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Inconsistencies, Part 2 (Commenting Disabled)

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Submitted by Anonymous on

Just remember this; every airplane that has left american soil has landed rubber side down since 9/11.....

Submitted by Anonymous on
As for the poster who ripped apart the PHL TSO, you will never be happy.

Hmmm, I frequently travel by air and am away from home 49 weeks of the year (sometimes getting home on weekends). I have expectations from my government that if they intrude onto my person and belongings that they respect both. That hasn't been the case with all of TSA operations. Admittantly some have been pretty professional (Rochester, MN) while others have been a nightmare (Chicago O'hare).

She was earnestly trying to let you know that not all TSOs are the stupid, thug-like bullies you complain about.

Pretty simple then, do something about those TSA inspectors that open up the fluid containers in checked baggage, fail to resecure cheked luggage after hand inspection, and who abuse passengers.

I think you should feel fortunate that the biggest problem in your life is airport security. All though you seem very bitter and calloused, at least you don't have any other problems. Lucky you.

I am expected to make my flights on time and as such get to the airport 2 hrs ahead of flight departure. I demand professionalism on the part of TSA employees. That is the minimum that we, as tax payers, should get for our taxes. I've witnessed many abuses on the part of TSOs and seen how an agency that runs open loop deals with passengers and am not pleased for either other passengers or myself. Happy? What concern is that of your's?
Submitted by Anonymous on

"Pretty simple then, do something about those TSA inspectors that open up the fluid containers in checked baggage, fail to resecure cheked luggage after hand inspection, and who abuse passengers."
If there is abuse, then press formal charges. If you consider abuse to be asking you to declare your liquids or remove your shoes, then you are over-reacting. Whatever your abuse standards are, when being subjected to it, demand to speak with law enforcement. Every airport has law enforcement on post. And, no, they are not part of TSA or even DHS.
Do you have control of the behavior and skills of everyone you work with? It seems you are so bitter that that you want everyone at TSA to pay for the sins of a few officers you have had problems with. Have you ever tried to be nice to anyone TSA? (I know, your response will probably be :"why should I?" Seems like you just can't handle not being in control of everything. Whatever business you are in, I most certainly hope I will never have to deal with you.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Dear Anonymous,

Anonymous said...
To Anonymous who said “Our country is a country of spoiled brats.”

It would certainly be easier for the TSA if we were as docile as citizens of totalitarian regimes. Fortunately we still have a little spark to stand up for our ever-shrinking civil rights. Fortunately we can still look at a nonsensical situation and do something to make it better. Unfortunately some people prefer totalitarianism -- at least until they experience it.

March 25, 2008 9:05 PM

In response to your comment, nobody is suggesting we all become docile citizens of a totalarian regime. What are you doing to make the nonsensical situation better? It's ironic how many complaints there are about the job TSA does, yet how do you suggest TSA process the millions upon millions of passengers and property in a professional and efficient manner? They will never make everyone happy; they can merely analyze risks and make attempts to respond appropriately.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Dear Anonymous,
I'm not a TSA Screener, but tell me how many jobs in the world are doing their job when nothing happens? Millions upon millions of people and property are screened and you think all terrorists will be caught? That's unrealistic. TSA can only manage risk, not eliminate it. That's part of the problem with TSA's perception...it can never appease the public because the expectations are unrealistic.


If TSA were doing it's job, then the terrorists would be caught. Screening for liquids, shoes, etc are pretty commonplace and as such should be standardized. If you are a TSA screener then I would suggest finding another job before you get fired for your bad attitude.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The best TSA story I have, is that my best friend was flying home from Iraq (in full fatigues) after a 16-month deployment. He made it all the way to Atlanta with his full size tube of toothpaste, - at which time he was accosted by TSA, and it was confiscated.

I find it such a joke that the TSA is seemingly "protecting our skies" one toothpaste tube and loafer at a time. Even our own military personnel who are on the front lines in Iraq actually PROTECTING the homeland, are treated with disrespect.

The TSA needs to re-evaluate its priorities, and methods by which it accomplishes them.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Maybe it's just me....but if you spend $75k per year on flights, wouldn't you also complain if the Starbucks couldn't open on time or the flight was delayed because the aircrew couldn't get to the plane on time? How can the customers, you, get service if the employees are not able to transit to their assigned location in a timely manner? Darn'd if you do...darn'd if you don't.


Anonymous said...
I do not understand why it is that the people that work at the Starbucks, etc and the flight crews can move to the front of the line at the check point. We are the customers, what happened to the customer is always right? It never fails that this happens to me when I am running late due for a flight normally because of long lines at the airport. Is there any other business that treats it's customers this badly? I spend approx 75,000.00 per year on flights.

March 30, 2008 3:00 PM

Submitted by Anonymous on

..."it would be nice to see or read even a few credible "wins" for this department. Otherwise it is just so much hyperbol and fluff and just a really annoying aspect of air travel, because as we all know the only way a terrorist can do evil deeds is by use of an airplane, car bombs, bus bombs, IED's and such things are just made up stories in the press every single day."

Seen what happened in Orlando recently? You really aren't that foolish to believe there are not dangers to our society are you?

Submitted by Anonymous on

tso Lori said:

"For a little less confusion: About Liquids, for Screening Officers and for Passengers
There is one good rule of thumb;
If it:
POURS…SPREADS…SQUEEZES. or.. SPRAYS
Then it is a liquid, paste, creme, lotion, gel or aerosol."

Then went on to say:

"The Liquids guidelines are posted on the TSA. Website at www.tsa.gov and on signs or flyers at the airports."

Please post a link to where on the TSA web site it says the part about "POURS…SPREADS…SQUEEZES. or.. SPRAYS". Darned if I can find it...

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSO from PHL wrote:

"What really frustrates me is that when people look at me, they only see the uniform and automatically I'm "the enemy" that's gonna take your liquids."

I'm one of those passengers that lays the blame for the sometimes adversarial nature of the passenger-TSO relationship squarely at the feet of an agency that doesn't do an adequate job of monitoring the behavior of TSO's manning checkpoints. This leads to some TSO's having an "I can do as I want, and there's nothing you can do about it" additude.

Please don't take that personally before I have a chance to explain myself -- I wish all TSO's were half as polite as you seem to be.

I'm going to be pleasant when I approach the checkpoint -- that's how I was raised. I will, however, admit that mentally I'm at "yellow alert" because of some of our experiences, to wit:

- I approach the metal detector and the TSO starts barking orders at me like a drill instructor when a normal tone of voice would have worked.

- The TSO yells at my girlfriend over a tube of lipstick in her bag when a civil tone of voice would have worked.

- TSO is yelling something at the passengers in such heavily accented English that we can't understand a word she says, then she gets mad because we didn't do whatever it was she wanted.

In all of these situations, the TSO chose to take what could have been a cordial situation and made it a negative one with unnecessary yelling. Who's treating who like the enemy here? I've noticed that the default reaction of too many TSO's is to yell.

A common complaint on this blog is that passengers are treated like criminals, prisoners, or cattle.
Another common complaint is that the TSO's are playing a game of "gotcha", particularly over 3-1-1. I've noticed an attitude of "the last passenger I dealt with was a doofus, so the next passenger is a doofus as well."

What makes it even worse is the lack of good, clear, explanations on the TSA web site of exactly what is considered a "liquid, gel or aerosol." I read a post earlier this evening where someone had printed out all the various know- before-you-go sections of the web site for reference, and ended up with 30 odd pages of printout.

Does the TSA as an agency realistically expect the traveling public to wade through all that?

Some TSO's have posted here about passengers not following the "simple rules." 30 odd pages of rules is not "simple."

I write procedures as part of my work. If I wrote multiple overlapping documents, 30 odd pages in all, and then called it "simple", I'd get laughed at. If our group yelled at people for not following our "simple rules", we'd get fired.

Another complaint voiced on this blog is that the TSO's treat passengers like they're stupid. It's not that the passengers are stupid -- the allegedly "simple rules" are not available in a form that is usable to an average person. Would you wade through 30 odd pages of printout, and then be able to figure out exactly what the rules are, especially given that they are interpreted inconsistently?

Now add this to the picture -- some TSO's have quite a chip on their shoulder, and look for ways to escalate a situation instead of de-escalating one. Read through this blog and look for cases where a passenger was asked "do you want to fly today", sometimes in response to a simple question. They come across as just mean spirited, authoritarian bullies.

Now back to your point. Are there some nice TSO's out there? No doubt -- I've encountered some, but not enough. Are there enough mean spirited TSO's to reflect badly on the TSO's as a group? Sadly, yes.

IMHO, until the TSA as an agency makes is priority to treat passengers as they expect to be treated and cracks down hard on the power trippers, some passengers are going to consider the TSO's as the enemy. That's cold comfort, but that's the way it is.

I'll sign off with a quote from Ghandi -- "you much be the change you wish to see". That's why I try to be polite in an increasingly rude world. Please keep being polite....

Submitted by Anonymous on
Do you have control of the behavior and skills of everyone you work with?

No, but if a coworker goes off on a customer then the customer is within his rights to file a complaint. Several of my coworkers are now ex-coworkers because of this policy.

It seems you are so bitter that that you want everyone at TSA to pay for the sins of a few officers you have had problems with.

A few? Hahahahahahahahaha^100^100. I fly at least 2x a week to and from several airports around the nation and have seen some good TSA agents(few and far between) and have experienced many more who bark out orders (sorry, but I went through basic training 37 years ago and don't particularly need it now). I have complained. I complained about TSA approved locks being cut off, lost, mangled, etc. I've attempted to work with TSA and in return I get my tool chest (how I make my living) back at baggage check unlocked (must be too difficult to resecure the tool chest from baggage theives).

Have you ever tried to be nice to anyone TSA? (I know, your response will probably be :"why should I?"

Nice? What do you mean by that? I follow the procedures and do so silently, unless a TSA type attempts to separate me from my luggage. Sorry but I don't trust a single one of your coworkers to do what is right.

Seems like you just can't handle not being in control of everything. Whatever business you are in, I most certainly hope I will never have to deal with you.

Likewise, I stand a better chance of encountering you at a TSA check point than you do encountering me at work. I do control my belongings, some of which are signed out to me by my company. I take that responsibility seriously, unlike TSA workers who've damaged my belongings, and those of my coworkers, while TSA avoids any personal responsibility. Like Mel Brooks once said "it's good to be the king." TSA behaves like it is the king, above personal responsibility, above the law, arbitrary.

I view going through most TSA checkpoints as a visit (sorry proctologists) to a proctologist.
Submitted by Anonymous on
If there is abuse, then press formal charges. If you consider abuse to be asking you to declare your liquids or remove your shoes, then you are over-reacting.

No liquids, ever through screening even before the ban was enacted. Hands too full to deal with them. Shoes off = not a big deal. Screaming TSO's = rude/inconsiderate but nothing illegal. Complaining to a cop about TSA types opening all containers in my checked luggage = you've got to be kidding. Another inconvience due to TSA, but nothing criminal. On the other hand, I will complain up the chain for outrageous conduct(not nescesarily illegal by any TSA employee).

Whatever your abuse standards are, when being subjected to it, demand to speak with law enforcement. Every airport has law enforcement on post. And, no, they are not part of TSA or even DHS.

I do speak with FSDs/AFDs about excesses in their airport (mostly luggage handling/resecuring secured luggage after inspection)and have drawn a blank. No one has a suggestion as to how I can travel with secured luggage (don't even start with TSA approved locks).

I've been screamed at by nearly incoherant TSOs on a power trip. A favorite line is "we don't do it like that at this airport. All of the other airports are wrong." Let's see 10 airports in 1 month and only one is different and they clain that they are the only ones doing inspections correctly? You wonder why, as a frequent traveler I doubt your veracity. FYI I once watched a baggage screener sit on the lid of my tool chest in an attempt to reclose the lid. After I told him how to repack it the lid nearly closed by itself.

Be professional and complaints from me go away. Do stupid stuff and they continue (i.e. abusing military traveling under orders and in uniform, the elderly/infirm, children). Pretty simple.

I do customer service all of the time and know how to ramp down an angry customer and do so that we all maintain our dignity. All I've seen TSA personnel is to escallate a bad situation (i.e. do YOU want to FLY today) and if you attempt to get a supervisor you often don't know if the 'supervisor' is either for real or just a buddy covering for his/her friend.
Submitted by Anonymous on

A. Bridges said:

From reading the TSA website, it leads me to believe that I am able to travel with more water than would normally be allowed because it is for my son as long as I declare it at security. I have done this and depending on which airport I am at, have had to either empty all of his water from his bottles, had to mix formula into all of it...

This is a glaring example of why I perceive so many TSO's to be bureaucrats on a power trip. The TSA's "simple rules" make it plain that water for a child is OK if declared. How is it, then, that this passenger is required to either dump the water or mix formula with all the water? How does this help aviation security?

I also needed to go to the back of the security line (which I had already waited in for an hour) and start over once I emptied the water.

Where is this in the TSA's SOP's? Sounds like an on-the-spot punishment meted out by the TSO for her "violation" of the "simple rules".

Submitted by Anonymous on

A previous anonymous poster said refering to the nipple ring issue, we cannot resolve alarms such as that one simply by patting the area down or visualy inspecting the area as we are not allowed to touch or ask to view these areas.
Excuse me? As per the news article the woman OFFERED to privately show a female tso officer they were in fact piercings. The inconsistancy of this is the fact thousands of women fly with bra's containing not only underwires, but small bits of metal hardware for adjustment or fastening purposes. These too will make a hand wand "chirp". How is it determined they are in fact parts of those womens undergarments since we dont see alot of womens bra's tossed into the screening trays.

Now i realize, and agree, any alarm on the metal detectors needs to be identified, But i highly doubt that "snickering male agents" that she heard as she was behind a screen trying to remove her piercings, exemplifies proper TSA policy.
I also find very little consolation in the fact TSA has done a turnaround regarding this case, from origionally posting on its site, the occurance was properly handled to policy will be reviewed.
Heaven forbid she would have had a genetial piercing. The TSA agents in quesion may well have passed out from extasy.

Another good example of the inadiquate training some TSA agents in at least some of our airports seem to have takes place in Memphis (MEM) every time we fly.
My spouse has not one but two (2) joint replacements, both hips. needless to say, the walk through detector goes berserk when she passes through it. Now again let me emphesise i understand the need of determining the cause, but the normal dialog with her goes something like this.

TSA: "step over here please"
spouse: "I have 2 hip replacements"
TSA wands her and gets alarms at both hips. pats down the hip areas and finds nothing.
TSA: "sit down in that chair and let me see the bottoms of your feet"
TSA: "stand up" and again wands her, pats down the hips and again finds nothing.
TSA: "sit down in that chair and let me see the bottoms of your feet"
(I guess i can understand this though, obviously in some airports bottoms of the feet ARE directly related to joints at hip level.)
TSA agent then calls another female agent over, they confer and this procedure is repeated 2 or 3 more times with the second and sometimes a 3rd agent present. and always some confusion about not finding anything.



Spouse has on every trip offered to show another female agent privately the surgical scars to show in fact she has had these surgery's, to no avail.

Now Denver (DIA) on the other hand, has they're act together, and apparantly has some responsible training procedures.
When the alarm sounds, she is always asked if she has a hip or knee replacement, hips are directed to one area, knees to another. hand wand, pat down, and done. very little delay and on our way to our gate.
so in some cases at least there are competant people in the TSA employ, sadly this doesnt seem to be all cases.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Just learned a new nuance of this 3 oz rule in Rochester, MN. The fellow in front of me had an empty container confiscated because it was greater than 3 oz. I then had a rolled up tube of toothpaste taken away that had about two brushings left (say, .1 oz) because, at one point in time, this tube held 4 ounces.

This makes absolutely no sense:
* The fellow in front of me proceeded to buy a bottle of water in a *12 oz* container, which he then emptied, leaving him with exactly the same contraband that was taken away from him - an empty bottle > 3 oz.
* The notion that I could *ever* get toothpaste back into this poor crushed tube is absurd.

Is the purpose of this search to prevent large volumes of "liquid" in or is it to prevent empty bottles and tubes of toothpaste from getting through? What gives?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I have had 2 episodes with TSA personnel in the past 60 days regarding toothpaste. The toothpaste I carry (and most others, I believe) only display content WEIGHT information, not volume. However, the information is displayed in ounces & grams! It is clear by the descriptions of limitations on liquids, gels, and pastes that the intent is to limit volume, not weight. However, TSA staff are apparently so lacking in training and/or education that they cannot discern the difference between the two concepts. I can carry 1 oz (by volume) of a gel that weighs 4 oz (by weight), and, if the container says 1 oz instead of 4, then I'm clear. However, if it says 4 oz, even though it is clearly a 1 oz (by volume) container, it would not clear. I wonder what they would do, if it said both! The solution - train TSA staff to understand the difference between volume and weight (the dead giveaway is when they see "4 oz (112 g)"), and explain that you are concerned about volume.

Submitted by Jim Huggins on

Actually, I agree with the TSA policy of going by the label on the container, not the actual volume of the contents.

If you proceed on the basis of the volume of the contents, this would require TSAs to make a judgment as to how full each container is, and whether or not the amount of liquid in the container exceeds 100ml. This is going to be inherently subjective. (If my container is 9oz, and I'm allowed 3.4oz, then I can travel as long
as the fluid is no more than 37.8% of the container. Can you imagine anyone looking at a 9oz toothpaste container and coming up with an accurate guess as to how full 37.8% is?)

The advantage of the current rule is that it's objective. If the label says 3oz, it flies. If the label says 4oz, it doesn't.

We can argue all we want about whether or not the restriction on quantity of liquids makes sense ... and that's a useful debate to have. But if there's going to be a limit, I'd much rather that the standard be objective than subjective.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"...I would really like to know what happens to all these items – even new, sealed products – that are “thrown out” by the TSOs. If you don’t believe me, then search in Google for “confiscated items” +airport. You will find numerous articles that show money is being made off these items – AT YOUR EXPENSE."

To whomever wrote this blog entry, at most airports it's the custodians who are making money off of your surrendered items. Most of the liquids are actaull "thrown in the trashcan" and taken out by the custodians. If they want to pilage through the trash, they can because it's considered "gargabe" after they take it off the check point. If you'd like to make a complaint about it, you should contact your local airport or the company that provides custodial services to that airport. Same goes for confiscated prohibited items (knives, tools, or other weapons) when it comes to disposal. A contracted company picks up the prohibited items for disposal. How they dispose of it is pretty much up to them once they take it off of airport property.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I've never had any of the problems with security that people have described, and it's for two very simple reasons: I check my luggage, and I travel light. It has been my experience that people try to bring their lives with them when they travel, and they usually wind up trying to shove their lives into an overhead bin. I understand that certain items need to be carried with you, but do you really NEED to carry your makeup with you? Do you really NEED to carry your toothpaste with you? Do you really NEED to carry your nail clippers with you? Geez, just check it and save yourself the trouble. Think about it; do you really need to brush your teeth, do your makeup, or clip your nails while traveling and before you get your luggage back?

Now, before everyone starts with the "it's a free country" rant and the "I have my rights" rant, please understand that I'm not saying that you can't bring your life with you on a plane. What I'm saying is that every choice you make has consequences. If you want to bring all this crap with you, then you need to be prepared for the potential grief you will receive.

As for the other complaints of people (i.e. acceptance of drivers' licenses, broken TSA locks), all I can say is that if you do anything enough times, you're bound to have a bad experience here and there. I've had my luggage lost once, but stuff happens.

The bottome line, getting back to my original subject, is that things like the aforementioned complaints are going to continue to happen. The screeners are human, and the law of averages says that something bad is bound to happen to you eventually. The question I think you have to ask yourself is, is it easier for me to adjust to the system or is it easier for the system to adjust to me? Personally, I've adjusted to the system quite nicely.

Submitted by Anonymous on
As for the other complaints of people (i.e. acceptance of drivers' licenses, broken TSA locks), all I can say is that if you do anything enough times, you're bound to have a bad experience here and there. I've had my luggage lost once, but stuff happens.

I've traveled since 2000 and before TSA came out with their 'TSA approved locks' neither had a lock cut off nor lost a lock. Since they introduced their program I've lost well over $100 in locks either due to failures or due to TSA not resecuring those locks. The TSA approved lock program has been a rather dismal failure.
Submitted by Anonymous on

So here's another one that makes no sense. I'm a frequent business flyer and usually fly out of LAX. Last week I checked in at the self service kiosk at American Airlines and as usual was directed to drop off my bag and proceed to the security check point. I got in line to drop off the bag for screening but when I got to the head of the line I was told they wouldn't take my bag because it had a lock on it - a TSA approved lock by the way. The TSA agent said they now accepted only unlocked bags for screening so I could take the lock off or walk to the other end of the terminal and drop off the bag there since they accept bags with locks! The bag drop off points are identical with the same screening equipment so why do you have to run all over the airport to drop off the bag? BTW, the TSA agent couldn't answer the question either, she just stood there saying "take the bag to screening 1" over and over.

Submitted by Anonymous on
The bag drop off points are identical with the same screening equipment so why do you have to run all over the airport to drop off the bag? BTW, the TSA agent couldn't answer the question either, she just stood there saying "take the bag to screening 1" over and over.

They lost the keys again and were down to just one set.
Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said: "I've never had any of the problems with security that people have described, and it's for two very simple reasons: I check my luggage, and I travel light."

Dear Anonymous, I travel light too, typically a carry-on size suitcase that I do not carry on, but check in, plus a purse. I still get selected for super-security every single time I fly. I am a tiny white woman in my 30s. I have no clue why I am subject to "special treatment" in airport security, and there is nothing I can do about it

"Do you really NEED to carry your toothpaste with you?"

Yes I do. I typically travel internationally, in long overnight flights, involving connections that often take 24 h between checking in and seeing my luggage again. I couldn´t care less about makeup but need both toothpaste and deodorant, or you won´t have a very pleasant time sitting next to me on your next trip.

Submitted by Anonymous on

@Wisconsin 4/1 6:53 p.m.

While I agree using the term "spoiled brats" would be inappropriate in a professional setting, this is a blog so the use of emotion is pretty liberal.
I am confused by most of these complaints... you want all or most of TSA fired yet you also say they are understaffed. Keep in mind that there are over 42,000 officers in this country. Given the human factor, it's impossible for them all to be perfect. Perhaps instead of focusing on how many terrorists TSA has not caught, look at how many terrorist attakcs have not happened since TSA began.

-----

How many terrorist attacks were there using airplanes before the TSA took over? Using the Aviation Safety database at http://www.avation-safety.net, the last deaths due to airplane sabotage and hijacking in the United States before 9/11 were 3 deaths as a result of a hijacking on a Delta flight from BWI to ATL on February 22, 1974. You going to claim credit for those 27+ years without problems? And the report in the database doesn't have any details, so was that hijacking even by a method that the TSO could stop today?

Prior to that, you'd have to go back to 1962, and the bombing of Continental Flight 11, which was before there was really any security at all.

I'm still waiting for an answer to the question of why TSA-based security is better than the old system by which the airlines and airports were responsible, privately, for security.

Submitted by Anonymous on

anonymous said:

I've never had any of the problems with security that people have described, and it's for two very simple reasons: I check my luggage, and I travel light. It has been my experience that people try to bring their lives with them when they travel, and they usually wind up trying to shove their lives into an overhead bin. I understand that certain items need to be carried with you, but do you really NEED to carry your makeup with you? Do you really NEED to carry your toothpaste with you? Do you really NEED to carry your nail clippers with you? Geez, just check it and save yourself the trouble. Think about it; do you really need to brush your teeth, do your makeup, or clip your nails while traveling and before you get your luggage back?

Then I guess the airline has never lost or had your luggage delayed.

I prefer not to have to arrive earlier to check luggage nor having to wait in baggage for my checked luggage to arrive (if it makes it). I prefer to travel light and keep it all in my carry-on. I know that Continental prefers it that way.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"Inconsistencies" Is what it takes to catch the bad guys! If every airport was the same then the average traveler would find loop holes through TSA checkpoints, and if the average traveler can seek out loop holes imagine what a terrorist can find. Don't forget TSA is not the only one watching you go through the airport, so are the terrorist. Its your option to fly, take the Gray Hound if you don't feel safe!

Submitted by Anonymous on

On 4/7/08 I went thru security at RDU. The short,young TSO man looked at my MI drivers license, made some comment about Penn State that I didn't get. When he mentioned something else about Penn State I said "I don't know about that." He proceeded to tell me that maybe I was asking for a body cavity search. I was so shocked that I said nothing more and didn't think to get his name or badge ID #. This is totally unacceptable and I hope to be able to contact the TSA at RDU to make a formal complaint. Talk about unchecked and inappropriate powers.

Submitted by Anonymous on

""Inconsistencies" Is what it takes to catch the bad guys! If every airport was the same then the average traveler would find loop holes through TSA checkpoints, and if the average traveler can seek out loop holes imagine what a terrorist can find. Don't forget TSA is not the only one watching you go through the airport, so are the terrorist. Its your option to fly, take the Gray Hound if you don't feel safe!

April 9, 2008 12:44 PM"

So the terrorist is standing around watching you? Laughing, perhaps? Maybe he will invite you for a drink and chat you up.... Try not to be a security risk in the unlikely event that this occurs.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am a diabetic who wears an insulin pump. When going to the airport I never know if security is going to treat me like a criminal or a normal person because I am wearing an insulin pump. I have now gotten to the point of before I go to the security area I stop off at a bathroom hide the insulin pump where the sun doesn't shine and walk back out and go through security. So far this has worked, but it makes me wonder how many other people are hiding things like I am. Is security really doing anything? or is it just making people like me really good at sneaking things in?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Newer insulin pumps do not have much metal in them. That they do not alarm metal detectors regularly is not a surprise. Sometimes someone with an insulin pump will be selected randomly or for some other reason for extra screening, and telling the screener that you are wearing an insulin pump is preferable to the screener trying to figure out on their own what it is they are patting down.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I have read most of the comments on how TSA is horrible with bad attitudes and not doing their job. I agree that from airport to airport our procedures are inconsitent. That is not because it's written that way, it's because the individuals at that particular airport are interpreting the procedures in their own manner and applying them as such, so complaints should be made directly to that airport and the TSA management their and not to TSA as a whole because most of us are doing our job to the guidelines that we are given. We do not come to your jobs and ask you to bend the rules for us, so we would appreciate if you would provide us with the same courtesy. Everyday we have people come in saying "i didn't know" and "well when did this start" and blah blah blah. Same nonsense, different day. If the people from Japan know the rules and the people from Germany know the rules, then there is no reason that the people from Ohio, or Kentucky or some of these other places don't know. Stop the lies people. The liquid ban has been going on for over a year, so to come in a say you didn't know or this must be new is ridiculous. Too many people come in begging to get things through they know they shouldn't have, and when you make an expection for them, these same people are the ones telling everyone we aren't doing our job because we let them through with something they shouldn't have. Stop testing us and just follow the rules. 3.4 oz!! Not a brand new 2 liter bottle of soda, not your 12 oz bottle of suntan lotion or you 8 oz perfume. The reason you come across screeners with bad attitudes or a no nonsense mentality is because we get tired of some passenger screaming at us that they didn't know the rules, or trying to sneak something in only to pretend they didn't know it was in their bag. After 8 hrs of the same B.S. your patience wears thin and you do become more rigid. Don't blame us, blame the clown in front of you for stuffing the 4 inch hunting knife in his kids bag and trying to pretend he didn't know it was their or the lady with a 2 liter soda holding up the line because she wants a ziploc back for it. These are real examples of the ignorance we deal with every few minutes.
Yes on the TSA website they have a few examples of items found and I can personally tell you that we have confiscated REAL guns, brass knuckles, and large knives not little belt buckles or lighters; so there are REAL threat items being taken daily and it's not an exaggeration or joke. If people stop trying to test us by bringing stuff in they shouldn't have, then we wouldn't have to waste as much time going through bags and checking people we don't need to. People always say " do I look like a terrorist?" Well since Jeffrey Dahmer didn't look like he ate little boys and Tim McVeigh didn't look like he was going to blow up the building in Oklahoma and since we don't know all of you personally, we can't really say if you are one or not, but we can say this.... If you don't want to be mistaken for a possible terrorist, then stop acting like one. Terrorists like to test security, beg to bring things they shouldn't, and try to sneak items in. We would love to not dig through your stuff if we don't have to, and you would love to pass through security without being stopped, so leave the extra stuff home and we can all have a better experience at the airport.
Thanks....

Submitted by Kelly on

So, between part 1 and part 2, I've seen a lot of complaints about ID checking. Seriously, how hard is it to put your ID in your back pocket before you get in line, and pull it out when you show your boarding pass? One, maybe two seconds? Do you also complain when you have to show ID to buy liquor or cigarettes, even if the last clerk didn't ask?

Sure, I have my fair-share of complaints about inconsistencies (such as giving out 8"x11" bags at the airport when the rule is 8"x7.5"), but I find that if I generally follow what's stated on tsa.gov, I never have a problem.

Also, attitude-checking before you get in line is a good idea as well. I find that politeness and a smile can make a big difference. If you get in line and give the evil eye to a TSO, do you really expect that they are going to be polite to you? Why not ask them how their day is going? If they grunt at you, oh well, not really an excuse to sit here and call them mindless drones who have no better job than to torture red-blooded Americans.

I'm not a TSO, and I'm not set up on here to say that rare good thing about TSOs and the TSA. The fact is, they are doing their job. And if your 6lbs of makeup and hair gel get confiscated, maybe you can live without it. And water/soda? You can't carry liquids through unless its a medical necessity or its in a bag, even I know that, they tell you that. Just be well hydrated beforehand. And on-board, drink plenty of water. No you can't have the whole bottle, but you can go up and ask for another glass as many times as you want (I got 5 on a 2 hour flight).

I do feel bad for parents who have to travel with children, but I feel less bad for you when you are going to stand there arguing with a TSO for 20 minutes over a bottle of water. I also feel bad for the little old ladies who get pushed around. And for those who may have replacement joints, who are wanded down. However, this is an unfortunate consequence of this new age of American travel, we all have to deal with it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...
I have read most of the comments on how TSA is horrible with bad attitudes and not doing their job. I agree that from airport to airport our procedures are inconsitent.


Well into your post your ask us to stop the lies.

How about TSA lies? Such as signs stating that ID is required to pass the checkpoint? Information on the TSA website saying 3 oz instead of 3.4oz/100 ml?
TSO's who state that if a medicine does not have a prescription it doesn't fly?

When TSA and TSO's stop lying and standardize checkpoint procedures then I will be willing to give you a break, but not one moment sooner.

The 120 hours of TSO training that Kip brags about is inadequate. TSA as an agency is a failure in many ways. Don't question my honesty until TSA demonstrates it's own!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Kelly commented "Sure, I have my fair-share of complaints about inconsistencies (such as giving out 8"x11" bags at the airport when the rule is 8"x7.5"), but I find that if I generally follow what's stated on tsa.gov, I never have a problem."

That's an interesting inconsistency in and of itself. Looking at http://www.tsa.gov/311/index.shtm, the bag rule is "1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag".

Nowhere in there do I see that the bag is supposed to be 8"x7.5". What if different brands of zip top bags have different dimensions? Is the 8x7.5 "rule" official TSA policy, or some local interpretation?

Conceivably, a passenger could have a ziploc that's less then a quart in size. Is that OK? The rules say "quart sized", after all. A TSO could say that "your ziploc is too small - it has to be quart sized."

I recognize that a certain level of unpredictability is good from the security aspect. However, this is the sort of failure to adequately define standards that can lead to a lot of problems. My perception of the TSA's "rules" is that there's too many local interpretations because the underlying "rules" are not worded precisely enough.

I can just picture some TSO with a ruler, measuring people's ziplocs, then saying (or yelling) "your ziploc is 8.5"x7" and the rule is 8"x7.5", I'm going to have to take this.

Yes, I'm both hypothesizing and (hopefully) exaggerating at the same time, but in my experience, this sort of petty bureaucratic nitpicking is completely within the range of the possible. I have seen some incredible overreactions on the part of screeners (yes - yelling) because some passenger wasn't up to speed on some local interpretation of 3-1-1.

"Also, attitude-checking before you get in line is a good idea as well. I find that politeness and a smile can make a big difference. If you get in line and give the evil eye to a TSO, do you really expect that they are going to be polite to you? "

Good point, but I've said many times that the screeners are the authority figure at the checkpoint, and they set the tone. I've been at airports where the yelling starts the moment you approach the metal detector, before the passengers have said a word or done much of anything.

The TSA organization has managed to garner a reputation of managing by fear. As master Yoda put it, "fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering."

I understand the aggravations of dealing with the public all day (been there, done that). I also understand the frustrations of working with people who don't play by the rules (am there right now). But neither excuses being consistently hostile in one's demeanor.

If I assumed everyone that I dealt with was an uncooperative doofus and yelled at them the moment they approached my desk, I'd get marched out of the building on the spot.

The TSA needs to get its act together on defining the rules clearly and consistently, and learning to treat people courteously instead of like criminals. That would do wonders for the collective attitude of the traveling public.

As I've said before, if the TSO acts like a person with a job to do and is respectful and courteous, I'll be as nice as I know how to be, and I'll give them the benefit of a doubt.

OTOH, if the TSO comes across as a power tripping bully, I'll be civil, but nothing more. Benefit of a doubt? No way! Step an inch out of line, and I WILL make a mental note of their name (assuming they're wearing a nametag) or their physical description and the time (if they're not wearing a nametag), and I WILL file a complaint with the TSA after my trip is over.

Submitted by Anonymous on
Conceivably, a passenger could have a ziploc that's less then a quart in size. Is that OK? The rules say "quart sized", after all. A TSO could say that "your ziploc is too small - it has to be quart sized."

Too late. That has already happened.
Submitted by Anonymous on

I hear all these same complaints on a daily basis as well as I see it take place at the checkpoints. I hear how TSO's are rude, yet I myself have stood at the checkpoint and had passengers come yelling at me from the top of their lungs about what ever issues they are having at the checkpoint. Respect you earn, and if you don't want me to be rude to you and yell, then don't do it to me. Just because I am at my job does not mean that I don't deserve respect. Just because some idiot yelled at you doesn't give you the right to yell at me. We can keep going in circles pointing the finger at one another, but what is that going to solve. We just need to be mindful of everyone and no matter what the circumstances are, be respectful with each other.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"Respect you earn, and if you don't want me to be rude to you and yell, then don't do it to me. Just because I am at my job does not mean that I don't deserve respect."



Let me make this real clear for you, step out of line the slightest in any way, and I will file a complaint with your superiors, the police and my Congressman quicker than you can say "do you want to fly today?"

You do not deserve respect until you demonstrate that respect has been earned. So far TSO's have earned a lack of respect caused by their actions which implicate you even if your one of the good guys.

I on the other hand am engaged in a lawful endeavor that requires travel. I deserve to be treated respectfully because that is your job as defined by your agency. If I get out of line then you have certain tools to deal with the situation. Use them correctly!

It is up to you how the enviorment at the checkpoint is presented to the public. I hope that TSA improves on the negative perception that exist now.

It would make your job easier and my travel more pleasant.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"inconsistencies" has been used over and over in this forum, take a moment to ponder this. TSA policies for the traveling public is available for reading on TSA.GOV, which mirrors the policies and procedures that govern its officers, who are also given the obligation of determining if your items represent a threat. Can your assumptions of "inconsistencies" be attributed to an officer making an informed decision on your specific/personal situation, and thereby interpreted negatively if you receive a decision that is unfavorable to you? Just because you were given an exemption by one officer at one airport, does not automatically mean you get a "pass" for the rest of your travels. Information is displayed on various media in and around the airport, how many people pay attention to them? There are even some airports authorities that are providing the proper baggies to make it easier for everyone. Lay Mans terms folks... Liquid, gels, creams, paste, aerosols.. if it feels wet when you place the contents in you hand... it's considered a liquid. 3.4oz. or less... as marked on the manufacturer label. half a tube of 6oz. toothpaste left in your bag for an officer to have to check does little to expedite you through the checkpoint... One quart size seal-able plastic baggie per person... kind of self explanatory. Rudeness from officers is a big issue, but can some of them be attributed to an officer making a decision of not allowing your prohibited items through the checkpoint and sticking by that decision no matter how you beg or plead or yell? Not to say that some of the officers can't do a better job of controlling emotions during these exchanges. As some can surmise I am a STSO and have been since TSA's inception, but I also worked for an airline for approx. ten years prior to joining TSA. I recognize the needed emphasis on better customer service interactions regardless of how the traveling public reacts, we must not loose our bearing. Something that is easy for some and needs some focus for others. I am also on the same side as those who think that, officers who dishonor the agency by stealing should at the least be fired, if not prosecuted and incarcerated. But to those who believe that all of the officers out there are untrustworthy discredits too many officers who perform the duty they swore to uphold consistantly with little to no recognition for their efforts. Those officers who don't rely or wait for acknowledgement for doing an outstanding job day in and day out do not deserve to be lumped in the same group as those who disgrace not only themselves but ultimately the nation whose character they soiled by committing illegal acts.

Submitted by Anonymous on

To STSO who posted on April 21, 2008 at 1:45 PM.

So your saying what I have posted below are consistent with TSA policy and procedures?

See the problem? I suspect not!


"TSO NY said the following;

"that may be true, but without a prescription it doesn't go."

"It's all well to know the rules, but when you're on the checkpoint sometimes the rules get "changed" to suit the situation."

"TSA states that if those bottles are not labeled, they aren't allowed to go."

Submitted by Anonymous on

To anonymous who said

So your saying what I have posted below are consistent with TSA policy and procedures?

See the problem? I suspect not!

"TSO NY said the following;

"that may be true, but without a prescription it doesn't go."

From the limited context that you provided I agree that TSO NY did not provide you with the correct information. TSA.GOV states the following

"You may bring all prescription and over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels, and aerosols) including KY jelly, eye drops, and saline solution for medical purposes."

What kind of medication did you have? Did you exhibit any kind of behavior that would have caused the officer to make the decision that he/she made. I’m not ruling out that the officer might have been in a bad mood, in which case you should have requested to talk to a supervisor. If neither of these were not to your satisfaction, TSA has a customer service department that you can email at TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov. I encourage anyone who has had situations like these to make an accurate report to provide TSA the chance to correct the problem or at the least provide the correct information.

Submitted by Anonymous on

RE: From the limited context that you provided I agree that TSO NY did not provide you with the correct information. TSA.GOV states the following....

The statements I quoted were from a post by TSA NY on this blog. To date no one from TSA has made a post to correct this invalid information and most likely TSO NY is at work depriving travelers of their property illegally.

The point is that all TSO's do not know the standards or work outside of the standards. Being a person passing the checkpoint my knoweldge of the rules matters little. In the example given it is the responsiblilty of TSA management to know the TSO's degree of training and to supervise and provide correction as needed. As evidenced here this apparently does not happen!

Your question, "What kind of medication did you have? Did you exhibit any kind of behavior that would have caused the officer to make the decision that he/she made." does not really matter. If the items are not prohibited they should not be stolen from the passenger. If the passenger is displaying odd behavior then the correct action would be additional screening to resolve the concern instead of stealing the passengers allowed belongings.

The passengers only options are to request assistance at the check point which oftens leads to additonal retalitory screening and possibly missing a flight or having the property confiscated (it is not surrendered unless it is done willfully). Any actions taken after the fact does not restore the lost property.

To date TSA seems reluctant to correct rouge TSO's so most people relent to the abuse at checkpoints.

Yes there is a lot of information on the TSA website, however TSO's apparently cannot read or use different information. Ther are to many errors made by TSO's to be just isolated cases of poor training.

Lastly this part of the blog is titled "Insonsistencies".

Where would you prefer that we post these concerns?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Our SOP does coincide with the information on the tsa.gov website but gives more detail. Liquids, lotions, gels, and aerosols over the size limit can be brought through for medical purposes or for infants. They still must be declared, and as long as it's a reasonable amount for travel it's allowable.

We aren't medical professionals and that reasonable amount statement in there is open widely to interpretation by the individual TSO's across all the airports. It's always better to ere on the side of caution, and just screen the oversized liquids a little more thoroughly since we aren't medical professionals.

Prescriptions aren't required and for that TSO from NY to state that was completely incorrect.

Submitted by Anonymous on

re: Prescriptions aren't required and for that TSO from NY to state that was completely incorrect.

April 22, 2008 8:23 PM


I agree, however TSA and/or the Blog Team Operators have to date not made a post correcting the statements of TSO NY. It has been requested many times.

I have no option but to think that this TSO is at work today using these same flawed made up rules.

If this TSO actions causes a person to have their property taken from them it would be no different than stealing. Intent has little bearing, the TSO did not comply with Agency Guidance.

This TSO should be removed from any contact with the public, reduce in grade to the entry level grade and required to complete all entry level training and qualifications before working a checkpoint again.
After resuming work the TSO should be on a one year probation and if any incedent happens involving them terminated for cause.

TSO's must be held accountable for their actions. Then TSA might gain some respect from the public.

Submitted by Aaron Lambert on

Define a "case" as in for my laptop computer. I have a neoprene (fabric) cover for my leased computer, as I don't want it scratched or damaged in the screening tubs you use. Neoprene is commonly used in many things, including clothes...which you don't make them take off.

Repeatedly, I go right through the screening at DCA with my computer safely in its fabric.

Yet, on the return journey from MHT or BOS, the screeners insist it be removed, and of course, holds up the line.

Kindly define your policies, as to whether a thin layer of neoprene around the pc constitutes a "case". Is it HONESTLY an impediment to your XRAY process? Doubtful. If so, then I ask why your plastic tubs are not.

Define it. Educate your staff, and make this process less arduous than it need be!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Get with it guys, the fact of the matter is pretty simple...

When TSO's go to work, they follow procedures established by their management, if they intentionally fail to follow procedures, they can be severely repremanded. This is no different than when YOU go to work and you dont follow what your boss asks you to do, plain and simple.

Yes there is much discression left up to each individual officer and also local policies at differing airports shape the decision making process, but if you follow what is described at TSA.GOV you should not have a problem, arrive prepared with suffieient time to pass security, and bring a decent attitude with you, trust me, you wont have a problem. Ask for a supervisor if you want to dispute a requirement, however if you are wrong, dont expect anyone to cut you some slack. . .

Submitted by Diane on

I would like to know why some airports have a special security line for first class and business class flyers. The lines are much shorter than lines for economy flyers, and I can't help but believe that there is a difference in the screening, just because the screeners are made aware that they are screening 'higher income' passengers. The real complain however is that all passengers pay the same taxes, probably more in some cases, and that is what pays the TSA, not the exensive airline ticket, so why should they get special treatment from the TSA. I asked this question to the TSA director via email over a year ago and never got a response. It is not at all airports, but I know for a fact from a trip last month that San Jose, CA had a special lane for first and business class.

Submitted by Matt on

In several recent trips i had several inconsistencies that really make no sense. I travel 60% of every month, and have a nice routine when going through security. Ever since the 3-1-1 was put into place i have been carrying my 1 Quart size bag. But time and time again i see folks with 2 or 3, or even 1 gallon bags go right through security with no issues. Then again in Charlotte, i was preparing to go through the checkpoint and i always place my laptop and my liquids in 1 bin to reduce the number of bins. The laptop is small and the liquids are not on top of the laptop, i was told they must be separated. Never before was that the case, so i had to get another bin. Then 3 days later in Louisville i put my laptop and liquids together and everything was fine. Why? The last one is the kicker, i was just coming home from Newark, and watched an employee going through security with a cart full of water and soda. Why is ok for them to put there liquids in the radar scanner but our liquids are not acceptable? You don't think once those liquids go through they cannot be given to someone of interest. Come on? Remember those are the same liquids we are allowed to purchase to bring on to aircrafts.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I recently traveled with my wife from Spokane to San Diego and back. Trying to check-in (on line) the night before in Spokane, I received a message that I 'needed additional assistance' to check in. I thought, "ummm I hav been taqgged for security check." No doubt, when I arrived to the airport the ticket agent told me I was tagged for security; and the TSA agents seemed to enjoy yelling to one another "hey, I got a security here."

After a few days in San Diego we were preparing to return to Spokane and, wouldn't you know it, I received the same message when trying to check-in on line. Again, I had to do the whole body check thing.

My first point is NOT that I am irritated that we have extra screening; nor that people are chosen randomly (though that may be a legitimate complaint). My point of irritation is warning people that they are going to be tagged for security effectively undermines security. It is a little like the mall security person telling the teenager that they are going to follow them around for shop-lifting. I mean, do we really think terrorists how so stupid to not hand off a bomb or something when they get tagged for 'additionl check-in assistance.'

As frequent travelers, you know things canget even more stupid - and they did.

In San Diego, my wife and I were in the commuter terminal. As a REALLY small terminal, the gates are literally 30 feet away from the security station. Watching people make their way through the line, we say an older Asian couple get pulled aside with their bags. The security agenct pulled something like 4 jars of jam out of the wmen's bag and kindly explained that liquids of this size were not allowed.

All is well, right? NO. He next pulled out a full-size (7-8 inch) scissors from the women's bag. He looked at it, held the blades to hs hand (the blades alone were s wide as his hand - approx. 4 inches), asked another security agent if they were ok, they both said yes and the first agent put back in the women's bag.

Several others watched these scene happen and we were all speechless.

In what fricken world is strawberry jam more dangerous than an 8 inch scissors.

Both of these incidents point to the moronic nature of the TSA. How absolutely stupid can things be. I have watched little-old and clearly nice ladies have to take struggle to get their shoes off in front of hundreds of people; yet a full-length scissors is somehow ok!!!

There should be no quesion why people are frustrated with this behemoth (and costly) and yet amazingly innefective government agency!

Submitted by Frustrated Mom on

I have found a great deal on inconsistencies when traveling with an infant. I have flown from Cincinnati, Louisville and Ft Myers. Some Tsa ask you to leave formula in the diaper bag, some want you to remove it. I have been asked to walk the stroller through and also to fold it up and have it Xrayed. It is difficult enough traveling alone with an infant. You feel stressed knowing you are holding up the line while folding up stroller, taking out formula, taking baby out of car seat, removing shoes etc. It would be great if TSA would assist you when they see you are struggling. If airports were concistent, you would at least know what to they expected as far as what needs to be screened. The biggest problems I have encountered have been while traveling through Ft Myers. Every airport I have departed from allows you to go to the front or a seperate line when traveling with a stroller. Not in Ft Myers. You must stand in the main line, which is fine. Once I got to the front of the line, I asked the TSA rep about removing formula from my diaper bag. He said to leave it in the bag since I was traveling with a baby. He said they would know it was formula. I assumed he knew the rules, even though I was asked to remove the bottle in Louisville. Louisville also pushed my stroller through the metal detector. The TSA agent in Ft Myers had me send it through the XRay machine (all fine). I also had a laptop in a seperate bag that I removed. Once my bags had gone through and I was trying to get my child back in car seat and then stroller, a female TSA agent approached me. She was quite upset that I had not removed the formula from Diaper bag. I told her I was very sorry and explained that I had asked a different TSA agent before sending bag through. I also showed her the gentleman that I had spoken with. I thought that would be the end of it. I put my diaper bag and seperate computer bag under the stroller and started to walk off. I was then approached by a different TSA agent by the name of Adam (can't find ID number). He asked me to give him my computer bag. I handed it to him and explained that it had already been screened and asked what was the problem. He would not even respond. I watched him open the computer and go through every pocket of the computer bag. I only had the computer, pad of paper, magazine and an ink pen in the bag. He then sent the bag back through the Xray machine. He brought the bag back and keep searching. Once again, I asked if there was a problem. He still did not say a word. At this point he had been searching my bag for approx 7 minutes. He finally pushes the bag back to me and starts to walk away. I asked again what the issue was with the bag ( as I did not want to have this same experience again). He told me he was not at liberty to say, but we was second guessing something in my bag. In my opinion, he was just trying to show me who was in charge since I sent formula through the Xray machine. I am all for security, but I think if there is a potential problem with something in your bag, you need to know what it is. We are all afraid to question TSA agents, in fear of not being allowed to travel. I will be traveling next week through Ft myers next with the same computer bag, stroller, etc and am anxious to see what happens. More training needs to be done with TSA to amek sure they are concistent. This would speed up the lines and keep people from getting as stressed. There are many TSA agents out there that think a little too much of their power. They need to get over them selves and realize the most important thing is keeping our palnes and airports safe, while still being friendly. It is sad, that many people have to start their vacations in such a stressed manner due to attitudes of TSA agents.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Vendors have been vetted and have airport privledges. The companies that deliever the liquids, lotions, gels, and aerosols to be purchased in the sterile area are also cleared.

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