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Liquids, Part 1 (Commenting Disabled)

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Thursday, January 31, 2008
Liquids cover 70% of the earth and they also make up a good percentage of our comments from the traveling public. Post all of your suggestions and concerns about liquids in this blog post. Refresh your knowledge of traveling with liquids .

So, how much damage could a liquid explosive cause? See for yourself from the Myth Busters page on

» Click here to see our video (wmv, streaming).


Submitted by Anonymous on

Your latest .wav file doesn't come close to addressing people's real concerns. If numerous frequent flyers think the size limit is nonsense - that means we don't trust you. If we don't trust you (and you do have a vested interest in keeping the TSA budget as high as possible), then your saying you have done careful studies, and the threats are real means nothing.

If you are not trusted - then you are going to have to prove yourself to people we do trust. And I'm talking about intelligent people who are currently against your policies, not some sensational news reporter (although the reporter for the UK Register who bashed the limits might be OK).

For example, IF you could demonstrate to Bruce Schneier that the liquids limits are reasonable, and address a real danger - as in likely taking down a plane, then I would stop complaining.

If we are talking about something that does not take down a plane (like a person with martial arts training, who could kill a half dozen people before being overwhelmed - which you are never going to catch), then the limits are not reasonable and need to change.

Submitted by Anonymous on

For the person asking about empty liquid containers - so far my experience from about 25 airports has been that only 1, in Asia, took away my empty water bottle. The rest let it go through.

Submitted by Lynx on

The TSA needs to reconsider the (stupid, IMHO) "half-full" container rule. For starters, it might try publicizing that rule someplace other than this blog.

Like many of the other activities of the TSA, the message you are sending the public is at best inconsistent, and usually smacks of capriciousness.

For example, this link (the '3-1-1 rule'):

makes no mention of “half-full” containers or toothpaste tubes. It is the only policy I see posted in the airports I transit through, and it is still currently linked from the home pages of at least three airports that I regularly utilize. This despite the TSA assertion that the “revised” liquids policy (linked from this blog) is 16 months old.

I came to this blog specifically to complain about having not one, but two tubes of toothpaste confiscated (on two separate trips). Both were less than half full, and both met the 3 oz rule (the only rule I had been made aware of). Both were confiscated after the (unpublicized) “rule change” of September 26th, 2006.

I protested both confiscations. On neither occasion was I made aware of a “half-full” container rule. When I asked to speak to a supervisor about the second confiscation, I was told that I should not cause trouble or I would not be allowed to pass security. Any normal person is going to choose getting on a plane to fly home over a tube of toothpaste, but I have to admit that I seriously considered removing myself from line just to dress down a TSA supervisor over a random and completely arbitrary confiscation.

This highlights a further problem, which a severe lack of oversight in the screening process. When a TSA screener removes an item and a passenger feels that an error has been made, it should be possible, without ramification, to have a TSA supervisor review that decision. With no chance for review, I sometime wonder if your screeners are removing items on a whim or for personal gain.

Finally, if the TSA cannot tell the difference between an explosive and toothpaste, it might want to consider finding other employment.

Submitted by Dave on

God I love Canada!

The policy on liquids apply here also however the process is usually painless. When you enter security, if you don't have a plastic bag in your hands they offer you one. It should be 1 liter or less but they usually don't care unless it's a large bag packed full. As for bottle size, the rule is 100 mL but again if it's a small bottle, it's fine. Half empty commercial toothpaste tubes works fine as well. In fact the only time I've been asked to throw something away was when I forgot a can of Red Bull in my bag. The agent politly offered me if I wanted to drink it right away because it was.... expensive.

Submitted by Anonymous on

First of all, thank you very much for making an exception to the liquid policy for breastmilk. I have a baby and have had to travel for work and bring pumped breastmilk back with me twice now and will do it a third time next week. My one request: could you please post the breastmilk rules at the TSA screening stations? Not all of the screeners know what the rules are. In San Francisco I was waved through by a screener that was, I think, scared to look at breastmilk. :). But in Seattle I was first told that I couldn't bring it and would have to throw it away and when I protested, the screener caved but then said I had to put it through the X-Ray machine. After I protested again, he said he had to go get his supervisor. So the entire line had to wait almost five minutes, and I was standing there, shoes off, suit jacket off, holding breastmilk while my older, male boss waited for me on the other side. Not a pleasant experience for anyone. Thankfully, the supervisore let me and my milk through. But it seems to me that a simple sign explaining the rules would fix the problem.

Thanks for considering it!

Submitted by Radzfoto on

I fundamentally do not believe the TSA's explanations about "dangerous liquids". The whole thing is ridiculous. And don't even get me started about removing my shoes and having to walk on those disgusting floors in my socks. As a frequent traveler I find the TSA overbearing, undisciplined, arbitrary, defensive, offensive, unhelpful, and occasionally downright illegal in their actions. Don't even think about complaining. They will make you miss your flight. They might even block you from using a particular airport FOREVER!

Submitted by Anonymous on

The worst part about the liquids ban is having to buy the expensive pops/beers on the other side. It is ridiculous that a pop is $1 on the outside of security, but $3+ on the inside, it allows for complete gouging of customers who have no recourse whatsoever.

Submitted by Lance on

Anonymous said: "Here's a helpful hint for those complaining about the cost of bottled water in airports - you can carry an EMPTY sports water bottle through the checkpoint and fill it up from a fountain once you're past security."

If only that were always true...

The rule about liquids is annoying in all cases, but in some cases it's impossible to understand. We've adapted to the rules as much as possible by bringing our own empty water bottles through security and refilling on the other side, but it doesn't always work.

My wife and I flew to Singapore with a 6-month-old on a US-based airline. My wife was still nursing our child, so she needed lots of water. At the Singapore airport on our return, we dumped our water bottles after getting our boarding passes as we always do. Unfortunately, though, the security at that airport was at the gate, and there was neither a water fountain or a bathroom inside the secure zone.

Infuriatingly, there was a drinking fountain literally five feet from the x-ray machine. We should have been able to fill our water bottles there in sight of the security workers, but they said that they couldn't allow that. As though somehow water poured into a bottle inside the line going into security was some sort of a threat.

When we complained, we were told that there would be water served quickly on board, but it was over an hour into the flight before the first beverage service, and we'd been on the plane a good half hour before the flight started.

I know that Singapore security workers aren't employees of the TSA, but the TSA's policy is just as inane. These policies make life very dangerous for breastfeeding mothers and others who need ample hydration (like the person above who needs water for his medication).

Why is it that pure drinking water poured from a fountain is considered contraband if the fountain is 5 feet outside of a security zone, but it's completely harmless if it's poured 5 feet into a security zone?

Policies that endanger health and cause extreme discomfort while providing no reasonable service or protection should be abandoned.

Submitted by Anonymous on

All the terrorists have to do now is threaten to blow up an airplane with a pair of trousers. Then we'll all be forced to remove our trousers through security checkpoints in the name of security. Makes sense, right, TSA? Why don't you apply common sense to these rules rather than taking such a snotty jobsworth attitude?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Lets assume that the TSA REALLY IS concerned about liquids....

What about all of the jet fuel the plane is using....... as if 3 or 6 or even 20 ounces of TATP (the binary liquid bomb they're scared of) is really a risk...... who has time to mix two liquids....... surrounded by ice water, DROP BY DROP while stirring, while making sure the temperature doesn't rise..... without being accosted by the flight attendant or an 400 pound passenger trying to walk down the isle?

Really..... checking shoes? throwing supposed bombs (if its more than 3oz, it could be a bomb!) in a trash can right next to the security people.... if they had ANY suspicion it was a bomb or could be a bomb, they wouldn't want to work next to it all day......

Its a sham, a farse, a total bogus fake sense of security. Its like a bank trying to use cardboard cutouts of security guards (and chuck norris) to make everything think that the bank is unrobbable. Come on people..... its a total waste of taxpayer money.

And, suppose that terrorist DO want to blow up a plane, or hijack a plane, or even kill everyone onboard by making it crash into a mountain or something....... WHO CARES.

I'd rather lose 200 people in 1 plane.... or 1000 people in 5 planes.... EVERY YEAR.... than put up with the total waste of taxpayer money.

With the same amount of money.... WE COULD HAVE 200mph electric trains over a good chunk of the country. Want to go to las vegas for the weekend? take the 200mph train. Sure, its a bit slower than a 500 mph jet.... but I bet you won't have to spend 2 hours in security.... and it would be a whole lot cheaper.

OR.... we could spend the money making our interstate highways safer......

OR we could spend the money and crack down on drunk drivers, or on meth labs..... or anything.

Oh well, at least we only have to put up with it for another 5-10 years. By that point I figure peak oil will be easily enough visible... and with gas at well over $5 a gallon, and the fact that no one can afford to fly anymore.... even if there were regularly schedules flights from everywhere to everywhere like now.....

So i guess for 5-10 years we'll have to put up with this total waste of money. Who knows, maybe by the time its all over, we will have spent and wasted so much money on the TSA that we could have significantly reduced our dependance on foreign oil with electric trains, and electric cars with enough range for people to replace one of their cars with to do most of their in town driving.

Submitted by Anonymous on

If you were a terrorist network bent on destroying a plane from the inside using liquids, wouldn't you just send enough people on the same plane such that they could combine their collective liquid allowances to work around the ban?

The easily-circumvented ban does nothing to keep people safer, and only serves to make flying an even bigger hassle than it was already for innocent people.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I recently flew out of the US, and this involved a few connecting flights. I'm not exactly new to connecting flights, but all of my connecting flights this time seem to have required going through security screening. And at each one, I was asked if they could search my carry on, at which point they removed my bottle of water or soda that I had purchased and carried with me between the previous security point and that one. Now.. I could care less about the rule that I can't carry liquid from the outside in, but I didn't magically obtain liquids that weren't already with me on the previous flight...

Submitted by Andrew on

At a hazmat class, I watched a demo of a rag soaked with ____ then allowed to dry, and simply stored in briefcase as a dry, folded rag.

I won't say the chemical, but I will say it was not volatile, and did not register on our members as being problematic because in fact the chemical itself is not flammable.

The instant a match or heat source (in theory, the friction of your hands can be enough heat) touches the cloth, however, the entire cloth burned up in the blink of an eye. It LOOKED like an explosion but of course was not. It was an extremely fast fire -- a standard fire, the combustion of a hydrocarbon, just really (insanely) fast. The hydrocarbon burning wasn't the chemical at all. It was just the cotton of the rag.

This was a hazmat training and had nothing to do with airports or threats. The chemical is commonly used in the ____ industry, and the demo showed what CAN HAPPEN if it is spilled on you (say onto your jeans) and allowed to dry there.

Now, I'm no threat to anyone, and would never share the specifics of this stuff (even if frankly I could remember anything other than its class of chemical and the reasons why it happens -- which I won't be passing along here) but it seems to me that if I know the stuff, surely anyone digging into how they could wreak havoc could know it, yes? Surely there are dozens of similar kinds of things out there, yes? None-- not one -- of these enhanced screening methods would catch something like that. To me then, its a complete waste of time going through the half-measures we use now.

Either be truly complete (which no US airline, airport, or business traveler would put up with) or figure out how to pre-screen and validate travelers such that you aren't relying on ineffective in-airport screening methods.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why do I see people in TSA uniforms carrying LARGE bags filled with soda/water/juice whenever I am in an airport? Do they really get that thirsty on the job and need refreshment?

You don't suppose that they are keeping the things that they force people to throw out, do you? I mean, that would be a conflict of interest.

"Excuse me, sir, but you need to leave that Rolex here."

Submitted by Gnostic19 on

All these posts about how insane these regulations are and how greatly they interfere with out travel tells us one thing. The terrorists have won.

Submitted by Risha on

i'm brown and my hair care products don't come in travel size. i hate that i have to buy new products and then leave them behind because i refuse to check my bags and it is too ridiculous to bother with the stupid limitations and the quart size bag. do you know how much product a normal woman uses? and what's the problem with mascara? why are you trying to jack my make-up?

Submitted by Anonymous on

What is so magical about blue polyester? Seriously, Why when I am wearing my airline uniform am I suddenly trustworthy enough to carry liquids. I'm the same person, who underwent the same FBI background check when I am just in civilian clothes and my crew badge. I think the liquid exemption should apply to anyone carrying a valid crew badge regardless of their ensemble.

Submitted by LeisureFlyer on

So, I have a lot of the same problems others have cited wrt the liquids issue. In short:

1. Standard "small" bottle for other countries is 100ml, which is 3.3 oz. Because of this, many high end toiletries are packaged for the international market and use that size. I know the TSA *says* that's okay, but I have had screeners take away 3.3 oz bottles because "The limit is 3 ounces." The 3-1-1 rule contributes to this, because some screeners use that to say, "No, there is no exception, or why would the rule be 3-1-1? It's not 100ml-1-1."

2. There is no consistency of enforcement. It doesn't matter if the screeners where *I* live recognize 100ml as acceptable, because if I fly round trip, the airport I fly back from may have other ideas. I own toiletries and bath products that cost $15 for a 100ml bottle. I don't want to risk $50 in bath products and toiletries because the screeners in another part of the US don't believe there are exceptions to the 3-1-1 rule.

3. It doesn't matter what the TSA website says, or what you tell us in this blog, or what the airport tells you. If you get a screener who is having a bad day, isn't very bright, or is just a bully, that person can refuse you. It doesn't matter if you're standing there with the *printout* from the TSA website telling you whatever is acceptable. There's no appeal. Either you let them throw away things, or there's the threat of not being allowed on the plane, being interrogated, etc.

The bottom line is that it doesn't matter if the screener is in the wrong; the traveller is the one punished.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The most idiotic action I've ever experienced going through airport security was the seizure of a jar of honey I had bought as a gift. But the honey was NOT in liquid form. It was solid (crystallized) honey. It was thicker than peanut butter, but I couldn't convince them to let it through.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The main reason the liquid policy is ineffective is that while individuals can only take on limited amounts to planes, there is nothing preventing a number of people with malicious intent upon boarding the plane and combining their small amounts of liquids to make a large amount.

I.e. pointless policy that is easily defeated.

Submitted by Int'l_traveler on

I have taken an uncapped, empty, soda or water bottle through security, in the outer see-thru net pocket of my backpack, and at least once I have pointed this out to TSA. No one has objected. After passing through security, I filled the bottle with (free!) water at a drinking fountain, capped it, and carried it on board the plane when boarding. Again, no one has objected.

Is this all right? It seems like it is.

It is a blessing that we have drinking fountains at US airports - at some major airports outside of the US, where I have to wait and transfer, there is no clean and free drinkng water.

I do wonder what foods are allowed. With having to get to the airport three hours ahead of flights on an international itinerary, I'd prefer to take food of my own to eat while I wait. Can we take donuts? What about a salad? Sandwiches are okay?? What about hard boiled eggs? A clear food policy would help. I never would have thought that peanut butter is a "liquid," though I guess I can see how someone could hide something in it.

Submitted by Justasuggestion on

I'm personally skeptical about the utility of the ban on liquids but that not withstanding, I've come to the conclusion that -as a pragmatic issue- it's simply too tough of a condition to put on fliers.

There are some comments on this blog that say "if you just followed the rules, there'd be no problems". But it seems to me that if this many people are having trouble with the liquid rule, perhaps it's simply too difficult a rule to have. People seem able to deal with taking off their shoes and belts, even though it's horribly troublesome. But that's because it takes two seconds to do. But the fact that everyday, intelligent individuals forget about their liquids tells me that carrying liquids (water, sunscreen, toothpaste, medicine, baby food) is too ordinary of an act and the amount of forethought and planning is so large (special bottles, special bag) that maybe it's just too hard to do.

Please note that this isn't a crazy notion. For example, our online identities might be a lot safer if we all were forced to use 60 character passwords but it's simply not feasible. Maybe the ban on liquids is our 60-character password. Perhaps its a good idea in principle (though we've been given no proof) but too hard in practice. Please let's get rid of it.

Submitted by Fotherington on

I'm with Barry on this - do what El Al does, and no more! If they don't ban liquids, why should the TSA? This liquids hysteria has spread to other forms of transport - I wasn't allowed to take my coffee onto the Eurostar when I travelled recently. If someone knows a way that a large mocha can be made into an explosive device, please let me know.

Submitted by Anonymous on

In banning liquids from flights, you are admitting that the terrorists have won: we have been terrorized to the point of behaving irrationally.

That's all.

Submitted by Wanchan on

If there was zero (or at least sufficiently close to it) chance of my check bags getting lost/stolen/damaged, I wouldn't have nearly as much problem with the liquids rules.

The reason I want to carry-on my stuff is so I can keep my eye on it at all times. It disturbs me every time I get a little note saying "we inspected your bag!" inside my checked luggage. (it has happened more than once to me - and I don't fly that often!)
Statistically, I can't trust every baggage handler not to be a thief. And since I don't personally know all of the people who will be handling my bags on a given trip, I can't trust any of them.

I'm willing to run some risk, but with the potential value of the stuff in my suitcase, and the ease with which it could be picked through...

(I also feel naked without my pocketknife, but I can at least accept that.)

Aggravating that is the rudeness and unaccountability. Most of the TSO's I've dealt with have been nice enough folks, but if a nasty security worker can simply refuse to even give me his name so I can report him, there is no way to have the bad apples removed. At least with a police officer, I have some confidence in being able to get his name and/or badge number to report... I'd like to see some similar regulations on the books requiring a TSA employee who wants to search my stuff to identify himself first (upon my request).

I see it as only fair - you want to see my ID, I want to see yours.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I really love how the price of water in every single store/mart/whatever inside the checkpoints is 3-4 times that in a store outside now that we can no longer bring water inside.

If you're trying to feed conspiracy theorists, you're doing a good job.

Submitted by More Info Appre... on

Along with the idea posted by others about being able to take > 3oz of a liquid multiple containers but not in one big container, I also cannot figure out why the policy is not flawed for this fundamental reason:

Somebody intending to do harm could easily collaborate with 20+ other people and split their liquid supply among them -- they don't even have to be on the same flight!

This was actually the first thought in my mind when I found that when traveling the day after the liquid ban was implemented, and the associated feeling was one of complete helplessness due to being at the hands of somebody who could implement national policy without thinking of something so simple.

If there is any possibility for hearing some reasoning behind this, I would be very grateful.

Submitted by Anonymous on

If we must block water at checkpoints, then please consider subsidizing/regulating water sales in the "sterile" area. Taking my $0.34 bottle of water and then allowing opportunistic vultures to charge me $3-$4 to replace it on the other side? Not cool.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I never travel with a checked bag and ever since the new "liquid restrictions", I can no longer bring "liquid" gifts to friends and family.

Seriously, a bottle of wine, a nice bottle of beer and maple syrup are all pretty harmless liquids to me.

This has been very irritating for me.

Submitted by Aedil on

The liquids restriction (almost a ban) is really a problem for us because our son requires 'whole milk' (both with a supplement and without) as drink due his disabilities. This is on doctor's request, due to nutritional concerns,and due to the fact that he will refuse anything else (mental disabilities at play). Planes do not carry whole milk - all milk they provide is apparently 1% or 2%. The TSA website mentions something about liquids being allowed for medical needs but it doesn't say anything (that we can find) how you go about actually applying that exception. Does it need a doctor's note, or anything else? Does it need a sealed container or something else?

It's good to have the exception be covered in the rules, but it is useless unless you actually tell people how to make use of that exception when there is an actual need for it. Do you really expect us to drag half a gallon of milk with us to the airport, only to find out at security that we don't have to proper paperwork, container, whatever to bring it on board?

We have not been able to get a straight answer out of any TSA worker about how to do it - the best we got was a statement that they honestly don't know what we could show to convince them to let it through - they stated they would refuse it, period). So we try to limit travel with our son to the very minimum, because the TSA liquid restriction and its total lack of explanation about proper exception procedures is causing my son to go without a drink for the duration between security checkpoint and finding a place at the destination to obtain whole milk. That is totally unreasonable, and is putting my son's health at risk. I thought that people with disabilities had rights in this country?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Lets just take whatever we want onto the planes, and while we are at it, lets just open up the screening lanes to whoever wants to come in, no screening needed. Yeah, thats what we should do....
Whew....boy, I sure hope nothing else happens because I can hear you guys now....'why did'nt our Government DO SOMETHING'.... lol

Submitted by Ryan Silva on

Why can't the TSA just use common sense sometimes instead of having to stick with the letter of the law? For example, I had only one container of fluid, and it was labeled less than 3oz. I had to throw it out because it wasn't in a bag. If the purpose of the bag is to consolidate and limit the liquids I'm carrying, why do I need a bag if I only have one liquid container? I wish the TSA would follow the intent of the law, not just the letter.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"We employ McGyver-like bomb experts. TSA Blogger"

Just stated the exact problem, McGyver is fiction. Liquid restrictions are too.

1 quart baggie full of 100ml containers = no risk!

Try again TSA.

Submitted by Anonymous on

How to test for liquid explosives:
1: Place unknown liquid in a small bomb holder with an electrode placed inside.
2: Run current through liquid.
3: Take the liquid away anyways because the threat is so huge (that's /sarcasm by the way). Honestly, the threat of terrorism is blown way out of proportion to the actual threat. Yes, I know, even one life lost is horrible; However, as a society we make decisions all the time on what is a good balance between safety and reasonable convenance, in this case It is a no brainer to let liquids on planes. The terrorists have been around for well over 20 years and there haven't been any liquids blowing up planes yet.

Submitted by Anonymous on

security for the sake of making people feel secure. nothing changes.

Submitted by Anonymous on

SNL had a great skit last season w/ Dane Cook posing as a TSA agent. Some good lines were "What if I don't have 3oz of liquid, but I'm confident I can make 3oz of liquid once on the plane?" and "So 4oz of liquid is enought to blow up a plane".

I wonder if anyone has tried the Diet Coke and Mentos thing on a plane? Those are perfectly legal to purchase after security.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Not happy about the toiletries in a plastic bag rule. It pretty much forces me to check luggage now when I travel, subjecting my bag to the oh-so-wonderfully-reliable baggage handling system that ALWAYS gets my bag to my destination with me, as promised. Yeah, right.

Submitted by James Babb on

Is the purpose of the TSA to bully travelers until they feel safe? We aren't buying it. How do you fascists sleep at night?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am amazed of the ignorance and hostility passengers have against TSA screeners in particular. It is clear to me that many of the passengers would rather jeopardize security than to give away their peony tube of tooth paste. To all those people who complain about the policies that are enforced by the very government you voted for I hope you don't end up in a precarious situation fifty thousand feet in the air with a crazy person holding a small hand made IED (and we all know what that means). I have personally seen what a small bottle (for instance the size of a perfume bottle) of high explosives can do and trust me it's not pretty. Yet no you insist to holding your little 2 dollar bottle of shampoo, and the only reasoning you can give to a TSA officer is "ohhh... I’m not a terrorist...because I don't fit the profile" which is the most dumb thing you can say. You might as well just don't say anything to save face and not give away how uninformed you are. Or another one "well LAX let me have it, why are you taking it way from me" as if a TSA officer will risk his job to give you the item just because you got away with it in LAX. People have to understand the enormous task TSA officers are supposed to deal with give the meager recourses they are provided with. The equipment is ancient at best, and most of the job is hands on. TSA literary risk live and limb on daily basis just to attempt to bring some level of security, and I’m not just talking about terrorist attack, there are all kind of sick people that spread disease and travel out there. TSA officers are the most hated and unappreciated people in the whole country. You have to understand that to them all passengers are the same and have to be treated the same. There is no "oohhh... I don't fit the profile..." or "I got away with it in NY Kennedy airport, so just let me have it now...“, just because you say so. There is no reason why this so called stranger should trust you just because you hold a US passport in your hand. There is no terrorist profile, anyone can become a terrorist so please next time when you go through an airport simply follow the rules that have been here for the past 2 years and take your zip lock bag with your liquids out and place in a bin just like I do every time and trust me you will have no trouble going through.

Submitted by Antonio on

For everyone complaining about rights and civil liberties: The action of confiscating liquids DOES NOT IMPUNE ON YOUR RIGHTS.
It is, however very annoying and I would hope the TSA would publish all the studies done on the dangers of liquids on planes.

Submitted by Laura on

If "these rules were developed after extensive research and understanding of current threats," then why was the liquids policy enacted within hours of the revelation of the August 10, 2006 transatlantic hijacking terror plot scare? If DHS was already aware of these threats, why hadn't they enacted a ban on significant amounts of liquids some time before that?

Quite frankly, I'm more inclined to believe that the 3-1-1 policy was arbitrarily created by a government official who needed to be seen as responding.

I appreciate that the TSA has a difficult job to do, but it's going to take more than an oversimplified video to convince most of the American public that the liquids policy is actually making us safer in the air. I'd much rather see my tax dollars spent on intelligence efforts to infiltrate terror cells, which, after all, is what stopped those 2006 plotters in the first place.

Submitted by Anonymous on

[quote]regarding the liquids that get taken away... why does all of that stuff have to be thrown out along with the trash? anyone thinking about the environment? the TSA should think about REUSING these items, ie - donate them to a local homeless shelter. Most of the time I see items that are thrown out are BRAND NEW.
or maybe yet, place them in RECYCLING instead of trash? there are so many different options that can be thought up of...[/quote]

We screeners hate throwing away items of value as well. But remember that the reason for the liquids rules is because there is a possibility that the liquid is an explosive. The TSA would be held liable if someone was sickened or injured from donated items out of the trash. Also remember that we aren't confiscating liquids, they are being surrendered so that the person can get through the checkpoint more quickly. We escort people out with prohibited items every day for them to either place in their checked bag, car, or give to someone not traveling.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The ban on liquids is not a well thought out plan "developed after extensive research" as you claim, it was a gut reaction to a foiled plot (terrorist plot foiled, country freaks out anyway!). I was in San Francisco when nothing happened and the country freaked out. The reaction was to ban liquids. After public outcry become too loud, some liquids were allowed. There is no real reason for this other than to spread fear. As someone mentioned, you take my bottle of water and then I get to pay 3 or 4 dollars to buy a new one. Used to be, you'd make me take a sip of it. That is reasonable. Confiscating hair gel and water bottles is not. As Bruce Schneier said, "If you ask amateurs to act as front-line security personnel, you shouldn't be surprised when you get amateur security."

Submitted by Anonymous on

To Stressed out Mom.
While I feel your pain with traveling with young children. I often get stuck behind a family. First off you said it yourself While we try to put back all our CRAP, and get out of the next passangers way. Why bring all the CRAP? I know that you are going to have some more essential stuff then most of us. We understand that, but do you have to bring everything as carry-on? as far as everything else, we all know it is stessfull so take all metal items out before you get to the x-ray, and put in your bags. Instead of being stressed out by TSA at the last min.

Submitted by Inonit on

All I can really say is that I was absolutely stunned by the video billed as "experts explaining a couple of TSA's most frequently asked questions" regarding liquids.

Why not just post a two word statement: "Trust us." The video is content-free. Perhaps something more could be shared with the rest of us, since according to your information terrorists already are experts on these topics. Or is it that there might be weaknesses in your argument, and so you don't want to be more specific?

Submitted by Jayman on

Please update your web site to correct the false information under the 3-1-1 heading. Your policy as stated on the web site is 3 oz. of liquid, however, there is a notice that it is 3 oz. or 100 ml. These two are not equal. Since the standard has been "normalized" with other nations and they all use the metric system, you need to correct the false information that state the limit as 3 oz., as the correct amount is 3.4 oz.

Please try to put out the correct information so that the screeners do not try and confiscate 3.25 oz. bottles that are technically allowed. Also please send out a training memo to all screeners with the corrected information. I would suggest that you require a signed copy of this memo to be returned to the supervisor at each airport to include with the persons training records and in their personnel file so that there is a record of each screener having received and read the policy. No more claims that they didn't know or that they were never told.

Also, please implement a policy of managers actually overseeing the employees. The huge numbers of reported thefts would go away if the managers were actually monitoring the activities of the employees. There is NO reason why a TSA employee should be opening luggage outside the view of the property owner or a TSA manager.

And make sure that every time a TSA employee has his hands on a customers possessions is recorded on video. Banks record the actions of all tellers, stores record the actions of tellers, but for some reason, TSA employees are allowed to rummage through peoples valuables and private articles with no oversight? Not acceptable. If reports of theft and damage do not come down, institute a policy of inventorying the contents of the employees pockets, etc. each time they enter and leave the work area. This is done in places where small, easily pilfered items are handled as well as where security data is stored.

These changes might help to restore trust in the TSA. But not soon. TSA has too much of a reputation for theft, vandalism and intimidation for most people to be comfortable trusting them with even the most very basic of tasks.

Submitted by Anonymous on

If these liquids are suspected explosives why are they thrown into a bin? Why is the area not evacuated? Why is a bomb squad not called?

Does the government really care? If they believe that there is a very real possibility that the liquids present a danger, why do they not act in a responsible fashion?

Submitted by Anonymous on

How about this for inanity?

I put a pair of shoes and a tube of hand creme in the gray tray. The tube was 1.5 oz. I was told that I couldn't go through security because the tube was not in a bag.

Mind you, this was the only liquid I had. I understand the idea behind the bag: so that no one brings 50 items of 3 oz or less.


The TSA people are starting to act like the DMV: seemingly nice people who enforce really stupid (and arbitrary) rules.

What the TSA is doing with this rule is inviting people to try to violate it. Because even when we are reasonably following these rules, someone in Philly, or LAX, or Orlando, or Minneapolis, decided to interpret the rules their way.

So I usually carry one or two liquid items. They aren't metal. They aren't very big.

And they stay in my pocket all the way through security.

And no, we don't trust you anymore. You say it's for security and you've "done tests" that proves this is the right way. Well, prove it. I'm sure Mythbusters would love to have you.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Unfortunately, TSA will not change policies. This blog is simply a venue for us to express our experiences -mostly bad ones.

So to join my fellow travelers, my two cents...

Just reading through your stories, I notice the one about water. TSA does not want us to carry water thru security; but they encourage purchasing the $3.00 personal bottle that is sold before boarding. Will that change? Never, because TSA needs to justify their manpower. The same manpower that is taken out of the airport operation on Sundays in many cities, because there is too many people on duty. This surplus manpower is taken to the service entrances of the airports, where they "check" airport employees and vendors who normally transit the area.

A 2nd and last thought is the "whiffer" machine that is located in many airports. The other day I was "whiffed" a couple of times, and the machine "flunked" me. This prompted the visit and physical check by a couple of inspectors. That didn't bother me, perhaps it's the scent of Tide I used on my clothing. What did concern me is that they actually write down all your information from your Driver's License. For what purpose? The gentleman did not care to say. Truly, the TSA is not a transparent agency.

Who knows where this information got transferred to. I was even afraid to ask a second time where the info went. They may brand me and forget it, that's a whole different blog.

To close this, I share that as difficult as it is to travel with the TSA watching nowadays, we must remain calm, make no eye contact and try not to speak to make the process as fast as possible... And don't forget, don't bring anything with you.