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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 Anonymous on

At Skyharbor PHX I passed through security. No problem. But the TSO was an old angry disgruntled man. He pointed to my Rolex. "Take it off!" He made me put it in a container to run it through the machine even though I didn't set off the alarms. I wonder if he may have been in a theft ring to steal nice watches. My husband had a similar issue. The same TSO made him place his cash wrapped by a rubber band in the container. He had not set off the machine either. We are very frequent flyers and find this most disturbing. Are they all thiefs?

Submitted by Dan And Stacy on

While traveling several months ago out of Newark, we observed a TSA employee hold up a small bag of apples at the security check point, look of deep concern etched on her face, and yell for a supervisor. What on EARTH???

Submitted by Txmikey on

I appreciate the hard work done by the TSA. I also understand the work being done is very stressful. But on the job stress should not effect the customers being served. TSA must adopt customer standards to ensure job stress is kept from spilling over into the customers traveling. Having one rude TSA employee spoils it for all of the other employees. By rude, I mean someone that makes comments about a passenger based on visual clues.

Being a disabled traveler is tough enough, I don't appreciate being shouted at or told I am slow. You should already expect a certain percentage of travelers to take more time at the scanner.

If there are times where the TSA knows there will be a backup of customers there should be more employees working. Since I already pay for the staff why not keep two screeners open at all times? My poor experience has occured at OAK and IAH. So it is not limited to one TSA official. TSA supervisors must act if they are presented with this type of situation. Not just laugh it off.

Submitted by Anonymous on

When is TSA going to address the questions that have been brought to your attention?

Do we get one explanation per week by Kip?

Submitted by Just Another TSO on

Anonymous 2/10 12:19 said :
"I have a good friend with muscular dystrophy. He is confined to a wheelchair. He is too weak to push himself, so he uses a large, three wheeled battery operated chair that wieghs almost 200pounds. He sets off every alarm in the place, of course. They just wave him on through. What are they going to do, make him wait on the floor while they dismantle his chair every time he flies?

He could be hiding ANYTHING in there. It is a big chair, with a lot of space. He could pack enough explosives in that thing (which has its own electrical power source for detonation) to bring down a whole terminal, let alone a plane. Screening is political theatre. All a terrorist needs to do is fake being disabled, roll up in an electric wheelchair, and it is game over."

It is ironic how some travelers interpret the screening of people with disabilities and in wheelchairs as harassment. Yet, you just made a critical point. "All a terrorist needs to do is fake being disabled..."
That is why we DO screen ALL travelers, and their property. As a TSO, I find it really hard to believe that your friends wheelchair was not screened inside the security checkpoint. We have a whole section in our SOP detailing the screening procedures for EVERY wheelchair and other assistance devices. Your friends wheelchair should have, and is REQUIRED to be screened. The points you have made are the exact reason why we do screen people with disabilities, and I wish people would see that, instead of crying "harassment of disabled people in wheelchairs"!

Submitted by Anonymous on
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.

Happy Traveling....

ARE YOU SERIOUS??? DID YOU ACTUALLY THINK ABOUT THAT BEFORE YOU SUBMITTED THAT??

there are no special exemptions for us when we travel buddy. why would my kid pack my bag??? I'm the adult, I should be able to pack my own bag. I know to put my liquids in my checked bag cause i'm not boarding a hotel to stay at...its a damn airplane where you sit for hours!! they have food and water on the plane...and i do bring my laptop with me. Lastly, I wouldn't wear lace-up boots cause DUHHHH!! you have to take your shoes off...so i wear tennis shoes. Why make things more complicated for yourself than it already is??? How do you people live?? if you can't get this, how do you drive to and from work without getting into an accident?? don't the rules change on the road?? speed limits?? hmm yeah..so you ADJUST!!

I am a TSO and I fly quite a few times every year, and never have a problem...why?? well maybe it's because I "listen" (for some that's hard to do), observe, and come prepared. (fully knowing the rules, coming 2 hours prior to my flight)

For instance, I was flying back home and on that day was when the liquid ban went into effect. That was when no liquids of any size could go. Well I took a minute, and thought about what might be concieved as a liquid. I took everything out of my carry-on that was a liquid and packed it in my checked luggage. This was with no prior knowledge or briefing on the subject. Guess what?? i made it through with no problems.

Granted...I don't think anyone should be disrespected when they don't deserve it. But don't disrespect the nice TSO's just trying to do their job. I have been more than helpful to passengers that have come through with oversized liquids just to find them other solutions for keeping their items. I've gone out of my way to help them check their bag, find their loved ones, help them mail their stuff home, etc. So please, give us a break. We go through long, hard hours of repetitive work and complaints. Thanks.
Submitted by Jackie Moon on

I have not had the opportunity to read through all of these comments, but I did want to chime in about the people who complain about the elite/business/first class lines at the airport.

For those of us who travel frequently it is a godsend to have such lines available. If you are a leisure flyer you couldn't understand the frustration of being on your 4th flight of the week and it's only Tuesday while you're stuck beind the Grizwald family in the security line on their way to Grandma's house.

Elite/Business/First lines are for those of us that travel frequently and know what we're doing. Live with it.

Submitted by Anonymous on
"When is TSA going to address the questions that have been brought to your attention?

Do we get one explanation per week by Kip?"

When is the blog going to publish many of the comments that have been submitted, comments that don't contain profanity but that apparently deal with subjects that the TSA doesn't want us to know about, such as the Privacy Act?
Submitted by Charles on

Can't find a thread for this, but there should be one. Subject: Trusted Traveler. I have written a couple of times without answer concerning this program -- which I support. Why go to the trouble and expense to do background checks on people already holding government security clearances? The checks for a reasopnable level of security clearance far exceeds that of the TT background check. If I were king of TSA, I would issue these individuals (and their family members if they has also been subject to a background check) a TT card upon request through their agency security chain.

Submitted by "T" Granny on

This is just an amusing, yet scary, story. Two years ago at the Colorado Springs airport,(COS)four of us were selected for additional screening; myself, my 2 year old grandson, a young man about 20 and his puppy. We walked into the screening area and to keep my grandson occupied while he was been patted down, I gave him a cookie to munch on. The young man was instructed to take his puppy off the leash and he tried to tell them that it would not be a good idea to do that. The puppy was totally fixated on the toddler with the cookie. They insisted and the puppy took about 3 seconds to grab the cookie and take off down the concourse. The three screeners ran after the puppy and left the rest of us standing there wondering if we could go or just stand around and chuckle. After several minutes the puppy was retrieved and we went on our way.
Now for the scary part. Last year at the same airport, I was standing in the security line relating this story to some friends I was traveling with. At one point we were laughing about the "terrorist Granny". The young girl who was at the scanning machine must have been listening to the story and she abruptly left her seat and started walking toward me yelling that she could have me arrested and removed from the airport for using that type of language. We all stood there staring for a moment and then started laughing. That was the wrong thing to do, because she then threatened to detain all of us so that we would miss the flight. We all just stopped talking and had to submit to a 10 minute tirade, but at least we made the plane and were not arrested.
In hindsight, I'm sure that she was embarrassed by the story, but her reaction was bizarre to say the least.

Submitted by Anonymous on

To those of you who say print a copy of the permitted/prohibited items list and take it with to explain why you have a given item. Have you ever read the first paragraph in the brochure? "A TSO may determine that an item not on the prohibited chart is prohibited. The TSO may also determine that an item on the permitted chart is dangerous."

Each individual TSO makes his/her own rules. The government's own policy says so.

Submitted by Anonymous on

There has been some discussion of first class travelers getting faster/special lines at the security checkpoint. I don't see how their ticket has any bearing on what TSA does. The ticket is for the seat on the airplane, not for better treatment by the government going through security.

Pilots should not be screened. They are already in control of the aircraft. Cabin crew yes, they are not in direct control of the aircraft.

For people with no carry-on baggage set up a fast lane. All they have is themselves & maybe a purse. Otherwise get in line with the rest of us.

Re-think the liquids rules. Seems to be the number 1 complaint here with shoes being a close 2nd.

TSA, treat us like the citizens we are, not like a bunch of cons. We might be nicer to you also.

Question for TSA. Do you guys verify that every bottle of water, can of soda, little bottle of booze is in fact the real thing? I suspect not. Not asking about methods but all kinds of things get loaded on the plane. Checked baggage, bags of mail, some cargo. In the cabin we know that snacks, food (some flights) and beverages are loaded on every flight. What is in the truck delivering these things? Who check it? Whats in the bins going from the service truck to the aircraft?

Yet you wont let me carry one little bottle of water or soda to the plane.

Lastly, why not concentrate on keeping the bad guys out of the country? Heck they can just walk across the southern border now and cause whatever kind of grief they wont.

Wouldn't your guys be of better used on not letting them even get to an airport in the first place?

I have a ticket to your theater in a few days. I bet nothing will have change at TSA since my last trip.

Thats not a good thing!

Submitted by Anonymous on

I don't know where this comment belongs. There is no way to post to Gripes and Grins so it is here.

The official PDF of the brochure about permitted and prohibited items has no date.

Hey TSA - A government document should have an effective date, or published date, or expiry date. This brochure cannot be trusted because no one knows if it is out of date, or valid.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Definately need to beef up on making the rules consistantly applied throughout the country. I once traveled from texas to washington and then from washington to michigan with a bottle of Purel hand sanitizer just sitting in the bottom of my bag, not in a zip top bag. The current guidelines are for all liquids and gels to be in one and put through the scanner separately. When I left Michigan is when someone lectured me for the Purell. Going from Washington back to Texas I had no one say anything again.

Submitted by Average Joe on

I have a suggestion for you TSA agents...

Try to keep in mind that the chances of YOU running into a terrorists are literally about a billion to one...

The other 999,999,999 of us are just average Americans trying to get from point A to point B - and we damn sure do not appreciate being treated like we were on a suspect on "Cops"....

Several places I see the TSA reminding us that the agents should be treated with respect...

Respect is earned. Being petty and combative will not earn you respect, but it will earn the type of responses you see most on here.

You want me to show you some respect?

Lead by example...

Submitted by Mike247worldwide on

The whole system is fatally flawed. Your most glaring weak spot is the gaggle of passengers lined up waiting to get past the FIRST TSO screener.

It's all just Security Theater.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"ARE YOU SERIOUS??? DID YOU ACTUALLY THINK ABOUT THAT BEFORE YOU SUBMITTED THAT??

there are no special exemptions for us when we travel buddy. why would my kid pack my bag??? I'm the adult, I should be able to pack my own bag. I know to put my liquids in my checked bag cause i'm not boarding a hotel to stay at...its a damn airplane where you sit for hours!! they have food and water on the plane...and i do bring my laptop with me. Lastly, I wouldn't wear lace-up boots cause DUHHHH!! you have to take your shoes off...so i wear tennis shoes. Why make things more complicated for yourself than it already is??? How do you people live?? if you can't get this, how do you drive to and from work without getting into an accident?? don't the rules change on the road?? speed limits?? hmm yeah..so you ADJUST!!"


Well, that wasn't the point of my prior post. The point was, make the same nitpicking prone mistakes as the average passenger poster has made, or even to the best of your ability try to follow the convoluted and arbitrary rules, and see how you as a TSA agent are treated, acting as a member of the general public. Not just flying one round trip, but through a number of different terminals, different airlines, traveling with aging parents or toddlers, and just get a rancid taste for the swaggering that a few lame little bullies are handing out. Really, see it from the passenger standpoint, it does nothing to highten our sense of security.

"Actions speak louder than words". Just one of the comments that my parents referenced that have stuck with me from childhood.

Clean up your own house, get a lock on the concept of professionalism, and do your job in a way that deserves the public's admiration and respect.
This is the way the job demands to be done. If you want to be seen as a professional security force, BE one. Please, do yourselves a favor and get rid of the bullies.

My comments are made with the best of intentions- to further improve the dialog and interaction between the TSA and the public.

Submitted by Anonymous on

When going through TSA in Syracuse on Feb 9, the TSA rep took almost 3 minutes per person examining the boarding pass against the ID. There was one agent examining the documents and 3 TSA agents watching him. This caused the line to go extremely slow.
Does anyone know why it can take this long to compare the boarding document to the ID since the only item that is on both documents is the first and last name?

Submitted by WinstonSmith on

I have found an interesting trend in my attempts to post on this blog. I have submitted now 9 different posts under 9 different names. Of those 9, 7 have reminded people that their constitutional rights are not abrogated by the simple purchase of an airline ticket and that the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments are still in force in this country, despite anything in the Patriot Act that may state to the contrary. These comments have urged people to exercise their constitutional rights of redress of grievances with the government and have suggested that the TSA is an agency that is ripe for dismantling and retooling. None of these comments have made it past the blogger "censors" despite all being related both directly and tangentially to the specific sub-topic under which I addressed them. The two that have been published have also suggested that the TSA has gone too far, but have not suggested that people complain more or exercise their rights as American citizens to work to disband this agency.

I challenge the TSA censors to let this comment pass. I have a right to free speech. I have a right to freedom of movement about the country.

Thank you.

Submitted by Marshall on
Try to keep in mind that the chances of YOU running into a terrorists are literally about a billion to one...

And with those odds, what are we so afraid of?

I have found an interesting trend in my attempts to post on this blog. I have submitted now 9 different posts under 9 different names. Of those 9, 7 have reminded people that their constitutional rights are not abrogated by the simple purchase of an airline ticket and that the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments are still in force in this country, despite anything in the Patriot Act that may state to the contrary. These comments have urged people to exercise their constitutional rights of redress of grievances with the government and have suggested that the TSA is an agency that is ripe for dismantling and retooling. None of these comments have made it past the blogger "censors" despite all being related both directly and tangentially to the specific sub-topic under which I addressed them. The two that have been published have also suggested that the TSA has gone too far, but have not suggested that people complain more or exercise their rights as American citizens to work to disband this agency.

I challenge the TSA censors to let this comment pass. I have a right to free speech. I have a right to freedom of movement about the country.

Same as I have experienced, winstonsmith.

I just said the same thing in another post in the thread:

'Why We Do What We Do: Additional Screening for People with Hip Replacements"

I wonder if either that one or this will be published.
Submitted by Anonymous on

The TSA is in a no win situation. They will never satisfy both the traveling public and the bureaucrats that govern them.

I'm a frequent flyer (Delta Platinum Medallion), so I see a lot of different airports. The TSA was established as a result of a knee-jerk reaction by the Federal gov't to the 9/11 attacks (granted, they needed to do something). It's been my observation (both before and after 9/11) that US airport security is a joke (maybe somewhat due to our constitutional freedoms). US airport security compared to the best international (i.e., Israel, Germany, Japan) security is a joke. The best use highly trained, armed, skilled, and paid security professionals. The TSA are low-paid, moderately trained, low-skilled government employees (think DMV...).

I do not think we are more secure traveling since 9/11, rather I think the TSA creates the ILLUSION to the general public that doesn't travel as much as frequent business travelers.

If we want US airport security to be the best, then we need to copy the best (especially Israel or Germany), and if that means armed SWAT-uniformed security agents, then so be it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Has anyone else noticed this?

There will be a 2-hour long line, 3 unused security stations, and 2 TSA agents yelling at everyone in line.

I guess they've got to feel like they're doing something.

Submitted by Anonymous on

So, let's talk IDs.

Apparently there is a new policy that states that only drivers licenses are acceptable, except for foreigners who must present a passport.

I've been turned down at various airports when I tried to use a SIDA badge; I've been turned down at one airport for using a US passport - that screener only allowed a US driver license. My 85year old father got rejected for trying to use his Retired Military ID (a Gov't issued photo ID if there ever was one).

That is stupid.

The published policy is "government issued photo ID". Not a subset thereof. SIDA badges (which require background checks) should be OK everywhere. Passports should be OK everywhere. Military IDs (including retired IDs) should be OK.

My parents will no longer fly because of the TSA hassles. It's just not worth it to them & they can't deal with it any more. Rejecting a retired Mil ID (which gets him onto military bases) should be good enough.

Let's stop with the foolish policies, and the inconsistancies between airports.

I suspect that this will not get posted because it's critical of the TSA, but I gotta say it nonetheless.

Submitted by JMDW on

PS.. as for the ID's, your names are run through a NO FLY LIST system, if you put in a different name, it won't check it the correct way, so JACOB and JAKE are different on the list.. that is why you now MUST have the proper Identification.. Quit crying...

Submitted by Anonymous on

I think I posted this in the wrong place orginally.

I am concerned about a trend I have been seeing. I fly quite regularly and it seems in the last few months it has become quite obivious and even overt as to who the Air Marshalls are. In December in San Diego they walked up to the gate with all of us there, presented their credential and were let on early. As I boarded, there they were two in first class and one in coach. If I was not sure, one in a first class aisle seat got up to let the window seat passenger in. While he was up he leaned over to say something to the other sky marshall and you could clearly see his gun at his backside.

Several times I have seen this play out the same way (but not the gun part). Last Saturday at Dulles airport for United 919 (11 Feb) to San Diego the three sky marshalls showed up, gave the gate agent id’s and were boarded early. When I got on there they were two in first and one in coach.

Arn’t they suppose to blend in so we (and the bad guys) do not know who they are? This procedure seems very unsafe to me.

Submitted by Gerard on

Re: Anonymous @ February 7, 2008 3:47 AM

"Look...the rules are simple..."
"Second, there are a standard set of rules that are supposed to be followed at every airport. Just like you and me, we're going to have different opinions on things...WE'RE HUMAN!!"

Which is it? Either the rules are universal and simple and can be followed easily by anyone, or they're so complex that even the TSA can't interpret them constantly and they vary from airport to airport.

Perhaps this is the problem? The TSA is staffed by people who don't understand the difference between consistency and case-by-case reinterpretation.


Lastly: "Third, WHY BRING a HUGE CARRY-ON suitcase?? extra stuff"
Because the TSA randomly opens my luggage that is checked and on occasion the contents will go missing.
When you eliminate the thieves in your ranks I will start letting my valuable possessions out of my control.

Submitted by Anonymous on

There is one issue that has not currently been addressed, and it is an issue that would greatly affect the ability of TSA to do it job.
We have seen disgruntled employees or ex-employees (think of the term "going postal") venting their frustration by bringing weapons to bear on their fellow employees, supervisors, and innocent bystanders. This would of course not be an act of terrorism, but is a cause for concern. Do you have safeguards in place to absolutely prevent a scenario like this from occurring?

Submitted by Anonymous on

In the general category of consistency, why would a hip replacement require a "private screening" in Oakland (2/12) but not at Reagan or in Albuqerque? The people were courteous, but the screener could not understand why he got a wand signal on both sides of my upper thigh. After the "private screening" I was allowed to proceed, but the problem with the wand was never resolved, even though I asked what they intended to do about it. So, the next person who gets screened will have the same problem. Fortunately, I had plenty of time to get to the gate--others may not be so fortunate!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Question for the Blog managers.

The new postings to this blog seems to be in fits and starts. Are you guys running any kind of schedule for updates?

Since all submissions are being sent to government computers, posted comments and rejected comments alike what record retention are you doing to comply with FOIA request?

If I do a FOIA for all received post will you be able to meet my request?

Thanks

Submitted by WinstonSmith on

Kudos TSA for rising to the challenge and publishing my last comment. I challenge you to publish this one as well as it also deals with issues of free expression and equal protection under the law. It has to do with our ability to question the arbitrary and apparently capricious orders the TSOs feel empowered to bark at us as we go through the security line.

There has been ample anecdotal evidence on this blog of people being on the receiving end of veiled and not so veiled threats by TSOs should they question anything the TSO orders no matter how ridiculous. Typically the threats come in the form of "Do you want to fly today?" or "Do you want to make your plane?" When a passenger requests to speak to a supervisor, frequently a supervisor is not available. I personally have been in situations where I would have preferred to follow up with a supervisor but was pressed for time to make a flight and had to let the matter drop. The first amendment to the Constitution guarantees each individual the right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression and to the free expression and redress of grievances to the government. A person questioning an action of a government functionary (a passenger questioning a capriciously barked order on the part of a TSO) is exercising a constitutional right and is not committing a criminal act. To have the government or an agent of the government retailiate against an individual because the individual chooses to exercise a constitutional right is in fact unconstitutional.

There may be a good reason for the TSO's actions in regard to the passenger in question in the situation I outline above and there may not. Either way, the passenger is entitled to a response from the TSO, or from the TSO's supervisor. Each checkpoint needs to have people in place to address passenger questions on the spot and to take reports of actual or perceived abuse of authority on the part of TSOs. The TSA then needs to follow up on those complaints that have merit and take disciplinary or other corrective action to ensure that the constitution rights of the flying public are not violated.

The only way the TSA is going to be able to clean up its public image is by cleaning up the way it deals with the flying public where the two groups come together: at the security checkpoint.

Submitted by Randy on
Hey Kip,

1). Why can I take 12 inch knitting needles and 7 inch screwdrivers on a plane but I can't take my 2 inch keychain swiss army knife? How about a little common sense here!

2.) Why do we screen Pilots and Crew but yet the airline baggage handlers have free roam of the airport with no screening what so ever?

3.) Why do we bother to check ID's for fakes or forgery when you don't even need an ID to buy a ticket or board a plane? It is a lot safer to just submit to secondary screening than to bother trying to fake an ID.

4.) Ever wonder why the turnover rate for TSO's is so high? Could it be that the pay is no more than what Walmart pays?

5.) It's time to start a new program called "The Common Sense Approach To Screening" and include it in the SOP.
Submitted by Anonymous on

I have found an interesting trend in my attempts to post on this blog. I have submitted now 9 different posts under 9 different names. Of those 9, 7 have reminded people that their constitutional rights are not abrogated by the simple purchase of an airline ticket and that the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 14th amendments are still in force in this country, despite anything in the Patriot Act that may state to the contrary. These comments have urged people to exercise their constitutional rights of redress of grievances with the government and have suggested that the TSA is an agency that is ripe for dismantling and retooling. None of these comments have made it past the blogger "censors" despite all being related both directly and tangentially to the specific sub-topic under which I addressed them. The two that have been published have also suggested that the TSA has gone too far, but have not suggested that people complain more or exercise their rights as American citizens to work to disband this agency.

I challenge the TSA censors to let this comment pass. I have a right to free speech. I have a right to freedom of movement about the country.


Just to clear up any confusion . . . I respect the fact that many of the traveling public and posters to this blog are distessed and indignant about being subjected to searches of their persons and property when they fly in the United States, but none of these searches violates any amendents to the United States Constitution, especially the 4th amendment.

TSA searches are and exception that the U.S Supreme Court calls "adminstrative" searches and all TSA checkpoints have notices posted placing the passenger(s) on notice that in order to travel by air the passenger(s) impliedly "consent" to the adminstrative search.

There is no constitutional right to travel by air and regretably more security not less became necessary after 9/11.

Submitted by Micalatoo on

This may not be the place to post this comment on your site, but this was the first place I found a 'post a comment' link & I looked in a number of places on your site.

This is a gripe. A couple weeks ago, when I traveling (alone) home from a trip to help with placing my mother in a nursing home. Needless to say, it had been a stressful trip. On my return trip, I was bringing my mother’s cat (Cleo) to come live with me. Cleo was in a carrier that would fit under the seat in front of me, so she had to go through security with me. At Eppley Airfield in Omaha, NE (my departure airport), I was asked to remove the animal from the carrier & I was instructed to carry the animal through with me & her carrier would go through the scanning machine without her.

If anyone knows anything about cats, they’ll understand that for the most part cats do not like being in their carriers & they do not tolerate new surroundings & strange noises all that well. I explained to TSA that this was a cat & I didn’t think that taking her out of the carrier was a good idea. They insisted that the cat needed to be removed from the carrier. I relented & took Cleo out of the carrier and tried to hold on to her firmly. When we got through the scanning procedure & I went to place Cleo back in her carrier, she panicked & was able to get out of my grasp. I had the scratches to prove it. I immediately called out for help & for someone to stop her. TSA agents & security came running – I’m surprised no guns were drawn. Eventually, a TSA agent was able to pin Cleo down until I could get to her and with the agent’s help I was able to get Cleo into her carrier. Needless to say, both Cleo & I were a bit traumatized by this experience.

Here are my questions about this:
1. Is this normal policy at all airports? (to remove animals that are traveling in passenger cabins from their carriers)
2. Couldn’t the animal stay in the carrier & have the carrier go through the scanning machine or is there a fear that the x-ray would harm the animal?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Inconsistancies start from the top down. TSA's Standard Operating Procedures are anything BUT and constantly updated info is mostly gray and leaves too much room for misinterpretation which then leads to inconsistent policy enforcement, which leads to passenger frustration which leads to TSA officers being constantly harrassed and thus, defensive and become less compassionate towards those they are trying to accomodate.

Sadly, TSA's system will never become consistent & tolerable because security can't be fully divulged publicly, and those in power are constantly updating procedures that 1) take a long time for TSA officers to interpret with 100% clarity and enforce properly, and 2) takes the flying public even longer to digest and accept. It's a perpetual cycle of too many self rightous 'experts' passing down too many illogical protocols to too many ill-qualified employees (some deserve credit) that try to enforce the madness with too many people flying & trying to comply with inconsistent, ever-changing policies. It's a plagued system that I would challenge anyone to try to improve upon (can't be done amongst 40,000 people, half of whom try to do a good job, the other half: power-hungry, corrupt, greedy, incompetent bullies that are in their position because of who they know) and while the stage show is still open, the pork barrel is full tilt so a lot of cronies get rich from the mismanaged budget and unaccountable spending. Set up as the Gov'mt's step-child agency, you get what you pay for.

Submitted by Lancifer on

Well...I hope this gets through.

I just did some research on air travel safety. The information was quite enlightening. According to the statistics, we are more likely to end up in a plane crash than a hijacking or bombing. The FAA reported no incidents of hijackings on US flights from February 1991 to October 2001. This seemed to be a pattern. If anything, the "security measures" that are in force now would have made more sense in the time when the majority of hijackings occured, which is 1968-1974. What seems inconsistent is the reaction to what could arguably called an isolated incidnent. Seriously, security had been relaxed in 2001. I noticed this from when I had flown in 1991. In 1991, airport security checked out people going beyond their point. In 1997, security checked passengers. In 2000, you could practically go to the gates unchecked if the timing was right.

Beside the point, it wasn't airport security that failed us in 2001. These guys used innocuous items to get what they wanted. The INS failed us when they let these known criminals into our country. The FAA failed to do a proper background check when they were issued pilots' licenses. Two organizations failed to do their job properly, and we have to deal with the consequences. Was the INS given an overhaul for it's lack of dilligence in keeping up on who we are allowing into the country? Was the FAA given any hassle for failing to check the backgrounds of these individuals?

Also, how is it consistent to say that you are trying to keep one step ahead of "terrorists," when security measures are being implemented after highly publicized incidents? I don't see how that is keeping ahead of them. If anything, that is reactionary. The only thing I see that is consistent is that I haven't seen any reports stating that a domestic flight has been successfully hijacked since 2001. That, and the lack of information regarding such incidents. I had to really dig to find what little information I did find.

Submitted by Anonymous on

anyone know if you can take a flashlight onboard an airplane? I have a maglight that takes 2 d cell batteries???

Thanks

Submitted by Anonymous on

Screener Jane

I have read almost all of the comments above, and I am sad to find about this many frustrations on checkpoint lanes all over the country. I apologize for unprofessional personnel; seem to you, nonsense rules, long lines and for all, the inconsistency.
It bothers me, as an TSO, that some things are done on some airport and on some not, then if I have to ask someone to do something which is required (like the liquids in the baggie” I often get response like; “Well, in Boston (or elsewhere) I didn’t have to do that!”
I have no explanations why that particular screener did not bother to do his job and I am appalled that person like that is employed by TSA.
But, honestly, did anyone ever experienced anything good on these airports, is there at least one screener that was nice, professional and did his job with proficiency and make your travel experience a bit better?

Submitted by Anonymous on

"coca-cola is not a liquid!!"

wow and you guys call us dumb?? haha

Submitted by Anonymous on

Mag lights are fine to fly.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"But, honestly, did anyone ever experienced anything good on these airports, is there at least one screener that was nice, professional and did his job with proficiency and make your travel experience a bit better?"

Actually, the TSA staff at my local airport seem to manage to do their jobs effectively without annoying anyone. I think they might be an anomaly, so I won't divulge where our airport is, we are keeping them.....

Submitted by Anonymous on

If all the screener's who post here would learn to spell and use proper grammar, it mght help to dispell the widely-held belief that so many of them are not particularly intelligent.

When your posts contain misspellings and poor grammar, it takes away any of the credibility of whatever argument you are trying to put forth. All it does is reinforce the notion that so many travelers have that you got a job with the TSA because you couldn't get one anyplace else.

Submitted by Anonymous on
If all the screener's who post here would learn to spell

I need to correct my own grammar: If all the screeners......
Submitted by B on

ok, the funny thing about the post by "anonymous" above is that while you are criticizing the spelling/grammar of the TSAs, you wrote "screener's" instead of "screeners" - apostrophes are only for possessives, not for plurals.

please don't demean other people's intelligence when you are making the same mistakes. thanks.

-a teacher

Submitted by NYTSO on

to anonymous regarding screeners misspelling words... I assume you meant dispel instead of dispell...

Submitted by Anonymous on

It is a sad day when we stop minimal process adjustments which were done in response to addressing specific test findings weaknesses. These were addressed by a working group who made specific recommendations, some of which were easy to impliment and FSDs made easy adjustments based on risk based decision making. But instead we bowdown to persons unhappy with being required to remove electronics, which allowed for a much easier process to screen. Guess what...it worked and we were able to succeed where we had been failing. Then our own public affairs sucks up and acts like it was some giant find and thanked the blogger. In my 5 plus years and after working in many airports I find that if asked many paxs do not see much of a need for most of what we do anymore. Sure, we love to listen to those who praise us but many are just annoyed. We are victims of our own success and this one really shows where the real focus is.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I have no problem with security and applaud TSA for undertaking the Herculean task they have been assigned. As a frequent traveler with a full hip replacement, I am always subjected to a secondary screening - no problems here either. What is a problem, however, is how each individual airport's TSA Staff handles my personal property while I am undergoing the secondary screening. In some airports a TSA employee will ask which items coming out of the conveyor are mine and will bring those items to the secondary screening area. In other airports the items are left at the end of the belt and I am told to keep an eye on them during the secondary screening. Because I never know which to expect, I no longer remove my wallet and place it in the bin with other personal items because I refuse to leave it unprotected. Usually this results in questions from the screener like "You were supposed to remove all items from your pockets - why didn't you?" I would like to see TSA make it policy that your personal property is ALWAYS moved to the secondary screening area to prevent the potential for loss or damage.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Yes, I saw that misspelling as soon as I hit "publish" and could not stop it. Both errors came from attempting to edit my post here rather than in the original Word document.

Submitted by Anonymous on

maybe the other people posting with mistakes are in the same situation. shouldn't judge...

Submitted by Michael Borgstrom on

I don't know if this fits under the inconsistencies label but I am curious to know why airport security screeners do not recognize the Transportation Worker Identity Credential as a government issued ID when it clearly states on the card that it is "...issued under the authority of the United States Government..."? The card is issued by TSA.

I work in the transportation industry and I am required to have this card. I cost me more than $130and had to go to a TSA facility to give my fingerprints, take a photo and submit to background checks, yet the organization that issued the card does not accept it in the airport security line. All those who are issued these cards have already been subject to more scrutiny than the average traveler and are not given any consideration. A person with a first class ticket or an Advantage Gold member is given the courtesy of using a special line for security when they haven't given fingerprints or background checks to TSA or anyone. TWIC card holders should be given at least the same consideration when travelling. Please share your comments.

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