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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
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Comments

Submitted by Bob Eucher on

To Sandra who asked:

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

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

BTW, which is totally false! So I challenge the TSA to show us the law, or do the right thing and fix the webpage.

Submitted by Phil on

Jim Huggins wrote:

"If [as TSO Dean stated] 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."

Precisely, Jim. Furthermore, this means that we have a system that allows any one of thousands of TSA airport security guards to authorize passengers to disregard certain rules and carry banned items onto a flight.

Feel safer yet?

TSA: Why don't you just make a rule that says no one can pass your checkpoints, then authorize checkpoint agents to bend the rules as they please? You could end all of this pressure to tell us what the rules are if you simply made a rule that says we cannot fly, then ignored it. Isn't that what you're doing (on a smaller scale, of course) with the liquid ban?

If your rules said that we can't fly, then your people could just make up any reason they find appropriate to stop whomever they like from traveling.

Where has TSA published a list of 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). Please provide a URL or name of the government publication.

Submitted by Phil on

Sandra quoted my earlier comment:

"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."

Sandra then wrote:

"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."

Thanks for bringing that up, Sandra. I'm confused about it as well.

What, if any, of what the TSA demands of us as we attempt to walk past government checkpoints in airports, are we required by law to do? I've been (mostly) using the word "rule" because it's unclear to me what's a law and what's just bullying on the part of some people dressed up to look like police officers.

For now, what I really want to know is what the TSA requires us to do in order to avoid having our freedom of movement restricted by them. I'm not ready to discuss whether they have the authority to enforce these rules (though I suspect that they do). Many people just go along with whatever happens to come out of the mouth of whatever security guard is standing there at the checkpoint, then whine, "just follow the rules, and you'll be fine" when others question TSA practices, yet it seems there's no list of rules for us to follow.

I simply can't believe that I am required by law to follow arbitrary orders from some low-level security guard at an American airport. That's not the way things work in the United States. We fought a revolutionary war to break away from an oppressive government, and did a pretty good job of putting together a new form of government that should avoid such arbitrary rules. Here, we have rule of law, not rule of men.

If TSA can't show me the law/rule that says I have to split my liquids into 3.4 ounce portions and combine those smaller containers in a one-quart resealable bag, why should I believe them? They are not legislators. They do not issue executive orders. I'm not expected to take other people's word for what the law is. It's an insult to all that have worked and fought to make this nation what it is to simply lay down and let this abuse of power happen without so much as questioning it. Questioning authority is the patriotic thing to do, and I'm a bit of a patriot.

Submitted by Anonymous on

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.
***********************************
The "rule" does not currently say "no liquids at all". Sorry to disappoint the TSO who made that statement, but I'm starting to understand the inconsistencies that are being spoken of. The rule says, 3.4 oz or less (container size) in a 1 quart sized clear sealed zip lock bag. Period. We are granted acceptions to the bag rule, IF the items in question would fit into such a bag. Now some TSO's use the ability to make acceptions, and others do not...I personally have had fellow TSO's disallow such items, when I would have allowed them. It truly is up to the discretion of the TSO, unfortunately there is no real guidance on how to apply such discretion, so you truly are at the mercy of a TSO's discretion. Times when I would not allow items to go would be if the passenger got out of hand or unruly, other than that, if it fits inside a zip lock bag, even though you may not have one, I'm letting it go.

Submitted by TSO Tom on

Phil said...
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?

August 19, 2008 2:58 PM
***********************************
Phil;
perhaps you misunderstood what I was suggesting. I'm talking about a list of the rules, with side note tips on what they mean, where they are derived from, and how best to navigate through the checkpoint. Obviously some people would be able to figure out how best to follow them, and others may not, so an "understanding" of the rules, or explanation of the rationale for the rules would make perfect sense. Believe it or not folks, the frontline people such as myself want this as much as you do...it makes MY job easier!

Submitted by A on

Are the new laptop bag criteria and procedures specific to laptops only or do they also apply other "large electronic" devices such as portable DVD players which currently must be removed from bags for screening? In other words if I put a DVD player in a Checkpoint Friendly bag will that be ok under the new procedures or not? If it will be ok, have TSOs been made aware of this?

Submitted by Anonymous on
Times when I would not allow items to go would be if the passenger got out of hand or unruly, other than that, if it fits inside a zip lock bag, even though you may not have one, I'm letting it go.

Wouldn't this type of behavoir be considered retaliatory?

Didn't think you guys did such!

Now you have made it clear for all, TSO's do punish and abuse travelers without cause or authority.

I once heard that its a good idea to stop digging when the hole was deep enough.
Submitted by Sandra on

An anonymous screener wrote:

Times when I would not allow items to go would be if the passenger got out of hand or unruly, other than that, if it fits inside a zip lock bag, even though you may not have one, I'm letting it go.

So you would retaliate against a passenger? The TSA tells us that they do not allow retaliation. However, when screeners are allowed to use their "discretion", then that "discretion" is all too often turned into retaliation.

Submitted by HSVTSOD Dean on
Anonymous wrote:
The "rule" does not currently say "no liquids at all". Sorry to disappoint the TSO who made that statement

Why should I be disappointed when you proved my point entirely? :P

As I said, it's something that the vast bulk and majority of screening personnel probably don't know about. The SOP does the same thing that the publically-released guidelines do - it boils the stuff down. Read the directives from TSA instead, upon which the SOP is based (and in an easier-to-read format!), if your management gives you access to them. It's quite clear that there is a total and complete liquids prohibition, and anything allowed through is done by exception.

Jim Huggins wrote:
...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...

Technically? I don't think so.

The 3.4oz thing is an exception made to the rule, but off-hand I don't think it's one that we're allowed to not give, kind of like the rule pertaining to any kind of liquid or gel for medicinal use - also an exception, also one that we have to allow for.

If you ever run across a TSO that's feeling all full of themselves on it (which, as I've pointed out, likely isn't to happen given that 99.9% of the workforce [just an estimate on my part, there] isn't even aware of what the technicalities of the rules themselves are. I am one of three people at HSV, that I know of, with a functional understanding of it - one of the others is our training coordinator, the other is a supervisor) just ask to speak with a supervisor. I can't imagine any supervisor worth their salt would back the TSO on this.

Especially if it's something as petty as:

Anonymous wrote:
Times when I would not allow items to go would be if the passenger got out of hand or unruly

And yes, Sandra, it sounds like that to me, too.

Why then, you may ask, if it's an exception that we have to allow, is the official, technical rule not just 3.4oz? ...Well, it'd be simpler, true, and far easier. But - show of hands, please - since when has TSA ever taken the simple road to any given approach? :D

All told, Jim, it's still not something you'll have to worry about, based only on the fact that the in-depth technicalities of the liquids rule has got about as much nationwide celebrity status among the screener corps as my pet cat does.

"a" wrote:
In other words if I put a DVD player in a Checkpoint Friendly bag will that be ok under the new procedures or not?

From what I understand, no it will not. Anything else besides a laptop (even if they're in the checkpoint-friendly laptop bags) still has to come out of the bag, including DVD players and CPAP machines and other large electronic items of that nature.
Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...
Times when I would not allow items to go would be if the passenger got out of hand or unruly, other than that, if it fits inside a zip lock bag, even though you may not have one, I'm letting it go.

Wouldn't this type of behavoir be considered retaliatory?

Didn't think you guys did such!

Now you have made it clear for all, TSO's do punish and abuse travelers without cause or authority.

I once heard that its a good idea to stop digging when the hole was deep enough.

August 20, 2008 11:26 PM


Sandra said...
An anonymous screener wrote:

Times when I would not allow items to go would be if the passenger got out of hand or unruly, other than that, if it fits inside a zip lock bag, even though you may not have one, I'm letting it go.

So you would retaliate against a passenger? The TSA tells us that they do not allow retaliation. However, when screeners are allowed to use their "discretion", then that "discretion" is all too often turned into retaliation.

August 21, 2008 9:14 AM
***********************************
I said nothing about retaliation...absolutely nothing. I said, I'm willing to work with the passenger to ensure that items that do not present a danger to the flight crew or other passengers are permitted into the sterile area. If a passenger immediately gets defensive and out of control with me, why should I allow that to happen?
So in your logic, I'm supposed to say, I'm very sorry sir/ma'am....I won't search your bag again, please have a nice day. After that passenger has just caused a scene on the checkpoint in front of other passengers? I think not. If you can't remain calm, and talk to me like a human being, then I'm not going to give you the courtesy of the time of day. Its that simple. Call it what you want, I call it doing my job.

Submitted by Robert Johnson on
Quote from Sandra:"So you would retaliate against a passenger? The TSA tells us that they do not allow retaliation. However, when screeners are allowed to use their "discretion", then that "discretion" is all too often turned into retaliation."

Don't you know Sandra? Deodorant and shampoo are not a threat in the hands of a happy person. However, an unhappy person could use them to bring down a plane, so they can't be allowed thru.

Robert
Submitted by Anonymous on

Heh: "Have to take off my shoes?

We can't see inside your shoes when they're on your feet. But our x-ray machines can get a good look when you take your shoes off.

We see 2 million shoes a day so it is easy to tell when they have been tampered. Here is an example from Jacksonville, Florida of $40,000 artfully concealed in the sole of an athletic shoe. While not a sinister item, it is illegal to carry more than $10,000 cash." -- from http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/why_do_i.shtm

Wrong.

It is illegal to carry more than $10,000 dollars through customs without declaring it: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vacation/kbyg/money.xml.

It isn't (yet) illegal to carry cash within our borders, TSA just acts like it is.

Submitted by TSO Jason on

Robert Johnson wrote:

"Just one breakdown?"

I don't want to develop carpal tunnel listing all the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

Submitted by Robert Johnson on
Quote from Anonymous: "It isn't (yet) illegal to carry cash within our borders, TSA just acts like it is."

Just another way to try to make a Big Catch®.

Robert
Submitted by Anonymous on

Okay, I'm officially confused about this posting. Our SOP specifically tells us that it is NOT illegal to carry large sums of cash within US borders. The only reason I can see why the incident in question would have been illegal is the "artful concealment of the cash in the shoes".

Submitted by IAH FLyer on

anonymous said: "The "rule" does not currently say "no liquids at all". Sorry to disappoint the TSO who made that statement, but I'm starting to understand the inconsistencies that are being spoken of. The rule says, 3.4 oz or less (container size) in a 1 quart sized clear sealed zip lock bag. Period."

**************************

You may want to check that "rule" again. I believe that it permits 1liter bags, which are larger than 1quart.

Submitted by HSVTSO Dean on
IAH Flyer wrote:
You may want to check that "rule" again. I believe that it permits 1liter bags, which are larger than 1quart.

You would be correct, the 3-1-1 exemptions do allow the use of a liter-sized bag.

A liter is very close to, but yes slightly larger than, a quart. In terms of pure fluid ounce volume capacity, a liter holds 33.8 fl.oz, a quart holds 32. Or, in metrics, 1000ml as opposed to 946ml (via simple metric/english conversion tables).

Strictly speaking, 100ml can be more than 3.4oz (namely, 3.5oz that I've seen at the checkpoint) as well.

I think it was just the fact that, generally, we're here in America and use the english system as opposed to the metric (and, therefore, the most commonly-thought of thing for us yanks on this side of the pond is "3.4oz" and "quart"), but the two are close enough for it to almost be negligable, so the TSA allows it for our international friends visiting from abroad (who would, instead, think in terms of "100ml" and "liter" -- or "litre" :D )

And - wow. The EoS folks are seriously cracking down on comment posting, I see. Two more of mine seem to have hit the delete-o-meter, but I'll give it a few more days before my feelings get hurt over it.
Submitted by Anonymous on

"How many times has your laptop been searched. . . it's pretty rare."

Ummmmm, no, it's not rare, and my laptop has been searched EVERY SINGLE TIME I've flown since these ridiculous regulations have gone into place. It's utterly ridiculous to say it's a "rare" thing to have a laptop searched - it's just part of the screening process as far as I'm concerned. The claims on this blog that the screening process is standardized are just absurd.

Now we have ANOTHER product to buy to try to get us through security lines a little quicker. First it's tiny, 3.2 oz bottles, now it's laptop cases. Is this some kind of weird market conspiracy? Does a top TSA official hold stock in a travel gear company? It would not surprise me in the slightest.

Happy passengers make bad guys stand out? Are you JOKING?? Or is this another of TSA's super awesome secret methods for catching the "bad guys" - because everyone knows all "bad guys" scowl constantly and are grouchy to everyone.

Submitted by Bob Eucher on

Quote from Anonymous:

So in your logic, I'm supposed to say, I'm very sorry sir/ma'am....I won't search your bag again, please have a nice day. After that passenger has just caused a scene on the checkpoint in front of other passengers? I think not. If you can't remain calm, and talk to me like a human being, then I'm not going to give you the courtesy of the time of day. Its that simple. Call it what you want, I call it doing my job.

Yes, as unfortunate as it is, you should still allow NON-prohibited items through the checkpoint.

Have you ever seen videos of LEO getting screamed at and continue to remain calm? That's called being professional under ALL circumstances.

Can you direct me to the TSA policy that allows you to prohibit items from one person while allowing the same item by another?

If that is your job, you are most certainly in the WRONG profession.

Like the other comment said, "quit digging if the hole is deep enough"

Submitted by Jim Huggins on

HSVTSO Dean wrote (a long ways back):

Strictly speaking, the fluids limit is 0oz. None. They're prohibited completely.

In response, an anonymous blogger wrote:

The rule says, 3.4 oz or less (container size) in a 1 quart sized clear sealed zip lock bag. Period.

And in response to that, IAH Flyer wrote:

You may want to check that "rule" again. I believe that it permits 1liter bags, which are larger than 1quart.

I would point out, of course, that TSA's own webpages contradict all three statements above ... 3.0oz (not 0.0 or 3.4), and a one quart bag (not a one liter bag).

So ... I've got four different statements of what the rule is (Dean, Anonymous, IAH Flyer, and the TSA website). Which one (if any) is the actual rule to follow? And how do we know which one is the actual rule to follow?

I hate to steal Phil's line, but, you know, if we all had access to a single authoritative source of all the rules and regulations that passengers must follow at a checkpoint, we could resolve this question much more easily ...

Submitted by Anonymous on

IAH FLyer said...
anonymous said: "The "rule" does not currently say "no liquids at all". Sorry to disappoint the TSO who made that statement, but I'm starting to understand the inconsistencies that are being spoken of. The rule says, 3.4 oz or less (container size) in a 1 quart sized clear sealed zip lock bag. Period."

**************************

You may want to check that "rule" again. I believe that it permits 1liter bags, which are larger than 1quart.
***********************************
I'm not exactly sure of the litre equivelant of the quart sized bag, but it clearly states 1 quart sized bag. That's not what is in dispute here though, its the 3.0 v 3.4 oz that is in question, and that is also clearly 3.4 oz.

Submitted by Phil on

Jim Huggins wrote:

"I've got four different statements of what the rule is (Dean, Anonymous, IAH Flyer, and the TSA website). Which one (if any) is the actual rule to follow? And how do we know which one is the actual rule to follow?

"I hate to steal Phil's line, but, you know, if we all had access to a single authoritative source of all the rules and regulations that passengers must follow at a checkpoint, we could resolve this question much more easily ..."

Please -- steal my line! Or if you have the time and inclination, state the same idea in your own words. Everyone who posts comments here: please, I beg of you: until we get an answer, include in each of your comments something to the effect of:

Where has TSA published a list of 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). Please provide a URL or name of the government publication.

And let's make it clear that we're not asking to see TSA's super-secret procedures (those that thousands of lowest-level-of-TSA airport security guards who turn over at a rate of somewhere around 25% per year, are allowed to see), not the entire TSA "guidelines for travelers" page, the entire TSA Web site, the entire U.S. Government Web, or the whole Internet -- just a list of the rules TSA imposes on travelers at a U.S. Government airport checkpoint.

We don't want tips, hints, clues, or guidelines; we want to know what specifically is required of us, written in the language of the law.

Can't someone at TSA point us to a list of all the rules we are required to follow if we want to travel within the United States without restriction from our government? How can we be expected to follow the rules if we cannot read them? Are we expected to simply guess what is required of us based on all the often-inconsistent and clearly-incomplete information we are able to gather from anonymous tipsters, TSA press releases, and out-of-date TSA Web pages, then wait for some security guard to tell us whether we guessed correctly or not?

Submitted by Tomas on

See page 26, 27, and 28 of http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d07634.pdf which shows that as of November 21, 2006 the liquid/gel/aerosol limit was changed to as many 3.4 oz. (100mL) containers as would fit in a 1 quart zip seal plastic bag if you want an actual, official government document with the answer as to what is allowed.

Now if TSA could only change their site and signs to comply with the rules in effect for nearly two years we would all be better off.

Tom (1 of 5-6)

Submitted by Phil on

Tomas wrote:

"See page 26, 27, and 28 of [GAO report number GAO-07-634, released May 7, 2007, entitled 'Aviation Security: Risk, Experience, and Customer Concerns Drive Changes to Airline Passenger Screening Procedures, but Evaluation and Documentation of Proposed Changes Could Be Improved' (available as PDF and as plain text)] which shows that as of November 21, 2006 the liquid/gel/aerosol limit was changed to as many 3.4 oz. (100mL) containers as would fit in a 1 quart zip seal plastic bag if you want an actual, official government document with the answer as to what is allowed."

Tomas: Thanks for digging that up, but that's only an answer that was accurate as of several years ago. How do you suppose we can be sure that the information is still accurate? Must we scan through every press release, blog posting, and anonymous TSO comment in search of new information that supercedes the old information?

TSA: Where has TSA published a list of 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). Please provide a URL or name of the government publication.

Submitted by HSVTSO Dean on
Jim Huggins wrote:
I would point out, of course, that TSA's own webpages contradict all three statements above ... 3.0oz (not 0.0 or 3.4), and a one quart bag (not a one liter bag).

This is mostly written for the Anonymous TSO who is apparently unfamiliar with the way TSA creates policy, but it's information that'll answer that one, too. With the exception of the 3.0oz thing - I checked the other day at work. Jason was correct, it's officially been moved up to 3.4oz, and the website is presently out of date. I'll also not mention the liter/quart thing either, since I've already written a comment detailing that in this thread.

And now, on to the meat of what I had to write about:

Most TSO's don't know about the 0.0oz thing. Mr. Anonymous and, to a lesser extent, Jason have proven my point on that topic.

Here's the deal with that, spelled out with emphasis on very key phrases.

August of 2006, the liquids ban goes into effect. 100% of all liquids are now prohibited. That is the rule.

A week or three later, TSA releases the 3.1.1 exception to the liquid prohibition. At the same time, TSA creates more exceptions to the rule in regard to medicinal items of a liquid or gel nature.

The liquid prohibition is never rescinded, superseded, or replaced, and does not expire.

Ergo, the rule is all liquids are prohibited. The exception is 3.4oz.

The end result, past all the complicated stuff bottom line? If your liquids and gels are compliant with the 3-1-1 exception to the liquid prohibition rule, then they're allowed to go through the checkpoint. This is standard operating procedure, so it's not something an individual TSO can (or should) deny to a passenger.

The 3-1-1 exception is that the liquids/gels/aerosols/pastes/creams/et cetera are no larger than 3.4oz/100ml, and are inside a quart/liter-sized bag to limit the total amount.

Does that help clear it up, Mr. Anonymous? :P
Submitted by TSO Tom on

Phil said:
TSA: Where has TSA published a list of 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). Please provide a URL or name of the government publication.
***********************************
Phil, I admire your tenacity in challenging TSA to provide the location of such a list. The problem is that most of the rules are derived directly from our Operating Procedures. Now I know you're not asking for access to our operating procedures but to extract the rules from the procedures would be an enormous job, and obviously one that TSA is not willing to do. I have suggested on this blog, a brochure of the rules that are imposed on travelers. This brochure should be made available at the document checker area, and inside the checkpoint area so passengers such as Phil know exactly what to expect when they go through security. Whether or not TSA admin will implement such a brochure, I can't say...but the suggestion is out there guys, Phil has asked this same question many times over, I think he at the very least deserves an answer one way or the other. Come on guys, pony up.

Submitted by Clare on

While I know this post was originally about the laptop bags (which I hope will be a timesaver now) I have to agree with the other posters about TSA sharing a published list of the rules and regulations. And it would be really nice if they were consistently enforced in each airport.

Submitted by Phil on

HSVTSO Dean explained TSA rules and exceptions regarding passengers carrying liquids through a U.S. Government airport checkpoint.

Dean, I appreciate you trying to clear this up. In my mind, if TSA once had a policy that we may not carry any liquids (other than those in our bodies) through their checkpoints, and TSA now has a policy that liquids may be carried through the checkpoint under certain circumstances, then clearly the policy has changed. You can call it a rule and an exception, or you can call it a new rule that replaced the old; it's all the same thing.

TSA, this is all very confusing. In order to make sure that we travelers understand the rules you require us to follow in order to avoid having our freedom of movement restricted by your employees, please tell me where TSA has published a list of 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 specifically at the checkpoint). Please provide a URL or name of the government publication.

Understand that I am not asking to see your operating procedures, or for tips, hints, clues, or guidelines, but the rules you require us to follow. We simply cannot be expected to follow your rules if you will not show them to us.

Submitted by HSVTSO Dean on
Phil wrote:
Dean, I appreciate you trying to clear this up.

/salute

Phil wrote:
In my mind [...] it's all the same thing.

You'd think that. And you would be correct from the standpoint of common sense. But this is the TSA we're talking about, remember? :)
Submitted by Dan Taylor on

Bob,
This policy has generated quite a bit of discussion in CNET's "Buzz out Loud" podcast as well as Leo Laporte's "This Week in Tech." Leo announced to his audience that you have a standing invitation to come on "This Week in Tech." I think you'll find that it's an effective way to reach an balanced, tech-savvy audience to describe the policy and what it means for travelers. I'd take him up on the offer!

Submitted by Phil on

TSO Tom wrote:

"The problem is that most of the rules [that TSA requires people to follow in order to avoid having their freedom of movement restricted by TSA agents] are derived directly from our Operating Procedures."

Tom, that just doesn't make sense to me. Aren't your TSO operating procedures just a description of how you and your colleagues should go about enforcing the rules that we passengers are required by your agency to follow when we are at your checkpoint? How could those procedures have been developed without first having a list of rules that TSO's are supposed to enforce?

How can passengers possibly know if they are following the rules they are required by TSA to follow if those passengers are not allowed to see the rules? Do you really expect us to simply guess what is required of us based on all the often-inconsistent and clearly-incomplete information we are able to gather from anonymous tipsters, TSA press releases, and out-of-date TSA Web pages, then wait for some security guard at the checkpoint to tell us whether we guessed correctly or not? How can we be sure if he knows the rules and is not simply making them up on-the-fly?

Submitted by TSO Tom on

Phil said...
TSO Tom wrote:

"The problem is that most of the rules [that TSA requires people to follow in order to avoid having their freedom of movement restricted by TSA agents] are derived directly from our Operating Procedures."

Tom, that just doesn't make sense to me. Aren't your TSO operating procedures just a description of how you and your colleagues should go about enforcing the rules that we passengers are required by your agency to follow when we are at your checkpoint? How could those procedures have been developed without first having a list of rules that TSO's are supposed to enforce?

How can passengers possibly know if they are following the rules they are required by TSA to follow if those passengers are not allowed to see the rules? Do you really expect us to simply guess what is required of us based on all the often-inconsistent and clearly-incomplete information we are able to gather from anonymous tipsters, TSA press releases, and out-of-date TSA Web pages, then wait for some security guard at the checkpoint to tell us whether we guessed correctly or not? How can we be sure if he knows the rules and is not simply making them up on-the-fly?
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Phil;
first off, let me reiterate that I agree with you that a list of rules needs to be made available. However, I don't have a hard copy of such a list. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and tell you to contact TSA directly and make a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request for the list of rules that passengers are required to abide by. Such requests are generally granted, and TSA like any other federal agency has a policy in place for gathering such requested information. Unfortunately Phil, the powers that be have chosen not to answer you in this forum, so FOIA is the way to go. Let me know how you make out.

Submitted by Jim Huggins on

TSO Tom writes, in response to Phil's usual request for a list of passenger rules ...

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and tell you to contact TSA directly and make a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request for the list of rules that passengers are required to abide by. Such requests are generally granted, and TSA like any other federal agency has a policy in place for gathering such requested information.

1. I think one of the points that Phil is trying to raise is that, currently, it appears that such a list doesn't exist. Which by itself is a major problem. It's not fair, or just, to subject passengers to a set of rules posted in different places (if at all), many of which may be contradictory.

2. A FOIA request might be able to generate such a list. However, if that's the only way to find the list of rules that a common passenger is expected to follow, it's particularly sad. I shouldn't have to file a FOIA request to know how to get on a commercial aircraft without causing an incident.

Submitted by TSO Tom on

Jim Huggins said...
TSO Tom writes, in response to Phil's usual request for a list of passenger rules ...

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and tell you to contact TSA directly and make a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request for the list of rules that passengers are required to abide by. Such requests are generally granted, and TSA like any other federal agency has a policy in place for gathering such requested information.

1. I think one of the points that Phil is trying to raise is that, currently, it appears that such a list doesn't exist. Which by itself is a major problem. It's not fair, or just, to subject passengers to a set of rules posted in different places (if at all), many of which may be contradictory.

2. A FOIA request might be able to generate such a list. However, if that's the only way to find the list of rules that a common passenger is expected to follow, it's particularly sad. I shouldn't have to file a FOIA request to know how to get on a commercial aircraft without causing an incident.

September 4, 2008 5:10 PM
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Jim;
you are absolutely correct in that you should not have to make a request under FOIA to be made aware of the rules that apply to you as a passenger traveling through a US Government checkpoint. As I said however, TSA admin has chosen not to answer the request in this forum. Sad but true. I can tell you what the rules are, but that's just me telling you, and is not what Phil has requested. Since The TSA blog team has not responded to the request in this forum, it is necessary to take it to the level of FOIA. Again, I agree 100 percent that such a list needs to be provided, and that if it can't be provided here in this forum, an offer to provide such a list on checkpoint should be made. One way or another an answer is needed and deserved but has not been given. FOIA is the way to go.

Submitted by Seo on

I know that this is a part of making us safe , but is not really a "evolution".

I guess we all should go for "checkpoint friendly" bags.

Submitted by Dorothy on

Nice post

Submitted by Anthony on

Thank god I don't have to take my laptop out of my bag anymore. That was such a Pain! I look forward to more improvements in the years to come!.

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