Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Welcome (Commenting Disabled)

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for joining us,

Kip Hawley

854 comments:

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stand back! i got h2o said...

My last time flying will hopefully be my *last time flying.* How absurd and annoying it was. I had 6 or 7 oz. of water in a clear bottle that I neglected to take care of. The TSA lady told me to empty it, so I went to the garbage can and poured some out. I held the bottle above the can so I could see how much was left--I wasn't about to lose my allotted 3 oz. She came over, grabbed my elbow, and yelled "That's not how you pour something out! You're making a spectacle!" Long story short, we got the supervisor over (her threat/my request); every time I said "I didn't do anything!" he yelled "You need to desist!" He told me I could have 3 oz., but also told me to pour the whole thing out because he couldn't measure how much 3 oz. was. They searched all my stuff and put me in the potential threat line with people of various ethnicities (I was the token white guy). I was already late for my plane and now I figured I'd miss it; I told the original lady "Thanks for ruining my day" and she said "It's my job!"

Bravo TSA for employing ignorant, deluded power freaks. This happened at PIT if anyone w/ authority here wants to check up on these two thugs.

Anonymous said...

Will we ever be able to lock our checked luggage again? If the taxpayer paid for high-powered, "see-everything" xray machines to see into the luggage then why do we still need to keep the luggage unlocked?

Are there any stats for how often checked luggage is opened for closer inspection? You don't have to publish the stats for the general public, but if the incident level is low then I don't see why we can't lock our checked luggage.

If the luggage is questionable after scanning it, the TSA should pull it aside and notify the airline which should notify the owner. That is why I thought we arrived at the airport so early now; 2hours before national flights & 3 hours before international flights.

Anonymous said...

Are my tax dollars being used here so that another non-educated, minimum wage rent a cop turned govt employee can sit and read through this blog????

As soon as the public at large finds out about this you will have so many posts, it will just become this long, convoluted, useless mess that in the end, does nothing and wastes more money.

If I had to complain......

While working for the US State Department diplomatic security service, I buy a ticket on expedia dot com, I get sent to the super screen isle. I have a higher clearance, I have more security training, I have better weapons skills, I have a higher education, and I have a wallet full of ID's......but I have some snot nosed 20 year old kid treating me like I am some criminal.

You TSA people really need to learn your proper place in the food chain.

golfandfly said...

TSA (Thousands Standing Around) has lost all sense of reality. As an airlne pilot I deal with TSA more than the average taveler. In most cases they are "just doing their jobs". I do however have one huge disagreement with an apparent policy at LAS. Sometimes we finish trips very late at night especially during the winter weather season when delays are rampant. It is not unusual, especially at LAS for all hotel rooms to to be filled forcing us to find someplace to settle in for the night. Our crew lounge which requires a security badge to access is often the only placed for us to wait for the next morning's flights home. Apparently TSA has started coming down to the lounge and telling everyone they have to leave. Where are we supposed to go?

Anonymous said...

I fly over 200,000 miles per year through many airports all over the world. The US TSA is by far one of the worst agencies providing airport security. Mission creep, stupidity and arrogance has led us to a place where we have little security, a loss of privacy, and major misuse of discretion.

Anonymous said...

I don't like the attitude of most of the TSA workers. They behave as if they are members of a SWAT team when in fact they are anuneducated and undertrained work force. They are not professional and there authority makes them act like they are on a power trip. Very pathetic.

JimH3109 said...

I fully understand that the TSA agents have to work within a framework of rules and regulations that they have no control over. However, that does not constitute an excuse for poor attitude, inconsistency, and failure to use common sense. Perhaps they should occasionally be evaluated by non-biased evaluators because clearly half of the screeners seem to be completely incompetent and in a position over their head. They are not there to fulfill some ego trip. They are there to do a valuable, responsible job.

GREGG said...

Just what is being done about the theft problem at our nation's airports? Most recently, my Mother was again a victim of theft, this time flying from DFW to LAS from her checked suitcase that was secured with a TSA approved lock!!! As a travel agent for over 20 years, I am hearing from clients, as well as collegues from all over the nation that this problem of theft is quite prevalent. Has the TSA not been equiped enough to x-ray baggage? If so, why can we not secure our own bags against this theft problem???

Anonymous said...

I just want to know when we can get to a day when an appropriately dressed frequent traveler can pass through security and remain appropriately dressed the entire time? I'm talking belts, shoes, and most of all sweaters when it's 5 degrees outside in the winter. I'll take my coat off, but come on a sweater, in winter time??

In my opinion, the terrorist won with the formation of TSA.

Anonymous said...

You'll have to excuse me for not joining in the chorus of accolades and fawning praise. I'll save that for when (if) I ever see results. As for my complaints and suggestions, I could waste 10 minutes of my life typing them here, but I know that they will fall on deaf ears. I'll just state the root of the problem which I hope you will seriously consider. If the purpose of "terrorism" is to inflict terror, then are you not adding to the fever by victimizing, disrespecting and inflicting fear and paranoia on your own citizens? We were hit 7 years ago in a lucky gambit by our enemies. That got the ball rolling, and you (the TSA, the NSA, the CIA and any other paranoid government agency that hides behind a catchy, 3-letter acronym) have finished the job. I am not bothered by out "enemies" overseas nearly as much as our "friends" hiding behind the airport badges. That is all I have to say. Go ahead, delete this comment and resume patting yourselves on the back.

Anonymous said...

Before TSA I traveled 90% for business over a period of 10 years. The only "incident" I ever had was a bag that went to Wichita KS instead of Wichita Falls, TX. Now - after TSA - I have had nothing but problems. The worst of which is that 50% of the time my suitcase has arrived OPEN. It had to be hand-carried because it was open. Why can't TSA at least figure out how to close a suitcase???
TSA, in my opinion, is most incompetent!!!! :-(

I don't care if this gets posted or not. I do care if TSA takes notice and takes action on the quality of the employees it hires! Or perhaps trains them better.

Anonymous said...

I fully understand that the TSA agents have to work within a framework of rules and regulations that they have no control over. However, that does not constitute an excuse for poor attitude, inconsistency, and failure to use common sense. Perhaps they should be somehow evaluated by non-biased evaluators occasionally because clearly half of the screeners seem to be completely incompetent and in a position over their head.

Christopher said...

I've been in a long distance relationship for over a year now and it has given me an interesting opportunity to see some of the problems at various airports around the country. Milwaukee is lax. Boston/Logan employees were abusive to me. Orlando has their act together better then any other airport I've been to. I fly mostly Milwaukee Mitchell to Orlando and back. I've had some funny experiences transporting anything from live lobsters to apples pies. I've gotten some very different answers at different airports. I think this is one of the public's biggest gripes right now with the TSA. They both lack the knowledge of TSA policies but they also are not at all consistent with regards to policy enforcement. I think a lot of screeners need much more training. Example one, my girlfriend was flying from Logan to Milwaukee to Orlando. She had three live lobsters in a clearly marked box that was sealed with tape and had two ice packs in it. Boston Logan TSA cleared her with that as a carry on to Milwaukee. Milwaukee TSA said they could not allow liquids in carry-ons (the ice packs) so they confiscated them. BUT THEN, they told us right after security there was a bar that would give us some ice. They almost confiscated the lobsters as well. Example two, I recently traveled to Boston Logan with my girlfriend to see family for the holidays. The ticket was purchased by my girlfriend's mom who accidentally misspelled my last name on the ticket. I was flagged for additional screening at Milwaukee and was told if I went outside the secure area to smoke (I'm a smoker) that I would have to go through the special screening again. Our flight was delayed and I went out to smoke. I did not have to go through special screening the second time. Despite the fact that the first TSA agent marked my ticket as such. Here's my question, how did they miss me?! I am 7'1" tall!!! When I came home through Logan I was subject to no special screening and the TSA agent simply said, "Eh, I think you'll be fine..." I agree with other postings as well that valid but expired driver's licenses should be accepted. I never imagined I could get stranded domestically by an ID issue but it happened. I forgot my license expired on one trip to Orlando and Milwaukee cleared me with an expired license. Orlando almost didn't let me on the plane. You can often defeat any resistance you encounter by simply saying "Well they let me do it at the other airport". That's a big problem in my mind. Screeners should know policy and follow it to the letter. On the recent return flight I was also harassed by a Logan TSA (I don't remember her name nor would I post it) who felt it was perfectly fine to stop me in line, ID me, simply to find out how tall I was. This was EXTREEMLY demeaning and insulting. But, what could I do? If I raised an objection to her behavior I might be a suspect. This fear culture makes traveling horrible. She proceeded to joke with her friends about how tall I was. This was after STANDING in line for over an hour. Logan has the worst efficency for screening I have seen. Sad, considering it was a point of origination for 9/11. Would it be acceptable for a TSA to go up to a dark skinned black man and yell (she was yelling) "Man! You're a dark one!" or would it be ok for them to approach a fat person, "Holy cow your huge!" No, they would be in big trouble. Why is it OK for them to prejudice me just because of how I look? I have no control over that. Overall the screeners at Mitchell really don't seem to care to much. The screeners at Logan were abusive and SLOW! The line was only 50 people deep and it took over an hour. Orlando is the only airport I've been to that actually has their act together. The screeners have always been prompt and consistent in answering my questions. They are polite and move you through screening at a reasonable pace even when there is a large crowd. They seem to be actively engaged in what they are doing and not just chatting with co-workers like Logan or Mitchell. You should take a lesson from what they are doing down there and apply it elsewhere. If all airports were like Orlando you'd have a much better public opinion of the TSA. Logan also seems to be undersraffed. Thanks for the opportunity to gripe.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the feedback area, it's needed. --- If one aim of the TSA is to move passengers through quickly, then WHY do we always see unused check stations sitting idle while we and many other people wait for long periods in line??? It needs to be policy for as many check stations to be manned as needed so as to always keep the lineup to just a couple of people.

Anonymous said...

Having just completed a 5 week tour on "One World", am impressed with the consistency of the inspection process as well as the reasonable requests from 98% of the inspectors. For the most part, the process is fastmoving and fair.

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem I have at the TSA check points is every one is different. There is no consistantancy to the whole TSA Checkpoint system. I have been at 4 different airports in the past 7 months. Each airport does things different. Seattle has a little strickness to their order. But in Buffalo it is different each time you go in there. being a diabetic, I wear an Insulin Pump. 2 separate times I was asked to remove my pump to go through the x-ray machine. I am not supposed to take the pump off unless in the shower or pool. But when asked to remove it, the tone that is used makes me think I have done something wrong. At SFO I was yelled at for having it attached to me. But then on another occation at SFO I realized I had a lighter on me after I past TSA and went back to tell them and let them dipose of it and they told me not to worry about it. I just wish it was more consistant.

Logan frequent flyer said...

I am a very frequent flyer.

Here is a security breach I have seen a few times: medical transplant organs transported on planes in a sealed cooler are not x-rayed or opened.

Yes, the cooler has a sealed security tape on it, and offical looking hospital labels, and everything looks 'proper', and the ice chest is accompanied by someone with a badge.....

But truly, how do you know a bomb isn't being smuggled in? How do you know the labels and security tapes weren't purchased the week before on ebay, or done up by some kid in Qatar with Photoshop? How do you know the badge is real?

It just seems to me that organ transplant coolers are a security breach waiting to happen.

billychris said...

After going through various checks from vacation destinations, I find that most luggage checkers do not have too much concern for fragile souveniers that were carefully packed between layers of clothing.
Some of miine have been damaged because of a "rough" process.
I hope TSA promotes a softer and kinder check through luggage.
Here in Santa Maria, CA (SMX), the TSA Supervisor shot himself in the thigh beause he had personal issues. Has he been replaced yet, and released from TSA employment?
Thank you, Bill

lesliepear said...

I'd really like the liquid policy rethought somehow. It causes more checked baggage (usually one wants the toiletries with you in case of delays). Also you can't bring drinks at all - even juice boxes from the supermarket exceed the 3 oz rule.

Anonymous said...

I haven't flown in 10 years and brag about it to all my friends.

Anonymous said...

Could the TSA have one line designated for people without any carry on (including purses and laptop bags) at all ?

ajr said...

I usually do not have a complaint or problem with the added security measures taken at airports, however, I do have a complaint with the "surley, impolite, rude and downright offensive" screeners at Washington Dulles Airport. I don't know what the chip on their shoulder is all about, however, I have noticed on the past three trips through security a Dulles, that the folks there do not treat passengers with respect. Yes, I am white and most of them are black, but that does not give them a free hand to harrass passengers, especially those with metal implants. I recently had to wait in the "box" for 13 minutes while the secondary screener in the next line took his sweet old time to check out my hip implant. After seven minutes of standing - and yes I did watch my watch - I asked the primary screener if someone could please come over and check me out. You should have heard the tyrate this person had when asked politely to have someone come over and finish screening me. I was told that "I could just stand there until they were good and ready to check me out and if I opened my mouth again, they would call the security police and have me arrested! If this is the way you train your screeners at Dulles to behave, God help us all!

Anonymous said...

Manchester NH..Wednesday jan 30...approximately 1:30 pm. Manchester is not a very big airport...but at the first checkpoint there are two (2) people who look at my photo ID and my boarding pass, so I think I am safe to proceed, especially since the screening conveyor is about 12 feet from THAT checkpoint. With all the things you have to take off your person, and to try to not lose my boarding pass, I put it my tote and take off shoes, watches, etc and send thru the scanner. I go to walk thru the personal scanner..and the guy there (again about 12 feet from the two people who just both reviewed my ID and boarding pass) says I need my boarding pass again. How I could have magically appeared in that 12 foot window of the world? But then, when I said that I had put my boarding pass in my tote and that is was in the scanner, the scanner monitor went balistic, yelling at all the people in the line to "KEEP YOUR BOARDING PASSES ON YOUR PERSON"..

Just more proof that the TSA employees are so aloof and think they are above reproach! I, however am not shocked...it's this way at all airports.

Anonymous said...

The one thing that all security agencies say that helps the most is to be inconsistent and not set a routine because when you set a routine someone can monitor that and find the holes in it. So next time you travel just remember that routines kill…

Anonymous said...

Hey, you know that lil 80 year old lady you've pulled out of the line to hand search?

She's not the person you're looking for.

We all know who the terrorist are. If 100% of all successful airplane hijackings were committed by Muslim Extremists, why do you NOT target Muslim Extremists?

Anonymous said...

I fly alot, and generally I am appreciated with the job TSA is doing. There are occasional inconsistancies that make a bit difficult to plan how to pack for each inspection. I carry alot of office electronics, and therefore garner a lot of attention, with which I have no problem. But now, I have to pull out my printer along with my computer, and this gives me my carry on bag, plus three bins to deal with. Is there anyway all this could be done differently? It seems like one airport screening I recently went through had a separate line for us computer geeks. It would make it alot easier for me, and the poor people who have to follow me if this could be expanded.

Anonymous said...

The TSA should seriously undertake study to manage lines. I traval a lot.. and my job is queue management.. Simply providing a "speed line" for people travling alone, without children and with not more than a laptop.. would speed business along very well. It is not the TSA's fault that we have to endure all the screening..but it is important to be aware of it's impact on business. People traveling have to leave work much earlier than they used to in order to catch that flight- making this faster for business travelers will have a positive impact on the economy.. reduce costs associated with travel and improve productivity.
What happened to that special card y'all were gonna do? Yeah.. the privacy activists dont want it.. but then.. they dont have to catch a plane.. every day.

Dan said...

Awhile back I fly out of DIA. I go to the automated kiosk for a boarding pass. It wasn't working. A nice lady points me to a gentleman behind the counter and says he'll see that I get help. The man told me to retun to the lines but I protested politely that I'd now be at the back and an employee did direct me to him. He acted very put out. Right before he hands me my boarding pass he looks at me, gets this big smirk on his face, and pulls out a felt pen and makes a squiggly mark on my boarding pass. Sure enough when I got to the first Security agent she instantly directed me to secondary search were I and my luggage were put through the ringer. I've no doubt the airline employee had something to do with this with his marking my boarding pass. It sure seems like an abuse of the employees priviledges to earmark me like that because I inconvenienced him.

SBC said...

I have no objection to any of the security measures that are in place, and indeed welcome them. It is unfortunate that people cannot display both patience and courtesy to those whose job it is to provide screening. As I travel on a regular basis to Europe on business, I have noted that other countries are not so concerned with being PC! They indeed do give extra attention to those appearing to be Islamic, including women in full robe, as well they should. It would be helpful to ban all use of cell phones aboard planes, and to have more security within the airport itself, i.e. luggage areas, loading ramps, etc.

Anonymous said...

"We will not post comments that contain personal attacks of any kind; refer to Federal Civil Service employees by name; contain offensive terms that target specific ethnic or racial groups, or vulgar language."

Then what's the point? You want us to blow rainbows up your butt?

You people need to target Muslims, and you know it.

Anonymous said...

The security checks couldn't be more dehumanizing and undignified. Nothing to hold on to while taking off/putting on shoes: it would be funny if it wasn't so stressful. Have to keep track of how many bins were used for personal belongings. Security? I'm scared I'm going to get my wallet or something else stolen in all the confusion and chaos--or else forget something. I resent being herded thru the checkpoint like cattle. And for what? Your employees still cannot detect bombmaking materials according to the government's own tests. We are human beings...and I wouldn't subject cattle to that kind of stressful experience.

Suggestions: hire a hotshot team to figure out how to get done what needs to get done: efficiently and with as little stress and indignity as possible. As an ex-government employee, I recognize a system designed by government with no thought whatsoever of the people who must endure it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this forum. Most of the comments I've read are right on the money - TSA agents are not consistently trained. Each airport seems to have differnt rules, and the agents are often rude and enjoy bullying passengers.

The liquid rule is a joke - in Philadelphia, they took my mascara. When I asked them to turn the tube upside down to see if any "liquid" came out - I was screamed at - "Do you want to fly today?" Very humiliating and unnecessary.

Secondly, the set-up in Philadelphia is ridiculous. They need A LOT more screeners there.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to suggest that more information is given to travelers waiting in line, as a way to speed the process once we get to the screening station.

On my last trip through Atlanta, I had the "pleasure" of having three TSA employees screaming orders at the stunned-looking travelers in line, demanding that they comply with various demands that hadn't been put on any of the signs up to that point...

I'm sure they were so rude to us because they were exasperated by our failure to comply with the safety procedures, but the reason for that failure was that nobody had known in advance.

We wanna get through the process as quickly and efficiently as you do, we promise. Just let us know what you want us to do before we get to the front of the line!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to write about my most absurd TSA experience. About two years ago my daughter was blindly selected for "additional screening". She was three years old at the time, but still had to try and spread her arms and legs to be wanded by security while another guard studiously went through her Care Bears suitcase.

PeterPatnter said...

Dear TSA Friends,

Here in Reno one of the airport screeners told me that there was a discrepancy between the permitted-article rules announced in the media and the "actual" rules that the screeners are required to follow. In particular we were talking about a 1.5-inch (approximately) pocketknife that I had carried to the screening area. The screener told me it was true that the public had been told knives of that size were permissible, but actually such knives were NOT permissible. Please get the "right hand" and the "left hand" to work together on notifying the public of the actual rules -- so that articles don't have to be confiscated (or carried back to the traveler's vehicle in the parking lot) when the traveler has gone to the trouble of learning the publicized rules.

moses said...

I'm curious if economic impact studies have been done evaluating the effect of ludicrous TSA decisions such as the 3-1-1 policy on airline revenues.

Personally, I fly a LOT less now than I did before 9/11, and I fly less and less often every time a new ridiculous policy is put in place. I don't fly less because I feel unsafe. I fly less because I don't appreciate submitting myself to a police state. I now frequently substitute long road trips for airline flights, or I just don't go. I'd consider rail travel more seriously if AMTRAK had any worthwhile national connectivity.

Even when I do fly now, it's only on trips that I can manage with only carry-on luggage. I refuse to check my luggage without locking it, and the TSA approved locks are a giant joke when everyone who handles the luggage has the master keys. I couldn't use my big suitcase even if I wanted to now, because it won't stay closed without locking it, and it has pre-TSA vintage built-in locks. I've even had friends tell me to fly with firearms because then I'd be allowed to put an honest-to-goodness lock on my luggage, but I Don't Do Guns, so that option is out. And it's not like the TSA's infamous passenger luggage matching policy has done anything to actually stop lost luggage, either.

Incidentally, having TSA officers and National Guard troops with guns in airports on past occasions actually scared me a whole lot more than the incredibly slim prospect of becoming victim of a terrorist act on the plane.

Really, that's what it all comes down to. The TSA keeps implementing all these onerous and (IMO) ridiculous security measures because they think it makes the people feel safer about flying. The people who actually believe that it's making a whit of difference need to rub a few more brain cells together. The rest of us know that it's a giant pit of wasted money and time relative to the actual odds of anything happening.

I think the insanity of this whole TSA debacle is represented well by the plight of some poor lady I passed in PDX who was having her souvenir fruit preserves confiscated for being in a container larger than 3 oz. Oh noes! The TSA must save us all from blackberry jelly!

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I travel out of DFW, usually on American. I never had a problem on the screening there.

However, I once flew United at DFW and the screening process was a nightmare that resulted in a crack in my laptop computer. There was an inadequate "prep" area for people to easily get ready for the line, the line itself had gaps where people had to move all their things from the table and hold the baskets for an extended period.

Once I finally reached the real screening area, there was a ruckus right behind me as I went through the line. My purse and computer went through and the screeners would not let me join my belongings, nor would they retrieve them. (I didn't set off the alarms, I simply wasn't allowed to go through.) The person then rough-handled my computer (which I couldn't reach) and when I finally got over there, it had a crack and the hinge was partially broken. As the delay at the screening post was a long time, I didn't have time to talk to a supervisor about it or I would have possibly missed my flight.

This was the most frustrating experience, as it was mainly a disorganization thing, not a real issue with a passenger setting off alarms or getting abusive. There was simply an old man in wheelchair and that seemed to totally freak out the screeners.

Being separated from my computer and open purse for in excess of 15 minutes was really a problem in my opinion. They were not guarding the items, as they were totally preoccupied with the man in the wheelchair.

Mind you, this was the only time this has happened to me, but it only took one bad experience to damage my laptop computer. I did not file a claim, but I am glad to bring this sort of thing to your attention. It has been bugging me for a couple of years.

It seemed to me that the United screening setup at DFW needed some serious revamping. Again, I never experienced this issue at the American Airlines gates.

Thanks

Trvlor said...

As a very frequent flier, I think this site will be a good way for me and others like me to both vent our frustrations at security checkpoints and praise those doing a great job. I just hope that TSA can and will be "fair and honest" during the editing/posting progress. I can see this going a long way in bringing together fliers and TSA staff in a positive forum. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I traveled recently and when my checked bag was returned to me, my IPOD was gone. I contacted the airlines, they stated they did not "cover" electronic devices. Wanting to follow up with TSA, the manager did not return calls to me to be able to file a report/complaint about this crime. I couldn't determine who had jurisdiction and never received return calls about my theft. It would have been nice to have a number on the ISA info tag that I could contact for this. I've dropped it, as I don't have the time and energy to follow up, but it put light on how I view the staff of TSA.

Anonymous said...

We had a negitive experience
On our return to Michigan, out of Hartford the TSA inspector was rude and careless. He unzipped my husbands golf bags and all it's compartments and never zipped them back up. So any balls, tees whatever was in those compartments was lost. I had clothes in my luggage in flat clear plastic zip bags. Those were unzipped and rifled through and not put backt he way they were found. We are in our mid 50's and cooperative people. This experience was disturbing.

Anonymous said...

As someone who flys every now and then, I've found the "quality of service" by TSA folks to be good, on average, but inconsistent across airports. Some airports have friendlier TSA people than others. But all seem to care about their job and are professional.

An ongoing concern, however, is whether we are getting the best people to work for the TSA. Not sure what the pay is, but if it's less than $40,000 a year, then it's hard to find quality people, just the more desperate people who have few options. This then is the frontlines of our national security, which is only as strong as the weakest link.

Anonymous said...

You want the comments now, but when I did have a serious concern and actually drafted a letter to thge TSA, it was brushed off and nothing was ever done, you saying it was "routine". MY 80 year old mother in law who was dragged from her wheelchair at the insistance of TSA didn't think it was very routine. And the attitude of the supervisor who came on scene, his only response was to threaten to have me arrested when I said something. And you wonder why people dislike the TSA?

Nancy said...

To justify the liquids and shoe removal policy, I would like to see TSA post statistics on how many harmful liquids/gels have been siezed and how often, plus how many violations or security breaches have been found in someones's shoes.

I suspect the 80/20 rule would not even apply to these statistics: 80 percent of searches result in 0 breaches and 20% resulting in at least one breach. It would probably be more like 100% of the searches resulted in finding 0 violations.

How can these useless policies, that cost millions of dollars, not to mention inconveniences to passengers be justified?

Pete said...

Whoever made up many of the "rules" that TSA employees have to work under and us air travelers are forced to endure is really quite a moron. Everyone with any sense or real-world experience knows that using profiling is much more effective than what's being done now (go to Israel and be trained to spot someone who is going to do something bad on an airplane). There is no common sense to the rules: You can take 3 oz of liquid in a container. If the container says that it can hold 5 oz, yet it is readily apparent that the container only has about 2 oz in it, you can't take it through "security." Why? "Rules." Huh? Give me a break! Can't take knives or lighters on the plane, yet I have inadvertantly taken both on planes, and no one said anything in any of the 3 airports where I went through security. TSA DOES NOT make me feel more secure--it only pisses me off because of stupidity and inconsistent "rules."

Anonymous said...

I've been with TSA since it's inception at my local airport, and before that, I also worked for a private screening company since just past 9/11. Just a few quick comments and questions for travelers:


Do you realize that for every TSA screener that touches your checked baggage, there are literally dozens of airline employees that are touching them after they are screened?

How can you stand in line at your airline ticket counter, or at the airport checkpoint, staring at the screening process going on around you, and at the many posted signs........sometimes for an extended period of time.......and you still cannot comprehend what you need to do when you reach the screening area?

Why do "frequent flyer" business travelers or Biff and Muffy who are taking their kids out of school to ski the week away in Aspen or Vail, think that they deserve special treatment when they try to check in at their airline or try to get through the checkpoint ten or fifteen minutes before their flight departs?

When DHS/TSA was formed, there was an incredible opportunity to actually get something done correctly without the government bureacracy.............We started out with many ex-police officers, and ex-military personnel (myself included) that were truly grateful to have the opportunity to help the country that we love remain safe. Unfortunately, the vast majority of real professionals have all moved on away from the TSA because of the ridiculous management, and to some extent, the actual regulations that we are required to enforce............Not to mention the fact that each group of "new hires" coming in gets worse and worse. Most of the people hired now just want that Government Job. It doesn't matter that they don't understand the mission, as long as they can do their time and pick up their checks. Where we once had true professionals, we now have ex- housewives, fast food workers, shoe salesmen, cleaning service workers, and professional welfare collectors.

How can a Government agency promote by how well you fudge your resume, or pay someone to write your Knowledge Skills and Assessment questions? What ever happened to promoting someone because of their working knowledge of their job or their work ethic?

Sorry for the rant.........carry on!

Anonymous said...

You've had some nasty complaints that are really just rants, but you've also had some very fair and reasonable questions.

A BLOG PER SE may not be the right forum for responding.

If you actually want this thing to have some value, you need to structure it so that reasonable questions can be answered, and visitors can search for answers already posted, so they don't have to ask over and over.

If you don't do this, then this blog will have no value.

Anonymous said...

On a recent flight, the TSA screener noticed that I had an unopened bottle of gatorade in my briefcase. As I removed it, she took it out of mine hands, opened it and drank it in front of me.

Don't you pay these idiots enough to buy their own? What about courtesy?

Anonymous said...

First of all, what is happening today is based upon scare tactits by the government. Osama ben laden, the Teliban and Al Qaeda have been created and supported by the CIA for more than 20 years. This disinformation and propaganda is being promoted by the mainstream media. Furthermore, what is happening today is, that the government wants to militarize the world and control all the entire oil and natural gas reserves at the same time. That is why more than 3,000 people died, was for oil and natural gas. Additionally, everyone is one signature away from having martial law implemented and Constitutional and ALL Civil Rights be permanently suspended. It is time that the people have a revolt against the government because if the people do not revolt against the government, 99% of the population in this country will be enslaved by abject poverty.

If you do not believe what I have said, go to a search engine and enter (1) Rex 84, (2) Global Research and (3) Economy in Crisis.
Be aware, this information is shocking but true. Plaese pass this information on to others.

Anonymous said...

I am Josephine Traveler. I fly over 30 legs each year and 99.5% of those legs are effortless and smooth. Where I encounter issues is in airports that have very old or ESL TSA employees.
One screener that can't read the gov't issued ID and boarding pass in less than a minute can only process 120 people in 2 hours.
I have only encountered this at DEN. SFO & LAX TSA employees are great people processors.

Anonymous said...

One post, which suggested that we consult the Israelis, hit the nail on the head. Smart Israeli security personnel TALK to passengers, ask who they are and where they've been and where they're headed. It matters less what you're carrying than who you are.

In contrast, TSA doesn't talk to people, doesn't even ask if they've been handed a package by someone. If your ID matches your name and your name is not on the (useless) no-fly list and the machines don't go "beep", you're OK. But Grandma Washington carrying a hatchet to give to little George in Virginia is not a threat; while a guy who means harm can kill with a ball-point pen. Yet TSA will stop Grandma & confiscate the hatchet but let the guy with the pen go through.

At the same time, if we're worried about weapons aboard planes, government inspectors have proved that TSA does NOT catch contraband -- even guns have been smuggled on. Toothpaste is toothpaste, regardless of whether it's in a plastic bag. The system is just for show.

Real security, Israel style, is expensive. If we don't want to pay for it, fine. Just stop pretending that TSA, as now operating, does the job.

Mike Zotos said...

Why is it a policy in some airports for the traveller to take his/her own bags to the baggage screening machines and not in other airports? This extra step in the process for the traveller seems to add confusion and chaos. At airports where they just take your bags at checkin, I find the experience to be much more satisfying.

Last year I was in MCO and one of their screening machines broke. The craziness that followed was beyond belief. If this happened behind the scenes there would have been far fewer angry travellers on that day.

Anonymous said...

I am tired of removing my shoes when the floor is filthy and no one can prove to me that shoe removal has stopped one event.

Anonymous said...

My children fly frequently out of SeaTac to visit family so I am often dropping them off and picking them up as they are minors. I have been struck by the rudeness of many of the TSA employees whom I have come to regard as the neo-gestapo of our age. Personally I don't agree with many of the "security measures" as I feel they are mostly ineffective. But I have never taken it out on a TSA agent who is just someone trying to make a living. I resent being treated rudely in the name of "Security". In my mind the TSA is not a police agency but a customer service purveyor on behalf of air lines whose customers we are. Flying is no longer the exciting adventure I remember so fondly growing up but a drudgery.

Anonymous said...

Anchorage Alaska -- Get a life TSA jerk! End of August 07, we're in line for "security screening"along with about 100 to 200 other travellers. All 4 or 5 scanning checkpoints are open, but first we have to get by the agent checking ID, in this case being a driver's license and boarding pass. Only have 1 guy doing this, and he is so SLOW. This 30s something male kid stares at each person's credentials for at least 45 seconds to 1 minute each as if something magical would jump out of the documents to indicate a problem. I observed this kid a long time [he was slow and potentially delaying the entire screening process] and could only come to the conclusion he enjoyed delaying people so as to attempt to anger them. Certainly if ID documents require this much time to screen then the TSA should acquire some kind of automated document screener that could quickly identify the most obvious frauds. This kid was a jerk. I doubt he ever found a problem, he just liked to annoy people. TSA has a pretty poor reputation as is and employees like this don't help the image, and his job performance is a waste of money. What's the point of even having 4 or 5 metal detector gates when only 1 person/minute is going to be cleared for entry? His performance added nothing to the security of travellers. You'd think TSA supervisors would at least correct his job performace.

Anonymous said...

I have flown many, many times since the inception of the TSA. Not once have I encountered an agent who was rude or pushy - quite the contrary, every one has been friendly and courteous.

With that said, my complaints are not about the agents themselves, but about the agency. The TSA overall seems to me to be a lot of makework. It responds after the fact to perceived threats, constantly applying band-aids to wounds that have already bled out. One person tried to ignite his shoe six years ago, so now everyone has to remove their shoes and walk around an unsanitary airport floor in their socks or bare feet in the name of security that we don't need. One flight in another country had some explosives in bottles, so now we're not allowed to travel with enough toiletries to last more than two days. And so on.

The TSA is itself a complete joke. It is simply a matter of time before another airplane full of passengers is destroyed by a terrorist, and all that will result is another band-aid on whatever hole allowed that to happen. Then someone else will exploit another hole, and so on. What started as a kneejerk reaction to a terrible event in America's history has become a bloated and useless bureaucracy whose only real purpose is to inconvenience as many travelers as possible in the name of some perceived security.

If the purpose of this blog is just going to be to defend the TSA's draconian policies, just close it down now before too much time and money is wasted on it. If, on the other hand, it is to glean information and feedback from travelers and then use that to improve flow or possibly even relax some outdated regulations, then kudos for setting it up. And I want to say again, kudos to the TSA employees, who have all in my experience done a fantastic job individually.

Anonymous said...

Hey TSA, do you get the Post Office rejects or what? Finally, don't be offended--if the shoe fits, wear it ;) lol

Kelly said...

I read through a few of the 200+ comments and noticed that despite the claims, this does seem to be a feel-good propoganda tool that is overwhelmingly pro-TSA. Maybe over time we can settle into real questions and issues that are not publicly discussed right now.

Here are two points from my own personal perspective:

1. To me, it makes perfect sense that children and elderly people are examined. A policy that discriminates is useless. But I don't understand when TSA people go beyond safety without explanation. Here is one example: I carried an Asian history book onto a flight. It was obviously a paper book. The TSA person checked that it was a book. Then, he went back to it and started reading through it. How does that improve our security? If you have free time like this, then don't complain that you are overworked.

2. I have not heard any public explanation for not allowing water bottles through security. I feel there must be a reason but I just haven't heard any yet. I am not a chemist but I don't know of too many fluid that resemble water but are actually dangerous. If you know of one, please tell us. Otherwise, I feel that this policy might just be a showpiece to make us feel like TSA improves security but really doesn't. Is this policy motivated by those who sell drinks inside airports? I normally wouldn't believe it but now am starting to.

Anonymous said...

"Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither" Ben Franklin

I'd agree with a majority of these posters that complain of the TSA attitude. Sure, they're just doing their job, but to the TSA, eveyone is considered guilty until proven innocent. The TSA has even yelled at my five-year-old son. I fought the urge to verbally rip the gal a new one for yelling at him. I knew if I did, I'd probably be sitting in a jail cell. My son had never flown before, and I was so busy getting myself ready, I didn't see him go around the metal detector. He's FIVE for cryin' out loud. You don't yell at him, you say something like, "Honey, could I get you to walk through the big gate?"

The TSA flaunt their authority and have a superiority complex. Screeners like this may be the exception to the rule, but it only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch.

In the end, all these security measures are a waste of time and money. The "bad guys" work out a way around the measures, leaving us poor saps to stand in line, shoeless and holding up our now-beltless pants while the terrorists laugh at us.

The REAL reason we have been spared another 9-11 like attack up to this point is because of the tireless efforts of our military forces, the investigative efforts of our law-enforcement personnel, and the heightened awareness of concerned US citizens.

Anonymous said...

I see some of the questions and as a TSO I have some points for those asking.......

As for taking off shoes at airports in regards to cleanliness....if airports have the blue footies, please use them, pack an extra pair of ankle socks when travelling, and remember your complaints about germs when you are walking on a beach or in your yard with no shoes or socks on...the difference here is only a perceived one, there isn't any difference.

As for ID's and giving up liberties...in the airport I work in there is an over-the-air message that repeats at intervals explaining in advance the policy of checking personal property. With that forewarning being known by all who travel regularly there are other avenues of travel available to make use of if this is not acceptable to you. The "freedom" of choice is a liberty everyone has as well. Remember this when planning your next trip if you know the policies aren't something you approve of.

As far as the ID questions, as a TSO, I believe that anyone without valid ID's should not be allowed to travel. If you have a valid Passport, it is acceptable, as a form of identification. Make use of it if you have it. If all that happens is extra screening due to "no" or "expired" ID then that should be the least of anyones worries...ask those that travel in the Middle East how they are treated even with "proper" documentation....people traveling through the U.S. have it alot easier.

In my own experience I find that passengers who don't like the process usually just want things they way they used to be...well, those of us who screen you do as well but at this point we do what we do because things aren't that way anymore. We try our best to be patient and considerate, but we still have a job to do, one we do proudly regardless of how the media or any other negative avenues describe us.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever figured out how to check shoes for bombs without having to take my damn shoes off? Ya know I got a serious case of foot fungus at LAX last week cause I had to take my shoes and socks off due to wet floors!

I know security is tight but can we stop taking peoples shoes off, lie to the world saying the new metal detectors can now detect bomb materials and FOOL THE DAMN TERRORITST INTO THINKING WE CAN DO THIS! This way I don't need to take off my damn shoes!

Anonymous said...

From a very frequent flyer, here are a couple of suggestions:

(1) Staff according to amount of travelers flying...I have been on too many morning and afternoon flights where only 1 or 2 security lines were open during the busiest time at the concourse.
(2) Monitor the lines for flow - there have been too many instances whereby one line moves at a snail's pace and the others move much quicker. I know that there are some variables, but I can let you know by experience that some TSA personnel have no clue how to operate efficiently.
(3) Do not pick people for random searches just because you need to meet a quota in numbers. This does no good. Some profiling is not a negative thing - remember, we are trying to protect the entire public. If someone looks nervous, suspicious, etc, allow the agents at the metal detectors choose who they wish to look more in-depth at rather than just the people looking at the ID's and randomly selecting people due to a quota system. Racial profiling is not what I am talking about- but understanding suspicious behaviors and motivational forces is key.
(4) Understand types of items that you can easily recognize rather than having to open suitcases time and time again. I cant tell you how many times I had to re-pack my clothes after my Nutrisystem dinner packs were considered suspicious by TSA agents. Some things are hard to distinguish, but some agents are much better at distinguishing between suspicious objects and a pre-packaged meal.

We all appreciate better security and we all know the necessary precautions we take in this crazy world. The TSA agents have a tough job and anything that slows us down is looked negatively upon. I would like to take this opportunity to thank TSA for trying to provide better security. However, do your best to not be percieved as a huge "dog-and-pony-show" expense by being as efficent as possible...Too many times I have thought the delays and processes we have been put through are just for show and are no benefit what-so-ever. It is time to step up to the plate and really protect us without slowing us down.

planner said...

As a recent international traveler, I would like to let U.S. travelers know that if they think the TSA is bad and that security in US airports is a pain in the neck, they should go through the airport in Frankfurt! We missed our flights out twice due to multiple security checkpoints within the gate areas, all lacking adequate personnel. The screeners seem to take a lot of time looking at the scans of carry-on baggage, more than their US counterparts, which is not a problem, but does back up the lines.

I've personally never had a problem with TSA, and haven't found any of their policies to be too much trouble. My mother-in-law, however, seems to get the full-body-cavity search every time she flies for some unknown reason. And my mom had some trail mix in her checked bag that was searched, the trail mix bag was opened and not closed again, leaving trail mix all over my mom's stuff. The bag itself was clear plastic, so why it was even opened is unclear, unless some TSA employee has a fetish about running his/her fingers through nuts, raisins, and m&ms.

I know why TSA personnel yell out all the information that is written on the signs around the security area: People don't read the signs. I've been behind individuals who screamed and yelled at the TSA'ers about things that were clearly listed both on the signs and by the yelling TSA'ers. These individuals clearly neither read the signs nor listened to the TSA'ers.

I also think that there are individuals who just refuse to check baggage, then they bitch about it when things that clearly shouldn't be in carry-ons, according to the rules, are confiscated. Check your bags, freaks! It doesn't take THAT much time for it to get to the baggage carousels!

I do think some of the TSA rules are arbitrary and somewhat stupid. Still, they are clearly posted and are easily available to anyone planning a flight. Travelers cannot plead ignorance without really working hard to remain ignorant. You KNOW you need to be there early. You KNOW the rules. Just DO it.

My last comment: Please ask Kansas and Missouri to redesign MCI. What a pain!

Anonymous said...

I've been with TSA since it's inception at my local airport, and before that, I also worked for a private screening company since just past 9/11. Just a few quick comments and questions for travelers:


Do you realize that for every TSA screener that touches your checked baggage, there are literally dozens of airline employees that are touching them after they are screened?

How can you stand in line at your airline ticket counter, or at the airport checkpoint, staring at the screening process going on around you, and at the many posted signs........sometimes for an extended period of time.......and you still cannot comprehend what you need to do when you reach the screening area?

Why do "frequent flyer" business travelers or Biff and Muffy who are taking their kids out of school to ski the week away in Aspen or Vail, think that they deserve special treatment when they try to check in at their airline or try to get through the checkpoint ten or fifteen minutes before their flight departs?

When DHS/TSA was formed, there was an incredible opportunity to actually get something done correctly without the government bureacracy.............We started out with many ex-police officers, and ex-military personnel (myself included) that were truly grateful to have the opportunity to help the country that we love remain safe. Unfortunately, the vast majority of real professionals have all moved on away from the TSA because of the ridiculous management, and to some extent, the actual regulations that we are required to enforce............Not to mention the fact that each group of "new hires" coming in gets worse and worse. Most of the people hired now just want that Government Job. It doesn't matter that they don't understand the mission, as long as they can do their time and pick up their checks. Where we once had true professionals, we now have ex- housewives, fast food workers, shoe salesmen, cleaning service workers, and professional welfare collectors.

How can a Government agency promote by how well you fudge your resume, or pay someone to write your Knowledge Skills and Assessment questions? What ever happened to promoting someone because of their working knowledge of their job or their work ethic?

Sorry for the rant.........carry on!

Anonymous said...

As a frequent flier between the United States and England, I do not understand why I can be on a bus toward my final destination within 18 minutes after touchdown at London Gatwick, but it invariably takes more than an hour for me to go through the security maze at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson. Once, last October, it took me exactly 2 hours and 14 minutes to make my way from the gate to final baggage collection. I see no reason why arriving passengers who are not boarding another flight should be required to go through another security checkpoint, or collect their baggage twice. It is poor planning and design on Atlanta's part, exacerbated by inefficiently and thinnly staffed security checkpoints. I have to fly to England and back to the United States four more times this year, and I dread the return arrival to the States because of the situation in Atlanta.

Anonymous said...

I travel with a CPAP machine, and I have experienced discrepancies across the country in the way the CPAP machine is screened. I am not a huge traveler, but in the last 7 months, I have traveled out of Chicago Midway and O'Hare; Kansas City, MO; Philadelphia; Columbus, OH; and Saint Louis. I have experienced discrepancies in the way the CPAP machine is screened. I live in the Chicago area, so I can say that both Chicago airports always have me remove the CPAP from it's bag and they perform the explosive test on the machine. Philadelphia and Saint Louis also had me remove the CPAP from it's carry on bag and performed the explosive test on it. In Kansas City and Columbus, however, the CPAP was able to go through the x-ray machine in it's bag and it was not screened as an explosive. Why the discrepency? Is it less likely that a machine is an explosive in a smaller airport? I have no problem having the machine be screened, but the lack of consistency makes me nervous.

Anonymous said...

oh great here we go...there going to eat us alive...as if broadcasting the test on cnn was not enough....

Anonymous said...

I have been on several trips recently and have had very different experiences depending on where I flew out of.

On one trip I accidentally flew out of a major international airport with a small bottle of chemical solution in my backpack that I use in my job as an environmental scientist. The TSA officials at the international airport let my bag through unscathed and without incident. On my return trip through a small, regional airport, though, my bag got pulled and a TSA official stiffly asked me what the bottle was. I told him the contents of the bottle and its purpose and he then informed me that I could go back and check it in my baggage, but that it could not go through security. It was not worth the trouble so I said that he could do what he wanted with it. While glaring at me and the bottle, he further scrutinized the bottle and then went off to his booth to do a test of some sort before putting it in a bin to disposed of.

Why did the international airport miss something so obvious? And why did some snooty TSA agent at a regional airport have to glare at me and chide me like I was a small child? On other occasions TSA officials at small regional airports have found items in my bag like old juice bottles or unopened bottles of water and in a quick, professional manner dispensed of them and let me go on my way. Needless to say, I did not appreciate this TSA official's attitude toward customers.

Since we all have to take off our shoes before we can pass through security, why is there not seating in checkpoint areas before the screening? It is mandatory for buses, subway, and other public areas to make reasonable accommodations for people with special needs, whatever the need. If priority seating is required for the buses that drive around the airport, then there should be chairs in the security area, especially if people are juggling luggage, carry-ons, boarding passes, children, etc.

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't all cargo been screened? Why does TSA routinely fail undercover screening tests?

TSA = Security Theater.

Its just there to make you feel better.

What a joke

Anonymous said...

This blog resembles a TSA company picnic. Instead of all these brown-nosing "great job!!" posts from TSA employees, how about posting what the average American traveller feels about this? Tell your moderator to stop bikini waxing this site. I'd like to read some honest posts from real American travellers who are outraged at the way "security" is handled. For one thing, I'd like to see some minimum literacy and education requirements for hiring Security Officers. Most of the officers I've encountered are one step above McDonalds fry cooks. I propose that you raise the bar on hiring, cut down on incompetent employees (dismiss them), and raise the salary of competent officers so as to attract college-educated individuals. That's a start. Next we work on training them customer service. Sure, you're probably laughing, but it would do a lot to improve the image of the TSA. As it is, you look like a bunch of bullies (unless that was your intent? Intimidation?).

Anonymous said...

Yeah basically, until reports show that they are catching all stuff, this is worthless.

Besides, its a pretty knee jerk reaction to something that happened 5 years ago, once. If I were running the show, I would be more concerned with superbowl filled stadiums, the alaskan pipeline and the levees, those pose more of a target than a plane and building. Think it out people.

Dont elect Hillary, impeach Bush, throw Cheney in Jail.

lwwhite said...

Ok, points for having this blog.
I really don't think anything posted here will change anything at all at the airport but still its good to blow off some steam.

First, why state that any kind of identification will be accepted?

I have 33 years of federal service, I am proud to carry D.o.D Civilian Retiree identification.
It has a more current picture of me than my drivers license.

But twice, once in Chicago and once in Hawaii I was told that id was unacceptable and they would only accept a valid drivers license.


The other thing is being singled out for 'special' screening because
I'm flying one way.
Shoes, Belt, undo belt and unzip (???) pants. this was in Portland.

Finally, we've all read the stories of people being 'arrested' for being irate at being mistreated,
or 5 year old children being harassed because their names are banned.

Come on, a little common sense!

All TSA employees should have diplomacy training, as well as
training on the rights of U.S citizens.

All TSA screeners should have digression in dealing with people.

All TSA screeners should be familiar with all types of identification, and be willing to
accept something other than a state issued drivers license.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone received an answer to any of their questions or comments yet?

Andrew said...

As a frequent traveler of major American cities I would like to express my great satisfaction in all dealings with the TSA. Whether I'm arriving at the airport at the crack of dawn or boarding a red eye at night I have noticed remarkable and consistent professionalism in your staff. Keep up the great work!

Sincerely,
Andrew P.
Alexandria VA

One thing I would like to see is a follow up to the much publicized series of spot tests that were conducted a while back where the TSA failed to find dangerous materials in luggage. I think that an equally publicized report showing that the TSA had corrected any shortcomings would do wonders for the morale of your staff and for the public at large.

Anonymous said...

Since this blog is "moderated" what's the point? It will just be a large back patting club....(anything less than favorable comments about the TSA will just be "moderated" out ;)

lwwhite said...

Ok, points for having this blog.
I really don't think anything posted here will change anything at all at the airport but still its good to blow off some steam.

First, why state that any kind of identification will be accepted?

I have 33 years of federal service, I am proud to carry D.o.D Civilian Retiree identification.
It has a more current picture of me than my drivers license.

But twice, once in Chicago and once in Hawaii I was told that id was unacceptable and they would only accept a valid drivers license.


The other thing is being singled out for 'special' screening because
I'm flying one way.
Shoes, Belt, undo belt and unzip (???) pants. this was in Portland.

Finally, we've all read the stories of people being 'arrested' for being irate at being mistreated,
or 5 year old children being harassed because their names are banned.

Come on, a little common sense!

All TSA employees should have diplomacy training, as well as
training on the rights of U.S citizens.

All TSA screeners should have digression in dealing with people.

All TSA screeners should be familiar with all types of identification, and be willing to
accept something other than a state issued drivers license.

russ said...

Why were nail scissors once a dangerous tool but no longer? Am I less safe now that you allow them, or was I being unduly hassled previously?

Anonymous said...

The TSA just tries to make us THINK we are secure. It's all BS. Name one European country that harasses old ladies or makes you take your shoes off to get on a plane. Haven't noticed them blowing up either. Not only are the rules silly but TSA agents take themselves WAY too seriously.

Anonymous said...

I think the TSA is a joke. It is all for show to make the public THINK the gov't. is doing something. The liquid/gel ban only allows the businesses in the industry who make, package and produce the travel-size items make a ton of money off the consumer. Additionally, what a WASTE of resources; making little packages instead of regular-sized ones wastes energy and degrades our planet, three ounces at a time.

Fly In The Ointment said...

It is always amazing to me that folks can find the negative in anything...absolutely anything. There are numerous posts about people being "humiliated" by having to be wanded. Unbelievable. Sure, you know you've had double hip and knee replacements, but as your fellow traveler, I don't. And neither does the TSA. If you have enough metal in your body to approximate a weapon, someone else could actually have a weapon. Yes, you're a 70 year old white woman. Well, if all 70 year old white women (or 10 year old little girls) get a free pass through security, how long do you think it would take a terrorist to figure that out and start recruiting such folks to carry weapons? And don't be so naive to think no 70 year old white woman would do such a thing. How about if the terrorist had kidnapped her husband and were holding him at gunpoint unless she did this?

No. The deal is this. TSA is charged with setting up a "clean" area around boarding areas of airports. Clean means clean. If you have enough metal to approximate a weapon, you get wanded. I'm really sorry about that inconvenience, but you have to know going in you're going to get singled out...regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, or whatever. Get over it. It's not personal. And no one, absolutely no one is paying any attention to you while you're getting wanded. Nobody cares. It happens all the time. Stop whining.

Anonymous said...

England airports does require people to take off their shoes or dispose of their liquids, some of the rules here in the USA doesn't make us any more safer, just more time consuming.

Anonymous said...

Please consider doing away with the policy of making folks take their shoes off and put them through the X-Ray machine. In my opinion, it's just not worth it.

I'm not expert on security, but even if you're reluctant to do away with it altogether, you could consider doing it on a random basis.

Anonymous said...

Why does a government "security" agency go to "Disneyland" for advise? Either you want good customer service or SECURITY! You CAN'T have both! Why didn't DHS go to Israel and follow their VERY successful airport security plans?? I know what I'm talking about because I was one of the first 300+ trainers to go through security training at OKC FAA facility and I was fired from my management position because of "Security Breaches" made by my superiors. You are NOT SAFE FLYING, it's a big fairy tale!

Anonymous said...

I find that the TSA has become too militarized. Traveling in other countries is much less intimidating that dealing with many of the agents here. They are not a friendly face that greets our country's guests. Instead, they are stern, intimidating faces that stare threateningly at these guests. This attitude should be examined and addressed.

Anonymous said...

As a TSO I feel the most frustrating part of screening is not that the passenger doesn't know what to expect, it's the fact that they don't acknowledge any of the sign that are there to inform them.

Anonymous said...

I fly at least twice a month with a knee replacement. My surgeon gave me a card saying so signed by him. Totally ignored. Any screener could look at the card, look at the scar on my knee, and know that I have a new knee. As A General Aviation Commercial Pilot I hate it. I know most screeners do a good job and are friendly. Thanks guys

Anonymous said...

In response to those who ask "why is grandmother being searched?" Who said grandmothers cannot carry dangerous materials on board an aircraft. Even babies can have dangerous materials placed on their person by the real terrorists, but none the less, makes it dangerous. TSA - HAS to search everyone. This is a good thing. What gripes me about TSA, not all of them seem to be on the same page, everyday.

Mike O'Connor said...

I'm delighted to see Bruce Schneier's thoughts in the comments on this page.

I'm even more delighted to see a link to his blog listed in your "Links" section.

So here's the question -- given that you've linked to his page, why are your policies so out of step with his views?

Pete said...

Doctor Anonymous has it right! (Jan 30, 5:57 blog comment)

There ARE NO LIQUID CHEMICALS that can be mixed/produced on board an airplane that can create a bomb. The 3 oz liquid "rule" is arbitrary and nonsensical.

Why create artificial fear amongst those who are ignorant of such things? What do you gain?

Fear...fear...fear

Anonymous said...

One person at a time thru security at FLL is the worst I have seen! Our flight was held up a 1/2 hour waiting for people with reservations to clear security,This was on 1-08-2008, don!t blame the air lines for flight delays!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

i recently traveled out of OAK. i travel with an APAP machine. i have learned that this machine always requires a secondary search (wipe down). according to the tsa staff person "...nitro was detected...". information from my driver's license and phone number was recorded. what was that about? am i now on some list of "dangerous" travelers?

Anonymous said...

Can the TSA have the same policy procedures in place at ALL locations? A blanket format and procedure will help with variations of requirements. For example. If a boarding pass is required in SEA to proceed to the gate then that same policy should be in place at MEM or ORD. I hope that this makes sense and that those who set policy, not the ones that enforce it, will be able to make adjustments that will benefit all concerned while using the airports and their associated establishments. many thanks for allowing everyone to voice their concerns.

Anonymous said...

I've found that most times I would rather drive than fly since the new TSA screening practices have taken effect. I mean some of the screeners seem to be pretty stupid or just plain rude. If they don't want the job they should go get a new one somewhere that does not involve CUSTOMER SERVICE...you are not a COP. I do have to say the screeners at Jackson-Hartsfield Airport are the best I've run into but they still need improvement. But then again who doesn't?

Anonymous said...

What bothers me is that when I fly into big airports, I am now finding a great number of people who check IDs are Muslims. And then my ID is checked, checked, checked, like I am a criminal. I attribute it to my dark hair and eyes and features looking slightly hispanic. Checking me is what they are supposed to do so I roll with it. But seeing the surge in Muslim employees in airports (DC in particular) makes me wonder why?....

Howard Beale said...

I would like someone to explain the "liquids" thing. It makes no sense to me.

What you appear to be telling us is that a certain quantity of "liquid" is potential very dangerous.

So, you allow us to bring small containers of liquids in our carry ons but nothing larger than 3 ounces. But we can buy 16 ounce bottles of water or other beverages inside the terminal.

On the other side of security.

My question is; why couldn't a group of terrorists spread out their dangerous "liquid" amongst themselves in various different little containers, get them through security, purchase larger containers on the inside of the terminal, combine them into the larger containers in the bathroom or somewhere and then cause mayhem and destruction?

As I said above, this policy makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

Why does the TSA further expand its restrictions in direct response to past events? Throwing a band-aid over the situation does not help anyone. If a terrorist is dumb enough to try something that's already been done, then we don't need to worry about them. The TSA should take a more active role in predicting future threats, not invading passengers' privacy whenever some idiot tries to make headlines. I can see the day when someone attempts to make a weapon out of a suitcase and then all suitcases will be banned from flights.

I would like to clarify, however, that my complaints do not pertain to the lower-level employees that are in most contact with passengers. I know it's not their fault that these restrictions and kindergarten color codes exist. They're just doing their job like anyone else. However, I hope that those higher up that determine TSA policies will at least consider the idea that a policy of reaction is not what we need for security.

Anonymous said...

All other industries in our economy live with uncertainty regarding how many people will walk through their doors in a given day, making staffing a tough decision. But due to reservations, the airline industry knows almost exactly (+ or - 5%) how many people are going to walk through the door and THE TIME THEY WILL COME, yet the security lines are longer and slower than ever. How can this be? Why should it take me 45 minutes to get through a security line?

-Jowns

Todd said...

I travel fairly frequently. I've made some observations which should be helpful:

1. Please make an effort to be friendly (we'll accept formal politeness, but it is far better that you go through your days with a friendly demeanor). You have a fair number of travelers who don't go through security checkpoints on a routine basis, and the process is fairly intimidating to them (or instance, the average family with kids on a vacation). If you make it a relatively pleasant interaction for the traveler, your day will go smoother and you're less likely to have to deal with the "stubborn arguers". I've noticed that in some airports your guys are nice, and in others, they're fairly aggressive and seem a little angry all the time.

2. Please review your policy on packaged liquids and liquors on domestic connections (for instance, stuff bought at duty free shops). If the liquid can be stowed by the attendants in a secure spot, I can't see any reason to seize it at the checkpoint.

Anonymous said...

As a frequent flyer I am amazed at the different levels of security in airports. In Denver my 4 oz. container of ranch dressing was confiscated while in Richmond, VA a 1 gallon bag of melted ice was allowed through. In some airports you can't even hesitate at the pickup curb to locate your passengers while at San Jose, CA I have seen unoccupied cars at the baggage claim for 10-15 minutes. Why isn't airport security consistent?

Anonymous said...

I understand that the TSA is doing a necessary and important job, God bless them. The complaint I do have is the suitcase with the "searched by TSA notice" that replaced the 60gb ipod that was neatly wrapped in clothing.

Stupid me, there is always one dishonest person in every agency of thousands. Now my ipod goes in my carry-on.

Anonymous said...

I am not a person that travels by plane much but had a suggestion that may help everyone. If people think the screening process is unfair or biased, change the process to include screening as part of the flight time. Have the departure time be before the screening, get everyone on the flight in a room first, keep them together until the departure and then screen everyone all at once. Commonize the process and take time out of the screening equation. With a specific start and end point to the process it can be regulated better and more efficiently, screeners don't need to wait for passengers to arrive over an unpredictable amount of time freeing up staff and all the other timing would be relatively the same, just with no rushing or delaying and no special treatment. We all have to punch a clock to get there on time either way and all share the same risks. Flight attendants can even start serving refreshments. It's as simple as putting up a few walls, organizing and getting the timing down. I think as long as the over all screening time from first passenger to last passenger is cut down and made more predictable, more time will be freed up to make us safer and speed up the process. Maybe it would help maybe it wouldn't, just thought I'd throw it out there. I appreciate all efforts to make people safer and happier.

Anonymous said...

i am a pilot officer in the Royal Jordanian Airforce, i came to the US on a vacation with my family who are all US citizens except me, when we reached Ohara airport, TSA took my passport and made me wait for 3 hours and a half, all my family were waiting for me on the other side and when my turn came, i was asked very normal questions and left, ofcourse my connection flight was lost thanks to TSA, and the place that i waited in was horable and hadn't enough places to sit in, i was standing all the time.
i had informed TSA officers that i was a goverment official and that i was on vacation, as the rules stated in the papers that i was given from the American embassy in Jordan, but they gave no attention to that.
this kind of behaiviour reflects America and shows why people all around the world hate America and Americans, with no reason behaviours like this occure are signs of ignorance, stupidness and disrespect to a country that has stood very hard and fast behind the US in all the hard times and wars and what do we get....disrespect to it's officers and officials, and all i can say is THANK YOU FOR YOUR MORALS TSA OF USA!

fliesabunch said...

Like everyone, I understand the importance and difficulty of the TSA screener's job, however no amount of stress can justify rudeness. I find only 20% of TSA employees have any manners at all and most act as if I am in their way when going through security. I have complained, written letters, and everythign else only to find the local managers have the same disdain for the flying public as their screeners. here's an idea, have some TSA execs actually walk through the lines with the rest of us, see how it feels.

Grrrrrrr said...

TSA screeners have no right to break or destroy the luggage ( suitcases) right in front of the owners.
My brother's suitcase was destroyed right in front of us.

They wanted to check it out. My brother was trying to open it first after searching for the key in his keybunch that has dozens of keys.

The Screener, said we should open the suitcase before counted from 10 to 1 and then he used a rod or a crow bar and just broke it open and checked it out and threw the open suitcase on the conveyor belt. Many items were missing when it reached the destination.
The suitcase was purchased new for the journey for $400.
This Happened in IAD Dulles-Washington a couple of years ago.
We could not do anything but watch our BP raise for a few days.

marokero said...

When traveling from Miami to Rio de Janeiro the screeners ignored my 150ml tube of hair gel. Then on the return trip the foreign screeners caught it. That doesn't say much for the TSA's screening thoroughness.

Anonymous said...

As a USG employee, I understand a lot of the reasons and limitations in the way things operate. That said, I have some problems with the way TSA does some things. To be fair, I also have one compliment.

For instance, I have an active Top Secret clearance yet every time I am sent home on Congressionally mandated home leave, I go through extra security because some airlines (US Air in particular) automatically flag people flying one-way.

I honestly wouldn't mind getting caught in an occasional random screening but do you really think that doing a secondary screening on a consistent basis on someone who has access to the list of Sky Marshals and their flights when they go international is the best use of a TSA agent's time?

It seems like letting the airlines determine who to flag or not results in some pretty inconsistent security. I've never been selected by United, I'm always selected by US Air and a mix by the others.

While DHS is trying to figure the best way to allow frequent fliers with background checks to have quick access, be sure to add in those of us who have already gone through Federal background checks and have active clearances.

The compliment: A bit over a year ago, right before Thanksgiving, I was spending time in a country that didn't have a lot of access to American goods. On TDY, I managed to buy several containers of Cool-Whip for pumpkin pie. I got some hassle at the airport but one of the agents, on seeing my black passport and hearing the story paved the way for there to be no trouble. My family and others had a better Thanksgiving, thanks to this person.

Even though I see a lot more than the general public, I don't feel safer with the current rules than I did before 9/11. What I do feel is frustration with what seems to be a largely uncaring and mostly reactionary organization.

Anonymous said...

OK having been a military brat, and then a spouse, I am accustom to following orders, and I don’t challenge authority, but I was tempted this past weekend when making our return flight from Dallas. I checked my carryon as we were returning home, and then I wouldn’t have the hassle of the liquids. And because I had anther small bag that was empty, I put my purse in it to make it easier. While going through security, they prescreened my bag, then the agent female, white about 40 something took my bag and turned her back to me and opened my bag, and my purse, I could not see what she was doing, then I see her going through all the pockets in my purse, pulling out sales receipts that I had put together from our trip. Then, she turns with a hand full of my pens and lipsticks (pen shaped) and grabs a plastic bag, and puts these thing in the bag and grabs a very small half full bottle of hand sterilizer that I didn’t even remember having in the bag and give me a stern warning about having these things in a plastic bag. Now I flew down to Dallas with all of the same things in my purse and no one said anything to me, one of the things that looked like a pen was a pair of reading glasses! Can we no longer take pens? Oh and why is it OK to fly with a pair 4” of sharp scissors, but they take away my 2” Swiss army knife that was on my key chain, that has been in my purse so long I didn’t remember it was there either, that was on another flight.

Retired Fed said...

I don't mind retieving my luggage and finding a notice that my bags were searched by TSA. What I do mind is that the zipper pulls are pulled off in the process.

Anonymous said...

Why does an elderly couple in their late 60's, fitting no profile, have to go through the BS that TSA subjects them to? Common sense be damned!

Anonymous said...

regarding the new rule of not putting exrta laptop batteries in the checked luggage is not well thought, the reason given for the rule, is because some batteries have reported to catch fire, these batteries were in the laptops when this happeend, not just free in the bag. so batteries notin a laptop or other electronic device is actually safer, and the new rule is just stupid and rediculous.

thanks

Anonymous said...

I travel a lot, usually out of Houston, TX. I am extremely proud of the TSA Officers at both of Houston's airports, but I certainly understand that not every passenger feels they are treated properly or fully understands the magnitude of their requirements or work ethic. How many of us who travel would take on the job that these folks have taken on. How would you like to stand on your feet for 8 to 10 hours a day and deal with all the bloggers that are listed here. I applaud the service of all Americans that are helping to fight against terrorists. Yes, some of the things listed seem silly, but how do we know what went in to making decisions. In addition, some of the "requirements" seem to be international while others are only here in the U.S. For those of us who travel abroad, we understand what a great place the United States of America is. I know that security is inconvenient, and yes, I get secondary screening each time I fly because of bilateral hip replacements, but it's a small price to pay for secure air travel. Have you read any intelligence reports lately? Air transportation is still the "target of choice" for our adversaries. Since our Nation has made air transportation a priority for security, the terrorists are now targeting buses and trains. Be thankful for where you live and be thankful for people who serve you! We can all improve--including the folks that treat the TSA personnel poorly when going through the security lines. Thank You TSA for all that you do.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the speech that Archie Bunker made when he went on TV on "All in the Family"?
Somehow if we apply it to today, it could work.
He had a solution to hijackings on airplanes. Hand out guns to every passenger before they board. Collect them at the end of the flight. Folks would tend not to start anything if they knew everyone was armed.
I do feel sorry for these security folks. They are like the meter maids who never can seem to please anyone.
If things go well for you at the airport, take a moment to thank these people for being brave enough to do this job. Just think of what dangers they face each day.
Just one kind word can make a difference in someone's day.

Shelley said...

I worked for the T.S.A. a few years ago.
We were treated like dirt, and many of us washed out.
Some from training, and some from the job itself.
I hope, for the sake of the country, you are now treating screeners with some dignity.

Anonymous said...

If you want us to feel more secure, then stop putting the disposal bin near the queue. All it will take is for someone to mix some chemical as a catalyst to the variety of materials mixed together already for a bad incident to happen.

Move the disposal bin FAR away. And for pete's sake, dont hold a tub in my face with other's unknown disposed of material in it.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE PROVIDE BOOTIES TO PROTECT OUR FEET. YOUR FLOORS ARE FILTHY AND a GREAT SOURCE OF INFECTION. THANK YOU.

Anonymous said...

I am a casual flyer who typically flys short distance. I have never had a bad experience w/ TSA employees or policies. I have been randomly selected for extra scrutiny and had no problem complying. Long lines? Don't bother me if it means I will be safe in the airport and airplane. Being informed is the key to "no surprises" flying.
Thank You TSA!
Doing a great job!

MS said...

I think that TSA needs to actually train there officials and screeners to detect terrorists and terrorist activities. They are told one week to look for liquids and the next to look at shoes- then they only look at those things- no matter what the situation. I have flown to Israel- and the security there, is significantly better than any other airport i have been to. Get them trained to see danger- not trained to see something that could be dangerous if in the wrong hands- because that will ultimately lead to not being able to carry anything on a plane.

Retired Fed said...

Welcome to the world of thankless jobs.

I don't mind finding a notice in my luggage that my bags were searched. What I do mind is having the zipper pulls yanked off in the process.

How about a little more consideration of other people's items when searching.

Anonymous said...

Does everyone feel better now that they are dumping on TSA OFFICERS?

Anonymous said...

On Monday, 1/28/08, at approximately 6:30 pm, i was going through security at Dulles Airport. I had two snowglobes in my carry-on bag. I actually had thought they were just little music boxes, and didn't even realize they were snowglobes with water in them. The screener came over to me and said rudely, "I've got news for you. You can't carry those snowglobes on the plane". I said "Snowglobes? I don't think they have water in them." I started to take my bag so that i could take them out and look, and he said in a very loud voice "DON'T TOUCH YOUR BAG!!!!!" I asked why not, because i wanted to take them out and he said "that's the rule." He took them out and then said sarcastically "I thought you said there was no water in these." I explained that i'd bought them in a hurry, had them wrapped at the store, and hadn't taken another look at them. He then said i could either give them to him or check them. I chose to check them. Now, I understand that there are rules,and good reasons for them, but did he have to be so rude?

Anonymous said...

I'm told that passengers at Israeli airports are not routinely required to remove their shoes. Obviously security measures will vary from place to place, but it seems like something is out of whack with this one. It can't possibly be the case that the US believes it is more at risk of attack than Israel, so what's up?

Anonymous said...

Last summer my wife and I flew to SC to introduce our new son to my parents. We traveled with our brand new pack n play (travel crib) which was zipped securely in a canvas bag. Of course, TSA viewed this as a suspicious bag that needed checking. Instead of opening and inspecting it gently, they ripped into it, poking holes and creating tears through the bed and covering. They also busted the zipper and delivered it to me wrapped from the middle to the top in TSA tape. Of course the TSA office was closed so there was nobody to talk to. When you call the help #, nobody can do anything for you unless you fill out a form and physically mail it in (no web submission). In order to get paid for this, I had to take pictures, document the evidence, write a report, prove the cost of the crib, along with other leg work. I mailed it in, and then it took TSA 7 months to send me a $75 check. Is this what my tax dollars pay for? Is this security?

-jowns

professor said...

I do understand why TSA needs to open bags that are checked and so forth. I'm not complaining about that. But if TSA must open bags, then they should really be careful about closing everything back up. Most times, when I get my bag and I see a notice of inspection, compartments and pockets are open with things hanging out of them. I suppose they are rushed and have no particular concerns in terms of securing a person's necessities, but to reduce complaints, this is definitely something that needs to be done. Put everything back together properly and safely and securely. This is more of an issue now that bags are less likely to be carried on.

Have some respect.

Anonymous said...

Agreed that the liquid policy is completely retarded and needs to go. I have a medical condition that requires me to drink low mineral water and I don't want to go through the hassle of getting a doctor's note for each flight. It strongly discourages me from flying. As someone else said, it is just "Security theater". 5 collaborators could make 15 oz. of the make believe liquid explosive.

Angry Elephant said...

The TSA has lost complete touch with reality. The entirity of the TSA program needs to be dismantled, removed from governmental hands, and outsourced to private security firms.
I have been in the long lines at the airport, I have removed my shoes, my coat, turned on my laptop, removed various articles of clothing, and suffered through the nonsense that the TSA inflicts on millions of Americans on a daily basis. And although the removal of shoes, is highly irritating, and simply unnecessary, this is not what bother's me.
It is OFFENSIVE that the TSA will pull aside those people who are obviously incapable of committing terrorist acts. I have watched senior citizens, who can barely walk, pulled out for further examination. I have seen babies unwrapped and probed by TSA's. I have seen pregnant mothers groped by the TSA. These actions are unconscionable in our modern era.
The TSA's are part of a process that erodes many of the core freedoms that American's are entitled to, including freedom of movement. Under the guidance of the TSA, we have been thrust into a pseudo-soviet state, where travels must "show their papers" in order to prove their worth for travel.
Every study that I have seen has shown that the TSA is truly ineffective in achieving safety goals at any level. In their own tests, weapons consistently make their way past the checkpoints. But I can guarantee that my two-year olds bottle, with water will be tossed out.
The TSA program is one of the greatest threats to our freedoms that has been exacted upon the citizens of the US.

Anonymous said...

Add a $50 "security tax" to the price of ever ticket. Use the proceeds to add additional screeners and equipment so that passengers can quickly move through the process. The added cost would probably have an added benefit of reducing (albiet slightly) the number of air travelers so that remaining flights would have better on-time performance.

Anonymous said...

The TSA is really a joke in the eyes of the public and it is because of the people that they hire. The term "Tackleberry" comes immediately to mind for most of these rent-a-cops. Scanning a small belt because the buckle sets off the metal detector, telling me "it could be a bomb"....come on. How many "belt bombs" have you idiots stopped from going thru?

You know if someone broke a credit card in half, it could cut someone. If they sharpened their watch band it could be used to cut someone too. And do I really need to point out the dangers of pens and pencils!? They could be used to "put out an eye"! Pretty soon we will need to strip down to our underwear to be checked by these useless thugs, all to give the public a false sense of security. Your own people can check bomb material thru (as witnessed in October, "Unsafe Skies? TSA Missed 6 out of 10 'Bombs'" http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=3746204&page=1), what is going to stop a terrorist from putting a bomb in some luggage, checking it and not even getting on the plane??

The TSA is nothing more than a bunch of rude, obnoxious thugs, nothing more than a pimple on the behind of society.

Anonymous said...

Several things, if that is not too 'cranky.' First, why are we searching grandmas and not profiling those who have actually attacked us (Muslim men between 20 and 40)? Why do we put women in dresses (like my wife) in a machine that forces air onto them and raises their skirts? Why do we have rules against shaving cream cans, or other innoculous items? I'm all for Air Marshals and armed pilots, and the lines have often not taken too much time with notable exceptions (like LAX).

Hail Bush said...

My wife and son have been patted down and wanded on several occasions. I never thought I would have to explain what a Nazi is to a two year old. Thank you TSA and DHS.

Avoid flying at all costs said...

Let's see if I have this correct? The last admonition given before a post is allowed is,

"Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author."

In other words, you reserve the right to censor any comments that you find offensive no matter how accurate they may be.

I don't hold out much hope for this blog to be in any way successful. It is already clear that the attitude is "We here at TSA are all knowing and you ignorant sheople should just shut up and comply with any silly directive we might create!"

Much of what TSA does is rightly classified as "We may not actually be doing anything constructive but we are, after all, doing something".

The first action to accomplish real security is to "privatize it in its' entirety and the second action is to disband the TSA Union." The very valid reason being, a private, non-unionized company can easily get rid of incompetent screeners.

One small question/suggestion.
If a uniformed TSA agent is doing nothing to move the line, that is just standing there holding a phone, scowling and looking self important, either put the person to work or get him out of sight.

There are far too many of these non-productive people.

Anonymous said...

My problem with security it that it is inconsistent. I traveled to Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles with Blistex, a lip creme in my purse, only to have it confiscated somewhere else. My fried traveled with a 28 function swiss army knife and I had a 1/2 inch pocket knife confiscated.

Anonymous said...

I travel internationaly once a month or more on business. I do not understand the shoe removal policy. I know that many shoes have metal arch supports in the soles that can set of the magnetic metal detector, but we should be given the choice to remove them or face additional screening. I wear shoes that will not set off the detector, but I am forced to march through shoeless, hoping that the several hundred people that preceeded me don't have athlete's foot, or worse! Also, the floor is always a hard, cold, unsanitary surface. Brrrrr.

Also, TSA does not need to screen the pilots, or any member of the flight crews for that matter. The pilots CAN carry guns, and if they really want to fly the plane into something, I don't think you can detect that intention at the check point, do you? Same with the flight attendants. They have the knowledge to bring down a plane and you can't screen that. The background checks that they are subjected by the government and thier employeers to should be sufficient. Give them an ID check and let them get to work. Just like the cops.

Anonymous said...

Our experience with the pre-boarding security agents at all airports has been quite pleasant. Our complaint is with the baggage inspectors.

My husband frequently flies on business. He is a motivational speaker, so he takes his portable PA system with him. Every trip TSA agents open the front of each speaker, then replace the grills haphazardly, damaging the rubber gaskets. This last trip they bent the business end of a phono jack, making it almost impossible to insert into the speaker. We discovered this 10 minutes before the presentation. As customers of both the airlines and the airports, and as taxpayers, we expect respectful treatment of our business equipment. Our jobs depend on arriving at destinations with intact gear. Please train TSA inspectors to handle delicate electronic equipment with the care it needs. One broken piece of gear can affect hundreds of people and cost thousands of dollars.

Thank you for the chance to "vent!"

Jonn Lilyea said...

Why does TSA focus on providing an aura of security rather than actual security.

For example; In the early days of TSA, lighters were banned from flights, I lost about five good expensive lighters that I'd forgotten I had in my luggage. No problem, my bad.

However, now that the focus is on creams and liquids, lighters are largely ignored.

TSA has made it nearly impossible to bring back duty free liquor from overseas - for no good reason. It's a legal substance, but TSA has made too many hoops for us to jump through - not to mention the man-hours they waste enforcing a worthless policy when that time could be used to actually provide security.

TSA seems more interested in making travel more difficult for passengers as if to make us feel like TSA is doing something than they are enforcing actual security measures than would make us safe.

I'm more than willing to comply with reasonable security measures, but to get caught up a rote drill just to provide a false sense of security isn't helping anyone.

Jumbo Jet said...

ONE person out of over 6.5 billion inhabitants of planet Earth tries to blow up a plane by igniting his shoe, and we all have to take off our shoes in the US! Go to China - you don't have to take off your shoes while flying in China! There has to be a better way. The USA strains at gnats and swallows camels.

NOLakeRN said...

First, you can't put the link to enter a comment half way down the page. It needs to be at the top and clearly visible.

Second, for the TSA to use a blog for gathering comments on security, and then fill the pages with TSA employees telling us how much they like ice cream is insulting. Either make a real effort to gather public input or forget the whole idea.

Third, get over your shoe fettish. There is nothing that I can hide in my shoes that I can't just as easily stick in my pants.

Nathan Lake

Anonymous said...

Will the European internet outage effect the no fly passenger list? Are we still recieving passenger lists before the planes enter our airspace?

Kym said...

I can understand why it has become a need for checked baggage to be inspected, and I am not oppose to it. What I am oppose to, though, is that at various airports, luggage is inspected right at the Baggage Check-in Counter. I am not interested in knowing what any of my fellow travelers may be packing in their suitcase, nor do I want them to know what I am packing. To me, this is a personal privacy violation, and it should be adjusted. I'm fine with my luggage being inspected, but it should not be done out in the open, for all the world to see. Put it behind closed doors, or individually in an office, with the owner of the belongings present to be sure that they get to their next destination with everything they left the last one with.

Markus said...

PLEASE! FORUM SOFTWARE IS USUALLY FREE OR CHEAP!

I only lasted to carrottop, and then bailed. This format is horrid. Please get a real forum.

An example of a good template (not an endorsement of the content) here:

http://www.cybertechhelp.com/forums/index.php

Deborah said...

Upon pick up of my bag from baggage claim, there was a notification card that TSA had inspected my bag.

Inside my medium sized duffle bag was a bottle of hairspray neatly sealed, and positioned along the edge to stand upright. The hair spry was wrapped inside a plastic baggie. I have over 500,000 air miles logged, so I am not a rookie at this. I positioned my hair spray in an upright position, as I have done for, literally, 100's of flights.

When I opened my bag, my clothes were tossled and the hair spray was sideways and outside of the plastic bag. Several pieces of clothing were ruined as the hair spray leaked and stained the clothing. I was traveling and these were business clothes for a conference. I showed up the first day in sweats, and that night went shopping for replacement clothes.

What is TSA's responsibility?

Anonymous said...

Not sure about the Carol Gotbaum comments, but from what I know of TSA, I do not recall them ever handcuffing anyone. I believe that is the responsibility of the airport police department.

TSA Officers do the best they can with the equipment they have. In my opinion as a traveler, if you more more considerate to the officers and think of the thousands of passengers they deal with everyday, upholding federal policies, you may figure out why some of them get a little ticked off whne the frequent flyer tells them that he/she knows the rules and then has that swiss army knife or 6oz bottle of shampoo in their carry-on (I made that mistake once)

I feel TSA officers are doing a good job. Thank you for keeping us safe.

Jeff said...

I was flying out of SDF, when my bag was selected for additional screening because the TSA believed I had liquids in my bag that did not comply with the policy on 1-3-3. When they inspected my bag, they found that a tiny bottle of ketchup and a small container of nacho cheese were the culprets. They told me if I exited security and put them in a ziplock bag, they would let me fly with them. How rediculous is that? What magic would a ziplock bag have if the inspector had the items in his hand?

Anonymous said...

Frequest Flyer here... My concern is a lack of priorities with the TSA. Anyone who is a "known shipper" (which I am) has filled out extensive info forms on who we are. This allows some controls over what is going inside the belly of my aircraft. Since the President solved the problem of cockpit door strength, an airplane will never be used again as a weapon against us. That means, the only option left is to "blow up the plane." If we're all comfortable with "known shippers" having packages accepted, why are we wasting so much time, effort and money checking every last passenger? There should be a "known persons" list as well ...for those of us that aren't terrorists! I'd feel a LOT better knowing the majority of my fellow passengers have had more than a cursory, 1 minute review typical of sizing up passengers in a TSA security line. If a "known persons" list isn't good enough for people, you had better stop the use of a known shipper for packages, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for giving us this opportunity to communicate.

I fly >150,000 miles a year on >125 flights.

In 2005 I found myself on the dreaded "watch list" ... which is not trivial given the number of flights I take.

About nine months passed and I received a letter from TSA saying I was no longer on the list.

Here it is January of 2008 and, once again, my name reappears on the "watch list" but only on US Airways and not Amercian Airlines, for example.

Is there some way to avoid this? Should I use my full middle name when I book a ticket?

Any help will be appreciated by this "road warrior."

Marty

Anonymous said...

To the moderators of this blog: if TSA as an agency is to benefit (and hopefully better some of the policies and procedures currently in place), then this "blog" needs to become a forum with multiple categories, subcategories and topics in order to keep it organized. There is no structure or organization in the current form and makes finding information very difficult. It reminds me of standing in the security queue...one person after another, some angry, some confused, some anxious all while the proud TSA folk state how well they do their job and why they are necessary. It does not surprise me that this was not thought of in the first place.

Robert Johnson said...

My name is Robert Johnson. For the past two years I have not been able to print a boarding pass, use curb side check-in or the kiosks airlines have in terminals. I must see a ticket agent who looks at my driver's license and then issues a boarding pass. I have been given two reasons for this: (1) TSA has idendified a "Robert Johnson" as a terrorist or potential terrorist, (2) "Robert Johnson" is a common name. If the correct reason is (1) wouldn't TSA have identified the culprit Robert Johnson by now so the rest of us Robert Johnsons can enjoy a normal life? or (2) why is it necessary to profile all Robert Johnsons and how does this help secure our safety? Are all the "John Smiths" profiled as well?

Anonymous said...

Bi brother abounds will some one tell us how many terrorists have been captured through these Gestapo security measures

Anonymous said...

I remember sitting behind a nice lady about three months after 9/11 watching her knit...and wondering how serious we really are about security. Even today, you confiscate a pocket knife, you worry about metal forks and knives used for food but you have no problem letting someone board a plane with potentially much more lethal metal knitting needles.

Do you wonder why so many are skeptical that the TSA is really protecting us...

Troubled Frequent Flyer said...

As a frequent traveler, I notice more often than not that the TSA folks at the airports wave folks through more often than not. I'm not sure if they are just lazy, or do not have the resources to thorougly check passengers properly. They are unfriendly, and abusive.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this opportunity. I travel several times a month, all over the world. The 3-1-1 policy may have been created for good reason, but needs to be reevaluated. Is the policy REALLY going to deter a terrorist or is it just to make Americans feel safer? There are several ways to get items on board outside of the plastic bag and the policy only deters harmless items, not the harmful ones. Creative ways I won't list here can be implimented as an agent is spending precious minutes determining the legality of my miniscule mascara. It's a waste of time and mental energy. I travel to 3rd world countries all the time and 3-1-1 reminds me of the silly things security guards do in those countries so that it appears they are doing their job. Nothing has made me doubt the effectiveness of TSA more than 3-1-1. I know people who have accidentally gotten 4+ ounce items and sharp implements on board accidently, so someone with a specific intention can do it and is laughing at our naivete. Is the policy REALLY going to deter a terrorist or is it just to make Americans feel safer? Please spend your time on the former.

Anonymous said...

As a person who travels often and worked at Boston logan airport , I have had mixed feelings about the TSA screeners .
For one I did apply for the screening Job when they first took over . I did all the tests adn physicals ,Which took 2 days . Now first I am a veteran , I have been in Customer Service industry as a manager for 18 years . Iafter the 2 day process , I was offered a full time job at Logan . I didnt take it because they offered me 20k a year .. Are you kidding me , My wife works part time at Walmart and makes more then that ..No wonder they have these people who are rude and have No common sense at all nevermind education.

second , I did work at Logan for about 6 months at which time I spent some time in Miami Intnl .
I the job I had required me to go from one area in the airport to another many times per day (30 or more) At which time , I had to take off my shoes , belt empty my pockets get searched with the wand , show ID . Now I had an ID issued by the airports themselves , with clearance to go anywhere . But was treated just like a passenger that had to travel ..I do agree tthat certain security rules should be implemented , but come on . I had a background check done by the state police and TSA ..
Also as a person In the CS industry , these checkers are Rude , uneducated , Low paid and mostly on a power trip.. They should have some sort of Customer service training program.

Anonymous said...

As a very frequent flyer all around the world I have 2 major issues:

1) The loud, abnoxious, and often very rude TSA employees operating the checkpoints that berate and shout at foreign travellers that often do not speak English and are confused by the US requirements to remove shoes and laptops which are not practices used elsewhere in the world. The US is gaining a very bad reputation over this. I hear business collegues from every corner of the world complaining. The rest of the world's security screeners are "humble public servants", the security screening process is as quiet as a library, and after any intrusive check, it is promptly followed by a humble apology. The entire culture of the TSA screening environment needs to be reviewed. Shouters need to be re-educated or fired. It is unprofessional and embarassing as a US citizen.

2) Inconsistencies are rediculous. Example. - I travel all over the world, all the time. Usually I keep my boarding pass inside my passport front page. As I walk through the X-ray I usually hold my passport and boarding pass. At RDU a couple weeks ago the screener rudley shouted at me to place my passport on the belt. I told her I carry it through X-ray about 500 times per yr. and this is the first request I have ever heard. She was beligerant and insistent. I complained to another TSA employee who observed the entire exchange. Rather than saying he would address it later with the employee, supervisor, etc., he said "better safe than sorry." I said this is rediculous, I couldn't conceal anything between the pages of my passport! He said she was technically correct that all you are premitted to carry through the X-ray is your boarding pass, not your ID. Issue number 1. The request was really stupid. Issue number 2. She was rude. Issue number 3. Observing TSA employee made no attempt to resolve the matter or suggest it should be reviewed so all TSA screeners are consistent.

If you want to know why you get a bad rap, its stuff like this that frequent travellers see every day and just roll their eyes.

Its time to bring some professionalism to TSA!

When in communist China the screeners speak english, are curteous, humble, and do a very thorough job. In the USA you observe TSA screaming, yelling, insulting, displaying poor judgement, and projecting an image of a totalitarian regime. Particularly if the visitor does not speak English. Does something seem backwards here?

TSA management needs to get out a little more if they are having a difficult time understanding the source of the complaints. Justification such as "better safe than sorry" is not good enough to justify the behaviours, inconsistencies, and overall lack of professional conduct.

Anonymous said...

As a frequently flyer (and someone who went to D.C. on Sep 10, 2001) I fully understand and appreciate the need for security but sometimes things that go on just don't make sense. One very busy Monday morning at a major airport with long lines, a trainee was having a problem with a young lady who kept setting off the metal detector. She sent young lady back through at least 10 times, After 10 minutes a senior TSA agent started agruing with another senior agent over who's trainee she was and which one should help her. This stopped 3 lines, not just one. Several passenger's finally yelled to pull the young lady out of line for an individual inspection when a supervisor finally showed up and did just that. 3 lines out of 6 were stopped for over 15 minutes. The trainee was new and trying to do a good job. I blame the senior inspectors. Any senior inspector present who saw what was going on should have taken immediate responsibility and assisted the trainee or called a supervisor. Instead they created confusion, delay and anger.

denis wittman said...

have these securities measures captured any terrorists

Frustrated Traveler said...

As someone who travels frequently for business, I have learned how to optimize my TSA time. It's just something you learn to do to keep from getting frustrated each time you have to fly.

One major issue I have is the screening process for people who buy one-way tickets at the last minute (within 12 hours of the flight). The special "SSSS" printed on the ticket should indicate that extra security measures be taken. However...

One specific example was about 3 weeks ago when I had to leave the JFK airport. I went through the "special line" but no one swabbed my bags, nor did they frisk me like other airports. Now, with JFK being in the NYC area, you'd think those TSA agents would be extra sensitive. Not these guys. I quickly went through the line and put my belt and shoes back on. Apparently, no special treatment was necessary.

When I tried to board the plane, I was told by the gate agent that I had to go back through security because they didn't punch my ticket.

Punch my ticket? Are you serious? The gate agent told me I had about 5-10 minutes to run halfway across the airport and go back through the special security line. When I told TSA they forgot to punch my ticket, they asked how I got through the line. I said "that person over there let me through".

I was asked to sit in a metal folding chair while they swabbed one edge of my suitcase. (FYI - They failed to swab my laptop bag.) As I waited, the TSA agent told me anytime I go through one of these lines, I have to remember to get my ticket punched. It was almost as if *I* had done something wrong. HELLO?!?! Whose job is it to ensure the safety of all air travelers? Not mine!

To the rest of the TSA agents, I'd like to say your job is much more important than how you treat it. You get paid by the federal government - which is funded by taxpayers like me - to protect the air travelers you come in contact with each and every day. If you don't want to be considered a professional, find employment elsewhere. My life is too important to me and my family for you to screw with it.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I are both frequent fliers, on average I would guess that one or both of us are on a plane a couple times a month - I say that to pint out my views are a cumulative opinion, not out of a singular event. I should also say from the outset that I neither work for the TSA or any affiliate, nor do I know anyone personally that does. I am also the guy that will set off the detectors EVERYTIME regardless. All that being said - my opinion is very simply this - the TSA does an exceptional job. I find the agents to be cordial but not aloof to their responsibilities, thorough without invasive. I understand that the purpose of this blog is to generate improvements - but frankly I am perfectly satisfied with the overall performance of the TSA.

I don't mean to 'soap-box' this but a small sampling of Americans (often times with isolated events) have put the TSA in a no-win situation. Long lines and getting to the airport sooner than you would like are ridiculously small inconveniences to pay against the loss of human life. History will forever remeber 9/11 and Richard Reid, but won't so much as footnote the hundreds if not thousands of similar evnets that never happened because of the TSA. Those are the facts.

I appreciate your efforts to reach out to the consumer for improvements - but for my part Mr. Hawley job well done.

Brenner M.

Anonymous said...

In advance, Im a very frequent flyer (executive plat AA)

Ive always found it rather amazing at the low educational levels displayed by people who work in the TSA. It never surprises me when a story about a fake explosive passes screening; when you want the good protection (or perception of it), you have to hire people who have a slight bit higher education than a GED.

Anonymous said...

I understand it is a very difficult job with many more comlaints than compliments. I do not have a complaint just an observation. It seems like each airport uses its own interpretation of the rules. Some screeners look at the exact same article and let it pass no problem, others confiscate it. Its mind boggling to fly 5 times with an article such as a small bottle of cologne then on the 6th flight they take it. I checked the size against the rules and it was fine. Things like that is what is so frustrating. PLEASE just have all the screeners going by the same rules. Great idea this blog!

Anonymous said...

I am an expat who travels world wide every month,mostly the middle east.what distresses me is that a 100 people from other countries walk by me while I am being given the extra screening in my own country.the other item is when I pass all this security,with my luggage cleared,they give it back in a port of entry and run it though security again,what a waste of my time and our goverment money.

bergjme said...

On a trip out of NYC, as we passed through the screeners, the TSA employees were ALL turned away from the x ray carry on luggage screening machine, having a casual conversation with their SUPERVISOR, as bags were passing through while NO ONE was looking at the x ray screen! This was not only shocking but FRIGHTEINING! I can understand the job may be boring, but I'll bet terrorists are counting on complacency!

Also, I DON"T MIND at all waiting in security lines. I just want the screeners to do their jobs, although most probalby do? But all it would take is one!

Anonymous said...

Listen up TSA. You guys are doing a fantastic job! Keep up the great work. I must admit, I sometimes get annoyed at passengers complaining about long lines, having to take off their shoes, etc. I get annoyed because those people will also be the first to point the finger and blame the government/TSA for not doing their job. If you want airline travel to be safe that takes time and attention to detail. Which means longer waits. If you want shorter waits, that means less attention to detail and screen and more of a security breach. YOU CANNOT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS! So I guess my blog is more towards the passengers and not the TSA. TSA: Great Job! Passengers: Lighten up. Because I guarantee you that a security breach on the aircraft you're on when you so many thousand feet over the earth will be, well, a little bit worse, that having to wait on line longer or having to take off your shoes.

Anonymous said...

What is the deal with the Plastic bag and only having small bottles of liquid? Since you can have multiple small bottles and so can others, couldn't a person just board the plane, collect the bottles and then pour them into one plastic zip-lock bag therby making one larger object filled with liquid?

Anonymous said...

I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHY MY SON, A LT IN THE MARINES, WHILE IN FULL MARINE UNIFORM WAS SEARCHED FROM HEAD TO TOE, AND NEVER ALLOWED TO SHOW HIS ORDERS. (PORTLAND, OR) IT WAS DISGRACEFUL AND IN INSULT TO OUR MILITARY.

Anonymous said...

well my 2 cents. i think tsa should use 2 screeners per person that way if 1 person missing something other might catch it. i know it would cost alot more that way but may save alot of lifes.the news has shown stuff getting by which shouldnt be. all it takes is 1 persons mistake and it may cost alot of people too die which should have happened. i know people will always make mistakes but with 2 people per person might be able too stop it.

Almost too tired to care said...

As a long-term frequent traveler I have noticed what seems to me to be the most obvious irritating factor with going through airport security and that is the lack of professionalism on the part of some of the security personnel. I don't know, but I assume TSA personnel receive training on how to handle frazzled, tired, confused, angry and abusive members of the public. At least they should be receiving that type of training. I have been in lines where to the left of me will be a screener acting very unprofessionally while to the right will be another screener facing essentially the same headaches in a very professional manner. I believe the TSA personnel see the same thing I do, but do nothing about the person acting poorly.

It may be unfortunate that there is no such thing as a "professional" flying public that can be trained and held to a higher standard, but there is supposed to be a professional level of behavior at TSA and it would be better for everyone if TSA worked harder to ensure professional standards are maintained even in the face of some members of the flying public who may be unmitigated jerks. The best police officers do this day-in and day-out and it is what is expected of them. The same should go for TSA.

Camille said...

Hello TSA

No doubt the task you have is both important, frustrating, and expansive. I fly quite a lot globally and I do know that much of the security 'experience' is related to the quality and attitude of the personnel at the respective airport - and this is not easy task to employ a group of cohesive intelligent people!

But in regards to the luggage checking - I'm very confident that luggage tampering is on the rise. When TSA first started 'opening' luggage, mine was always checked, neatly closed and zipped tagged with the TSA blue zip ties, and always had a slip in the luggage with a inspector signature. For the last three flights out of the USA (2 from Miami and 1 from Boston), my luggage has been opened, throughly ruffed up, closed and not re-locked (which is NOT FAIR! The arrival airports are often prone to theft too!). Last time I left Boston, TSA opened my golf bag (I had a aluminum disk in the bag which must have looked suspicious) and when the 'repacked', my clubs were twisted and one of my sneakers was GONE! There was an TSA piece of paper with no inspector signature and the bag was not relocked.

If the TSA inspectors can be this careless and messy, opportunities of theft and misabuse of power are the next phase to come.

GI Josephine said...

As a member of the military, I would ask for only two major changes to the current security practices; first, that those military coming in from Combat, be allowed to bypass the screening. I am currently in Combat. I have flown several times during this period in my life. Almost all commercial. Most airlines do a decent job of being nice to us when we're on our way home (some ARE not nice), it is the TSA that could do a lot more. We have to go thru several customs an "air worthiness" insections before we even get out of theater - this means we probably only have a toothbrush (no toothpaste allowed) and haven't been able to shower in days (no liquids please). I can see walking thru the metal detector or the puffer, but the taking off of combat boots, emptying all our gear is too much. The second is almost as bothersome...PLEASE ask your screeners to stop carrying on conversations with EACH OTHER while we are all trying to herd through. It is rude and leads to the appearance that they are NOT paying attention to their jobs. I have found this in EVERY airport, at EVERY security checkpoint.

Thank you for this forum.

Anonymous said...

I really do not flight that often but when I have I find different airports allow different items to go through. Some workers are chatting and not paying attention to their jobs. But in most part I think everyone is trying.

Anonymous said...

I think in this climate right now that we do need good and consistent security measures. As someone who reads the rules about the amount of liquids, a clear zippered bag, allowed items, etc., I was frustrated when I traveled recently and had my TSA approved lock taken off and nowhere to be found. I went on-line to see about the TSA locks as I am concerned about my bag popping open and then I also have a lock for my bag at the hotel once I get there. Why say that TSA approved locks are OK if they end up being taken off and not put back on? I cannot afford to purchase a new lock each time I travel and it defeats the purpose of helping to make sure that my bag stays closed during rough baggage handling if the bag arrives without the lock. What a waste of money for the lock and of course I have no recourse to recoup the cost of the lock either. Any ideas? Comments?

Anonymous said...

What is the deal with the liquid ban going through security? Do you realise how rediculous it is? Do you realise that once through security a passenger can buy the same large soda or bottled water that was just confiscated? What is the point in taking it away? I don't buy the story it can be used to make explosives. Even if it could why would you then allow vendors to sell liquid products beyond security? This policy is an absolute joke and makes you look like a bunch of fascists.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed, thankfully, how easy it is to check baggage and even my handgun. It was, however, more difficult to bring yogurt on a long flight for my 20 month old daughter. The tsa website clearly states this is permissible, but once, it was difficult and the second time, impossible to get this through the TSA agent's head.

Anonymous said...

Like some other commenters, I have had problems with wearing a zipped up sweater. At one airport I have no problem. On the return, I'm told to take it off since it's considered an "outer garment" even though it's the middle of winter. It would be nice if the TSA is consistent from airport to airport on its requirements.

Another complaint - why are we asked multiple times for our ID and boarding passes? If we showed our IDs and boarding passes at the entrance to the security area, why do we need to show them again at the X-ray machine (a few feet away and just minutes later)? It just adds to the confusion and the lines at the x-ray machines.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to integrate new technologies in as a soldier who has used these devices to find bombers in iraq i think it should be integrated into strategic places in airports at international and domestic terminals, a few of the devices are a vaportrace- explosive detector and also you can use X-spray to spray hands for explosives, also I wish you had some way to monitor the airport for biological agents such as hospitals use some type of mobile mass spectrometer that analyze the air for agents. Although they require a dedicated person the monitor 24/7. Just my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

It's a good thing that Richard Reid didn't hide explosives in his underwear or we'd all be flying in hospital gowns.

TSA's better attitude makes it a "kinder and gentler" huge waste of time and money.

Unfortunately, I don't see anyone with the guts to kill this program, it will probably get worse.

Who will tell the king that he isn't wearing any clothes? We're safe because all of the road warriors are alert, not because of the TSA.

Anonymous said...

While flying from NYC to Alaska in June of 2005; I had a layover of a few hours in an airport in the midwest. During the layover I went to a restaurant for dinner and the guy next to me was eating a steak with steak knife in hand. From the moment I left the original plane to the moment I boarded the next one, including while I was eating dinner, I was in a "secured" area. I never passed through the security screening while in this airport. Neither would steak knife guy to board a plane.

"security", what a joke? Nail clippers, no way, you can't pass the checkpoint with that, but don't worry we'll give you a steak knife on the other side. If you want real security arm the pilots and order them to shoot anyone who breaches the cockpit doors.

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Anonymous said...

My husband travels an enormous amount for his employer, and I travel a moderate amount myself both with him and alone. With that said....I definitely have a comment.
I am angered by the so called "first class" security line! This is the USA not India...we supposedly have no Caste system here. In the land of equality it is becoming harder and harder to find just that! I cannot understand why first class passengers need a special expedited line...are they better??? Is their time more valuable??? Ahhhh yes....now I get it...they have more money! I, however, do not understand how that translates into a right to expedited security clearance.....sorry, but rich people can be terrorists too!

Herb said...

I am wondering why I never got a call or follow up from a Comment/Complaint card, which had all my contact infor on it, filed with the TSA supervisor's desk on Dec. 12, 2007 at Orlando MCO. Especially, when I said to the TSA supervisor that placing the card in the bin would just send it to the "circular file." He said, no, no, they will definitely contact you! I'm still waiting.

The story briefly: I was attempting to fly out of Orlando MCO on December 12. I was traveling with my wife, and two small children(4 & 5 yrs old)in a double stroller. We were admittedly running late and unfortunately the security check point line was very backed up.

As we came upon the TSA person who was checking and verifying the boarding passes, we pointed out our flight was in less than an hour and could he advance us on the line. He told us to go on the line for those needing special assistance (handicapped, wheelchair, etc.) Certainly, we, with two children in a double stroller could qualify, it wasn't a stretch to say we could go on that line.

However, when we got on that line, the next TSA agent was not nearly as considerate and said who told you to go here. We told her that the prior TSA agent did and that our flight was now less than a half hour, she said NO, NO, you have to go to the end of the regular line. needles to say we missed our flight and had to wait three + hours for the next flight, again with two small children.

There has to be some common sense in putting people on the lines to go through security. You want us be there two + hours before the flight and some people come even earlier. Then when the TSA agent looks at the boarding pass and sees the time of the flight they should segregate the passengers to lines for people who have less time to make their flight and those who have extra time can go on a longer line. It can't be so mechanical with no thought process involved.

kaw249 said...

As a passenger, why ask me if I have any liquids in my handbag? I'm always going to say no and I always get my liquid lipstick thru.

Otherwise, I think the whole process is good.

Anonymous said...

As an Airline Pilot we are tired of having to go through TSA screening everyday. There must be a better way to allow genuine bonified Airline Crew members bypass the typical screening.

You screen me for weapons so I don't take over the cockpit, but then I am the Captain of the ship, so I all ready have access to the Cockpit, so what is the point of the screening? I have had multiple back ground checks, both with the Airlines, and in a past career.

Now explain this to me..I have to be screened to make sure that I don't have a weapon, but now if I become an FFDO, you give me a weapon, so now I don't have to be screened any more, where is the logic in that?

DahliaLane said...

Consumer Suggestions: TSA may be functioning as law enforcement officers within the airport community, but they also have a certain amount of responsibility as customer service officials. For all those travelers that are young, hip, and travel-savvy - there are a fair number that are elderly, inexperienced in flying, and downright overwhelmed by the airport experience. Smiles, respect, and courtesy toward all those "coming through the line" will go a long way in creating a more positive experience for everyone.

Travelers are not (all) criminals. Please, don't treat us like we are, just because we forgot the 3-3-3 rule or we ask a question you've answered 50 times before. By the way, perhaps a clear explanation of the thinking behind implementation of the 3-3-3 rule is long overdue. Lastly, please don't chat with your co-workers, check yourself in your hand mirror, or gaze into space when you're on duty. We're all trying to get somewhere and we don't mind complying with the rules, but TSA's disinterest is extremely annoying (see Customer Service suggestion above.) Thanks for reading, taking into consideration, and working to continually improve your organization.

Anonymous said...

If you really want to protect travelers from your worst employees on their worst days, you need to create and publicize a "traveler's bill of rights."

This includes the right to ask for a supervisor when there is a concern of employee problem.

The right to identify any problem worker by badge number, and to file a written complain with forms provided at the time (your bad apples will get weeded out fast.)

Your rights with respect to consistent policies, as in all the example listed here with medical devices and orthotic shoes.

By keeping people in the dark about your rights, you have generated a ripe atmosphere for abuse.

Anonymous said...

This has been mentioned at least once, but I wanted to second it and reiterate it: Why can't something be worked out so that ALL federal law enforcement employees with security clearances, background investigations, polygraphs, etc. be given some consideration and a realization made that their credentials (yes, the flip open "I'm with the government I'm here to help" kind) actually mean something. It's ridiculous when I'm traveling in business attire with my creds and security badges (that get me in to places just as critical and sensitive as an airport), and I get secondary screened because I made a last minute change to get an earlier flight. I can’t be given even some professional courtesy to let me leave me suit jacket on instead of crumpling it up to put in a dirty plastic bin that people put their shoes in. And they get this stupid fiendish grin when they know they’ve won and I have to do whatever they say. Meanwhile, some kid that got a job a throwing baggage or something diddy-bobs through with is inappropriate unprofessional attire and his headphones around his neck and flashes his badge, not even close enough or long enough for the person to actually check it. I’m not angry or chip on my shoulder because this happened once. I’m a frequent flyer and it’s consistent.

And maybe…just maybe…I’d be even less aggravated about it if so many TSA screeners weren’t a-holes. They simply do not care about people. Everyone is apparently a nuisance and/or nefarious. Hey…all those fine American travelers are taxpayers…you’re paid with tax money…you work for these people, you don’t rule them. You…work…for…them! If you’re being an a-hole because you don’t like dealing with your fellow Americans…quit…don’t like the job, too boring, too demanding…quit. I know it’s tough to give up such a sweet gig being a federal employee mooching off the people you can’t muster some common decency for. If you’re an a-hole because you like being an a-hole and the power you have…you should be fired. The TSA pre-employment screening process should screen out people who are itching to be power tripping a-holes, but obviously it doesn’t always work.

Anonymous said...

To answer Dave's question about the first class lines at the checkpoint. The lines/qeues are actually determined by the airline and airport. TSA doesnt manage those lines. They only manage the checkpoint, so if the airlines want a first class line, they put one there.

Josh said...

I want to know what basis you search people on? 7 out of the past 10 times I have flown, I have been frisked. I am a white male,with a goatee, and a shaved head who served in our military.....I guess I am the suspicious one to look at. It's getting insulting. Also, be nice to travelers, we pay for your salary, a smile from one person would be nice to see every once in awhile.

Anonymous said...

9/11 AND THE COUNTRY WAS GALVANIZED FROM DISBELIEF THAT TERROR ACTS COULD HAPPEN HERE AND IMMEDIATELY TOOK ACTION. TSA SECURITY FROM ITS BEGINNING TO NOW HAS SEEN TREMENDOUS CHANGE TO COVER "HOPEFULLY" ALL AREAS OF POSSIBLE TERRORIST ACTIVITY. WHEN YOU THINK YOU GOT IT ALL COVERED.....SOMETHING ELSE COMES ALONG.....I.E. THE TOOTHPASTE AND AFTERSHAVE AND WATER. FOREVER NEVER TO RETURN TO THE DAYS OF "FREE TRAVEL WITHOUT RESTRICTIONS" AND TSA STILL HAS NOT LEARNED THE MOST BASIC OF HUMAN RELATIONS SKILLS..........."TREAT US WITH KINDNESS AND RESPECT AND BE CUSTOMER SERVICE ORIENTED" THAT IS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT FUNCTION WHILE ELECTRONICS DOES THE REST.....BARE FEET AND ALL!!!!!

Anonymous said...

As a frequent traveler with a toddler, I find the TSA regulations to be VERY inconsistent airport to airport. Some airports will allow my daughter to carry water in her sippy, others only allow juice/milk. The regulations not only seem erratic, but they don't at all address real issues. For example the 3oz containers in a quart sized bag. Why can you take 7 3oz containers (or however many fit) of the same thing in a quart sized bag but not one 21oz bottle? Also, why do you care/not care what my daughter is drinking - if liquid is allowed in her sippy, then does it matter what it is? These "rules," because of their illogical basis as aforementioned, seem aimed at frightening our own countrymen (not to mention tourism dollars) and they are irritating at best, not effective...

Anonymous said...

I LOGGED 175,000 FLIGHT MILES LAST YEAR.TAKEN IN TO ACCOUNT OF THE MASS NUMBERS INVOLVED,TSA DOES A GOOD JOB.HOWEVER IF A PERSON OR GROUP WANTED TO DO SOMETHING,THERE ARE SOME ISSUES THAT SHOULD BE ADDRESSED.AMERICA IS WIDE OPEN TO ANY PARTY WITH BAD INTENT.

Anonymous said...

I want to make a comment and I hope it gets out to all the TSA Employees. When you are searching our bags I, as well as other travelers would like to see more respect for our personal property. I am getting real tired of TSA Employees stealing items out of bags. Granted they may be small items but ya know after a few flights it really adds up. TSA says I should file a complaint, but to do that it cost money and its cheaper to just go buy and replace the stolen item then to go through the headache of getting TSA to replace it.

Anonymous said...

I fly between countries, and they have the duty free stuff. And when I buy a bottle of JD or some other drink, if I have to change planes on the trip they take this away.

I feel that they either need to stop the duty free from liquid, or come up with a way that I can take it on international flights that have several change of planes along the way. I don't care if I have to check it with the airline, and have them box and do all of the handling so long as I get to keep it on the end.

This also even in America, when I come into chicago and change flights from over sea's that I have to get rid of the liquid from duty free shop.

wwschoening said...

I am very appreciative of the professionalism and helpfulness of the screeners. I just wish I knew what I was doing with my checked luggage that resulted in it being opened and inspected on the non-stop trip and on each leg of the return trip with a plane change. If something is triggering a search, I would be delighted to change what I am doing. Suggest you publicize some dos and don'ts

Anonymous said...

I can not for the life of me understand what engineering formula produced one special "First Class/USAir Preferred line" with only one x-ray scanner and metal detector and one "everyone else line" that functions as a cattle shoot into 3 or 4 x-ray belts and metal detectors????

I fly out of PHL (Terminal B & C are almost all USAir, therefore tons of Preferred members) and I have never once gotten in the preferred line at a point that is closer to the TSA agent than those in the "non-preferred" line and arrived at the "TSA ID-checking agent" ahead of the non-preferred line.

Thoughts/solutions?

sandyflinthill said...

Flying from the islands yesterday, going thru security and a bag search there, getting luggage and clearing customs in Miami, then directed to join by TSA back into the que with everyone else coming into the airport, one hour line to check id and go thru security again, just to reach oour gate for connection within the same airline. Almost missed the plane. Will never use Miami again, what gives TSA??!!

Anonymous said...

I fly often, at least every two weeks, follow all rule and arrive way before departure. The one big problem I see is the considerable "waste of time." There's a culture of obvious unconscious, uncaring and inconsiderate TSA employees. It's at every airport. It's frustrating. For instance, there could be at least four x-ray machines which can be used, the line of travelers can be out the door, yet only one machine is being used and obvious uncaring, unconscious and inconsiderate TSA employees are standing around - doing nothing.

Anonymous said...

Why do they post signs and insist that shoes be removed when the rules clearly state (unless they have been changed back)that shoe removal is not required. Leave them on. If the walkthru alarm sounds and the wand sounds when passed over the shoes then have the person remove them for further checks. Don't make it inconvenient for everyone. You wind up with everyone standing at the end of the baggage conveyor trying to put their shoes back on and things back up.

Pedro said...

This site needs a format change. I was hoping to read some explanations to the complaints that I knew would be listed, but the way this is laid out, it just seems to be an endless list of gripes begging for responses. As a method of remediation and education, it is useless: people need to see an acknowledgement of their complaint. Leaving this up as a long list of problems only exacerbates the negativity.

Anonymous said...

Please work to ensure there is no interference from other items at the magnometer. In GRB I went through screening. As I went through the magnometer it beeped saying that I had metal. I rechecked all my pockets and there was nothing there. TSA had me go through again; now no beep. TSA advised that it was most likely the baggage carts under the concourse. They have determined that if a luggage cart goes under the concourse as a customer goes through the magnometer it errors out (sensing the metal below of the carts). If that is a known issue, why wouldn't this issue be resolved instead of dealing with multiple false readings per day?

Anonymous said...

I fly up and down the west coast. The TSA at PDX are respectful, and ORGANIZED. They only check your boarding pass ONCE. Not two or three times. I would have to say that is my biggest grip with other airports. Why do you have to show it more than once?

Anonymous said...

I agree with most people. Airport security is a pain in the butt because of all the things flyers have to do. But at the same time, I LOVE IT because I'd rather get on the plane knowing I'm safe and will reach my destination. I only hope there is more security procedures to come. My only question to TSA, why must we take the laptops out of our carry-on luggage for the x-ray machine? Shouldn't you be able to see everything through the bag? Thanks for everything you do TSA!

DallasNasville said...

I am glad I have a place to air my frustration: I was flying from Dallas to Nashville last July. When I went through security, I placed my travel size shampoo, and a tube of hair gel in the zip lock back. The hair gel container was a transparent, and I only had very little gel left in the tube. The amount was clearly visible to everybody. However, it was confiscated because "the size of the tube is bigger than the size allowed".

How absurd! This is "form over substance". I did not throw a fit or say anything because I did not want to rik being harrassed. I just think that this is ridiculous.

Because they confiscated my hair gel, I had to get one in Nasville. I did not bother to put my newly bought gel in the zip lock bag on my way home. It was not detected.

So much for security.

Anonymous said...

In retrospect, what if the 'bad actor', who several years ago attempted to sneak a knife/box-cutter on board a flight with his weapon hidden in one of his shoes, had instead chosen a popular method used by drug smugglers and had hidden his weapon in his body orifice somewhere 'south of the border'. Applying the TSA's flawed response 'logic' to perceived threats, imagine how many millions of 'fanny frisks' that we travelers would have to endure each year. How long do you think that the public would tolerate body orifice searches when they fly? No doubt intense political pressure would be brought to bear on the TSA to bring an immediate stop to the 'fanny frisks'. Why then do we travelers STILL have to remove our shoes on each and every flight, slowing down the long lines and producing virtually NO tangible security results? Are your metal detector machines not state of the art? Would they NOT be able to detect a hidden knife in someone's shoe? If not - then fix or upgrade the machines and stop this useless shoe removal procedure. The only results of this policy is one of passenger irritation and of creating the false impression that we are safer now! by Polincor in Seattle

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