Thursday, January 31, 2008

Liquids, Part 1 (Commenting Disabled)

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

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

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


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Anonymous said...

Your latest .wav file doesn't come close to addressing people's real concerns. If numerous frequent flyers think the size limit is nonsense - that means we don't trust you. If we don't trust you (and you do have a vested interest in keeping the TSA budget as high as possible), then your saying you have done careful studies, and the threats are real means nothing.

If you are not trusted - then you are going to have to prove yourself to people we do trust. And I'm talking about intelligent people who are currently against your policies, not some sensational news reporter (although the reporter for the UK Register who bashed the limits might be OK).

For example, IF you could demonstrate to Bruce Schneier that the liquids limits are reasonable, and address a real danger - as in likely taking down a plane, then I would stop complaining.

If we are talking about something that does not take down a plane (like a person with martial arts training, who could kill a half dozen people before being overwhelmed - which you are never going to catch), then the limits are not reasonable and need to change.

Anonymous said...

For the person asking about empty liquid containers - so far my experience from about 25 airports has been that only 1, in Asia, took away my empty water bottle. The rest let it go through.

lynx said...

The TSA needs to reconsider the (stupid, IMHO) "half-full" container rule. For starters, it might try publicizing that rule someplace other than this blog.

Like many of the other activities of the TSA, the message you are sending the public is at best inconsistent, and usually smacks of capriciousness.

For example, this link (the '3-1-1 rule'):

makes no mention of “half-full” containers or toothpaste tubes. It is the only policy I see posted in the airports I transit through, and it is still currently linked from the home pages of at least three airports that I regularly utilize. This despite the TSA assertion that the “revised” liquids policy (linked from this blog) is 16 months old.

I came to this blog specifically to complain about having not one, but two tubes of toothpaste confiscated (on two separate trips). Both were less than half full, and both met the 3 oz rule (the only rule I had been made aware of). Both were confiscated after the (unpublicized) “rule change” of September 26th, 2006.

I protested both confiscations. On neither occasion was I made aware of a “half-full” container rule. When I asked to speak to a supervisor about the second confiscation, I was told that I should not cause trouble or I would not be allowed to pass security. Any normal person is going to choose getting on a plane to fly home over a tube of toothpaste, but I have to admit that I seriously considered removing myself from line just to dress down a TSA supervisor over a random and completely arbitrary confiscation.

This highlights a further problem, which a severe lack of oversight in the screening process. When a TSA screener removes an item and a passenger feels that an error has been made, it should be possible, without ramification, to have a TSA supervisor review that decision. With no chance for review, I sometime wonder if your screeners are removing items on a whim or for personal gain.

Finally, if the TSA cannot tell the difference between an explosive and toothpaste, it might want to consider finding other employment.

Dave said...

God I love Canada!

The policy on liquids apply here also however the process is usually painless. When you enter security, if you don't have a plastic bag in your hands they offer you one. It should be 1 liter or less but they usually don't care unless it's a large bag packed full. As for bottle size, the rule is 100 mL but again if it's a small bottle, it's fine. Half empty commercial toothpaste tubes works fine as well. In fact the only time I've been asked to throw something away was when I forgot a can of Red Bull in my bag. The agent politly offered me if I wanted to drink it right away because it was.... expensive.

Anonymous said...

First of all, thank you very much for making an exception to the liquid policy for breastmilk. I have a baby and have had to travel for work and bring pumped breastmilk back with me twice now and will do it a third time next week. My one request: could you please post the breastmilk rules at the TSA screening stations? Not all of the screeners know what the rules are. In San Francisco I was waved through by a screener that was, I think, scared to look at breastmilk. :). But in Seattle I was first told that I couldn't bring it and would have to throw it away and when I protested, the screener caved but then said I had to put it through the X-Ray machine. After I protested again, he said he had to go get his supervisor. So the entire line had to wait almost five minutes, and I was standing there, shoes off, suit jacket off, holding breastmilk while my older, male boss waited for me on the other side. Not a pleasant experience for anyone. Thankfully, the supervisore let me and my milk through. But it seems to me that a simple sign explaining the rules would fix the problem.

Thanks for considering it!

radzfoto said...

I fundamentally do not believe the TSA's explanations about "dangerous liquids". The whole thing is ridiculous. And don't even get me started about removing my shoes and having to walk on those disgusting floors in my socks. As a frequent traveler I find the TSA overbearing, undisciplined, arbitrary, defensive, offensive, unhelpful, and occasionally downright illegal in their actions. Don't even think about complaining. They will make you miss your flight. They might even block you from using a particular airport FOREVER!

Anonymous said...

The worst part about the liquids ban is having to buy the expensive pops/beers on the other side. It is ridiculous that a pop is $1 on the outside of security, but $3+ on the inside, it allows for complete gouging of customers who have no recourse whatsoever.

Lance said...

Anonymous said: "Here's a helpful hint for those complaining about the cost of bottled water in airports - you can carry an EMPTY sports water bottle through the checkpoint and fill it up from a fountain once you're past security."

If only that were always true...

The rule about liquids is annoying in all cases, but in some cases it's impossible to understand. We've adapted to the rules as much as possible by bringing our own empty water bottles through security and refilling on the other side, but it doesn't always work.

My wife and I flew to Singapore with a 6-month-old on a US-based airline. My wife was still nursing our child, so she needed lots of water. At the Singapore airport on our return, we dumped our water bottles after getting our boarding passes as we always do. Unfortunately, though, the security at that airport was at the gate, and there was neither a water fountain or a bathroom inside the secure zone.

Infuriatingly, there was a drinking fountain literally five feet from the x-ray machine. We should have been able to fill our water bottles there in sight of the security workers, but they said that they couldn't allow that. As though somehow water poured into a bottle inside the line going into security was some sort of a threat.

When we complained, we were told that there would be water served quickly on board, but it was over an hour into the flight before the first beverage service, and we'd been on the plane a good half hour before the flight started.

I know that Singapore security workers aren't employees of the TSA, but the TSA's policy is just as inane. These policies make life very dangerous for breastfeeding mothers and others who need ample hydration (like the person above who needs water for his medication).

Why is it that pure drinking water poured from a fountain is considered contraband if the fountain is 5 feet outside of a security zone, but it's completely harmless if it's poured 5 feet into a security zone?

Policies that endanger health and cause extreme discomfort while providing no reasonable service or protection should be abandoned.

Anonymous said...

All the terrorists have to do now is threaten to blow up an airplane with a pair of trousers. Then we'll all be forced to remove our trousers through security checkpoints in the name of security. Makes sense, right, TSA? Why don't you apply common sense to these rules rather than taking such a snotty jobsworth attitude?

Anonymous said...

Lets assume that the TSA REALLY IS concerned about liquids....

What about all of the jet fuel the plane is using....... as if 3 or 6 or even 20 ounces of TATP (the binary liquid bomb they're scared of) is really a risk...... who has time to mix two liquids....... surrounded by ice water, DROP BY DROP while stirring, while making sure the temperature doesn't rise..... without being accosted by the flight attendant or an 400 pound passenger trying to walk down the isle?

Really..... checking shoes? throwing supposed bombs (if its more than 3oz, it could be a bomb!) in a trash can right next to the security people.... if they had ANY suspicion it was a bomb or could be a bomb, they wouldn't want to work next to it all day......

Its a sham, a farse, a total bogus fake sense of security. Its like a bank trying to use cardboard cutouts of security guards (and chuck norris) to make everything think that the bank is unrobbable. Come on people..... its a total waste of taxpayer money.

And, suppose that terrorist DO want to blow up a plane, or hijack a plane, or even kill everyone onboard by making it crash into a mountain or something....... WHO CARES.

I'd rather lose 200 people in 1 plane.... or 1000 people in 5 planes.... EVERY YEAR.... than put up with the total waste of taxpayer money.

With the same amount of money.... WE COULD HAVE 200mph electric trains over a good chunk of the country. Want to go to las vegas for the weekend? take the 200mph train. Sure, its a bit slower than a 500 mph jet.... but I bet you won't have to spend 2 hours in security.... and it would be a whole lot cheaper.

OR.... we could spend the money making our interstate highways safer......

OR we could spend the money and crack down on drunk drivers, or on meth labs..... or anything.

Oh well, at least we only have to put up with it for another 5-10 years. By that point I figure peak oil will be easily enough visible... and with gas at well over $5 a gallon, and the fact that no one can afford to fly anymore.... even if there were regularly schedules flights from everywhere to everywhere like now.....

So i guess for 5-10 years we'll have to put up with this total waste of money. Who knows, maybe by the time its all over, we will have spent and wasted so much money on the TSA that we could have significantly reduced our dependance on foreign oil with electric trains, and electric cars with enough range for people to replace one of their cars with to do most of their in town driving.

Anonymous said...

If you were a terrorist network bent on destroying a plane from the inside using liquids, wouldn't you just send enough people on the same plane such that they could combine their collective liquid allowances to work around the ban?

The easily-circumvented ban does nothing to keep people safer, and only serves to make flying an even bigger hassle than it was already for innocent people.

Anonymous said...

I recently flew out of the US, and this involved a few connecting flights. I'm not exactly new to connecting flights, but all of my connecting flights this time seem to have required going through security screening. And at each one, I was asked if they could search my carry on, at which point they removed my bottle of water or soda that I had purchased and carried with me between the previous security point and that one. Now.. I could care less about the rule that I can't carry liquid from the outside in, but I didn't magically obtain liquids that weren't already with me on the previous flight...

Andrew said...

At a hazmat class, I watched a demo of a rag soaked with ____ then allowed to dry, and simply stored in briefcase as a dry, folded rag.

I won't say the chemical, but I will say it was not volatile, and did not register on our members as being problematic because in fact the chemical itself is not flammable.

The instant a match or heat source (in theory, the friction of your hands can be enough heat) touches the cloth, however, the entire cloth burned up in the blink of an eye. It LOOKED like an explosion but of course was not. It was an extremely fast fire -- a standard fire, the combustion of a hydrocarbon, just really (insanely) fast. The hydrocarbon burning wasn't the chemical at all. It was just the cotton of the rag.

This was a hazmat training and had nothing to do with airports or threats. The chemical is commonly used in the ____ industry, and the demo showed what CAN HAPPEN if it is spilled on you (say onto your jeans) and allowed to dry there.

Now, I'm no threat to anyone, and would never share the specifics of this stuff (even if frankly I could remember anything other than its class of chemical and the reasons why it happens -- which I won't be passing along here) but it seems to me that if I know the stuff, surely anyone digging into how they could wreak havoc could know it, yes? Surely there are dozens of similar kinds of things out there, yes? None-- not one -- of these enhanced screening methods would catch something like that. To me then, its a complete waste of time going through the half-measures we use now.

Either be truly complete (which no US airline, airport, or business traveler would put up with) or figure out how to pre-screen and validate travelers such that you aren't relying on ineffective in-airport screening methods.

Anonymous said...

Why do I see people in TSA uniforms carrying LARGE bags filled with soda/water/juice whenever I am in an airport? Do they really get that thirsty on the job and need refreshment?

You don't suppose that they are keeping the things that they force people to throw out, do you? I mean, that would be a conflict of interest.

"Excuse me, sir, but you need to leave that Rolex here."

gnostic19 said...

All these posts about how insane these regulations are and how greatly they interfere with out travel tells us one thing. The terrorists have won.

risha said...

i'm brown and my hair care products don't come in travel size. i hate that i have to buy new products and then leave them behind because i refuse to check my bags and it is too ridiculous to bother with the stupid limitations and the quart size bag. do you know how much product a normal woman uses? and what's the problem with mascara? why are you trying to jack my make-up?

Anonymous said...

What is so magical about blue polyester? Seriously, Why when I am wearing my airline uniform am I suddenly trustworthy enough to carry liquids. I'm the same person, who underwent the same FBI background check when I am just in civilian clothes and my crew badge. I think the liquid exemption should apply to anyone carrying a valid crew badge regardless of their ensemble.

LeisureFlyer said...

So, I have a lot of the same problems others have cited wrt the liquids issue. In short:

1. Standard "small" bottle for other countries is 100ml, which is 3.3 oz. Because of this, many high end toiletries are packaged for the international market and use that size. I know the TSA *says* that's okay, but I have had screeners take away 3.3 oz bottles because "The limit is 3 ounces." The 3-1-1 rule contributes to this, because some screeners use that to say, "No, there is no exception, or why would the rule be 3-1-1? It's not 100ml-1-1."

2. There is no consistency of enforcement. It doesn't matter if the screeners where *I* live recognize 100ml as acceptable, because if I fly round trip, the airport I fly back from may have other ideas. I own toiletries and bath products that cost $15 for a 100ml bottle. I don't want to risk $50 in bath products and toiletries because the screeners in another part of the US don't believe there are exceptions to the 3-1-1 rule.

3. It doesn't matter what the TSA website says, or what you tell us in this blog, or what the airport tells you. If you get a screener who is having a bad day, isn't very bright, or is just a bully, that person can refuse you. It doesn't matter if you're standing there with the *printout* from the TSA website telling you whatever is acceptable. There's no appeal. Either you let them throw away things, or there's the threat of not being allowed on the plane, being interrogated, etc.

The bottom line is that it doesn't matter if the screener is in the wrong; the traveller is the one punished.

Anonymous said...

The most idiotic action I've ever experienced going through airport security was the seizure of a jar of honey I had bought as a gift. But the honey was NOT in liquid form. It was solid (crystallized) honey. It was thicker than peanut butter, but I couldn't convince them to let it through.

Anonymous said...

The main reason the liquid policy is ineffective is that while individuals can only take on limited amounts to planes, there is nothing preventing a number of people with malicious intent upon boarding the plane and combining their small amounts of liquids to make a large amount.

I.e. pointless policy that is easily defeated.

int'l_traveler said...

I have taken an uncapped, empty, soda or water bottle through security, in the outer see-thru net pocket of my backpack, and at least once I have pointed this out to TSA. No one has objected. After passing through security, I filled the bottle with (free!) water at a drinking fountain, capped it, and carried it on board the plane when boarding. Again, no one has objected.

Is this all right? It seems like it is.

It is a blessing that we have drinking fountains at US airports - at some major airports outside of the US, where I have to wait and transfer, there is no clean and free drinkng water.

I do wonder what foods are allowed. With having to get to the airport three hours ahead of flights on an international itinerary, I'd prefer to take food of my own to eat while I wait. Can we take donuts? What about a salad? Sandwiches are okay?? What about hard boiled eggs? A clear food policy would help. I never would have thought that peanut butter is a "liquid," though I guess I can see how someone could hide something in it.

justasuggestion said...

I'm personally skeptical about the utility of the ban on liquids but that not withstanding, I've come to the conclusion that -as a pragmatic issue- it's simply too tough of a condition to put on fliers.

There are some comments on this blog that say "if you just followed the rules, there'd be no problems". But it seems to me that if this many people are having trouble with the liquid rule, perhaps it's simply too difficult a rule to have. People seem able to deal with taking off their shoes and belts, even though it's horribly troublesome. But that's because it takes two seconds to do. But the fact that everyday, intelligent individuals forget about their liquids tells me that carrying liquids (water, sunscreen, toothpaste, medicine, baby food) is too ordinary of an act and the amount of forethought and planning is so large (special bottles, special bag) that maybe it's just too hard to do.

Please note that this isn't a crazy notion. For example, our online identities might be a lot safer if we all were forced to use 60 character passwords but it's simply not feasible. Maybe the ban on liquids is our 60-character password. Perhaps its a good idea in principle (though we've been given no proof) but too hard in practice. Please let's get rid of it.

fotherington said...

I'm with Barry on this - do what El Al does, and no more! If they don't ban liquids, why should the TSA? This liquids hysteria has spread to other forms of transport - I wasn't allowed to take my coffee onto the Eurostar when I travelled recently. If someone knows a way that a large mocha can be made into an explosive device, please let me know.

Anonymous said...

In banning liquids from flights, you are admitting that the terrorists have won: we have been terrorized to the point of behaving irrationally.

That's all.

wanchan said...

If there was zero (or at least sufficiently close to it) chance of my check bags getting lost/stolen/damaged, I wouldn't have nearly as much problem with the liquids rules.

The reason I want to carry-on my stuff is so I can keep my eye on it at all times. It disturbs me every time I get a little note saying "we inspected your bag!" inside my checked luggage. (it has happened more than once to me - and I don't fly that often!)
Statistically, I can't trust every baggage handler not to be a thief. And since I don't personally know all of the people who will be handling my bags on a given trip, I can't trust any of them.

I'm willing to run some risk, but with the potential value of the stuff in my suitcase, and the ease with which it could be picked through...

(I also feel naked without my pocketknife, but I can at least accept that.)

Aggravating that is the rudeness and unaccountability. Most of the TSO's I've dealt with have been nice enough folks, but if a nasty security worker can simply refuse to even give me his name so I can report him, there is no way to have the bad apples removed. At least with a police officer, I have some confidence in being able to get his name and/or badge number to report... I'd like to see some similar regulations on the books requiring a TSA employee who wants to search my stuff to identify himself first (upon my request).

I see it as only fair - you want to see my ID, I want to see yours.

Anonymous said...

I really love how the price of water in every single store/mart/whatever inside the checkpoints is 3-4 times that in a store outside now that we can no longer bring water inside.

If you're trying to feed conspiracy theorists, you're doing a good job.

More info appreciated! said...

Along with the idea posted by others about being able to take > 3oz of a liquid multiple containers but not in one big container, I also cannot figure out why the policy is not flawed for this fundamental reason:

Somebody intending to do harm could easily collaborate with 20+ other people and split their liquid supply among them -- they don't even have to be on the same flight!

This was actually the first thought in my mind when I found that when traveling the day after the liquid ban was implemented, and the associated feeling was one of complete helplessness due to being at the hands of somebody who could implement national policy without thinking of something so simple.

If there is any possibility for hearing some reasoning behind this, I would be very grateful.

Anonymous said...

If we must block water at checkpoints, then please consider subsidizing/regulating water sales in the "sterile" area. Taking my $0.34 bottle of water and then allowing opportunistic vultures to charge me $3-$4 to replace it on the other side? Not cool.

Anonymous said...

I never travel with a checked bag and ever since the new "liquid restrictions", I can no longer bring "liquid" gifts to friends and family.

Seriously, a bottle of wine, a nice bottle of beer and maple syrup are all pretty harmless liquids to me.

This has been very irritating for me.

Aedil said...

The liquids restriction (almost a ban) is really a problem for us because our son requires 'whole milk' (both with a supplement and without) as drink due his disabilities. This is on doctor's request, due to nutritional concerns,and due to the fact that he will refuse anything else (mental disabilities at play). Planes do not carry whole milk - all milk they provide is apparently 1% or 2%. The TSA website mentions something about liquids being allowed for medical needs but it doesn't say anything (that we can find) how you go about actually applying that exception. Does it need a doctor's note, or anything else? Does it need a sealed container or something else?

It's good to have the exception be covered in the rules, but it is useless unless you actually tell people how to make use of that exception when there is an actual need for it. Do you really expect us to drag half a gallon of milk with us to the airport, only to find out at security that we don't have to proper paperwork, container, whatever to bring it on board?

We have not been able to get a straight answer out of any TSA worker about how to do it - the best we got was a statement that they honestly don't know what we could show to convince them to let it through - they stated they would refuse it, period). So we try to limit travel with our son to the very minimum, because the TSA liquid restriction and its total lack of explanation about proper exception procedures is causing my son to go without a drink for the duration between security checkpoint and finding a place at the destination to obtain whole milk. That is totally unreasonable, and is putting my son's health at risk. I thought that people with disabilities had rights in this country?

Anonymous said...

Lets just take whatever we want onto the planes, and while we are at it, lets just open up the screening lanes to whoever wants to come in, no screening needed. Yeah, thats what we should do....
Whew....boy, I sure hope nothing else happens because I can hear you guys now....'why did'nt our Government DO SOMETHING'.... lol

Ryan Silva said...

Why can't the TSA just use common sense sometimes instead of having to stick with the letter of the law? For example, I had only one container of fluid, and it was labeled less than 3oz. I had to throw it out because it wasn't in a bag. If the purpose of the bag is to consolidate and limit the liquids I'm carrying, why do I need a bag if I only have one liquid container? I wish the TSA would follow the intent of the law, not just the letter.

Anonymous said...

"We employ McGyver-like bomb experts. TSA Blogger"

Just stated the exact problem, McGyver is fiction. Liquid restrictions are too.

1 quart baggie full of 100ml containers = no risk!

Try again TSA.

Anonymous said...

How to test for liquid explosives:
1: Place unknown liquid in a small bomb holder with an electrode placed inside.
2: Run current through liquid.
3: Take the liquid away anyways because the threat is so huge (that's /sarcasm by the way). Honestly, the threat of terrorism is blown way out of proportion to the actual threat. Yes, I know, even one life lost is horrible; However, as a society we make decisions all the time on what is a good balance between safety and reasonable convenance, in this case It is a no brainer to let liquids on planes. The terrorists have been around for well over 20 years and there haven't been any liquids blowing up planes yet.

Anonymous said...

security for the sake of making people feel secure. nothing changes.

Anonymous said...

SNL had a great skit last season w/ Dane Cook posing as a TSA agent. Some good lines were "What if I don't have 3oz of liquid, but I'm confident I can make 3oz of liquid once on the plane?" and "So 4oz of liquid is enought to blow up a plane".

I wonder if anyone has tried the Diet Coke and Mentos thing on a plane? Those are perfectly legal to purchase after security.

Anonymous said...

Not happy about the toiletries in a plastic bag rule. It pretty much forces me to check luggage now when I travel, subjecting my bag to the oh-so-wonderfully-reliable baggage handling system that ALWAYS gets my bag to my destination with me, as promised. Yeah, right.

James Babb said...

Is the purpose of the TSA to bully travelers until they feel safe? We aren't buying it. How do you fascists sleep at night?

Anonymous said...

I am amazed of the ignorance and hostility passengers have against TSA screeners in particular. It is clear to me that many of the passengers would rather jeopardize security than to give away their peony tube of tooth paste. To all those people who complain about the policies that are enforced by the very government you voted for I hope you don't end up in a precarious situation fifty thousand feet in the air with a crazy person holding a small hand made IED (and we all know what that means). I have personally seen what a small bottle (for instance the size of a perfume bottle) of high explosives can do and trust me it's not pretty. Yet no you insist to holding your little 2 dollar bottle of shampoo, and the only reasoning you can give to a TSA officer is "ohhh... I’m not a terrorist...because I don't fit the profile" which is the most dumb thing you can say. You might as well just don't say anything to save face and not give away how uninformed you are. Or another one "well LAX let me have it, why are you taking it way from me" as if a TSA officer will risk his job to give you the item just because you got away with it in LAX. People have to understand the enormous task TSA officers are supposed to deal with give the meager recourses they are provided with. The equipment is ancient at best, and most of the job is hands on. TSA literary risk live and limb on daily basis just to attempt to bring some level of security, and I’m not just talking about terrorist attack, there are all kind of sick people that spread disease and travel out there. TSA officers are the most hated and unappreciated people in the whole country. You have to understand that to them all passengers are the same and have to be treated the same. There is no "oohhh... I don't fit the profile..." or "I got away with it in NY Kennedy airport, so just let me have it now...“, just because you say so. There is no reason why this so called stranger should trust you just because you hold a US passport in your hand. There is no terrorist profile, anyone can become a terrorist so please next time when you go through an airport simply follow the rules that have been here for the past 2 years and take your zip lock bag with your liquids out and place in a bin just like I do every time and trust me you will have no trouble going through.

Antonio said...

For everyone complaining about rights and civil liberties: The action of confiscating liquids DOES NOT IMPUNE ON YOUR RIGHTS.
It is, however very annoying and I would hope the TSA would publish all the studies done on the dangers of liquids on planes.

laura said...

If "these rules were developed after extensive research and understanding of current threats," then why was the liquids policy enacted within hours of the revelation of the August 10, 2006 transatlantic hijacking terror plot scare? If DHS was already aware of these threats, why hadn't they enacted a ban on significant amounts of liquids some time before that?

Quite frankly, I'm more inclined to believe that the 3-1-1 policy was arbitrarily created by a government official who needed to be seen as responding.

I appreciate that the TSA has a difficult job to do, but it's going to take more than an oversimplified video to convince most of the American public that the liquids policy is actually making us safer in the air. I'd much rather see my tax dollars spent on intelligence efforts to infiltrate terror cells, which, after all, is what stopped those 2006 plotters in the first place.

Anonymous said...

[quote]regarding the liquids that get taken away... why does all of that stuff have to be thrown out along with the trash? anyone thinking about the environment? the TSA should think about REUSING these items, ie - donate them to a local homeless shelter. Most of the time I see items that are thrown out are BRAND NEW.
or maybe yet, place them in RECYCLING instead of trash? there are so many different options that can be thought up of...[/quote]

We screeners hate throwing away items of value as well. But remember that the reason for the liquids rules is because there is a possibility that the liquid is an explosive. The TSA would be held liable if someone was sickened or injured from donated items out of the trash. Also remember that we aren't confiscating liquids, they are being surrendered so that the person can get through the checkpoint more quickly. We escort people out with prohibited items every day for them to either place in their checked bag, car, or give to someone not traveling.

Anonymous said...

The ban on liquids is not a well thought out plan "developed after extensive research" as you claim, it was a gut reaction to a foiled plot (terrorist plot foiled, country freaks out anyway!). I was in San Francisco when nothing happened and the country freaked out. The reaction was to ban liquids. After public outcry become too loud, some liquids were allowed. There is no real reason for this other than to spread fear. As someone mentioned, you take my bottle of water and then I get to pay 3 or 4 dollars to buy a new one. Used to be, you'd make me take a sip of it. That is reasonable. Confiscating hair gel and water bottles is not. As Bruce Schneier said, "If you ask amateurs to act as front-line security personnel, you shouldn't be surprised when you get amateur security."

Anonymous said...

To Stressed out Mom.
While I feel your pain with traveling with young children. I often get stuck behind a family. First off you said it yourself While we try to put back all our CRAP, and get out of the next passangers way. Why bring all the CRAP? I know that you are going to have some more essential stuff then most of us. We understand that, but do you have to bring everything as carry-on? as far as everything else, we all know it is stessfull so take all metal items out before you get to the x-ray, and put in your bags. Instead of being stressed out by TSA at the last min.

inonit said...

All I can really say is that I was absolutely stunned by the video billed as "experts explaining a couple of TSA's most frequently asked questions" regarding liquids.

Why not just post a two word statement: "Trust us." The video is content-free. Perhaps something more could be shared with the rest of us, since according to your information terrorists already are experts on these topics. Or is it that there might be weaknesses in your argument, and so you don't want to be more specific?

Dave X said...

Per the link:

"Cheese in pressurized containers Yes - 3 oz. or smaller container"

Has anyone ever actually seen Kraft Easy Cheese sold in less than 8oz (net weight) containers? It is things like that that makes it look like TSA is just making things up.

Jayman said...

Please update your web site to correct the false information under the 3-1-1 heading. Your policy as stated on the web site is 3 oz. of liquid, however, there is a notice that it is 3 oz. or 100 ml. These two are not equal. Since the standard has been "normalized" with other nations and they all use the metric system, you need to correct the false information that state the limit as 3 oz., as the correct amount is 3.4 oz.

Please try to put out the correct information so that the screeners do not try and confiscate 3.25 oz. bottles that are technically allowed. Also please send out a training memo to all screeners with the corrected information. I would suggest that you require a signed copy of this memo to be returned to the supervisor at each airport to include with the persons training records and in their personnel file so that there is a record of each screener having received and read the policy. No more claims that they didn't know or that they were never told.

Also, please implement a policy of managers actually overseeing the employees. The huge numbers of reported thefts would go away if the managers were actually monitoring the activities of the employees. There is NO reason why a TSA employee should be opening luggage outside the view of the property owner or a TSA manager.

And make sure that every time a TSA employee has his hands on a customers possessions is recorded on video. Banks record the actions of all tellers, stores record the actions of tellers, but for some reason, TSA employees are allowed to rummage through peoples valuables and private articles with no oversight? Not acceptable. If reports of theft and damage do not come down, institute a policy of inventorying the contents of the employees pockets, etc. each time they enter and leave the work area. This is done in places where small, easily pilfered items are handled as well as where security data is stored.

These changes might help to restore trust in the TSA. But not soon. TSA has too much of a reputation for theft, vandalism and intimidation for most people to be comfortable trusting them with even the most very basic of tasks.

Anonymous said...

If these liquids are suspected explosives why are they thrown into a bin? Why is the area not evacuated? Why is a bomb squad not called?

Does the government really care? If they believe that there is a very real possibility that the liquids present a danger, why do they not act in a responsible fashion?

Anonymous said...

How about this for inanity?

I put a pair of shoes and a tube of hand creme in the gray tray. The tube was 1.5 oz. I was told that I couldn't go through security because the tube was not in a bag.

Mind you, this was the only liquid I had. I understand the idea behind the bag: so that no one brings 50 items of 3 oz or less.


The TSA people are starting to act like the DMV: seemingly nice people who enforce really stupid (and arbitrary) rules.

What the TSA is doing with this rule is inviting people to try to violate it. Because even when we are reasonably following these rules, someone in Philly, or LAX, or Orlando, or Minneapolis, decided to interpret the rules their way.

So I usually carry one or two liquid items. They aren't metal. They aren't very big.

And they stay in my pocket all the way through security.

And no, we don't trust you anymore. You say it's for security and you've "done tests" that proves this is the right way. Well, prove it. I'm sure Mythbusters would love to have you.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, TSA will not change policies. This blog is simply a venue for us to express our experiences -mostly bad ones.

So to join my fellow travelers, my two cents...

Just reading through your stories, I notice the one about water. TSA does not want us to carry water thru security; but they encourage purchasing the $3.00 personal bottle that is sold before boarding. Will that change? Never, because TSA needs to justify their manpower. The same manpower that is taken out of the airport operation on Sundays in many cities, because there is too many people on duty. This surplus manpower is taken to the service entrances of the airports, where they "check" airport employees and vendors who normally transit the area.

A 2nd and last thought is the "whiffer" machine that is located in many airports. The other day I was "whiffed" a couple of times, and the machine "flunked" me. This prompted the visit and physical check by a couple of inspectors. That didn't bother me, perhaps it's the scent of Tide I used on my clothing. What did concern me is that they actually write down all your information from your Driver's License. For what purpose? The gentleman did not care to say. Truly, the TSA is not a transparent agency.

Who knows where this information got transferred to. I was even afraid to ask a second time where the info went. They may brand me and forget it, that's a whole different blog.

To close this, I share that as difficult as it is to travel with the TSA watching nowadays, we must remain calm, make no eye contact and try not to speak to make the process as fast as possible... And don't forget, don't bring anything with you.

voicekey said...

There have been bombings in Tokyo and London trains. I don't have to stop taking my water there because of it.

Address the real issues and acknowledge that 80% of TSA policies are there to make people feel good and not actually solve any problems.

Anonymous said...

To respond to the anonymous poster above, who is
"amazed of the ignorance and hostility passengers have against TSA screeners in particular. It is clear to me that many of the passengers would rather jeopardize security than to give away their peony tube of tooth paste. To all those people who complain about the policies that are enforced by the very government you voted for I hope you don't end up in a precarious situation fifty thousand feet in the air with a crazy person holding a small hand made IED (and we all know what that means)."

It personally amazes me that some people refuse to employ logic in their arguments. The above is example of such.
1. The whole issue surrounds whether liquids are a security threat or not. Further, an issue is whether or not stealing liquids does anything to improve security. Therefore, your commnet is moot, as it does not prove that possessing liquids on a plane is in fact a security threat, and therefore bears no relationship to people wishing to jeopardize security.

2. It is questionable whether or not the government we voted for is in charge. A democracy is auditable. The computer vote that we have is not. Therefore, did our votes count? Who knows.

3. You attempt to false associate liquids on board with a "crazy person holding an IED". How do you make such a leap of faith? Have there ever been ANY examples of someone bringing liquid on a plane and turning it into an IED? Have there been any examples of something even attempting this, other than the "foiled plot" that was proven to be a scam (link was posted earlier above)?

Personally, I'd feel safer if anyone could bring whatever they wanted on board. I'd like to see a terrorist trying to take over a plane when everyone on board could be packing.

Anonymous said...

I think you should show the most recent comments first, and allow people to reply to specific comments.

Anonymous said...

SO, It's probably been said many times over, but the whole limiting of liquids is a bit ridiculous. The logic is so non-existent that it is almost laughable...

Do you really think that three or four or more terrorists couldn't put together their little bits to make a larger bit that could go "Poof"? Sorry... tried to put that in terms that even the TSA could understand...

Come on guys... lets at least make rules that make sense. I'm all for safety and screening, but ludicrous rules like this one are what really make you all look rather silly and ineffectual.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why you do not allow parents to bring bottles filled with water for their 11 month old baby's formula. The employee I spoke with about this explained that we could bring liquid formula on the plane, so basically if he had poured the powdered formula into the bottle of water we could have brought it on the plane, but we could not bring the water on the plane by itself. He did not seem to know that once you have poured powdered formula into a bottle of water you must use it within one hour or else it must be refrigerated. This tactic certainly would not work for us as we were embarking on a 7 hour flight. What is even more intriguing is that the night before we brought the exact same bottles through security, but no one said a word to us (we forgot to take them out of the diaper bag). However, our flight was cancelled and when we returned the next day and remembered to declare them for inspection, they required us to pour them out. This inconsistency in policy is not acceptable. Additionally, the unyielding policy against liquids for parents who clearly have no other choice (unless they want to pay $4 for a bottle of water once they get past security) is unacceptable. And truthfully, if you're going to require parents to buy water on the other side of security, then you need to speak with the vendors, which have a monopoly on bottled water at the airport, and require them to charge a lower price for bottled water.

Anonymous said...

The TSA should return the control of Airport security to the private airlines. The government is not anywhere near efficient enough to secure anything. The TSA must be eliminated if Americans are ever to be safe. All you do is mess up security and allow terrorists onto our planes or delay flights by screening people who are of no risk and wasting precious tax payer dollars to confiscate liquids that could not possibly be a security threat. The TSA does not make sense and does not make anybody safer. Do the sensible thing and let the private airlines handle security. They will do it the correct way.

stu_54 said...

(The hard part about rule making is in the corner cases...)

Kitchen experiments indicate that a standard toothpaste tube is labeled 4.6 oz by weight, but it displaces 112 ml of water making it 3.75 oz by volume. (Stick tube in glass, fill to brim, remove tube, measure how much water is required to refill to brim.)

Your 3-1-1 rule sheet says that the limit is 3 oz by volume, so this tube is probably too big. (It might be ok after accounting for the volume of the package and included air.) It's a close call, and there is no labeling on the package to say either way.

If 3oz by volume is the right limit, then how do you prevent penalizing a container labeled by weight?

Toby said...

Hey Mr. Anonymous who posted at 5:05 PM Feb. 2, why don't you even tell your first name if you're so big on telling everybody else off?

You know what I've noticed? Most of the pro-TSA comments that don't come from the MODs are from anonymous posters. Almost all of my posts are censored.

Things that make you go "Hmmmm."

By the way, why would I trust the word of "anonymous" on his/her knowledge of explosives? I seriously care more about my liberty than about whether I may end up in a tough situation sometime in my life. Because I am an adult I realize that life will have tough situations no matter how much I live in fear and try to minimize all risk.

The TSA employees are responsible parties because they could quit their jobs and go to work in the private sector. "I was just following orders" does not exempt one from guilt.

Furthermore, it's "puny," not "peony."

Anonymous said...

I see you have disabled posting in some of your negative topic forums.

Your agents are consistently rude and lack empathy for the traveler. We are no longer able to securely travel with any checked baggage, since items are often stolen, confiscated, or damaged. Your checkpoint employees do not exercise any common sense in their judgment of situations. Frequently I have observed checkpoint agents carrying personal conversations while ignoring travelers.
If you give your employees more frequent breaks, raise the qualifications for hiring screeners, & raise the pay grades for checkpoint employees you would improve the quality of service. Effective business management starts with effective oversight of employees.
Sadly it seems that you either have no internal oversight & personal accountability, or you choose to act on complaints. I have seen no improvement in your business practices over the past 3 years. If any private company were as poorly managed and completely ineffective it would be shuttered within a matter of days.

snoopyto said...

Why cna't TSA have a consistent policy across the board on stuff. I take an injectable Forteo. It has been kept refriegerated. However everytime I fly back from this one airport, they tell me that unless I inject it to prove it, that it has to be checked. The 1st and 2nd time, I had a doubel dose of medicine. Now I just plan on it. No sense in fighting it. THere should be some way to get appropiate waivers for items or to report inconsitencies that are truly looked into and explained to the passenger.

Bloggulator said...

Ask any appropriately qualified chemist about what is involved with making binary liquid explosives: it requires a lot of equipment (some of it bulky), glassware, care and expertise, as well as the correct ingredients. From scratch, it also takes many hours to successfully synthesize enough triacetone triperoxide for example, to successfully cause an explosion large enough to jeopardize a commercial airliner. Furthermore, the huge majority of flights are not in the air long enough to even get *any* amount of explosive made and dried, let alone enough with which to make a bomb. The ingredients for such are very specific, and the idea of making a bomb from toothpaste, shampoo and other common toiletries is *ABSURD BEYOND ALL REASON*.

Just consider the odds of a potential terrorist hauling all that glassware and other sundry laboratory equipment (as well as many kilos of ice as a necessary cooling agent) on board a commercial flight without anyone noticing! This is even before he started the lab processes! This scenario, if it wasn't so sad that so many people unconditionally believe such garbage dispensed by the government, is comedic.

There is ZERO chance of anyone successfully making (let alone detonating) a bomb made from "binary liquid explosives" on a commercial plane. It cannot be done. The powers that be are using the complicit mainstream media to scare (read *TERRORIZE*) the public, yet again. A frightened public are more easily manipulated and hoodwinked than an educated public, hence all the lies.

I hope that whoever reads this (if uncensored) will have less stress during their traveling experience.

CHARLES said...

To water drinker. and both state you should have been able to bring the water on board after a screening of the item....My wife had the same thing happen to her when we flew in July. She has MS and needs to drink lots of fluids. I showed the TSA guy who took issue,print outs of both TSA website sections and he said my information was incorrect.I knew he was wrong and after a few mins and him finally figuring out we were not going to back down let her through. I do not know why some (not all) TSA employess act the way they act. Common sense should have told him instantly he wasn't going to win this 1 and it should never have become an issue....Remember TSA people, "There are civilians out there that know the TSA guidelines word for word and you can't trick them".

annoyed said...

Terrorist Ramzi Yousef used a bottle of saline solution (the bottle actually contained liquid nitrogen) on Phillipines Airline flight 434. He assembled the bomb in the airplane bathroom, and left it under his seat with a timing device. He then got off the plane at the next stop. The IED exploded killing one person. For all you people wanting more evidence that liquid explosives are a threat, do some research, you will find your evidence. Though I don't really think you want to find any evidence. YOU are still INCONVENIENCED! What do you care if a liquid explosive has previously killed someone, it wasn't anyone you knew, right?

Anonymous said...

Liquid explosives are very volatile, so the attackers would not necessarily need elaborate or powerful detonators to start the explosion. Without as much material to smuggle on board, the attackers would be less likely to attract the attention of airport security. In the case of the August 2006 plot, unnamed officials speculated that the attackers planned to use cell phones or MP3 players as detonators.

Smuggling a liquid onto an airplane would not be very difficult. The attackers may have planned to use ordinary bottles made for hair gel, shampoo, lotion or other liquids and gels. Under typical circumstances, airport security probably would not question items like these.
Check out these links for more on nitroglycerin and liquid explosives:

How Bombs Work
How Building Implosions Work

MSNBC: Bombers likely hoped to maximize terror
Liquid Explosives: Easily Concealed and Deadly
Scientific American: What Was the Explosive? Why Liquid Explosives May Be Al-Quada's Secret Weapon
General Chemistry Online: Why is Nitroglycerin Explosive? Nitrite Explosives
Britannica: Nitroglycerin

Anonymous said...

To Toby : By reading your reply, is it safe to assume that you will be first in line to bash our troops when they come home from Iraq? They are, after all, just doing their jobs! You may want to take a risk with your life, but there are plenty of people out there who don't! That is why there needs to be airport security, to secure those who want to travel safely.

QuickOKC said...

The American public has it so easy. For the majority of flying American's the experience and movement through most checkpoints is quick and painless. For those who do their homework and visit, remember that you too play a part in the screening process. Your preparation plays a critical roll. Americans should also be aware that other countries, more than 32 other countries are falling into rank and file with the 3-1-1 rule. In America, you are offered a chance to check your belongings, voluntarily discard them, hand them off to someone outside waiting to see you off, or take them back to your vehicle. In other countries there is no option, the things you had are thrown away without a second thought and you are ordered to move along, all the while under watchful eye and guard of armed security/police/military forces (non-US). Just pack your bags accordingly, it's that easy. So when you are asked if you've flown since August 10th, 2006 and you answer yes... Be prepared for the "[...] so you are aware of the liquids, gels, and aerosols requirements [...]?"

Toby said...

RE: Anonymous at 10:29 PM

I have never bashed anybody. One of my best friends is in the Air Force and stayed with me last weekend. I have a great many friends in the Armed Forces. They are sincere people. Some of them will tell me privately that hold an opinion similar to my own on the War on Terror, but would not be comfortable making that public.

I am comfortable risking my life. There is not other way to live as best as I can tell. There's not a "safe mode" for life that exempts one from all possible harm.

I am comfortable in restraining my desire to coerce others by force into accepting my ideas of what is good for them.

It's not about safety. It's about whether or not you should have the power to tell me how to live my life and then tax more for it.

I DO NOT OPPOSE AIRPORT/AIRPLANE SECURITY! I oppose government-mandated, taxpayer-funded security that is imposed on all airlines, airports, and passengers.

I oppose the growth of the power of the state to coerce and to tax.

Our Founding Fathers were more afraid of the terrorism of big government than anything else. I agree with them.

I support a limited government that is almost to the letter that which Patrick Henry supported. Call me crazy, but I'd just rather be in Mr. Henry's camp than not.

In a free market the airlines could advertise various levels of security and individuals could choose to fly according to their comfort level. The government could mandate that all cockpits be essentially impenetrable so that a plane could not be used as a weapon, thereby avoiding another 9/11.

Tell me what would be wrong with that? Why would it be so horrible if free people chose for themselves?

You would be free to choose a high-security airline for reasons that are none of my business and I would applaud you in your choice. I would be free to choose the cheapo-bailing-wire-and-duct-tape Redneck Express where the only security was that all of us bring our huntin' rifles on board with us. I suspect my entire family would choose that airline just for the company and in-flight conversation. :-)

Seriously, you expressed some opinions about me in your post that you could have cleared up by emailing me directly since my profile is available by clicking on my name. You could even have read my blog and found out more from there.

My beef is that you (meaning those who supported legislation creating the TSA) have imposed your will on me. You have taxed me for it. You have also slandered me because I don't like it and am willing to say it out loud.

By the way, Mr. Anonymous, I am actually proud of what I believe and unafraid to put my name to my post.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I travel a lot. I have found ways around the liquid policy: carry an empty water bottle and fill it at the airport's fountain after passing security. Frankly, if the liquid policy gets more people to check their bags, it is a plus. We loved it after 9/11 when no carryons were allowed at all. It was a breeze to load passengers on the plane. Now it is a nightmare again with all the fighting for overhead space. And old ladies carrying bags they cannot lift, expecting someone else to break their backs for them.

On the other hand, I fail to understand why a gas cartridge for my hair curling iron is safer in the iron than loose. London's Heathrow acted as if I were a terrorist just having the curling iron at all.

I have had an interesting experience for the last year with TSA and the quart bag issue. In LAX, I had a bad experience with my checked cosmetic bag as I was transferring on an international flight. Either United or TSA opened it and could not get it shut so it was sent down the chute at baggage claim with all the contents thrown all over. I then decided to carry it on for my final flight in the US but had no plastic bag. United kindly gave me a bag provided by LAX itself with its logo on it and a nice handle - very handy for getting out of my carryon. However, it turns out it is slightly bigger than the standard qt bag so, while most airports have let me go with it (I always make sure it is not full and carry an extra qt bag just in case), Las Vegas TSA had a cow about it. Getting all huffy about how lax LAX clearly is, etc. Most TSA agents who even notice think it is cool and wish their airport handed them out too. I contacted LAX about the fact that the bag was oversized and some PR person actually denied LAX had them made! Claimed they were for some other purpose, did not have the name on them, etc. Too weird, just like all life post 9/11.

Anonymous said...

I understand that if they took the few moments to check everyones liquids the time to pass security would increase. My question is how close are they checking. I was flying and because of the below freezing temp here took my larger bottles in to work with the plan I was going to put them in my suitcase prior to flying. It the rush I forgot and they got left in my carry on. They were not caught and I forgot about them till I got to my hotel. That worried me more than have to have them checked. How could they have been missed? What else are they missing?

Anonymous said...

I had the worst experience regarding "allowed" liquids traveling through the Hartford airport. I fly at least twice a month and am therefore very familiar with all TSA policies. I also have a 5 month old baby. When traveling through BDL, I was told that I had too much baby formula (4 bottles and a little extra). First of all, that amount, for my child, is reasonable. Second, who is the young, immature TSA screener to tell me what is reasonable in her mind for the needs of my son? Third, there is no hard and fast rule about the number of bottles or the ounces of formula that can be brought on board a plane. Without knowing my final destination or total travel time (I could be headed to Europe or something), how could she insist that I discard some formula (which happens to be the most expensive type)? How dare you! I think that's a gross misuse of the nature of the rule and an error in the application of it. After speaking with a supervisor and a few tears, I was allowed to proceed, but let me tell you, that's a hassle that no mother should have to go through. I guess what bothered me the most (to the point of blogging) was the screeners attitude and obvious disregard for my situation. Just because you work for the TSA, it doesn't give you license to make others miserable, especially over the nutrition for my child. I think the TSA needs to tell their screeners to use common sense and good judgment when it comes to baby items and not cause people undue stress or hardship.


Anonymous said...

I would like to note on the passengers complaint to the 3-1-1 rule it is 3.4 oz or 100 ml allowed not 3 they announce 3 for passengers to remember more easily globally; all tsa employees know this, and to others who say well you could mix several small sized container on an airplane well this might be true but if you saw someone mixing enough small containers I believe there would be quite the suspicion going on?! TRAVEL SIZE IS TRAVEL SIZE FOR A REASON AND MORE THEN NOT THE AIRLINE ALLOW BAGS THAT ARE OVER SIZED TO BE CARRIED ON THE AIRPLANE AS CARRY ON BAGGAGE WHEN THESE ITEMS SHOULD BE CHECK! Also for water there is land side and airside and the opportunity to refill your water on the airside without purchase ie. waterfountains, or soda fountains that carry water that is filtered is available to passengers upon request. Also note for passengers asking why tsa does not test every toothpaste or water bottle or shampoo if you think lines are long now when every single container must be tested per passenger or weighed for those who complain about 1 oz being left in their 5 container fail to realize how much time is added to that process time=money and would significantly add to operating costs About 3mn per passenger times 2,000 passengers pershift would require quite the additional help then what is already there which is already underpowered due to finances.

Anonymous said...

Please come up with something other than plastic bags. The TSA adding more plastic to a world that is overwhelmed on land and sea with plastic bags sends a message that our government is not paying attention to the effects of plastic. There should be a frequent traveller container that could be used or just put them in its own plastic container we already use. Try to think on a "green" level at the same time your working on a safe level

Anonymous said...

Funny how the liquids that are treated as potentially dangerous are all just tossed into a garbage can near the screening area. Ever paid attention to where they toss the bottles of water, shampoo, lotion, etc? If the TSA took liquid explosives as a serious potential threat, one would expect them to handle the dangerous substances with a little more care. No, this is just security theater. And every day Americans are asking for more of this so-called "protection."

Insurgent said...

annoyed said:
Terrorist Ramzi Yousef used a bottle of saline solution (the bottle actually contained liquid nitrogen)...

annoyed, you might want to do some research on the physical properties of liquid nitrogen.

Anonymous said...

I have a real problem trying to bring large amounts of food through security. They take sauce, etc. If the airport cannot provide food for all dietary needs, you should be allowed to bring all of the food you want with you. At least until they can provide me with a vegan meal, so I don't have to bring 12 hours of food with me.

Toby said...

Dear Mods:

I made an extensive and polite reply to Anonymous 10:29 PM's post which insulted me. It was a personal attack. You allowed it to be posted but would not post my reply. What's the deal?

100KFlyer said...

Marginal effectiveness - The elusive concept
First off, I consider the liquid ban, shoe screening, etc. to be very close to pure "security theater" put on so that the travelling public "feels safe." The marginal effectiveness of all of these measures is near zero, i.e. a truly determined enemy will ALWAYS find ways around these checks. If you don't believe me then consider that access security of a much more stringent nature (e.g. supermax prisons) is equally unsuccessful in stopping contraband (weapons & drugs).
Now, you might say, "Even if we can't stop everybody, we should screen as much as possible. It won't hurt anybody to take their shoes off or to comply with the 3-1-1 rule."
Unfortunately, the cost of the current regime ("Doing ineffective things efficiently") is not zero. Far from it. 2 million passengers per day are spending between 5 to 30 minutes extra due to "heightened security," tens of thousands of dollars of property are destroyed (wine, liquids, cosmetics), some percentage of travellers will get sick from the incredibly unhygienic conditions created by putting dirty shoes together with other articles of clothing, etc. etc.

The simple loss of productivity alone (2 million times 15 minutes = 30,000,000 minutes = 500,000 person hours wasted EVERY DAY) should give you an idea of the size of the problem. These measures are NOT FREE, as a matter of fact, they are very costly and damaging to our national economy. Of course, another terrorist attack would also be very expensive, but how many attacks have been foiled by TSA screeners? How many, on the other hand, have been foiled by good police work before the presumed attackers even got the airport?
Should we continue to misallocate dollars and time to a line of defense that does not contribute to the marginal security of air travel?
I consider the security theater in place at airports today to be similar to welding six inch armor plating to your commuter sedan. The steel would add extra security in the extremely unlikely event of a rocket attack on your way to work, but at the same time the cost in extra gasoline, ruined shocks & suspension and worn out brake pads makes the up-armoring of your vehicle a wasteful, ineffective "precaution."

Girl4God said...

Millions of people travel each and every day. The TSA doesn't know what the bad guys look like and they certainly don't have the time or manpower to test every one's liquids. Every traveler has the option of placing liquids in checked baggage. If you don't want to exercise that option, than that is your choice. Just remember that you do have choices. Everything else that most people are debating is trivial. The rules are in place for a reason. Regardless of whether or not you agree with the rules and regulations, it is a lot less stress on everyone if you just follow them.

Toby said...

Here's me . . . still waiting for the opportunity to respond to the anonymous post which slandered me AGAINST COMMENT POLICY.

I responded carefully within the rules on them and yet they were censored.

Chance, I hope you're reading this. I was beginning to think you were shooting straight with me. If I don't have the opportunity to respond to Anonymous 10:29 PM, then I will conclude that the comment policy only applies to those who are not in favor of the TSA, and also conclude that you are personally a liar because you led be strongly to believe otherwise.

I don't want to think that. Give me a reason not to.

Toby said...

OK boys, you got me. I was about to give up and just sent what I thought would be my last post on this blog. When I hit "send" my comment from yesterday came up!

Wooohooo! My hope in TSA humans is renewed!

Anonymous said...

Why is it that certain names are automatically targeted to be checked? We cannot help what we are named and then while people with "targeted" names are being checked, the common-named person imposing danger is going through with out a problem

annoyed said...

Insurgent said: you might want to do some research on the physical properties of liquid nitrogen.

I say: Why? I don't want to build a bomb...but that guy did and he used a bottle of saline solution to get it on board the plane.

Ribs said...

aimee said...

I'm a TSO in ORD [Chicago O'hare]...Any liquid, gel, cream or aerosol not fitting this size can be...mailed to you


I'm a little surprised that you would suggest something deemed dangerous enough not to be allowed on an aircraft instead be put into the USPS system.

The simple fact that you don't immediately confiscate such items really makes the whole thing look like a farce.

TSA TSO NY said...

"On December 11, 1994, Yousef built another bomb, which had one tenth of the power that his final bombs were planned to have, in the lavatory of an aircraft. He left it inside the life jacket under his seat, 26K, and got off the plane when it arrived in Cebu. Yousef had boarded the flight under the assumed name of Armaldo Forlani, using a false Italian passport. The aircraft was Philippine Airlines Flight 434 on a Manila to Narita route, stopping partway at Cebu. Yousef had set the timer for four hours after he got off the aircraft. The bomb exploded while the aircraft was over Minami Daito Island, near Okinawa, Japan. A Japanese businessman named Haruki Ikegami was killed after the bomb detonated. The Boeing 747-200 safely made an emergency landing in Naha, Okinawa. None of the aircraft's other 272 passengers or any members of the crew were killed, although 10 passengers in front of Ikegami were injured. Yousef then planned which flights to attack for Phase I."

TSA TSO NY said...

"The bomb
The "Mark II" "microbombs" had Casio digital watches as the timers, stabilizers that looked like cotton wool balls, and an undetectable nitroglycerin as the explosive. Other ingredients included glycerin, nitrate, sulfuric acid, and minute concentrations of nitrobenzene, silver azide (silver trinitride), and liquid acetone. Two 9-volt batteries in each bomb were used as a power source. The batteries would be connected to light bulb filaments that would detonate the bomb. Murad and Yousef wired an SCR as the switch to trigger the filaments to detonate the bomb. There was an external socket hidden when the wires were pushed under the watch base as the bomber would wear it. The alteration was so small that the watch could still be worn in a normal manner.[3][7][9]

Yousef got batteries past airport security during his December 11 test bombing of Philippine Airlines Flight 434 by hiding them in hollowed-out heels of his shoes. Yousef smuggled the nitroglycerin on board by putting it inside a contact lens solution bottle."

This is why you take off shoes & we limit liquids.

Anonymous said...

Once again the public gets to put TSA down with the negative comments. These blogs attract mostly uneducated, smart-*** comments and remarks directed toward the people who are really trying to protect them. AMAZING!
Most sign these comments "anonymously". Who are you afraid of? At least use your first real name, it shows more validity and courage to do it that way. It all becomes a huge blur when all you see is "anonymous" and the same harping and whining about the same thing over and over.
WHY DOESN"T TSA MAKE PUBLIC ALL THE THINGS THAT HAVE BEEN FOUND IN BAGS AND ON PEOPLE TRYING TO ACCESS OUR AIRCRAFTS? I've heard the reason is because TSA does not want to cause a panic in the general public. It would make more sense to let these people know TSA IS finding stuff everyday, instead of worrying that they might scare the public. I think the public needs a reality check.

Toby said...

RE: Anonymous at 10:25 AM

It's ironic that you would criticize folks of my point of view by saying that we've been anonymous when you yourself remained anonymous.

Should I consider the blinding light of your reason of representative of all those who hold your position?

Probably not, but your rudeness and obvious inability to think logically tempt me to do so.

So, consider outing yourself before your criticize others for remaining anonymous.

Jon said...

Regarding the post immediately above, we’re all for open dialogue but ask that contributors remain respectful and on topic.

TSA Blogger

YourFriendlyTSAOfficer said...

It is amazing how many people (passengers) do not listen to the PA system while waiting in line. I wonder if they watch the news. do they really listen to the news? Liquids Gels and aerosols have been banned for quite some time. Not to mention that 3.4 ounces means 3.4 ounces. Not 8 or 20oz. Get a clue. If your going to travel at least be informed. It benefits the traveler to read the websites that are available. If you can't read, then at least ask your travel agent to read it for you. I know travel agent can read. Or better yet do the Monkey See, Monkey DO. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure it out.
Most of the people who work for TSA are educated and deserve your respect. The officers on the floor are hard working and caring people who take your verbal and physical abuse daily. For every grumpy nasty or ignorant passenger that flies, there are a thousand that are informed, kind and grateful we are there.
Many thanks to the friendly fliers and the passengers that are informed, you unkowningly help make a tough job a little easier.

To the whiners, get with system and or take Am Track.

Toby said...

TO: "Your friendly TSA officer"

Can you imagine a company in the private sector saying what you just posted? No person who is subject to competition in the free market would dream of giving their customers such an ultimatum.

But you don't face competition for your services. You have a position guaranteed by the force of government violence. You therefore feel you are entitled to say anything you want to your customers.

This is just one more reason why government should stay out of our lives, and leave the providing of all goods and services to the professionals in the private sector.

It won't be perfect, but we will be free.

Anonymous said...

Take an empty water bottle through security with you and fill it up at a drinking fountain on the other side. I bring my empty travel mug all the time and sometimes it gets dirty looks but it hasn't been confiscated yet.

Recently I got through security with a 4oz bottle of cough syrup (half empty but nobody even touched it).

Toby said...

Anonymous at February 5, 2008 1:25 PM said...

"Once again the public gets to put TSA down with the negative comments. These blogs attract mostly uneducated, smart-*** comments and remarks directed toward the people who are really trying to protect them. AMAZING!"

Do the little *** marks mean that this post did not TECHNICALLY contain profanity? I though profanity was prohibited?

So help me out. It only TECHNICAL profanity prohibited? Or is it only OK to use profanity if you're pro-TSA?

How this question is answered might give the general public some insight into how the screening rules are interpreted.


Anonymous said...


I am a TSO, as well as a political science / criminal justice student in my final year of college. Before I started with TSA 3 months ago, I was in the private security sector (4 years), and can tell you that the government has the basics of a large security force down better than any of the major private security companies.

One major difference is pay. Before the establishment of TSA, many private security companies at major airports were paying their employees HALF of what most TSOs are making as a starting salary. Increased pay is an instant motivator, and, on a national level, I believe it has encouraged many TSOs to perform their duties with dignity, class and a sense of patriotism.

As for the rude / inconsiderate TSA agents you may have come across, all I can say is that with a workforce hovering around 50,000 (it may be a little more or less at this point), you will have a mix of many kinds of people from different cultures, ways of life, etc. It disapoints me that my co-workers may have acted in an unkind manner, but each individual person/incident has its own set of circumstances, and I have no authority or right to speak on anyone else's behalf. I work hard at what I do, I'm as patriotic as an American citizen will come, and I'm looking forward to progressing through the government, with an ultimate goal of federal law enforcement.

The current rules and procedures are what TSA has deemed to be the most appropriate and security-effective for this point in time, and it will be changing as time goes on. DHS is the youngest governemt agency in existence. It must grow, as every other government agency has. Things will change, and will continue to change many times, so don't expect anything to be written in stone.

Remember, this IS the federal government, and not a private company, nor should we be treated as if we are such. There are gray lines concerning the enforcement of these detailed rules and a handful of other issues, but it will be sorted out in due time.

I personally greatly appreciate what you have to say, along with what every other passenger I've encountered has had to say, be it nice, nasty, grateful or otherwise. I understand the frustrations passengers have, and the confusion that new rules have created (there are credible reasons for these rules). Please don't hesitate to continue voicing your concerns and comments. I look forward to feedback.

Anonymous said...

for poster anonymous on February 4, 2008 10:15 AM
3 oz is not easier for global use, I think only one other country persist in using ounces. 100 ml is the more global value and so the rule to improve universality should be 100-1-1. 3-1-1 is used to give TSA an excuse to toss items above 3 oz but under 3.4 cos "locally" they enforce the rules "better".

Remember, paragraphs exist for a reason.

In some countries where TSA performs screening fights heading to the US, there is often not water provided. See other posts on this site. Water is Not available to buy and no water fountains at all past security in airports. If TSA is capable of insuring that there is water available for basic hydration, then MAYBE tossing water is acceptable. But without insuring water to be available, they are endangering people.

And as for the customers (or rather hostages) failing "to realize how much time is added to that process time=money and would significantly add to operating costs". We Do understand the costs, the costs to US in wasted time both in time spent waiting in line, in trying in ernest to follow rules and failing due to arbitrary enforcement, and in products destroyed that are not hazardous which could all be saved if a whiffer or buffer or whatever was used on liquids.

I guess the costs is acceptable if we are the only ones who have to pay.

Dave X said...

TSA TSO NY @February 5, 2008 12:39 PM

You still allow liquid acetone, that's what fingernail polish remover is.

yourfriendlytsaofficer @ :"To the whiners, get with system and or take Am Track."

I know someone who now drives to avoid the hassles of the new system if they can make the trip in 10 hours or less. The Transportation "Safety" Administration is probably causing more people to die in car wrecks than they are saving by screening,

Toby said...

RE: Anonymous at February 5, 2008 9:31 PM

I guess I'm so shocked by what you had to say that I don't even know how to respond. It's like you didn't even read my posts.

I have repeatedly tried to help folks understand that my objection is the the very existence of any government mandated security on any airline or in any airport (with the possible exception of requiring cockpits to be virtually impenetrable).

This is because these regulations and agencies such as the TSA and DHA are unconstitutional and totalitarian. Their efficiency is irrelevant to the point.

I will post a longer and more detailed reply tomorrow, but for now I just want to sit and weep in horror at what I have seen . . .

Mr Ed said...

My whine on the "liquids policy" would be inconsistent and unreasonable interpretation of policy. For example, at the Dayton airport, I had a tube of toothpaste, well over 75% used, and fairly obvious. It was confiscated because, when it was first purchased, it was over 3oz (4.5, if memory serves). Binding the hands and common sense of TSA personnel needs to be reviewed.

Jack said...

I will post a longer and more detailed reply tomorrow, but for now I just want to sit and weep in horror at what I have seen . . .

No, no, anything but that. Toby, you've made your point. You don't want any security. Would you even approve of what El Al does? Is that too intrusive to your liking?

chrisqi said...

The problem with TSA isn't so much TSA itself, it is the U.S. Congress which passes the laws giving TSA the authority to do what it does -- however lacking in common sense it may be.

To make matters worse surrounding this fact, Congressmen and women have exempted themselves from airport screening. All they have to do is show their US Congress IDs and they can bypass all the lines and aggravation the rest of us have to go through.

Now I don't know about you, but I think their are probably more career criminals in the US Congress than their are in the general flying public.

Until citizens tell Congress it needs to follow the same rules they subject the rest of us to, nothing will be done.

How can these clowns in DC know how bad it is if they don't ever have to experience it themselves?

Call your member of Congress and tell them to fix TSA and to quit exempting themselves from all the rules the rest of us have to live by!

Anonymous said...

Chrisqi said:
To make matters worse surrounding this fact, Congressmen and women have exempted themselves from airport screening. All they have to do is show their US Congress IDs and they can bypass all the lines and aggravation the rest of us have to go through.

No they don't! As a TSO, I see plenty of Congressmen come thru my checkpoint. They come thru just like everyone else, sometimes crabby, but they do follow the rules! There are some, that when traveling with their posse of secret service agents are allowed to bypass security, but the majority of them are standing in line waiting with the rest of you!

Get your info straight.

Anonymous said...

When are we going to get an answer about confiscated liquids being tossed into a nearby bin? It's obvious that no one believes those materials pose any threat whatsoever, and binning them in front of us just says "you know what, we don't care about the logic or usefulness behind this, we're just doing it because we can".

Anonymous said...

I think many of us would like some kind of response as to why confiscated liquids are not disposed of as a potential hazardous material. Just dumping these items in the trash proves TSA's actions are "Smoke and Mirrors".

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of the other commenters that the liquids policy is ridiculous "security theatre".

One small thing that would make the Policy a *little* more tolerable would be if you could purchase water at a *reasonable* price (say $1 a liter) from a vending machine on the other side of the security checkpoint.

Allie B said...

I have decided I will vote for president whichever candidate says s/he will take us off orange alert. I cannot get all my liquids into a one-quart bag. I could get them into 2 one-quart bags but that is not allowed. I really don't think a 1-ounce tube of toothpaste is worth the cost, nor will it last for my trip. Perhaps there is a financial advantage for companies that make various liquid and gel products in these regulations?

Anonymous said...

How about a response TSA!

Are confiscated liquids hazardous or not?

Either they are or are not. It cannot be both ways.

Your people manning the disposal containers should be dressed out in explosive protection suits and a hazmat team should be in attendance.

So are you saying that these things are in fact not hazardous?

Security Theater at its most entertaining!

sewflag said...

My wife and I and my 1-year-old kid were on our way from Hong Kong to Houston, transiting in San Francisco. We got some water for our baby on the flight from the flight service and when we were transiting in San Francisco, we were asked to throw away those water. We are talking water in a baby bottle, and it's not a lot of water. The TSA agent said that clear water is not allowed and only juice are allowed. How stupid can that be! Do you mean that all liquid explosive are clear, and there are not juice-like explosive? And don't you see that we have a baby on the stroller? How dangerous can two parents and a kid be? And we just came down from the airplane that was cleared by authorities and those water are from the flight service. And can't you TSA agent look at the big picture instead of just the water? We were just parents with a kid on a stroller transiting to another flight after a long 10+ hours flight!

Sarajahii said...

Unfortunately, there are ways around the liquid rules. You can carry them on in clothing as well. I'm not suggesting this in any fashion, and I'd hope the TSA is aware of this, but we can see there are no amount of rules that will keep people from being innovative.

Average Joe said...

I really have to wonder if there isn't some group of perverse folks out there who want to see just how idiotic they can make the process of flying.
Seriously, all it would take is someone with a penchant for the dramtic and a little desktop publishing skill to make you guys go into full-blown hysteria. What next, a news story about exploding dentures and then everyone will be required to submit to a dental x-ray before boarding?
I know - you guys can plant a story about explosive clothing and then the public humiliation will be complete as everyone is strip and cavity searched at the gate...

Anonymous said...

I feel as though I am taken hostage every time I am forced fly..I don't take an airline for fun anymore - it's just too much hassle and nonsense.
I reacently went through the airport at Dallas, and I did not realize that I still had my pocketknife and lighter in my laptop bag - in fact I didn't even notice until I was past security and trying to get all the crap I had to pull out back in. I was openly harassed by two TSA agents because the commercial mouthwash bottle I had carried on didn't have a volume rating, which was "obviously" my fault at least according to them. I was literally told I should make my purchasing choices based on what is convenient for them to screen..
How stupid of me not to arrange my choices based on what the TSA would like me to buy. Foolish me, I thought I still lived in a free country..
Imagine my surprise when I went to put the rest of my stuff away and found I had a 5 1/2 knife and a Colibri high-altitude lighter in my possession - sure am glad they got my mouthwash though, wouldn't want to be having unauthorized fresh breath while traveling...

Anonymous said...

I only fly four or five times a year, but twice last year my luggage was "mishandled" so I'd like to carry on forthgoing. However, I don't want all my 3.4 oz/100 ml bottles confiscated - never have I seen such a conflict.

Is it 3 oz/90 ml or 3.4 oz/100 ml???

Most small bottles of shampoos/hair jels/soaps etc seem to come in 3.4 oz - the 100ml (because everyone but us is metric.)It just seems that someone decided the 3-1-1 was a cute marketing tool, even though tsa's internatioanl acceptance is 3.4 oz/100 ml according to releases on this site. However, many airports have signs with the 3 oz/90 ml restrictions. Just too hard to make the correction/update/confirm? Too much invested in signage/training to realize that 3oz is not 100ml?

Any chance this will be addressed once and for all - and security will be trained and signage will be consistant?


Waiting to pack....

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea about the liquid policy. Are there really liquid explosives one could drink? Why not have the person take a drink out of any container they are bringing with them?

I'm also not sure where the line between liquid and non-liquid begins and ends. For example, I was leaving on a plane super early in the morning so I bought some bean and cheese burritos on the way. I was quite sure TSA was going to make me toss them, yet they didn't. Don't get mre wrong, I'm not complaining that you guys didn't. I guess I was just shocked that something the consistency of shampoo was let through when shampoo itself wasn't. Now, I don't know if I can pack foods to take on the plane with me or not. Is Jello okay? Are beans okay in every airport or just some? I'm not being flip, just meal planning.

Anonymous said...

to TSA TSO NY: you said:

"Yousef got batteries past airport security during his December 11 test bombing of Philippine Airlines Flight 434 by hiding them in hollowed-out heels of his shoes. Yousef smuggled the nitroglycerin on board by putting it inside a contact lens solution bottle."

This is why you take off shoes & we limit liquids."

this is all good and grand and stuff, but you (and the other poster who referenced this incident) are neglecting to notice one major, MAJOR point here:

the incident on flight 434 happened on Dec. 11th 1994!!!!!

umm, hello!!!??? the stupid "remove shoes/3-1-1" rules WERE NOT established after this incident, they were established almost TEN YEARS after the fact!!! if you are going to keep referencing this incident as justification to the 3-1-1/no shoes policies, then WHY weren't these policies established in 1994???? why wait after 2 ridiculously foiled attempts to start up this inane rule?????

Anonymous said...

Please do something to help people on dehydrating medications. This should be considered a disability access issue. If I have to get on a national register of medically thirsty people, it would be better than nothing.

Anonymous said...

TSO TOM said: "TSA was given full authority to determine what goes on its prohibited items list. "

What a BS answer. If the TSA actually had such authority, you could provide a legal citation for the source of that authority. The TSA is simply acting illegally.

Anonymous said...

May I suggest the TSA permit beverages in 12oz. branded factory sealed cans to pass through security?

This would overcome a major objection to the current liquids policy, the inability to carry any refreshment, even water, through security. As TSA has stated, it is all a matter of risk management and the risk from sealed cans would appear to be minimal.

Anonymous said...

Are you more afraid of the TSA or the so called liquid bombing terrorists? With the kind of fearmongering promoted by the TSA, I'm more inclined to call them terrorists.

TSA = FUD -> Terror

Anonymous said...

Anonymous on February 8, 2008 3:43 AM asked:
"Anonymous umm, hello!!!??? the stupid "remove shoes/3-1-1" rules WERE NOT established after this incident, they were established almost TEN YEARS after the fact!!! if you are going to keep referencing this incident as justification to the 3-1-1/no shoes policies, then WHY weren't these policies established in 1994???? why wait after 2 ridiculously foiled attempts to start up this inane rule?????"

As a TSO, I cannot answer the "why". You have a valid point, and I have seen other valid points made on this website (confiscated liquids in a non-hazmat bin etc)as well. "Why" they did not adopt the liquid policy in 1994, I don't know. But, the plot that was uncovered that lead to the adoption of the liquid policy in 2007 was very similar to Yousef's plan. The threat of terrorism is greater in the current time. Even after Richard Reid, the "all shoes off" policy was not at every airport, and appearantly from what I have read, it still isn't at every airport. I can tell you that my airport adopted the "all shoes off" policy at the same time the liquid policy went into effect. Does this answer your question? No. I am just a peon, I don't get to sit in on the decision making process. My guess though, would be that since 9/11/01, the government has been taking threats much more seriously.


Anonymous said...

1. Clearly there is a ton of response from the public. Now maybe the TSA could respond instead of hiding behind a policy based on scaring the public but is not backed up by any reputable science.

2. In Seattle, employees can walk in and out of the secured areas with their knapsacks, etc. particularly where a passenger is picking up their oversized baggage. Are their bags checked for liquids? Doesn't look like it.

3. As flight attendants move from being servers to being people onboard to ensure you are safe (no issue there), it takes a lot longer to get water. As other people have noted, it is dehydrating for the average person to fly let alone if you have a serious condition. And the cost of water in the airport is ridiculous. Either get onboard with the airlines to cough up more water when people board and throughout the flight, or relax the policy.

3. Like others, there have been times where I forgot about a Swiss Army Knife, toiletry bag, etc., and was not flagged.

4. Over half of the TSA people I encounter are beyond rude (and I am from NY!). If you complain, they threaten to detain you enough to miss your flight or get you on some blackball list that will cause endless issues for you whenever you fly going forward.

At the end of the day, the TSA represents process for the sake of process, as opposed to really ensuring the safe travels of all passengers.

On another note, the reasons why people do not want to check bags are as follows:

1. Stuff has been stolen out of my checked bags multuple times. When I used to work in retail, we had lockers outside of the store floor and were only allowed to take in a clear purse-like thing to minimize shop lifting. Why can't the TSA institute something like that?

2. Baggage gets "lost" or "damaged" - whether it is the airline's fault, or TSA's - I don't care. Work with the airlines to get it fixed. Maybe less people will take everything with them as carry-ons.

3. It takes at least 30 minutes after you land to get your bag off of the conveyer belt. Speed it up and maybe you will have less people carrying on everything.

Anonymous said...

I think the TSA needs to make sure all their employees follow the liquid rules for disabled persons.

My husband has a medical condition which requires he have water on his person at all times (no saliva glands due to cancer). He carries medical documentation of this condition always. Every time we have to fly out of SLC, the screeners and supervisors take his liquid, make him go through a very embarrassing and lenghty pat-down and treat him as if he's guilty of something.

Every time, we show medical verification of this condition, but the TSA people say they don't care and won't accept it. The last time this happened, my husbands throat closed and he almost died!!!!!

TSA, get it your own regulations on water being allowed for a verifiable medical condition!

Anonymous said...

Same questions, still no response from the "Great and Wonderful TSA."

Don't look behind the curtain!

How about a response TSA!

Are confiscated liquids hazardous or not?

Either they are or are not. It cannot be both ways.

Your people manning the disposal containers should be dressed out in explosive protection suits and a hazmat team should be in attendance.

So are you saying that these things are in fact not hazardous?

Security Theater at its most entertaining!

Anonymous said...

So maybe binary explosives are mainly movie nonsense (die hard was still a good movie) but binary NON-EXPLOSIVE AGENTS are certainly no myth and certainly not complicated.

I'll avoid even the simplest direct suggestion (yes, i fear big brother) but it's pretty trivial to kill or disable everyone on a plane not wearing a full hazmat suit. This is WITHOUT the millions in funding that went into 9/11. Nothing the TSA is doing would stop it either.

Yet ... they continue to steal (that's what I consider it) my water and force me to either beg for those tiny bottles on the plane or buy a $4 water inside the terminal.

There are SO many huge gaping holes in the "safety" policy that they're inconviniencing virtually all travelers for very VERY little added security.

Bo Jinka said...

So, what are you doing about
the perfume bottle filled with
dimethyl mercury (delayed
poison) or a nerve agent
(planes crash)?

Everyone is so concerned about
pyro, there are other angles.

Anonymous said...

Left Seattle with my two 3 ounce bottles in a 1 gallon ziplock bag in carry problem. Return flight from Denver the next day and no 1 gallon bags are allowed...only 1 quart. Thank goodness the Denver airport had many 1 quart bags available for free.

TSA, this is a perfect example of an inconsistency that creates confusion and distrust.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind the liquids policy nearly as much if TSA would clear up confusion regarding whether toiletries need to be in the original packaging or not. I have witnessed other passengers have clear plastic travel bottles taken away because they were not in the original packaging, even though they were clearly less than 3 oz, and in the approved ziplock bags. The reason? They were not in the original packaging, according to the screener. This makes travelling whole lot more unpleasant than it needs to be if you are someone with a strong preference for certain products that don't happen to be available in travel sizes. Also, it seems that many screeners have different ideas about whether something needs to be in original packaging or not. I asked one screener the last time I travelled, who said that's not really a rule. Once, I was told by the gentleman I was next to on the plane that he had a jar of some toiletry tossed because, despite the fact that it was smaller than 3 oz, and clearly marked, it was "an unusual shape". TSA, please, please clear up this confusion amongst your screeners. I feel that I am constantly in jeopardy of having my stuff tossed arbitrarily, even if I follow all the rules.

Anonymous said...

SRA... Maybe it's about time to start following the rules of the TSA liquid policy, and then you wouldn't have to suffer getting your "expensive hair products" taken away. remember, anything 3.4 ounces or less you can take with you, as long as it fits into a 1 quart plastic ziplock bag and it is able to be sealed.

Anonymous said...

Mike-s.. Here's and answer for you.. If you don't like the policy that TSA has set for your saftey.. the DON"T FLY.. Find some other means to travel, and then you won't have that problem.


winston_of_minitruth said...

Did anyone else notice that the amount of liquid explosive being used was on the absurd side? Now, notice how little liquid we are able to bring past the security point. Next, think about how many drinks come in 3oz containers, let alone how many come in a size smaller than 12oz. Now, how is it that something that an agent has determined not to be a threat is not permissible to bring on board an airplane? Surely, there must be some reason as to why the TSA agent is given enough trust, by the powers that be, to determine that 3oz of any particular liquid is safe or unsafe, but any more than that and it's just madness! I understand that the ones on the floor have the tough job of keeping things safe. I mean it. It is a tough job...for the ones that actually do their job. I just think that there needs to be more stringent qualifications for becoming a TSA agent. Maybe even the same procedures as getting to law enforcement. After all, you are doing the same basic things that the police are doing. You should be trained, as well as paid, as they are. Then, we wouldn't have to worry about these ludicrous restrictions. I'd prefer to have a 12oz cup of decent coffee to a 3oz cup of nasty vending machine coffee...all because of some overreaction to a barely plausible scenario. After all, if something made in factory conditions is not even predictable to enough to work, then I can't imagine how plausible it would be for some nutjob in his garage, with his "chemical ali home version," to be.

Anonymous said...

I wish the TSA liquid limit was 4 oz. because the smalles bottles of contact lens solutions are 4 oz.

Anonymous said...

Why is it so important that I only be able to fit my 3.4oz/100ml containers in a quart sized baggie? And why can't I bring my 3oz bottle of cologne on the plane just because it's in a glass bottle?

Anonymous said...

How about a response TSA!

Are confiscated liquids hazardous or not?

Either they are or are not. It cannot be both ways.

Your people manning the disposal containers should be dressed out in explosive protection suits and a hazmat team should be in attendance.

So are you saying that these things are in fact not hazardous?

Security Theater at its most entertaining!

You guys afraid to answer this simple question?

Anonymous said...

Although I realize that there are definetly holes in the logic of the 3-1-1 rule for liquid, it seems to me that the policy has been in place long enough that if you're stupid enough not to know that you cant take you 12 oz $300 bottle of lotion through the checkpoint, then you deserve to have it taken away. Get over yourselves, your whining only takes up the time of other passengers who were competent enough to read the rules that are posted ALL OVER THE LINE THROUGH THE CHECKPOINTS.

Anonymous said...

The insanity must stop.

Yesterday I flew Continental Airlines on a business trip to Terra Haute, Indiana. Today, on the way back to Houston, I was stopped by a TSA employee for carrying-on a too-large toothpaste tube. Never mind that I had carried-on the exact same toothpaste tube from Houston to Terra Haute the day before; never mind the existence of ubiquitous signage (“LESS THAN 3 OZ. ONLY! USE PLASTIC BAGS TO CONTAIN ALL LIQUIDS! VIOLATORS SUBJECT TO CLOSED-DOOR PAT DOWN!); and never mind that I had a 12 oz. bottle of contact solution that was not confiscated because of its specious designation as “an over-the-counter medical item.”

What ought to be minded is this: I got on the plane wearing steel-toed boots.

Carbon steel. In my boots. Big hunks of it. Metal with a Rockwell Hardness value of >100 that I could have bludgeoned fellow passengers to death with. Or, even better, metal that could have been previously sharpened and removed in-flight, to the immediate chagrin of all passengers and staff in the surrounding area.

To summarize: toothpaste prohibited, blunt metal object acceptable.

I think the policy of strictly controlling carry-on goods in domestic flights must change. It doesn’t have to stop, and it doesn’t have to be relaxed into non-existence. But the insanely relentless stickling for the minutiae must stop. It drives up costs, irritates consumers, and (obviously) is none-too-effective.

This rant was not meant to provide an alternative solution to this problem, which is one that I acknowledge to be logistically complex for airlines and emotionally touchy for many Americans. But because of the lack of efficacy in the policy (see above and other numerous examples in the blogosphere / news media), I have to publicly protest the current, onerous airline security restrictions.

14th Amendment Fanatic said...

I have been following this blog since the day it came on line and have yet to see a response from the TSA or a TSA blogger that actually justifies any of the inconvenience they put passengers through in order to fly. No one wants unsafe skies, but to think that restricting someone from having hair gel or chapstick is going to make a measurable difference is absurd. What I have seen though is that I am not the only one who finds the TSA and its unconstitutional searches and seizures as well as the patriot act that made them possible beneath contempt. I also have found that I am not the only one who, because of the TSA, chooses not to fly when there is any other reasonable choice to get there somewhat comforting. There are other Americans out there who value their privacy and their rights as much as I do.

VanVleet's said...

The problem with the TSA, as a whole, is the knee jerk reaction to anything. I once had hair gel in a clear, 3oz container, but not in a plastic bag. They took it; I asked "why?" The TSA guys says, "because it is not in a clear plastic bag" I said, "but it is in a clear plastic bottle" He says, "the bag limits the quantity of the liquid" I said, "no, the CONTAINER limits the quantity of the liquid and if I actually had it in a quart size bag, I would have more liquid than is in this jar!" No using reasoning with these people. What keeps me from taking a quart size bag and filling it with a liquid? What keeps me from taking several containters and filling them with the same "explosive" material and putting them in a quart size bag? This liquid rule is non-sensical. Same goes for the shoes; one mentally unstable guy tries to light is shoe on fire, which had some plastic explosives in it, and all of a sudden all shoes, even flip flops (stupid!) have to go. You can't detonate plastic explosives with a match! How did he get matches on the plane anyways? Maybe you should focus there first.

VanVleet's said...

The problem with the TSA, as a whole, is the knee jerk reaction to anything. I once had hair gel in a clear, 3oz container, but not in a plastic bag. They took it; I asked "why?" The TSA guys says, "because it is not in a clear plastic bag" I said, "but it is in a clear plastic bottle" He says, "the bag limits the quantity of the liquid" I said, "no, the CONTAINER limits the quantity of the liquid and if I actually had it in a quart size bag, I would have more liquid than is in this jar!" No using reasoning with these people. What keeps me from taking a quart size bag and filling it with a liquid? What keeps me from taking several containters and filling them with the same "explosive" material and putting them in a quart size bag? This liquid rule is non-sensical. Same goes for the shoes; one mentally unstable guy tries to light is shoe on fire, which had some plastic explosives in it, and all of a sudden all shoes, even flip flops (stupid!) have to go. You can't detonate plastic explosives with a match! How did he get matches on the plane anyways? Maybe you should focus there first.

Anonymous said...

My biggest issue with the TSA liquids policy is the lack of knowledge of the TSA agents of what their own web-site states as what is "acceptable" to carry-on the plane. Eye drops and saline solution are listed on the TSA site as follows:

"Eye drops - You are allowed to carry a 3 oz. or smaller container of eye drops in a clear, one-quart plastic bag. There is no restriction on the amount you may carry, but containers greater than 3 oz. must be declared to the Security Officer and cannot be carried in your clear, one-quart bag."

"Saline solution - You are allowed to carry up to 3 oz., of eye drops in a clear, one-quart plastic bag. Volumes greater than 3 oz. must be declared to the Security Officer and cannot be carried in your clear, one-quart bag."

I have had both items confiscated by the TSA because they were >3.4 oz. I followed to instructions and declared them to TSA first. No go.

What gives?

Anonymous said...

Hi there, this is a very good blog to have, a very neat idea really. I'd have a question: what happens to all those water bottles, make-ups and tooth paste you confiscate? If you really consider those to pose a risk to security, you cannot just throw them to trash, can you? I mean those liquids could pose a risk to environment too? How are those destroyed?

Anonymous said...

I sent this suggestion to the TSA by e-mail a few months ago and got a nonsence answer that must have been computer generated. Let´s see if the blog works...

Please post metric conversions of the measurements on the TSA website. It took me a long time to find out that 3 oz are converted as 100 mL (oddly, since oz are a weight measurement and mL, volume), and I could not find out what a quart was anywhere. Obviously, we can Google for the information, but it would make our lives a lot easier to have it on the website.

Anonymous said...

I was blown away to see a TSA employee waived through a security checkpoint at LAX with a large plastic bottle of liquid. How is that not a flaw in the system?

Hans said...

First off I have to come a weekly airline traveler I see the TSA as a joke. The amount of man power, resources, and federal funds that are wasted on daily basis makes me ill. The smoke and mirrors of trying to convince the public that we are right around the corner of another terrorist attack can only go on so long (7 years seems way too long to me). The time of a person hijacking a plane of passengers will not happen again. The passengers of any plane that is attempted to be taken over will do anything and everything in their power to stop/destroy the threat on the aircraft. We all now understand the consequences of someone taking over an aircraft, not just on the passengers, but also to the world outside that aircraft. Understanding that, I would like to talk about the dumbest rule that has come about as a result of the TSA's false sense of security...NO WATER!!! ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MINDS!!??? Isn't the human body made out of water? Doesn't my doctor tell me to drink more water? Now I can't bring it through a check point. The water companies selling 4 dollar bottles of water must be thrilled. Maybe we should have them pay the salaries of the TSA agents instead of MY TAX DOLLARS. Yes, that amazes me that I pay the government to make my travel experience a weekly pain in the ass. But I regress...WATER!! It is Water. OK...I would even understand having to take a drink at the security line to prove that it isn't some secret spy compound that will knock the plane out of the sky. My only hope is with the upcoming election the new administration will come to their senses and realize how over reactional we have been in the years following 9/11. Maybe then we start to take back some of the rights that have been taken from us (while we as a public said OK, sure, take more of my rights while you are at it...did I mention I have to take off my shoes every week too?). But really...WATER...give me back my won't be that dangerous, really.

Anonymous said...

After passing through TSA monitors dozens of times in the last few months I can confirm that some of your employees - especially those who separate passengers into different screening lanes - are control freaks.

But here's the question no one can answer - if you have just ONE 3-oz liquid, why does it have to be confiscated if it's not in a baggie? Does TSA own stock in ZipLoc bags? And how is it that you expect us not to find this policy ridiculous?

GlobeHop2000 said...

Does a peanut butter and jelly sandwich contain liquid by TSA standards? What if it's on the soggy side? (I'm serious about this. I like to take a PB&J sandwich with me on the plane. Can it be confiscated by TSA?)

P.S. The links in this blog don't seem to work in Firefox When you click on them, nothing happens.

Anonymous said...

Since you guys are unlikely to get rid of the insane liquid ban. I would suggest that you create a way for travelers to get their items sent to them, becuase in effect you are forcing people to throw away possibly expensive items. No one is going to forefeit a 600$ plane trip to keep their 30$ shampoo. I also suggest that if you take someones Coke, you should give them one. This policy could be effected to include all items found to be potentially dangerous Replace, or transfer.

Anonymous said...

As long as this restriction on liquids lunacy continues, please rein in the DIA TSO that insists on holding up travlers' baggies for all to see as an example of proper packing of liquids. What gives this yahoo the idea that it's okay to display traveler's personal property, w/o their permission? And where is the supervisor that has enough common sense to stop him?

Anonymous said...

Your liquids policy is a farce. It is intended just to dumb the public into thinking that flying is safe. do you really think that a terrorists would take a bottle of explosives on board? Do you really think that less than 3.5 ounces of explosives is OK? You should have an explosive detection device, not take everyone's tooth paste or shampoo. THere are so many ways around this current system is it ridiculous. You are not really going to catch anyonen with this useless policy.

Anonymous said...

I recently flew. My after-shave cream was in a 4 oz travel bottle, which fit appropriately into my quart plastic bag of liquids. I was told to throw it away. First, I squeezed some of the cream into an extra baggie and then threw the bottle away.

I was then told I couldn't bring on the baggie with the skin cream on. When I asked why, I was told "because we don't know what's in it."

What? I could have carried the skin cream through in a 3 oz bottle. Would anyone know what it was? What is the difference between 2 oz of skin cream in a 3 oz unlabeled bottle and 2 oz of skin cream in a baggie?

Anonymous said...

I can carry a screw driver or pliers in my carry on as long as they are not more than 7 inches long, but not carry my bottled water with me past security?!?!?!?!

There is something wrong with that scenario. I think TSA needs to reevaluate their policies.

Its just stupid.

A DHS employee said...

Anonymous annoyed said...

Insurgent said: you might want to do some research on the physical properties of liquid nitrogen.

I say: Why? I don't want to build a bomb...but that guy did and he used a bottle of saline solution to get it on board the plane.

"Insurgent" was razzing you for making the absurd claim that liquid nitrogen could be carried in a bottle used for saline solution. It boils (changes to a gas) at -321 degrees F. Get it?

Not fooled by the bs... said...

Have you guys looked at the video posted as the "proof" of what liquid explosives can do?
Watch it again and look at the charge in the center, note the size and shape of the device prior to detonation. Watch closely the second half of the video, the explosion in slow-mo. Anyone even remotely familiar with explosives, or for that matter special effects will tell you that the shape of the cloud indicates the path of the shockwave, and also is indicative of either the shape of the charge or the container it's in. They will also tell you that the presence or absence of a fireball is an infallible indicator of the chemical composition of the charge.
This explosion was directed from underneath, in the box the clorox bottle is sitting on, further the presence of the red fireball indicates a petroleum based component that is secondary to the primary charge, which is why there is a slight delay before the fireball appears after the initial upward blast. If in fact the blast had originated from the Clorox bottle the initial blast would have expanded to the sides and included the fireball as the liquid went to vapor and expanded in all directions. Also, the fact that the initial blast travels upward, then the fireball travels at a completely different angle slightly afterward is a clear indicator that the bottle is not the source of the explosion, but an accelerant that compounds the explosion.
Short version - this video is not of a liquid based explosion, but is staged to appear so...
The only remaining question is why? I’d be willing to bet it’s because your guys needed a new “boogie-man” to scare the public, after all people only stay scared for so long...... Without a new “boogie-man” you guys could not sustain the illusion of necessity – and you guys don’t want to lose the multi-billion dollar budget now do you?

Anonymous said...

Two comments on the liquids:
1) Follow the approach of the EU, provide baggies if you feel there are two many liquids in one passenger baggie (e.g. mouthwash, land lotion, shampoo) to be easily visible.
2) End this policy about not be able to drink the liquid on one side of the check v. the other. If I am running up and forget to drink my water before the scan (on those rare times when the line is short), why can't I drink it on the other side. If they see my drink either way? Makes zero difference to passenger safety just TSA being silly. If it really was explosive, I'd be dead in steps any way from the poison.

mlkauf said...

Sorry, but I haven't read through all of these to see if this idea has been mentioned already or not, and I’m not a big blogger either. I travel once a week for work, and have noticed how passengers become so impatient with TSA and a lot of times these same people think that it's the TSA fault that the lines are so long. Americans want everything, right now or yesterday, and don’t want to wait for anything. It’s a fast food nation. Granted, in my opinion, TSA employees have what I call a "shoot the breeze" job, where they can easily be perceived as doing such, instead of working. But I know that they are doing their best to screen everyone and their baggage, to keep us all safe when travelling through the air.

You know all those signs and TV monitors telling you how to pack and how to breeze through security without any problems? Well no one reads those, no one listens to them, they are simply ignored because people do not know that they contain and important message that will get you through security faster. I see this every week. Heck, sometimes people make fun of it and laugh, instead of paying attention to it, then they get mad at the TSA when they get yelled at for screwing something up during the screening process. No one listens to the TSA when they start yelling at the lines because people are putting their boarding passes through the x-ray, not removing their shoes, or doing this or that wrong. Even when people put their boarding pass through the x-ray machine, they STILL act like its TSA’s fault for not telling them that. What the heck? My solution may not be the nicest one in the world, and we certainly don’t want to offend or upset anyone. And worst of all, we don’t want to put any kind of responsibility on the traveler to make themselves less ignorant of the screening process prior to heading to the airport, in this post 9/11 era. Well here goes…

I call it the “end of the line” process. If somebody screws something up during the screening process, and I mean anything, simply send them to the end of the line. I was in the military and I believe in training the masses by punishing the masses. I guarantee you that the person in front me today that put her boarding pass through the x-ray machine will never ever make that mistake again if she had been sent to the end of the line to do it all over again, and subsequently missed her flight! Humans learn from their mistakes, this is a fact of life. Why not, use this fact to increase the learning curve, and decrease the wait times at airports, by increasing the flow at the screening areas? Yes, this is easier said than done, and maybe the view is not worth the climb. Larger airports would have to redesign their security screening areas and general processes, with new routes put in at the entrance and exit of each x-ray machine, in order to facilitate sending people to the end of the line. Don’t forget to put one at the ID checkpoint for the folks that walk up to it with their ID’s buried in their wallets, in their purses, etc, who “had NO IDEA that they would need their ID to get through security.” And don’t even get me started on people not knowing the 3-1-1 for liquids rule!!!

Don’t get me wrong, I do feel bad for the 80-year old couple that is flying for the first time in over 20 years to see their great grandchildren for the first time. The old couple may not have internet, or any means to be publicly educated on the process. But they obviously have children, grandchildren, or somebody that can tell them what to expect when they get to the airport. In this case, I think that everyone must be treated equally first, then down the line, certain exceptions can be made. And here’s another idea… hire more TSA workers to stand out at the front of the screening line and offer a quick overview of airport screening 101. These employees could help the old couple and the folks that get sent to the end of the line because they had no idea that they were not allowed to bring a 2-liter of Mountain Dew through the checkpoint! Maybe even a small advertising campaign to promote the “end of the line” idea, and use a little scare tactic for the general public.

Thanks for keeping us safe and for creating this blog. I look forward to seeing folks in front of me sent to the “end of the line” in the future when they screw up due to their own ignorance and lack of desire for information!

Anonymous said...

Just so all the civilians know - if you are posting on here and complaining - chances are you are now on the watchlist for being a "malcontent"....

Think I'm crazy? This is just another means for for big brother to focus on the trouble makers, those people who won't just accept what they are told and have the unpatriotic audacity to think for themselves..

Next time you go through a security checkpoint with the little SSS on your ticket - you will know why.

Udirtysoso said...

We cant bring sealed water or drinks. But The vendors bring in all they want. It goes right through the X-ray then sold to us. Why??? I know. It's classified right? Want us to like TSA? Quit thinking we're stupid.

Anonymous said...

Since liquid prescriptions are allowed through security what is to prevent terrorists from putting their hazardous liquids into prescription bottles?

Anonymous said...

just curious what happened to my post last week that showed the flaw in the system that allows passengers to carry a gallon of 151 proof duty free liquor onto a plane without having to go thru security. also why should a terrorist worry about sneaking a bomb onto a plane when most airlines now sell duty free items like large bottles of alcohol based perfumes and magnum bottles of high proof alcohol scotch during the flight that both can used to create a molotov cocktail bomb.

Anonymous said...

Question: by TSA standards, is cheese a "liquid"?

There is no food served on board for very long flights now, and I would like to bring a nice cheese sandwich (real cheese, not the "Cheese in pressurized containers" the TSA website talks about), but I am confused at exactly what point of "pastiness" the TSA starts to classify stuff as a liquid. Maybe they could give us guidelines, like how many days I can age my brie before they consider it a liquid.

Or maybe, just maybe, they could hire smart well trained people who talk to passengers and to screen them instead of inventing stupid rules that bother every one and do not work. After all, I can still bring in a good 500 mL of liquid over my breats...

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with the 3-1-1 rule, if you want to take something larger, then put in in your stowed luggage.

HOWEVER, I find it ridiculous that on an international flight, a potential "evil do-er" can purchase alcohol in the duty free section, then take these liter bottles on a plane without any problems. Growing up in the UK and hearing about "Molotov cocktails" used in Ireland on a weekly basis. I think it is laughable that we consider 4oz of toothpaste or mouthwash dangerous, but liters of alcohol are OK.

Anonymous said...

3oz of Sarin or Vx in liquid form are easily disguised in your toiletries and the screeners would never know.

For those of you who don't know what Sarin and Vx are, please take a moment to google them.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that they are readily available on the black market?

Q: How do you stop a terrorist who is bent on killing himself?

A: You don't.

Anonymous said...

How about a response TSA, it's been weeks! Let's get a dialogue going here, right...

Are confiscated liquids hazardous or not?

Either they are or are not. It cannot be both ways.

Your people manning the disposal containers should be dressed out in explosive protection suits and a hazmat team should be in attendance.

So are you saying that these things are in fact not hazardous?

Security Theater at its most entertaining!

You guys afraid to answer this simple question?

Anonymous said...

Ok, great. Your x-rays can't tell the difference between Gatorade, eye drops, water, acetone, sulfuric acid and hydrogen peroxide. And TATP causes a vigorous explosion. We get it.

But you TSA guys have to be seriously kidding yourselves if you think that you can make TATP out of acetone, hydrogen peroxide, and sulfuric acid ***ON AN AIRPLANE***. You may as well just admit that you don't have any chemists working for you, because this is just completely ridiculous. Get a real job (one where I'm not paying your salary with my taxes) or take some remedial science classes. Truly embarrassing.

L.C.PHX said...

every resriction has been created for a reason and if a TSO takes away a resricted item or an item that is over the 3.4 ounce limit you shouldnt be angry.PACK YOUR ITEMS THE RIGHT WAY.dont bring knives or big liquid containers.your bag will be checked again and you will take longer to get to your gate.but the main idea is safety .its obvious that you as a passenger do not know everyone on that plane,so you need to ask yourself "do i want a complete stranger to come in passed the check point with a dangerous item "?,you do not know know what others are capable of and its better to be cautious than sorry

Anonymous said...

if you know you cant take liquids past the checkpoint dont try'll just slow you down

Marshall said...

Interesting that apparently none of the TSAers on this site have information about this:

Japan has had this technology for quite a while and I believe it was the Kipper himself who said it doesn't work, but now TSA is touting that it will be in existence by the end of this year to "protect" us.

Lynn said...

In response to Marshall:
"Interesting that apparently none of the TSAers on this site have information about this:

Japan has had this technology for quite a while and I believe it was the Kipper himself who said it doesn't work, but now TSA is touting that it will be in existence by the end of this year to "protect" us."

Marshall, I think you have this confused with puffers. The Bottled Liquid scanners are effective and are used to test liquids like medicines that passengers declare are over the 3 ounce limit.

Lancifer said...

These quotes are from the very same page about the very same policy regarding liquids bought at the duty free shops:

"The tamper-evident bag is not currently accepted through U.S. checkpoints."

"On nonstop flights bound for the US, duty-free liquids purchased in an international airport will be permitted through the checkpoint only if they meet U.S. requirements for the use of tamper-evident bags."

Which is it? Do you accept these tamper-evident bags, or do you not accept them? This is from the site. This is stated here. It's contradictions like this that complicate matters for everyone. Is there something that the TSA knows that the rest of the world doesn't? Is there a reason that the TSA standard has to be different from the internationally accepted standards? It would stand to reason that if something is safe enough for most countries in Europe (where there actually is a high potential for terrorist activity), then it should be safe enough for the US.

The rule is clear for flights that have a connecting flight to the US. It's just not so clear for nonstop flights to the US. If it isn't accepted, then say so. There is no need to complicate it.

Anonymous said...

I saw a man easily in his 90's and in a wheelchair, pushed by who I presume to be his elderly wife. TSA took away his water. The poor wife started crying and pleading about how dehydrated her husband gets. But TSA unceremoniously took and threw it away, instructing him to buy another water bottle as soon as he cleared security.

I also saw (and heard) a very irate, inconsolable baby. The mother was beside herself. The flight from PHL to Boston was it's usual five or so hours delayed, and they were out of babyfood, because TSA confiscated half of their babyfood at security. There was of course, nothing to feed the baby.

The last one happened to me. I'm an attorney and came straight from court. I was very professionally dressed in a black suit, with a fully lined, lace camisole. The male TSA employee ordered me to take my jacket off, which I did and understand. However, then he ordered me a special hand search because I was "inapprpropriately dressed!!" Well, you're the one that made me remove my jacket. I was furious, humilated, and of course, delayed unnecessarily. I normally would have complained, but even a U.S. lawyer is too scared of TSA to ask him his name to register a complaint. I was too scared of being put on some myseterious black list.

The system is more broken than ever. And I have little hope of it getting fixed.

Anonymous said...

I was flying out of San Francisco with my husband, and we packed food for our cross-country flight (6 hours plus a 2 hour drive from the airport to our house). We had just gone to Whole Foods and purchased bread and Almond butter, fruit, cheese, meat and mustard.

Mustard and Almond butter do not come in small 3-0z or smaller packages. I asked my husband if we should spread the mustard on the bread and then pack it in our checked baggage. The Almond butter was a harder call, it was for a snack with the apples and couldn't be spread on in advance. should i spread that on some bread too and pack up its container as well?

"No" was his reasoned reply: first, neither one is a liquid or a gel. second, both could break in our luggage and cause a huge mess. Since they wouldn't be taken as a liquid or a gel, we should just carry them on.

When we went through security, they confiscated both! We asked them why they were taking things that are not on the list, that are neither liquid nor gel, and that are brand new and have never been opened. They had no answer.

They just asked us to please pack up and move along. We were flabbergasted! We didn't understand and asked for an explanation again. they didn't care, but looked at the bottles for something to prove their point. Finally the woman said 'See, it says butter!' Right, i explained, but butter isn't a liquid or a gel, and this butter is made from nuts!

Mustard can be argued to have water in it. But Almond butter? It is just ground almonds! Same as Peanut butter only it can be eaten by people allergic to peanuts.

Can you please explain?

Anonymous said...

yes liquids can be made into a bomb Ramsey Yusef did on a Philippine Airlines in DEC of 1994. Do you also remember he was one of the terrorist of 9/11. You people seem to forget what happened on 9/11. What if today was 9/11? Would you then follow the policy for liquids,or just bury your head in the sand and pretend that it can't happen?

Anonymous said...

I think you're missing a critical point about confiscating PORTIONS of baby food. If the stuff is potentially dangerous then you should probably confiscate it all and not allow any to be brought past security. I understand that we have to take strong measures for our protection, but confiscating a portion of a baby's supply of food doesn't seem like it's going to accomplish anything except frustrating new parents. Why not require the airlines to provide adequate nourishment with contingency planning for delays. And while you're making new rules, put a cap on the price they can charge for the stuff. It's not for profit, it's for security.

Anonymous said...

Anonomous said:They just asked us to please pack up and move along. We were flabbergasted! We didn't understand and asked for an explanation again. they didn't care, but looked at the bottles for something to prove their point. Finally the woman said 'See, it says butter!' Right, i explained, but butter isn't a liquid or a gel, and this butter is made from nuts!

Mustard can be argued to have water in it. But Almond butter? It is just ground almonds! Same as Peanut butter only it can be eaten by people allergic to peanuts.

San Fransisco screeners are actually private and not TSA but they follow the same rules as we do across the country. Peanut butter, yogurt, mustard, jellies and jams, are all the consistency of a gel or paste. If you can pour, spread, or smear the substance it's not permitted in containers above the 3.4 oz limit. The best answer I can give is if you question it as a possible liquid, rather than take a chance on losing it, place it in your checked baggage.

TSA screener

Anonymous said...

A recent article in the New York Times cautions parents that the exemption to liquids and gels made for baby food was not absolute - there is still a limit to how much you may bring along, though that limit is somewhat vague and ill-defined. The article has a nice back and forth between the parents and some TSA spokesperson, and it basically all comes down to TSA can make judgement calls on how much is too much.

At the end of the article, however, I'm completely flabbergasted that no one has once discussed security or what it has to do with the baby food. I don't know about you, but the last time I checked, TSA's sole job is to make sure no one blows up, hijacks, or otherwise disturbs any of the literally thousands of flights leaving US airports each day. From the way the TSA spokesperson talks about it, their job is to enforce the rules, which are completely arbitrary, without regard to their sole task: security. No one thought the doctors could have explosives in their baby food. Nor did anyone think that only allowing them some of their baby food was going to make people safer or, if the food were an explosive, would it limit the danger.

So, I ask this, what the hell is the point?

Anonymous said...

I think people should be smart and read what they can take on a plane. They take the time to write on this blog. Then maybe TSA would't steal their toiletries or maybe TSA should test all liguids,so if they didn't test for explosive you can keep you hair product or toothpaste.That should make the lines move.I have a better idea, maybe the airlines should enfore their carry-on rules, size and number of bags.

Anonymous said...

I have seen several people complain about the legal basis for the TSA doing what is does..
It's time you folks realize that the only legal support they need is the men with guns. Our country has been hijacked by people who think that researching the Constitutionality of an issue means determining what linguistic acrobatics will be needed to justify it - no thought is given to whether or not it is right.
The TSA, along with the DEA, the ATF, the FBI, the NSA, and the rest of the armed alphabet soup agencies do what they do because there is no one who can tell them no.
This blog is to give a disgruntled public a place to vent, the illusion that you have some say. At the end of the day you will do what you are told or you will be jailed or shot - that is the reality of today. Think I'm wrong?
Try to stand up and assert yout rights while in the custody of any of these armed groups - but get your affairs in order first...

Anonymous said...

Baby Food

Although not surprised by the story I was disappointed to find that a family recently had their supplu of baby food taken away because the TSA agent thought they had too much of it. As somebody who spent 7 hours with a 4 year old in an airport due to a delayed flight I can imagine how and why these folks wanted extra food for thei baby. This is food that you cannot purchase at ANY airport. It should be in the parents judgement to decide how much food to bring along...what if the baby is a tempermental eater and they need variety. What if they ended up crossing almost 3 meal times as we did. Should babies be forced into starvation by the TSA? Left to scream the entire flight because they are literally being deprived of nutrition?

Clearly TSA employees lack the appropriate training to make nutritional decisions and should not be permitted to do so.

We have a baby on the way and my gut instinct is that we will stay off of planes until we make the switch to table food rather than be forced to deal with this nonsense.

Anonymous said...

The comments by TSA's Kip about e Liquids have been taken down.

Why? Was it because his now missing point #4 was an embarassement and he could not support TSA's policy of stealing peoples water and other beverages?

How about an answer, why was his comments deleted?

Anonymous said...

Um... mustard and almond butter is a liquid or gel. I find it funny that you can not figure that out. Especially mustard, it is by far not solid lol... and the almond butter wake up that is not solid either. I think of a liquid or gel as something that needs a container to hold its shape. That will get your through airport security better now.

openyourminds said...

Same questions, still no response from the "Great and Wonderful TSA."

Don't look behind the curtain!

How about a response TSA!

Are confiscated liquids hazardous or not?

Either they are or are not. It cannot be both ways.

Your people manning the disposal containers should be dressed out in explosive protection suits and a hazmat team should be in attendance.

So are you saying that these things are in fact not hazardous?

Security Theater at its most entertaining!


they wouldn't need explosive protection suits as you so put it. Explosive material doesn't blow up byitself. You need a detonator, power source, and a switch. and if the liquid in the container appeared to have the aforementioned items it would not be lying around for disposal.

your IGNORANCE at its most entertaining!

Gabriel said...

what do you do with confiscated items? i'd like to pick up things i've left behind when i return. i fly out of SFO

Anonymous said...

For those of you who suspect that the TSA/airline employees are stealing your various oversized liquid products.....if you are talking about the Oakland Airport you are correct.
Upon a recent business trip to the Oakland Airport, I was approached by a guy in the parking lot (which seems to be terminally under construction) who had a entire van full of pint sized products, every thing from shaving creme to Chanel #9 - which according to the peddler were "voluntarily" surrendered by people at the security point. He didn't even bother to weed out those containers that were obviously used and only partially full.
The good news is that is that if you have to "voluntarily surrender" the items as you leave town, chances are you can re-purchase them upon your return, thanks to the efforts of your local TSA (in Oakland anyway.)

atp2007 said...

Recently we returned from the UK thru Minneapolis. It was a short walk to go thru Immigration control, grab our bags from the carosel and pass thru Customs, all the while being watched by one US offical or another and never in areas where we could not be observed. We then dropped off the luggage with NW, and had to ge thru security again! This time they took all our bags apart and I had to unload all my camera equipment, something I did not have to do even when going thru security from right off the street elsewhere. The most aggravating part to travelers was that they were not letting Duty-Free alcohol thru because it was larger than 3 ounces! This was liquid bought after security checks elsewhere, was still sealed, that had just traveled from overseas on a large plane and was now switching to a much smaller domestic plane. By then it was oo late to put in in the checked luggage as that had already went down the belt. It's seems a stupid policy as there was never a time when they were unobserved, but at least people should be warned before they drop off their bags at the connection desk.

Anonymous said...

For all those complaining about the liquid, gel, aerosol ban...ask yourselves this:

What is better; to make a rule in the hope of preventing a tragedy or do nothing and have to answer the tough questions when that tragedy occurs? The inconvenience of some is worth the security of all!

People in the business of security can only make educated and researched decisions based on what is/isn't a realistic threat.

Do you really think the government wants to inconvenience passengers? The same passengers that put profit into the airline industry; the same industry that puts profit back into the government? Be realistic!

Anonymous said...

re: they wouldn't need explosive protection suits as you so put it. Explosive material doesn't blow up byitself. You need a detonator, power source, and a switch. and if the liquid in the container appeared to have the aforementioned items it would not be lying around for disposal.

The point remains, if the items are potentially dangerous they should be treated as such.

If they are not dangerous then they should not be confiscated.

What happened to Kips comments regarding liquids? Rmember point #4?

Anonymous said...

The problem with this whole thing is that
1. There is no published scientific study that shows the threat is valid.

2. It is enforced in a confusing and arbitrary manner. 3oz? 3.4oz? I have had 3oz bottles taken away because they did not say 3oz on them. I was harrassed at PDX for prescription medications being in a seperate bag from the 1qt toiletries bag. My epipen doesn't fit in a 1qt bag. Over-the-counter liquid meds are not supposed to be restricted, yet I saw a family at JFK having their cough syrup taken away. Targeting people with medical conditions is discrimination, pure and simple, immoral, and illegal.

4. There is no power in the hands of the people who are paying for this service. TSA screeners are rude and abusive to people who follow the rules as well as those who do not. I can go on the TSA website, print up the rules, and have a totally conflicting experience at the screening. Complaints do nothing to improve the situation, and increase the likelihood of abuse. There is no recourse for travelers, no consequences for the employees who are abusive, and no enforcement of consistency of policy. The people that take the time to learn your policy and do everything you say are treated no better than those who amazingly missed the policy change, and often have things taken away by undertrained screeners.

5. There is, strangely enough, no commercial support of TSA procedure. Someone, please, start selling TSA-approvable 3oz or 100ml empty bottles that are marked as such. I want to be able to travel carry-on only again. There could be kits with the quart bag and bottles included. Travel size toiletries are too small, regular are too large.

Hypoglycemic - Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy said...


"To ensure the health and welfare of certain air travelers, in the absence of suspicious activity or items, greater than 3 ounces of the following liquids, gels and aerosols are permitted through the security checkpoint in reasonable quantities for the duration of your itinerary (all exceptions must be presented to the security officer in front of the checkpoint):

* Baby formula, breast milk, and juice
* All prescription and over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels, and aerosols) including KY jelly, eye drops, and saline solution for medical purposes;
* Liquids including water, juice, or liquid nutrition or gels for passengers with a disability or medical condition;

-- from the cited TSA list


Why do TSA screeners refuse my contact lens solution? It is an over-the-counter saline eye-drop solution.

How much medical information must one share with TSA before one can carry "Liquids including water..."?

Dave X the first said...

Kip's missive about liquids being banned because it is impossible for chemists to assemble a liquid explosive are still on the blog, but it is relatively inacessible because it scrolled off the top.

See Kip spin: "More on the Liquid Rules: Why We Do the Things We Do"

Also, you can find it off of the February 2008 link.

Someone who was good with blogging could make a "prior posts" link work.

Neil, the author could also update his post and add a pointer to Kip's attempt to explain this dumb liquids ban.

Anonymous said...

"they wouldn't need explosive protection suits as you so put it. Explosive material doesn't blow up byitself. You need a detonator, power source, and a switch. and if the liquid in the container appeared to have the aforementioned items it would not be lying around for disposal."


So based on your thoughts, unless I had a detonator with me my bottle of water would be perfectly safe to take on the aircraft.

Your logic is as good as the TSA's!

Lawrence said...

The liquid ban has never made sense and makes even less sense the way it is implemented. Here is why:

1 - You cannot carry a 1-qt bottle through security because it might be used to mix several chemicals to make an explosive mixture. Yet TSA will give you a 1-qt plastic bag that could be used for the same purpose. Or, you can purchase a 1-qt bottle of water after security and use it if you happen to be a terrorist. Conclusion: there is no valid reason to prohibit large empty bottles unless you are going to prohibit the sale of water in bottles, cokes in supersized containers,etc, AND unless you are going to check all luggage for plastic bags of all sizes.

2 - The 3.4-oz rule clearly applies to volume-ounces. Yet, toothpaste is measured in weight-ounces. I have measured the density of several brands of toothpaste, and you have to have almost five wt-oz of toothpaste to get to a volume of 3.4 vol-oz. Screeners have no clue of all this however, although one did tell me, when I tried to explain, that he knew all about the two kinds of ounces: he was a chemistry major. I trust not a highly successful chemistry major.

The TSA is asking for people not to take the screening seriously when they enforce such obviously silly rules, or enforce their rules in a silly manner. Even worse, spending time on silly rules distracts from the screening that might actually deter a terrorist. many times less is more, and that is certainly the case when you including screening procedures that do nothing to enhance security. When TSA has rules that make no sense, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that security is for show only, done so that they can say, "Well, we did all we could think of." after the next terrorist attack. Instead, they should try to think of something that might work.

Bill said...

Anyone else see the article on MSNBC about what TSA actually does with confiscated items? They sell them to state surplus agencies.

NAM said...

Actually, TSA doesn't sell them to state surplus agencies, we give them away to state surplus agencies and other non-profit entities that solicit them, in accordance with the federal General Services Administration directives for disposition of excess government property.

Sometimes, state surplus agencies or other non-profit entities turn around and sell the items for a profit, mind you, not a profit to the TSA, while others actually use the items in some way.

TSA Evolution Blog Team

Anonymous said...

As someone who encounters TSA officers both in ATL and AVL (Asheville NC) I have to say that I have found them invariably courteous. I would however be most grateful for some clarification of the rules. Firstly the quart zip-lock bag: These are quite difficult to obtain in the UK. Is a resealable bag of similar dimension acceptable, or is the phrase "zip-lock" to be interpreted literally? (Believing the latter to be the case, I have just ordered 10 of them from the US). Secondly, the 3 fl. oz regulation: 3 US fl. oz is 88.75 ml, Will TSA officers accept containers of a volume less than or equal to 88.75 ml as equivalent to 3 US fl. oz, or must it state the US measurement on the container as well as the metric one (if the latter is the case, I will need to order more toiletries from the US). I have to confess to being somewhat apprehensive about this, and may very well pack all liquids in check-in luggage. This is somewhat of a problem as Delta normally fail to transfer my checked in luggage to arrive with my flight when I transfer for Asheville, and one is unable to shave etc until some gentleman arrives with my bag in the back of his pickup.
I have no wish in any way to critize TSA officers, who have no choice but to interpret the rules in the most literal and inflexible manner, personal discretion is I suspect something which might result in their losing their jobs. I merely wish to know exactly what the rules are, so that I am in a position exactly to comply therewith.

Anonymous said...

I just have one thing to say to all those individuals out there who believe that an explosive could not be created out of liquids and/or that a liquid explosive has never or could never be used on commercial aircraft: Look up the "Bojinka Plot" and find out that in 1996 it was not only proven feasible, but that liquuid explosives were successfully tested on board a commercial airliner.

Anonymous said...

@ Lawrence

You actually can take empty bottles through security. I do not know why you think you can not but you are aloud so your first point has no merit.

Your second point may not have merit either because I do not believe I have seen a toothpaste that is right on the border in regards to your measurement argument. I have seen either small travel size toothpastes or toothpastes that go from 4.6 oz and above. 4.6 oz is too close for comfort in regards to wt oz.

Just follow the rules and you will not have to be mad anymore by relinquishing your toothpaste. Have a nice day. Good job TSA!

Anonymous said...

Ang122, a TSA blogger, mentioned watching a demonstration of a sippy cup blowing up an airline seat.
While I applaud the nerve to demonstrate well-meaning concern for what would happen to an aircraft if a sippy cup exploded... Wow! Now I understand why we have these insane liquids rules. It's because TSA cannot differentiate between actual risk versus minimal risk. They espouse "what if liquid could become a bomb??? The terrorists might then sprout bombs from their urine or feces!! We better eliminate bathrooms on planes and in airports, and search people for thirst and toilet paper!!!".
Please Congress, protect us by reducing the amount of people who want to kill us for interfering in their countries, and stop letting the bureaucrats preach danger, while fantasizing reasons to protect their rather thin reason for being employed.
Ang122 - I'm sorry you feel threatened by sippy cupfuls of elaborately prepared explosive liquids staged in demonstrations. But, my right to carry a reasonably priced diet-pepsi while flying should not be impinged upon by your right to not understand reasonable scientific, social and constitutional risks and absolutes.

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