Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wow! What a Response (Commenting Disabled)

Wow! The number of comments on our blog has been amazing. Many of the posts during the last 24 hours are exactly the types of questions we hope to answer and the conversations we hope to begin with the traveling public. Some have been downright mean and cranky but that’s okay too. For most people, this is the first chance to reach out directly to TSA and tell us about your experiences and we very much want to hear from you.

Frankly we’ve been overwhelmed with the number of response we’ve received, more than 700 comments at last count, and comments are still pouring in. Several of you have suggested a format change to go from a laundry list of: shoes, cranky officers, idiotic rules, you guys sure try hard…, stream of consciousness diatribes to a more logical way of collecting and hopefully shedding light on many of the things that passengers want to know.

Well we’ve heard the comments and we’re making the move. Later this afternoon you will find several common questions or topic areas that have been raised and are on the front of all our minds like shoes, ID requirements, liquids an others. This list will evolve as this blog does and we’ll be posting answers, thoughts and comments on each of these topics on these pages.

Because of the software we’re using to run this blog, it’s up to you to post your comment on the right page, in the correct topic. Today we don’t have any way to move posts from one place to another so we’re relying on you to post in the right place. If it’s not posted under the right topic we will not be able to move the post. Because we have more than 700 comments on the Welcome post, we are closing the comment feature there. Even though that post is not longer accepting comments, we still welcome your feedback and thoughts here.

In the spirit of transparency, we plan to note how many comments we've rejected and tell you why. Mostly the rejected comments include profane language, political rants or abusive posts that we just can't print, and some are completely off topic. Other than these, every post will go up as written and we will continue to operate this way.

Thanks again for the great range of insightful, sad, humorous, outrageous comments. Keep them coming and we’ll do our best to try to keep up.

Evolution Blog Team


electronics in flight said...
electronics in flight said...can someone please explain to me all the fuss about having all of your electronics OFF before we leave the gate?

A good question. Actually it was found that cell phone signals, specifically those in the 800-900 MHz range, did interfere with unshielded cockpit instrumentation. Because older aircraft with unshielded wiring can be affected, because of the possible problems that may arise by having many airborne cell phones "seeing" multiple cell phone towers, and because of all the electronic systems in a modern airplane that would have to undergo lengthy and expensive certification, the FCC (via enforcement through the FAA) still deems it best to stay on the safe side and prohibit the use of cell phones while airborne. It should be noted, though, that such a prohibition is being lifted in Europe.And while I'd like to take credit for that rant...all credit goes to The Mythbusters (with a little help from Wikipedia).

Jay


How about Booties?
In response to anonymous who would like booties for their feet…
I understand your concern on the hygiene issue. While part of TSA’s mission is to promote great customer service the reality is that customer service in aviation is a partnership between the airport authority, the TSA, and the airlines. While I speak only for my airports most of them do in fact provide some type of ‘booty’ to passengers as a customer service enhancement. Those who don’t provide footwear ensure the cleaning crew cleans those floors regularly.
My recommendation is to start with your airport and explain your concern to them…the same could be said about having plastic baggies at the checkpoint for folks who forget to bring them to the airport. The airports also care about customer service and sometimes a gentle reminder goes a long way…

Jay

Gripes & Grins, Part 2 (Commenting Disabled)

Have more TSA experiences that you want to share? This is the blog post to share your TSA experiences -- both the good or the bad. (Click here to see part 1)

Inconsistencies, Part 1 (Commenting Disabled)

Did you have to take your shoes off in Ohio but not Colorado? Post all of your thoughts about inconsistencies on this blog post.

In response to an cmac's frustration with those who seem ungrateful for the job TSOs do each day...

Don't take negative comments left by a few to heart. People have the right to voice their opinion even when some of those people don't do it with the same courtesy and respect they expect from you. Without question a lot of our brothers and sisters feel the very same way you do sometimes. This blog is intended to bridge the gap with people who have legitimate issues with the TSA, but let's put the negative into proper context. Consider there are at most a few hundred complaints on this site. Of those complaints there are without a doubt many posts by the same author. Now consider there are some 35, 000 domestic flights per day in the U.S. with millions of passengers using our transportation system, all of which have experienced the professionalism and security provided each day by our Officers (and don't forget this site is accessible worldwide as we've seen people from different countries leaving posts). So if this were an election one might consider those numbers to be a landslide victory.

There's no doubt some people have had a bad experience with the TSA. Our job is to fix what's broken, but hey let's face it - security is a tough business. There's an old saying, "Security is a great thing... until it applies to me". Sure some complaints are valid and we need to improve in many areas, but when you look at the posts there are an awful lot of complaints because people brought a prohibited item into the checkpoint which was identified, and when TSA identified the item they claimed the rules were stupid or ineffective. Those stupid rules weren't that ineffective obviously.

Keep doing the job you do, take constructive criticism constructively, and if it doesn't apply to you or your team – take it with a grain of salt. Your commitment and professionalism are appreciated and never go unnoticed.

Jay


lancifer, said

Q: For everyone telling the rest of us how we've not had another terrorist attack simply because of beefed up security, I ask you this: Prior to September 11, 2001, when was the previous terrorist attack against the US? Where was it? What happened? Now, when was the attack prior to that?" When was the last terror attack against the U.S.?"

A: Have you been living under a rock? The answer to that question is simple, available, and lengthy.

Q: "We've seen evidence of potential plots for attacks. The fact is, terrorist attacks in the US are rare and isolated incidents."

A: Thankfully yes terror attacks on U.S. soil are rare events. But when you consider these facts: the last terror attack cost 3000+ innocent lives in a matter of minutes, it has heavily impacted our foreign policy, it has placed military service personnel in harms way costing more lives, and in short order has cost our economy in lost capital and venture to the tune of more than one TRILLION dollars - the investment to protect U.S. interest if even only for the rare or isolated attack is worth the return.


Q: I could get a boat and troll Lake Michigan all day long, catching large fish, and talking about how my vigilance has kept the lake secure from shark attacks. Never mind that the likelihood of a shark attack in Lake Michigan is little to none. Prove that I don't prevent shark attacks in Lake Michigan. That is how I feel about our increased security. We've got the government telling us about how much danger there is around us, but only a handful of people are questioning the validity of their claims. So if you don't mind, I've got to go keep Lake Michigan free of shark attacks.

A: Lake Michigan is a fresh water body; there are no sharks in Lake Michigan.


Your fishing venture on Lake Michigan doesn't change the fact we are still surrounded by sharks.

Jay

Lighters, Nail Clippers and Lithium Batteries

Just wanted to jump in with a quick post based on some of the comments we’ve received so far about lighters, nail clippers and batteries. We just wanted to let you know that lighters and nail clippers are allowed through the checkpoint. Lighters were allowed starting in July 2007, (not including torch lighters) and nail clippers, as well as smaller scissors and tools, have been allowed through the checkpoint since December 2005. Unlike improvised explosives devices (IEDs), these items do not present a significant threat to an airplane.

Also, recent rules about spare lithium batteries in checked bags were enacted by the Federal Aviation Administration, not TSA. Click here (pdf) to see the FAA rules.

Bob Burns
TSA Social Media Team

Liquids, Part 2

Liquids cover 70% of the earth and they also make up a good percentage of our comments from the traveling public. Post your suggestions and concerns about liquids in this blog post. (Click here for Part 1) Refresh your knowledge of traveling with liquids.

So, how much damage could a liquid explosive cause? See for yourself from the Myth Busters page on TSA.gov:

» Click here to see our video (wmv, streaming).

Liquids, Part 1 (Commenting Disabled)

Liquids cover 70% of the earth and they also make up a good percentage of our comments from the traveling public. Post all of your suggestions and concerns about liquids in this blog post. Refresh your knowledge of traveling with liquids.

So, how much damage could a liquid explosive cause? See for yourself from the Myth Busters page on TSA.gov:

» Click here to see our video (wmv, streaming).

Shoes (Commenting Disabled)

It’s not all about Richard Reid when it comes to the screening of shoes. Post all of your thoughts about shoes in this blog post. To learn more about how the shoe fits in with the TSA, check out our web page on "why we screen shoes". Then come back here and let's talk.

01.31.08, 6:00pm
Christopher says:

Great first question on the ability to pick up foot fungus at the checkpoint and a very common one at that.

Believe it or not, TSA actually commissioned a study in 2003 with the Department of Health and Human Services to look at just that issue. I'm paraphrasing here and will have the actual letter posted tomorrow but they found that if the floor isn't moist then the possibility is, "extremely small to remote" to contract athlete's foot. If there are checkpoint floors that are moist, we generally have bigger issues on our hands than foot fungus.

Also interesting from that study, 15 percent of the public may be affected with athlete's foot at any given time. Think about that next time you're trying on clothes at the mall, looking for a new pair of shoes or going off the high dive at the local pool.


02.01.08, 2:00pm
Christopher says:


Photo of a device hidden in the sole of a running shoePhoto of a device hidden in the sole of a running shoePhoto of a device hidden in the sole of a running shoe

Great and lively debate here on shoes. As added fodders, here are two pictures of an altered pair of shoes our officers discovered last year in Alaska.

Yes, we find stuff like this all the time and yes our intel folks tell us terrorists are still interested in using shoes as (improvised explosive devices) IEDs or to hide components.

We've also posted an x-ray image so that you can see exactly what we are talking about.


02.05.08; 9:30am
Christopher says:

There have been several posts asking about the pictures above. Just to be perfectly clear, the first two pictures are of a pair of shoes we discovered during screening in Alaska last year. The wire and other small metal item were positioned under the insole just as they are shown.

The third picture is of an x-ray image of a pair of altered shoes we use to train our officers on x-ray displays in airports. As you can see, it doesn’t take an x-ray tech to tell these shoes have been altered.

Our officers literally see 4 Million shoes per day and they’re very, very good at telling the bad from the good.

Inconsistencies, Part 2 (Commenting Disabled)

Did you have to take your shoes off in Ohio but not Colorado? Post all of your thoughts about Inconsistencies on this blog post. (Click here for Part 1)

Got Feedback: Salt Lake City (Commenting Disabled)

Due to the new Got Feedback? program, we have disabled commenting on this page. This page was part of a pilot program that has evolved and this page is no longer needed. You are still welcome to leave general feedback on our blog, or you can visit our Got Feedback? page and leave specific feedback with a Customer Service Manager from any one of our 450+ airports.

Thanks,

EoS Blog Team

Got Feedback: Los Angeles (Commenting Disabled)

Due to the new Got Feedback? program, we have disabled commenting on this page. This page was part of a pilot program that has evolved and this page is no longer needed. You are still welcome to leave general feedback on our blog, or you can visit our Got Feedback? page and leave specific feedback with a Customer Service Manager from any one of our 450+ airports.

Thanks,

EoS Blog Team

Got Feedback: Dallas / Fort Worth (Commenting Disabled)

Due to the new Got Feedback? program, we have disabled commenting on this page. This page was part of a pilot program that has evolved and this page is no longer needed. You are still welcome to leave general feedback on our blog, or you can visit our Got Feedback? page and leave specific feedback with a Customer Service Manager from any one of our 450+ airports.

Thanks,

EoS Blog Team

Got Feedback: Reagan National Airport (Commenting Disabled)

Due to the new Got Feedback? program, we have disabled commenting on this page. This page was part of a pilot program that has evolved and this page is no longer needed. You are still welcome to leave general feedback on our blog, or you can visit our Got Feedback? page and leave specific feedback with a Customer Service Manager from any one of our 450+ airports.

Thanks,

EoS Blog Team

Got Feedback: Dallas-Love Field (Commenting Disabled)

Due to the new Got Feedback? program, we have disabled commenting on this page. This page was part of a pilot program that has evolved and this page is no longer needed. You are still welcome to leave general feedback on our blog, or you can visit our Got Feedback? page and leave specific feedback with a Customer Service Manager from any one of our 450+ airports.

Thanks,

EoS Blog Team

Got Feedback: Logan Airport (Commenting Disabled)

Due to the new Got Feedback? program, we have disabled commenting on this page. This page was part of a pilot program that has evolved and this page is no longer needed. You are still welcome to leave general feedback on our blog, or you can visit our Got Feedback? page and leave specific feedback with a Customer Service Manager from any one of our 450+ airports.

Thanks,

EoS Blog Team

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Got Feedback?: Bradley (Commenting Disabled)

Due to the new Got Feedback? program, we have disabled commenting on this page. This page was part of a pilot program that has evolved and this page is no longer needed. You are still welcome to leave general feedback on our blog, or you can visit our Got Feedback? page and leave specific feedback with a Customer Service Manager from any one of our 450+ airports.

Thanks,

EoS Blog Team

TSA Blog E-Mail Address

TSABlog@tsa.dhs.gov was created specifically for TSA blog related correspondence.

If you have a question or comment concerning travel claims, questions, complaints, kudos, lost and found, etc. please reach out to the TSA Contact Center. 

Thank You,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Got Feedback?: JFK (Commenting Disabled)

Due to the new Got Feedback? program, we have disabled commenting on this page. This page was part of a pilot program that has evolved and this page is no longer needed. You are still welcome to leave general feedback on our blog, or you can visit our Got Feedback? page and leave specific feedback with a Customer Service Manager from any one of our 450+ airports.

Thanks,

EoS Blog Team

Welcome (Commenting Disabled)

Two million travelers come in contact with the Transportation Security Administration every day. It is an intense experience all around -- extremely personal in some senses but also impersonal at the same time.

There is no time to talk, to listen, to engage with each other. There isn’t much opportunity for our Security Officers to explain the ‘why,’ of what we ask you to do at the checkpoint, just the ‘what’ needs to be done to clear security. The result is that the feedback and venting ends up circulating among passengers with no real opportunity for us to learn from you or vice versa. We get feedback verbally and non-verbally at the checkpoint and see a lot in the blogs, again without a real dialogue.

Our ambition is to provide here a forum for a lively, open discussion of TSA issues. While I and senior leadership of TSA will participate in the discussion, we are turning the keyboard over to several hosts who represent what’s best about TSA (its people). Our hosts aren’t responsible for TSA’s policies, nor will they have to defend them -- their job is to engage with you straight-up and take it from there. Our hosts will have access to senior leadership but will have very few editorial constraints. Our postings from the public will be reviewed to remove the destructive but not touch the critical or cranky.

Please be patient and good-humored as we get underway. The opportunity is that we will incorporate what we learn in this forum in our checkpoint process evolution. We will not only give you straight answers to your questions but we will challenge you with new ideas and involve you in upcoming changes.

One of my major goals of 2008 is to get TSA and passengers back on the same side, working together. We need your help to get the checkpoint to be a better environment for us to do our security job and for you to get through quickly and onto your flight. Seems like the way to get that going is for us to open up and hear your feedback...

Thanks for joining us,

Kip Hawley

Meet Our Blog Team

Bob Burns (Blogger) -Yes, my real name is Bob. I am a real person and not a pseudonym as some think. My middle name is Robert and I've gone by Bob my entire life.

I started with the TSA in September 2002. I worked at the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) for 5 years and am currently assigned TSA headquarters. I started as a Transportation Security Officer (TSO), and have since been promoted to a Social Media Analyst with the Office of Strategic Communications and Public Affairs to manage social media.

In my 14 years with TSA, I've also worked as an Operations Watch Officer, Instructor, Training Coordinator, Behavior Detection Officer, and I served as the Vice Chairman on TSA's first National Advisory Council - a group representing TSA's frontline workforce in discussions with TSA leadership on security and workplace issues.

I currently live in Ohio with my wife, two daughters, and a Wheaten Terrier named Rusty.

I joined the United States Army right out of high school and was trained to be a Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Decontamination Specialist. After training in Alabama, I was assigned to the 3rd Armored Division and later served with them in Operations Desert Shield & Storm.

Prior to the TSA I was a singer songwriter and traveled the world with my band. Songwriting is now one of my hobbies along with record collecting, ugly ties and photography. My favorite type of music is Garage Rock from the 60s and Classic Jazz from the 50s and 60s.



West
(Moderator)  -
Hi, my name is West, and I work at GSO (Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, NC).

I started with TSA in February of 2005. I was hired on as a Transportation Security Officer (TSO) and have since been promoted to Lead Transportation Security Officer (LTSO), and BDO (Behavior Detection Officer). I currently work as an On the Job Training (OJT) Monitor, and have been training new TSO’s since my first year with TSA.

 
I live in Pleasant Garden, NC with my significantly better half Charlene, our cats Schrödinger (yes, he was named after that Schrödinger) and Heisenberg (named after the physicist, not the tv show), our dogs Darwin, Schultz and Rosie (Darwin is the blind one that grumbles at everyone and the other pair are viszla-black lab comedy reels).

 
Prior to working with the TSA, I put in 8 years with the US Army as a Military Police Officer. I also put in 8 years as a Silversmith Apprentice and am now a Journeyman Silversmith. My hobbies include sitting on a pier/boat with a fishing pole and being able to fix broken metal things.



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