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Keep Your Lap Top IN if you have a “Checkpoint Friendly” Bag

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Friday, August 15, 2008
laptop bag

James Brown once sang Papa's Got a Brand New Bag . Well, it may be a different kind of bag than what the Godfather was singing about, but now everybody can feel better than James Brown and keep their laptop in their “checkpoint friendly” bag as long it meets certain criteria . You may already own a “checkpoint friendly ” bag and not even know it.

Tomorrow (8/16) is the day that new laptop procedures roll out nationwide.

For all of you Debbie Downers out there, we realize that purchasing or owning one of these bags isn’t your free ticket to never have your laptop searched again. However, there is a darned good chance that your laptop won’t be searched. To put it in perspective, how many times has your laptop been searched when it’s been out of the bag? It’s pretty rare.

Just think of it this way, as long as there is nothing in your bag besides the laptop, you’re good to go. But, please remember that our Officers are trained to look for anomalies and if something looks odd or out of place, they will search your laptop. Next time you go through security, look around and see how many laptops are undergoing secondary screening. It’s rare.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re a road warrior and you’ve got all sorts of cables, adapters, gadgets and gizmos. You’re probably wondering where you’re going to put all of that stuff. Have no fear, several manufacturers have been hard at work designing bags that meet “checkpoint friendly” criteria . Just Google “checkpoint friendly laptop bags” and you’ll have a wide variety to choose from. Just remember, the TSA does not endorse any of these bags and you’ll need to be aware of our criteria to ensure you buy the right type of bag. These are some examples of bags that meet our criteria.

This new procedure will make things a little easier for our travelers while lessening the amount of preparation and recomposure time. Hopefully this will reduce your hassle factor at the checkpoint and make for happier passengers and happy passengers make the bad guys stand out.

Happy traveling and we hope to hear from you here about your experiences with the new procedures.

 

Blogger Bob
EoS Blog Team
Tags: 

Comments

Submitted by Miller on
To those of you who keep asking for a list of the rules:

Why do you want the terrorists to win?

The TSA has told us many times that there is no consistency because it will keep us safer.

Rules so secret that TSOs don't know them is a guaranteed recipe for failure. How do you know how to do your job if you are clueless as to what is demanded of you?
Submitted by Miller on

Phil,

Sorry, but TSA is above all rules and regulations. Rules and regulations apply only to the little people, not the giant monolith called Homeland Security.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The BLOG is moderated. Everything you are being searched for has been tryied by a terrorist before. Check any news mag. Things are changing for the better because of your positive comments. Please leave sugestions for improvment besides complaints. Also Please leave your opinion; Do you care if the TSO checking you is wearing a tie? Do you even notice? They are a big nucience for us but are required by the SOP. Blogdog keep it up, but send ideas too.

Submitted by TSO Tom on

Robert Johnson, I have one question for you, have you actually taken the time to read the lengthy 9/11 comission report? I have, and the recommendations made in that report, and the findings of the report were quite alarming. You say the failures of the private companies are less than those of TSA, but statistics prove otherwise on that one single day alone in 2001. I won't argue the point with you Robert, I will tell you this, I DO MY JOB to the fullest, be it screening for prohibs, or keeping bad guys off the plane, I consider myself to be more proficient than the pre september 11 screening contractors. Not only do I do my job, Robert, but I do it with a smile and I feel I'm making a difference. Your contention that "you're restricting freedom of movement" is arguable at best...I'm restricting nothing, the Federal Government is restricting movement if that's what you wanna call it. Look, we can go back and forth all night long, and get nowhere, you want to fly, and I have a job to do. The sooner I do my job the sooner you get on your plane, and you'll never hear me ask you if you wanna to fly that day, its not my style. Come to PHL Robert, and ask for Tom I'll get you on your plane with a smile no matter how much you grumble. Oh by the way, that's Tom, checkpoint C first shift. Ask for me. :-)

Submitted by Anonymous on

@Bob,

You are being deliberately dense, as it has been perfectly clear what people what and you attack straw men. We want a well organized document that lists exactly what rules one needs to follow. For example exactly what IDs will be considered valid. This will be necessity be a boring document with numbered paragraphs. However it is one that we can then bring with us and point at when a TSO makes something up out of sadism.

Consider driving, every state has a list of laws... something like "Speed must not exceed the posted limit, or if there is no posted limit 55 mph in the country and 25 in town. See section 6.3.2 for definitions of country and town."

You can take these laws to court and get tickets thrown out if you were going under the posted limit regardless of what the cop feels the speed limit should be that day. (Excluding the extra provisions for operating safely in inclimate weather....)

Submitted by Anonymous on

Start here: Imagine I'm walking through the airport and there is no checkpoint. I know what the laws of the land are, and as long as I do not break them, I will not be hassled by my government. (I also know what additional rules are imposed by way of my contract with the airline, but I needn't be concerned with them until later, when I deal with the airline and their property.) Now, add the government checkpoint into the situation. I'm stopped there, and can only legally proceed in the direction I was traveling prior to the stop if I follow certain additional rules. (e.g., I may not carry weapons on my person. I may not carry more than 3.4 oz. of liquid unless I split it into 3.4 oz. portions, etc.) What are all the additional rules am I subject to at that checkpoint? I still want to be able to go about my business without interference from my government, and the way to do so is to follow the rules that we and our government have set forth for ourselves.
***********************************
Okay, I get what you're saying. Lets try this, you're at the checkpoint, and the sign says, "interfering with screening personel...." etc....these are some of the rules your subject to. The problem comes in where the public thinks there are MORE rules than there are. Lets simplify it:
1. Don't interfere with the screening process. Don't intimidate TSO's (lets not argue about this now because we all know that some TSO's can be rude).
2. Take your shoes off
2a. if you're diabetic or have a condition which prevents you from taking your shoes off, you are subect to a shoe swab.
3. If your laptop is not in a checkpoint friendly bag, please take it out and xray it separately.
3a. If your laptop is xrayed in side a non checkpoint friendly bag it is subject to additional screening.
4. Make sure your LGA's are properly packaged and xrayed separately as well.
4a. No weapons, incendiary's or explosives please. Also, fireworks are prohibited as well.
5. Be patient with us (again lets not argue this one)
6. Show us your boarding pass and ID please.
7. Show boarding pass again at the mag, your id is no longer necessary.
8. Collect your property and go on your way.

I don't think there are many other rules that you need to worry about unless something comes up that causes concern, and in that case its not a rule per se, its something that occurred during the process. Its really that simple.

Submitted by Al Ames on

@Phil:

If TSA published a list of rules like you desire, screeners wouldn't be able to make up rules as they go.

We wouldn't want to take a perk away from their job now, would we?

Submitted by HSVTSO Dean on
Phil wrote:
I don't think it's a bit unreasonable to expect that government to tell me what the rules are so that I can follow those rules.

Y'know, man, I actually sat down and started thinking about what you wrote there. The information is out there, for the most part, it's just not all put into a single encompassing list.

There are signs at all (or, at least, most - granted I haven't been through all the airpots, but I can't see how this would be different) the checkpoints telling people that they have to take their jackets off, remove metal off their persons, take their shoes off, etc. Here at Huntsville we have nineteen signs total and a great big flat-panel TV over the arch in front of the security checkpoint with all the information on a slideshow.

We even have signs telling people the limit of film speed that's safe to go through the x-ray (up to 800, btw), and the same sign also informs the reader that if they don't want it going through the x-ray anyway, then to just tell one of the TSOs and we'll hand-search it.

Also, there are these neat little pamphlets. I haven't seen one in a bit, but they used to be all over the airline ticket counters down in the lobby with an exhaustive prohibited items list, and the passengers were allowed to keep them. The only thing that was out of date, last I saw it, was cigarette lighters - they're permitted again.

And, yeah, we also have a few signs with the 3.1.1 regulations on them, and signs for what people should do if they have pacemakers. Not to mention the signs instructing passengers to have photo IDs and boarding passes handy.

The more I thought about what your specific question is, the more it occurred to me that most of the information is already out there, and most of the information is also contained on the TSA website -- albeit not in a very functional, easy-to-find manner. You kinda' have to dig around there for it.

But even the take-home pamphlet of the prohibited items list is basically the same from the TSA website's.

(And, by the way, the LGAs are listed on the TSA website as well as the checkpoint signs as being limited to 3.0oz - this is technically accurate. TSOs can exempt items up to 3.4oz without needing justification, so it just kind-of became a de facto limit, though I think the technical, official limit is 3.0oz. Any TSOs want to jump in and let me know if that was officially changed, or if that's still the case? To be bluntly honest though, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if most of the other TSOs [or supervisors, for that matter] didn't know about this. It's just something that someone who's religiously devoted to reading and understanding and comprehending our SOP would know.)

As a matter of fact, the only thing I can think of off the top of my head that's a regulation and isn't formally listed is the procedure for screening fire blankets and military chemical suits. They should be on the website under the special items listing in the aviation section, but aren't.

[the following is written approximately an hour after the rest of the stuff above this]

Okay. So I just picked through the TSA website with a fine-tooth comb, particularly the prohibited items list, particularly the special considerations and special items sections, as well as the traveling with disabilities section.

Everything I picked through with that fine-tooth comb is pretty much directly correlated with our own internal, official* procedures. After spending entirely too much time doing this (my wife has asked me at least three times if I was done yet~), I'm going to say with certainty that the TSA.gov website has pretty much everything you need to know, except the procedures for fire blankets and military chemical suits. The travel documents page also seems to be lacking, but most of the general information is there. Everything else - like what to do if you've been pulled over for secondary screening - pretty much just boils down to "follow instructions." And, occasionally, there's a gaff. Like this little nugget:

The TSA traveler's guide states:
While not a sinister item, it is illegal to carry more than $10,000 cash.

Which is true... kind-of; In the context of traveling internationally and not having declared the money to Customs. There's nothing legally wrong with carrying fifteen grand on your person domestically - it's just stupid. :D

Was there anything in particular you were wanting to know about, Phil?



* - Note the term "official procedures." Screening personnel, previously just the supervisors but now they're adding the TSOs to the mix, have a great deal of leeway in regard to some things. Not all, but some. For example, TSOs, with a justifiably compelling and extraordinary reason, can allow just about any liquid or gel or aerosol item to go through the checkpoint regardless of size. That doesn't change the fact that the official regulation is still in place. Another example is the now-infamous homemade battery pack was stopped because a supervisor made the call that it was too much akin to a realistic replica of an explosive device. Call him stupid all you want to (and, granted, we at HSV would've likely let it through given that we're used to seeing these sorts of things) but that supervisor still made the call, and they weren't necessarily wrong in doing so.

The prohibited items list isn't exhaustive by any means. For example, sonic disruptors (the real-life portable, weaker ones that look like megaphones, not the Star Trek ones. They're used for crowd control by police forces - flip it on, point it at a group of people, and about sixty seconds later they're all falling over dizzy and throwing up everything they ate for the past ten years. They have much more powerful ones that work much, much faster, but they're mounted on the backs of trucks) aren't on the prohibited items list, but there ain't a sane person at any checkpoint who would let it go through if they recognized it for what it is. A fair bit (I'd personally say about 30%) of the things we see every day are either let through or stopped based upon a judgment call by the person who sees it. Hopefully, if the person who sees it can't quite decide, they'd call for their supervisor, or ask one of their colleagues - the TSOs (like myself) who have been with TSA for almost six years now have a pretty good grasp of what should, and what should not, go through the checkpoint based upon whether or not it could be used as a viable weapon.

[and then, after having written all of the rest of this, I finished Phil's post]

Phil wrote:
Pointing me to some guides, giving me an idea of what to expect, publishing revisions to existing rules only by press release or blog post, just doesn't cut it.

...Gah.

I should've finished your post before devoting myself to a couple hours of writing and research and a wife that's now glowering at me dubiously.

You say it doesn't cut it, but that's all that there is. It's published, it's there. The fact that you don't like it, and for whatever reason don't want to accept it, doesn't mean that it's not.

Quadruple negatives, yo; it's the grammatical wave of the future. :)
Submitted by Chrismurf on

My biggest concern about the TSA comes from situations described in articles like "At JFK Airport, Denying Basic Rights Is Just Another Day at the Office", at http://www.alternet.org/rights/95351.

I would really like to hear what the TSA is doing about the general attitude exhibited by the "professionals" described in that posting, though I realize that the specifics of that situation may not be appropriate for sharing in a public forum.

It's human rights abuses like that which give TSA a bad name, not just taking an extra 5 minutes to open a laptop bag.

Thank you for your time.

Submitted by Sandra on

Anonymous wrote:

"To those of you who keep asking for a list of the rules:

Why do you want the terrorists to win?

The TSA has told us many times that there is no consistency because it will keep us safer."

Anonymous, the terrorists have already won.

Submitted by RB on
Bob said...
We’ve had public guidance on air travel on our web page for years. You can find it here.

It sounds to me like you folks are asking for our SOP to be made public. Even our staunchest critic would have to realize that releasing our SOP to passengers would not be the best security move.


Bob, you've been drinking to much TSA koolaide.

No one has asked for SOP. So don't even try making that claim.

Several people have asked many, many times for a complete list of rules travelers must abide by to pass a TSA Checkpoint. Nothing more. Nothing more!

The information on the TSA webpage does not even agree with itself. What information there is has been spread over several different pages and is not complete or is not accurate in all cases. Your agency has even posted information here that is apparently not true.

If TSA really wants calmer checkpoints would it not help if we travelers know what we must do to move through the checpoint without problems?

Does giving the public false information improve the flow through the checkpoint?

This is not a country where secret laws are accepted.

Why don't you guys try being truthful for a change?
Submitted by Anonymous on

Bob,

I want to know the rules so I can keep TSA from taking my stuff.

What you seem to be telling me is that there are no rules, and that if a screener (and his supervisor) wanted to take my shoelaces, they could. Calling shoelaces a "replica of a garrote" might even earn them a citation on your website.

TSA's secret laws, arbitrary enforcement, and brazen unaccountability makes it a ruleless renegade agency which is a danger to the things that are good about America.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Hi, my name is Debbie and I am offended blah, blah. Complain, complain. Have any of you ever thought that productive criticism instead of attacks could bring on more engaged dialogue? It is nice to get things off your chest but calling each other names is not productive. It is starting to feel like a tank full of hungry sharks. I will hold my thoughts until I see if this really aids the passengers.

Submitted by Phil on

TSO Tom wrote:

"Robert Johnson, I have one question for you, have you actually taken the time to read the lengthy 9/11 comission report?"

Robert, have you read The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions And Distortions, by David Ray Griffin? Have you heard that the chair and vice chair of the 9/11 Commission now say their report was incomplete and flawed?

As reported by Peter Tatchel of The Guardian on September 12 2007, chair and vice chair of the 9/11 Commission, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, have since stated that they were "set up to fail" and were starved of funds to do a proper investigation. They also confirm that they were denied access to the truth and misled by senior officials in the Pentagon and the federal aviation authority; and that this obstruction and deception led them to contemplate slapping officials with criminal charges. Also note that despite the many public statements by 9/11 commissioners and staff members acknowledging they were repeatedly lied to, not a single person has ever been charged, tried, or even reprimanded, for lying to the 9/11 Commission.

The final report did not examine key evidence, and neglected serious anomalies in the various accounts of what happened. The commissioners admit their report was incomplete and flawed, and that many questions about the disaster remain unanswered. Despite these unanswered questions, the 9/11 Commission was closed down on August 21, 2004.

Submitted by TSO Jason on

FunkyMonkey wrote:
"Please address the following item in a future blog post. I've seen it many places and it really does make it look like ya'll are doing evil:

http://www.boingboing.net/2008/08/18/human-rights-worker.html"

The article in question is about Customs and not the TSA, while still a part of Homeland Security they are two seperate entities.

Submitted by TSO Jason on

Robert Johnson wrote:

Quoted from Anonymous, "Say what you want about "security theater" "TSA sucks" whatever you want to say, the fact remains that the measures in place now, though an inconvenience to you, are better than they were pre-9/11/2001."

"Empirical data would say otherwise."

Robert I agree with your entire post except this last part. You are comparing testing rates between pre-TSA and TSA, which would be fine if the tests were the same. The level of testing has definately changed. Difficulty levels make a comparision akin to apples to oranges. Don't get me wrong I believe that TSA has a long way to go to improve security measures and increase their test scores but to compare two systems that used different methods and objects for testing is unfair.

Submitted by TSO Tom on

Okay, here's an idea to Bob and TSA:
how about publishing a brochure that would help the passengers understand some of the "rules" that apply at the checkpoint. Let's forget the SOP, how to's and what nots....simply a brochure that explains what is necesarry for the passenger to make it through the checkpoint area problem free. For instance it could contain the statement that is shown on the signs at the checkpoint about interfering with intimidating or assaulting screening officers at the checkpoint. It could also contain information on shoes, laptops, boarding passes, id's etc. Available at the TDC area it would help them through the checkpoint problem free. What do you think guys, can this be done? Also, listing applicable laws that give rise to these rules would help with the process as well.

Submitted by Jim Huggins on

HSVTSO Dean writes:

(I'm gonna pick this apart quite a bit, Dean ... mainly because I think it actually illustrates several important points, not because you're worthy of picking on. I appreciate your straight answers to straight questions. Thanks.)

The information is out there, for the most part, it's just not all put into a single encompassing list.

Which means that if I poke around and read three or four different TSA webpages, I might know all the rules, and I might not. There's no way to know if I've found all of the relevant information.

Also, there are these neat little pamphlets. I haven't seen one in a bit, but they used to be all over the airline ticket counters down in the lobby with an exhaustive prohibited items list, and the passengers were allowed to keep them. The only thing that was out of date, last I saw it, was cigarette lighters - they're permitted again.

You've just undercut your own argument; you've admitted that this resource that's supposed to let people know what the rules are isn't correct. So what happens when I get to a checkpoint with a lighter, and some TSO says I can't bring it aboard because "the pamphlet says so"? How do I convince the TSO that the TSA's paperwork (s)he's holding is obsolete?

The more I thought about what your specific question is, the more it occurred to me that most of the information is already out there, and most of the information is also contained on the TSA website -- albeit not in a very functional, easy-to-find manner. You kinda' have to dig around there for it.

And how do I know when I'm done digging for it? How do I know that there's not some other rule that's gonna tell me that my perfectly reasonable yet unusual personal item is prohibited on board?

But even the take-home pamphlet of the prohibited items list is basically the same from the TSA website's.

By "basically the same", you mean "different". Which one is correct? And how can I tell?

TSOs can exempt items up to 3.4oz without needing justification, so it just kind-of became a de facto limit, though I think the technical, official limit is 3.0oz. Any TSOs want to jump in and let me know if that was officially changed, or if that's still the case?

So you, as a TSO, don't know with absolute certainty whether the fluids limit is 3.0oz or 3.4oz. If you don't know what the rules are, and you're the one enforcing the rules, how am I supposed to prepare to follow them?

The travel documents page also seems to be lacking, but most of the general information is there. Everything else - like what to do if you've been pulled over for secondary screening - pretty much just boils down to "follow instructions." And, occasionally, there's a gaff.

So, absolutely everything we need to know is there, except for the stuff that's wrong. How am I supposed to know the difference?

If TSA wants passengers to learn the rules before getting to the checkpoint, then TSA needs to provide all the rules in one, coherent, correct presentation. Otherwise, TSA needs to back off the "blame-the-victim" mentality I've seen exhibited here by some TSOs ("it's your fault for not knowing the rules").

[Note: not from you, Dean. You're a good guy.]

Submitted by John Pollard on
@Anonymous Debbie: "Hi, my name is Debbie and I am offended blah, blah. Complain, complain. Have any of you ever thought that productive criticism instead of attacks could bring on more engaged dialogue? It is nice to get things off your chest but calling each other names is not productive. It is starting to feel like a tank full of hungry sharks. I will hold my thoughts until I see if this really aids the passengers.

You haven't been around here very long, have you?

Many of us have been here since the beginning and have offered the constructive cricitism. The problem is that TSA doesn't listen and doesn't care, and quite honestly, it's frustrating. You see that frustration with the repeated questions because they don't really answer them. The best ones are half answers at best, and many of them are "just trust us" or "because we say so."

TSA needs to be challenged on these things. And if we seem upset, yeah, we are. Many of us have to deal with their madness on a daily basis and THAT gets old.

So when TSA starts giving us the DIALOGUE it promised us, maybe things will calm down a bit. It shouldn't take weeks of harping to get answers.
Submitted by Anonymous on

@dean

While I appreciate the time you put into your post, you are deliberately walking around the issue. The rules have to be exhaustive and NOT use weasel words like "Prohibited items include but are not limited to..." The reason we want these rules is so that we can prove we are in the right.

Consider the example raised by another commentator earlier: A shoelace considered by a TSO to be a garrot. What rule can be pointed to to _prove_ the TSO is wrong? Saying we just have to rely on the mercy of the supervisor doesn't cut it - this ain't, yet, the soviet union. There is no such things as a nation of laws if the laws are secret.

Submitted by Robert Johnson on

Phil, yeah, I've read that stuff. I've found it's always best to read government documents with a skeptical mind. Just like anything else, there's always an agenda that's trying to be pushed. I'm a "show me the money" kind of guy.

I didn't agree with a lot of the things the 9/11 commission put out. The problem I had with it was that it was to be taken as absolute gospel and could never be questioned. Doesn't mean that there aren't good things in it, but I also remember that their report is the basis for a lot of the stupidity that we have to deal with today. "Why do we do things this way?" "The 9/11 Commission said we had to." Case closed.

I've worked for the government and still contract to them. I saw/see a lot of BS in there. The mentality of group think is alive and well there and they don't take too kindly to "out of the box" ideas and to actually sharing information. I fought too many battles with that and after banging my head way too many times, I finally got a concussion and left. :)

So yeah, I've seen both sides of the coin as a gov't employee and Joe Citizen. What's there right now isn't pretty.

Robert

Submitted by Phil on

I wrote:

"I don't think it's a bit unreasonable to expect that government to tell me what the rules are so that I can follow those rules."

TSO Dean responded:

"The information is out there, for the most part, it's just not all put into a single encompassing list."

The information that is "out there" is conflicting (and thus inaccurate), incomplete, and vague. We're talking about restricting people's right to travel and associate, here. We need to be specific. We need people to know exactly what they are required to do beyond that which they are required to do in other cirumstances (like 20' ahead or behind the checkpoint) and we need people to know exactly what they are barred from doing beyond that which they are barred from doing in other circumstances. If we can't do that, we shouldn't expect people to follow the rules, and we can't very well punish them for not doing so.

"There are signs at all (or, at least, most - granted I haven't been through all the airpots, but I can't see how this would be different) the checkpoints telling people that they have to take their jackets off, remove metal off their persons, take their shoes off, etc."

Some of those signs are blatently inaccurate. I photographed some inaccurate signs bearing the TSA logo at MCI last year. In fact, I filed a complaint with TSA and received a response from Jeanne Oliver, Associate Director of TSA Office of the Executive Secretariat. She did not indicate that TSA would fix the problem, but did confirm that if a traveler was (at the time; this has since changed) "unwilling or unable to produce a valid form of ID, the traveler [was] required to undergo additional screening at the checkpoint to gain access to the secured area of the airport," and thus that the signs were inaccurate. I wrote about this experience in a comment in reponse to the "Gripes and Grins Part 3" post (in a comment submitted 2008-03-31 15:01 -0700) and again in response to the Why is ID Important for Security?" post (in a comment posted 2008-06-11 15:29 -0700). A story about my experience was run on the front page of the Kansas City Star ("Although airport security tells passengers they must show ID to board planes, they really don't," Scott Canon and Mike Rice, Kansas City Star, April 9, 2008; that paper does not allow free access to their archives, but the story was also run by the Seattle Times: "If truth be told, you don't always need ID for domestic flights", Seattle times, April 14, 2008 and also by the Arizona Daily Star: "You can fly without ID, but a hassle will accompany you", Arizona Daily Star, April 20, 2008).

Dean went on to describe the Huntsville airport, where he works, having nineteen signs, a large television displaying a slide show, signs about how x-rays may damage photographic film and how to avoid such damage, pamphlets about prohibited items at ticket counters, and more signs.

Dean, one big problem here is that none of those is an authoritative source of information. They have been discredited repeatedly. I understand that when rules change, it takes a while to update all the inaccurate information left around, but I suspect the OMB's Agency Information Quality Guidelines require TSA to keep its publications accurate, and this is not a problem that is unique to TSA. Other agencies have figured out how to deal with it.

"most of the information is already out there, and most of the information is also contained on the TSA website -- albeit not in a very functional, easy-to-find manner. You kinda' have to dig around there for it."

I don't care about easy-to-find, and I'm not sure what you meant by "functional". All I'm asking for is a complete and accurate list of rules someone is required to follow at a U.S. Government airport checkpoint in order to avoid having his right to travel restricted, not including the rules/reglations/laws that he is required to follow elsewhere (just the checkpoint-specific ones; those that TSA alone imposes).

"And, by the way, the LGAs are listed on the TSA website as well as the checkpoint signs as being limited to 3.0oz - this is technically accurate. TSOs can exempt items up to 3.4oz without needing justification,"

See, there's a problem. Either the law says I can't pass the checkpoint with more than 3 ounces of liquid without breaking it up into 3oz portions and store them in a one-quart resealable plastic bag or it does not. Am I to believe that the (no offense) lowly TSO is authorized to allow me to break the law? Does the law actually allow for 3.4oz portions? We cannot tell unless we can read the law. Where is the law that we are required to follow? Am I really to believe that the law requires me to do whatever any given TSA TSO demands? That doesn't sound very American.

"so it just kind-of became a de facto limit, though I think the technical, official limit is 3.0oz."

Ha! And you are one of the people charged with enforcing these rules! How in the world are we travelers supposed to know what the rules are if those who are supposed to enforce them -- in particular, one of those people who is very interested in knowing how to do things right, not just some slacker -- doesn't know what they are? Dean, you must realize how ridiculous this is. "Ridiculous" is putting it lightly.

"The TSA traveler's guide states: `While not a sinister item, it is illegal to carry more than $10,000 cash'. Which is tru... kind-of"

Dean, you seem to have a pretty good grasp of the law. Surely you know that either it is illegal to carry more than $10,000 cash (which is unlikely, given that armored truck companies have people doing it all the time) or it is not. If it is not illegal, then TSA's Web site is inaccurate; our government has published inaccurate information about the laws we are required to follow. Doesn't that alarm you? At the very least, don't you think it should leave us all skeptical of other information TSA puts on its Web site?

"Was there anything in particular you were wanting to know about, Phil?"

Yes: I want to know the URL or name of government publication that lists all the rules and regulations that TSA will subject someone to if that person wishes to cross a U.S. Government checkpoint at an airport en route to the gate from which his domestic flight will depart, not including laws that the person is required to abide by outside of the airport checkpoint (i.e., just those rules and regulations that apply only at the checkpoint).

It's so simple: What are the rules you require us to follow? If you point me to something that contains conflicting information or falsehoods like we uncovered in this discussion, then it's not an accurate list of the rules. I've yet to see an accurate list. I challenge anyone reading this to just point me to the rules. That doesn't mean the entire "guidelines for travelers" page, it doesn't mean the entire TSA Web site, it doesn't mean the entire U.S. Government Web, and it doesn't mean the whole Internet -- just a list of the rules TSA imposes on travelers at a U.S. Government airport checkpoint. When I want to know the rules I am required to follow when driving, I can go read the law that created those rules. It may be dense "legalese" but that is the language of policy. Where are TSA policies?

Anyone?

Submitted by Phil on

In response to my request for an accurate, complete, and concise list of the rules TSA requires travelers to follow when passing through a U.S. Governement checkpoint at an airport, someone anonymously wrote (sir or madam, please don't take offense; I mean nothing personal by my criticism of your likely-well-intentioned comments):


"Lets try this, you're at the checkpoint, and the sign says, "interfering with screening personel...." etc....these are some of the rules your subject to."

You'll need to define "interfering with screening personel," then. There's no judge to interpret the law for us in this case. Does interference include making small talk? How about walking by in very revealing attire? Asking questions about what the rules are? Protesting the actions of screeners who are clearly not following the rules?

"Lets simplify it:

"1. Don't interfere with the screening process. Don't intimidate TSO's (lets not argue about this now because we all know that some TSO's can be rude).

I addressed that already.

"2. Take your shoes off

"2a. if you're diabetic or have a condition which prevents you from taking your shoes off, you are subect to a shoe swab."

With 2a, 2 ceases to make sense. Either you're required to take your shoes off or not. Also, how can you require me to remove my shoes if I'm not wearing shoes? Maybe what you meant was something like, "2. Unless you are _______ you may not wear shoes through the checkpoint."

"3. If your laptop is not in a checkpoint friendly bag, please take it out and xray it separately."

"3a. If your laptop is xrayed in side a non checkpoint friendly bag it is subject to additional screening."

Again, don't assume that someone has a laptop. Just tell me what the rules are. Are laptops allowed to be carried through? Must they be x-rayed? Must I make any special preparations for the x-ray screening?

"4. Make sure your LGA's are properly packaged and xrayed separately as well.

What is an LGA?

"4a. No weapons, incendiary's or explosives please. Also, fireworks are prohibited as well."

This is a list of rules, not a conversation. "Please" has no place in here. Just tell me what the rules are; don't ask me to do anything.

"5. Be patient with us (again lets not argue this one)"

That's not enforceable. We can't define what patience is in this context or determine whether someone is being patient or not.

"6. Show us your boarding pass and ID please."

Similarly to #4a, you're asking something when you should be stating a fact. Just tell me the rule, and I'll figure out what to do so that I don't break the rule and can go on about my business, please. I'm looking for something like, "Before entering the checkpoint, you must present a valid boarding pass (for that day?) (in your name?) (to whom?) and documentation of your identity (what sort?) (to whom?)"

"7. Show boarding pass again at the mag, your id is no longer necessary."

I don't know what a "mag" is. You need not and should not to list anything that is not necessary, only the things that are necessary. Just tell me what is required of me, please, and I can figure out that everything else is not required of me on my own.

"8. Collect your property and go on your way."

Am I required to collect my property? Must I go on my way immediately?

"I don't think there are many other rules that you need to worry about unless something comes up that causes concern, and in that case its not a rule per se, its something that occurred during the process. Its really that simple."

If there are other rules, I most certainly need to be aware of them so that I can follow them. Something that "comes up and causes concern [to security guards at the checkpoint]" is really of no concern to me as long as I'm following the rules. Out of compassion for fellow people, I'm somewhat concerned about their concerns, but really, I just want to go on about my business without being hassled.


What I am worried about is that we have set up a system by which rules are made up on-the-fly by low-level security personnel, and that we are now restricting people's right to movement within their own country based on the arbitrary judgement of thousands of such personnel as well as by use of blacklists. This is un-American, and we shouldn't stand for it. Bob, Dean, Rachel, and everyone else: You shouldn't be part of it if you can avoid it. I'm sorry if you're in a tough situation, but you're part of the start of something very bad. I hope that your participation is part of plans to change things from the inside.

Submitted by Phil on

TSO Tom wrote:

"how about publishing a brochure that would help the passengers understand some of the "rules" that apply at the checkpoint. Let's forget the SOP, how to's and what nots....simply a brochure that explains what is necesarry for the passenger to make it through the checkpoint area problem free."

Thanks for the suggestion to help, but we don't need something to help us understand the rules we are required to follow, we need to see the rules. It's up to us to figure out how to follow them.

Why is it so hard to just show us the rules we're supposed to follow if we want to be able to travel by commercial airline within the country? Is it because no such list of rules exist? Then how are we supposed to know how to comply with those rules?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Hey Blogdad Bob, care to comment on how TSA people damaged 14 airplanes at Chicago ORD?

Is this the highly trained TSA at work?

Just wondering!

Submitted by Bob Kim on

@TSO Tom: "For instance it could contain the statement that is shown on the signs at the checkpoint about interfering with intimidating or assaulting screening officers at the checkpoint."

So what charges are brought against screeners when they do the same thing to passengers?

Submitted by Phil on

I quoted TSO Tom as having writtena:

"Robert Johnson, I have one question for you, have you actually taken the time to read the lengthy 9/11 comission report?"

I then mistakenly addressed the following question to Robert although I intended to address it to Tom:

Robert, have you read The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions And Distortions, by David Ray Griffin? Have you heard that the chair and vice chair of the 9/11 Commission now say their report was incomplete and flawed?

Sorry for the mix-up, Robert and Tom.

Nonetheless, I hope everyone reading this will consider that almost seven years after the destruction of the World Trade Center, we still haven't had a thorough investigation of how and why it happened. Please don't start in with the "conspiracy theorist" nonsense. I don't know who conspired to destroy those buildings, but it wasn't someone acting on his or her own, and thus people conspired to do it. I don't know if that group included Osama Bin Laden, Larry Silverstein or Dick Cheney, but I think finding out who was involved is important.

We've based a lot of bad domestic and foreign policy on our belief in the story we were told within hours of the incident, well before what little investigation we did occurred. I'm tired of hearing "remember 9/11" pounded in from every angle and used as justification for numerous intrusive, expensive, and unconstitutional policies from the new Department of Homeland security. People were so frightened by this horrendous crime that they have since sat by idly while our Constitution is subverted in the name of keeping us safe from an overblownthreat that is likely to be no more dangerous than was Communism during the Cold War.

And who benefited? I'd say some terrorist organizations benefited (we're terrorized, and our way of life has changed), and I'd say that those who wanted to and had already prepared plans to start wars in the Middle East benefited, and I'd say that the people behind the USA PATRIOT Act and wanted a reason to enact it, then introduced all 300 pages of it less than a week after the tragedy of September 11, 2001, benefited. All these people who benefited should have been prime suspects in the investigation, but only some of them were. The others were, for the most part, associates of those who conducted the investigation.

We deserve a thorough and truly independent investigation. Those who died deserve it and their survivors deserve it. And tying this back to the subject at hand: What little we do know is not justification for giving up our right to travel without interference from our government and our right to protection from unreasonable search.

TSA: You want to do something about transportation security? Do something about the 3000 people who died... last month in automobile accidents, and the 3000 that died in them the month before, and the month before that.

Submitted by Kathy From Kleveland on

Bob,

I just want to know the rules so the TSA officials on duty will stop barking at me for doing the wrong thing. Currently, what's "right" at one airport is very "wrong" at another.

For example, at BWI we were yelled at for putting our shoes in a plastic bin. At Boston Logan we were yelled at for not putting our shoes in a plastic bin.

I'm sure you can see how this would get tiresome ....

Submitted by Sandra on

Dean, can you please share with us the URL of the TSA page that talks about $10,000+ not being "sinister?"

I went to the Traveler's Guide page and then did a search for $10,000. This is what I found:

"Currency Reporting

It is legal to transport any amount of currency or other monetary instruments into or out of the United States. However, if you transport, attempt to transport, or cause to be transported (including by mail or other means) currency or other monetary instruments in an aggregate amount exceeding $10,000 (or its foreign equivalent) at one time from the United States to any foreign place, or into the United States from any foreign place, you must file a report with U.S. Customs. This report is called the Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments, Customs Form 4790. Furthermore, if you receive in the United States, currency or other monetary instruments in an aggregate amount exceeding $10,000 (or its foreign equivalent) at one time which has been transported, mailed, or shipped to you from any foreign place, you must file a CF-4790. These forms can be obtained at all U.S. ports of entry and departure.

Monetary instruments include:

* U.S. or foreign coins and currency;
* Traveler checks in any form;
* Negotiable instruments (including checks, promissory notes, and money orders) that are either in bearer form, endorsed without restriction, made out to a fictitious payee, or otherwise in such form that title thereto passes upon delivery;
* Incomplete instruments (including checks, promissory notes, and money orders) signed, but with they payee’s name omitted; and
* Ssecurities or stock in bearer form or otherwise in such form that title thereto passes upon delivery. However, the term "monetary instruments" does not include:
o Checks or money orders made payable to the order of a named person which have not been endorsed or which bear restrictive endorsements;
o Warehouse receipts; or
o Bills of lading.

Reporting is required under the Currency and Foreign Transaction Reporting Act (PL 97-258, 31 U.S.C. 5311, et seq.), as amended. Failure to comply can result in civil and criminal penalties and may lead to forfeiture of your monetary instrument(s).

U.S. Customs Service

1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20229

Telephone (202) 927-1520 "

No where is the word "sinister" to be found on that page.

The only other results of that search referred to the TSA famous sanctions for breaking its unpublished rules.

Your statement is a perfect example of what Phil and others mean when they say that the TSA website offers conflicting and confusing "information."

Show us the rules, all of them, so we know what we are dealing with when we transit an airport.

Submitted by Tso Jason on

Dean wrote:

"And, by the way, the LGAs are listed on the TSA website as well as the checkpoint signs as being limited to 3.0oz - this is technically accurate. TSOs can exempt items up to 3.4oz without needing justification, so it just kind-of became a de facto limit, though I think the technical, official limit is 3.0oz. Any TSOs want to jump in and let me know if that was officially changed, or if that's still the case?"

Let's try this again, my first comment never got posted. 3.4oz went into effect when we picked up Great Britain's liquid ban which is roughly equal to 100ml. To my knowledge 3.4oz was always the limit, for some reason the signs that came out for the passengers was 3oz.

Submitted by HSVTSO Dean on

Oh, my god. It's almost enough to make me want to quit writing here.

This is in no particular order, and isn't even addressing everything, but I've had enough for now.

Jim Huggins wrote:
(I'm gonna pick this apart quite a bit, Dean ... mainly because I think it actually illustrates several important points, not because you're worthy of picking on. I appreciate your straight answers to straight questions. Thanks.)

You're welcome, and thanks, and I know - but it's still annoying as hell. :P

Jim Huggins wrote:
So you, as a TSO, don't know with absolute certainty whether the fluids limit is 3.0oz or 3.4oz.

Not here I don't. I'm at the house. If I was at work, I could've looked up the obscure management directives that maybe 10% of the screener corps has ever actually read rather than having a supervisor interpret to them in an in-briefing.

Want to know why the all-encompassing list you want doesn't exist, and can't? Let me give you an example, and it's something I've mentioned before on the Blog:

Strictly speaking, the fluids limit is 0oz.

None.

They're prohibited completely.

Totally. End of story. Liquids and gels and aerosols and pastes are prohibited 100% from taking through a security checkpoint.

However -- and this is assuming that the 3.0 hasn't been taken out and just moved to 3.4 anyway, like I was writing above -- up to 3.0oz is allowed in a bag by exception. We're allowed to grant a further exception up to 3.4oz without justifying it. We're allowed to further exception anything at all up to any size with compelling justification and all screening tools to ensure that it's not a threat.

What are you getting at? The goal is to keep things simple. Passengers don't need to know that liquids and gels are prohibited in their entirety, but that everything is given an exception. That causes confusion. That's why we just say the limit is 3.4oz and move on with life.

Phil wrote:
Am I required to collect my property? Must I go on my way immediately?

Yes, actually. Though we may not say anything if you turn around and wave at your friends and family before turning and meandering off, if you just stand there and don't move and leave all your stuff there on the table, you're making it more difficult for other people to come through because you're a body in the way. Under some supervisors' interpretation, this constitutes as interference with the screening procedures.

Phil wrote:
What is an LGA?

The shorthand written form of liquids, gels, and aerosols. No TSO with a single shred of a single iota of sense is going to verbally say "L.G.A." to a passenger. We normally don't even say it amongst ourselves. It'd be like writing "omg" on the Internet (which just about everyone knows to mean "oh, my god") and then turning around saying "ohh-emm-gee!" in real life. It'd just be stupid.

Jim Huggins wrote:
So what happens when I get to a checkpoint with a lighter, and some TSO says I can't bring it aboard because "the pamphlet says so"?

...I'd actually be willing to bet good money than most TSOs have never even seen one of those pamphlets, and cigarette lighters (in the checkpoint, with the exception of torch lighters; don't even get me started on the asinine business regarding lighters in checked baggage) have been off our prohibited items list (which, believe it or not, is actually shorter than the list on the TSA website. The difference therein is the fact that the website's list goes way in depth with almost anything you could possibly care to bring through the checkpoint that's not an electronic doodad or an article of clothing) for some time now.

Phil wrote:
I don't know what a "mag" is. You need not and should not to list anything that is not necessary, only the things that are necessary.

Mag is shorthand for magnetometer. Strictly speaking, we don't use them anymore - there's some minor, piddling little technical difference between a magnetometer and a walk-through metal detector - but saying "mag" is still easier than saying "walk-through metal detector" in it's entirety.

Telling folks not to show us their IDs again seems more like a courtesy. About 90% of the people that come through Huntsville's checkpoint want to give us their ID with the boarding pass there, too; telling people that don't have to show it lets them put it away where they can't drop it and lose it.

Phil wrote:
..you're asking something when you should be stating a fact

It's called being polite, that whole "saying 'please'" thing. :P

When my wife tells me, "Dean, will you take out the trash, please?" -- do you think there's any actual choice in that regard? :P

Phil wrote:
There's no judge to interpret the law for us in this case.

In the case of interfering with the screening process? Wow. Don't worry. We don't know the definition to that, either. Supervisors wield a great deal of authority when it comes to that, but it's a hammer that's not brought down very often here at Huntsville. To my knowledge, only two people have been escorted out of the airport by TSA's request since Huntsville rolled out in 2002. The alternative to having them escorted out would be to have them arrested and charged with a federal offense, so I'd say we did them a favor.

Phil wrote:
Where are TSA policies?

Listed in our standard operating procedures, and thereafter written in simple terms and put on the TSA website for the public to have to use in preparation of traveling.

Phil wrote:
I hope that your participation is part of plans to change things from the inside.

My participation is all part of this grand-master plan that I have to continue paying my mortgage and not impoverish my family.

Phil wrote:
If it is not illegal, then TSA's Web site is inaccurate

Except that it is illegal in certain scenarios. The page I got it from in the traveler's guide wasn't making a statement about carrying money, it was talking about shoes. The line I quoted was a subtitle under an image.

Submitted by Tso Jason on

Dean wrote:

"And, by the way, the LGAs are listed on the TSA website as well as the checkpoint signs as being limited to 3.0oz - this is technically accurate. TSOs can exempt items up to 3.4oz without needing justification, so it just kind-of became a de facto limit, though I think the technical, official limit is 3.0oz. Any TSOs want to jump in and let me know if that was officially changed, or if that's still the case?"

Let's try this again, my first comment never got posted. 3.4oz went into effect when we picked up Great Britain's liquid ban which is roughly equal to 100ml. To my knowledge 3.4oz was always the limit, for some reason the signs that came out for the passengers was 3oz. Everything present on the website says 3oz but if you look at www.tsa.gov/assets/pdf/gao_report.pdf
The GAO states that the TSA rule is 3.4oz, so we have a breakdown somewhere.

Submitted by Phil on

Dean, thanks for clearing up some of the terminology.

As for being polite, I understand that. However, what the other person attempted to present was not a script that someone who is capable of being polite could read, but a list of rules. Rules cannot be polite impolite; they are simply statements of fact or directions. "Please do suchandsuch" is not a rule, it's a request.

As much as I'd like to please nearly everyone I come into contact with (as we'd all be happier if everyone did so), when I'm stopped by government agents for no reason other than to stop me and all the other honest people in an attempt to find the few criminals, the last thing I'm concerned with is pleasing those agents or fulfilling a request for them. Orders only, please. If I'm not required to do it, I'm not likely to do so, because I just want to get on with my business as quickly as possible. If I'm required to do something, you need to tell me to do it, not ask to do it -- as if I have a choice in the matter. This is not customer service at a place of business, it is a search by government agents. You don't have to be unfriendly, but please don't confuse requests with orders -- it makes things difficult for all of us.

So instead of "please do suchandsuch", the other person probably should have written "you must do suchandsuch" or "you are required to do suchandsuch". Those are rules, and if I'm required to follow them, I will.

But TSA doesn't seem to have a list of the rules we are required to follow at U.S. Government checkpoints in airports, so I have little hope for any of us being able to pass through those checkpoints with confidence that we're following the rules. Hopefully, Congress will soon rein in the Department of Homeland Security.

Submitted by Jim Huggins on

Dean (bravely) wrote:

Strictly speaking, the fluids limit is 0oz. None. They're prohibited completely. Totally. End of story. Liquids and gels and aerosols and pastes are prohibited 100% from taking through a security checkpoint.

However -- and this is assuming that the 3.0 hasn't been taken out and just moved to 3.4 anyway, like I was writing above -- up to 3.0oz is allowed in a bag by exception.

See, this is what really annoys folks like me.

If the actual rule is that all liquids are banned, but that 3.[0/4] ounces can be passed through as an exception to the rule, this means that I as a passenger am relying on the goodwill of the TSO at the checkpoint to grant me that exception. Any TSO, at any time, could refuse to grant me that exception for any reason --- maybe because I'm acting genuinely suspiciously, or maybe because (s)he doesn't like my ethnicity, or my height, or my Michigan jacket. After all, the rule says, "no liquids at all", and there's nothing that says that the TSO has to allow my exception.

On the other hand, if the rule were to say "3.[0/4] oz is permitted", then I as a passenger have much greater control over the situation. The TSO must by default permit my small liquids to pass, unless the TSO has specific justification to the contrary.

If this really is the rule, then I can understand why no-one has published the real rules ...

Submitted by GSOLTSO on

Anonymous said "(What are the chances that the Security Theater playwrights know what "sic" means? Shrug...)"

Most of us are not scholars, but there are some that can indicate the common usage of [sic] is to indicate the inclusion of a misspelled word as it was utilized in a direct quotation (meaning the initial quote was a misspelling). Just to let you know, personal attacks belittle the person making them, use facts, serious questions, and propose WORKABLE solutions and you will get much further in generating constructive dialogue. I think that the introduction of these bags will help travellers with the screening procedures, and cut down on the time getting through the checkpoint. Admittedly, this will only give you a couple of minutes less time, but it is at leat a step in the right direction, especially for frequent travellers.

Submitted by HSVTSO Dean on
Sandra wrote:
No where is the word "sinister" to be found on that page.

Wrong page. ;)

That would be because the page wherein I found that remark wasn't necessarily talking about currency. It was talking about shoes, so the currency thing only got a quick cuff remark.

I'm too lazy to make it a link, so you'll have to copy/paste it in the old-fashioned way:

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/why_do_i.shtm

Last sentence, second paragraph. Go ahead and talk about how the TSA has misleading information on their website, now. I'm sure that one's coming in hard and fast. :D

Kathy from Kleveland wrote:
I'm sure you can see how this would get tiresome.

I do. However, that isn't an official TSA rule. The only thing that the official regulations state that must be in a bin are (a) laptops [mostly to protect the laptop itself from damage] and (b) magazines, newspapers, other items of that ilk generally less than an inch thick. Whether the particular airport wants shoes to be in the bins or not is entirely up to them.

For the record, Huntsville prefers the shoes to be directly on the x-ray belt. Shoes in bins by themselves don't weigh enough to push through the lead curtains on our x-ray machines. If there's other stuff in the bin with the shoes to provide ballast, then we don't generally say anything.

Jason wrote:
The GAO states that the TSA rule is 3.4oz, so we have a breakdown somewhere.

There's an absolute shocker.

I'm gonna look it up when I get back to work on Thursday, because I know the original liquid ban was... a total and complete ban. It changed to 3.0oz for, like, three days and then the de facto change to 3.4oz came in.

For the sake of the argument, there's no reason to really care if it's still officially 3.0oz with a 3.4oz exception or just an official 3.4oz except my own personal curiosity at this point.

Either way, the effective, practical, all intents and purposes limit is 3.4oz.

Trollkiller:
Still got the sticks handy? I'll bring the marshmallows this time.
Submitted by GSOLTSO on

Gunner said "It is so easy to post under anonymous and attack people. Internet cowardice at its best. Get an ID and have some accountability. Rachel and Dean have the cajones to identify themselves."

I have an ID, and I will be happy to instruct you that your tactics are not professional in the least. I will tell you that personal attacks and insults are a shallow way to make your point. I have seen others post on here that this was a site for giving the public a forum to try and be part of the process to make things better. If you have a specific problem, name it, present a WORKABLE solution *, and present facts to back your presentations. I know, I know, I know - before you even start, TSA has done a fairly terrible job of communicating with the public. Changes come so fast to the SOP that even WE can't keep up with them. There is a push in the organization to improve communications across the board, but with any organization this large communication will always be our number one problem. The inconsistencies you encounter at the checkpoints daily drives me to drink because I think it increases the stress on the passengers and the TSO's. That being said, the rules are there, yes they change, but there are the rules and they must be followed. I disagree with many of them, but I agree with many of them as well. I hope you can preseent more cogent arguments in the future and refrain from nthe useless personal attacks, as they do nothing to further the betterment of the process. Was that direct enough for you?

Submitted by Miller on

TSO Jason,

I commented several times on the inconsistencies of TSA's website. The liquid 3.0oz vs 3.4oz isn't the only thing that's inconsistent across that site. Good proofreading and editing would have taken care of that a long time ago - if someone cared at TSA.

Submitted by TSO Tom on

Jim Huggins wrote:
So you, as a TSO, don't know with absolute certainty whether the fluids limit is 3.0oz or 3.4oz.

Not here I don't. I'm at the house. If I was at work, I could've looked up the obscure management directives that maybe 10% of the screener corps has ever actually read rather than having a supervisor interpret to them in an in-briefing.

Want to know why the all-encompassing list you want doesn't exist, and can't? Let me give you an example, and it's something I've mentioned before on the Blog:
***********************************
Okay, there seems to be confusion on the limit of liquids/gels/aerosols being 3 oz or 3.4 oz. Lets clear this up. On August 10, 2006 all liquids were banned, period. Shortly thereafter, it was determined that "travel sized" items, which at the time were defined as 3.0 oz or less in size were permitted. Shortly thereafter again (approximately September of 2006) that limit was raised to 3.4 oz to correspond with our European counterparts. That said, the signs were listed as 3 oz and were never updated. In addition to the size restriction, it was determined that to keep these items together, and unclutter the carry on bags during xray screening, that these items must be packed in a 1 quart sized plastic zip lock bag and xrayed separately. Recently, TSO's have been given the discretion to allow items that are within the size limit, but not a zip lock bag, if the TSO determines that the items would fit into such a bag without bulging, breaking, etc. So, the limit has indeed changed, and the requirements for these items have also changed, in that TSO's are now being given more "discretion" in the area of allowing these items. I hope this info helps.

Submitted by Anonymous on

So how am I really supposed to know what kind of bag to get? Your cartoon 'examples' just don't make the cut. Can you just publish a list of what brands/models meet your criteria? Not that I really want to spend my already overtaxed hard-earned money on a new bag when the one I have already meets my needs.

Submitted by Gunner on
For instance it could contain the statement that is shown on the signs at the checkpoint about interfering with intimidating or assaulting screening officers at the checkpoint.

So when some TSA starts screaming "do you want to fly today" and I reply "do you want to live to get to your car today?" I'm interfering, but he is just laying his life on the line for me.

Just wanted to be sure.
Submitted by Abelard on

hsvtso dean writes:

There are signs at all (or, at least, most - granted I haven't been through all the airpots, but I can't see how this would be different) the checkpoints telling people that they have to take their jackets off, remove metal off their persons, take their shoes off, etc. Here at Huntsville we have nineteen signs total and a great big flat-panel TV over the arch in front of the security checkpoint with all the information on a slideshow.

The problem is that the signage is inconsistent or missing. Let me give you two quick stories from my one day trip yesterday from PHX to SNA.

1. While waiting in line at the checkpoint in Terminal 4 in PHX, we were treated to a nice little snit from the TSO reading the x-ray machine. He blew his top and snapped at us saying, "BINS MUST BE 4" INCHES APART!" and then pulled a bin out of the machine and slid it back onto the rollers.

And we were supposed to know that how? There weren't any signs and there certainly weren't any guides on the conveyor belt in 4" inch increments. I would love to know how I or anyone else was supposed to know the 4" Rule. Clearly, Cranky TSO expected we should have known it, otherwise, he wouldn't have been such a jerk.

2) When I went through the metal detector at PHX, I was only expected to show my boarding pass. When I went through the metal detector at SNA, I was told by the TSO on the other side to have my boarding pass AND ID in my hand when I walked through.

So, who is right? PHX or SNA? It doesn't matter. I just want consistency and I am not getting it, and that isn't my fault. PHX and SNA can duke it out for all I care. I just want the rules to be identical for every single airport in this country and an workforce that is willing to follow them.

The more I thought about what your specific question is, the more it occurred to me that most of the information is already out there, and most of the information is also contained on the TSA website -- albeit not in a very functional, easy-to-find manner. You kinda' have to dig around there for it.

First of all, not everyone has computer access nor should there be a requirement that people are expected to head to their local library or Kinko's to get Internet access to poke around the TSA website hoping to God they find all the rules.

Second, can you imagine how long a meglomart would last operating the same way? You walk into the big box store and ask an employee where the safety pins are. He or she looks up at you and says, "Well, they're in the store somewhere. You just kind of have to dig around for them."

Submitted by Anonymous on

Not related to this topic, but I didn't see a section for general comments...

I think given the TSA's mission to promote aviation security, I would like to see a response to the ABC news article that one of your inspectors damaged NINE planes at KORD (http://www.abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=5613502&page=1).

As a pilot, I find this incident completely unacceptable and I don't think I'm alone when I say I don't want the TSA anywhere near aircraft and your plan to include GA will just make things worse (http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2008-08-10-charter-planes_N.htm).

Thank you,
-Andrew

Submitted by Sandra on

Phil wrote:

Either the law says I can't pass the checkpoint with more than 3 ounces of liquid without breaking it up into 3oz portions and store them in a one-quart resealable plastic bag or it does not. Am I to believe that the (no offense) lowly TSO is authorized to allow me to break the law? Does the law actually allow for 3.4oz portions? We cannot tell unless we can read the law. Where is the law that we are required to follow?

This is not a criticism at all, Phil, as I admire and applaud your tenacity in challenging the TSA and individual posters on the accuracy of their writings.

However, I think you are mixing up "rules" and "laws." There are rules regarding the amounts of liquids one can bring on board a plane, but there are no laws as such - AFAIK.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am sitting in Richmond airport (RIC) having just gone through security. Two things happened that are new to me (and I'm an experienced traveler). First, as I gave my boarding pass and ID to the document checker, word spread through the TSOs that they were on "stand down". Noone was allowed to enter or leave the secure area. I asked why this happened and the TSO didn't know. What causes something like this?

Second, after I went through the metal detector, I was instructed to push "the red button" on a new machine. No explanation was given. After I pushed it, the screen flashed green and said "Standard Screening". I am guessing this is some kind of system that randomly chooses people for secondary screening? Why are these things rolled out with no warning or explanation? My first thought was that I was having to give my fingerprint to get through security. It's not hard to imagine that being next...

Submitted by Earl Pitts on

I had meant to post this in this thread. Mods feel free to delete in in the one Francine started.
---------
Hey guys, is this your way of keeping us safe?

TSA Snafu Grounds Nine Planes at O'Hare Field

I particularly like these quotes:

The TSA agent, as part of spot inspection of aircraft security, climbed onto the parked aircraft using control sensors mounted on the fuselage as handholds, according to a TSA official in Chicago, Elio Montenegro.

"Our inspector was following routine procedure for securing the aircraft that were on the tarmac," Montenegro told ABCNews.com.

So it's routine procedure to use plane instruments and break them?

and

Another pilot wrote the TSA agents, "are now doing things to our aircraft that may put our lives, and the lives of our passengers at risk."

Say it isn't so! TSA is there for our SAFETY! :rolleyes:

and

Another airline, Mesa Air Group, told its employees earlier this month that "48 percent of all TSA investigations involving Mesa Air Group involve a failure to maintain area/aircraft security."

Mesa said it was imposing a "zero-tolerance" policy for such violations, threatening employees with dismissal.

I think it's really the pot calling the kettle black when TSA tells an airline they're failing security checks.

If Mesa can have a zero tolerance policy for such things and holds their employees accountable, why can't or won't TSA?

Submitted by Robert Johnson on
Quote from TSO Jason: "The GAO states that the TSA rule is 3.4oz, so we have a breakdown somewhere."

Just one breakdown?
Submitted by TSO Jason on

Sandra wrote:
"Dean, can you please share with us the URL of the TSA page that talks about $10,000+ not being "sinister?"


It's located at:
http://www.tsa.dhs.gov/travelers/why_do_i.shtm

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