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Family/Special Needs Lanes Coming to All Airports in Time for Thanksgiving Travel

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Monday, November 10, 2008
family at airport

The Diamond Self Select Program [link ] started back in February 2008 at Salt Lake City International Airport and is now operating in 48 airports. The program allows passengers to proceed through the security checkpoint at their own pace by selecting one of three lanes: Black Diamond (for Expert Travelers), Blue Square (for Casual Travelers), and Green Circle (for Families, those with special needs, and those unfamiliar with TSA procedures.)

Today, TSA announced that the Family/Special Needs Lane (Green Circle) will be implemented at every security checkpoint across the nation by November 20, 2008—just in time for the busy Thanksgiving travel season.



While many frequent travelers appreciate the Black Diamond Lane, we’ve also seen a great deal of success with the Family Lanes. Families and those with special needs appreciate the extra time and assistance, and our officers have seen the number of prohibited items in these lanes drop significantly because passengers have more time to divest.

From a risk management standpoint, directing all medically necessary liquids that exceed the 3-1-1 limits to a dedicated lane makes sense. This move is the first step in the path forward on liquids that Kip Hawley wrote about last month [link ].

What do passengers need to know about this development? If you’re flying after November 20th and carrying medically necessary liquids in containers larger than 3 ounces, you should use the Family Lane. Medically necessary liquids include: baby formula, breast milk, insulin, cough syrup, contact lens solution, and prescription medications. These liquids must be presented to a TSA Officer for additional screening, which should usually take less than 2 minutes.
-
If you don’t have any exempt liquids, proceed with your baggie to any other security lane. Remember, you can pack any amount of liquid in your checked luggage.

Poster Paul

Comments

Submitted by Jim Huggins on

Nice to see this.

Now, for the obligatory gripe. :)

With all due respect ... would it have been so difficult to say 100ml, or 3.4 ounces, on this sign? I mean, I can almost buy the argument that says that the 3.0oz limit got changed after the limit got changed internationally to 100ml, and no-one wanted to reprint the signs. But considering that these signs are all new, I really don't see why they couldn't have used the real limit of 100ml/3.4 ounces ...

Submitted by Jim Huggins on

This comment has been removed by the author.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Just because I carry some medically necessary liquids is no reason to be shunted into the slowest and longest line if I am an otherwise expert traveler.

To put it simply this new policy sucks a big one!

The security line is a tax payer paid item and no one should get treated differently than anyone else!

Submitted by Phil on

Paul wrote:

"If you’re flying after November 20th and carrying medically necessary liquids in containers larger than 3 ounces, you should use the Family Lane."

Should use or must use?

"Medically necessary liquids include: baby formula, breast milk, insulin, cough syrup, contact lens solution, and prescription medications."

Does it include other things also, or is that the entire list?

"These liquids must be presented to a TSA Officer for additional screening"

Which liquids -- the ones you listed here or any medically-necessary liquids?

Paul, we shouldn't have to ask you these questions on some blog. We're talking about restricting people's right to travel, here. We should be able to see the rules that we are required to follow so that we can ensure we are in compliance with them. Has TSA yet 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)?

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

Submitted by Trollkiller on

Fantastical news. The only improvement I can see is to include the universal symbol for handicap and staff that lane with specially trained TSOs that can competently and compassionately assist those with limited mobility.

Submitted by Anonymous on

So experienced, speedy, frequent travelers who just happen to have a medical condition requiring liquid meds are going to be forced to wait in line behind sprawling families with lots of kids, people who fly once a year, people with limited mobility, etc?

Do you realize how much you are going to irritate these frequent travelers? Do you realize that their irritation will rub off on the families with children who benefit most from the green lines because they don't have to worry about annoying and slowing down frequent travelers?

Thumbs down to you, TSA. You need to get rid of your liquid fetish and let people be. I hope some insulin-dependent diabetic sues you into the ground for discriminating against his disability by forcing him into the slow lane.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why are you bothering with this nonsense when liquids possess no risk to any aircraft?

Does this mean that saline solution in any size is no longer exempt from the size limits if a citizen is not in the super-special screening line?

Submitted by Mr Gel-pack on

Are the difference between your definition of "medically necessary liquids" and the exemptions on prohibited items significant? And which one are your screeners and supervisors trained to use?

If the new criteria is "medically necessary", who makes that determination? Do I need prescriptions and doctor's notes for all OTC medications and "Liquids including water, juice,... for a medical condition"? And how about a gel-pack to keep breast milk from spoiling? A copy of this page displayed on my cell phone?

As I started complaining about in this thread, (search for 'gel', since the comment-links there are broken) your TSO supervisor in STL didn't understand the rules and confiscated our gel-pack, ultimately resulting in the spoilage of 13 oz of breast milk and making my wife cry. As I said in that thread, if TSA can't even do the small tasks of management right (training your rules-enforcers to know your rules) why should we trust TSA on anything?

Submitted by Jeff The Curmudgeon on

Oh great. Now just because they don't produce my contact lens solution in bottles smaller than 4 ounces, I gotta stand in line with the screaming kids and clueless parents? Oh snap!!! Bad call, TSA. You can't rescind the liquid restrictions quick enough as far as I'm concerned.

Submitted by Anonymous on

This is a CF waiting to happen. Its already been reported that this system is a mess as most of what you call the kettles think there experts and use the black lane which invalidates the whole system.

As all FF know that TSA doesnt even follow its own guidelines about medically necessary liquids, as there are plenty of examples out on the net ranging from breast milk to methadone where TSA has made the rules up on the fly about what is and isnt allowed. Paul please think on your own and not just blindly follow the misguided

Submitted by Anonymous on

Ok and if an airport has only 2 lanes and only runs 1 how does this fit in? This will not save anyone time going through smaller airports. It will cause everyone, even the people that know what they are doing, to be late for their flight.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Since you're specifically addressing "medically necessary liquids" here, let me ask a closely-related question. I require weekly injections of a medication in pre-filled syringes that require cooling/refrigeration. The syringes themselves contain less than 1 milliliter of liquid (roughly 1/30 of an ounce), and are packaged from the factory in sealed clear plastic packaging. But because of the need for refrigeration, they have to be kept in a container with gel packs that contain more than three ounces.

In view of the accounts I've read here and elsewhere about TSOs confiscating gel packs and opening sealed packages, I won't even think of taking trips longer than one week if I have to fly. Yes, most TSOs probably know the rules and are understanding when it comes to travelers with "special needs." But there are enough ignorant and arrogant TSOs out there to make me truly afraid of what might happen if I travel with my medication and encounter one of them who insists on confiscating my gel packs, opening the syringe package, or otherwise compromising my medication. There is no problem at all with putting it through x-ray, but a TSO who decides to go beyond that would not only deprive me of my medication, but cost me several thousand dollars that insurance won't reimburse.

I realize that the risk of this happening might be small, but the effect if it does happen is sufficiently devastating that I feel I must restrict my travel to avoid it-- even though I know I'm doing nothing wrong and that the TSA supposedly has procedures for dealing with it. I'm also convinced that if a TSO caused such a compromise, not only would I have no recourse but the TSA leadership would stand resolutely behind the TSO if I complained enough to attract their notice. That's terrible, but I've seen enough examples of it here and elsewhere to justify my fear.

That said, could someone in the TSA advise me of what I need to do to reduce the chance of problems (and to reduce my fear to a level where I could actually consider a trip longer than a week)? Obviously that would start with going to a "green circle" lane and acting as humble and deferential as possible, but what else would help me?

Submitted by TSO Tom on

containers larger than 3 ounces
***********************************************
This should be corrected to read 3.4 ounces

Submitted by Tomas on

A question, Poster Paul...

For those of us who's "Special Needs" (handicapped travelers requiring reasonable accommodations per federal law) do not in any way match the TSA's programs, and are not convenient to TSA's idea of how the world should work, how would you suggest we proceed through a TSA chokepoint?

Rather than re-write any of my rather extended comments on this theme in response to previous EoS posts, I'll simply provide THIS LINK to one of them.

Tom (1 of 5-6)

Submitted by Anonymous on

That's nice for people with young children, families in general, and of course the disabled but I think I speak for everyone when I say that I'll be quite happy when this can be either merged with the non special needs green line or trimmed down to only medical and special issues line when the liquid ban is removed (supposedly in 2009 but I'm skeptical)

Submitted by Patrick (BOS TSO) on

Paul, as a TSO... just how exactly will this work with cramped checkpoints? I have worked at one that's only about two lanes wide there's way you could implement this there.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I traveled through Salt Lake City in March. My family was forced to go through the "Family Lane". We are frequent travelers as is my daughter. We do not hold up lines and are as efficient as the next three people in line. The family lane in this case was slow with seemingly no motivation to move things along.

While in this lane one of the so called "experts" spilled her coffee on the person in front of her. Perhaps my daughter can assist with telling experts that they cannot bring liquids of this nature through security.

I like the concept - but do not like that traveling with a child means that we are not competent or sufficiently well organized to make it through security without disruption.

So what is the policy? Can we truly go our own pace as the experts we are or will TSA force us into the slowest lane because of a well prepared child in our party?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I'm not a family, but a regular traveller.

A regular traveller who wears contacts.

Did anyone at TSA bother to check to see whether it is POSSIBLE for contact-wearing passengers to comply with the 3-1-1 rule? Because I've got some news for you:

IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND STERILE SALINE SOLUTION FOR USE WITH CONTACTS IN A SMALLER SIZE THAN 4 OUNCES.

I've been looking for one for TWO YEARS and haven't found one. Not one manufacturer provides saline solution in 3 ounce or smaller containers. And since I can't use the multipurpose solutions that are on the market, I don't have a choice but to use saline in addition to my peroxide-based disinfectant (which I can only get in smaller than 3 ounce containers from my eye doctor ... a 30 minute drive from home).

So now, my choices when travelling overnight for business will be to check a bag (paying the fee) and hope my contact solution arrives or stand in line waiting for people who don't know or understand the rules that I've gotten down pat in the last two years to take "more time to divest" and then undergo an additional screening (in addition to waiting longer in the line) that "should" only take two minutes.

Look, I'd LOVE to be able to carry smaller bottles of my eye items, but they SIMPLY DO NOT EXIST. It's not a matter of me not wanting to pay for them, it's a matter of them not exisiting.

I suppose it's not accurate to suggest that those are my only choices. I could have a conference call instead. Good to know that the airline industry is in such great shape that it can afford to lose passengers due to this ill-conceived TSA policy.

Submitted by Earl Pitts on

"Green Circle (for Families, those with special needs, and those unfamiliar with TSA procedures.)"

So Paul, as TSA's constantly changing its procedures, does that mean everyone should go thru the green circle line as no one's familiar with the procedures? Or should TSO's go thru that line too as most don't seem to be familiar with the procedures?

Earl

Submitted by Anonymous on
While many frequent travelers appreciate the Black Diamond Lane, we’ve also seen a great deal of success with the Family Lanes. Families and those with special needs appreciate the extra time and assistance, and our officers have seen the number of prohibited items in these lanes drop significantly because passengers have more time to divest.

Phil, you might want to take a look at a few of the comments about the ski slope selection lanes. Sometimes travelers, regardless of their experience, get funneled into a single slow moving line. This varies from airport to airport, so regardless of what TSA management wants, the local administrators do things their way.
Submitted by Anonymous on

I really worry about how this will go over. There is not even any agreement at our checkpoint as to what exactly needs to be tested. One Supe says EVERY over-sized liquid is tested, and another says only 1 out of the whole mess needs to be randomly tested. I am of the opinion that EVERY liquid should be tested. If we are not testing every liquid, then we are just putting on a show or 'theater' as many have accused us of.

So why did the policy change? Are we making our security more lax to appease the whiners who can't follow the rules? If that's the case then this is really NO SECURITY at all.

I am for a TOTAL LIQUID BAN. So is every BAO I have talked to. I saw the UK article of the plane with a 6' hole blown in the side by items that got past the checkpoint. I think allowing larger volumes of liquids thru is just asking for trouble. All the 'bad-guy' needs to say is "it's medicine" and he gets a pass on his bomb making materials.

I think it is sad, we are charged with keeping bad things from getting on the planes, yet we seem to be making it easier because people have whined about the inconvienience of security.

Submitted by Chuck Brady on

You know what, Kip? With 60-some days left in your job, we REALLY, REALLY would like you to fix one relevant problem in transportation security to leave as your legacy.

May I suggest just one? http://tiny.cc/lh2NW

Here are some quotes from the article that should get you started:

LAX Tops Nation In Stolen, Missing Luggage Items

LAPD officers recovered 272 stolen items, plus more than $10,000 in cash!

LAX tops the list with more than 3,700 claims since 2001, totaling more than $300 million, although TSA only paid off a small fraction.

These two LAX employees would only talk if we concealed their identities.

"I saw thefts within the first few weeks of working there."

They both say there are organized rings of thieves, who identify valuables in your checked luggage by looking at the TSA x-ray screens, then communicate with baggage handlers by text or cell phone, telling them exactly what to look for.

Sky Nguyen knows firsthand. He took this picture of a TSA screener with his camera phone after he saw the agent steal his iPod. The TSA agent was arrested and charged with theft.

In fact, we've found that more than 30 employees at LAX were arrested for theft in just the first nine months of this year. Trene Phillips was one of them. This TSA screener was charged with stealing an American express card from a bag she was searching. She's pleaded not guilty.

You're doing a heck of a job, Kip.

Submitted by Gunner on

>>Remember, you can pack any amount of liquid in your checked luggage.

Yeah, right. Bet I would get stopped if I had a five gallon container of liquid in my checked bag.

Submitted by Jay Maynard on

Gee, thanks, folks. I'd normally be a Black Diamond traveler. I remove all of my items from my pockets, take my CPAP out of its bag, pull my medication bag out of the suitcase, and otherwise make sure I'm completely ready to go through the checkpoint before I ever get in line. Now, however, I'm condemned to the slow lane because I use liquid injectable medication. The additional screening, itself, may only take 2 minutes, but how much longer will I be standing in line behind every family with recalcitrant toddlers and screaming babies and everything else that makes them take forever to get through security?

Also, it looks like the additional screening has already started at MSP. I just went through a checkpoint here (about 20 minutes ago as I type this), and was ordered to take the medication syringe out of the cooler I keep it in for screening; the screener took it off to one side for ETD. I thought airports weren't supposed to make up their own rules as they went along? As it is, I spoke to a manager type, and she just couldn't understand why I was so upset at what seemed to be the checkpoint making up rules as it went along. This was after speaking to the checkpoint supervisor, and getting the second most-hated TSA line (right behind "Do you want to fly today?"): "They're not doing their jobs." No wonder the TSA is so reviled: from the perspective of the traveling public, they just Don't Get It.

Finally, the latest change to the site broke commenting from my Mac. Neither Safari nor Firefox would show the captcha at all. I'm posting this from Firefox in a Windows virtual machine. Please fix.

Submitted by Anonymous on

This goes into effect Nov 20. Here it is Nov 11, and we TSA employees haven't even been given the new training on how to accomplish this screening yet...

Submitted by Anonymous on

Is anyone at TSA aware of the fact that saline solution for contact lenses is not manufactured in bottles that are 3 ounces/100mL or smaller?

Many of us who wear contacts cannot use the multi-purpose solutions that are available in small sizes, and need saline solution to rinse contacts after they are disinfected. Forcing us to use the "family lane" or pay to check bags when making overnight trips will probably result in us making fewer trips.

Submitted by Bob on

Folks, due to Veterans Day, I took Mon/Tue off and Paul had today off. We'll get back to business as usual tomorrow. Thanks for all the comments. Keep them coming!

Bob

EoS Blog Team

Submitted by Anonymous on

You people have entirely to much free time on your hands.

Why not get out there and fix the theft from baggage issues?

Submitted by Phil on

Someone anonymously wrote:

"So experienced, speedy, frequent travelers who just happen to have a medical condition requiring liquid meds are going to be forced to wait in line behind sprawling families"

Paul said that people with liquids should use the green lane, not that they must use the green lane. He worded it as a suggestion, not as a directive.

Paul, is this really just a suggestion, or did you means something different than you wrote? Where can we go to read the official rule on this? Surely "hey, some guy on your blog said blah, blah, blah" isn't going to cut it at the checkpoint or in court.

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

Submitted by Phil on
Severalcommentsmention the 3oz / 3.4oz (100ml) confusion.

Months ago, HSVTSO Dean wrote (in response to the "Keep Your Lap Top IN if you have a `Checkpoint Friendly' Bag" post, at 2008-08-19 13:40 -0700):

"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."

So Paul, what is the rule? What we hear on this blog? What's published on your Web site? What a TSA TSO tells us?

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net
Submitted by Phil on

Earl Pitts wrote:

"So Paul, as TSA's constantly changing its procedures, does that mean everyone should go thru the green circle line as no one's familiar with the procedures?"

Earl, what's significant in this case is not that TSA frequently changes their procedures (that's their business) but that TSA frequently changes the rules that we are required to follow if we are to travel within our own country via what is frequently the only practical mode of travel (commercial air).

Worse, they refuse to show us the list of rules we are required to follow, instead expecting us to show up at their checkpoints and throw ourselves at the mercy of whatever TSA bag checker happens to be working there.

TSA: Why won't you just show us the rules we're required to follow?

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

Submitted by Phil on

Someone (seemingly TSA airport checkpoint staff) wrote:

"So why did the policy change?"

Better question: did the policy change? Where can I read the current policy? All I've seen is hearsay. Surely some blog posting is not an official statement of the current state of requirements for traveling within our own country.

"I am for a TOTAL LIQUID BAN."

HSVTSO Dean told us in August that the official policy is a ban on liquids in any quantity. But we can't tell what the official word is because TSA refuses to publish the rules we are required to follow.

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

Submitted by Poster Paul EoS... on

Phil on November 10, 2008 1:55 PM

TSA Officers will screen passengers no matter which line they choose.

Medically necessary liquids include (but are not limited to) all of the aforementioned.

Still working on the comprehensive list of regulations both definite and situational.

Poster Paul EoS Blogger Team

Submitted by Anonymous on

"If we are not testing every liquid, then we are just putting on a show or 'theater' as many have accused us of."

I've got news for you and your phony tin badge: Even if you tested every liquid, you'd just be putting on a show. THAT IS ALL YOU DO. Nothing TSA does makes anyone safer, we know it, you know it, Kip Hawley knows it.

Submitted by HSVTSO Dean on
Phil wrote:
HSVTSO Dean told us in August that the official policy is a ban on liquids in any quantity. But we can't tell what the official word is because TSA refuses to publish the rules we are required to follow.

Phil, I'm pretty sure he meant a total and complete, full LGA ban, with the only exemption being for medically-necessary items, such as what was put into place in the immediate aftermath of the August 2006 incident.
Submitted by Phil on

Paul, you really should either link to a comment you're referencing or include a time zone. The comment to which you referred shows on your Web site as having been posted at 1:55 p.m. on November 10, but in the RSS feed for comments for this post, it's shown as 2008-11-10 13:54 -0500 (that's ISO 8601 notation [the international date standard] for 1:54 p.m. Eastern [UTC-5], which is 10:55 a.m. Pacific [UTC-7]).

Anyway, I quoted Paul:

"If you’re flying after November 20th and carrying medically necessary liquids in containers larger than 3 ounces, you should use the Family Lane."

then asked:

"Should use or must use?"

I later wrote:

"Paul said that people with liquids should use the green lane, not that they must use the green lane. He worded it as a suggestion, not as a directive. Paul, is this really just a suggestion, or did you means something different than you wrote?"

Paul responded:

"TSA Officers will screen passengers no matter which line they choose."

Paul, you did not answer my question. Is what you told us about taking the green lane if someone wishes to bring certain liquids through your airport checkpoints suggestion (something we should do) or a requirement (something we must do)?

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

Submitted by Phil on

I quoted Paul:

"Medically necessary liquids include: baby formula, breast milk, insulin, cough syrup, contact lens solution, and prescription medications."

then asked:

"Does it include other things also, or is that the entire list?"

Paul responded:

"Medically necessary liquids include (but are not limited to) all of the aforementioned."

Okay, so once we determine whether this new thing is a suggestion or a requirement (please clarify as repeatedlyrequested), how will we know what qualifies as a "medically-necessary liquid" in this context?

If this is indeed a new requirement, where can we read the official version of it so that we can ensure our compliance with it? Until you let us read the rule, we can only guess at whether we're in compliance with it.

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

Submitted by Anonymous on

@phil: TSA: Why won't you just show us the rules we're required to follow?

The TSA has answered this question repeatedly, so it's presumably your own fault that you haven't seen it. But I'll restate it.

Letting us know the rules we're required to follow would also let al-Qaeda know those rules, enabling them to exploit gaps and weaknesses and severely compromising security. Keeping the rules secret and changing them frequently and randomly is key to successfully implementing the TSA's Mission of improving aviation security by protecting its system from the Enemy.

Remember that Kip has repeatedly stated that "unpredictability is a key security strategy of the TSA." Randomness and unpredictability keep the enemy continually off balance. They are highly effective tools that enable the TSA to adapt to a changing threat and always remain one step ahead of a resourceful and very dangerous terrorist enemy and keep the Homeland safe. Rather than complaining endlessly, we should be grateful for the randomness and inconsistency because it is highly effective in protecting our Homeland and our children from the enemy.

These measures may seem arbitrary, capricious, and even ridiculous when we encounter them at the checkpoint. But travelers need to know that they're seeing only a very tiny part of a big picture. We need to be aware that the apparent inexplicable randomness and inconsistency they see at checkpoints is actually part of a well coordinated, carefully conceived, meticulously implemented Security Strategy that has been repeatedly proved highly effective in numerous cases that must necessarily remain classified.

The TSA realizes that this Security Strategy may have the unavoidable effect of causing confusion, frustration, inconvenience, and expense for many passengers. Of necessity, the published rules are merely guidelines. Their actual (classified) implementation is always subject to change and interpretation by checkpoint officials who are continually updated with the latest robust classified intelligence. Scrupulously following the guidelines is thus the best a passenger can do to reduce the likelihood of an unexpected unpleasant checkpoint experience. But the nature of the War we're fighting unfortunately means that even passengers who do everything they can to obey the published rules may still find that the TSO declares something they are carrying prohibited.

When that happens, the passenger should not be angry or confrontational, but simply understand that the TSO is appropriately responding to the latest robust intelligence as necessary to protect the Homeland from a very dangerous threat. Accordingly, the passenger should calmly assess the best way to comply with the necessary restriction. Many options are available, including returning to the ticketing desk to check the item, returning it to their car, mailing to themselves, voluntarily abandoning it at the checkpoint, or even abandoning the trip and going home. None of those may be desirable options, but it is always necessary to put Country First and comply with the restriction rather than throwing a tantrum and delaying everyone else.

The important thing we need to know is how we should comport ourselves when a TSO makes an unexpected decision. We need to always recognize that what TSOs tell us to do is necessary to protect aviation as part of a highly effective system. And that national security usually requires that the valid reasons behind the decision remain unknown to us and to the enemy. With that in mind, the appropriate response should always be rapid and cheerful compliance. Rather than grumbling, complaining, and demanding "change," understanding and gratitude would make the checkpoint screening experience more pleasant for everyone involved. And given the difficult task the TSOs have, a gracious word of "thanks for protecting America" would be appropriate after after you've finished complying.

The failure of passengers to understand the above is the reason for nearly all unpleasant incidents and stress at airport checkpoints. The sooner passengers gain that understanding (and the appreciation of the TSA that comes with it), the sooner we'll have the "evolution checkpoint" the TSA is working to implement.

Submitted by Poster Paul EoS... on

Anonymous on November 10, 2008 3:36 PM

It's pretty clear from the situation you described that everything you mentioned is medically necessary. The TSA Officer should recognize that fact and let everything go through after screening the items to the best of their ability without damaging anything.

Submitted by Anonymous on

So is it 3 ounces or 3.4 ounces?

If TSA can't get it right just how can you expect us to get it right?

Pick one and stick to it!

Submitted by Poster Paul EoS... on

Patrick (BOS TSO) on November 10, 2008 4:55 PM

Are you saying you wouldn't be able to implement Family Lane because it would cause one lane to get extremely long resulting in congestion? If that's the case, then you can still screen people at either lane as you see fit to relieve the backup.

Hope that makes sense.

Submitted by Poster Paul EoS... on

Anonymous on November 10, 2008 5:13 PM

You won't be forced into any lane. TSA Officers will make a recommendation though. You don't have to use the Family Lane if you don't want to.

Submitted by Phil on

Someone anonymously wrote:

"I require weekly injections of a medication in pre-filled syringes that require cooling/refrigeration. The syringes themselves contain less than 1 milliliter of liquid (roughly 1/30 of an ounce), and are packaged from the factory in sealed clear plastic packaging. But because of the need for refrigeration, they have to be kept in a container with gel packs that contain more than three ounces.

[...]

"could someone in the TSA advise me of what I need to do to reduce the chance of problems (and to reduce my fear to a level where I could actually consider a trip longer than a week)? Obviously that would start with going to a "green circle" lane and acting as humble and deferential as possible, but what else would help me?"

EoS blogger Paul responded:

"It's pretty clear from the situation you described that everything you mentioned is medically necessary. The TSA Officer should recognize that fact and let everything go through after screening the items to the best of their ability without damaging anything."

Paul, it may be clear to you, and it's probably clear to most of us, but none of that matters a bit. Because since you refuse to show us the rules we're required to follow, and because you allow rules to be created, enforced, or disregarded by TSA staff at your checkpoints, all that matters in this case is the opinion of whichever TSA bag checker(s) search(es) this person and his or her belongings.

So again, is this new information a suggestion or a requirement? If it is a requirement, then where can we read this new requirement that we must abide by in order to avoid having our right to travel restricted at your checkpoints? As these questions have now been asked several times, I've added them to the community TSA FAQ. I and many others look forward to your answers.

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

Submitted by Poster Paul EoS... on

Anonymous on November 10, 2008 5:15 PM

"IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND STERILE SALINE SOLUTION FOR USE WITH CONTACTS IN A SMALLER SIZE THAN 4 OUNCES."

You don't need to find solution smaller than 4 ounces. Contact lense solution is considered medically necessary, so you can bring it through security as long as you present it to the TSA Officer for screening.

Again, you are not being forced into the Family Lane, you can choose whichever lane you want. It's just a recommendation.

Submitted by Poster Paul EoS... on

Anonymous on November 11, 2008 12:31 PM

No additional training is necessary. All TSA Officers should already know how to screen medically exempt liquids. The only difference now, is that most of these items are going through the Family Lane.

Submitted by Poster Paul EoS... on

Anonymous on November 11, 2008 12:31 PM

No additional training necessary. All TSA Officers should know how to screen medically exempt liquids already. The only difference now is that most of these items are going through one lane (Family Lane).

Submitted by Anonymous on

Again with the "medical necessity"... Who makes that determination? A doctor? A patient? Or a TSO?

What about non-"medically necessary" fluids like the "cosmetic reasons" for a saline-filled prosthetic breast as allowed on prohibited items? Does the passenger have to pull out their saline-filled prosthetic breast and present it to the screener at the front of the checkpoint?

Did you write this post yourself, or is it a partial copy of someone else's ill-designed TSA policy?

Submitted by Phil on

Paul of the EoS blog team wrote:

"These [and other medically-necessary] liquids must be presented to a TSA Officer for additional screening, which should usually take less than 2 minutes."

Paul:

1: How can we distinguish between a TSA officer and any other TSA staff?

2: In what manner must we present such liquids?

3: Does handing over to TSA staff all of the belongings we are carrying so that a TSA bag checker can search them constitute such presentation of any liquids contained therein to a TSA officer as your new policy requires?

4: What will be the consequences of taking or attempting to take medically-necessary liquids through a TSA airport checkpoint without the soon-to-be-required presentation of them to a TSA officer?

5: What will be the consequences of taking or attempting to take liquids that are not medically-necessary through a TSA airport checkpoint without the soon-to-be-required presentation of them to a TSA officer?

We really need to understand the rules you require us to follow. Now they affect not only our ability to travel within our own country via the only mode of travel that is often practical, but also our health.

Where can we find a written copy of this new policy?

--
Phil
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Submitted by Phil on

Someone claiming to be a TSA employee anonymously wrote:

"This [new policy you announced] goes into effect Nov 20. Here it is Nov 11, and we TSA employees haven't even been given the new training on how to accomplish this screening yet"

Paul of the EoS blog team responded:

"Officers should already know how to screen medically exempt liquids."

Paul, what is a medically exempt liquid? Until now, you've only described some examples of medically-necessary liquids (and left the rest up to our imaginations and to the whims of TSA bag checkers).

Paul continued:

"The only difference now, is that most of these items are going through the Family Lane."

Are you sure that's the only difference in policy? Your post made it sound much more complicated. What about the freedom baggies, the 3 or 3.4 oz. container size limit, etc.?

--
Phil
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Submitted by Tomas on

Since a new sign, designed and printed very recently, is shown as an example in this post...

The limitation on "liquids, gels, and aerosols was officially changed from 3.0 fluid ounces to 3.4 fluid ounces (100ml) per container as of 21NOV2006
________________

Procedures
November 21, 2006: Same as the procedures implemented on
September 26, 2006, with the exception of the following:

Liquids, gels, and aerosols allowed in 3.4-fluid-ounce (100-milliliter) “travel
size” bottles.
________________
From: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d07634.pdf (page 26)

(1) Why do the newly printed signs and the information on the TSA web pages still reflect the 3.0 fluid ounce limit?

(2) Why do TSOs still confiscate (let's not play word games) toothpaste clearly under 3.4 fluid ounces in size because they weigh more then 3.4 ounces? Can we get some directives or training here?

Tom (1 of 5-6)

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