Thursday, January 31, 2008

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.

176 comments:

Anonymous said...

You still haven't addressed the issue of small knives.

Dave X said...

Small scissors and tools are allowed since 2005? How about those little promotional swiss army penknives that go on your keyring?

Since 2005 I've tried rounding off the 1" blade like a butter knife, confiscated in ORF.

Breaking off the knife part leaving only the 3/4 inch scissors, tweezers and nail file: Accepted at ORF, Confiscated at STL.

What is a tool using human supposed to do?

How sharp are "round bladed butter knives"? Less sharp than a free plastic knife from Starbucks?

Anonymous said...

You still haven't explained why a sharp scissor with 4" long blades is allowed but a 1.5" tiny Swiss Army knife isn't. All I have to do is pop apart the 2 scissor blades and I now have TWO very sharp 6 inch or longer knives with convenient handles. Usually these blades are stronger and sharper than that found on the small S/A knife.

ALL blades of ANY size should be prohibited, including those found on scissors. If the TSA isn't worried about terrorists taking over planes with blades, why aren't Swiss Army knives allowed?

I can't take razor blades on a plane but I can take small eyeglass screwdrivers. Well, if I take one of those small eyeglass screwdrivers and unscrew the little screw that holds the blade into my wife's eyeliner pencil sharpener (which is allowed), I now have a razor blade!

Again, no common sense or consistency.

Why are baseball bats or other bludgeons not allowed? Gonna take over a plane by swinging a bat? Not likely (especially since I'll have scissors). Yet, I can bring my heavy camera tripod, pop off the 3 legs and have 3 nice sized bats for me and 2 other friends!

Again, no common sense!

I'm a TSO by the way and even we are sick of all the inconsistencies and looking like fools when we try to explain them to the passengers. No wonder they hate us!

There is no common sense here.

ottnott said...

Bob, we don't need a blog to help the TSA explain or defend its policies and practices.

TSA is pissing people off, because its regulations and practices are a huge and expensive hassle that any intelligent person can see provides a very low return in terms of added security.

We are tired of having to go along with the charade.

TSA, unfortunately, lacks the credibility to simply state that its regulations and procedures are well thought out and are a strong deterrent to substantials security risks, etc.

The screening system is something that needs to be reviewed by independent bodies of experts who are given the clear mission of providing the best practical balance of security and expense/hassle.

We don't want our security designed by someone who wants it to reflect one political stance or another. We don't want our security designed by people who have been trying to defend a bad system. We don't want our security designed by reactions to a series of panics over threats, real or imagined.

Is that too much to ask? Quit insulting us. Quit harassing us. Quit adding so much to the hassle and expense of flying from US airports.

Quit pretending that the security we are getting in return is worth it. We know better. Those of us who have traveled through airports in parts of the world where terrorism is a longstanding threat also have seen and experienced better.

Anonymous said...

ottnott,

You are 100% correct!!!

Anonymous said...

Sure, the battery restriction was put in place by FAA and not TSA. But that doesn’t justify TSA’s poorly worded explanation of the rules.

The rules place no limit whatsoever on carry-on of lithium-ion batteries used by all consumer-grade cameras and the vast majority of laptop batteries. None of these batteries are over 100 Watt-hours. Yet TSA doesn’t come out and say that on the website; instead they (and FAA) publish vague rules that are easily misread to imply that you are allowed only one spare lithium-ion battery of any size.

I have already heard stories of abusive and misinformed TSOs in SEA confiscating expensive and perfectly permitted camera batteries from passengers at the checkpoint. I have already heard reports of TSOs at DCA being told by their supervisors that only one spare battery is allowed. How many TSOs are going to be able to do the Watt-hour calculation at the checkpoint, or are going to give the passenger benefit-of-the doubt when he does it for them?

Why can TSA publish clear rules, which would give passengers some leverage against abusive and misinformed TSOs? Why can’t they reassure passengers by permitting battery confiscation by TSOs only under the direct supervision of a (well-informed) screening manager?

I travel with an average of 6-8 lithium-ion batteries for a total of 4 devices (computer, phone, camera, gps), all under 100 Watt-hours, and now I have to be afraid of rogue screeners trying to confiscate them and threatening me with “Do you want to fly today?” if I stand up for myself. These batteries are expensive; they’re not a $1 shampoo bottle I can just toss. Yet another example of TSA eroding basic rights and dignities.

Anonymous said...

So what about the various keychain sized "multi-tools" like Swiss Army or Leatherman? I have a tiny little Leatherman Squirt that I keep in my purse. It has scissors, various screwdrivers, tweezers, a nail file, and a 1" knife that is sharpened on one side (and I use the term "sharpened" loosely). Do I have to worry about it getting confiscated if I forget to check it? My purse is a black hole...

I seem to remember a few years back that anything below 3" was ok. Of course, I'm sure that has changed now.

Anonymous said...

As an airport worker, I hear alot of rumors. One I heard is that the reason why blades are still banned is because the flight attendant union doesn't want blades onboard. It's said one of the 9/11 hijackers decapitated a flight attendant during the takeover. TSA would rather not be looking for these as, like lighters, they are not a real threat. Besides, anyone now tries anything on a plane with a knife will find several angry passegers in their way.

Oddly enough, knitting needles are allowed....

Anonymous said...

What "ottnott said..." is completey useless. We this, we that. How about some examples from parts of the world where terrorism is a longstanding threat also have seen and experienced better? Otherwise your rant is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Jack said...

TSA, unfortunately, lacks the credibility to simply state that its regulations and procedures are well thought out and are a strong deterrent to substantials security risks, etc.

The rules aren't well thought out. They are put into place by paper pushers who don't have to live by those same rules.

Lithium cells? The inspectors have a hard time in determining if a pencil or pen are permitted. Some of the inspectors barely posess basic English capabilities and you want them to determine what a battery is contructed from and decide to either make you toss it or threaten to arrest you when you complain about throwing away a $150 battery.

TSA, you've got to get your act together with the American public. I once listened to several Germans complain (in German) about the grief they got during the inspection process. Sorry TSA, but you've got a very real public image problem

Anonymous said...

How about some plain old fashion courtsey from TSA employees! I think I could put up with all of the rules stupidity if someone just said please and thankyou once in a while. Who trains these people? I once had a TSA screener in JFK tell me to take the bus if I did not like her attitude. At least I know SHE no longer worksat Thousands Standing Around - I got her fired!

Anonymous said...

Unlike improvised explosives devices (IEDs), these items do not present a significant threat to an airplane.


.... Thanks for pointing out the painfully obvious....

Anonymous said...

How long before the comment policy turns this into a heavily edited propaganda machine? I digress...

Reading through the Lithium policy, it almost *almost* makes sense. Except the standard battery in a laptop has proven more than sufficient to start a fire. Might as well not bother, eh?

The real concern here poorly trained TSA employees incorrectly enforcing the policy. Like someone said, i'll write off te $1 shampoo or $3 tooth paste but there is NO way i'm ditching a battery that will easily cost $100-200+ to replace...not to mention limiting my use of a computer on a 6+ Hr flight. And god forbid you argue! At best, you're delayed a bit while trying to convince a supervisor. More likely you waste a half hour or more, slow the line, get everyone mad and possibly miss your flight. Not as likely (if you're polite) but entirely possible is being arrested. Nice.

Does the TSA really thing any terrorist will EVER be able to take over a plane with a knife, scissor or probably even a gun? Not in the post-9/11 world, that's for sure. How about you just give EVERYONE on the plane a nice sharp knife? Solves the problem of a terrorist threatening unarmed people with one, eh?

The biggest laugh i get is the fact that no policy is every actualy explained in any detail. While John Smith might not know why 2x 10 ounce is less dangerous than 1x 20 ounce ... Mr. Terrorist Bomber probably knows already.

I honestly thing a better informed public would be a lot more useful than rag-tag enforcement of little understood rules. Oh, and can anyone tell me why there are laws/rules/guidelines that we're required to follow and yet the TSA/FAA/government refuses to actually publish? They even denied FOIA requests on the basis of "national security".

Anonymous said...

I was flying with a friend January of 2008 and her cuticle scissors were confiscated. They had curved approximately inch long blades.

If these have been allowed since 2005 could somebody notify all the screening agents?

Anonymous said...

You say that lighters have been allowed since July, 2007. Not quite!

The decision to repeal the ban on lighters was announced in July. It did not take effect until August 4th! The difference was significant to me as I took a long trip on August 2nd, 2007.

I pointed out that TSA had already decided that there was no reason to ban lighters, but there was a two-week gap between the announcement of the repeal and the date it took effect. I couldn't understand why it couldn't take effect immediately since the TSA admitted it was a pointless rule. The TSA worker explained that it took time for the rules to be promulgated through the system. BS!

A year earlier, the ban on perfumes was announced and implemented in one day (resulting in my wife's loss of a bottle of perfume). So a new restriction can be implemented immediately, but rescinding a mistake takes two weeks.

Anonymous said...

"Although it’s impossible to calculate the pain that terrorist attacks inflict on victims and society, when statisticians look at cold numbers, they have variously estimated the chances of the average person dying in America at the hands of international terrorists to be comparable to the risk of dying from eating peanuts, being struck by an asteroid or drowning in a toilet."

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/15/science/15tier.html

Anonymous said...

so, lighters, does this mean zippos?? or are those still on the no-no list?

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments. Now I'll add my own.

We've all read the reports of the "fake" bombs that make it through the security checkpoints. While that is kind of scary, it also show that the TSA is trying to make things better.

I propose that they also run tests at airports to see how frequently *allowed* items are being confiscated. This should include, scissors, Swiss army knives, files, batteries, etc.

At the very least, if they are going to "confiscate" items, they should provide some way for you to check those items, some of which are expensive, and have them placed with your the rest of checked luggage. Course, it could just be a big conspiracy to force us to buy replacement "items" to boost the economy 8).

I agree that there seems to be a lack of common sense on many of these items. For example, on the TSA website, screwdrivers are allow if the length is less than 7 inches. Scissors with blades less than 4 inches..and a screwdwriver! Now I've got three weapons, with handles! How strong are the windows anyway? What about those little devices to break windows?

Lithium batteries I can understand somewhat. Even a small one can be enough to start a fire if you short-circuit it (I almost set myself on fire once when the cap on one came off of the battery while it was in my pocket and my keys caused a short).

Basically, almost anything can be made into a weapon. The simplest solution is that everything be checked, but that's not feasible or fair to travelers.

Anonymous said...

I am attempting to get the specification sheets on the batteries used in my canon camera. I've already found the conversion factor on the "lithium rechargeable producers group" - whatever. It is labeled Amp-Hours times 0.3 to get equivalent Lithium content. The problem is my batter has milli-Amps on the label. What ya wanna bet that TSA cant do the the math?

My Canon batteries have below 0.3 grams of equivalent lithium each.
Thankfully, this is not quackery like the liquids ban. Of course, the rule came from the FAA so it does have a shot at some scientific backing

Lithium battery do have a small fire hazard associated with them. It is one of the reasons that electric and hybrid cars do not yet use them. The safety issues for that amount of lithium, in the event of an accident, have not yet been resolved.

This rule does not however do anything to improve the credibility of the TSA. 1) The TSA didn't write it. And 2) we've still go to see them effectively TRAIN their staff and have the rule implemented.

I have my doubts.

Oh, and why is there no downloadable complaint form for the performance of the TSA in the Field. It is not possible to actually get one from staff at the airport. Well, maybe if you go find a cop who will get one for you.

Kieran said...

If nail clippers, small scissors and lighters are safe why were they ever banned? If items were disallowed from being allowed onboard in the past solely due to reasons of trying to create the appearance of doing something in order to avoid criticism rather than safety, why should we believe in the validity of current rules(e.g. ban on liquids)?

TSA TSO NY said...

From TSAs website;
"Lithium-ion batteries, often found in laptop computers, differ from primary lithium batteries, which are often used in cameras. Some newer AA-size batteries are also primary lithium.

While there is no explosion hazard associated with either kind of battery, the Federal Aviation Administration has studied fire hazards associated with both primary and lithium-ion cells, and their extensive research is publicly available. As a result of this research, the FAA no longer allows large, palletized shipments of these batteries to be transported as cargo on passenger aircraft.

The research also shows that an explosion will not result from shorting or damaging either lithium-ion or primary lithium batteries. Both are, however, extremely flammable. Primary lithium batteries cannot be extinguished with firefighting agents normally carried on aircraft, whereas lithium-ion batteries are easily extinguished by most common extinguishing agents, including those carried on board commercial aircraft.

TSA has and will continue to work closely with the FAA on potential aviation safety and security issues, and TSA security officers are thoroughly and continually trained to find explosive threats. TSA does not have plans to change security regulations for electronic devices powered by lithium batteries.


Read the last line "TSA does not have plans to change security regulations for electronic devices powered by lithium batteries"

The FAA posted the Lithium rules. TSA is NOT changing it's procedures to do ANYTHING about Lithium batteries.

We initially recvd a notice telling us to screen for Lithium batteries. Within a day that was rescinded. We were told that it's NOT TSAs job to enforce FAA policeies. I'm surprised our extremely knowledgeable, hand picked bloggers aren't aware of TSAs own policies.

And why do all "Nicknames" print out as small letters when typed as caps?

Anonymous said...

I think the TSA employees should stop posting stupid comments here. I am sure your employer already knows who you are and you wont get a raise next year...
If people just shut up, take their shoes off, stop trying to bring crap through the line, I can get to my gate faster and not have to wait in line as long behind annoying people..
If someone has something banned, on their person, they should not be allowed on their flight..
Mabye then, people will think about what they pack. Its not like we all dont know what we cant bring..
Get a grip!

Anonymous said...

Ok guys and gals first things first. Even though you may think that just because you see TSO's enforcing certain bans and you see us taking those banned items does not mean that TSA created those rules. Sadly enough when it comes to certain bans we are stuck with enforcing them such as the lithium batteries and until recently the lighters ban, guess what agency created these, I'll tell you the Department of Transportation (DOT). Since we already screen the public's luggage the airlines and the DOT got together and basically said they did not want to screen the luggage again for those items and insisted that TSA look for them. Also to my understanding that the reason small blades are still banned is because of the stewardess union, I can’t confirm it for fact, just what I've heard through the grapevine. Would the TSOs at your local airport like to search just for IEDs, components of IEDs, guns and other items that could cause serious harm to the flying public? The answer is an outstanding YES, but unfortunately TSA is part of the bureaucracy and we have many hoops to jump through so everyone that flies and those of us that are buried elbow deep in dirty laundry looking for the liquids, gels and aerosols that where left in a carry on, are stuck with regulations that make people go huh. Maybe one day TSA will be given the freedom of just searching for actual threats, but until that happens give us a little credit for basically being an agency just out its infancy but not quit in the adolescent phase, and by the way please cut the TSOs a little slack, after all we did not create the rules but it is our job to follow and enforce them. Until next time happy flying.

oldnavsailor said...

TSA has always let nail clippers go and even before TSA. It was the file that was a problem until they removed the nail file ban in early 2002. I worked for the private company then and work for TSA now.

Luggage and Briefcases said...

Thanks for clarifying that the FAA released the battery rule, not the TSA. I wasn't aware of that. I do suppose that the TSA will be there to execute this change, any light you can provide on how the batteries will be inspected, or how we know how much lithium content is in our batteries would be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I may be able to understand lighters, I could see a case where someone could use them to light say a bomb...or the plane chairs. But honestly, if it's to light a bomb shouldn't you have caught that before? Yes, yes, redundancy, it's always good, but still.

As for the nail clippers, well, I think even the TSA is embaressed by that one.

As for Lithium Batteries (as you capitalized), I have dealt with them before, even carrying on a small case of them with out anything happening. They don't normally just catch fire anymore then normal acid or base batteries suddenly leak corrosive matieral onto the surroundings. Yes, there have been cases of laptop batteries catching fire, but that's what you have fire extinguishers for! Small, unexpected fires.

And all the small sharp objects, my god, if the majority of America, with all our anger-prone and unstable people could fly for DECADES with 4 inch blades without too much incedent, how is this a problem. Sure, a terrorist might try to hold someone hostage, but that's what the Air Marshals are for. But stopping people with a 1"-sub 1" blade is crazy. Sure you could kill someone with that, but you could do it just as easily with your bare hands.

Anonymous said...

Being that lithium batteries are probably the only thing that may pose a real threat, not by terrorists but cellphones and laptops have been known to catch on fire, I can not see why these are alowed but 4oz or shampoo are not. When lighters where banned I was able to get through with them and I accidently got through with a small pocket knife once. Not on purpose but it was on my keys and I realised it after I got to my destination. They did steal a lighter from me that day. These rules distract the TSA from finding the things they need to look for and make them play babysitter to those who smoke and enjoy short fingernail. I know that they are allowed now but that just shows how little thought goes into these rules in the first place. Where these things really ever a threat? Are haircare products a threat now? The answer is no. TSA and the government just wants to keep us worried about terrorists and by creating these stupid rules they are distracted from their real mission. The more fear the pump into us the more power they can have and they are more conserned with this then actually keeping weapons off planes.

You're Lucky I'm Not a Terrorist said...

Q: Is the TSA for security or for show?

Let's take the following hypothetical scenario:
A terrorist group acquires 2 vans, 10 suitcases and 2000 lbs of explosives. They drive up to the terminal at the Atlanta airport and, over the course of a few minutes, put their explosive laden suitcases on active baggage carousels. Nobody notices them because there are thousands of people in the terminal. Ten minutes later, BANG, 2000 pounds of explosives detonate in the terminal of the busiest airport in the world and air travel on the east coast of the USA is virtually shut down for weeks. No TSA checkpoints were breached, and there is basically zero chance at prevention of the attack.

A: TSA is for show.

How long did it take me to think up this scenario? About 5 minutes; imagine what the pros could do. I'd love to hear what the TSA thinks about that.

Anonymous said...

Apparently, nail clippers suddenly became less dangerous as of 2005. Is this because of a change in the manufacturing process, or was the original ban as transparently pointless as it appeared?

Britt said...

Hi Bob, I hope you actually read this, I doubt you will though.

I have a question, I am a federal employee, I get secondary screening almost all the damn time I fly which is only when I am on orders, I was told it is because I fly so often... Okay, so riddle me this, Batman, I am on Orders and as a federal employee on orders to fly I am still a frequent flyer and must be searched? I bet that means that those pesky Marines flying to Iraq and Afghanistan, as they are flying to terrorist areas, they must all get secondary screening as well...

Bob, I work for the Navy, I have done work in collaboration with the TSA, but sometimes wouldn't it be nice if the Constitution had some sway in how American Citizens were treated? Robert Reid was an idiot, he was trying to light C4 on fire. You and I both know C4 burns when lit, but does not explode. (Ex 10th Mountain Soldier trained in expedient explosives)...

Last rant and then I'll get back to real work.

When did all my rights fly out the window? I mean, remember when you were a kid and we used to joke about the Soviet Union and how people couldn't even travel without carrying their papers? Now the USA is just as bad.

Ciao.

Britt...

Anonymous said...

My comment is off topic because posts are closed where I should post it.

I have a suggestion TSA should implement which may help speed things along.

when I go to the airport and there is a long line at security, the first thing I do is go to the front of the line and take enough trays to handle my shoes, laptop and coat.

I go back to my place in line, and take off my shoes, take off my coat, unload my laptop and empty my pockets.

Yes, I'm the guy who is totally ready to go through while you're standing there in front of the machine taking your shoes off, digging through your backpack and otherwise holding things up. I politely walk around you.

In fact, I'm through the screening process while you're still standing their with your belt.

The idea is to utilize the time you spend waiting in line to actually be ready to go through security. Grab two or three trays (depending on what you need) and get to work so that when you arrive at the xray machine, you're ready.

On the otherside, when your items come out of the xray, stack all of your trays, grab your stuff and walk almost to the end of security. Find a little place to set your stuff down and get yourself back together AWAY from the xray machine so that you don't cause a JAM. Too many people stand around the output of the xray machine causing a huge tie up. They need to move away from the machine and spread out so that more flow can get through.

TSA should encourage preparing for screening before you get to the xray by putting trays out every ten feet along the line. It might work. Works for me.

-Bob from LA

TSO Tom said...

Dave X said...
Small scissors and tools are allowed since 2005? How about those little promotional swiss army penknives that go on your keyring?

Since 2005 I've tried rounding off the 1" blade like a butter knife, confiscated in ORF.

Breaking off the knife part leaving only the 3/4 inch scissors, tweezers and nail file: Accepted at ORF, Confiscated at STL.

What is a tool using human supposed to do?

How sharp are "round bladed butter knives"? Less sharp than a free plastic knife from Starbucks?

February 1, 2008 5:16 PM
***********************************
Anything with a blade is prohibited. Scissors 4 inches in length from fulcrum to tip of blade are permitted. Small tools (7" or less in total length) are permitted. Now, the following items are prohibited at checkpoint but permitted in baggage:
Hammers
Drills and drill bits
Saws of any kind
Razor blades that are removable from a razor (straight edge blades, double edge blades, etc.)
Knives of any length this hasn't changed.
Fireworks (not permitted at checkpoint or baggage)
Lighters are permitted at checkpoint but torch lighters are still prohibited (can not be put in baggage)
It is highly suggested that these items be placed in baggage if you want to take them with you. Folks use your common sense, if you t hink it may be prohibited, then you should either leave it home if you can, or pack it in baggage if its allowed. Also, don't listen to the media, they have no real clue what is or is not permitted, and often times they send the wrong messages. The only good source of information when traveling is the TSA web site.

Dave X said...

You don't need to explain to us what you think is allowed or not allowed in your rules. The screeners don't care what some web site says, so why should we?

All you really need to do is:

1) Make your rules clear enough that your employees understand.

2) Explain the rules to us in the manner they are actually being applied.

If you could do the first, TSA would be a heck of a lot more respected. If you can do the second, maybe this blog would be worthwhile.

Anonymous said...

Scissors don't pose a threat to planes but a water bottle does? something is wrong here...

Anonymous said...

Kieran,

exactly.

Anonymous said...

Hey, if the pilots on 9/11 had guns, 9/11 would have never happened. Why not allow armed passengers? I mean, what kind of lunatic would draw a gun on an entire cabin full of armed people? Box cutters? Please.. 9/11 is an excuse for tyranny, and the sicko liberals that pulled it off are still walking around in the white house, and in London's financial square. I carry concealed. Guns are legal. Its called the 2nd amendment.

The answer to 1984, is 1776.

thevoiceofreason said...

Well, exactly how different does a laptop look outside its bag compared to inside?

Anonymous said...

Lighter ban? Oh, give me a break. The first thing that has to happen is they find it. I found out in 2006 when returning to the states for a wedding. No check leaving Frankfurt. Carried my bic lighter in my carryon baggage. When I got ready to return through L.A international, I just threw it in the same bag. It was x-rayed. The bag went right through without any problems. I was amazed. I'd thrown others out in fear of getting caught.

The inspection is a joke. My wife regularly carries knitting needles to stay busy during the long flights. No problem. I'd really be more worried about them than a lighter.

John Hawkinson said...

You write: "Also, recent rules about spare lithium batteries in checked bags were enacted by the Federal Aviation Administration, not TSA."

Those regulations are actually enacted by the PHMSA -- the US Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration -- not the FAA. Specifically this is 49 CFR 175.

Anonymous said...

I fly to US from England two or three times a year. The differences in policies at each end really irk me. In the UK I was only allowed one carry-on, but it could be larger than one in the US. No nail clippers, slightly different volumes of liquids. No particular problem with LiIon batteries.
I found the TSA staff to mostly be efficient, professional, though I was careful to not mess them around, and they seemed moderately patient with often clueless members of the public.

overall, though, I'd go along with Bruce Schneier about much of it being "security theater"

Publisher said...

The TSA in Omaha confiscated a brand new solid gold lighter from me which was still in its original packaging. When I asked why, the TSA said because "flammables" were not allowed on planes.

I explained that gold is not flammable and the lighter was new and did not have nor had ever had lighter fluid within it. The TSA said, "Tough, it stays and you go or both of you stay."

I pointed out that the solid gold lighter was new and in its original packaging. The TSA said, "Tough again, if you want trouble, you can go to Federal Prison."

I said, can I at least see if someone will hold it for me at a commercial establishment outside of security?" The TSA responded, "No, because you may be a terrorist and you can't leave security with an item we are in the process of confiscating."

I said, "Please, Good Sir, I am not a terrorist, just a guy with a gold lighter that is not flammable in any way." The TSA responded, "We may just keep that gold lighter since it is valuable."

I pointed out that I thought this was against regulations and constituted mere thievery." The TSA said, "As an Argentine, you should be used to corrupt government officials, so what's the big deal?"

QUESTION: How can I get my solid gold lighter back or be reimbursed $1000 from the TSA?

Ayn R Key said...

It's nice that the TSA has allowed lighters and nail clippers.

Will you please tell your screeners that lighters and nail clippers are allowed?

Britt said...

Concerning that 2000 lbs of explosives thing that "You're Lucky I am Not a Terrorist" just put in here...

I don't actually believe it is that simple, you see, have you noticed police in Airports? had you ever noticed video cameras? And, that 2000 lbs of explosives, so, 40 people, each carrying in a 55 lb bag each walk into a terminal and put these bags all on active carousels and no one notices people putting bags on rather than taking them off?

Seems suspicious to me. I would strongly suggest you trial run this with 2000 lbs of playdoh and see how far you get dude. I am sure the police will have something to say to you.

Of course the TSA wouldn't see anything, they are not there to guard the airport, they are there to help be part of the team to guard the skies... But the police you see all over airports, they would surely notice 10 vans pulling up as you suggest.

Yeah, terrorists are morons. You and I, we could come up with a much better plan, but you know what? I am damn sure there are smart people whose job it is is to come up with possible scenarios and then try to devise solutions.

Frankly I think the TSA could use some more smart people working for them (hint, I can be had I already have a clearance and work for the Navy) but I do believe that regardless of what our elected officials do to screw things up, public servants like myself our out there every day trying to get the job done.

I'm not a team player said...

Dear TSA,

Please reinstate no nail clipper policy. Not because I think they are a threat to anyone's safety, but because it is terribly annoying to hear people clipping their finger nails on a plane. It is even more annoying to be hit with a clipped nail from the person sitting next to you.

Thank you for your concern.

Anonymous said...

I work for TSA and can tell you that there will NEVER be a way to make everyone happy. We try our best to be vigilant and do the right things to protect the public, yet Americans never look at the BIG PICTURE. They are so worried about the small inconveniences they may go though, that they seem to forget about the thousands of brothers, sisters, moms and dads that we lost just a short time ago. I know that some of our officers take some rules too the extreme. Some of us may need to lighten up, but I can't apologize for the procedures that we enforce because I truly believe in them. I hope that the next time you fly, you can take a step back and truly try to look at the big pucture....SAFETY FOR AMERICANS!!!

Dave X said...

@ 5:16 Feb 1, TSO Tom said...

"Anything with a blade is prohibited. Scissors 4 inches in length from fulcrum to tip of blade are permitted"

@ 9:36 Feb 5, http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/prohibited/permitted-prohibited-items.shtm
says:
"Knives - except for plastic or round bladed butter knives. No [in carryon] Yes [in checked]"


Tom, the TSA website contradicts you with an exception for round bladed butter knives. How do I keep a screener from taking a butter knife? If it was you, it sounds like you'd take it with your interpretation of the rules. You say " The only good source of information when traveling is the TSA web site" but that isn't true. The screeners don't give a whit about some TSA website says is permitted.

Travellers interpreting the rules as posted on http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/prohibited/permitted-prohibited-items.shtm isn't the problem, it is that the plan doesn't match the reality of what is happening at the screening stations.

What travellers see happening at the screening stations makes little sense.

The bigger service this blog seems to provide is the half-grammatical rantings of the screeners who say they're poorly paid, overworked, just following orders, they know best, and you should just go along with them -- these are the capricious petty bureaucrats that travellers have to appease.

We already know we're dealing with bureacratic insanity, this blog just confirms it.

Toby said...

Anonymous at 9:01 AM:

Are you proud of the guy's $1000 gold lighter that was stolen? Are you committed enough to America's security to justify that theft?

I'm pretty sure you just made an argument for absolute fascism. Any evil is justifiable if it keeps us "secure."

Give me a break, and come up with a better argument than this drivel.

Anonymous said...

Re: lighters:
these items do not present a significant threat to an airplane.

Really? I would rather the person next to me be eating their yogurt than playing with a lighter.

Silly me. The TSA knows best. I'm sure the tobacco industry had nothing to do with the lighter ban being lifted....

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I think Publisher is a really good fictional writer. If TSA wouldn't bend the rules for you, maybe you should have gotten the postmaster to bend his rules and mail it home for you. You should put in a claim at the airport that supposedly confiscated your lighter so they can investigate this incident. We do have hundreds of cameras that we use for these type of claims. Let me know how that goes:)

Anonymous said...

It's nice to know that changes to the policies regarding things like lighters and nail clippers have been put into effect.

It would be a lot nicer if those changes to the policy were better communicated to the TSA personnel and more consistently applied in airports.

amandragoran said...

Knives like the Swiss Army ones mentioned in several of these postings, steak knives (the serrated ones used with your dinner), and survival or buck style knives are not allowed at all. There is no allowable length on a knife. The big confusion I have seen comes from the way some of the posters and information on websites relay the length allowance of a pair of scissors (which is 4" or less from the fulcrum). To restate, no knives of ANY length are allowed to pass the checkpoint.

Dave X said...

Amandragoran @February 5, 2008 7:19 PM:
"...no knives of ANY length are allowed to pass the checkpoint."

The screeners confiscated my swiss army knife which had NO knife. All it had was tiny scissors, the nail file, tweezers and toothpick.

On the TSA site it makes an exception for plastic knifes and round bladed butter knives. I understand the "No" part of "Knives - except for plastic or round bladed butter knives. No" rule. What is hard to understand is the exceptions.

The exceptions on the TSA prohibited list seem mostly like public relations--something to point to so make it seem like the rules have some reasoning behind them. But practically, they are meaningless: the screeners use their individuality, and get some whack-all idea in their head about what they think is safe and come up with interpretations like yours.

The actual TSA screening isn't consistent with its own rules, and it certainly doesn't seem consistent with reality.

For instance, who was the genius who decided that people could take a 3oz container of pressurized cheese? I don't think anyone sells such a thing.

TSA is a farce. Safety-wise probably more people have died in car wrecks while avoiding the hassle of airline travel than the screening has saved.

Anonymous said...

amandragoran reiterated the rule that "NO knives of any length are allowed". We all understand what the rule says. What we don't understand is WHY. WHY aren't exceptions made to allow innocuous small knives or multi-function knives with the sharp blades removed?By definition, a knife with no blade is not a knife-it's a knife handle. WHY won't TSA acknowledge that it should not prohibit non-lethal objects on its whim? WHY won't TSA simply set a maximum length for blades?And don't tell me the 9/11 box cutters only had 1 1/2" blades-they also had full sized handles that afforded suficient grip to allow them to be used as weapons. The 1 1/2" Swiss army knife would not allow that. Surely the highly trained,excellent TSA screeners could be trained to tell the difference between a weapon and a grooming device-or,maybe not........

dad.mo said...

In 2007 I went through screening about 7 times with a nail clipper with a folded file and 1" blade. Never was there a problem or a detailed look see to determine if it was a knife. Then going through IDA for the first time the screener call over a supervisor and conficated it saying it was a knife. They did offer to mail it home for me, $3.00 for a $1.98 clipper. This was stamped metal not a sharpen edge. I'll accept any rule as long as it is enforced consistently. Can I have my clippers back?

TheWanderer said...

This seems to be quoted from Benjamin Franklin, but correct none the less.


"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

So do as I do, stop flying until TSA is removed from the airports.

Anonymous said...

There was no 'post a comment' link in the gripes and grins section so I'll post here (it involved lighters loosely). I took a trip a while ago and left JIA for Baton Rouge. They allowed me to take my lighter (which had great sentimental attachment) against policy. On my way back they tried to confiscate it. The TSA agent was rude and unwilling to work with me which led to a commotion, which eventually to be emptying the lighter of fuel and being allowed to carry it.

The thing that struck me as very very odd was that the agent took my lighter from my personal affects and offered no solution as to how to get it home. I would like to suggest that an agreement be reached with a shipper (i.e. DHL, UPS or FEDEX) to have their supplies at these terminals so that when ppl are caught in these situations (and they will be no matter how consistent you become) they have an easy method to ship things.

I wouldn't expect TSA to do anything other than having the shipping materials available and offering them as a solution when these situations arise. These shippers are at airports often enough to make it worth their while to schedule pick ups.

Anyway - that was my complaint and suggestion on how to fix. Seems simple enough.

Anonymous said...

What really tickles me in all this is we live in a country where it has been deemed that we have the right to free speech, and where even "trolling" has been upheld by higher court systems to be protected by the first amendment and yet... in this very post... SOMEONE HAS BEEN DELETED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR!!! Honestly, what could be said on here that would have to be "redacted?" Unless it was a threat from a terrorist... LEAVE IT ALONE! If you want to give people an opportunity to have a "discussion" with the TSA regarding policies and procedures, then do more than simply pay lip service to the idea that you want their input. It looks draconian and heavy-handed to go around deleting posts.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading all these posts and find it rather sad. We were attacked, now we attack eachother.

Why do you feel the need to fly? You're still flying, so it can't be that painfull an experience.

FLYING is a priveledge..NOT A RIGHT!

If you people would stop being so petty, materialistic and ignorant, we wouldn't be so hated by other countries and cultures.

WHO Cares if you lost your shampoo. You shoulda known the rules. It has been in effect since the morning of 10 AUG 2006. Do you live in a cave? Under a rock? Or are you TOO busy shopping at MACY'S or watching movies, get over yourselves. It's sad to see how we've become as a country.

You wana gripe and whine? How'd you like some cheese to go with that?

OH, and to the "gentleman" who's $1000 gold lighter was confiscated, I'm not convinced. First, because you called the screener "Kind Sir" yea, ok.
And if you have that much money to spend on a ligher, where's your private jet?

Anonymous said...

All you ever needed to do to bring disposable lighters on a plane is keep them on your person. The metal detector doesn't see them. And if you're taken aside for some reason (or none at all) for a detailed search: "Oh, sorry, I forgot that."

I did this all the time.

Patrick said...

Lighters? Really? Is the Tobacco lobby THAT powerful? The bottom line is that there is little to no consistency from one airport to the next. I fly about 200k per year, it's rarely the same. And I've found that the smaller airports, like OKC or MCI (Kansas City) are the worst, period.

TSA is provides the illusion of security, nothing more.

Anonymous said...

I'm a guy who has worked since I was 15 years old, I've worked at fast food restaurants, I've worked overnight stock, I've been a landscaper, a janitor and worked until I became a computer networking professional in New York and Florida. I was working in NY when the towers fell and watched the second plane hit. I'm recently married, my life is good and I don't want to die by any means, but I feel intense anger as I step through the "inspection" check points. I feel my soul and what makes me American slipping from my body as I walk through a metal detector in my socks. Is everyone so scared that they would completely sell their souls? Is this what we have become? I need to see an alternate form of transportation that is free once again. This kind of stuff is destroying America by ripping the hearts out of men like me. I would rather take my chances to be honest than this Orwellian nightmare. We could put an armed air marshal on each flight to assist ARMED pilots with all the money we waste on this nonsense and human scanning technology. I wish there was an airline with minimal or no government regulation that operated it's own business and did things a little smarter, I would shower them with my dollars, I would donate my dollars to them. In fact, I think they would be so inundated with freedom loving people they would not be able to handle the masses flocking to them. The story is the same wherever you look, government regulation = less security, more loss of freedom, higher prices, slow response, and broken terrified human beings...I mean we know this from watching it happen other places, why doesn't anyone care? Oh yea, that's right...your scared.

The Saj said...

"Unlike improvised explosives devices (IEDs), these items do not present a significant threat to an airplane."

Unlike box cutters?

"LiIon batteries"

Okay, in my carry-on luggage I have the following: I have my 17" laptop, I have a spare battery, I have my DSLR with 2 batteries. Plus I have 4 spare batteries. I also have 8-12 AA batteries for my flash. I have an iPod with a LiIon battery. A PDA phone.

Wow man....dude...look at all the Lithium I am carrying. Obviously, I am a bad guy. No...just a geek!

***

When I read this new law, I realized I will probably go to jail eventually. Because if the TSA tries to confiscate my equipment which costs quite a bit (ie: $50 for one battery). They're going to have a fight on their hands.

Honestly, I think this new battery law is more likely to turn frustrated U.S. citizens into pissed off aggressors than anything else.


***

"They are so worried about the small inconveniences they may go though, that they seem to forget about the thousands of brothers, sisters, moms and dads that we lost just a short time ago."

No, we're not...

We're just smart enough to know that the events of 9-11 happened because of stupid policies. (ie: the policy being to instruct everyone to give in to hijackers). When the policy should be to encourage every able bodied man to rise up at the top of the hour and subdue the hijackers. There is almost never more than 4-6 hijackers. A plain full of people in close quarters can subdue hijackers even if they're armed with AK-47's. If they blow up the plain, it was likely they'd have done so anyways. At least the passengers have prevented greater tragedy. (ie: Were this standard policy, four airplanes full of passengers would have been lost - instead of four full airplanes plus two monumental buildings and all of their inhabitants.

It's similar to the police telling you not to take action. By the time the police arrive, you've either been robbed, your neighbors are now murdered, etc. But the police have arrived and are their to file a police report on your behalf.

And remember, the hijacking of the Japanese airliner. The one that landed safely because everyone rose up and beat the hijackers to death with their cell phones, & PDAs.

That's the thing I never understood. On 9-11 the hijackers used box cutters. Box cutters are rather unimpressive weapons. Especially compared to my 17" Toshiba laptop! Any hand weapon in a close quarters environment when outnumbered by 10 to 1 ratio is fairly useless. Sure a couple of people would have been hurt.

I've had a knife drawn on me, while it made me nervous that I might have to get in an altercation, I was not very threatened or intimidated by it.

Anonymous said...

There are companies that are currently clear of TSA - Pay for a private corporate jet - NO SECURITY at all!! Have fun!!and a nice day

Anonymous said...

Thanks, doesn't really help the shrinking overtaxed middle class though.

Anonymous said...

I just want consistency and reason; which I realize is probably too muh to ask from TSA. I fly out of Reagan National (DCA), BWI, and Dulles (IAD) with some regularity, to my parents' hometown of SJT (small Texas, 2-gate airport). I rarely have any problems in the DC-area airports; but SJT is a constant nightmare; every passenger gets their bags rifled through; my carry-on was re-xrayed 3 times coming home from xmas and picked apart twice because they were confused by a wooden mortar-and-pestle "it looked like a liquid in the x-ray" was the explanation.

Seriously?

Anonymous said...

The problem with armed pilots and marshels is that a bullets flying around a plane at 30000 feet arnt a good idea, no matter who fired it. If the pilot breaches the hull with a misfired round its the same as if a terrorist did.

Im was rather surprised to read that small scissors and tools are allowed. As well as nail clippers. Just recently while flying I noticed the bin where they throw everything had several screwdrivers, nail clippers/files, and a few lighters. Then in the store right around the corner inside the security area they were selling nail clippers. If they really are allowed then that needs to be published more obviously, and someone needs to let the workers know.

CatFish (Canadian Frequent Traveller) said...

In response to the anonymous post "How about some examples from parts of the world where terrorism is a longstanding threat also have seen and experienced better? "

The United Kingdom for one. I flew out of Heathrow a couple of weeks after the big liquids scare. Although there were a lot of restrictions in place at that time, and some further delays, I found the experience to be extremely professionally handled. The British can seemingly handle these kinds of things without breaking a sweat. They had extra people hired on, and trained well to help you go where you needed to, to help you understand the new restrictions, and to make sure you were in the correct line, so you didn't waste the next 2 hours of your life waiting in the wrong line. The security personnel all seemed to be on the same page. And in subsequent trips through the UK, via various airports, the consistency shown at the security screenings has struck me as top notch. Although the restrictions on what can and cannot be brought through security have changed a few times since the liquids scare, it seems like all the screening and security personnel have stayed in synch with the policies in place, and overall have done an excellent job of communicating these policies to the public.

This is a country that has dealt with, and continues to deal with terrorism. It's almost like it's part of the national character. "Blow up a train? B'ah, that's not going to slow us down. Liquids posing a threat to our airplanes? Ok. Let's just deal with it, and get on with our lives. We've been bombed harder by bigger and badder men than you. We lived through it, and learned from it." From the Luftwaffe through the IRA, the UK has had some significant experience dealing with being bombed. They know to deal with these things.

On a related note, the TSA is a fledgling organisation. They will need time to get things sorted, learn from mistakes, learn from others, etc. I've not had any undue hassles when dealing with the TSA, but I can agree that they need to work on consistency and communication.

Just thought I would share some of my experiences and thoughts with you.

Anonymous said...

A blogger here said: "FLYING is a priveledge..NOT A RIGHT!"

Really . . . Driving is a privilege (sp) and requires a License. Flying does not require a 'license', so can you explain that comment ?

Oh and excuse us for utilizing this blog for it's intended purpose.

Dave X the first said...

Back to my February 1, 2008 5:16 PM post:

How do I prevent the TSA from taking things like my not-a-knife? You know, my 2" keychain swiss army knife with the knife part removed? The one with the conformant 1.5" scissors, nailfile, screwdriver, tweezers and toothpick?

Yet another restatement of "no knives of ANY length are allowed to pass the checkpoint" are not responsive.

My question again:

How the heck do I keep my stuff that seems to follow the rules?

OR

Where the heck are the rules that your people are actually following?

Anonymous said...

Before 9/11 you could hijack a plane with just about anything. The accepted wisdom said that resisting was the best way to end up dead.

Now we know that resisting is the only way to stay alive.

The odds of anybody ever successfully hijacking a plane again with box cutters or knifes must be just about 0.

The only thing that might cause people to hesitate in charging a hijacker is a gun or a bomb.

As such TSA should only ban guns and bombs. Taking people's Swiss Army knifes is irritating to the people and doesn't increase our safety one bit.

Anonymous said...

What is the TSA's opinion of sealed lead acid 12V batteries, like those used for electric wheelchairs, being taken aboard airplanes?

I don't pay close enough attention to wheelchair-bound passengers to notice if electric wheelchairs are permitted or not. If they are not permitted then the rest of this post is moot and can be deleted/ignored.

Non-wheelchair-bound travelers frequently bring electronic devices to entertain themselves during a long flight, and many of these devices have relatively high power requirements, like laptops. Travelers with electric wheelchairs are permitted to bring abundant battery power with them in the form of a 10 to 25 pound sealed lead acid battery.

My question is: can the TSA forsee a scenario where non-wheelchair-bound travelers can be permitted to bring a 10 pound sealed lead acid battery with them in carry-on? If so, this could allow travelers to power their equipment using a $50 battery and $10 inverter, instead of buying one or more spare $100 laptop batteries.

(Sample scenario: during TSA screening, the traveler presents a sealed lead acid battery wrapped in plastic or enclosed in a one gallon zip-top bag, and also presents a disconnected 12VDC-to-110VAC inverter in a different zip-top bag. While en-route the passenger connects their inverter to their battery, plugs their laptop into the inverter, and powers their laptop (and their neighbor's laptop, etc.) for many hours.)

If not, is a sealed lead acid battery prohibited when carried on a wheelchair but not prohibited when included in carry-on baggage, and why? Is a $10 automotive inverter from Wal Mart also prohibited in carry-on baggage?

Anonymous said...

I agree and I think even the driving priveldge is bull. I bought the car, I chipped in for the road, I paid the gas, I paid the tolls, etc etc etc. Somehow it's a priveldge. Oh well stick to one rediculous thing at a time.

DireWolf said...

ahhhh ... I love a website that only works in IE ... but that's a different story.

We travel with audio recording equipment, and many LI batteries. We knew about the battery rule change, packed accordingly, and carried copies of the web pages from both DOT and TSA, *just in case.* Flying out was fine (but weighty). Coming home from Florida was bad. The screener didn't care what TSA's own guidelines were ... "I don't care what's on the website, you'll do it my way." He was so into his powertrip that after making me remove the battery from my bag, remove the battery from its bodyglove (the instructions were to package the batteries so that they couldn't bump anything and strik a spark), he then proceeded to search my bag to the point of rifling thru my wallet! grrrr

Britt said...

This may be viewed as off topic and deleted but I think it is actually at the heart of the matter.

Privilege Versus Right.

The Government in the United States of America exists to serve me. Remember that line on the Constitution that says that the government is 'for the people'? That means we, the people (sound familiar so far?) are in charge. We elect government officials to represent us, they do stuff, we remove them if they do enough stuff we do not agree with.

So, how does this relate? Well, for the last 50 years or so unelected government officials have been saying more and more stuff is a 'privilege' not a right. Okay, strictly speaking someone could say that if something is not in the Bill of Rights then it is not a right, but on the other hand I challenge any Constitutional Lawyer to tell me that a government that is supposed to be representative of the people's will can grant 'privileges' to the people it is supposed to serve!

Anyone reading this stuff? Or are my comments just deleted?

Anonymous said...

What I want to know is: What does the TSA "do" with all the stuff they confiscate from us?

I hope I'm wrong, but I suspect a lot of our stuff winds up in the pockets of the screeners....

Britt said...

Trust and transparency.

Gentlemen, this Blog is worthless. I see my postings almost always are deleted. Therefore for me, this blog is worthless. Note, my postings are nto replied to to let me know why they were deleted, they are merely deleted.

Gaki said...

There are so many common sense things that could be done to keep us safer in the skies, many of which have already been done (i.e. fortification of flight deck doors, not allowing people to congregate in the front of the plane by the flight deck, etc.) that don't violate anyone's rights or freedoms and at the end of the day make the whole experience in no way unpleasant. There is nothing wrong with a quick bag check to see that no one is bringing manifestly dangerous items on board -- loaded firearms, explosives, that sort of thing. It is absurd to think though that someone who is determined to cause a problem on a flight won't find a way to do it. Back in the good old days (the 70s and 80s) the world was a dangerous place and there were problems on planes. The world is still a dangerous place and despite the security theater of the TSA there are problems on planes. The only real difference is that now we have the government treating everyone as if he or she were a suspected terrorist simply because that person needs to go somewhere. With minimal or minimally invasive screening, you might let something slip by once in a while. With the "intensive" screening that happens now things slip by and you have highly disgruntled and terrorized passengers and citizens -- at the hands of their own government! What's the difference? Either way, life is risky. Either way, the risk of something happening in the air is pretty small. But the difference is now, people are less likely simply to sit in their seats and take it if someone tries something having learned something from 9/11 than they would have before. Stop the madness

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
What I want to know is: What does the TSA "do" with all the stuff they confiscate from us?

I hope I'm wrong, but I suspect a lot of our stuff winds up in the pockets of the screeners....

I really doubt that screeners would risk losing their jobs to take some property that was surrendered. At our airport knives are put in a locked cabinet in the view of the passengers. We have passengers tell us to keep their liquids, lotions, gels that are surrendered everyday, and I tell them we can't and throw them in the trash in their view. Many folks think it's more of a shame that these items are thrown away, rather than someone getting use from them.

TSA Screener

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous: "What I want to know is: What does the TSA "do" with all the stuff they confiscate from us?"

One word: eBay.

Search for "TSA Lot" and you will see what I mean.

Anonymous said...

Hello anonymous, who asked about ottnott:

I'm not ottnott, but I flew into Spain about six weeks ago. In 2004, a terrorist group called ETA (who wants Basque independence) blew up terminal four of the Madrid Barajas airport. Flying into that very same airport was nothing compared to flying into Chicago from Detroit. They smiled at me, said "Welcome to Spain," and when I asked if I had to take my laptop out, and they said, "What, do you want to show it off?"

Anonymous said...

Let me just echo the comments of Gaki on February 9, 2008 1:55 PM

STOP THE MADNESS

WHy not try an intelligent approach to prevention rather than this sham of an appearance of security that prevents nothing.

Charles said...

Based on this policy regarding lithium batteries, what is the specific policy for rechargable batteries either installed in or carried as spares for authorized oxygen concentrators? These batteries exceed the size limits shown. Allowing the concentrator without its battery would be useless -- without a spare on a long flight, also useless.

Anonymous said...

To those of you who say print a copy of the permitted/prohibited items list and take it with to explain why you have a given item. Have you ever read the first paragraph in the brochure? "A TSO may determine that an item not on the prohibited chart is prohibited. The TSO may also determine that an item on the permitted chart is dangerous."

Each individual TSO makes his/her own rules. The government's own policy says so.

Dave X the first said...

@ February 11, 2008 8:49 PM Anonymous said...

To those of you who say print a copy of the permitted/prohibited items list and take it with to explain why you have a given item. Have you ever read the first paragraph in the brochure? "A TSO may determine that an item not on the prohibited chart is prohibited. The TSO may also determine that an item on the permitted chart is dangerous."

Each individual TSO makes his/her own rules. The government's own policy says so.

*****************************

Even if it isn't very satisfying, that is effectively the correct answer: "Each individual TSO makes his/her own rules."

Reading the posted rules is worthless, The explanations of Kip or the rest of the bloggers are also worthless. Hidden in a PDF on the TSA website is the carte blanche that TSA screeners use to justify any interpretation.

Anonymous said...

Dear TSA, this may belong in your inconsistency thread, but yesterday a travel partner of mine got 2 small lithium batteries confiscated by TSA at Houston. The reason was "you are only allowed two lithium batteries". This person was carrying four, so two got confiscated.

This is NOT what the published rules say! You are allowed to take as many lithium batteries as you need, in carry on, as long as they are below a certain amount of lithium. Virtually all normal use batteries fall well within this limit, and so did this persons 4 batteries.

Basically, he got 2 batteries, and thus quite a bit of money, confiscated for no valid reason.

Please circulate some easy to understand rules to your own personnel!

Anonymous said...

I bought a TransPack lighter case. What sort of lighters can be placed in checked luggage? Some TSOs I asked said any kind. Others said only empty ones. Others still said any type but a torch lighter. If the TSOs don't know, how am I supposed to know???

Anonymous said...

How do I prevent the TSA from taking things like my not-a-knife? You know, my 2" keychain swiss army knife with the knife part removed? The one with the conformant 1.5" scissors, nailfile, screwdriver, tweezers and toothpick?

Even though the knife was removed and all the other components remained and are allowable, it probably would have been a good idea to ask a member of TSA before passing through the security checkpoint. It never hurts to ask questions.

Dave X the First said...

@ anonymous:
"Even though the knife was removed and all the other components remained and are allowable, it probably would have been a good idea to ask a member of TSA before passing through the security checkpoint. It never hurts to ask questions."

They confiscated it before they would let me pass through the checkpoint. When I asked here, the people who post as TSOs here responded with the unhelpful "No knives of any length" answer. Where are you supposed to find an authoritative answer? It seems the screeners are laws unto themselves.

It does hurt to ask questions if you get wrong answers, or if you get delayed and extra-screened for doing the asking.

Anonymous said...

They confiscated it before they would let me pass through the checkpoint. When I asked here, the people who post as TSOs here responded with the unhelpful "No knives of any length" answer. Where are you supposed to find an authoritative answer? It seems the screeners are laws unto themselves.

It does hurt to ask questions if you get wrong answers, or if you get delayed and extra-screened for doing the asking.


By you saying: "They confiscated it before they would let me pass through the checkpoint," I take it this swiss army knife (san the blade because you removed it) was taken from you before you passed through the walk-through metal detector and before your items passed through the x-ray machine. Correct me if I am wrong?

Yes, no knives of any length are not allowed... but what I don't understand (in your defense) is why you didn't explain you removed the blade and didn't seek out a supervisor to remedy the situation. If you are not satisfied with what a screener tells you because you feel your item is allowable, escalate it to the next level. Seek an out an answer from their supervisor. There, you should receive an authoritative answer.

In addition, I can't speak to why you received additional screening if this situation lead to that.

Dave X the first said...

In STL, my keys with my bladeless swiss army knife went through the X-ray in a little bowl. They took the keys and said the knife was not allowable. I said it had no knife, that I ground it off, they didn't care, and gave me the choice of taking it back out to the beginning of the line, or forfeiting the trinket and proceeding through. Since arguing, further, resisting, or escalating would require abandoning my wife and 1yo daughter with our 12 tubs of junk for who knows how long, I really had no choice and just complied. I did not receive additional screening, but I feared it.

The same procedure worked fine on the outbound from ORF. Also from PHF through CLT to HOU and back.

One thing that sucks about the "process" is that if you get the wrong answer from the TSA website, this blog, another screener, it costs you your items or significant time when you run into the next screener's inconsistent interpretation.

Kip thinks it is a positive sign of independent thinking. I think it is a sign of a process out of control.

pair-a-docs said...

Direwolf, this blog also works in Firefox.

Anonymous, sealed lead acid batteries are only permitted in mobility devices used by persons with disabilities. This is not a TSA rule, it is an airline/FAA rule.

Zippo lighters are permitted as carry-on property, as are Bics and similar. Torch lighters are not.

Some items are prohibited from carry-on or checked baggage because various other agencies (gov't and airlines) have classified them as hazmat. With regard to these items, TSA is following the same rules that the private security companies were required to follow pre-9/11. If you think about it, any pressurized gas container is at risk in an environment in which air pressure changes range from that found at sea level to that found at 45,000'. The cargo hold is not pressurized like the aircraft cabin is, and safety suggests that one would not want random gasses escaping and mixing with each other in a contained area. "Empty" lighters are permitted in checked baggage, and there are small sealed containers available for purchase, for Zippo lighters. Torch lighters are never allowed.

Another anonymous poster listed some very good questions regarding 4" scissors being akin to 2 4" knives, and camera tripods equalling 3 baseball bats. I think every one of us has asked those very same questions, to no avail. We too would like to see some logic applied.

One point I'd like to make. The TSOs you see in your travels are only as good as the management team at their airport. Is their management team supporting them to become better every day? Or is their management team role modeling institutional arrogance? Any team out there is only going to be as good as their management allows or promotes them to be. When you travel, look around for the 'suits." Look around for the "three-stripers." Are they interacting with their TSOs, helping out when it's busy, or are they standing back simply observing and playing "clipboard nazi?" There's where you'll find a lot of your answers to the "whys" regarding inconsistancies, bad attitudes and blatant circumvention of the rules. A team is only as good as its leadership.

Many of us take our jobs seriously, both in terms of providing the best security we can, and in providing the most positive interactions with the passengers that we can. Many of us come to work with a smile on our face, and we go home with that same smile. Just because you run across a TSO who you'd rather slap than look at, don't assume all TSOs are like that.

When you go get in your car to drive somewhere, there are rules you have to follow. Speed limits, stop signs, yield signs, one-way signs, seat belts, turn signals, detours, etc. When you go to get on an airplane, there are rules you have to follow, too. When you submit your property for screening, that's the point when you give consent for the search, and if it's discovered that you've opted to not follow the rules then you are given a series of options. This is much more than the traffic cop will give you if you're pulled over for breaking a traffic rule. We are required to give you options for your prohibited items, essentially the chance for a "do-over." The options may not always be convenient to you, but they are much more than the traffic cop is required to give you, or will.

Personally, I'd prefer it if no blades of any type were allowed. No, I'm not worried a terrorist is going to ever overtake a plane with a blade, again. I'm more concerned about the nut who's gone off his meds and holds the 4 year old little girl hostage and slits her throat before the cabin full of passengers beats him to a bloody pulp. I'd like your trip to be as safe as possible from any kind of incident like that.

But yes... generally I tend to agree with most of you here, there is a drastic lack of common sense and consistency and many of us have been arguing the same things as you are, for a very long time. Perhaps the more we all chime in and the more things become "in their faces" public, the better chance there'll be of getting the cubicle-dwellers out of the rule-making game. Keep up the good work folks!!

charles platt said...

This is all so depressing. TSA has been given a mandate ("Protect the Skies") which is impossible to fulfill, and travelers end up paying for futile gestures mandated from above. Guidelines have to be simple enough for mass application by thousands of screeners; that means the guidelines must be rule-based, arbitrary, and irritating. And so on. The problem traces back to the fallacy that government can protect us all from pathological extremists. Government can do no such thing. But since we have no way to roll back this concept, we end up quibbling about nail clippers and batteries.

Personally I travel with printouts from the TSA web site, defining regulations. This is the only way I know to deal with the absurdities which have been thrust upon us. Also I have taped to each of my lithium batteries a calculation of its lithium content. Will this protect me from an arbitrary and uninformed challenge? Maybe.

One time going through Newark (before the current Ziplock Bag guidelines clarified some issues), I inadvertantly tied up three screening lines when I was challenged over two Chapsticks. I brought out my printed pages. The supervisor and all his employees kept everyone waiting while they all gathered around and spent a good ten minutes reading the contents of the TSA's own web site and arguing about how to interpret the regulations.

Conclusion: They retained one Chapstick and let me keep the other one. Again, this was before the Ziplock rule clarified things, but still, such absurdities are characteristic of an entity that inspires no confidence whatsoever, because there is no way it can do what it has been told to do.

Anonymous said...

a knife can be made from a broken container of glass (e.g. a bottle or glass from a restaurant).

Shouldn't those be banned or limited in size, in the terminal area?

Anonymous said...

to the guy posting about taking apart a tripod and using them as 3 clubs for him and his "friends". Yeah so in all fairness, TSA is just gonna have to prohibit tripods as well... you know just cause you're such a funny guy. har har

Anonymous said...

Let me just echo the comments of Gaki on February 9, 2008 1:55 PM

STOP THE MADNESS

WHy not try an intelligent approach to prevention rather than this sham of an appearance of security that prevents nothing.

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

in reply to the above: "prevents nothing"? it prevents plenty, things are confiscated from passengers on a daily basis. stop being so melodramatic.

Britt said...

To Charles Platt:

I agree with you whole-heartedly!

We, the people, need to take responsibility for ourselves and our safety, not expect the government to provide it for us.

In the Special Forces they say that your mind is your primary weapon. If I am ever so unfortunate as to be aboard a plane hijacked as they were on 9/11 I assure you that my shoes laces become garrotes, my belt a poor man's cestus, a ball point pen a stabbing tool, my keys brass knuckles.

If you doubt the efficacy of these tools in self defense, watch the Bourne movies.

As citizens of these United States it is each and every one of ours obligations to protect and defend our neighbors. This is the beginning of good citizenship.

Britt...

Anonymous said...

everyone needs to look at these rules in a different manner. for example your precious swiss army knife. You don't need that on the flight, so why bring it in your carry on. You don't need your baseball bat, tennis rackets, etc, with you on the actual flight so check it in checked baggage! If you know its going to be taken away, don't bring it with you. Plain and simple. If you need a swiss army knife to open a bag of peanuts, you might have a bigger problem in your life, rather than your gripes with TSA.

Anonymous said...

from ottnott:

Is that too much to ask? Quit insulting us. Quit harassing us. Quit adding so much to the hassle and expense of flying from US airports.

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

all you talk about is hassle, hassle, and more hassle. You fail to realize the hassle is caused by an inability to follow instructions. Have your boarding pass out a second time, take the crap out of your bag, your ugly shoes must come off. walk through, grab your stuff, and be off. Wow, that is very difficult!!! Thats pretty darn efficient if you ask me. HASSLE for whom? not me, but most definately YOU.

Anonymous said...

As a passenger I have the following rights:

1. I can break the rules because

I don't agree with them.

2. When I am caught breaking the

rules I can hold the security

lines up for as long as I want.

Then blame TSA for slow security

3. When I am told that I am not

going to be allowed to break

the rules I can verbally attack

them. Make off the wall

assumptions about them, their

education and their ability

to gain respectable occupations.

Then when they stand up

against this verbal assault I can

complain about their customer

service skills and recommend

they go to training for this

obvious problem. Preferably one

that teaches them to bow at my

abusive shoeless feet.

4. as if this was not privilege

enough now I can go onto a blog

that was intended to answer

legitimate concerns and

questions and continue my

abusive rants.

5. I am allowed these rights

because I am better than these

non-human goons’!

6. Then when I am running late

I can complain about how

Strict and useless security

Is.

7. When I show up early and

Have time to wait I can

Complain about how

Inadequate the security

Process and officers are.

Anonymous said...

Kip Hawley. You still have not addressed the "why" of why small knives are prohibited when scissors and other sharps are.Are you ever going to? If not, please say so and quit ignoring the question. By the way, concerning the person with the boxcutter in TPA today, did he have the intention to highjack the plane or to commit any other specific criminal act? Did you foil a highjacking or did you just catch another forgetful dummy?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, did you see the book that the box cutter was in, it {the book} was cutout, the blade was intentionally placed in the cutout portion of the book. The only person who will ever know if he wanted to commit a crime with the blade is the person who put it there. The question I would ask any reasonable person is why would you intentionally place a box cutter in an area designed to hide it (not from X-Ray). What is the intent? I realize that you must prove 2 things in court, "Mens Rea" and "Actus Rues". You must have a commission of a crime AND the "intent" to commit that crime. We have the prohibited item, caught before it entered the sterile area, and the intent was clear from the way it was hidden. The end result will only be clear to the person attempting to knowingly bring a prohibited item into the sterile area of an airport.

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I am wrong, and I am sure you will, but I don’t think there has been any kind of attack on a US airplane since the TSA started up in our airports. As a traveler I am pretty pleased with the thought that I will be safe when I go someplace. I am retired so I can get to the airport early and although I don’t find standing in line any fun, I can accept it for the safety of my flight. Thanks TSA for doing a great job.

Anonymous said...

I had the same experience as one of the bloggers regarding the TSA approved luggage locks.
When we travelled to South America we discovered that TSA cut our 2 locks instead of opening them with their keys. Luckily nobody stole our special clothes for our trip.
TSA reimbursed us for the costs of the two locks, just because we still had the receipt of the 4 locks and the box where it said that they were TSA approved locks.
Otherwise we would have suffered the loss. This is not a matter of money, but of principal, professionalism, and consistency.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is now showing the message

"An error (500 Internal Server Error) has occured in response to this request" while trying to access the inconsistencies section. Grins and Gripes has had no new posts since Feb 2nd.

Anonymous said...

just remember, passengers arent the only people on the plane. TSA makes air travel safe for everyone...including the airline staff. alot of these regulations were made with everyone in mind. follow the rules and deal with it. have a little faith in TSA. what has happened since they've come along? no knives? is this really a hassle for people?

why can you have scissors and not a knife? why do you need a knife on the plane with you?

Anonymous said...

first of all, if someone is sitting at a gate..or even on a plane unscrewing scissors i think someone might speak up before they got very far...in addition..why do you NEED a knife on a plane. lets be realistic. how comfortable would you be as a flight attendant on a plane with knives allowed onboard?

stop being selfish...everyone has the same rules. im a tso and i cant travel with my pocket knife. oh well. i check a bag.

oh and those people who are soo rude on the checkpoint...well most of them have served/protected your country...your rights...with actual guns...and now they are working security at an airport. think about it.

all i know is...i treat every passenger exactly the way they treat me. and if you see someone doing something you dont like...get a comment card at that specific airport and get that officers name. because some of these comments are almost hard to believe.

Anonymous said...

" why do you NEED a knife on an airplane...?" A small knife is a very practical and useful tool for removing threads from clothing, opening those clear food packets that can't be torn open, opening your mail and many other things. The included tweezers, scissors, nail file and toothpick are also very good to have at hand-especially if you're on a several day trip. It would be nearly impossible to "weaponize" a tiny knife with a 1 1/2 " blade. Ban weapons--OK, but allow accesories such as very small knives and demonstrate to the flying public that you are cpable of displaying at least some reasonable common sense.

Anonymous said...

I would like to take this moment to apologize to TSO's who have to sit here and read all of this. Please don't think that the majority of people feel the same way as the majority of these posts.

As with most internet blogs/message boards/chat rooms, you have a few people who take over and inundate the site with their opinions. They tend to be aggressive, rude and in general, they enjoy the attention they receive, even if it is negative.

I too have seen over-zealous TSA employees on a few occasions. However, most employees are courteous and professional. I am no "rocket scientist" but I consider myself to be somewhat intelligent. And I feel safer flying because of the work that you people do.

Please try and take the legitimate complaints seriously and ignore the irrational few who post over and over again. The majority of people that I talk to and fly with are satisfied with our experience.

GT said...

It is interesting that virtually every comment that is supportive or defensive of TSA is posted by anonymous.

Regarding the TSA support posts, I can see the uneducated ire in the words and tone of the poster(s).

I particularly like the comment that most TSA has served in the military. That's funny. The complete lack of respect that is seen never had anything to do with the military.

I regularly fly to an from a country with serious ongoing security issues. One hundred percent of all luggage is hand searched, by soldiers, and is done politely and respectfully. The line moves quickly as well.

But in the US, everyone is a terrorist and some two bit fascist that has never traveled by air has to lord their pitful little power over travelers.

TSA is a wasteful disgrace. Who here knew that TSA held a Christmas ball, for their third year in existence? If I remeber correctly, they spent 10s of thousands of dollars on a balloon release, and an ice sculpture, and had the gall to give "Lifetime Achievement awards". After three years...
I have had better treatment by airport security in Munich, Germany. They have also been dealing with terrorism far onger than the US.
But the typical, nontraveled American can always do it better, and is too self righteous to look at lessons learned in other countries.

TSA, you are worthless window dressing. I only fly because where I need to go, boats and trains don't service.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know why so many areas of this blog no longer accept comments?

Mr. Kauffman fights the last war and shows a remarkable lack of imagination in enhancing surveillance of radio controlled toys. As a taxpayer, that does not make me feel secure.

If there were a credible threat left to US aviation, we would be as exposed as we ever were.

VA Yuppie said...

Hello!

Rant: Why is everyone so afraid to ask TSOs questions?

Lets take a logical look at the situation. A TSO will subject someone to further screening under two circumstances 1) They are acting suspiscious. Do you really think a terrorist is going to risk asking a question?

2) They are threatening the TSO (ie making snide remarks, personally attacking the TSO). An honest question politely asked is not personally threatening to anyone.

Every time I have ever asked a question to a TSO (5 or 6 times) they have been extremely polite to me, probably b/c by being friendly and asking a question I pretty much just ruled out I'm a terrorist.

So please stop travelling with expensive items (mail them to yourself with insurance), be prepared to sacrifice that bottle of water/ swiss army knife/ lighter and everyone (you, other passengers, and TSOs) except the terrorists will be much happier.

Thank You!!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure where else to post this so forgive me if this doesn't belong here. I have a complaint about smoking. Once you go through security you can't go back out again even if your flight is delayed for hours. So, smokers just have to go without. I understand that non-smokers don't want to inhale my second-hand smoke, but you guys should really provide SOMETHING for us. I bet that if you allowed smokers to leave and go through security again, or allowed us outside through a door past security you'd cut your cranky passengers by at least half. I, for one, become extremely cranky if I don't have a cigarette for more than 3 hours.

Anonymous said...

I read with interest your post about lighters being allowed since july 2007 (except torch lighters). I have been flying once a month between dfw & ord and have been told (and given up) lighters at both ends. One was a zippo i have had since the early 70's. no torch lighters. i have been told that lighters are not allowed but i can have matches.

Anonymous said...

as i am reading through this little blog ive notced a couple things. first of all, most of these scenarios people come up with are hilarious. a bunch of trucks with explosives? come on.

my favorite though is the scenarios in which people claim to be responsible for themselves. yes im sure everyone on the plane will attack any terrorist with a knife and you will all be heros. THEY ARE PREVENTING THIS. if one person gets stabbed on an airplane, how safe will you feel? we will never know what would happen if you hadnt been subjected to rules when you fly...i dont want to know. all i know is nothing has happened since tsa has taken over...

and as a side note: why are you complaining about these rules. gas is way more ridiculous than leaving your knife in the car or at home.

Anonymous said...

folks, if you've read any of that beloved "patroit act," you will see that we are ALL suspected terrorists. and with bush's signing statements, we are ALL eligible for that one-way ticket to git-mo. seriously.

i can't wait for the security "threat" to go to red. it's been orange now for... how long? we could use some new fear.

and yea, a gun for everyone is simply genius. genius, i tell ya.

signed, tim mcveigh, jr. (boo!)

Anonymous said...

Small question - could you please provide benches or chairs in line so that people can sit when removing their shoes? I know this might slow things down a bit, but many elderly folks have problems balancing on one foot, as do pregnant ladies. Would it be so difficult to provide a bench seat in the line, and another on the other side of security?

Anonymous said...

Can someone please explain to me why torch tighers are still banned?

Either something is a threat (IE - lighting a bomb or a seat cushion on fire) or its not a threat. The fact that a torch lighter burns hot makes no SENSIBLE difference. Someone could have a few disposables and do just as much damage.

To me its not the rule its the ridiculous inconsistencies like this that cause TSA to hide behind their absurd "safety" rules.

Lighters are either a threat or they are not. You can either light a fuse or a seat cushion on fire or you cant. Banning torch lighters while allowing EVERY OTHER KIND makes ZERO SENSE. Ban them all or dont ban any. Or please highlight an instance where one man having a torch lighter causes a bigger danger to passengers than the rest of the plane having a Zippo or Bic.

Anonymous said...

RE: Lighters are either a threat or they are not. You can either light a fuse or a seat cushion on fire or you cant. Banning torch lighters while allowing EVERY OTHER KIND makes ZERO SENSE. Ban them all or dont ban any.


They ban water so what chance do you think you have of getting the ban on torch lighters lifted?

Anonymous said...

Your system obviously stinks. Copy the Israeli system. They have never ever had a terrorist on either their El AL planes or ANY leaving any Israeli airport. I was not inconvienienced even going to Cairo from Tel Aviv! Water-no problem. Learn something TSA and stop this mockery. It's all show, we know it and hate it.

Anonymous said...

Ive read alot of the complaints that you people have written and quite frankly I think they are all jokes.As americans weve become extremely complacent and spoiled.Big deal so what you lost a lotion or face cream,are you serious.Is that your only complaint.You actually took the time out of your busy day to write that on a blog.you can complain all you want about the Tsa and the government but they still are in charge.And no matter how you complain and gripe you will still comply or you wont fly,its just that simple.Taking verbal assaults at these working people is mindless,heartless and just plain stupid.We all know as working americans that we may agree with all the policies that our bosses set fourth but we do have to adhere to them if we want to keep our jobs.The same with these officers.We may all have terrible and unbelieveable stories about TSA but each and everytime you fly you put your lives and safety in their hands.So apparently they are doing something right.Or ou wouldnt put Your families safety and lives at risk,Right?Treat them the way you want to be treated,and see what you get in return!

Anonymous said...

I have an idea that's pretty revolutionary and most likely would be disregarded, but would have prevented 9-11 and would prevent any other hijacking: issue a small, sharp knife to each passeger (yes you heard correctly), and guns to the flight crew. Hijackers would be unlikely to attempt any unsavory activities if they knew they would be stabbed by hundreds of people and then shot (and if they were crazy enough to try, they would fail miserably). Of course this idea might need to be tweaked a little because of the dangers of guns depressurizing the cabin. If you take weapons away from people you endanger them to bad guys who know how to kill with their bare hands.

Anonymous said...

Alot of you are saying why can't I bring my swiss army knife? Yeah most passengers are harmless, and would never consider using something in their possession to harm someone else. But all it takes is for the one moron, the guy or girl who had a real bad day, or is feeling suicidal just because, or whatever, to decide to use that itty bitty knife to cut someone or threaten to. If you think "Oh, it's only an inch or two it can't do any or that much harm" think again! The guy who was having a real bad day could be sitting next to you on that plane and all it takes is something to make him snap.

It all boils down to a few things.

1. Do you want to be the person sitting next to the person who is carrying a small knife, gun, ect?

2. Do you want some one to stab you? Shoot you? Or worse?

So the next time you complain about your itty bitty wanna be knife being taken away, just think what it can do in the wrong hands.

Anonymous said...

To the person who wrote the comment about TSA should copy the procedures that the Israelis use, why would you even recommend that.There practices and procedures are much more strict and no nonsense than the practices Tsa uses in the states.You people complain about how your rights have been violated as is.Imagine if we did use the same procedures, this blog would be full everyday.The bottom line is you cant please everyone so why try.Tsa policies are not that difficult at all.But of course you all find somethng to gripe about.The rules are extremely easy to follow.The signs are posted all over the airports,CNN reports just about everything that goes on with Tsa on a regular basis,so just watch Tv.I hear absolutely nothing about how good a job these officers perform,and you cant tell me that all of them are jerks.Perhaps its you thats being the jerk.Lets talk about the countless weapons that they have thwarted from being on your flights on daily basis.Or how many drunk and unruly passengers they have kept from sittin next to you on your flight.Lets talk about the positive aspects of this organization for a change, instead of harping on the negatives(which are actually few and far between).At some point we are all gonna have to except the world in which we live in, and realize that the Tsa are absolutely necessary.No matter what you may think about them,we have not had another attack since their existence.Keep up the good work TSA,I appreciate you even if no one else does.

Robert said...

I believe that terrorists taking over an airliner with nothing more than box cutters will never happen again. The mentality in the air has changed, among both crew and passengers. No one will ever cower and give up their life for fear of being cut with a razor knife ever again.

Therefore, the colossal amount of time and effort spent deterring folks from bringing aboard ordinary Swiss Army Knives or Leatherman tools is a waste of time. This is nothing more than a "feel good" enterprise, trying to convince ourselves we are doing something worthwhile. It's time the rules were relaxed somewhat regarding small knives and tools.

~Robert

Anonymous said...

Small swiss army knives should be allowed. It the knife is a small keyring swiss army it should be allowed.

Andy

Anonymous said...

It's silly to ban small Swiss Army Knives (those that are under 65mm long when closed). The blades on them aren't a credible threat. The days when terrorists can take over an airplane with small blades while the other passengers don't intervene are long gone. Now the passengers would not be cowed into submission!

Anonymous said...

I can understand the TSA not wanting people walk on planes with hunting knives and huge locking knives. But I seriously don't think someone with a small NON-LOCKING pocket knife is a threat to a plane.

And the stories about the little P-38 can openers being confiscated shows the complete absurdity of the rules.

If the security officers inspecting carry-on luggage can't tell the difference between a small "pocket knife" and a weapon then maybe it's time for a little more training.

Pocket knives often have a lot of sentimental value and are, by a lot of people, dropped into the pocket in the morning without thinking. It's a habit. It's simply part of their everyday dress. To basically steal these valued objects when they don't pose any real threat is asinine.

Anonymous said...

I was an LEO at an international airport for a number of years and had the opportunity to observe the security screening process on a daily basis. It was certainly inconsistent and TSA employees seemed afraid to use any sort of independent thought or common sense when confronted with a gray area. It was actively discouraged by management and employees feared disciplinary action for practically everything they did.

The things that were allowed versus what was prohibited was often amazing. There seemed to be little common sense applied to the process and it wasn't uncommon that all you ended up with were angry travelers who had legitimate grievances.

Allowing small keychain sized tools like the smaller Swiss Army Knives and multitools would go a long ways towards allowing folks to have useful tools with them when they travel and be of no more risk than the knitting needles, scissors, and walking sticks (not to mention glass wine bottles!) that are allowed today.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the TSA, FAA, Pilots Union and Association of Flight Attendants need to get together and get on the same page. Then after they are all the on that same page, let all the TSA checkpoint personnel in every airport in the country know what is and isn't allowed.

Anonymous said...

I think most of us would raise an eyebrow if we saw a fellow passenger carrying a katana or bayonet, but why not allow non-locking folding knives with blades under three inches long? Sure, someone can be killed with a two-inch blade, but people can also be killed with screwdrivers, ball-point pens, belts, etc.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with the others who have expressed dismay over the inconsistancies in TSA policy.

4" metal scissors? No problem.
1.5" mini pen blade? Dangerous weapon!

Now, personally I feel that many of the items that the TSA allows are okay (scissors, tri-pod, etc.), but then they need to be consistant and realize that a Scissors is far worse than a 1.5 inch pen blade knife. A tri-pod is just as dangerous as a baseball bat. If those first things are allowed, don't ban the second things.

Or, if the TSA DOES believe that pen blades and baseball bats are dangerous, then they need to ban the other things as well.

I prefer they allow things, but if not, I'd at least like to see consistancy and ban all things.

Anonymous said...

Ok guys and gals first things first. Even though you may think that just because you see TSO's enforcing certain bans and you see us taking those banned items does not mean that TSA created those rules

BRAVO, FINALLY SOMEONE WITH SOME SENSE.

ALL THOSE THAT GRIPE ABOUT THIS AND GRIPE ABOUT THAT REALLY WOULD NOT DO SO IF THEY ACTUALLY TOOKO THE TIME TO.."THINK" OF THE CONSEQUENCES IF IT IS THEIR LOVED ONES THAT ARE LOST BECAUSE ONE OF THOSE LIQUID, GELS, OR PASTES WE HAD TO TAKE, WAS ACTUALLY AN EXPLOSIVE MATERIAL.

HMMMMM....MAKES ONE WONDER IF THE TRAVELING PUBLIC REALLY ARE IN TUNE TO MAKING IT SAFE TO FLY AGAIN. AND REMEMBER, NOT ALL TERRORISTS ARE FROM THE MIDDLE EAST

Anonymous said...

"
BRAVO, FINALLY SOMEONE WITH SOME SENSE.

ALL THOSE THAT GRIPE ABOUT THIS AND GRIPE ABOUT THAT REALLY WOULD NOT DO SO IF THEY ACTUALLY TOOKO THE TIME TO.."THINK" OF THE CONSEQUENCES IF IT IS THEIR LOVED ONES THAT ARE LOST BECAUSE ONE OF THOSE LIQUID, GELS, OR PASTES WE HAD TO TAKE, WAS ACTUALLY AN EXPLOSIVE MATERIAL.

HMMMMM....MAKES ONE WONDER IF THE TRAVELING PUBLIC REALLY ARE IN TUNE TO MAKING IT SAFE TO FLY AGAIN. AND REMEMBER, NOT ALL TERRORISTS ARE FROM THE MIDDLE EAST"

You really should get yourself a real computer, one that has a working caps lock key. Typing on those Fisher Price keyboards is a real pain, you'll eventually get carpal tunnel.

I'm going to guess that it will be safer to fly if you on your break, or day off.

Anonymous said...

i can agree with everyone about the small knives. not the bigger ones. what if someone grabs a flight attendent and sticks a blade up to their throat. will you be able to stop that blade from penatrating? now theres 4 or 5 guys acting togather. how do you think that will go down, one giant cage fight 30,000 feet in the air?

as far as the other stuff, i totally agree. whats next, if your trained in martial arts you cant board? i'd take an 80 year old with a swiss army knife over someone trained to snap your neck.

Grant said...

No, all terrorists are not from the Middle East, just like not all people from the Middle East are terrorists. That much should be obvious.

Almost as obvious as there never being any recorded incident in which an aircraft was hijacked with a key chain knife with a non locking blade under 2".

9/11 changed the world, especially the travel industry, and increased security measures were a given. After all, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, right? We can't allow that to happen again. But, what folks aren't understanding is that the 9/11 attacks succeeded because they were unexpected. It was a surprise or sneak attack, which is why it worked as well as it did. If and when the next attack comes, it will be from another unseen angle, and I am pretty certain it won't be affected by whether or not they are allowed to carry a 1.5" blade through security or not.

The only thing that a ban on a key chain sized knife accomplishes, is holding up the lines as folks who completely forgot they had a useful tool are suddenly forced to stop and remove it from their keys. Even if the process goes smoothly with a straight up surrender, the time taken to remove it from a key chain doubles the time a person needs to get through security. Sure, it's only a minute, but if that happens with 20 people on a flight with 150 people on it, that's a 20 minute holdup when all is said and done. It only serves to put the passengers and the TSA officers at odds, for no particular gain.

For those who say to make certain you aren't carrying anything like that before going on the plane, well, it should be obvious that, for whatever reason, that is simply not going to happen. Some folks just don't think, and others are distracted by other arrangements, packing and so on. These small tools come in handy so often in day to day life that it's only natural to have them, but people don't think about them unless they need them, or they become an issue from something like airline security.

This policy was implemented by people that have no practical knowledge of security. These policies are written in response to something like 9/11, but need to be refined by folks who know better, have more experience and can see the actual benefits of tweaking policies for function and efficiency.

When a little thing like this can be addressed, with potentially significant results, does it make sense not to?

Anonymous said...

The biggest myth concerning TSA's liquid, gel and aerosol ban currently in effect is that TSA "confiscates" prohibited items in this category from passengers' carry-on luggage. If you are carrying oversize LGAs (anything > 3.4oz/100ml), or more allowable items than can fit in a one quart size baggie (i.e. over the 1 baggie per passenger limit), there are always options for the traveller: 1. Go out to your airline's counter to check another bag in order to transport these items on your trip, 2. Go out to give any of these prohibited items to someone that is seeing you off, 3. Go out to put them in your parked vehicle until you return, 4. Go out to mail them back to yourself, or 5. Leave it/them behind as voluntary abandoned property, which is what you are electing to do if you don't want to be bothered with the first 4 options. Although #5 is the least preferable, and the only one that doesn't include the dreaded "Go back out..." preface, it is NOT being confiscated by TSA; rather you are ELECTING to leave these items behind. These rules and options are not new, not hard to understand, and not top secret information (go to www.TSA.gov, read the posted signage all around you as you are waiting in line at the concourse checkpoint, or listen to the LGA messages that are ceaselessly broadcast over the airports' public address systems. It is my understanding that if you can drink it or pour it, if you can spray it or pump it, and if you can rub or smear it = it is a liquid, gel or aerosol. There are exceptions made for medical purposes and people travelling with babies and/or small children. The last time I watched the Discovery channel, bottled water is conseidered a LIQUID!!! The bottom line is, to skew an old adage, you can accomodate some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but...

Anonymous said...

"The biggest myth concerning TSA's liquid, gel and aerosol ban currently in effect is that TSA "confiscates" prohibited items in this category from passengers' carry-on luggage. If you are carrying oversize LGAs (anything > 3.4oz/100ml), or more allowable items than can fit in a one quart size baggie (i.e. over the 1 baggie per passenger limit), there are always options for the traveller: 1. Go out to your airline's counter to check another bag in order to transport these items on your trip, 2. Go out to give any of these prohibited items to someone that is seeing you off, 3. Go out to put them in your parked vehicle until you return, 4. Go out to mail them back to yourself, or 5. Leave it/them behind as voluntary abandoned property, which is what you are electing to do if you don't want to be bothered with the first 4 options. Although #5 is the least preferable, and the only one that doesn't include the dreaded "Go back out..." preface, it is NOT being confiscated by TSA; rather you are ELECTING to leave these items behind. These rules and options are not new, not hard to understand, and not top secret information (go to www.TSA.gov, read the posted signage all around you as you are waiting in line at the concourse checkpoint, or listen to the LGA messages that are ceaselessly broadcast over the airports' public address systems. It is my understanding that if you can drink it or pour it, if you can spray it or pump it, and if you can rub or smear it = it is a liquid, gel or aerosol. There are exceptions made for medical purposes and people travelling with babies and/or small children. The last time I watched the Discovery channel, bottled water is conseidered a LIQUID!!! The bottom line is, to skew an old adage, you can accomodate some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but..."

A human being is a bag of water. Contaminated by waste products, but mostly water....

Anonymous said...

About two years ago I read an item in USA TODAY, the newspaper for people who don't read the newspaper, which stated thated short-bladed knives would now be permitted in the passenger cabin. Even though, I have worked for TSA for 6 years, and, even though I knew nothing about such a change, I assumed some one would tell me when the change to knives being permitted occurred. Since, flashing a small knife around on an airplane would get you stomped on or worse, I began to wonder why the change was not made to policy.
As I read and heard various news items I think the non-change came from at least two places. First from the flight attendants union, many of them lost friends who were co-workers and loved ones on the day of the attack. Secondly, I think a group of surviving family and loved ones of September 11 opposed the loosening of the blade restriction.
These two groups have very real very understandable stake in this game and while I don't think knives are a concern I think they did.
At the end of the day, you don't need the blade on the plane.

Anonymous said...

In reply to Anonymous from 3/27/2008 at 8:30 PM.....Who are you to tell me what I "need" on an airplane? If I WANT a small knife to open my mail or clean my fingernails, and it's not a weapon capable of inflicting more than negigible injury, then I should be able to have it. I'm an American citizen, you know.I'm also a veteran. The sentiment in your comment just reinforces the perception that TSA is a mindless agency that enforces arbitrary and unreasonable rules on a compliant public "just because it can." As to flight attendants; There is no flight attendants' "union" that speaks for all of them. Practically every airline has its own flight attendants' union and they most definitely do not all agree on all issues. These unions exist to negotiate working conditions for flight attendants at their various airlines, not to impose their views, desires or prejudices on law-abiding travellers. The same goes for the survivors of 9/11 victims. I respect their grief, but that does not mean that they should hold sway over whether or not I should be allowed to possess an innocuous object on an airplane.If knitting needles, 7" screwdrivers and 4" pointed scissors can be allowed, then there is no valid reason why small knives cannot be also.

Anonymous said...

Why did you delete my reply to Anonymous above? I questioned his right to tell me what I "need" on an airplane. I, as an American citizen,should have the right to have whatever I WANT to have aboard an airplane, so long as it is not dangerous and there is room for it, and I shouldn't have to explain it to you. A keychain-sized pocket knife is in that category. I also stated that neither flight attendants' unions nor grieving survivors should have the right to impose their desires or predudices concerning my carrying an innocuous object.After all, I too have a stake "in the game." I also pointed out that TSA applies arbitrary and puposeless rules on us "just because it can." Why won't someone in authority at TSA answer the question about small knives. Please don't tell me they're prohibited. I know that. What I don't know is WHY. Are you going to delete this post,too?

Jason said...

legally lockblade knives on planes for years and they caused no harm to anyone. I'd very much appreciate the ability to carry at least a small swiss army knife with me. I'm not sure that people should have to demonstrate NEED to be able to carry a perfectly legal and harmless item with them. There are really no legitimate reasons to ban such items.

Anonymous said...

In response to the question of why do I need a knife?

This last week, I needed to purchase a spare charger for my phone. It was completely encased in a tomb of plastic, and I had nothing I could use to liberate it.

All I want is my 1.25 inch swiss army knife, tweezers, scissors and toothpick combo. I truly don't see how anyone after 9/11 could be "threatened" by a 1.25 inch knife.

Anonymous said...

I do find it STUPID that you are allowed to carry glass-covered framed pictures thru security.

A couple of years ago, I saw a guy carrying a 4 foot by 6 inch panorama picture. If broken, the amount of glass he had would have made a SWORD, not just a knife.

I approached the screening supervisor and pointed out this fact to him: His response was "We dont make the rules, we just enforce them."

COME ON!! How about a little bit of sanity to this process? There are things that obviously are not "safe", and could trivially be weaponized, but we LET them thru just because there isn't some pre-defined rule against it? Sorry, folks, that's not "security".

Anonymous said...

Observation: There is too much inconsistancy between airports. I travel ewr/srq on a regular basis and at least once every round trip one airport will allow something and the other will not. My wife on our last trip had a brand new Disney sealed in original plastic wrap Cinderella play dough gift for our grand child that is probably being played with by the agent that took it way.

Kentown said...

When so many levels of security clear us of suspicion why is it necessary to confiscate our property? For instance, by mistake I carried a Swiss Army knife in my carry-on with a blade less then 2.5inches. The TSA official was polite but kept saying, "I think they're taking these". Well, if they might not be taking them and I fit all acceptable profiles, why take it? Shouldn't we start looking in the other direction? If we meet the good citizen profile, why not leave us with our personal possessions?

Meyre said...

If, as your commentary on lighters and scissors explains - that scissors were allowed as of 2005, and lighters in July of 2007, you people owe me for two pairs of Fiskars craft scissors, and at least half a dozen lighters. Obviously the message never got passed along to the people doing the screening, and my items were removed. I figure 35 bucks will cover it all.

Furthermore, I've made it through at various times WITH lighters. Either the folks working those checkpoints were incompetent, or I'm a better hider than they were finders.

How about this....is a 6" stainless steel crochet hook considered any kind of threat? I'd love to crochet on the flights, but I don't know if THOSE would be taken away too, and I don't really care to lose them.

M

Anonymous said...

What makes me really angry is that once my bags are checked through TSA security and marked accordingly with stickers, markers or highlighters on my luggage tags, they seem to show up at my destination (at least diff 4 times) either opened up again, the locks being cut off, or my bag being damaged where someone tried to get into the bag due to it being locked at TSA security. The airlines claim no responsibility and TSA doesn't either. So it's perfectly OK with everyone that someone has tampered with my bags and no one is responsible for replacing the cut locks (one was a TSA approved lock which costs a little more than regular one) or my damaged bag!!! I don't have money coming out of my ears to keep buying new locks or bags! Please STOP this from happening!

Proud Texan said...

Your site says "The vigilance of the flying public in-flight and on the ground is an important piece of aviation security. Passengers’ willingness to work with TSA and local law enforcement is crucial to enhancing security." If you truly believe this then why not let the us public that is licensed to carry a concelled firearm which does have to have no prior felonies, no history of domestic disturbance, no outstanding debt, has had a full background check by state and FBI officals. You let current and ex police carry a firearm why not the licensed public. Also what difference is it to have a screwdriver or scisors rather that a pocket knife with you on the airplane. Maybe it would be better to let a licensed hangun carrier to carry that has had a full backgroud check rather than let any one carry a screwdriver and scisors. Let get back to taking care of your selves and quit letting the terrorist win which is what your new sytem is doing i think just running scared.

Anonymous said...

I posted 2 different blogs and neither one has shown up. I had NO foul language and was not mean spirited, so why are they not shown? I feel like I'm in China where they censor anything they don't like hearing! Let's try again.

What makes me really angry is that once my bags are checked through TSA security and marked accordingly with stickers, markers or highlighters on my luggage tags, they seem to show up at my destination (at least 4 times) either opened up again, the locks being cut off, or my bag being damaged where someone tried to get into the bag due to it being locked at TSA security. The airlines claim no responsibility and TSA doesn't either. So it's perfectly OK with everyone that someone has tampered with my bags and no one is responsible for replacing the cut locks (one was a TSA approved lock which costs a little more than regular one) or my damaged bag!!! I don't have money coming out of my ears to keep buying new locks or bags! Not to mention this is a big security hole! If someone can open a bag that has supposedly passed inspection, then how can we be sure a dangerous item hasn't been added? Are we really safe from all the things that we check for? Please STOP this from happening!

Anonymous said...

First in response to Meyre's remarks concerning lighters and scissors. Regular lighters are now allowed through checkpoints, torch style lighters are not. Also NO lighters are allowed in checked bags. In regards to scissors, not all scissors are allowed. There are size restrictions on them and they should be blunt tipped scissors, not pointed at the ends.

Secondly concerning the poster commenting on his bags being opened when reaching his destination. At the airport where I am a TSA screener every effort is made to have the owner of a bag return to open it for inspection if necessary. Forcefully opening a bag is only done as a last resort. Obviously I can not comment on operations at other facilities, or if other circumstances were involved.

Concerning confiscated items, absolutely nothing is kept by the officers or staff, everything is disposed of properly. A large amoutn of confiscated liquids, aerosols and gels are actually considered to be haz-mat and subject to special disposal requirements. Officers go to great lengths to offer options which let passnegers keep their items other than surrendering them. The final decision is left to the passenger, although people still say we steal everything. Also at my location the airport has established a program allowing passengers to donate unopened items to a local homeless shelter before entering the checkpoint.

As a screener I am happy to say that we recieve far more positive comments and thank you's from people than complaints. Wish more of them would come here and post their own remarks.

Dunstan said...

"As a screener I am happy to say that we recieve far more positive comments and thank you's from people than complaints. Wish more of them would come here and post their own remarks."

Sorry, but this blog was started, it seems, to solicit suggestions on how to improve the screening experience. Nice job! is comforting, I realize, but unfortunately a few bad apple spoil the pie for the rest of you. Both the professional TSO's and passengers need to work on reporting the failures. I'm certainly going to do my best to be friendly and watchful the next time I fly.

Anonymous said...

Dunstan, I agree that this blog was started to solicit suggestions for improvements from travelers. Unfortuantely most of the posts I have seen are simply people vneting and complaining, and not offering any real suggestions of their own. Consider that any procedure you could suggest, or item you feel should not be allowed is going to irritate some group of people somewhere who will say that we are violating their civil rights.

Dunstan said...

Anonymous said...

Dunstan, I agree that this blog was started to solicit suggestions for improvements from travelers. Unfortuantely most of the posts I have seen are simply people vneting and complaining, and not offering any real suggestions of their own. Consider that any procedure you could suggest, or item you feel should not be allowed is going to irritate some group of people somewhere who will say that we are violating their civil rights.

April 3, 2008 6:24 PM"

You have to take the bad with the worse... People in my professional circle get set up, robbed and killed because of what they work with and sell, thus I am very conscious of security. I really don't feel secure when I fly, and I do not trust the system that is in place now.

Anonymous said...

There have been many suggestions! Among them:

- Show us clear scientific evidence that the procedures adopted work, so we feel better about going through with them.

- Substitute liquid baggie with puffers that detect if the liquids are dangerous.

- Scan shoes only when metal detector or puffer goes off.

- Offer seats for persons who have to take off shoes.

- Do not steal from checked luggage.

- Be nice.

- Explain what you want.

- Post rules clearly.

- Be reasonable.

Anonymous said...

This site seems completely useless in helping to fix any of the problems that are being voiced by the public. It's a great place to blow off some steam and commiserate with other passengers. And it feels like the TSO's have no interest in understanding the details of what we're saying, they're so busy trying to defend themselves. Like when a security hole is pointed out, the response was: Secondly concerning the poster commenting on his bags being opened when reaching his destination. At the airport where I am a TSA screener every effort is made to have the owner of a bag return to open it for inspection if necessary. Forcefully opening a bag is only done as a last resort. Obviously I can not comment on operations at other facilities, or if other circumstances were involved.
So the whole point that there is a breach of security was completely ignored because he was in defense mode - I'm doing my job right and have no idea what others are doing. The point is! If my bag is checked by TSA and I witness that it is good to go, why should there be any reason for it to be opened again? If there is a problem later on down the line, then the TSO who did the initial check is not doing their job properly. If the initial check was correct, then there is something else going on here.

Anonymous said...

While I can not comment on the personell at other facilities, myself and the screeners are very nice and considerate to the passengers that come thorugh every day. Often engaging in small talk and answering questions for people as they come through as well as providing extra assistance for those neeidng any. But please understand that at times when the line is long and the checkpoint is busy we need to get everyone screeened as quickly and efficently as possible, while still maintaining the same screening procedures. At times like this we are not able to be quite as polite and social as we would like to be.

There is a great deal of signage posted at checkpoints and throughout airports indicating what should be done to help speed up screening, but a great many people simply ignore them. If you have questions please ask an officer or airline employee before entering the line for screening, we would be more than happy to answer them for you and this would make everything easier from both sides involved.

The facilites and furniture provided are often under the controll of the airport, not the TSA. We are only allotted a small area for screening and make the best use of that space as we are able. Chairs and benches are provided at checkpoints by TSA, however these need to be maintained within the area TSA actually controlls.

Unfortunately I can't really comment about stealing from luggage, only to say that this is taken very seriously by TSA. It only takes a few bad officers to give the entire agency a bad image.

Consider that Richard Reid's shoes did not alarm the metal detectors. The puffers are a great tool and I wish they were in place at my location, unfortunately the cost of installing them at every checkpoint in each of the 400 plus airports in the US makes that prospect unlikely. The same can be siad for substituting puffers or other devices in place of the baggies.

We are as reasonable as we can be, Please understand that there are very strict procedures which we are required to follow and are not allowed to deviate from. Whether we agree with them or not makes no difference. The screeners are the workforce charged with enforcing them, like any other orginazation it is the higher management which actually writes them.

Anonymous said...

The poster failed to mention some details regarding his posting about his bag being opened. What kind of bag and how large was it? What was his destination and point of origin? Was he entering or leaving the country where customs may be involved? Did you take a direct flight or have connections? Did you change flights or airlines while enroute to your destination? Was a notification of bag inspection found inside, or any other indication that TSA had opened the bag? It is difficult to give any meaningfull answers when you don't have all the details.

If you went through a larger airport and had to go from one terminal to another, your bag could have been rescreened as part of that process.

Anonymous said...

I was just reading this, and thinking about how idiotic airport security has become. When was eight I got to go on a plane. This was before 2001, obviously. That was back when aiport workers realized that we, the flyers, were CUSTOMERS and not convicted felons. Oh, for a time machine to go back and relive those carefree days...Even after 9/11 almost all the new rules are useless. Like others have said before me, the only rules needed are KEEP THE PILOT DOOR CLOSED AND FIGHT BACK IF SOMEONE TRIES TO HIJACK THE PLANE! Also, what is the point of having a list of what you can and can't bring if the TSA workers are just going to make up their own rules?

Anonymous said...

Regarding torch lighters, I'd like to point out that many of those are made of metal, not cheap plastic like the 'bic' style which is currently allowed in checked baggage inside a god awful, huge container that seems designed only to draw attention to itself and take up vast amounts of space for foam cushioning. These things are like boat fenders, they're that huge. I could use that same space for a couple more pairs of pants, my humidor, or even a 3 piece suit because that's how much space it takes up. What's the point? If it's supposed to prevent a cheap plastic lighter from breaking, then ban the cheap plastic lighters! You've banned everything else! Torch lighters and Zippos and other quality, metal lighters can handle being knocked around inside pockets without needing a special high-vis container so I think checking them in the terminal in a small, lighter-sized, leakproof container or plastic ziploc bag should work as well. It's not as though I'm going to escape my seat to go to the hold so I can light my cigar, which is banned during a flight anyways.

It just doesn't make any sense whatsoever that a cheap, breakable lighter costing less than $2 is allowed in a gigantic DOT container (usually running about $30) and a quality, metal, not-easily-broken lighter of any kind is disallowed, container or not, and not even in checked bags. I can check my gun, my ammunition, my cigars and my whiskey (thus completing the ATF trifecta), but not that collectable, $40, safety-enabled lighter. FedEx had no problem transporting it in a plastic baggy with some foam peanuts and a free box they gave me. They're probably worse on package handling than anyone at the airport. Funny how that works!

Anonymous said...

Are "Zippo" style lighhters allowed through the security checkpoint and into the sterile area of the airport?
Thanks,

Ashley said...

As lithium batteries are the only factor which can cause a great harm. I am not focusing terrorists but cellphones and laptops have been known to catch on fire. Even lighters are banned. There are many rules which distract the TSA from finding the things they need to look for.
I think that TSA and the government merely wants give tension to us about terrorists and by doing such unwanted rules they are distracted from their real goal. I don't know why they are doing. Is there any personal prejudice is there ? or anyother but this is not fair.

NoClu said...

No Zippo lighters allowed. They use liquid fuel. Also, no torch style butane lighters. Not sure why that is, perhaps there's a fear that they are too hot.

Anonymous said...

I just called TSA, and they said I can carry on my Zippo lighter. I just can not carry on a torch lighter.

Anonymous said...

So I can bring a lighter on board but snow globes are still prohibited?

Anonymous said...

Of course, the whole system and the way it is implemented is abused. I travelled with a unique lighter which was a gift from Europe. Got through 4 security gates, no problem. One guard saw it, his eyes literally lit up. He told me it would have to be confiscated. The reason? It had 2 flames instead of one. Did I argue? How could I, when the *least* that would happen is being delayed long enough to miss a connecting flight. They KNOW people won't argue because they have the power to do this. The only word I can use to describe him is one that severely doubts his parentage. Thanks, America.

T P said...

It's not about consistency. It's about annoying you enough so that you feel safe but not so much that you can't reach your destination in most cases. It's not about actually accomplishing safety, which is mostly based on the idea that any small weapons won't be enough to overcome the people on the plane. Consistency is too much trouble.

Brian said...

I for one don't really care what is and isn't allowed as long as its consistent. I think for safety reasons, whatever is disallowed is for a reason and that's a good thing. And I'm all about heightened security even if it does take a little longer to get through the airports.

The only problem I do have is when the rules are not consistent, like one poster mentioned above about the variances in the length of blades that are allowed. I say ban all the blades, that would make it safe and fair.

Gary said...

I've not seen anything about the metal nail files that so many women carry. What category are those in and is there a length restriction on them if they are illegal?

Diane Best said...

This news sounds encouraging but is confusing as well. As a travel writer, I have advised my readers to pack all sharp objects away in their checked luggage.

I find there is inconsistent practice in different airports, where some do allow nail clippers, lighters and scissors, etc. and some confiscate without discussion.

Due to these inconsistencies, I have advised my readers to play it safe and pack their sharp items in their checked baggage.

At times, I have forgotten to pack away in my checked luggage such items as scissors, fancy lighter from Paris, and wine corkscrew (which I always bring on my travels) and they have been taken from me at various airports. At one airport, the security officer even questioned my hair curling iron!

If airport security truly has become more objective, I would like to update my readers (www.great-vacations-travel-guide.com/airport-security.html), but until there is more consistent information available, I hesitate to do so.

Anonymous said...

tweezers?

Anonymous said...

I honestly believe there is NO CONSENSUS on ZIPPO lighter. I have a ZIPPO that has been in my family for 3 generations. I had given a similar one to a business partner, which was confiscated at OIA, which then I was able to recover, btw not a fun experience. Non the less I wish there was a a sign & or list which employees & passengers can check before hand. I do appreciate the job that TSA has done but I hope there will be a nation wide list,sign which is posted & visible. My apologies if there is or has been. Harry.

The Survival Blogger said...

From one point of view, I can understand that any kind of blade should be forbidden on planes to prevent any danger for passenger. However, I don't really see what could be the danger with a nail clipper... And what about lighters? Don't you have ways to detect if it has been altered to hide some kind of explosive into the lighter?

Jason Smith said...

Thanks for the updates on this - especially about the lithium batteries as a lot of photographers don't like to check their camera for fear that it might be damaged or worse if we put them into our checked baggage. One question I have is, what about tripods that have the removable feet with small spikes underneath?

CanonBestCameraBlog said...

Thanks so much for clarifying that the FAA released the battery rule

albart rob said...

Though blade and scissors are small than knife but often these instruments are being more useful.It should be safety for blade and for small scissors.