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What Was She Thinking? A True Thanksgiving Tale

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Tuesday, December 01, 2009
turkey

Each Thanksgiving travel season, there are stories that range from slightly odd to truly bizarre. This year was no exception.

On November 25th, a female called the Miami-Dade Police with information about a bomb aboard an American Airlines flight from Miami to Honduras. The police also received an e-mail saying there was a bomb on the same flight.

All bomb threats are taken seriously, and the police department and TSA conducted searches of the plane. The flight was delayed by about four hours. No bomb was found on the plane, and after it was cleared by law enforcement authorities, the flight left for Honduras.

Most of us know that e-mails can be traced, but apparently not everyone does. Law enforcement authorities traced the bomb threat e-mail back to a woman who told them that she made the claims because she was late for work and was concerned that her tardiness would cause her boss to be late for his flight. Apparently, she made the threats to buy him some time.

As strange as this sounds, it’s not the first time something like this has happened. I’ve seen other reports of people calling in bomb threats when they’re running late for their flights to keep the plane on the ground until they get there. We’ve also had more than a few people say “what if there’s a bomb in my bag?” when they get to the gate too late to board their flight and want to get their checked bag back. Besides being incredibly selfish, it’s illegal, and when caught, these folks are arrested and face hefty fines.

Lynn
TSA Blog Team

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Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on

That's nice.

Why does TSA assume any liquid below 3.4 ounces is safe but that any liquid over 3.4 ounces is dangerous explosive?

Why does TSA toss these dangerous explosives into open containers in the middle of airports?

Why does TSA dispose of these dangerous explosives as if they were exactly what is indicated by their labels?

Why does TSA treat a bottle of Pepsi like soda when it's time to dispose of it, but as a dangerous explosive when it transits the checkpoint?

How does TSA screen the liquids sold past its checkpoints?

Does TSA test a random sampling if confiscated liquids to determine how many liquid explosives people are attempting to bring through checkpoints?

Why can't TSA point to a single piece of independent, peer-reviewed research to support its liquid policies?

Why does TSA continue to post inaccurate signage about the liquids policies in airports?

Submitted by Anonymous on

With this post Britney's Big Gulp has traveled off the page. Good try. We still want to see the video. Anything else, and we will remain convinced Big Gulp was not X-rayed.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Where's the Britney video, Bob? Where's the policy on ice, Bob?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I hope she's tried, and if convicted, that they throw her away under the jail for terminal stupidity.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why do people think that posting the same question 300 times over is going to get a different result?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Hey you Anon.

Why don't you get a life and stay on topic...

Submitted by Anonymous on
a female

I believe the word you're looking for is 'woman'. We're humans, not livestock.
Submitted by Bob on

Nothing like a hefty fine to discourage terroristic threats.

Maybe some judge can get creative and do an eye for an eye: Delay 120 people for 4 hours for an outrageous reason, spend 4 x 120 hours = 20 days in jail.

Airline executives will of course seek immunity before any law is passed to presribe this.

Submitted by RB on

While the questions are coming in:

Where is the policy written and made available to the public concerning taking ice through the checkpoint?

Where is the new policy concerning taking large amounts of cash through the checkpoint?

Where is the video that TSA claims shows Britney Spears beverage being xrayed?

Where is a complete list of rules travelers must comply with to move through a TSA checkpoint?

Why does TSA take indecent images of children and have TSA employees view these images?

...next...

Submitted by Nyubi on

@Anonymous
You have a lot of questions, do you?

Submitted by RB on

From:

http://www.tsa.gov/311/

Declare larger liquids. Medications, baby formula and food, and breast milk are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding three ounces and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Declare these items for inspection at the checkpoint.


Bob, please define exactly what TSA means by reasonable quantities and exactly who makes the decision as to what is reasonable.

Seems to me that the person who needs these items would be in the best postition to know how much of a certain item is needed.

What is the procedure to challenge a TSA decision that a traveler believes is unreasonable while at the checkpoint?

What specific training is provided to TSA employees that gives them the expertise to determine how much of certain items a person may need if TSA determines what a reasonable quantity is?

Submitted by Anonymous on

bob said...

Nothing like a hefty fine to discourage terroristic threats.

Maybe some judge can get creative and do an eye for an eye: Delay 120 people for 4 hours for an outrageous reason, spend 4 x 120 hours = 20 days in jail.

Airline executives will of course seek immunity before any law is passed to presribe this.


####

At that rate, TSA's recommendation for the 2,000,000 passengers per day to arrive an extra hour early is a security tax equivalent to 83333 Americans in jail.

That's a pretty good ROI for the 19 terrorists.

Submitted by Anonymous on

“what if there’s a bomb in my bag?”


sounds like a question, not a threat ;-)

Submitted by Anonymous on

a comedian stated:
We're humans, not livestock.

YARR! We set sail at 3 bells Captain Obvious! ding ding ding!

Submitted by Anonymous on

To all who are annoyed by the repeated questions.

You can blame anon. Or you can blame the person truly responsible; the moderator.

Bob has a convenient way to pump his metrics.

Submitted by Oyun Oyna on

Where is a complete list of rules travelers must comply with to move through a TSA checkpoint?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Regarding the last paragraph...: With 100% bag matching, wouldn't it be impossible for someone's bag to make their flight without the person boarding, now?

Submitted by Anonymous on

You know, the never ending repeat of questions on policy is getting a little tiring on the comments. I am not an employee of the Gov't nor do I have any vested interest in the TSA. I find this blog helpful in keeping me informed on what is happening. There is not a conspiracy behind every post. Just a bunch of people trying to do thier job. Give 'em a break.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Are you serious? TSA holds up flights for four hours just become some yokel calls in and says there's a bomb? How stupid can they be?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Seems the Delete-O-meter is broken again.

Been stuck on 1546 for several weeks now.

No more deleted post?

Submitted by Anonymous on

copy and paste is fun. also who is checking this blog routinely except tsa employees looking for a laugh on their lunch break?

by the way, anyone picking up the latest US Weekly or People for their flight have zero ground to stand on complaining about the Spears incident.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Isn't there supposed to be 100% bag matching? Shouldn't a person who is not going to make a flight have their bag retrieved anyway, due to this rule? Doesn't TSA publicize 100% bag matching enough for this woman to know her bag "can't possibly make the flight without her?"

Submitted by Anonymous on

Mid week silence?

Another Puppy Post on the way?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Thanks for causing me to miss my flight TSA. From Orlando

Submitted by Anonymous on

Where is the Big Gulp video?

Submitted by Felix on

RB… Seems to me that a person who wants to kill others would see their bomb as an item they would be in the best position to know would be needed on the plane.

Submitted by Peter on

2,752 individuals DEAD, that is pretty good for 19 terrorists.

Submitted by Lonnie on

Anon said… “Are you serious? TSA holds up flights for four hours just become some yokel calls in and says there's a bomb? How stupid can they be?”

I am sure this individual would not mind getting on board an airplane that had a bomb on it, but, I DO NOT!

TSA is NOT stupid for wanting to protect the American people; they are protecting the American people just like every other law enforcement agency. TSA takes threats seriously, just like every other law enforcement agency in the country.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The bomb threat was called in by someone who was NOT flying; therefore, the individual does not have baggage aboard the flight. The 100% bag matching would not directly apply. The AIRLINE and TSA do not want to take a chance that some crazy person does want to take down a plane. It is in the best interest of both the airline and TSA to want to stop the bombing of an aircraft from happening.

Submitted by Jennifer on

I managed to FINALY get though TSA screening after FIVE WHOLE minutes. I can’t understand why I missed my flight! Thanks a lot TSA. From Orlando!!!

Submitted by Anonymous on

"There is not a conspiracy behind every post. Just a bunch of people trying to do thier job."

If they were doing their jobs, they'd answer the questions completely and honestly.

Submitted by John Dawson on

RB:

In reply to who decides what 'reasonable quantities' are.

I believe the TSO decides, because if you're taking 15 vials of lipstick it might look a little suspecious.

Giving out exact numbers would give those trying to harm us a real advantage, something to meet-or-beat in order to use our own rules against us and take something onboard that could really make passengers have a bad day.

Medications are allowed, but would you need five bottles of Advil for one flight? Most of the time, depending on the duration of the flight, the TSO can understand the need of something and determine it safe for travel.

As for challenging a decision by a TSO, you can ask for their supervisor at any time, and if you feel the decision is wrong or unfair the supervisor will work with you. (They get the training and the pay to do it, and most TSO's won't have a problem with it, if they haven't already called for the supervisor themselves.)

As for the last of it, in relation to training recieved, it's mostly a matter of common sence, as stated above in my examples. Would you need a lot of medication for a short flight, or an excessive amount of baby formula for a short trip? If you have a good reason, the TSO will usually work with you to resolve the problem, it all depeneds on the airport and the TSO who does your bag check.

In the end, TSA is there to help you make it from where you are to where you're going, and they screen every passenger like their own family were going on the flight with you. As with any other agency of this size and scope, federal or corporate, nothing is perfect, but while Americans are in the friendly skies the TSA will be there to make sure you get to your meeting safely, fly safely to your vacation destination, or just make it home safely to your family.

If people really want to help the TSA with their jobs and let them know what you want, tell them at the airport, post it here, and send feedback in all forms to let them know you want a change or to show them a possible better way to do something. The TSA are constantly changing, and if they could mold into the perfect force to make you happy and totally safe, believe me they would, without a doubt do it. So, instead of technical questions and posts about missing flights, just let them know what you think something better would be, or join them and work from the inside.

To 'From Orlando'

I understand, it's not easy or fun missing a flight, but most airlines do tell you to arrive 2 hours early, just in case of traffic at the checkpoint. Remember, TSA works in real time with customers face-to-face, it's not like other corporations or government agencies who sit behind a desk or have layers of bureaucratic ways to work for you, TSA is at the fore-front of the fight on our soil. Because when it comes to having them or not, I say not many people would give up what we now have in place, because you never know what you have 'till it's gone.

Submitted by Anonymous on

ok seriously you people are rediculous..who cares about britany spears??? you guys need to get a life and the bloggers should just stop letting these annoying posts on to the page... stay on topic.. to RB is this a post about liquids and ice?? NO its a post about stupid people making bomb threats go ask liquid questions on the post ABOUT LIQUIDS or the post ABOUT ICE ....

Submitted by Anonymous on

"Are you serious? TSA holds up flights for four hours just become some yokel calls in and says there's a bomb? How stupid can they be?"

"Thanks for causing me to miss my flight TSA. From Orlando"

I'd imagine that your umbrage would be reversed if TSA just let the flight go without checking to see if it was legit or not. Way to misdirect your anger...

Submitted by Rocco on

"You know, the never ending repeat of questions on policy is getting a little tiring on the comments. "

They should probably answer them then, so he can stop asking.

Submitted by Anonymous on

What is the purpose in having the BDO program? As a frequent flyer I feel the BDO is useless and are frowned upon by TSO's. This is another case of wasteful spending by the government! I constantly witness BDO's standing around, talking on a cell phone, and at times flirting with passengers. I thought these officers were supposed to be observing my behavior? Very professional TSA!

Submitted by Isaac Newton on

Thanks, Lynn, for the 40-year-old news that joking about bombs is a no-no.

Can you please point out where TSA has publicized the new rules about ice so that the once-a-year travelers over the holidays will be aware that frozen items are now allowed?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Are you serious? TSA holds up flights for four hours just become some yokel calls in and says there's a bomb? How stupid can they be?

-----

Are you serious? You'd rather a plane that had two bomb threats against it not be checked out? Can we make sure you don't get to make screening policies, ever?

Submitted by Alex From Suffolk on

I understand the need for security and safety, however sometimes I feel things are taken too far.

It often feels like customs officials make up the rules as they go along- though I am sure that they have guidelines, but woe betide anyone who questions the sensibility of their actions.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I'm interested to hear your response to the failed redaction of your procedure documents. Will you have to change your policies now that this secret information has been released to the public?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...

"With this post Britney's Big Gulp has traveled off the page. Good try. We still want to see the video. Anything else, and we will remain convinced Big Gulp was not X-rayed."

December 1, 2009 4:50 PM

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

so what? We hand check many things that do not go through the x-ray, such as film. Heck, I hand checked a painting and it's frame today. Big deal.

Yeah, yeah, they said it went through the x-ray, and you don't believe them. I would have specifically said it did NOT go through the x-ray, even if it did, just to see the blood vessel above your eye begin to throb.

I mean, really, who cares?

But we need to have blogger bob say honest and correct things!!!!

Yeah, right. If Bob says black, you people say white. Up, Bob says, you say down. Left, right; day, night; good, bad.

No matter what bob says you wouldn't believe him.

And no matter what video you could see, you would claim it's edited.

Have fun!

Submitted by Anonymous on

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/10/business/10bug.html?_r=1

Former Administrator Hawley discussion the then new TSA Blog.

“A whole lot of our employees are really anxious to engage with the public,” Mr. Hawley said. And, it turns out, vice versa. After the blog went up on Jan. 30, many reader responses were angry and sarcastic. But later, a greater sense of civil discussion set in.

“We knew we were going to get a big surge of negativity; we knew it would be a very juicy opportunity” for the angry, Mr. Hawley said, adding: “I think once people realize we’re putting substantive content on there and really answering questions, the tone will calm down — and it will lead to the same thing happening at the checkpoint.”


So when will you guys start with the answering questions Mr. Hawley talked about?

Submitted by John on

If liquids are so dangerous or have the potential to be, why do you just casually toss them into a trash can in the middle of a populated and busy airport? Please answer this Bob!!!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Lonnie said...
Anon said… “Are you serious? TSA holds up flights for four hours just become some yokel calls in and says there's a bomb? How stupid can they be?”

I am sure this individual would not mind getting on board an airplane that had a bomb on it, but, I DO NOT!

TSA is NOT stupid for wanting to protect the American people; they are protecting the American people just like every other law enforcement agency. TSA takes threats seriously, just like every other law enforcement agency in the country.

December 4, 2009 8:44 PM

TSA is not a Law Enforcement Agency.

They screen travlers bags.

Submitted by RB on

Felix said...
RB… Seems to me that a person who wants to kill others would see their bomb as an item they would be in the best position to know would be needed on the plane.

December 4, 2009 8:15 PM


Felix, I was talking about how medically exempted items are handled, not bombs.

If you needed a medicine or such who do you think is most qualified to determine how much you need on your person?

Some TSA employee or you who's life may depend on having that item?

I'm ok with TSA keeping WEI off of airplanes but they don't seem to do that very well either. Look to DFW last month for examples!

Submitted by RB on

John Dawson said...
RB:

In reply to who decides what 'reasonable quantities' are.

I believe the TSO decides, because if you're taking 15 vials of lipstick it might look a little suspecious.

Giving out exact numbers would give those trying to harm us a real advantage, something to meet-or-beat in order to use our own rules against us and take something onboard that could really make passengers have a bad day.

Medications are allowed, but would you need five bottles of Advil for one flight? Most of the time, depending on the duration of the flight, the TSO can understand the need of something and determine it safe for travel.

As for challenging a decision by a TSO, you can ask for their supervisor at any time, and if you feel the decision is wrong or unfair the supervisor will work with you. (They get the training and the pay to do it, and most TSO's won't have a problem with it, if they haven't already called for the supervisor themselves.)

As for the last of it, in relation to training recieved, it's mostly a matter of common sence, as stated above in my examples. Would you need a lot of medication for a short flight, or an excessive amount of baby formula for a short trip? If you have a good reason, the TSO will usually work with you to resolve the problem, it all depeneds on the airport and the TSO who does your bag check.....
...............................
Lipstick is neither a medicine or food John, just in case you don't know.

I'm talking about items that should be exempted based on information available on the TSA web pages. I stated that clearly in the original posting.

John, you hear about any of the flights that have been delayed on the ground for any number of hours with the passengers held hostage on an aircraft or have their travel plans disrupted because of weather or other issues and forced to wait out the problem at a distant airport?

One of those was a very short flight yet the people were held hostage overnight. Most without basic things needed for themselves or their children.

When a person is dealing with medicines or special food for a child or themselves I don't think any TSA employee is trained nor equipped to make those decisions, unless your have a medical license.

Are you willing to take legal responsibility for not allowing someones medicine?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...
Seems the Delete-O-meter is broken again.

Been stuck on 1546 for several weeks now.

No more deleted post?

December 3, 2009 4:37 PM
........................
Amazing deleted post jump by 160 in 5 short days.

3 Dec = 1546
8 Dec = 1706

Someone must of been real busy punching the delete button.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"TSA is NOT stupid for wanting to protect the American people; they are protecting the American people just like every other law enforcement agency. TSA takes threats seriously, just like every other law enforcement agency in the country.

TSA is NOT a law enforcement agency. Never has been, never will be.
TSA does make a mockery of the concept of taking threats seriously. Everything is a threat, except its own pathetic mistakes.

You can protect people without abusing them or insulting their intelligence. The problem resides in the lack of social skills of some of the TSOs. TSA should try treating people with respect and courtesy, they would get respect in return.

Submitted by John Dawson on

RB:

I don't believe the TSA can take medication. I think it's their policy that you can take medication with you on the plane.

Anyways, if we got to make all of the choices for the measurements and TSA couldn't say no or take a second look, then I'm taking a lifetime supply of my nitroglycerin pills with me on the plane I could easily make an explosive. So, with your logic, flawed that it is, I could easily say that they don't understand that where I'm moving, the price is about 1 cent higher and that over my lifetime I will save about thirty dollars, and since we know better than those protecting us, I'll get by with it, right RB? Yes, I know I'm right, because I'm in the twisted world of RB, and I know better than everyone else.

So, what else could I take with me? What else could I exclude from the list of TSA to the list of "I KNOW BETTER" and lets see how long our security lasts, lets see how long people keep flying, like a test of sorts where people die and I score points for your broken reality RB.

Anyways, since I'm through with you and that twisted mentality, it's just as well that I'll be flying tomorrow. I'll be posting before, during (wifi on flight, yeah), and after the flight thanks to the TSA, and not thanks to the RB and those like him know best and the world is full of pink flowers and the people who would happily kill us are all gone.

The end.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Perhaps they could have been prompter to the gate (perhaps not), but how about airlines just give them their dumb bag back and be done with it if they're not allowed to board, rather than causing people to make silly or irresponsible statements about why they need their luggage back (besides the obvious reasons)?

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