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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 ).

Jay


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…

Jay

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Comments

Submitted by Webdivision on

This is a topic of great interest to me. You can get through the screening with stuff in your pocket. I hate flying anymore because of the security theater which is totally illogical and stupid. Our government thinks all of us are stupid--yes many are and believe all the nonsense but many of us are more logical.

Here is the solution. If the problem is baggage and stuff, why not fly all of the baggage on a separate plane and pay the pilots great hazard pay. It's unlikely the terrorists will be interested in blowing up a bunch of luggage. Let passengers get on the plane with nothing at all. This has been my idea since right after 911. At the very least don't frisk little old ladies who can barely stand on their own.

The separate place idea could solve most of the problem--so why not do it?

Submitted by Lance on

When can we get a National Travel ID card that can be used to verify that we are law abiding citizens who will not harm anyone. This should be able to be done by a background check like the FBI does. This ID card would allow us to go to a different line at the airport for a quick usher through using a metal detector only.

Submitted by Anonymous on

My request is for you to publish statistical data of how many people go through the TSA, and how many of those people were found to be terrorists and/or dangerous, and how many were detained and/or arrested?

Everything else is a moot point about how the TSA operates if there's no benchmark to compare the TSA to, no statistical data published about how many terrorists have been caught, detained, or prevented from boarding flights.

TSA screenings and rules are excessive and ridiculous. Not to mention, they don't work. Case in point, I just got back from a round trip flight and noticed while on the plane I had 2 lighters in my bag -- not on purpose, that the TSA security missed from both directions.

Please publish the above requested information, so we, not just you, know how 'efficient' you have been at your job, so we can all feel like there IS a place for the TSA, and that we are not just being harassed.

Submitted by Anonymous on

4:48 anonymous:

I have to agree wholeheartedly. Do you know how much more damage I could do to someone with an ink pen vs. your mini army knife?

Submitted by Anonymous on

A while back when TSA would open a bag and inspect stuff they would leave a note saying this was opened by TSA. Off late on several ocassions there has been no note left but things have been taken from suitcases of people. This amounts to stealing. It is up to the passenger to figure out if everything made it. Why dont you put a note anymore that something was taken and to contact the TSA?

Submitted by Sph-associates on

The price of freedom is to remove our shoes and toss our water bottles. If it makes us safer - well, then keep up the good work.

The terrorist have won in one manner - they affected our way of life. We are not as free as we once were. So there is a point on the terrorist side.

BUT we should work at ways to make the process faster. More screener during peak times. The lines at Newark (LIBERTY) airport can stretch on and on - sundays and mondays. SO address these peaks!

And please, the screeners should be friendly. We are not the enemy, we are travelers. Why some guy or gal in a uniform has to bark at us is beyond me? If they don't like their jobs - go elsewhere. They need to recognize that people are stressed at airports - they should help us through... and in the end, they will be more accepted.

BUT consistency is crucial. Although not an airport - there are huge lines to get into Giants stadium - we are patted down... but they never touch the ladies. So any smart terrorist is going to give the bomb to a lady. I seen this dozens of times. and of course, i have my shoes on... if you are not being consistent - then lets us all in!

anyway keep us safe but dont make us seem like criminals - help us through to our destination safely!

Submitted by Anonymous on

The comment that you would screen out posts that you felt were unsuitable, goes against your statement that you will be transparent and leaves me with a feeling that ultimately, the only posts we see on this thread will be those which you like, plus some low level 'midly unhappy' ones. (I'll be surprised if this post makes it on!)

Like it or not, it's a free speech world we're living in. Most people do have valid opinions to present and unfortunately the best way that some people know how to present these does not always match what others see as morally correct.

If a swear word or cuss word is in a dictionary, does that make it socially acceptable to use? What words are 'too rude'? Ask 100 people and you'll get 100 answers.

May I suggest leaving "the crazies" and the sailor mouthed comments in for all to see. Readers can form their own opinions on the sanity and validity of the post and will choose whether to gloss over it or not.

Alternately, many blog and forum programs have controls that the moderator can switch on to substitute other words or asterisks for 'undesirable' words and phrases. Perhaps you could investigate that option.

Submitted by Avoid Flying on

I would like to add to my previous post.

I am a veteran of many years of Government Service. One thing the government is good at is tracking endless statistical information. That they rarely do anything constructive with all the data is another matter.

I take it as a matter of faith that there are volumes of data tracking complaints about airport screening. Yet litle improvement is to be seen.

I will make an educated guess that every one of the locations with the most complaints are the Union dominated sites.

How about making public that data? Then make public the follow-up to correct those sites.

Please don't cite privacy as an argument for concealing critical data that points to the heart of the problem.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I can't express strongly enough my disbelief at the level if incompetence and narrow thinking I encountered on my last experience. I had a pair of surgical clamps in my bag that on x-ray raised suspicion. After two passes in the machine to determine which compartment in my bag they might be in, I offered to show them so that I might still make my flight. "Don't touch your bag." Was the reply. So I waited thru 4 more x-ray passes and ultimately missed my flight. Honestly, if I could choose between a flight that screened and one that allowed concealed carry passengers, I would pay double to choose the later. The TSA has been a very big mistake in government oversite and should honestly be disbanded along with several other federal programs and sectors.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I recently travelled through Europe and was amazed how humane their airport security was. One screenpoint checker in Porto actually ASKED politely if he could open my bag to search it.

By contrast, on my return flight back to America, I was immediately pulled over for a pointless security check interrogation which was so severe that it left me in tears. The American (I believe TSA) staff never explained why I was questioned or what the point of it was when I asked.

TSA staff should have the patience and skills to deal with the public in a reasonable manner. Politeness and common decency can go a LONG way. People will be happy to comply with most regulations if you treat them like members of the free world, instead of like kulaks under Stalin.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Two years ago, I was boarding at the Lihue, Kauai, HI airport. The TSA agent at the front end of the metal detector asked me (reasonably enough) if I had packed my own bag. "Sure," I said, while I'm trying to placate my 18 month old. The fellow looks straight at my kid and says, "is your Daddy a liar?"

If that SOB hadn't been wearing a badge -- or if my kid had been old enough to comprehend -- there would have been a throwdown, right then and there.

Most of the TSA folks are alright, but some of them are just a little too tickled with their power over their fellow Americans.

Submitted by Anonymous on

You people are idiots, your security theater is a joke that keeps no one safe, and your baseless rules have no basis in rational thought or serious security concern. All it takes is any random investigative reporter and a hidden camera at any airport to prove that you're not keeping anyone safe.

Submitted by Brooklyn on

I'm sorry, but this blog is fooling no one. Well, okay, it seems to be fooling about 700 people so far, but for everyone who has posted a "two thumbs up," there's another person reading all this and shaking his or her head. Probably a frequent flyer, like me.

This blog isn't "transparency". This is another layer of obfuscation, another veil, another tactic for avoiding having to deal with reality, tell the truth, or provide proof of operational effectiveness.

To date, the TSA has provided zero proof positive that they have actually stopped an act of foreign or domestic terrorism via its screening policies. The TSA hasn't provided this proof because they CAN'T. There isn't any. Screenings manage to harass the common citizen and draw out air travel into an unpleasant and soulless undertaking, but not once have they stopped a specific person with specific materials with obvious intent to do harm. Of course, I have no proof of that charge - I believe, though, that should such a case exist, the Agency would be widely publicizing it and trumpeting their own effectiveness.

False security is not worth the money, not worth the loss of liberty, and not worth the "guilty until proven innocent" mentality. (To be fair, the TSA is not solely responsible for that attitude, it being institutionalized from the president's office on down.)

The rest of the country seems to have forgotten that screenings are not new to the post-9/11 era - we went through metal detectors, had our bags and shoes x-rayed. I held the same attitudes before that day that I do now - that the screenings do nothing but keep an army of people employed. Very Brazil, IMO.

The liquids rules are the most visible and prominent - and the most laughable - measures of our airport security. Which brings me to my last point: the people the TSA aims to stop before they do harm are hell-bent on outwitting the TSA - and can and will do so easily. It doesn't take a criminal mastermind - or even a lot of imagination - to see how to get enough damaging materials on board (right past screening) to bring down a plane. Or to blow open a cockpit door and attempt to gain control.

Keep up the smoke and mirrors, guys. I'm sure that when you "randomly select" those little old ladies and six year old kids for wanding and item-by-item searches, the next little old lady feels safer. I, however, watching more obvious targets (yes, profiling works, and you know it) walk right on through makes me feel like the TSA can't do the job it's been charged to do (because of political correctness?) and that none of us are any safer.

Submitted by Anonymous on

First off, thanks for starting this blog. I suspect that as the first outlet that many weary frequent flyers have ever had for the indignities suffered at security checkpoints, you personally are bearing the brunt of much pent-up frustration.

As many have noted, there is much frustration at what knowledgeable travelers recognize as the "theatre of security". Everybody acknowledges the need for security, but much of what we must pass through has neglible benefit if any, while making flying a more time consuming and degrading experiences. A few particularly egregious examples are:

1) The liquids rule: This was formulated in response to a threat that turned out to be bogus. I know of no credible studies that suggest a person could actually manufacture an explosive device in an aircraft lav. Nevertheless, our toothpaste, lotion, water and baby formula are confiscated without due process and thrown away. Either give us some credible reasons or give us back our water bottles!

2) Shoe removal: There are so many ways that a clever, determined individual could get explosives onto a plane other than in his or her shoes that this rule is utterly silly. They know you'll check their shoes so they will hide it in their underwear or elsewhere. Unless you plan to stripsearch all passengers, checking the is pointless, and enduring this ritual is time consuming and humiliating.

3) Making flight crews pass through security: Flight crews undergo extensive background checks and even if these people are legitimate security threats, making them pass through security would hardly solve that problem. I note that aircraft maintenance workers and others (whose background checks are less extensive) do not have to pass through metal detectors upon arriving at work even though they have extensive access to the aircraft. Again, submitting flight crews to security checks is merely another act in the theater of security that does nothing to increase passenger safety while inconveniencing millions of travelers.

We all appreciate the job you do keeping travelers safe, but I hope that the TSA would seriously rethink certain of its policies that greatly inconvenience travelers with no appreciable safety benefit. This would also free up TSA resources to deal with more legitimate threats, ultimately making everybody safer.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I like TSA. you make us safe again after 911 Giluliani was right. TSA and my parents keep me safe from bad peple who want to take our fredom.

Submitted by Anonymous on

In response to everlasting:
I am a TSO that has worked in both large and small airports, and I fully agree with your suggestion to have us converted to "law enforcement". It would greatly aid us in enforcing the rules that are in place. We are able to inspect and inform, but not enforce, and that is just one of many frustrations that we deal with daily.

I too hope that this blog will be used to create a better process for the traveling public, employees, and airlines.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Enjoy your power trip for now, W will be out of office soon and hopefully all of you subhuman types will be in the government cheese line.

Submitted by Doug on

I agree with the great many posters who feel that the TSA should be abolished. I am comfortable with the security measures required to board a city bus or subway, and feel that these are sufficient for commuters on air transport as well. Thanks to the wretched quality of service on US based airlines, air travel is already an undignified and uncomfortable means of getting from point A to B. The scowling, draconian MPs that herd passengers through screens at the airports now makes the experience even more dehumanizing. In the end, if given a choice between accepting risk or loss of freedom, I'll take the risk (especially if it is as minimal as the threat of international terrorism).

Submitted by Anonymous on

THIS IS A MESSAGE FOR KIP HAWLEY: please work undercover as a regular TSA screener for a month (in a large airport) to find out what people really think of the TSA. it should be obvious what is going right and what is going wrong in the system. thank you.

Submitted by Foolster41 on

What i want know is the mindset of "answering questions" or are you actually willing to change things that are a problem? To see that there is no problem, or to assume the problem is with your customers is a GRAVE marketing misstake. Right now what the TSA needs is good PR. Trust me, there are pleanty of room for improvement for the TSA, starting with the mindset that everyone is a potental terrorist.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The "random" searches are a pathetic solution to a serious problem. So here's a few better ideas:

2 types of lines: Shoes on, shoes off.

Big Brother already has plenty of info on all of us -- don't just create "threat" lists... generate "safe" lists for those with verified personal information (w/ photo ID and Biometrics) so things can be sped up a bit. Could charge a yearly subscription for this "speedy" line that would allow a more lenient search to happen, if at all (say, 3 flights before another quick screening is required).

We live in the age of technology where our tax money has been wasted on garbage like RFID and 2D bar codes on our state issued licenses yet nobody utilizes these things!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Since you have implemented this security theater, I hate flying to the USA. Please stop it - it serves no purpose.

Submitted by Queos Denpor Elculo on

How Roosveltian, to create an useless agency to create jobs to offset a well deserved recession. I live in Europe and travel often to Latin America. Ever since you exist and decided to harrass in-transist passengers as you now do. I avoid you. I used to do a lot of business in your country. Going there is just too much hassle now. They treat people better in Panama and Venezuela. Sad sad sad

Submitted by Kschendel on

The only action needed after 9/11 was to secure the cockpits so that an airplane couldn't be used as a bomb again. That was done.

EVERYTHING else you do is a waste. The TSA has wasted precious hours of my life, never to be restored, with NO IMPROVEMENT in security.

I feel a lot more endangered when I stand in a security line with 100, 200, or more people, than I would if the TSA screeners would simply all pack up and walk away. Why? Because I'm just waiting for some loony to take advantage of the crowd. Am I somehow less dead if I am killed on the outside of the security zone? I don't think so!

The liquids restriction is ridiculous, there IS NO combination of plausible materials that can blow up a plane in 6-oz quantities. Maybe a couple gallons. Take a look at the BA 777 that hard-landed at LHR recently to see how much abuse a plane will take.

The shoes thing is even more ridiculous, for a similar reason.

I do not appreciate the screeners taking their frustrations out on me, and threatening me with imprisonment if I object to some rule that I KNOW for a fact does not exist. (And would be stupid if it did!)

I'm not eager to be killed in an airplane crash, but I take much greater risks driving to the airport. I don't WANT to be harassed and delayed in the name of "security". The TSA passenger screening process has destroyed any pleasure in air travel. I guess that's what Al Qaida wanted. No thanks for playing along, guys.

Submitted by Kschendel on

One little thing I forgot to mention, and want to add my "me too" to:

Screening the flight crew, especially the pilots, is totally ridiculous. They are FLYING THE PLANE. For some reason the screeners can't seem to get that through their head. If a pilot has been subverted, people are going to die, and it's that simple. No entry screening is going to stop that and it's a waste of everyone's time to try.

I could maybe see some sort of ID scan requirement to assure that someone in uniform really is a pilot. They do wear airline ID's and it would be easy enough to double check. Anything more is just stupid and furthers the image of the TSA as a bunch of nincompoops more interested in appearances than reality.

Submitted by JTS on

Why are you still taking away my Coffee/soda/shampoo/etc... when it has been proven repeatedly that it is nearly impossible to create a "liquid bomb" and have it passed through screening?

The liquids required for such a bomb to exist are extremely caustic, extremely maloderous (they REALLY stink to the point of causing nasal pain just from getting a whiff of them), extremely volitile (they would detonate merely by being transported in a walk-on container), and many other conditions that would make using such explosives EXTREMELY IMPOSSIBLE.

Stop taking away my drinks.
Stop making me remove my shoes. (the shoe bomber tried to LIGHT HIS SANDALS WITH FIRE for pete's ssake!)
Stop confiscating mundane items in a useless attempt to feign security.

You are pissing everyone off, and we are tired of dealing with this crap.

How can the public have faith in the TSA for their safety, if the general public believes that the TSA is governed by morons that take away nail clippers and Starbucks because they cannot reasonably determine what items are an actual THREAT to the public, and what tastes good with some cream and sugar?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Since others have written concerns here, I'll add one:

One of my relatives has kept a manicure kit in her purse; she just never uses it and forgets that it's there. Not too terribly bad in comparison to what could be brought aboard, but sharp metal objects nonetheless.

Thus far, she has managed to get through Boston, Jacksonville, Miami, Chicago... most of which on multiple occasions. Neither she nor the airport security staff seemed to know about it while she has gone through security.

I have to admit... things seem relatively safe. This was just one tidbit I noticed.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Airport screening in just a big security theater. What a bunch of expensive time wasting nonsense. We endure this charade so as to get on with where we need to be but what a farce for any really effectual measure. One last thought... "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin in 1759

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am almost a frequent traveller, meaning I fly about once every two months, so I've been reading these entries with interest.

The hatred, the diatribes, and the accusations from passengers all seem completely accurate, and I applaud every outburst, whether emotional or not.

I'm posting, however, not to add to the list of complaints about TSA's policies and implementation in the airports but, instead, to complain about TSA workers posting on this site.

Could the majority of you be more inarticulate? Incapable of using correct grammar? Sound any more sycophantic? The majority of your posts sound like they written by, at best, 6th graders (and I don't really want to insult 6th graders, so my apologies to them).

Just my thought... because it's clear that most of the people working the security checkpoints barely, if ever, passed high school. These ill-educated masses are what are guarding our borders and making us more secure?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I cannot understand why so many people complain about airport security being too strict. If being strict in any way affects the safety of my trip, then by all means be strict. I travel quite a bit, and every time my bag is selected for additional screening, I just smile and say, "Be my guest". I also make sure to thank the agent when I get my bag back.

If there is one person out there that can give me one valid reason to reduce the scrutiny placed on a bag, shoe, or laptop, I would love to hear it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

First of all, thank you for this blog. It is a fantastic proactive initiative, and it gives the TSA a great chance to tell us 'your side of the story'.

In terms of concrete feedback on the process, I recently read a post from the respected commercial airline pilot Patrick Smith, who blogged his feedback and analysis of the current screening approach and policies. I would recommend it to fliers and TSA employees alike. It can be found here:
http://jetlagged.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/28/the-airport-security-follies/

best of luck and stay safe!

Submitted by Bob on

Wintermute said...

"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."

I think anybody who has read the blog by now will see that we’re taking the punches.

Nonproductive degrading comments have no place in this blog and that’s the type of comments we’ll send into the digital abyss.

Thanks for commenting and welcome to the Blog!

Bob

Evolution Blog Team

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why is there no section on ID requirement issues, such as what's acceptable, as well as even the need for an ID requirement?
There were MANY comments/questions in this area, is it being 'conveniently ignored' for lack of good answers from TSA?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I totally agree with Blogger Mithrandirself this blogger is nice.. but it would make more sense to be in forum format.

Submitted by Def770 on

I have made up my mind that I will deal with the delays and aggravation personally, if that is what is necessary to protect me as a traveler...BUT... I think there should be special security lines to accommodate members of the American military,so they don't have to wait in line....and, they should not have to remove their lace up boots. These men and women are protecting and defending our country, and their last memory of home before they board airplanes should not be of long airport security lines or the frustration of having to remove a part of their uniform. Each time I see a military person going through the general public line, I want to apologize!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Hey, Bob...
You object to "Non-productive degrading comments?" Funny, so does the traveling public, but that's what you hear from TSA agents all the time.
You all have a SERIOUS pr problem, but you refuse to address it. Take off your uniform, leave your government ID behind and wait in line with the rest of us. You'll see what we're all so angry about.
But you're not going to do that, are you? C'mon Bob...answer this question.

Submitted by Anonymous on

End the liquid ban, please. Flying is about as bad experience as you can imagine nowadays, childish and meaningless policies like the liquid ban expose the utter lack of imagination on the part of the TSA. It's more pagentry (albeit an ugly and crude one) than it is effective policy.

Or at least be consistent and do screenings for gremlins on every airplane before takeoff.

Submitted by Avoid Flying on

You have censored three out of four of my messages.

I haven't used any profanity, ranted or raved, or anything like that.

What I did is point out that the biggest problem with TSA is the Union and the almost impossible task of removing incompetent people.

The Union was a mistake and should be removed. Privatize the process.

Also. The government undoubtedly has records detailing by location the numerous complaints they have received.

PUBLISH those findings and DISCLOSE what actions are being taken to remove and/or retrain problem (read incompetent) employees.

Far too many of your employees are unfit for the job.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Thanks for starting this blog. I don't know if you'll be able to keep it up, but thanks for the great effort.

I see 3 categories of comments here that should be addressed to 3 different parts of TSA:

1. Comments about the actual rules, such as the ban on liquids, which the screeners are powerless to change should be addressed to the head of the TSA.

2. Comments about the behavior, attitude, and (in)consistency of the screeners, should be addressed to the screeners and their supervisors.

3. Comments about this blog itself, which the Evolution Team should be addressing pronto.

Of these three, the first one will be the hardest to change, the middle one should not be impossible to change, and the last one should be the easiest to change.

It's unfortunate, but because the actual rules seem so pointless, many travelers take their frustrations out on the screeners, who have no ability to change the rules. If the rules made more sense, travelers would be more patient and understanding.

If the TSA really wants to support their employees and the travelers, they would look at the rules and change them from window-dressing to something more meaningful. As many have said, we should do what Israel does.

However, I won't hold my breath. Given that you folks have to enforce silly rules, what can be done to make it better? All you can do is improve your screeners and listen to the public better.

The best way to listen to us would be to change this blog to a forum or message board as many have suggested. This format is unworkable for you and for us.

But once again, thanks so much for trying!

Submitted by Bord Ing on

Bob,

The blog is a great idea. You may want to have a comment policy. Dipo Blog didn't and just deleted important comments from world leaders, etc.

The Tampa TSA test was chosen by who? Who at TSA chooses the target? Since you are unionized, arent there rules to running a test? For example, you would have to know it's a drill.

Police and Air Force personnel might try to carry on board without the proper paperwork from their supervisor. This would be a test, but, if it's classifed, no one would know about it; for example a 'black box' with new equipment for monitoring terrorists.

The explosive used in the Tampa test was what type? Would a sniffer know it? Is TSA relying on the report showing human error finding a fake bomb that could be one if you looked real close? Why wouldn't TSA use sniffers? Any explosive can be programmed, so why not?

Submitted by Anonymous on

First a quick suggestion:

Create a section for general comments on the TSA and security policies.

Second: Here is my comment that would go in that section if there was one.

The security policies currently in place are primarily reactionary in nature. The TSA responds to each potential threat after the fact with a band-aid solution. There needs to be a mission-driven policy set up to efficiently get people to their planes.

Baggage handlers should be subject to greater scrutiny than passenger. A baggage handler interacts with thousands of flights a week, compared to the typical passenger who is taking one flight once in a while.

In my mind the most important issue is this: Even if the TSA policies are 99% effective at preventing dangerous people/items from getting onto planes, but if terrorists or other nefarious people trying to get stuff onto planes only makes up .01% (or less) of the population then that means that 99% of the people identified as possible threats are false positives. Example, 1,000,000 people ride planes. TSA identifies 10,000 (1%) of them as potential threats. But only 100 (.01%) of them are actual bad guys. That means 99% of people stopped by the TSA haven't done anything wrong.

Obviously these are all made up numbers, but you get the idea. In my opinion the number of people actually trying to do something wrong is such a small number that the TSA can never hope to create countermeasures that only stop them without inconveniencing many innocent people. If that is true, then I don't see the point of any security measures at all beyond simple metal detectors and X-ray machines for baggage.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Hello TSA:

I recently traveled to Israel, where the security was more thorough than anything I have experienced at any of the many airports I have been to in the United States.

At Ben Gurion airport, no one removed their shoes.

The fact that Israeli security doesn't require this inane measure makes it pretty clear to me that there is absolutely no need to do so in the US.

Submitted by Anonymous on

First, I can't believe you were surprised at the response. I hope that was just some type of PR spin because if you truly were suprised then we have a loooong way to go.

Second, to post a comment I had to scroll to the very bottom. Any chance of also putting a post link closer to the top?

Third: my concern is the stress of flying. Beyond the usual stress of weather, delays, planning and packing for a trip, hoping you can get to the airport on time, we also have to get there earlier. First we have to get through the check in, that can be fast or slow; then take our checked bag to the security scanner, though in some airports it's behind the counter now so we don't have to transport it ourselves. Then we head for security and the gate. Plus we never know how many security stations will be open, will the lines be long or short. Will I have to take off my shoes (pretty much all the time now) will my watch or my belt buckle trigger the detector (sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't, I never know).
Will we get through security in time? Will we get a chance to relax at the gate and prepare for the next stress - is the flight on time or delayed?

What we're looking for is consitency from airport to airport (shoes off or on; laptops on or just take out of the bag?) and enough security checkpoints always open.

Thanks for the blog and we wish you luck.

Submitted by Brian on

I would love to see a response to Scott Beale's comments about electronic items:

http://laughingsquid.com/tsa-now-requiring-all-electronic-items-placed-i...

My work bag for my portables takes between 10 and 15 minutes to repack from scratch. It takes long enough to get through the line now with two laptops, let alone if they have to inspect all my cables and storage devices individually.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Don't know if this is still true but even after 9/11, I could clear security in John Wayne airport and have breafast using an easily pocketed, full size, serrated metal knife. Seems kind of pointless to collect all those swiss army knives at security and then allow me to have a much larger, stronger albeit less pointy knife to cut my eggs!

Submitted by Anonymous on

How ironic is it that you won't post "personal attacks" but that the public are subjected to just that?

You hassle us, rife through our personal possessions, invade our personal space with your little wand and grubby hands, humiliate us in public in front of total strangers.

All that, and you still can't find the real bombs. Why are you wasting my tax money?

Submitted by Tim on

How high, organizationally, are original TSA posts and answers to consumers' questions vetted?

Submitted by Anonymous on

So, where in the Constitution is the TSA even authorized?

In case anyone's wondering, it's not.

The Constitution was written under what's referred to as "positive grant"

This means, that the federal government is only allowed to exercise those powers which are specifically given to it in the Constitution.

The 10th Amendment makes it clear that EVERYTHING else is left to "the States, respectively, or to the people"

Thus - everything an unconstitutional agency does is in direct violation of the constitution. (and that includes using your money to run this TSA blog)

Submitted by Anonymous on

Im seeing on different blogs that people are now being asked to have every electronic item scanned seprately, people are worried and some apparently are having some items confiscated.
If someone knows that if TSA security Wrongfully Confiscate an electronic item or it is lost by their own fault, is this covered in your standard travel insurance?
as WE are the people that suffer.

Submitted by Midwest Product on

Is the TSA sure it's worth taking time out of their busy schedules to run this blog? I mean, don't you have more 4-year-olds to detain because their names are similar to ones on the Do Not Fly list?

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