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Wow! What a Response (Commenting Disabled)

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wow! The number of comments on our blog has been amazing. Many of the posts during the last 24 hours are exactly the types of questions we hope to answer and the conversations we hope to begin with the traveling public. Some have been downright mean and cranky but that’s okay too. For most people, this is the first chance to reach out directly to TSA and tell us about your experiences and we very much want to hear from you.

Frankly we’ve been overwhelmed with the number of response we’ve received, more than 700 comments at last count, and comments are still pouring in. Several of you have suggested a format change to go from a laundry list of: shoes, cranky officers, idiotic rules, you guys sure try hard…, stream of consciousness diatribes to a more logical way of collecting and hopefully shedding light on many of the things that passengers want to know.

Well we’ve heard the comments and we’re making the move. Later this afternoon you will find several common questions or topic areas that have been raised and are on the front of all our minds like shoes, ID requirements, liquids an others. This list will evolve as this blog does and we’ll be posting answers, thoughts and comments on each of these topics on these pages.

Because of the software we’re using to run this blog, it’s up to you to post your comment on the right page, in the correct topic. Today we don’t have any way to move posts from one place to another so we’re relying on you to post in the right place. If it’s not posted under the right topic we will not be able to move the post. Because we have more than 700 comments on the Welcome post, we are closing the comment feature there. Even though that post is not longer accepting comments, we still welcome your feedback and thoughts here.

In the spirit of transparency, we plan to note how many comments we've rejected and tell you why. Mostly the rejected comments include profane language, political rants or abusive posts that we just can't print, and some are completely off topic. Other than these, every post will go up as written and we will continue to operate this way.

Thanks again for the great range of insightful, sad, humorous, outrageous comments. Keep them coming and we’ll do our best to try to keep up.

Evolution Blog Team

electronics in flight said...
electronics in flight said...can someone please explain to me all the fuss about having all of your electronics OFF before we leave the gate?

A good question. Actually it was found that cell phone signals, specifically those in the 800-900 MHz range, did interfere with unshielded cockpit instrumentation. Because older aircraft with unshielded wiring can be affected, because of the possible problems that may arise by having many airborne cell phones "seeing" multiple cell phone towers, and because of all the electronic systems in a modern airplane that would have to undergo lengthy and expensive certification, the FCC (via enforcement through the FAA) still deems it best to stay on the safe side and prohibit the use of cell phones while airborne. It should be noted, though, that such a prohibition is being lifted in Europe.And while I'd like to take credit for that rant...all credit goes to The Mythbusters (with a little help from Wikipedia ).


How about Booties?
In response to anonymous who would like booties for their feet…
I understand your concern on the hygiene issue. While part of TSA’s mission is to promote great customer service the reality is that customer service in aviation is a partnership between the airport authority, the TSA, and the airlines. While I speak only for my airports most of them do in fact provide some type of ‘booty’ to passengers as a customer service enhancement. Those who don’t provide footwear ensure the cleaning crew cleans those floors regularly.
My recommendation is to start with your airport and explain your concern to them…the same could be said about having plastic baggies at the checkpoint for folks who forget to bring them to the airport. The airports also care about customer service and sometimes a gentle reminder goes a long way…




Submitted by Anonymous on

Although you didn't post my original comment, it's good to see you're reacting so quickly to the realities of running a blog. Maybe there is hope!

Original post:

Frequent Flyer here... My concern is a lack of priorities with the TSA. Anyone who is a "known shipper" (which I am) has filled out extensive info forms on who we are. This allows some controls over what is going inside the belly of my aircraft. Since the President solved the problem of cockpit door strength, an airplane will never be used again as a weapon against us. That means, the only option left is to "blow up the plane." If we're all comfortable with "known shippers" having packages accepted, why are we wasting so much time, effort and money checking every last passenger? There should be a "known persons" list as well ...for those of us that aren't terrorists! I'd feel a LOT better knowing the majority of my fellow passengers have had more than a cursory, 1 minute review typical of sizing up passengers in a TSA security line. If a "known persons" list isn't good enough for people, you had better stop the use of a known shipper for packages, don't you think?

Submitted by Brody on

I don't understand how ID checks do not provide security.

Maybe the TSA should stop spending money on wasteful things like shoe x-rays and SPOT and should invest in explosives detection equipment.

The fascination with shoes and liquids is causing screeners to fail tests right and left.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why don't TSA staff at the Memphis airport know TSA policies regarding infant formula? Traveling with my 10 month old twins, TSA staffer tried to confiscate the water I had to make bottles, told me I could buy water inside. All that water is cold and my kids don't take cold bottles. TSA official policy on web site is "reasonable amounts" - one of water bottle per child seems reasonable to me given the extensive wait times associated with air travel. She acted like she was doing me a favor by letting me have one bottle only after another PASSENGER concurred with my recitation of the official TSA role. Additional note - traveled through washington's DCA with the same babies and the same amount of water the same week - no problem. AND the DCA staff were very helpful in getting the babies back in the stroller and diaper bags repacked after inspection. Memphis couldn't be bothered and they were no where nearly as busy.

Submitted by Anonymous on

(I don't see different "sections" for posting yet so here it is)

I just want to report a potential security risk. On a flight last year, my mom was able to get on the wrong plane! She only discovered it when another passenger said she was in her seat. A flight attendant then looked at my mom's boarding stub and realized my mom's mistake.

But don't they scan the boarding passes to prevent people from boarding who don't belong there? And to keep track of who got on and who didn't? If my mom was a terrorist, then she could've left a bag or something on the plane before being removed!

It's things like this that make we wonder how secure we really are when flying.

AND I don't mind going through security at all. Arrive early to the airport. Everyone knows that. Don't decrease security measures because of complainers. Just improve it.

Submitted by Chris on

The reason that everyone was posting to the Welcome topic is because your software is not 'user friendly' at all and is kind of annoying to navigate.

Submitted by Ed B on

It is unbeliveabl that TSA cannot [or will not] provided handicapped people with a card or such that says that I have an artificial hip. My wife also has one!!

Needless to say we are taken aside, wanded, frisked, and subjected to an inordinate amount of wait time. we are both close to 70 years old.

When we go into the 'pen' we are separated from our possessions, camers, jewerly etc. that have just gone thru the X-ray machine. we are not allowed to fetch these to keep them close. This separation has caused use to be robbed on two occassions, and TSA will do nothing about it. They claim that they are not responsible for our possissions. I have now lost over % 5,000.00 worth of cameras, CD players, and jewerly.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why do airline pilots have to go through security? We have ID and at some point you have to trust us for what we are. Is our ID not good enough? FFDO's have an ID. Why not get that kind of ID for all pilots?

Submitted by Anonymous on

My concern lies between the front doors of the airport and the ticket counters. I have waited in snaked lines of as many as 300 people, all with unscreened luggage, waiting to check in for flights at busy airport times. What's to prevent a terrorist from getting into line to "check in", only to blow themselves up as they wait with everyone else to "check in" for a flight?

I know, nothing. Why isn't this "loophole" talked about more and dealt with in some fashion?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why do I have to take off my shoes, and not my underwear?

Could a potential terrorist not hide more explosives under their boxers, than in their sneakers?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Topic is "Body Piercings"
On four occassions now I have been outright threatened by TSA agents with "you are not going to fly if you don't take them out". The number of people with these items must be staggering and the fact that so many are not easily removed should be evident. What is really baffling is on two occassions after wanding and then a physical look to verify that indeed that is what I did have I was made to remove them and once placed in my pocket allowed to board. Does that make any sense to anyone. I am currently in the process of writing a book and have one chapter titled "My terrorist nipples and the TSA"

Submitted by Chris on

Also, the "approval" process adds a significant time delay and smacks of just plain old censorship. Do you want the unvarnished assessment wtih thorns and all, or do you want the TSA-typical sanitized version? You know, a blog is nice, but when it is designed to filter for a softened version of people's irritation and pain, what use is it? I like the idea of the blog, I HATE the idea of "approval" and "removing the destructive" (What does that mean anyway?)and censorship. One of the ideals that the TSA is intended to help protect is our constitutional rights, yes? First amendment included? Or is that not the purpose of the TSA? Sure the "owner" of a blog is entitled to control who accesses it and what he or she posts. Aren't the tax payers the owners of this blog, ultimately? That being the case, you have no right to censor or display only "approved" content. And, please, lose the 'TSA Poster Children' in the Meet Our Bloggers topic. Gag! These people are NOT the typical representation of TSA employees. And, please, don't even attempt to buffalo me, I've been there. Two years all over the country as a Lead in the MSF ran me by damn few MIT graduates. Give me a break.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I have some general comments as to TSA I feel generally safer travelling since TSA. But do the TSA people really need to be just plain rude? I'm sure that some people don't treat them the best but my gosh I flew 28 times last year and I don't remember one time that some was even just a little nice. And to those of us that flying remember these people have a job to do and that is all they are doing. But I don't think the screening process really works. I smoke and I know you are not allowed to have lighters so I always try and pack matches but I can't tell you how many times I have gone through security and been waiting for my plane and digging in my purse and one time I had 5 lighters in the bottom. So my question is if I could get through with that what are others getting trough with?

Submitted by Anonymous on
TSA "random" searches are not actually random. Screeners pick passengers out of line who they feel should receive additional attention based on any criteria the screener feels appropriate. This is not actually random. This policy creates at least three problems:

(1) Bad security - while TSA screeners sometimes pick innocuous people to ensure broad searches, they seldom pick the non-descript. So while, the innocent, grey-haired old lady might get picked because she stands out; the guy who looks like everyone else probably won't. Conversely TSA screeners may be reluctant to pick passengers who meet risk profiles (such as obviously observant Muslims) even in a random search for fear they are engaging in discrimination. For a random search to be an effective security measure, it must actually be random.

(2) Violations of Constitutional rights and federal statute - The TSA's use of screener discretion for "random" searches invites discrimination. A TSA screener who selects every obvious Muslim, every grey haired grandmother, or even every rich-looking white guy has broken the law. Moreover, if they detain a passenger on some other arbitrary, non-random basis such as the passenger talked back, or the screener just feels like stopping him, then the screener has made an illegal search and seizure. Sure you are subject to search if you board a plane, but the law always protects against discrimination and arbitrary government action.

(3) Poor monitoring - If TSA searches are not actually random, than the TSA can never know whether security at a facilty has improved from policy changes or technology, or if its just a random fluctuation. e.g. Did Airport X find more dummy bombs because of a policy or technology change that improved screening, or because the dumb screener who always picked attractive blonde women to search left the job. The statistical quality of TSA monitoring data would improve dramatically if it was based on actual random searches.

SOLUTION: Use random number generators (a $5 circuit) to select every Nth passenger. This will increase security and ensure passengers' legal rights are respected.

Why hasn't the TSA done this already? Because it wants to be able to peform illegal searches based on racial, religious, and political profiles. Eventually bad security or liability from this nearsightedness will come back to bite the agency.
Submitted by Mr Paul on

Ok here is my story. I am in Las Vegas going back home to St. Louis.
As usual there is about 1/2 hour line to go through security. I wait my turn obviously. The man in front of me still has his boots, jewelry, gold belt buckle watch everything still on and he is at the metal detector. Walks through ding ding ding. He makes his allowed second pass and goes through. I am next to go. I look at the TSA agent for his signal to go through. Instead of waving me through he asks if I have anything on the scanner belt. I said no. He asked again same question my wife says tell him your shoes. I say my shoes. At this point it gets ugly. He yells at me I DON'T KNOW WHO HAS WHAT ON THE BELT. I said I have answered your question twice what answer are you looking for? At this time he takes a step towards me and I felt he was going to hit me. So I moved closer to him to lessen the force of the blow. Again he starts yelling about he does not know who's belongings are on the conveyor belt. I told him again(yelling at him as loud as he was yelling at me I HAVE TOLD YOU! The next thing he yells supervisor and everyone is yelling at me to get in the plastic cube. I told them no I did not do anything wrong. The yelling at me got louder so I moved into the cube. Where they decide to teach me a lesson for not having anything on the belt. I get wanded put my arms down they yell put my hands back up and they wand me again and again and again. I have no metal on me whatsoever. So I get a stern lecture about what I DID WRONG??!! So this point I went to the supervisor and asked him explain to me why after giving the TSA the correct answer why did he go off on me. Of course he can't say because we have a little man in a big job syndrome. But that is what is was. I have always wanted thank you TSA people for the professional attitude you had towards me and the correct answer.

Submitted by Anonymous on




Submitted by EverWatching on

Actually, I'd call them jeremiads rather than diatribes.
But they'll keep coming, based off of public ignorance and bureaucratic inefficiency. I wonder.. are the moderators sharing offices with the number wizards that say that each lane requires only 4.5 people, a full person (and fractional person) less than the GAO originally recommended. Or the ones who help ensure that the workforce will be perpetually underprepared for increasing demands upon them. You can't fight the impact of incredible attrition by training less thoroughly. A "performance" system can't work when you can't keep enough people to fire the incompetant ones either.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Can you make space in the topic areas to discuss the TSA policy on breastmilk? Thanks!

Submitted by Anonymous on

I would like to say as a frequent flier that in most parts of the country the TSA is very professional but in LGA more specify the Delta terminal where I leave from at LGA the TSA is really pretty bad there ctx resembles a club with rap music blaring from the doors the screeners in some cases are wearing ipod’s and dancing when doing there job on the line. They all dress as if they are in the park it really is a disgrace to a government agency and something should really hold them and there management accountable. I just can’t believe this is who is keeping me safe.

Submitted by BenThere on

Speaking specifically of Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta, Georgia:

Why not stagger the shift changes of the TSA agents to avoid so many empty security stations at one time? The agents tell us they have shift change together and receive "updates" during this shift change period. Perhaps staggered shifts and paper updates (even have the agent sign in receipt of the update) would be more efficient use of personnel.

Submitted by TT on

I'd tolerate a background check. I would happily let authorites see that I have no criminal record, no negative DMV record, perfect credit, no a.k.a.s except my maiden name, etc. But the current security checks? Sorry, but they don't make me feel any safer at all. They're just hassle and wasted time. [You might not want to post the rest of this: I get lots of stuff through security, all the time. I never listen to your rules about liquids or weapons. Coming home from vacation, I got a knife through (a souvenir for my son) and routinely I sneak through water and lotions. I'd be happy to provide more information if that would help. (I'm not looking for money or a job, I'd provide the information free and confidentially). I care about people's safety and about my country. I just know for a fact that the current system doesn't make us safer. I work as a criminal law attorney, and I know that most criminal don't pose a real threat to mainstream society. But that small percentage who do are definitely crafty enough to get themselves and dangerous things through your security checks, especially since I can.]

Submitted by Anonymous on

I work for preboard screening at an airport in Canda and I think this blog is a great idea. From my experience a lot of times you get complaints/comments from passengers, but when you pass them off to your supervisor nothing seems to be done. I think because I work in the industry I'm able to relate to delays without being too upset.

I do have a problem with the liquid rule. I understand why it's in place, and I know that having people put their liquids in a bag certainly speeds up the screening process. But at some airports if I've forotten to put a liquid in the bag (I know I should be the last person to forget) they'll check it to make sure it's ok. That's fine, but then thery waste time by puting it in a plastic bag. Wouldn't it be simpler to look at the bottle see it says it's only 2oz and go "that's under the limit and it's not a dangerous good, so it's ok to go."

I also don't think that a terrorist list should be used to bypass certain people from being screend. The travelling public often fails to realize that many terrorist incidents involved people who were unknowingly accomplishes. I remember one stories about a guy who'd put an ied in his pregnant wife's diaper bag and she did't know it was there. If people are just allowed to pass through because they aren't a criminal or suspected terrorist, then such a tragic incident could occur. Also I thinkit's important that all air mail and parcels be screened, they could contain letter bombs. I don't know if that's something you do already or not, but it should be done.

Another problem that happens in the airport I work in is mis commmunication. Often the airlines or stores are told one thing about security when thet rules in reality are different. We'll get people flying through with a prohibited item who say the airline told them they'd be able to take it through security. Maybe the passenger is lying or maybe they were misinformed. But all the airlines should be provided with up to date lists of items that can't go in carry on and checked baggage. That way when someone checks in with a knife and asks if it's ok, the airline can tell them it should be placed in their checked baggage.

Because Transport Security Authority works along side with other preboard screening services, I hope you can encourage other countries to start up similar blogs. I have a feeling that the complaints passengers have are similar around the world.

Submitted by Another Unsatis... on

No offense to the mods, but in my experience, the level of security provided by the TSA is a bad joke. The TSA is a theatre group, and I feel bad for its employees, who are constantly asked to seize nail-clippers, bottles of after-shave, and breast-milk with straight faces. I can easily see why so many of them seem on edge...I would too, if I knew my job was a sham.

At the same time that I am being asked to remove my sandals(!), hundreds of airport employees are driving up to store entrances outside and just wandering in with pallets of un-checked boxes. TSA "secret Shoppers" are walking straight through the security lines carrying all sorts of concealed weapons. And the richer people can pay extra money to be excluded from the charade. Believe me, I don't feel safe, just annoyed.

So please don't feel that the TSA is just misunderstood. It's poorly run. And it was never meant to be anything except another case of "Closing the gate after the cows have escaped."

Submitted by Anonymous on

First, as a frequent flier, I have to say that I've only experienced annoying issues with TSA less than 10% of the time. What I have noticed, however, is that the rules change from airport to airport... it would be fantastic to have across-the-board standardization. I believe that if people had ONE set of rules to remember, they would come more prepared and the lines would be faster. The ONLY gripe I have with TSA (and it's a big one) occured in the Orange County airport as I was traveling with my 5-yr-old. Her ticket was tagged for additional search, and when I questioned the necessity of "frisking" a 5-yr-old, I was told that I could allow the search or be arrested, my choice. Shocked, I relented and allowed my daughter to be searched, which terrified her and caused her to cry. At the end of the search, the TSA agent said "Next time, you can ask to speak to a supervisor and bypass this." Oh really? Wasn't my comment enough to indicate that I wanted to bypass it? Because I didn't specifically use the code word of "supervisor", you didn't understand that I didn't want my child frisked? Give me a break. I was livid, and spent the next hour consoling my terrified child. I think TSA should, when becoming aware that a minor child has been randomly tagged, offer the parents the option of bypassing the physical search. Look through my bags and my daughter's backpack if you want, but I have a SERIOUS issue with a stranger putting their hands on my daughter despite my protest. We teach our kids about stranger danger and then have to say "Well, it's ok for THIS stranger to touch your body." Not cool, and this situation needs to be addressed.

Submitted by Josh Jones on

This blog is an exciting development... not only for opening a public dialogue with travelers but for organizations who are leary of using blogs to communicate their message due to the potential for negative feedback and the need to apply precious resources to make the blog successful. Looking forward to how the blog develops!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Many problems of TSA checkpoints come down to two issues. 1. They are understaffed for the number of people they need to process. You need to fix that. It pisses off everyone, employees and travelers alike. 2. You've given great power and authoority to employees (with the exception of a small percentage) who have neither personal knowledge or training on how to handle unpleasant situations, and to use intelligent discretion. (Small children on no-fly list, an engineer with something 'computery-dangerous-looking' in his/her luggage, and the all important "You seemed upset about something, so we're detaining you!")
Many of these people have never been in a position of authority, and immediately feel the need to forego written policy that is matched with common sense, and hold this power over the heads of passengers, threatening detention, arrest, and worse. All this over complaints, mishandling expensive technology that cannot safely go in checked luggage (it would be stolen!) and then being offended that the passenger becomes royally pissed when it gets broken.
Choose your people more wisely, do background checks and personality profiles on them. And for crying out loud, train them! Show them what bombs do look like, heck, teach them what goes into making bombs. They'll never again confuse an external hard drive or an art project for a bomb!
And one last thing... while on the subject of bombs: The liquid bomb threat was debunked! Scientifically! Couldn't be done that way! Really. I bet you could read about the studies in journals and on teh internets. Bah.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Don't decrease security policies because of complainers, but improve the processes. Maybe a streamlined process for frequent flyer business travelers who can register AT NO COST, so as not to be held-back due to family travel and those who don't know the drill.

Submitted by Anonymous on

This is a CNN video of TSA learning on the job. A marshall "sneeks" a fake bomb past screening to find vulerabilites of the system and to enhance on the job training in Tampa airpot.

Submitted by Anonymous on

As much money that has been spent on TSA, it seems like someone could do analyze and improve the 'terminal side' of the screening process.

A person gets to the screening area, removes their belt, shoes, jacket, laptop, liquids, etc... and then walks through the metal detector/puffer.

When this is complete, all of their stuff has piled up on the 'terminal side' of the x-ray machine and has to be handled again. This appears to be the bottleneck in the process.

I think the public has learned to be better prepared on the outside of the screen which speeds that part of the process up. Now if the 'terminal side' of the process could be improved, it would be greatly appreciated by those of us that are forced to travel frequently.


Submitted by Anonymous on

I'm a frequent flyer for business (twice a week). I fly out of Atlanta and am confused as to the (apparently) different rules for employees versus travelers. Travelers are required to remove their footwear before going through the x-ray while airport/airline/TSA employees walk right on through. It's pretty ridiculous considering the incredibly casual ID check those people go through. The checkers examine my ID up and down while anyone with a uniform on can walk right through with barely a glance. Not good.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Hi -- I am a frequent traveler, and I always have a laptop with me. I generally don't mind / have problems with screening (I know in advance how to go through with my laptop out, etc.), but there have been a few times, specifically in Chicago O'Hare, that screeners don't seem to understand that laptops are fragile. On more than one occasion, the screeners have picked up the laptop after it goes through the scan and handle it quite rough. One time a screener was even about to toss it to the end of the belt before I quickly snatched it out of her hand!! It is a work-issued laptop, and I cringe at what would happened had she carelessly tossed my laptop. Now I know the job is rough, and passangers are cranky which is why I always try to be kind / patient / polite to the screeners, but I do believe we are entitled to a little professionalism and at the very least, not having personal effects damaged in the process.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Is there any chance your heroic TSA employees will stop stealing valuables from airline passengers? I thought not and would like to suggest that you advise passengers not to bring cash or loose jewelry through "security checkpoints". I'm sure this won't be approved for posting but the suggestion is serious. I've known several people who've been robbed this way. Among them my mother and a friends grandmother (way to pick on old ladies).

Submitted by JohnnyBGood on

Here is a perspective from a regular traveller to the USA from Europe. Travelling to the US these days for business is very much like travelling to the Soviet Union during the cold war. We have no indication of what is required of us, beyond every single piece of personal information except perhaps our raw DNA. We are treated like animals, and yet there seems to beno clear link between our treatment and actual security.

To be honest, if I could avoid travelling to the US, I would gladly do so. This is very sad, since I like the place and the people very much indeed.

Your perhaps do not realise that outside the US, people do not generally share your perspective on what you call the GWOT. US actions overseas are clearly a driver of terrorism, and yet it is us Europeans who are treated with suspicion.

I sincerely hope the time will come again when we can enjoy visiting the USA, and not be offended and scared by rather over-zealous, aggressive TSA staff .

Submitted by Anonymous on

I recently flew over the holidays and had a nice, leather purse stolen from bag... it had been sitting right where the "Searched by TSA" piece of paper was now resting. It's completely outrageous! As if airline passengers aren't going to notice! The worst part is that there's no proof I had it in there so no one is held accountable. I went to replace the bag and the store manager said I was one of 4 people that weekend that said the exact same thing had happened to them. When is TSA going to be held accountable for their illegal actions??

Submitted by Anonymous on

---Lack of consistency
This is my number one complaint. If I knew that all the TSA screeners had the same expectations of me, I would be so much more relaxed going through security. Unfortunately that's not the case. Some require all shoes off, some don't. Some want everthing in a bin, some don't. Etc., etc. Minor things, but multiplied by the thousands/millions of travelers every day/month/year and you've got a whole lot of confused and frustrated people on both sides of the fence.

--Ridiculous ban on small liquids
3oz is ok, but 4 is not? If I wanted to get 12 gallons of liquid in, it would take me, a couple friends (or accomplices) and a few hours. Nothing is secured, nothing is protected by this ban.

Seems like most of what the TSA does in the past few years is only to make old people and soccer moms feel better.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I think you should open the comments back up for the other thread. Those were hilarious.

When I fly I always get randomly selected too. I've yet to not get selected. What is that all about? I must be extremely unlucky.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The TSA has done a wonderful job of protecting people from such deadly weapons as shampoo and toothpaste, especially as wielded by terrorist five-year-olds.

This security has only cost billions of dollars of taxpayer money, hours added to boarding time, harassment of people and, in general, the blatent destruction of civil liberties.

I refuse to believe you people are all inept. When virtually the entire scientific community says that the liquid-bomb threat is a joke (as they have), get rid of the ban. Fix the no-fly list. Fire people who invent rules, threaten or otherwise harass travelers.

You know - start acting as though you were responsible to the people who's interests you are supposed to be protecting.

Until you do, you're just going to keep getting hate and abuse and nobody will ever take you seriously. Because honestly, if I was a TSA employee, I would be too embarrassed to admit to anyone.

Submitted by Scott on

Why is it that when I check luggage, some airports (e.g. LAX as opposed to BWI) require me, after receiving my luggage tags to stand in a separate line to hand my bags to a TSA person for secuirty. It seems totally inefficent both in terms of space and time to have the separate lines.

Submitted by Steve on

I am still trying to get off your "list" so I can use
the automated kiosk's during check-in.
I done all the paperwork and received a reply
that said this might or might not work.

What else can I do...

Submitted by Wintermute on

OK. So the TSA is going to actively censoring their blog comments? I'm sorry, but free speech should remain free, *especially* if it offends. Otherwise, we might as be living in Soviet Russia.

For anonymous (comment # 2), we're complaining about the lack of security but the abundance of security theater. Nothing the TSA has done has actually increased security. Your mother's boarding of the wrong plane proves that.

Submitted by Freeze_Dried_Br... on

Can you please let Ziploc or someone else sponsor your check points - and in the process give out ziploc baggies!

In San Diego the officers were giving people that forgot their chapstick was in their purse a correct sized bag, in Pittsburgh they were not.

If Ziploc gets to put their signs around and put a message on the baggies you hand out to passengers it would 1. be good for their brand, 2. allow you to provide a little convenience for a passenger that didn't realize lip stick counted as a liquid at one airport but not another. and 3. If Ziploc isn't interested you can use the message spot on baggies to put messages for other brands opening this up to what could be a significant revenue source then you could hire more screeners and shorten those lines!!!!

Submitted by Clothahump on

My comment is brief: the only thing the TSA accomplishes is the annoyment and harassment of the paying passengers. Nothing that you do makes the passengers any safer.

Submitted by Mike on

Frequent Flyer here...I often have to travel for work with lots of camera and computer equipment as carry ons. I don't mind TSA agents inspecting these, not in the least. But I'd prefer that after they've had their look, they would allow me to repack them, as I've had some agents simply toss very expensive lens, camera bodies, and computer hard drives into my bags without care. I'd be glad to step aside from the line to repack...perhaps they could simply empty my bags, inspect each item, and then ask if I'd like to repack them myself. The equipment I travel with is just too expense to have treated this way. Thanks - for the job you're doing, and for establishing this blog.

Submitted by EverWatching on

One more thing (since there are no sections yet)
I'm getting annoyed at DHS/TSA over its division of labor. Far too often, I'm there while a passenger is having his ticket checked, saying "no English" to everything, until "no visa" comes up.. then the screener pulls the magic red marker on them and they're on their way. I thought they were "Federal officers." With the big deal made about the change to "TSO's" from "screeners" you'd think it could mean something. How about their oaths? Shouldn't illegal immigration be reported? Why isn't ICE nearby? If all that is needed is a penstroke by the undersecretary to make any TSA employee law enforcement, with the power to enforce federal laws (as per ATSA) why not at least arrange to have a greeting party on the other end (especially if the arrival point is CONUS). They'd already be at an airport, why not force a transfer onto the next flight out?
(Yes, I understand the legal problems.. but the point is clear)

Submitted by J on

I hope that by seeing the sheer number of negative comments, people working for the TSA take it to heart.

1. If the screeners are so important, hire more capable and educated personnel. Test them to make sure they know at least 80% of the policies of the TSA. Reward and encourage TSA screeners to use common sense.

2. Work with airlines to give the policies and regulations a higher visibility to passengers. Instead of making it fine print, include a checklist of the most important and common policies for the passenger when he or she picks up the ticket from the ticketing counter or in the email for e-tickets. Keep the checklist simple and have it make sense. Make sure all TSA screeners have access to th same checklist at the security screenings.

3. Make it easier to lodge a complaint against abuse and failure to follow policy. Most passengers expect the TSA screener to be rude and apathetic, but when a TSA threatens or bullies a passenger, or is in violation of TSA policy, such complaints should be taken seriously.

4. Make it possible to compliment an effective and professional TSA screener. Provide survey cards for passengers at the gate or on the plane for passengers who request them. Recognize outstanding employees.

5. Give people with special considerations (infants, elderly, the disabled) a special line that they can use. Have screeners who can anticipate the needs and special circumstances and adapt the one-size-fits-all examination to give these people the dignity and respect they deserve. (For example, disrobing an elderly woman in public or patting down an infant while the mother is commanded to hold the child at arms' length seems to be the opposite of dignity, respect, or common sense.

5. Listen to the American people who want reform on some of the TSA policies. We pay your salaries. You work for us. The goodwill and appreciation most passengers initially extended to the TSA has been eroded by mismanagement, incompetent staff, and nonsensical and inconsistently applied policies. Nobody wants another disaster. We all want to feel safer, and we want people out there looking out for us. But the current people and policies of the TSA don't seem to be working.

This blog could be a step in the right direction. Don't dismiss the legitimate anger and frustration and puzzlement of passengers. Reform TSA policies now.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I have a real problem with something that seems to be a common place habit with TSA employees.Recently all over the television was a story about a womwn who was dressed to look like a homeless woman at LAX.She went up to first TSA employee spoke to them then that employee left their post along with many other TSA employees to help this woman to skip past an huge line ,which people had been waiting a great deal of time in,and go right thru Security.On the TV there had to have been 6-9 tsa employees.This woman was Nicholette Sheridan,Actress on Desprate Housewives.By the way I have contacted Touchstone Studios,Since I am a considerable Stock holder in the Disney Co. and technically she works for ME.But It`s extremely wrong for people like her and other actors and actresses to have special treatment.They should be told if they don`t want to wait in line then they can rent a PRIVATE PLANE or JET.Everyone should be equal.My money is just as GREEN as hers.And hers comes from mine.And lets not forget all those TSA employees that left their posts to go see and be near this woman.Can you imagine what could happen?I can only think the worst.Your employees are wrong to allow this and errors were greatly made.But this act of "the special people "getting special treatment MUST STOP.Thats what Private planes and jets are for.Please address this with the employees of LAX so I and everyone who has to fly in and out of there can feel safe and be treated EQUALLY!!!!!!!Juli

Submitted by Anonymous on

Now that you all have released the steam you had inside you, I think it is time to post useful questions that this site was intended for.
First, I think you guys are doing a great job so keep up the good work.
Second, I usually travel on vacation every now and then and I carry with me my Laptop, Video Camera, cell phone, and a bunch of other gadgets. I recently heard that passengers will be allowed a limited amount of lithium batteries on flights. Most if not all of my gadgets run on lithium batteries and I don’t think I will travel without them. Can you please elaborate on this issue?
Will a traveler with a bunch of gadgets exceed the allowed lithium batteries? If so, what can we do? Thank you!

Submitted by Bloggulator on

International terrorism is, fortunately, an exceptionally rare occurrence (in the West): the probability of witnessing, or being killed/injured in an attack of such nature is far less than being struck by lightning, for example.

I have no absolutely no problem, of course, with the presence of an efficient screening system to catch the "common or garden" type of terrorist/criminal who might try something on. The really bothersome part however, is knowing that TSA, (or other agencies) have little power to prevent attacks, by "privileged" terrorists who can evade security systems because they are (a) part of that system, (b) have no accountability to that system, or in some cases, can redirect security efforts so the targets of a prearranged attack are vulnerable.

That is the unpalatable truth: total security is impossible, because certain aspects of human nature (corruption and the exercise of power), prevents it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I think TSA does a great job. I recommend 2 things:

1) Always have a place for people to sit down and put their shoes back on after they go through security.

2) In Portland, cars are always sitting unattended outside baggage claim. Sit a tow truck there and have them instantly tow away any empty car.

Submitted by Jim on

Hey There,
I'm a frequent flyer.

Could you explain in your blog the high degree of variability in the interpretation of security?

For example, in Burlington, VT, I was told that it is a law under the Patriot Act that the transparent baggie had to go in a round bin, and could not go in a rectangle one.
I read about another traveller at LAX that was told by TSA that the patriot act made it illegal to wear sunglasses in an airport.
Where do you guys get this stuff?

Submitted by Anonymous on

CPAP - I really resent having to remove my CPAP machine from my carry on. This means that I can't pack other items around it in order to protect it. I also also consider this tas a personal item and don't like to expose it to fellow travelers who might then ask obtrusive questions.

Liquids - It's already been stated in several places that the liquids restrictions are a joke. I'm restricted in what I can carry on by the 3-1-1 policy, but over-the-counter medications are permissable and do not have to be in the baggie. Is saline solution in volumes greater than 3 oz. permissable? If not, how is this saline solution different from saline solution used to augment the body? I have boarded a flight in Syracuse with my contact lens solution, only to have it confiscated in Louisvlle when returning to Syracuse. Lastly, the US is one of the last countries in the world to use Imperial measures. Could you please provide the metric equivalents for us visitors to the US? I found one mention of metric measurement on your web site and it says that 100 ml of liquids etc are permissible, yet 100 ml is equal to 3.38 oz. and not 3.0 oz. Also, if I have liquids and gels that are not labeled with Imperial measurements will your screeners let them through? Since they don't consider un-dated (or expired) id's to be valid, I'm skeptical that they will understand that 100 ml is permissible.