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Can I Take my Hand Grenade on the Plane?

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009
grenade photo

Just as with my fireworks post , I'm about to state the obvious again. Hand grenades are not allowed on a plane.
 

Obvious: Grenades (smoke, stun, sting, concussion, percussion, incendiary, etc) are not permitted on planes.

 

Not So Obvious: Realistic replicas of grenades (belt buckles, lighters, paperweights, inert training grenades, and other gadgets) are not allowed on planes.

 

On a regular basis, checkpoint lanes and checkpoints are closed because of novelty or inert grenades and grenade shaped items. When checkpoints are closed… Flights are delayed and missed causing the airline and passengers major frustration and a loss of money.

 

So why is it such a big deal if the grenades are inert or just a novelty item? Well, that’s why passengers usually don’t think twice about bringing these items. They know inert grenades or novelty grenade shaped items can’t cause any harm. However, we don’t know that. All we see on the x-ray is a realistic image of a grenade complete with pin and spoon and we have to go through the motions.

 

As a TSO back in 2002, I witnessed the checkpoint at Islip MacArthur Airport coming to a screeching halt because the image of a hand grenade popped up on the x-ray screen. It ended up being a metal lighter in the shape of a classic pineapple grenade with the spoon, pin and all. Even though it was a small lighter that would fit in the palm of your hand, it appeared as a larger than life grenade on the screen.

Grenade shaped belt buckles, lighters, paperweights, inert training grenades, and other gadgets can all look like the real deal on the x-ray screen. Please leave them at home or mail them to your destination.

 

Blogger Bob

 

TSA Blog Team

 

 


 

 

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on

Love the Monty Python reference.

Submitted by Phil on

Bob, when your staff are searching someone or his belongings and find something that looks like it might be a grenade (but based on your past experience, seems more likely to be a realistic replica), and you "go through the motions", why do those motions involve shutting down the checkpoint or a checkpoint lane? Why would they involve any more than the motions required when you find any other item that is deemed by TSA to be of potential danger -- like 4oz of liquid in a single container (which might be part of a liquid explosive, but probably isn't) or a shoe that slipped through without being X-rayed (which might be a shoe-bomb but probably isn't)?

When something that "looks like a liquid explosive" is found, not only do you not close the checkpoint or even a lane, but you just toss it in a barrel with other potentially-explosive items.

--
Phil

Submitted by Bob on

Phil,

My post is referring to what these items look like on the X-ray screen. Once the item is spotted on the screen, things go into motion before the bag is ever opened.

Bob

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Bob on

Anon,

I'm looking into the link you posted.

Bob

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by TSOWilliamReed on

Sad news article, poor kid. On a side not a supervisor here in Ketchikan teams up with non TSA employees to mail passengers "Confiscated" items back to them. That kid would have left our checkpoint knowing his sword and gun would arrive at his house eventually. Yes we know the whole kid with a toy gun thing is ridiculous. We know that not allowing a grenade made out of soap on an airplane is also ridiculous. However, if you were on a plane and someone stood up saying they had a gun/grenade would you stop to check if it was real before panic hit you? Even if a guy was joking with his kids toy gun would you feel comfortable if a man stood up holding a gun shaped object in his hand saying he had a gun nobody move? Bob is right the hole replica thing really complicates the checkpoint because we think its the real deal. However the real reason we have the rule is the gun doesn't have to be real to make people on an airplane panic.

Submitted by Anonymous on
Phil,

My post is referring to what these items look like on the X-ray screen. Once the item is spotted on the screen, things go into motion before the bag is ever opened.

Bob

This doesn't jive with my experiences. On two separate occasions I have forgotten "objectionable" items in a carry-on bag.

The first time, it was a bottle of orange juice. The bag went through the scanner 2-3 times while the TSA employee asked if I had left a liquid inside. I had forgotten and specified that I had not. Finally the employee opened the bag in front of me and upon finding the juice tossed it in the garbage, scanned the bag a final time, and I went on my way.

The second time it was a butter knife, from lunch the previous day, which ended up having a "serrated" edge. As serrated as is possible on a butter knife that is. The bag went through, I realized immediately when they asked if there was anything inside what it was and stated as such. They removed it, escorted me out of line so I could check the bag and that was that. (I actually had the time to return it to my car.)

In both cases, an object was noticed which was "hazardous". I'll give you the butter knife as I wouldn't expect an x-ray to differentiate metal strips. But, even with the juice I would hardly state that "things [went] into motion before the bag [was] ever opened". In fact "things" never went into motion, unless you include TSA employees reacting to what was clearly commonplace oversight on the part of a traveler.

Again, I'll give you that something that is actually designed to look like a bomb probably warrants a bit more caution than a bottle of liquid, which couldn't be practically used as a bomb. But this speaks more to the failings of your scanning techniques and over-the-top response than it does the danger of actually encountering even a real explosive device.

I suppose simple, non-serrated butter knives should also be banned. The only reason for banning a replica grenade is that it could be confused with an actual grenade. Likewise, a non-serrated butter knife or 100 ml bottle of liquid could easily be misconstrued as a serrated butter knife or 101 ml of liquid. I'm not sure I understand why these "replicas" are allowed, while others are banned.
Submitted by Mikeq on

Your picture implies that the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch is prohibited. Is that true? Does it really resemble an actual grenade?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anon,

Bob was referring to a grenade on the xray screen. A replica grenade, even the grenade belt buckle, can look very similar to a real grenade on an xray screen. So the "grenade" is treated as though it is real. As such the bomb squad or law enforcement are called before the bag even leaves the machine.

As for your oranje juice and knife, if it does not appear to be an assembled explosive device, there is no reason to get the ball rolling as with the grenades.

Submitted by Uk Visa Law on

Bob, you're no fun any more - you know I hate travelling without my hand grenades!

Submitted by Anonymous on

First, I completely agree with your rationale about replica grenades; if something looks like an explosive on the Xray, you obviously do have to treat it like an explosive to protect the public and your own officers.

But I strongly disagree with your policy on unrealistic-looking replicas and objects which look obviously like toys.

However the real reason we have the rule is the gun doesn't have to be real to make people on an airplane panic.

Yes, someone waving a Pirates of the Caribbean sword could, perhaps, cause a few moments of panic. But is the TSA's job to protect people from panic, or to protect planes from crashing?

It would not be pleasant -- to say the least -- to suffer a few moments of panic before it became obvious that a Disney toy was not a real weapon. But ultimately, no harm would occur. No-one carrying even a real gun or knife will ever be allowed onto a flight deck again, let alone someone carrying a Disney toy. So while the few moments of panic you describe would be unpleasant, it would also be the total whole extent of the "damage."

While it would be nice if the TSA could protect us from any in-flight discomforts, that is not, and should not be, their job.

The TSA's one and only job should be to prevent passengers from being injured or killed by terrorists, and to prevent planes from being hijacked, blown up, or crashed. And anything -- anything -- that distracts TSA officers from focusing on that one critical objective is a distraction that reduces their effectiveness.

In order to effectively focus on its one narrow goal (preventing passengers from being injured or killed and planes from being hijacked or destroyed), the TSA must stop distracting the attention of their officers.

In order to have zero tolerance for dangerous items, TSA must have 100% tolerance for non-dangerous items: When encountering a non-dangerous item, the officer's response should be "Move along, leave me alone, I have to keep my attention focused." Instead, TSO's are constantly allowing themselves to be distracted by things which obviously pose no threat (which, at this point, probably includes knives, since no-one will ever hijack a plane with a knife again).

In summary, the TSA attitude should be "If it can't crash a plane or kill people, we can't spend a moment of our time on it, since we have much more important things to do."

Would you be willing to post your thoughts and response?

Submitted by TSM, Been Here on

Quoted:
" TSOWilliamReed said...
Sad news article, poor kid. On a side note a supervisor here in Ketchikan teams up with non TSA employees to mail passengers "Confiscated" items back to them."
---------------------
As a TSM, while what you are doing may be "nice" from a csr service standpoint, it is against policy and causes confusion when other airports follow policy and tell pax we don't return voluntarily surrenedered (we don't "confiscate) items and can open us up to other issues. If a pax surrenders an item it belongs to the gov't to dispose of as is properly. It is not up to you guys to decide to send it back. Also, you are now taking responsibility for that item and if it gets lost in the process, the TSA now has to replace it.
Good csr service, poor application of the rules. i wouldn't broadcast on an open forum that you guys are disregarding rules. It's bad enough all the flack we take when we follow them.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Actually the OJ story here is interesting as it shows that TSOs know that bottles of liquid are not possible explosive. Otherwise they would start up the 'process' if seen in the xray

Submitted by Sandra on

Bob wrote:

"...and we have to go through the motions."

Do you know what that means, Bob?

It means:

"To do something in a mechanical manner indicative of a lack of interest or involvement."

Submitted by GSOLTSO on

Anon sez - "It would not be pleasant -- to say the least -- to suffer a few moments of panic before it became obvious that a Disney toy was not a real weapon. But ultimately, no harm would occur. No-one carrying even a real gun or knife will ever be allowed onto a flight deck again, let alone someone carrying a Disney toy. So while the few moments of panic you describe would be unpleasant, it would also be the total whole extent of the "damage."

I disagree with you on this point. If someone uses a replica item to inspire a panic on an airliner - it is a threat to the airliner. While it is not a "real" bomb or a real "knife" or a real "gun" it can create a "real" situation. When panic starts for any reason, the people around the situation feed off of that panic quite often. What can start as a couple of people near the individual being a bit worried, can inspire uncontrolled situations quickly. Say an individual has a replica grenade on the plane, this causes passengers a, b, and c to start fidgeting and speaking loudly in a minor form of panic. Passengers d, e, f, all the way through passenger g3 to panic in an uncontrolled manner - all other passengers in between them are in danger from the panicking persons. Have you looked at the pictures of Richard Reid when they brought him off the plane? The passengers beat the everloving stuffings out of him (rightly so I might add). What is not shown or widespread was the other passengers injured in the melee. In a situation like Reid, it is a warranted scrum to end a "real" threat, with a replica item, it is an unwarranted scrum to end a "fake" threat. It could place innocents in danger for no reason. I think the policy is enforced this way (in part) to head off this type of situation.

West
TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Ayn R Key on

TSM, been here.... said...
As a TSM, while what you are doing may be "nice" from a csr service standpoint, it is against policy and causes confusion when other airports follow policy and tell pax we don't return voluntarily surrenedered (we don't "confiscate) items and can open us up to other issues. If a pax surrenders an item it belongs to the gov't to dispose of as is properly. It is not up to you guys to decide to send it back. Also, you are now taking responsibility for that item and if it gets lost in the process, the TSA now has to replace it.



First, it is confiscation. Stop lying to us. Or do your regulations tell you to tell us it's not confiscation? What paragraph and section say "You will never refer to confiscation as confiscation, only as 'voluntary surrender'"? Or is that information secret like the answer to every other non-sensical rule?

Second, he's actually doing the right thing with the confiscated items. You and the rest of the TSA should learn from him, not tell him to learn from you. TSO William Reed deserves to be commended and promoted for his actions, which is why I predict the revere will happen.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"TSO William Reed deserves to be commended and promoted for his actions"

For this, as well as for posting under his full name and identifying his airport, which makes him both accountable and credible in a way that some of his fellow TSA employees who post here are not!

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSM, been here.... said...
As a TSM, while what you are doing may be "nice" from a csr service standpoint, it is against policy and causes confusion when other airports follow policy and tell pax we don't return voluntarily surrenedered (we don't "confiscate) items and can open us up to other issues. If a pax surrenders an item it belongs to the gov't to dispose of as is properly. It is not up to you guys to decide to send it back. Also, you are now taking responsibility for that item and if it gets lost in the process, the TSA now has to replace it.

I made a trip from Dallas to Lexington and my scissors were OK with the TSO when I left. When I was on the return leg the TSO at Lexington didn't like my scissors.

So I see it now, when I was returning home to Dallas from Lexington my scissors weren't confiscated, they were "voluntarily surrendered".

I guess I could have made other arrangements for my scissors, such as leaving them in my checked bag (oops, its already on the conveyor belt) or I could have left them in my car (oops again, my car was 1200 miles away) or I could have left them with a friend or relative (oops, it was a business trip and there weren't any friends or relatives nearby) or I could "voluntarily surrender" them.

Yep, that's not confiscation. How silly of me.

Submitted by TSORon on

Ayn R. Key said...

“First, it is confiscation. Stop lying to us. Or do your regulations tell you to tell us it's not confiscation? What paragraph and section say "You will never refer to confiscation as confiscation, only as 'voluntary surrender'"? Or is that information secret like the answer to every other non-sensical rule?”
---------------------------------
First of all, its NOT confiscation, stop lying about it. You are free to take that item out of the sterile area and do with it what you will. If you surrender it to the TSA then that is YOUR choice, and you DO have a choice.

--------------------------------

Second, he's actually doing the right thing with the confiscated items. You and the rest of the TSA should learn from him, not tell him to learn from you. TSO William Reed deserves to be commended and promoted for his actions, which is why I predict the revere will happen.

--------------------------------

Actually, no he isn’t Ayn. He’s violating the rules. One of the very same set of rules that posters here complain that the TSO’s violate all the time. When one abandon’s an item to the TSA it is then government property. The TSA has the right to dispose of it in accordance with policy. If you don’t want to abandon it, then don’t. Just remove it from the sterile area and we TSO’s will be just as happy. Better yet, don’t bring it with you, that way you are never forced to make the decision on what to do with it. Simple, right?

Submitted by Zachary on

If it looks like a bomb on the screen, I can totally see taking the person out of line with his bag into a room, and opening his bag carefully with a lot of controls - but not shutting down the line. This seems like bad management.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Are you kidding all of you who posted on this subject . must be the losers from "are you smarter than a 5th grader". You are actually arguing abou ta grenade real or not and you think that a few minutes of panic on a plane is OK..You all complpain if you have to wait 5 minutes on the runway.
Give me a break.

Submitted by TSM, Been Here on

It's funny that the same people who are always screaming that TSOs "ignore" or apply rules inconsistently are the ones who are now on here applauding a TSO for violating rules and mailing back prohibited items.

Just goes to show that you people are not satisfied unless a situation is in your favor, rules or not.

Hmmm... Sounds like exactly what you are accusing us of, doesn't it?

Submitted by TSM, Been Here on

Quoted:
"Zachary said...
If it looks like a bomb on the screen, I can totally see taking the person out of line with his bag into a room, and opening his bag carefully with a lot of controls - but not shutting down the line. This seems like bad management.

July 30, 2009 2:34 PM
--------------------

Are you insane?!?! We should pick up and move a bag which may contain a real bomb into a room with the person who owns it and continuing processing passengers while we "play the odds" that it's not real? WOW!

Submitted by Bob on

Anonymous said… Love the Monty Python reference. July 29, 2009 4:27 PM
--------------
Ni!!!
-------------
mikeq said... Your picture implies that the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch is prohibited. Is that true? Does it really resemble an actual grenade? July 29, 2009 7:18 PM
------------
First off, for those who don’t know, the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch is purely fictional.  I know they make replicas, but I doubt they look threatening. But, I’ve never seen one, so who knows. It was just my attempt at humor.
-------------
Anonymous said... Anon, Bob was referring to a grenade on the xray screen. A replica grenade, even the grenade belt buckle, can look very similar to a real grenade on an xray screen. So the "grenade" is treated as though it is real. As such the bomb squad or law enforcement are called before the bag even leaves the machine. As for your oranje juice and knife, if it does not appear to be an assembled explosive device, there is no reason to get the ball rolling as with the grenades. July 30, 2009 2:52 AM
--------------
Thanks for the good answer!
---------------
uk visa law said... Bob, you're no fun any more - you know I hate travelling without my hand grenades!July 30, 2009 3:09 AM
---------------
Yeah, it’s not like the good old days anymore when you could take a hand grenade anywhere. 
---------------
Anonymous said... (Most of post edited due to length) In summary, the TSA attitude should be "If it can't crash a plane or kill people, we can't spend a moment of our time on it, since we have much more important things to do." Would you be willing to post your thoughts and response? July 30, 2009 9:11 AM
----------------------
If polled, I’m sure that most officers would agree with your logic. However, we have a prohibited items list that we have to adhere to. If you would like the list to be changed, I suggest writing your congressman. We need their approval to change it.
--------------------
Sandra said... Bob wrote:"...and we have to go through the motions." Do you know what that means, Bob? It means: "To do something in a mechanical manner indicative of a lack of interest or involvement."July 30, 2009 12:00 PM
----------------------
Sandra, that may be an idiom you and others use, but personally I don’t use it. When I say “going through the motions”, I am talking about setting the plan in motion and going through each part of the plan. However, now that I know that’s how you and others use it, I’ll probably choose different wording next time. Thanks for the lesson, teach.
-------------------------
Thanks,
Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...

"TSO William Reed deserves to be commended and promoted for his actions"

For this, as well as for posting under his full name and identifying his airport, which makes him both accountable and credible in a way that some of his fellow TSA employees who post here are not!

---------------------

Ok, I am TSO Jason Smith, from DFW. Now prove it.

How do you know the name he post under and the airport he list is both his real name and where he works?

Believe it or not, anyone can come on here, post under any name, and even claim they work for TSA - and it is never verified.

Sorry, but he is no more accountable than I when I post anonymously.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...

"TSM, been here.... said...
As a TSM, while what you are doing may be "nice" from a csr service standpoint, it is against policy and causes confusion when other airports follow policy and tell pax we don't return voluntarily surrenedered (we don't "confiscate) items and can open us up to other issues. If a pax surrenders an item it belongs to the gov't to dispose of as is properly. It is not up to you guys to decide to send it back. Also, you are now taking responsibility for that item and if it gets lost in the process, the TSA now has to replace it.

I made a trip from Dallas to Lexington and my scissors were OK with the TSO when I left. When I was on the return leg the TSO at Lexington didn't like my scissors.

So I see it now, when I was returning home to Dallas from Lexington my scissors weren't confiscated, they were "voluntarily surrendered".

I guess I could have made other arrangements for my scissors, such as leaving them in my checked bag (oops, its already on the conveyor belt) or I could have left them in my car (oops again, my car was 1200 miles away) or I could have left them with a friend or relative (oops, it was a business trip and there weren't any friends or relatives nearby) or I could "voluntarily surrender" them.

Yep, that's not confiscation. How silly of me."

----------------------

Or....

Oops, you could have not brought them.

Oops, you could have gone back to the airline, told them to get one of your bags bag (even if it already was on the conveyer belt) and put the scissors in there, and check it in again. This happens all the time, even if the airlines are not happy with it.

Or, oops, you could have mailed it back to yourself.

However, can you explain what "OK" means when you left Dallas; did the TSO measure them then let them go? Or did the scissors remain in the bag as it went through the x-ray?

If the scissors were over 4 inches (the blade) they should not have gone through Dallas in your carry-on luggage if they were measured.

But sometimes when you work x-ray you judge the size of an item. Sometimes your judgement is wrong, sometimes it is correct. So sometimes you let something go - like scissors - when it shouldn't.

You didn't provide enough info to tell exactly how the TSO in Dallas approved of your scissors.

Submitted by Ayn R Key on

TSO Ron,

First, it is confiscation. I don't care if your SSI policy says that if you tell the truth about it you get fired on the spot and that you must call it "voluntary surrender". It's confiscation whether you are ordered to say it's "voluntary surrender" or not. If it's not confiscation it's outright theft by the TSOs, and you don't want to go there.

Second, while what he did is against the rules, it's also the right thing to do. And that's not a contradiction. Most of your rules tell you to do the wrong thing, so violating this rule is doing the right thing. He failed to steal from a little kid. I think it's great that he failed to steal from a little kid because he did the right thing. You think it's awful that he failed to steal from a little kid because the rules tell him he must steal from a little kid. Get this - Right and Wrong is not the same as Obeying the Rules or Violating the Rules. The Rules are not the same as Morality. Sometimes the right thing to do is to disobey an immoral rule. Sometimes the wrong thing to do is obey a moral rule. You are applying the Nuremberg Defense, just like West did, and I'm calling you on it, just like I called him on it. The rules are wrong, Reed is right.

Submitted by RB on

Blogger Bob said..."If polled, I’m sure that most officers would agree with your logic. However, we have a prohibited items list that we have to adhere to. If you would like the list to be changed, I suggest writing your congressman. We need their approval to change it"

......................
Bob are you saying that each and every item on the prohibited list was placed there by congress?

Submitted by Ayn R Key on

Meant to say:

"Sometimes the wrong thing to do is obey an immoral rule."

$5 says Ron deliberately quotes the wrong version.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Bob,

Cleveland is getting WBIs for a two month test. From the article,

http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/07/cleveland_hopkins_internationa_2...

I am confused. Is Cleveland getting MMWs or BACKSCATTER scanners? ir both?

But my real question is: From the article, the backscatter is the "next generation" MMW. From this TSA blog I seem to remember that they were two different technologies. amd that TSA was dropping the Backscatter. What is the real story?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Blogger Bob said..."If polled, I’m sure that most officers would agree with your logic. However, we have a prohibited items list that we have to adhere to. If you would like the list to be changed, I suggest writing your congressman. We need their approval to change it"
*****

Bob please show me that Congressional order that says that its is illegal to fly with $10,000 inside the United States. But it is not illegal to posses $10,000 any other time. This policy was created by the TSA not by Congress.

Submitted by Bob on

Here is another one:

Q: Why, just why, in the name of all that is reasonably engineered, did the TSA choose to go with those metal detectors that are so poorly designed that they trigger if a passenger brushes up against them?

A: Essentially, all metal detectors have fairly sensitive electronics in them, that are designed detect changes in the electromagnetic field when a passenger walks through them with metal. Obviously when the equipment is bumped the field can be artificially disturbed, hence an alarm. There are “hardened” versions of the equipment available that would minimize this type of alarm, but since TSA generally deploys these to a fairly controlled environment where direct contact with the equipment can be minimized, it is not worth the extra expense for the hardened units. (Thanks to Keith for that answer!)

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Anonymous on

The point of this post is not that you can't bring real life gernades on a plane. I think BB knows that travelers have that one figured out.

What BB is trying to say is checkpoints get closed almost weekly sometimes for stupid reasons.

You should thank Bob. Next time you fly, some idiot with a gernade paperweight just might be in front of you. Or not, thanks to this blog.

If this post prevents one flight from being delayed or canceled, its worth it.

Submitted by TSORon on

Ayn R. Key said...

First, it is confiscation. I don't care if your SSI policy says that if you tell the truth about it you get fired on the spot and that you must call it "voluntary surrender". It's confiscation whether you are ordered to say it's "voluntary surrender" or not. If it's not confiscation it's outright theft by the TSOs, and you don't want to go there.
---------------------------------------

OK Ayn, here is a challenge for you. Next time you go through a checkpoint, bring your 22 ounce bottle of shampoo. When it is seen on the X-Ray, and the bag search TSO asks you about it, tell him you want to take it back to your car rather than abandon it. If he wont let you, ask for the supervisor. If he wont let you, ask for the Screening Manager. In any case, tell them you do not wish to abandon it. “confiscation” means that it is taken without your permission by an official because you are not allowed to have it. That will not happen to you. Therefore it is not confiscation. Procedure requires that they walk you and your prohibited item out of the sterile area and hand it over to you. What you do with it from there is totally and completely up to you.

I am not at the checkpoint right now, I can call it what I wish. I choose to call it what it is, and that is abandonment. Even if I were at the checkpoint, there is no rule about what we call it, SSI or not. It is in fact voluntarily surrendering an item, or abandonment of said item. Nothing more and nothing less. Don’t get stuck on semantics, it is what it is and nothing more. I escort people and their prohibited items out of the sterile area every day, because they made the choice to not abandon them. If they surrendered them it would still have been their choice. Just as you have “chosen” to misapply a term to meet some unknown agenda.

Submitted by Anonymous on

@ "The point of this post is not that you can't bring real life gernades on a plane. I think BB knows that travelers have that one figured out.

What BB is trying to say is checkpoints get closed almost weekly sometimes for stupid reasons.

You should thank Bob. Next time you fly, some idiot with a gernade paperweight just might be in front of you. Or not, thanks to this blog.

If this post prevents one flight from being delayed or canceled, its worth it."

###

The point of this post is that TSA's inability to identify non-weapons makes our air transport system vulnerable to denial of service attacks.

Imagine what a "terrorist" could do with $10,000 worth of $100 tickets and candy grenades. In the words of TSORon:

"Each time a replica or the real thing, inert or not, is found at the checkpoint it has a significant effect. They close the checkpoint. 15 minutes to several hours, depending. This has an effect on all the passengers who would like to get through the checkpoint, and of course the schedules of the affected aircraft, airlines, and entire airports down the line who were expecting things to run smoothly throughout the country. Its called a “ripple affect”, and tends to hose things up far and wide. Sometimes there is no ripple affect, but that’s pretty rare.

SO, ifs not just one or two people that choose to do something rather stupid, but entire airports and regions. A significant portion of that 2 million you write about."

Submitted by TSOWilliamReed on

TSM, been here.... said...
Quoted:
" TSOWilliamReed said...
Sad news article, poor kid. On a side note a supervisor here in Ketchikan teams up with non TSA employees to mail passengers "Confiscated" items back to them."
---------------------
As a TSM, while what you are doing may be "nice" from a csr service standpoint, it is against policy and causes confusion when other airports follow policy and tell pax we don't return voluntarily surrenedered (we don't "confiscate) items and can open us up to other issues. If a pax surrenders an item it belongs to the gov't to dispose of as is properly. It is not up to you guys to decide to send it back. Also, you are now taking responsibility for that item and if it gets lost in the process, the TSA now has to replace it.
Good csr service, poor application of the rules. i wouldn't broadcast on an open forum that you guys are disregarding rules. It's bad enough all the flack we take when we follow them.

July 30, 2009 10:24 AM

----------------

Sorry, should have been more specific. Basically this supervisor will inform the passenger that the woman at the coffee shop downstairs outside of the sterile area is known to mail items to passengers if they ask nicely. Nothing against policy for that.

Submitted by TSOWilliamReed on

Anonymous said...
Anonymous said...

"TSO William Reed deserves to be commended and promoted for his actions"

For this, as well as for posting under his full name and identifying his airport, which makes him both accountable and credible in a way that some of his fellow TSA employees who post here are not!

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Ok, I am TSO Jason Smith, from DFW. Now prove it.

How do you know the name he post under and the airport he list is both his real name and where he works?

Believe it or not, anyone can come on here, post under any name, and even claim they work for TSA - and it is never verified.

Sorry, but he is no more accountable than I when I post anonymously.

July 30, 2009 7:17 PM
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Hello Jason B Smith from DFW. I can prove you are who you say. How did I find out your middle initial is B? You are logged in the DHS email data bank, same way Bob found out I was a real TSO when I posted under my real name and he started an e-mail dialogue with me to help me post. Same goes with any other TSO's on here that don't believe I work for TSA look me up in the DHS email bank, im the only William Reed that works for TSA I am not hard to find.

Submitted by TSOWilliamReed on

TSM, Been here... said...
It's funny that the same people who are always screaming that TSOs "ignore" or apply rules inconsistently are the ones who are now on here applauding a TSO for violating rules and mailing back prohibited items.

Just goes to show that you people are not satisfied unless a situation is in your favor, rules or not.

Hmmm... Sounds like exactly what you are accusing us of, doesn't it?

July 30, 2009 5:18 PM
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I never said I mailed anything to anyone. Actually we in Ketchikan have been told we are one of the strictest airports to fly through on a regular basis. Yet we are also told we are one of the nicest security checkpoints they have been through in a long time. This coming not from random passengers but our friends, family, and constant locals we deal with at our airport flying on a regular basis.

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSORon said

"I escort people and their prohibited items out of the sterile area every day, because they made the choice to not abandon them. If they surrendered them it would still have been their choice. Just as you have “chosen” to misapply a term to meet some unknown agenda."

Really, Ron? You would have walked me back to my car 1200 miles away to put an item back?

Too bad you weren't there to help me out, because the TSO in Lexington decided that the pair of scissors that passed inspection in Dallas was no longer passable.

Since I didn't have a car to return it to and my bags were already inaccessible and there wasn't an open post office nearby, I had to give up my scissors. You can call it "voluntary surrender" all you want, but the reality is that it was done under duress. Thats not right and you know it.

Submitted by Bret Bouchard on

How would a grenade even seem like an options. Its scary that it even needs to be explained. But you did a good jo of spelling things out.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...
Anonymous said...

"TSO William Reed deserves to be commended and promoted for his actions"

For this, as well as for posting under his full name and identifying his airport, which makes him both accountable and credible in a way that some of his fellow TSA employees who post here are not!

---------------------

Ok, I am TSO Jason Smith, from DFW. Now prove it.

How do you know the name he post under and the airport he list is both his real name and where he works?

Believe it or not, anyone can come on here, post under any name, and even claim they work for TSA - and it is never verified.

Sorry, but he is no more accountable than I when I post anonymously.

July 30, 2009 7:17 PM
--------------

Hello Jason B Smith from DFW. I can prove you are who you say. How did I find out your middle initial is B? You are logged in the DHS email data bank, same way Bob found out I was a real TSO when I posted under my real name and he started an e-mail dialogue with me to help me post. Same goes with any other TSO's on here that don't believe I work for TSA look me up in the DHS email bank, im the only William Reed that works for TSA I am not hard to find.

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Which is sort of my point. I too have a DHS email, and I too have looked up peoples emails when needed.

Visitors to this blog, those who do not have a DHS email account have no access to this resource, and they sort of have to take our word that we are who we say we are. And since many of these visitors to this blog who are not DHS employees have said they do not trust us (TSA), why would they have any reason to trust who someone claims to be on here if they work for TSA?

So, 1. Only DHS employess have access to DHS email, 2. Many people on this blog do not trust TSA employees, so 3., why would they take anyone for their word if they use a fake "TSO" name and airport?

And my name is not Jason B. Smith. I do not work in DFW. lol Sorry. I picked that name out of the blue.

But this is proof that even our email resources is not conclusive evidence that someone is who they say they are.

Submitted by Anonymous on

So the pilot of an aircraft reports an strange feel in the aircraft upon landing and reports this to mechanics. the mechanic delays the plane 30 minutes (or more) to check the source of the problem. This happens everyday and travelers complain about the delay never thinking that the pilot is just concerned about the safety of himself, the next crew to take that aircraft out, and the passengers. The security line is no different. The pilot felt that something just wasn't right about the aircraft and reported that feeling. Our technology will only get us so far. I wish my brand new car would tell me that it was going to stall on the highway in the morning, I would choose to ride the bus. My point is...the TSA technology will only get them so far... the equipment and the operator are a team. If the human part of that team feels uneasy or unsure about what they are viewing, I as a traveler want them to question that feeling...I want that HUMAN to be sure there is no threat before I board..I may choose to take the bus.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Quoted:
"Too bad you weren't there to help me out, because the TSO in Lexington decided that the pair of scissors that passed inspection in Dallas was no longer passable."

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And you absolutely needed those scissors on the plane why?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Ayn R. Key said:First, it is confiscation. Stop lying to us. Or do your regulations tell you to tell us it's not confiscation? What paragraph and section say "You will never refer to confiscation as confiscation, only as 'voluntary surrender'"? Or is that information secret like the answer to every other non-sensical rule?

I love that TSA has a prohibited/permitted items list for you to follow and yet, it is TSA's fault that you brought the item(s) thru checkpoint. Plus, you are still given the opportunity to take advantage of several options to keep from having to surrender the item to TSA. If you don't want to use those options, it is not TSA's fault that you choose what you choose. If you don't have the time to use the options, again, NOT TSA's fault b/c you are warned that you should arrive around an hour and a half before your flight in case problems arise, whether it be a long line at the ticket counter (airline problem, not TSA), long security line, or secondary screenings (pat downs or bag checks). TSA has a job to do, you know before you fly what they do, so if you don't prepare accordingly, or you did, but forgot a prohibited item in your bag (for example), it is not TSA's fault you got held up for something YOU didn't prepare for or forgot.

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSO William Reed saidHello Jason B Smith from DFW. I can prove you are who you say. How did I find out your middle initial is B? You are logged in the DHS email data bank, same way Bob found out I was a real TSO when I posted under my real name and he started an e-mail dialogue with me to help me post. Same goes with any other TSO's on here that don't believe I work for TSA look me up in the DHS email bank, im the only William Reed that works for TSA I am not hard to find.

Reed, he is talking about people on this blog who are NOT TSO's. He is saying that there is no way for those people to ensure you are who you say you are, just by posting a full name and location. So, Jason Smith is right...posting Anonymously doesn't make you less credible as the TSO who posts under a full name b/c passengers on this blog have no way of proving if the name is a fake or not. They don't have access to our databank. Jason was in no way accusing that TSO's on here didn't believe you were not a TSO.

Submitted by Kellymae81 on

Anon said:Since I didn't have a car to return it to and my bags were already inaccessible and there wasn't an open post office nearby, I had to give up my scissors. You can call it "voluntary surrender" all you want, but the reality is that it was done under duress. Thats not right and you know it.

Again, not TSA's fault that you had them to begin with. Even if you got them thru the 1st airport, they were apparently too large and just got (mistakenly) overlooked by the 1st x-ray operator. If you got stopped the 1st time like you were suppose to, they would have been taken there. Still TSA's fault you had them? NO

It's kinda like getting stopped for speeding. You can't really say, "Well, I sped thru here yesterday and didn't get stopped". Point is, you were (knowingly) speeding and just didn't get caught the first time, but I guarantee, 95% of the time you are getting that speeding ticket when you ARE caught!!!!! ;)

Kelly
TSA Blog Team

Submitted by I Only Travel W... on
And you absolutely needed those scissors on the plane why?

Last time I flew, I only had carry-on luggage. I was only gone for a week, and I absolutely did not want to wait for my luggage after landing. Neither did the rest of the people I was traveling with, on business, and all only having carry on luggage.

So the question isn't why I need scissors on a plane, but why would anyone need scissors at any time at all ever.
Submitted by Anonymous on

Bob said...
Anon,

I'm looking into the link you posted.

Bob

TSA Blog Team

July 29, 2009 4:51 PM
.....................
Bob, how long do you need to check out a link?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Ayn R. Key said...
First, it is confiscation. Stop lying to us. Or do your regulations tell you to tell us it's not confiscation? What paragraph and section say "You will never refer to confiscation as confiscation, only as 'voluntary surrender'"? Or is that information secret like the answer to every other non-sensical rule?

Second, he's actually doing the right thing with the confiscated items. You and the rest of the TSA should learn from him, not tell him to learn from you. TSO William Reed deserves to be commended and promoted for his actions, which is why I predict the revere will happen.

July 30, 2009 1:05 PM

__________________________________

Lying. How harsh. TSM is not lying. What part of this process do you not understand? When one is given a number of options to do with their property and they chose to have the TSO throw away their item. Yes, they are surrendering it. Whether you like it or not, the passenger is making that decision. There are many other options that the person can take. Not to mention the passengers should know the rule in the first place, so they are setting themselves up to make a choice about their property.

No that officer is not doing the right thing. It is not the resposibility of an officer or other employee of the airport to take a passengers property outside of security without that passenger present. The rules need to be followed, whether you like them or not! Now the next time that passenger has something he shouldn't he is going to get mad because someone won't send that item home for him. That officer should actually be reprimanded for not following the SOP.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Yep, that's not confiscation. How silly of me.
___________________________________

You also have the choice to send them home to yourself. Oops silly you, you could have kept them instead of surrendering them. Next time.

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