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TSA On the Job: Passenger Support Specialist

Friday, March 08, 2019
Passenger Support Specialist

I’m a people person – there’s no doubt about it. As a TSA passenger support specialist at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Va., helping people is something I have the chance to do every day!

I’m part of the TSA Cares program, which provides travelers with extra support before and during the security screening process. I help travelers who have disabilities, medical conditions and other special circumstances navigate the security checkpoint with ease.

Any traveler who requires special accommodations or has concerns about the security screening process can ask for a passenger support specialist. Simply call 855-787-2227 at least 72 hours prior to your trip and provide your flight details – it’s that easy. We will tell you what to expect and meet you when you arrive at the airport to guide you through.

I’ve worked with passengers with mobility limitations, wounded warriors, parents flying with small children, and people who are nervous about flying – to name a few. It brings me joy to know that I made a difference in helping passengers. For me, the highlight of my day is being able to assist military veterans. My husband is retired Navy and I spent some time working in the Pentagon. In fact, I was in the building during the 9/11 attacks, and those memories will always stay with me.

I hope this blog and the accompanying video spreads the word about the TSA Cares program and remember to call 855-787-2227 if you need help.

Deborah Owens
Passenger Support Specialist

Comments

Submitted by RB on

I fail to understand why a TSA Passenger Support Specialist is needed if all TSA employees are highly trained as claimed by TSA. Don't TSA screeners have to qualify for each position and prove proficiency in the required tasks?

Isn't having these people admitting that TSA has failed in properly training its employees?

Does a TSA Pat Down require the screener to make contact with the travelers genitals and if so is that information given during the advisement?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why are your screening clerks so poorly trained that you need special clerks to help disabled travelers?

Also, is it really "helping" people when they stand a good chance of being sexually assaulted at your checkpoints?

Submitted by Huh on

Why are your screening clerks so poorly trained that you need special clerks to help disabled travelers?

Also, is it really "helping" people when they stand a good chance of being sexually assaulted at your checkpoints?

Submitted by Here We Go Again on

Just to save everyone some reading...
RB & Susan are gonna ask if the screeners actually use the word "Genitals" because obviously they are hung up on that word. I dunno, maybe they just like to type it. G.E.N.I.T.A.L.S.
Additionally, one or the other of them will ask about the "nude" scanners even though that question has been answered many times.
And then there's potentially the guy that asks what constitutes sexual harassment/unwanted sexual contact/groping even though that question has been asked AND answered multiple times.
Miss anyone?

Submitted by CliffOnTheRoad on

Deborah Owens,
Passenger Support Specialist, certainly presents a fine image of a caring person within the TSA. The phone number supplied might be used on my next trip because, and as an example of what might not go well.
It would be good IMO if Deborah became aware of what the general public encounters and may get upset with.
Examples; my last trip I had 18 small cans of cat food in my carry-on. Things went fine at BWI airport. But due to wording of rules, I risk having those cans seized because x-rays may not reveal enough.
Previously, I had NO problem with a can of Ajax. Next trip it was siezed. Common household cleaaner. We are at the whim of the employee and there is no consistancy, nor appeal when they make their decision.
See our frustration?

Submitted by It's Strange on

...the way TSA and its defenders simply cannot tell the truth. Perhaps you think it's fine if the government employees routinely grope people's genitals?

Submitted by RB's At It Again on

What part of the word "EXTRA" do you not comprehend?
"which provides travelers with EXTRA support BEFORE and during the security screening process. I help travelers who have disabilities, medical conditions and other SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES navigate the security checkpoint with ease."

Submitted by WILLIAM HAMILTON on

Paid for TSA precheck. Gate was "closed" and not available at San Diego, Sat Mar 9th heading for Gate 13 for my SOUTHWEST flight. Had to use regular TSA lines..most unpleasant young lady working there...dictatorial...completely unkind and rude to all. I tried to read her name tag...it looked like it was a 3 letter name. She was shouting orders about how it wasn't "her responsibility" to move trays along...take everything out of all carry-on bags, food, toiletries, don't place iPad on top of Iphone...separate trays for EVERYTHING! HORRIBLE EXPERIENCE. She definitely needs retraining in "customer relations"...better yet she needs another job NOT dealing with the public. This was the TSA checkpoint leading to Gate 13 for SOUTHWEST. Once on board...flight attendants overly chatty and "long"on announcements...very stern in telling folks to put bags fully under seats, etc. It is "all in the way" it is done that makes it a pleasant or unpleasant experience for the customer...this wasn't especially a great experience either! Also they had some basketball playoff before our flight...extra crowding at the gate...was this more for the amusement of the staff or what? Also one employee was coughing her "head off"...not using elbow to stifle coughs...coughing on everyone and handling gift items. NOT APPRECIATED AT ALL! It will be a long time before I decide to take a flight on Southwest again...sorry to say! The staff at bag check in were, however, were very good! But the flight coupled with the bad TSA experience made it most "unpleasant journey indeed" after a wonderful Hawaiian cruise. A poor way to end a journey! And yes, to top it all off...the flight was delayed by 40 minutes.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why don't you pick one name and stick with it TSA employee.

All I'm asking is if TSA screeners are so poorly trained that TSA cannot function without special screeners to make sure people with certain issues are properly treated?

I think that is exactly what this article is stating. Some front line screeners are so incompetent that TSA had to institute a group of sceeners to make sure certain classes of passengers are not abused. Is that the message TSA wants to send?

Submitted by Seriously? on

How do YOU propose a groin alarm or anomaly be rectified?

Submitted by Anon - Why? on

Again, Reading is fundamental. Read the article again - EXTRA, as in not the norm. These folks meet the person PRIOR to the checkpoint, give them whatever ADDITIONAL aid they may require and help them to the gate AFTER the checkpoint. The TSOs working the checkpoint are manning very specific positions, doing very specific jobs. These folks provide an EXTRA level of support. But again, I guess pretending to not understand so you can see your comment printed is somehow more fulfilling.

Submitted by How About on

...stop using an invasive and ineffective technology that routinely alarms on people's gentials for no reason? TSA's insistence on using naked body scanners with a false alarm rate of 100% (that's rounded up from 99.999999%, West and Jay, so settle down) means that many thousands of people are sexually assaulted by TSA. Even if you somehow think someone groping your genitals isn't sexual assault, I defy you to explain how this makes anyone safer in any way. Note that TSA will move heaven and earth to avoid addressing how many "dangerous" objects its current patdown protocol has found in and around people's genitals. Suffice to say the number is closer to zero than to five.

Submitted by West Cooper on

RB sez - "

I fail to understand why a TSA Passenger Support Specialist is needed if all TSA employees are highly trained as claimed by TSA. Don't TSA screeners have to qualify for each position and prove proficiency in the required tasks?

Isn't having these people admitting that TSA has failed in properly training its employees?

Does a TSA Pat Down require the screener to make contact with the travelers genitals and if so is that information given during the advisement?"

As explained before - the PSS folks are a supplemental program, that makes things easier on numerous folks with all formats of disabilities. All of our TSOs are trained on how to screen passengers with disabilities, it is universal, it is also part of a consistent recurrent training.

Having these people means that TSA has recognized that having someone go above and beyond in terms of understanding the unique nature of each situation, and being able to formulate a the least challenging path to help these folks come through the checkpoint, is a net positive for all involved. It is the exact opposite of admitting we have a problem, it is offering some of our workforce the opportunity to excel in an area that they have shown a natural aptitude - the program is voluntary, but many locations actually request that certain workforce members participate.

I have been a PSS for years now, even back to the time that I was a BDO, I worked with the team in several ways (that was before we really got the program well established). As a Veteran, when we had Vets come through, I was able to communicate with them in different ways than non-Vets. That type of situation plays out in thousands of situations across the nation in our checkpoints and again, it is a net positive for all involved.

TSA Cares is a great program, it allows for the individual locations to preplan for the passenger based upon whatever information they request (specifically, and some times in more vague terms), and to work with the passenger to ease their passage. I would love to see more programs like this at any place that has employees that interface with the public in a service capacity. Using the skillsets of individual employees to the betterment of the passengers is a goal of the organization - as it should be.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Learn To Write ... on

"Veteran" is not a proper noun and should not be capitalized unless it begins a sentence.

Submitted by West Cooper on

Duly noted.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by Really on

WOW! Some People Will Do Anything To See Their Comment In Print.

Submitted by RB on

@ Submitted by West Cooper on Wed, 2019-03-13 09:40
.......................
I'm not buying that the PSS program was not instituted because TSA's highly trained, professional screeners were screening people with disabilities without issues. Too many stories of military amputee, people in wheel chairs, ladies wearing Depends getting strip searched (New York) and other horrible stories is why TSA created the function. It was solely due to TSA screeners either not being proficient or just not caring about people they screened.

TSA screeners are flat out incapable of doing their jobs properly.

Submitted by Nocaps on

i request that the tsa end this blog. although informational, it only serves as a device for the same handful or two of posters. it does not serve any other purpose than to push their agenda. there are other avenues where people can contact the tsa directly if they have questions or concerns. even the trolls on here complain about whether their comments are posted, or when they are posted, or what someone else was able to post but i wasn't, or continuously posting the same topic over and over again. this blog is not promoting anything positive.