied and abused should make employee air travel prohibitively expensive, even aside from the cost of the travel itself. (If you have to fly with any electronics, I advise you to travel with blank devices and restore their data via the Internet at your destination, unless you trust the government with archiving the data for undisclosed uses.)

And this, of course, is in addition to the sometimes draconian and seemingly ridiculous application of the rules. Is it really necessary to discard a nearly finished stick of deodorant because its container reads "3.25 ounces"? Especially when there seems to be no problem with my carrying two of the same product in 2.5-ounce containers (as long as they both fit in the bag)?

The rudeness is another matter. Do my items have to be handled and cast aside with an ersatz smile? The last time I flew, I forgot to remove the 1-quart plastic bag from my carry-on luggage at DIA, and when I wasn't snappy with an apology I was told that there are places in Cuba for people like me! I understand that TSOs don't have an easy job, and that certainly not all TSOs act in such a derisive manner, but when even veiled (albeit empty) threats are challenged, the response is universal: "If you don't like it, you don't have to fly."

I see several themes emerging from these blogs, among them is the inconsistent rules and the inconsistent application thereof. This is a matter of process, only some of which can be remedied by the TSA, given the multiple agencies ultimately involved (which include airlines and airports, among others). Still, better defined rules that can be concretely justified from the standpoint of a passenger would help. Apply the rules consistently and in a sequence that facilitates passengers moving from airport entrance to plane, so that we don't have to arrive two hours ahead of the departure time for a 45-minute flight. Hire some process engineers, for Pete's sake. For example, there's no reason why passengers should be trying to manage their loose shoes at the same time that they're removing laptops from cases and preparing their carry-on luggage for inspection; too many simultaneous activities contributes to bottlenecks. If you insist on inspecting everyone's shoes, have them removed as a separate step after luggage and devices have been taken care of, when passengers are otherwise less encumbered.

Another theme is the lack of redress that passengers seem to feel when confronted by confiscations and rude behavior. These blogs are a good idea, but despite touted influence I doubt that they will be seen as little more than a mechanism by which passengers can vent. A more proactive effort would be to have a TSO at every airport on each side of the secure area whose sole job is to field passenger complaints in real time, with the understanding that most passengers are in a hurry; the corresponding TSO at the arrival destination should be contacted if necessary to address the complaint. As for confiscations, passengers should be given a chit with a tracking number for every item, in order to facilitate redress.

Of course, these are merely off-the-cuff suggestions, which may or may not be pragmatic or even helpful, but the more general problems shouldn't simply be brushed off as the whining of a small minority of a day's worth of passengers. The fact that in a relatively short period of time so many people have gone through the effort of finding these blogs and posting their experiences should only underscore the general public ire toward the TSA. Whether justified or not, there is a sense that the rules devised and enforced by the TSA are ambiguously justified and arbitrarily applied by officers who are unaccountable for their treatment of civilians. The fact that most of those officers are reasonable and kind people is beside the point.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Could the TSA please have an on-line, up-to-date, printable list of unallowable items with a time/date stamp at the top of the page so the next time a screener erroneously claims "the list has been updated," travelers can disprove him?

Submitted by Jeffp on

I want to make clear for myself, and I hope most of the other posters and travelers, that I understand that the individual agents at security are just doing their job, and I don't hold them any personal malice.

I want the people making the rules to take a good look at what they're really accomplishing, and see if they can add a little reality and common sense so that the Safety employees at the airports can be more effective, and the passengers can better participate in the process, rather than be frustrated by it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I wear a fairly significant sized knee brace. Because I can't tolerate the long security lines without it, I choose to leave it on and be taken aside for a wanding, swabing. But that's just it, I fly a lot, weekly. Talk about inconsistencies. Some swab my shoes, some don't, some swab my hands some don't, some swab several areas of the brace, some don't.

As has been noted here, it doesn't do much to inspire confidence.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...
I would just like to point out that there is a national SOP for TSA in all locations...and then each city has ITS OWN SOP. So yes, inconsistencies will happen.

This is ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE!!! If you have your own SOP in your city, you guys are doing it ALL WRONG. WE ARE NOT TO HAVE OUR OWN SOP. Read up on the real SOP and you'll see how things are really supposed to be done.

Submitted by Stripped on

To what extent are you harmonizing your policies with the policies in other countries? In particular one thing stood out for me:

I was about to purchase some make up as a gift in LAX, connect in LHR and then go on to my final destination in Europe.

However, due to the liquid ban, I would not be able to carry the cremes from the LAX-LHR plane to the connecting flight in London, and therefore I could not buy the gift.

Given that the make up store was on the "outside" of the security checks in LAX, I tried the following:

1. Don't give me what I purchased on the far side of the checkpoint, but walk with me to the counter and have it checked in. (Sorry, can't do that.)

2. Can I check stuff in on the far side of the checkpoint? (No.)

3. Can I take the stuff as carry-on (yes) to LHR, and then check it in? (No.)

Luckily the attendants at the store asked me where I was connecting and I ended up not buying anything - otherwise I'd have been forced to dump $200 worth of gifts at the London checkpoint, just because I didn't quite grasp the security routines.

I realize that you're not responsible for security at LHR, but having the ability to buy things tax-free and then be able to check them in would be very appreciated for those of us going on to connecting flights. I realize that technically I may be going in and out of the secure area as I connect to other flights, but from my point of view as a traveler, once I'm through the checkpoint, I consider myself "secured" until I get out of the airport at my final destination.

It would be great if you could have a chat with your corresponding people at other airports so that things like tax-free purchases work "as one would expect", that is, you buy the stuff and there's no risk of having it stripped away by a security checkpoint.

Submitted by Feeling Unsafe ... on

I am a semi-frequent traveler and often notice that airline ticket agents and the TSA agent who check my ID against my boarding pass do a good job of checking that the name on my ID matches the name on my boarding pass, however, IT IS RARE FOR THEM TO LOOK AT MY FACE!!

what is the point of making sure the names match if they don't actually check that the picture on the ID matches me!?!

I have very little respect for the TSA agents and this one issue is merely a symptom of the overall incompetence I suspect runs quite deep into the institution.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Granted it is not a major inconsistency, but it would be nice to know the official policy. When traveling between ABE (Lehigh Valley International) Airport and PIE (St. Petersburg International) Airport we ran into a slight difference in the way they handled film (800 speed, so it couldn't be X-Rayed of course). When going through ABE Security, they simply took swabs of everything, including the camera (with the film left in it). When going through PIE Security, they required the camera to be opened to swab the inside of the camera (thus the rest of the film roll in the camera had to be used). What is the official policy on this? I'm going to assume that they will need the camera opened from now on, and plan accordingly, but it would be nice if it were consistent and/or I would have known beforehand to plan accordingly.

Submitted by Anonymous on

As for inconsistencies - why can't I post a comment on the 'grips and grins' section of this site, but I can on others?

Anyway - has anyone run afoul of the new Li-Ion policy? I had been wondering when something like that was going to happen after various laptop manufactuers started posting recalls.

I am amazed that a laptop hasn't burst into flames on a flight yet. I wonder what the TSA would do when that happens. Will they ban all laptops from carry on? Will they walk around and verify that all laptops on the plane are turned off? Will you have to turn in your battery when you get on the plane?

Much of the policies put in place seem to be reactive. Guy puts a bomb in his shoe, now we x-ray our shoes. Li-Ion batteries explode on youtube and now we can only carry so many extra batteries (even though the on in my laptop is good enough to do the trick).

I would rather the TSA determine what is safe to carry on a plane and allow only those items. It is much easier to be very restrictive and open up a few things, rather then allowing everything at first and then disallowing specific items. And much less confusing.

Is my American Crew 'Fiber' a gel or liquid - well, it's more of a wax - is that allowed?

I would say that most of the inconsistiencies come from a lack of clear policy and mis-communication inside the TSA as to how to interpret a policy. There should be no intrepretation.

Submitted by Aninterestingman on

Why are we asked for ID before accessing a checkpoint when ID is not required under ANY TSA / DHS regulation?

It is clear that TSA does NOT require to enter a checkpoint. In fact, there are zerop regulations on what constitutes a government issued photo-ID card. If there is no requirement that passengers show ID. then why is there are requirement that we submit to secondary screening without ID?

It seems to me that TSA's inspection authority comes from the statute and the regulations it publishes, and not from informal policies, local standards and how the individual screener feels that day. Yet, it is requiring the traveler produce documents for domestic travel they are not required to produce, and then penalize the traveler for not doing so. This is the very definition of arbitrariness.

I would like an explanation of the legal authority that TSA has to demand identfication, the legal basis upon they accept or reject various forms of government issued photo ID and the basis upon which they can require secondary screening of passengers who do not comply with a non-requirement.

Submitted by Sb523 on

This is a question about inconsistencies in terms of how the screening process applies to airline and airport employees.

At certain airports that I visit a few times a year, airline personnel are not required to remove their shoes, while standard passengers in the same lines are. I have brought up the issue every time I have seen it with the TSA supervisor on duty, and the only relpy I am ever given is that this is the policy and there is nothing they can do. Is it in fact a TSA policy that airline employees get special treatment in the screening process?

I know that workers have gone through background checks and such at some point prior to this, but hasn't it been shown already that those who work in and around airports, especially those with restricted access, are likely to be involved in terrorist plots or other, possibly more personal, attacks? I would think that the people that are in the airports most often, with the best knowledge of the airports layout and security process would be the most likely targets of attackers looking to get an "inside man". Also, a disgrunteled worker would be likely to exploit such special treatment in response to something along the lines of a pay cut or just not liking their supervisor.

Thank you for your time and responses,


Submitted by Mandy J Mock on

The inconsistencies at different airports drive me crazy. I don't mean the differences in implementation, like airport X let me through without a ziplock bag and another didn't. Those are inconsistencies in implementation and, while a minor irritant, not that big a deal. However, there are real differences in policies between airports. The two that occur the most often are whether you need to keep your boarding pass out to show to the agent as you pass through the metal detector and whether you need to take your shoes off. There is real variance in these policies. On top of that, these things are not covered in most airports signage in security. And, worst of all, the agents give you this look like "What kind of idiot are you?" when you guess wrong. This is rediculous. Please, please, I don't really care exactly what the rules are. Just make them THE SAME at all the airports.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why does an expired driver's license trump a valid US Passport?
While traveling from Portland OR to San Jose, the TSA screener my wife was singled out because her driver's license had expired. I quickly pulled her passport out of my carry-on, as I always carry take our passports along when we travel. But, because she had presented the expired drivers license first, she was singled out for a full bag search, trip through the "puffer", and even a PAT DOWN?? Yes, her license had expired, buy 5 or 6 days, but I'm pretty sure a VALID US PASSPORT still qualifies as ID doesn't it? The best part of the whole trip was the return trip when she forgot and gave the screener in San Jose her expired license and was waved right through without a second glance. I have to assume they were TSA screeners inspecting the ID, as there were big TSA patches on their shirts.
As a side note, I would really like to know how a lady made it through Sea-Tac with at least 3 or 4 CANS of BEER in her purse, AFTER the crackdown on liquids. She was sitting in the boarding area getting trashed and providing a lot of amusement to other passengers and airline staff.

Submitted by Frustrated In Travel on

My husband has a physical handicap, needs a wheelchair at the airport to the gate, takes several medications, a bipap machine is carried on the aircraft whenever we travel. My point is that I realize that there are "inconsistencies" as Frankie said, because of human error etc. But some of our experiences are laughable or at the time quite frustratiing. We flew last Christmas to Seattle and no one cared about the metal bipap machine or the bottles of medicine we were carrying. TSO's only interested in the bottled water that we had. Frist of all the website for Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions and I quote "Additionally, we are continuing to permit perscription liquid medications and other liguids needed by persons with disabilities and medical conditions. This includes:
All Perscription and over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels, and aerosols) including KY jelly, eye drops, and saline solution for medical purposes;
Liquids including water, juice, or liquid nutrition or gels for passenger with a disability or medical condition"

I had full documention from doctors as to the medical needs of my husband and copies of the TSA.GOV website with the above information printed out. However, the TSO took all the bottled water we had including a samll bottle of distilled water for the bipap machine. They told me that the print out was not correct and that we could not bring in any bottled water. At another airport, Seattle, they let us have the bottled water when I showed them the print outs. The only airport that checked the metal bipap machine was San Francisco on our way home to Newark.

Again this fall when we flew to Paris, we were told no bottled water can be taken through the screening process however, over $5,000 in medical supplies, with needles, etc., were not even opened!!

My question is why are the personnel not aware of the needs and the allowances for people with disabilites, when it is on the official TSA website? Do you not know how stressful it is traveling with a disabled person and all that is needed for them to travel? Why is the TSO making it so hard for these people to travel and those that are responsibile for them? Our last trip to Seattle was just a few weeks ago and I asked for a Visual Inspection as per the Special Needs page of the website - this did not help as all bottled water was again taken. Please tell me what I can do on future flights to make it easier. Thank you,
Frustrated in travel.