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


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Anonymous said...

I think TSA are idiots. Thats why someone got through at BWI with a fake bomb and that other kid got on with a knife or whatever he had.

I think inorder for them to be effective at preventing terrorism you must 1) get rid of the low paid security guards working the front lines 2) make sure that they have a high school diploma with a certain GPA (they have no analytical ability) 3) stop being jerks to people because they have a funny last name, most terrorist are home grown i.e. Oklahmoma City Bomber, Waco Texas, Columbine etc. 4) Stop waisting time putting someone on terrorist list because they pissed you off and you're power tripping because that will only clog up the list i.e. 3 million people plus currently on the list.

Galvsurf said...

What I would like to know is why? Honestly, have TSA screeners actually stopped any "terrorist threats"? I certainly haven't heard about it.

What I have heard about is complaints from the public. I have a father who now refuses to fly because he doesn't want to pay to be herded like cattle, forced to remove his shoes, belt, wallet and all just to get on a plane.

Is anyone going to be able to hijack a plane again with an xacto knife? No, the passengers on that flight would tear them to shreds. Are you going to be able to stop a determined terrorist threat from smuggling explosives onto a plane? No. It's been proven time and time again you can get things by the TSA. All it's doing is giving people this silly little blanket of faux security to hold onto while they board.

And as far as the recent use of "microfacial expression" reading... that is absolutely ludacris. It's completely Orwellian big-brother stuff and from what I've read, wholly ineffective. Some 70,000 passengers were sent for secondary screening using this method and of them some 600-700 were actually charged with something, mostly minor drug charges. That's less than 1% efficacy. Why not just throw a ball down the terminal and whoever catches it, secondary screening. Less than 1% is not viable in any way and you succeeded in little more than pissing off some 69,300 travellers who were doing nothing wrong and were somehow picked by these "experts" for secondary screening.

"In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offence. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called." (Nineteen Eighty-Four, Part 1, Chapter 5)

How do you address this?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hawley,

Thanks for the opportunity to provide input. As a frequent domestic flyer from Denver International Airport, I offer three recommendations:
(1) coordinate more closely with the airlines as they should know exactly how many passengers are expecting to come through security at any time. TSA can respond accordingly with resourcs to get security wait time down to 4 minutes for everyone, not just those who can afford the Clear Pass. (2) get advice from the likes of FedEx and UPS who know how to get "packages" from one point to another using outstanding process approach. (3) Treat TSA like a business that needs to answer to its shareholders (taxpayers), improving processes and providing excellent service while striving to do so at the least cost. Could TSA be competitively privatized to further reduce costs to taxpayers?

Anonymous said...

I, for one, do not understand all the fuss about security. While security is different now since 911, this process has been around for years.

I have been traveling internationally for many years and feel much better about safety than ever before. The TSA has a duty to protect us and, in my opinion, has and is doing the best job they can.

Since they changed from the lazy "I don't care" employees they had before the security is handled very professionally.

I have had security check delays but 99% of them were because the travelers weren't prepared or wanted to waste time complaining about a 10 minute delay. Most of the long delays were traveler delays, not TSA.

Another problem is the amount of carry on's most people take on board. They seem to think they need to take the kitchen sink with them on the plane. This brings up one of the main reasons for delays. This is the airlines fault for not enforcing the limits, NOT TSA. I have NEVER lost any checked luggage. Delayed a few times but never lost. I have been traveling by plane since 1958.

Keep up the professional work, TSA.

Anonymous said...

I've been making the short trip from SAC to San Diego for years, and it's been infinitely more convenient to take the 1 1/2-hour flight than to make the 9-hour drive. But the increasingly arbitrary enforcement of security rules has convinced me to drive, take a train, even hitchhike, rather than fly again.

If I have a transparent, zipped-up, quart-sized bag holding my 3-oz. containers (which complies with the guidelines), then why is it that one airport allowed it while the other (San Diego) made me put my containers into a zip lock bag? Along those lines, why did San Diego security make me take my clear bag out while in line to show to the obnoxious woman who was yelling at travelers like she was Gestapo and we were being loaded onto a one-way train ride to "camp"?

Thank God that SAC knows the rules that are posted online (the ones that I so carefully pour over to make my travel experience easier); they are polite and do a great job. San Diego is such a mess that I will try my hardest to never fly there again.

And one last note: How many terrorists pack liquid explosives into a 1-oz. tube of sparkly, vanilla-scented lipgloss? or how about mascara? If a man walks through the line with these things--you might want to check him out, but the woman with the glossy lips is obviously not wearing explosives on her face.

Born in the USA 58 said...

Dear TSA,

I am writing on behalf of all American Citizens who have the Second Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms. On a flight two years ago from Boston to LA, I complied with the regulations to have seperate locked boxes for my guns and ammunition, and the keys readily available for inspection, in unlocked luggage (for under the plane.) At the check-in, when I announced that the checked baggage contained firearms, I was instantly treated to dose after dose of hysteria by airline employees, airport personell, and finally the TSA, who called me back out of the plane after boarding, to question me regarding my legally packaged firearms. Here's a suggestion:


This past trip to California, I decided to drive, rather than to be treated once again as a terrorist. I hope my government can figure out how to allow us to fly once again with some dignity, as I am getting too old to drive cross-country!

Anonymous said...

The last flight I took was out of Klamath Falls OR -- a small airport where you're able to see the entire security screening while you're waiting at the gate for your flight The only passengers pulled for extra screening (security officer using the wand) was on 3 women (including me) all middle-aged and older: all with grey or white hair, all short. Obviously some profiling was going on. Obviously on somebody's list we were the risk that day. My mother is another small, elder woman aged 78 who is consistently pulled aside for extra screening. What gives???

inflightout said...

Kudos to TSA for opening up a forum like this. Hope we have some good & honest discussion about issues effecting TSA and travelers.

Anonymous said...

I fly very seldom so when I do it is frustrating without any outside help. I too find the taking off my shoes at Lubbock airport but not Dallas or Vegas to be confusing. I find the fact that I can't take a crochet needle on at Dallas but people are allowed to take them on at Chicago frustrating. Not to be able to bring a sealed bottle of water past the check point when I have to be there an hour before take off seems more to promote the sale from the vendors than to keep me safe. But I think of all the things that worry or concern me there are two that stand out in my mind. I have a Russian sir name by marriage. When my daughter was flying bi monthly she was "randomly" chosen to be searched 100% of the time. After she married, and still flies, she has never be chosen; never. I find this not to be random. I too seem to be 'randomly' chosen even though I am retired military and use my military ID to check in. This points to search by nationality rather than a random sampling. With an English sir name like Smith or Jones it is easy to avoid 'random' searches it seems. The second thing that stands out, and this is even more frightening, is the things that aren't being checked for and can't be checked for without a lot more high tech toys than what are at airports. I know there are all plastic or non metal guns and rubber bullets, bone knives, ceramic knives, hardened plastic knives and let us not forget C4 that will pass through a metal detector with no problem. If I were to want to hijack a plane, any of these will do the job quite well but if I really wanted to do it, it seems to me much easier to have some one with one of those really low paying jobs like baggage or food services simply slip something on the plane for me. My father used to say everyone has their price and I'm thinking people who are being complained to and about all day probably could be bought quite easily. I also see and hear about these new wonderful explosives that can be woven like fabric that can be worn onto a plane. I guess my whole thing is, no matter what you try to do to keep me safe in the air, there are way too many things out there that you can't protect us from unless you start making everyone strip and fly in little paper dresses; even then I'm betting that someone who puts their mind to it can probably still take over a plane. You just can't protect against everything. The job is impossible. So, I personally, would rather you remove the bandage over the flowing sword wound and let me simply get on a plane and go. A year or so after 9/11 an Israeli security officer reported that he had tried to get on a flight at Chicago airport with a standard weapon to test security, with full knowledge of the airport personal, and succeeded 4 out of 5 times. It is my opinion that all the security measures are more a knee jerk reaction and the people on the front lines who have to enforce them know how much of a farce they truly are. I personally like Israel's solution of putting armed air marshals on every flight and making sure that everyone knows they are there somewhere among the passangers over the U.S.'s current system of torturing passengers with security measures that don't really protect.

RABJAZZ said...


Anonymous said...

The professionalism of TSA screeners seems to vary widely...I am bothered by the VERY casual atmosphere I see at some airports, noteably Reagan national, where rather focusing on security SOME screeners are all about joking LOUDLY, making comments about dating other screeners, some sexual innuendo, etc. This is upsetting when you are trying to get through the line and you see SOME TSA folks focused on themselves rather than the passengers.

Karim said...

This blog is a great idea and I hope other governmental agencies will follow suit.

I want to echo a "complain" I have seen a few times in the past comments. We need CONSISTENCY between the different airports on the rules to be reinforced at screening. Do I put my shoes in the box or directly on the belt? Do I need to keep my boarding pass or put it away?

I believe some time and money could be saved by getting everyone on the same page.

Anonymous said...

FYI-TSA: I use my passport as my ID at airports. It has my former last name on the first page with my picture and my name change on the very last page. When I go through security the TSA person opens the passport and looks at the first page and then my airline ticket which has a different name. 50% of the time I am let on the airplane without security questioning the two different names. Of the security who do question it, many don't even know to look further in the book to find the name change. It has become a game with me to guess if the TSA person will let me through. That's sad.....

Master Of The Obvious said...

Macro security, not micro security, please.

Why can't airport security do all their bomb detection stuff at the security gate, and then just stick a large guy with an Uzzi (loaded with rubber bullets) in front of the pilot's inpenitrable door, so we can skip all your micro managing?

You seem waste so much time on micro security, when some macro measures could save us travelers a lot of time and energy.

Digg'r said...

Here's a comment which won't be published:

When TSA was starting up, I applied online for dozens of TSA positions in airports all over the USA. I spent hour upon hour jumping through the hoops and submitting information trying to apply for and obtain a low or supervisor's job.

Not one word ever came back to me about that process.

Look at what they have for employees. I'm not there. Yea for me

LEO21 said...

Suggestion. I know room is limited in some locations BUT...after you pass the security check it would be nice to have some space, maybe even a table or two and a few charis to get your shoes back on and perhaps put the laptop back in the case. It can be a fearking zoo with plastic bins flying down the rollers and folks stoping to put on shoes and repack stuff like a computer taken out of the case. I saw one elder gentalman fall over as he was getting was trying to hurry to get his shoes on and other stuff was coming sliding down the metal tables.

bjones said...

As a buisness traveler, I have had many different experiences with screening systems (both good and bad). I have had some great screeners who really were a pleasure, and some who really need a new line of work (like most businesses have). Some Suggestions from my perspective:

1) A better way to communicate what is allowed, what is not allowed, what has to come out of carry on's, what has to be bagged - not only for passangers, but the screeners themsleves. I am constantly being given different instructions on what to do (many times contradictory to the instructions I received on the first leg of my flight). This causes everyone delays and makes the whole process somewhat nerve-racking.

2) Follow the Las Vegas format and have TV monitors giving constant instuction, rather than someone yelling - once again, it relieves some of the stress.

3) Allow people to submit to FULL background checks, pre-screening, and special ID's that would allow some elimination of the security process. I certainly would have no problem paying for this service and renewing the ID every set number of years.

4) Have a seperate line for non-english speaking passangers or at least screeners that are multi-lingual, this really is a challange when visitors do not speak English and the screeners are trying to explain the rules.

5) Improve technology so that a minimum of disrobing needs to occur. If you are traveling in a cold weather state, you are going to take many clothed off while standing 3 feet in fromt of the X-Ray. This is the single biggest time dealy.

6) Longer "staging" areas in which to prepare for the x-rays. In most airports you literally have 3 or 4 feet in which to disrobe, take off your shoes, take out your lap-top, etc...

7) Use some roller conveyor or other device going into the xrays - trying to slide 4 plastic totes accross 4 uneven tables can be a little difficult.

8) Maybe a "quick" line for people who travel very light - no extra bags, strollers, etc...

8) I think an overriding issue is that eveyone is treated like a potenial threat. I think the screeing has to become more of trapping exceptions. Use pre-screening and special ID's to eliminate this group of people - don't make it mandatory, just an option. When people enter the security area, there are some people who come loaded with jewelry, stollers, etc.. it's usually fairly obvious who is going to need extra time in the screening areas. They should be moved to a seperate area where more help is available. The idea is to get more lengthy and problematic type of screens segregated, allowing others to pass more readily.

9) Review rules/policy that may have questionable benefit - do DVD players really need thier own bin? Do tennis shoes really need to come off? Do I really need to show my boarding pass again (after being checked twice before)? There may be good reasons, but there also may be some that really serve no real benefit.

10) Eliminate the first class line and use it for general passangers. Or, use it for screening the people who need extra time. Maybe the flight crews need a special access. Although the airlines can certainly give these passangers perks, security is security and your status as a passanger should not play into it. I would much prefer a pre-screening line where someone has submitted to background checks, as opposed to someone who paid the airlines more money for a big seat and meal.

11) Maybe there could be "remote" stations where you could have your carry on bags checked and them some sort of seal applied. If, when you arrive to a sreening area, and the seal is in-tact, the bag does not need to be opened, even if there is a laptop or other devices that normally need to be removed.

12) How about some self check stations located in an airport? It may be a quick way people can tell if they have something that will set-off the x-rays. It would not eliminate the true xray process, just a self exam. It seems to me, the worst time to discover there is a problem is when someone is in the xray area.

IowaTraveller said...

As much as I appreciate this blog, I hope that TSA plans on taking the entries every week and finding common themes and answers to those questions and create an FAQ section of sorts. I read the first 10 blogs and realized there are thousands posted every day. How can I read all of those? Also, how can I tell that my post is answered? Once the system has some of the kinks worked out will I start to post questions.

Nicholas said...

Anyone with a military ID or Transportation Workers Identification Card (TWIC), should not have to go through the extra screening process when traveling through the airport. Both cards require extensive background checks. More effort should be made to check those without these cards. People who have these cards often travel at a moments notice and may not always have orders with them to get them out of the extra screening process. My TWIC or Military ID should be enough to identify me as a non threat.

Anonymous said...

Okay, here's my pet peeve. I get asked this question every time I fly and it drives me nuts: "Has anyone had access to your bag without your knowledge?"

Hello?! If it's "without my knowledge", how the heck would I know if happened or not?

I understand "has your bag been out of your sight" or "has anyone other than you touched your bag", but asking me questions about what you acknowledge I cannot know is just plain stupid.

Anonymous said...

As Archie Bunker once noted on the TV show All in the Family some 35 years ago, "Why not issue a handgun to every passenger who boards, thus insuring that no one with criminal intent will have the upper hand?" It was meant to be funny, but hey, I'd rather have an equal playing field than one that's stacked against us with the stealth weapons that CAN be sneaked through screening UNDETECTED!
(e.g. sharp weapons made of hardened plastics, glass, stone, and concealed upon one's person underneath clothing) --Signed Feeling Very Unprotected In The Air

Anonymous said...

Our "threat level" has been at "orange" ("elevated") for 6 years. When are Americans going to be a free people again. We need to cut our military by 90%, learn how to live with other people around the world, and the US government needs to let all licensed concealed handgun carriers in the US carry on planes. If all this had been done 10 years ago there would have been no 9/11.

Anonymous said...

How degarding it is to have to remove your shoes to get through security. During the whole secuirty ordeal at airports it makes the most common folk feel like a criminal!!!

Anonymous said...

We need to allow some specific threads or sub-blogs, with their ensuing comments. Examples could include (in no particular order):

Liquids & banned/permissible items
Trusted Traveler and equivalents
That scary gray cubicle
Egregious TSA screener behavior
Personal effects bins
Consistency between airports
No-fly list
Flight and cabin crew screening

It would also be good to allow replies to replies. For example,
Anonymous, January 31, 2008 11:20 AM commented on losing track of how many and which bins his (her) personal belongings were in. In Tokyo NRT, each bin is numbered and each pax is given cards with their bin numbers on it. Could we do someting like that here? Should we?

Anonymous said...

The most annoying thing about security checkpoints are the ariline and airport employees who cut in line. We, the travelers, are the paying customers and we all wish we could be someplace else for another 20-60 minutes. TSA should require that all people, especially paid emloyees, stand in line.

Anonymous said...

As an airline employee in Seattle, I have to go through security regularly. I have a hip replacement, thus I get the second screening every single time. With badges around my neck that show I've had a 10 year background check, I would hope that the TSA agent screening me understands that I'm aware of airport security and am also sensitive to their concerns. However, there is a deep inconsistency in how the screener does the job. Last week the screener rubbed the wand over me (touching me in private and sensitive areas), even knocking me off balance. Then proceeded to rub a hand down the front of my pants to check that my zipper was the real cause of the beep. My zipper has never set off the hand metal detectors before, but because it was being rubbed on me, it did. I felt violated and disrespected. The screener's response to my concern over the behavior was cold and condescending. Please make sure screeners know they can't use the wand to push on people, especially private areas of their bodies, and teach tact. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Louie said...

Just make it easier for us to get our stuff back!!! Lighters, Leathermans, Swiss Army knives... Nobody has time to go back and check them. That stuff is our property. At least, offer to tag them with our name, phone number and the date of confiscation, and just throw them in bins sorted by last name so we have an opportunity to get the stuff back.

Anonymous said...

OK, am I the only one here (after reading more than half the comments already) that thinks perhaps the TSA is regretting this whole "let's jump on the blog bandwagon!" idea?

Director said...

Screener inconcistency.
I am a Federal employee with Department of Justice. In October, while on official travel and carrying credentials approved by the Attorney General of the United States I attempted to use these credentials for identification at Baltimore Washington Airport and they were rejected in favor of a Maryland Drivers License which provides no proof of identity or legal residency (USDOJ crednetials do). The explanation was there is no expiration date on the credential document.
On the return trip 5 days later in Orlando the credentials were accepted without question but I had to take my sandles off to enter the airport (no shoe check at BWI).
When are these people going to operate under a common operating procedure? Why are credential documents that are approved and routinely passed at the White House and the Executive Office Building insufficient to board an airplane? I don't get it.

asonntag said...

My husband and I fly a lot and do not have a problem following the TSA rules at the airports, tho the exact rules are different for each one.
On one occasion, tho, I was very upset my the way I was treated. My transgression was that I had put my laptop in the same bin as my other articles because there was only one bin left in the stack. The screener insisted that I had to go back and wait for a bin and put the laptop in separately. I asked why should I and all the people behind me be inconvenienced because there were no bins. I asked why did the laptop need to be in a separate bin anyway. My questions and comments were greeted with "I can call my supervisor," which she eventually did and his first reponse was to threaten me with the police.
I am a 61 year old woman, with no criminal history, and I believe my concerns/questions could have been handled a lot better. At one point I told the screener "I know you are just jerking me around because you can." We took a complaint form and everyone's name, but ended up not filing it.

Anonymous said...

As a visitor to Hawaii once a year, I have seen a reoccurring theme in the Islands with TSA employees. I'm visually handicapped and I'm sure that is a little challenge for the employee's. For the last 3 years in Lihue', Kauai. The attitude has been very rude, disrespect able and naive. From them requiring me to go through the walk thru scanner with my cane which of course sets it off and then a full search ensues. Being very low vision, I can not see my ID to get it out of my wallet. I end up giving the inspector the wallet. This was just 9 days ago (1-22).The inspector was very surly, about why I had to remove the ID and could not understand why I could not take it out of the wallet....Completely to the contrary, On the 29th, we went through Kona, Hi. and was treated totally different. The folks there were more than happy to assist and very understanding. It was a very good experience!...We have been going to Hawaii from Alaska for a number of years. It seems like the stated concerns are always present. I'm sure people have good and bad days, but it always seems like the same concerns in each place.

Anonymous said...

It is degrading to watch the way they treat my 84 year old father. They prey on the old and young. He is a heart patient and they make him take his belt off, get out of the wheel chair and they don't care about his physical limitations. How about respecting our elders.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the earlier poster, who said that the worst thing about airport security is the "attitude of some of the screeners. There are some that are on a real power trip. They seem to delight in bullying any passengers that might question their reason for doing certain things. "

I am always polite to security, occasionally they ask to open my bags, whatever, I have no prolbem with it. But last year, I flew out of BWI airport, and security there was rude and totally unreasonable. They separated my husband and I into two separate security lines, then while my luggage was going through x-ray, I walked through the metal detector and it went off. The TSA screener pulled me aside, and would not let me first collect my luggage which was now sitting out of site at the end of the belt, with strangers walking by and taking bags off the belt. She would not recheck me right away with the wand, so I called over to my husband in the next line to come watch my stuff so nothing would 'disappear', and the TSA agent started berating me and and put me in 'time out' for twenty minutes, would not let me talk to a supervisor, and threatened to arrest me. All because as it turned out, I hadn't realized that I had a dime in my pocket. Yes, I'm a real danger to the security of the other passengers, with that dime not going through the x-ray.... The agent was so rude and nasty to me she really ruined my day, all over a dime, and I'm lucky that my purse wasn't stolen. At every other airport, they've let me collect all my belongings before taking me aside for any further checks!!

Anonymous said...

It is a good start. I have read lot of negative comments about it but at the end of the day somebody will learn out of it.

I am on working Visa here and have done highest level of education in this country and must have taken about 100 flights in last 2 years but at same time I go through special screening. When this argument is put forward that it random, how random it is when I have been selected atleast 25 times out of 100.
I have seen people getting mad about it but at the end of the day TSA is working to ensure our safety so I believe if in a fruit basket if you have found 1 apple bad then I guess you will be looking apples carefully not oranges...though you will be looking everything more carefully and apples even more. Its as simple as that I think there is nothing wrong with. Only request to TSA just deal apples with outmost respect and politenes as every apple is not bad.

ldjtx said...

I would just like to say that there seems to be this frenzy with the press vs. TSA this week. All I hear about is this stupid testing and a bunch of whining people crying about taking off their shoes. If you were so concerned about getting a foot disease you would be smart and wear some darn socks like all of the screeners suggest. Get a clue please! No where in a press report have I seen anything possitive about anything (but sadly maybe that is what our culture has come to) Positive stories just don't sell. How about all the Guns TSA agents have taken away from passengers trying to get on planes ...with you???? huh, right, that is what I thought!

Anonymous said...

An interesting effort to blog with the public about an agency like TSA - takes some guts to get raw feedback.

As a very frequent business traveler I have three very specific issues with the security process.

1. Consistency across airports in requirements is lacking. What is acceptable at Denver vs. DCA is often different. This seems to stem from issues like taking off shoes - is it "required" or "suggested"? You need NATIONAL requirements regardless if the local airport folks like it or not. I once had a Denver security person say "TSA does not run this airport". We have a national agency - we should have national standards. In my humble view local airport authorities may need to have their power checked by legislation to keep our national standards on security all over the airport up to one "best in class" standard.

2. Sit and watch what people actually DO when going through the check points. First - you need hand rails for where folks take off their shoes. Second - you need an area after the gate where people can "reassemble" themselves. Often the only tables or seats just past the checkpoint are used for detailed searches of people that are flagged and TSA staff will shoo you away from these areas. You do not need to hire an anthropologist to do a 2 million dollar study to say you have some design work to do. Hire someone that works on theme park design or retail malls and stores to help you. Work with local airports to make room for "reassembly" areas when space is constrained. Many terminals have more than enough room - but yet TSA still does not provide an area to get your stuff back together.

3. I suggest establishing specific lines for passengers at checkpoints that need extra assistance like: people traveling with small children (especially with strollers etc), older people in wheel chairs or that clearly are in need of aid, large groups - especially school kids, etc. For example - make a standard "the left most line is always the special assistance line". At these check points have a TSA staff person IN FRONT of the metal detectors to help these folks through the process/expedite things. For example, I often see moms trying to travel alone with small kids and really struggle to get through checkpoints and all the TSA staff does is wait on the other side of the metal detector and watch.

Ray said...

I just wish you guys were at the border!!

realtor1 said...

I have had excellent service from TSA. Maybe being a CLEAR holder helps. Usually fly out of Orlando, but did have occasion to be in Ft Lauderdale airport this year - again, very courteous service. No complaints.

Christian said...

Here's my gripe particularly hard to accept while in line:

TSA employees are federally-funded public workers. Yet at Oakland Airport and others, they differentiate between first class ticket holders (wealthy) and not-so-first class ticket holders (me). If I were a lawyer, I'd argue that this is illegal. Wait, I am a lawyer. This isn't legal. (check 42 usc 1981 et seq.). And if it is, shouldn't be.

I didn't watch my buddies lie face down in the muck for this!

m.r.smith said...

Three things:
Common Sense
Customer Service

It seems like some common sense and consistency could be used when it comes to babies drinking water from a baby bottle. Our son was actively drinking from his bottle on a hot June day in Chicago while we were waiting for 45 minutes to go through security. The screener made us remove the bottle from his mouth and dump the contents because water isn't allowed to go through. Of course the extra water we had for his journey was dumped as well. The powdered formula was allowed through. The agent said if we had mixed the formula before going through, it would have been ok. But any experienced parent will tell you that you can't pre-mix formula if you're not going to use it within a certain timeframe. This was not consistent from airport to airport. In fact the above incident took place on our last flight of a four flight trip. We didn't have any issues with our son's water on the previous three flights.

Maybe there's a terrorist plot to condition babies to drink gasoline. Or they could just add baby formula to gasoline; that way it could go through the checkpoint. I don't know, but it would be nice to expect consistency from airport to airport.

I just know that to add insult to injury, while this was happening another TSA employee passed his bottle of water through an adjacent x-ray machine and picked it up on the other side. Again, the consistency issue. Do as the gods say and not as they do?

Or maybe it's just the TSA in Chicago. I'm a frequent traveler and have only had issues or witnessed issues on numerous occasions while going through Chicago. Ultimately, it's not necessarily the policies that disturb me so much as the culture that seems to pervade the TSA in Chicago. The agents (and beware generalizations...I realize this does not apply to all agents in Chicago) I have encountered are rude and consumed by their power and all-importantness (if that's a word). I realize their job is important and they're stressed, but to belittle, accuse and offend the very people they are trying to protect is very disconcerting. Perhaps there needs to be additional customer service training.

The TSA is essential to help ensure our national security. I appreciate the job they're supposed to be doing, but I'll pay the extra cost to fly from Detroit (where I've had no issues with the TSA) in order to avoid Chicago.

Jim FitzGerald said...

Blogs are a great way to get feedback. But pointless if nothing is done with that feedback. Why do I suspect this is no more than a salve for travelers frustrated by ineffective TSA policies implemented by people who are sometimes rude or power-hungry? Airport security in the US is beyond ineffective, the collective costs of which are staggering. In a more just world, the individual costs in degradation alone would convince sane people to abandon most if not all the procedures flyers are subjected to daily.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'll give this a try. My complaint is that (as far as I am able to ascertain) screeners are oblivious to the policy offered in Federal Court by TSA director Sandra Cammarato that screening people with disabilities should be limited to [in the instant case] the prosthetic [or area thereof] that set off the metal alarm unless there exists either unnatural contours or bulges. I am not sure at all that the TSA understands that personal privacy is just that, and to have a torso search solely because metal exists between knee and ankle or elbow and hand not only contradicts a policy offered as testimony in a Federal Court, but all sense of reason (assuming there are no unnatural contours or bulges). The next time I fly I am going to remove all metal from my body, as most travelers do. Of course, in my case this means I shall place my artificial leg on the conveyor belt. That actually provides greater security for my fellow travelers. And then I will, hopefully, be allowed to pass without a very humiliating for me and useless for my fellow travelers process.

music8 said...

My biggest complaint would be the lack of information on what is not allowed through security. When I arrive at the airport that is one of the first things I look for, because it's always changing. The last time I was in the airport I didn't see the first sign until I was in line up front about to go through the x-ray machine. There is not enough communication between TSA and the passengers.

harv said...

Thanks for the opportunity to be heard. I love America my son has served during the Iraqi War. But, I was very dismayed on a flight when the card chip set I had in my suit case was pried open with something and the catches destroyed. They were not locked. All one had to do was push them open like on a suit case. I have no recourse to this action. My property destroyed for no reason and no recourse. If this is how we combat vile governments, what have we become? This is wrong and our forefathers would turn over in their grave if they knew this type of citizens rights was being violated. That is all, thanks for listening.

jackcatscal said...

I'm generally very pleased with the TSA screeners. They do their job as efficiently as the circumstances will allow, and they're usually pleasant in doing so. (I've occasionally run into a cranky screener--but we're all that way at times.)

John said...

I saw a lot of comments about why people have to take their shoes off and why the rules differ. As a traveller, even I know the answer to this one:

Some shoes have a metal bar in the sole that sets off the metal detectors. If you have noticed, if a passenger sets off the metal detector, they don't get to take their shoes off and go through again anymore, they have to go through the secondary screening. This is all very time consuming.

Initially, with new rules, screeners didn't require shoes to be taken off, but suggested it. Screeners would even xray your shoes and tell you if you needed to take them off next time.

Unfortunately, there are many travelers who don't travel very much (especially at certain times of the year and at certain airports), and don't listen very well (and they usually are in front of me.) They kept their shoes on and helped make the lines long. As a result, busier airports must have switched to making everyone take their shoes off to make the lines shorter for everyone. Less busy airports with a higher proportion of frequnet travelers can no doubt handle the extra screening.

So while the TSA seems to have a lot of rules whose purpose seems to be making us feel safer by inconveniencing us, this one actually has a purpose.

Anonymous said...

I can't fault TSA because there have been no attacks since 9/11. Those that were attempted failed. Unfortunately this is a violent world that has gotten much worse in the 50 years I have been flying. Oh for the days of regulated airlines, real meals, silverware, unhurried boardings, uncrowded airplanes, sensible scheduling, etc, etc, etc. Those days are unfortunately over forever. The last years of my busy travel career were made tolerable only because I was Elite or Platinum status on multiple airlines. I can't believe the stress many others go through just to keep their jobs. I wish everyone who travels, and those who assist in keeping them safe, God speed and continued good fortune.

Ho Hum said...

To the people who hate taking their shoes off (as do I)...wear flip flops/watershoes/sandals/whatever floats your boat WITHOUT SOCKS! Oh, I know, yet another inconvience, however if the screeners see barefeet when they ask you to take your shoes off...they pretty much get the point. Nothin there! Carry extra shoes in carry on or whatever if you MUST wear a different pair of shoes on the plane (exceptions for ortho wearers). Even if you are going somewhere like Alaska in the height of the snowy season you're only walking from airport to some kind of vehicle. Works for me! It is what it is what it is folks, and not likley to change no matter how many people complain about it.
Deal. Find another good cause to spend your time and energy on.

Anonymous said...

I recently traveled from Orlando to Washington National. When I arrived all of the new clothes I had purchased for my grandchildren were covered with white powder from the gloves used when the luggage was screened. It was a MESS! I realize the necessity for the TSA screeners using gloves, but please, forego the powder!

ninacawyu said...

Thanks for this opportunity to comment. As a frequent flier, I also thank the majority of TSA employees for handling a difficult and tedious duty well. That said, there does appear to be some regional differences in staffing levels and interpretations of procedures which affect traffic flow. We continue to evolve, but one really does expect consistency and unity of effort unless there is a unique and specific threat. Not sure what we can do about infrequent travelers who slow everyone down except to have more frequent traveler lines supported by airlines. The irony is that infrequent travelers actually need the most screening for a variety of reasons. Of course, nothing is failsafe; we understand that even frequent fliers can be suspect. However, someone with 300,000 miles each on three different airlines is an unlikely threat. The idea that someone with a one-way ticket must be automatically flagged (TSA screeners state that the airline, not TSA "has identified you") simply makes the customer angry at both TSA and the airline and prompts one to buy a round trip ticket which is often cheaper anyway to avoid such screenings in the future. However, one-way, one airline tickets sometimes happen when one is bumped from one airline to another; no amount of common sense or paperwork in hand prevails regarding such a change. We've been told by an airline that there is "a screening quota" involved. All of which probably perpetuates urban myths. Not a best practice. Especially if we think TSA is running the screens, not the airline. As we search for better ways to move people and spend more time screening more likely suspects, however, consider how we might include a way to expedite people with security clearances that the gov spends many millions of dollars to investigate. It seems an odd contrast that one can be worthy to handle the nation's secrets and weapons and the lives of your son or daughter, coupled with a (nonstandardized) gov-issued ID, but we somehow just aren't as trustworthy as the pilot and crew or the airport staff when it comes to boarding a plane. Yes, they go through security too, but we've never seen one stopped nor searched. On the flip side, many military retirees and active duty personnel, with whom we trust the lives of others, are worthy of greater respect. Now and then, TSA screeners and the airlines do so personally or publicly thank them for their service to the country and that is heartening and positive public affairs. Fed employees and law enforcement officials deserve better too, but most of us understand the sociology of terrorism and the fact that we must do something; this is the best we seem to have until technology levels the playing field a bit more. In that regard, TSA could use a myth-busting web site, more internal information sent to sister government agencies to inform and educate fed employees/military, along with an improved information campaign targetting infrequent fliers.

Anonymous said...

Terrorism, OK, BATTERIES?????? give me a freakin break!!!!! I am a professional photographer and I can NOT function without MULTIPLE back-up batteries. I'm NOT stupid (give me an IQ test) I secure (AND I MEAN SECURE) ALL spare batteries from ANY possible chance of shorting out during transport. I have secure casings for my spare batteries made of NON-conductive materials and it is outrageous to expect me to buy a "device" to have my batteries "installed" in, just to make it allowable to bring them with me.
If you might hire people at gate check zones with a shred of common sense, or ALLOW them to USE a shred of aforementioned sense, it is not in any way complicated to see if batteries are well protected from possible shorting, or not. But if you FORCE the "gate zombies" to accept or NOT accept items according to BLACK and WHITE rules with NO, I repeat NO, common sense allowed, then TSA WILL stay at the bottom of all friendly ranking charts.

robin said...

Why in the world are 14-inch long, hard steel, pointed knitting needles allowed in the cabin of a plane? I can imagine a lot of damage with a pair of those--even in simple turbulence! (Nevermind a maniac.)

Anonymous said...

I'm curious as to whether the TSA screeners are allowed to choose people for greater scrutiny based on symbolic communication. In particular, my teenage daughter has been singled out every single time she has worn a teeshirt or a necklace with a peace sign on it or anything else that might be perceived as promoting an anti-war stance. At the same time, girls her same age wearing crucifixes are waved the checkpoint without incident.

Anonymous said...

Why don't passangers have to go through a bomb detector at airports? Some do have them now but people are picked randomly to go through them. I work at nuclear power plants all over the U.S. and walk through one everyday. It takes a matter of 1 minute. They are very expensive but they work.

Anonymous said...

I have the goal of visiting all 50 states along with territories and used to fly - i have visited 29 out of the 50 states. i still travel, but flying - not anymore. its more than a hassle. perhaps if at every airport there was consistency, but i can say that at LAX, MEM, DFW, SEA and NYC i will get different 5 responses and treatments from different TSA staff. some are pushy, some are rude, some are very courteous, and some are just there not excited about doing their job.
i am studying to be a photographer, and while i do carry digital cameras, i always carry at least 20 rolls of film. it can be very difficult to have TSA screeners understand that my film needs to be hand screened...they alway argue that it wont affect the film. what they dont understand is that i carry 3200 speed film, film imported from europe, and that even my 100 speed film will get a very nice cloudy streak through the whole roll when its run through the xray machine. and i usually have to fight, argue, plead, ask for a supervisor, to get them to understand that they have to hand screen it. then they look at me like i'm a criminal, some foreign born person that has a secret bomb in each roll of film. its tiring. almost exhausting.
which is why we hardly fly anymore.
cruises and driving, along with the amtrak are now our forte. amtrak breaks down every 15 minutes, but being an hour late to our final destination is more better than having to deal with screeners. i understand that yes, there are people who would bomb an airplane and that the TSA is designed to keep those people away from airplanes. i appreciate them keeping us safe. i believe security is very important - heck, i work for a background screening service as a trainer. but perhaps if there was consistency, and the attitudes dropped (i hate being publically humiliated) i would fly more.
not to attack anyone, but i feel that some screeners by the way they communicate demonstrate subconsciously that are undereducated, underpaid, not taking the time to use common sense, or exercise listening skills. the best experience was when i flew out of ONT for my honeymoon. i had to go through 3 times because we forgot things in our car and had to keep going outside. the screener was so polite, he even joked about me going through security the most times in all the years he worked there. but what was best was that he listened to me instead of viewing me suspiciously. instead he asked a lot of questions and i noticed he watched my response and body language to see if i was lying. he was so kind. he even helped me take my big bags off the belt. he smiled and wished us a nice flight and warned us to be safe. the worst was when I flew out of MEM. i didnt want to take off my shoes because i had a problem with my feet and i was ashamed at how they looked. the lady rudely said loudly if you dont take off your shoes we will send you to the back room and do more invasive screening (not her words). i was shocked. she wouldnt even let me explain why i didnt want to take off my shoes. and people were looking at me. i felt so embarrased. she could have just whispered in my ear or took my aside to explain the situation. but she didnt. and i had to walk barefoot through the rest of the screening area.
as a trainer, i train people how to communicate effectively. perhaps if you trained your people to not just screen, but to be kind and to listen and be watchful, ask questions more, then you would have more effective screeners. exercising security doesnt mean you have to be rude or forceful. saying things like, "sir, because of a shoe bomber we have to screen shoes; would you prefer to do it in private?" commands that the same action be taken as saying "take off your shoes now!" if only screeners understood that.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at the security line at Washington-Dulles Airport at 3:00pm on a Friday. It is always at a nightmare length. There needs to be more screeners, more machines, and faster processing! Mooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Ashleigh said...

I live in Atlanta and fly frequently. I am a military member and have been for 17 years. I feel members of the military should be afforded the ability to go through less screening, I think we have earned it.

I also have a problem with the fact that not all TSA personnel are trained properly or even uniformly. I also have a problem with the time it takes them to accomplish things... there is no sense of urgency, or even a sense that "hey this person is flying today, maybe they don't want to stand here and chat with me" I have often encountered a slow moving, slow to act TSA personnel in all lines.
It is frustrating and annoying.

I do have a happy happy joy joy though. My daughter often flies in to visit me and because she is a minor, I am given a gate only pass so that I can accompany her to and from the gate. I really appreciate that. Especially with the size of the Atlanta Airport as it is.

Anonymous said...

Consistancy at all TSA check points would be nice.

I carry my own leaded crystal glasses with me when I travel. One TSA man was very polite and asked me if I had leaded glass crystal in my bag. I said yes, he very carefully unwrapped each glass and then carefully re-wrapped them and suggested that the next time I let the screeners know that I was carrying leaded crystal. At another airport I told the screeners about the glasses. They took my bag, dropped it on a counter and proceeded to wipe down everything inside my bag, then once they were assured my glasses were not a threat they shoved the whole pile back to me and told me to take care of repacking my bag. Yet other screeners thank me for alerting them.

It should be the same at every airport.

I have been pulled aside and harrassed because I have a Brighton key ring. The unintelligent man searching through my bag had convinced himself my key ring fob had to come apart and I had to have something hidden it. Basicaly I was punished by him because I have a better lifestyle and can afford nice things.

The screeners need to be better educated and should have some classes in how to deal with the public. I feel that a lot of the TSA employees are on a power trip now because they can make your life totally miserable for a period of time.

lawman63 said...

I have a question for you all:
I know that their are people out there with knee replacements & hip replacements. A couple are friends of mine. They show a card to the TSA rep on duty & they let them pass.
Yet my father who is in a back brace gets padded down & basically stipped searched every time he flies.
This does not seem fair to me? what can he do or who does he need to talk to about this?

Anonymous said...

Three things: 1st, little Billy and Grandma from Utah are not terrorists, they never have been and they never will be. 2nd As a commissioned naval officer, how does getting searched by a TSA employee (probably with a criminal background) make anyone safer. I apologize for not being politically correct but please only search the people we know that actually fit the profile of terrorist. 3rd I think if terrorists were that prevalent in the USA there would have been more attacks. There just arent that many terrorist attacks here and the TSA and the DEPT of Homeland Security has nothing to do with it. If I were a terrorist (of course im not) I would have blown up the terminals at airports where all the travelers are located waiting to be strip searched. None of this makes anysense. In my opinion TSA needs to go away. Hopefully free speech will prevail and my post will not be censored.

Dr. Free Quentflyer said...

In Europe, the security agents do not generally yell at passengers in the security line. They repeat themselves when necessary, to each passenger, in a calm and civilized tone. Having agents yelling like schoolmarms at a crowd of unruly children is annoying, infantalizing, impersonal, and uncivilized. We can do better.

Anonymous said...

Why do my TSA approved suitcase locks on my checked baggage get cut EVERY SINGLE TIME I fly? I purposefully sought out the approptiate locks and now I have to find my receipts to send the locks back to the manufacturer for replacement, a process that wastes my time, the manufacturers time, and ultimately decreases my satisfaction in the competency of the TSA baggage inspectors. I take measures to ensure that I am following all of the rules set forth by the government and airlines to keep myself and others safe, and I expect in return that my property is respected as if I was with it at all times.

Julie said...

I fly weekly. Advice:

1. Pay attention. Hang up your dang cell phone. Just assume you need to remove your shoes, and do it.

2. Make eye contact with the screeners, and smile. Pay attention. Forget trying to reason with them..they have zero authority.

3. Don't ever check anything of value...even cheap jewelry. Use Gallon size clear ziploc bags to pack undies in in your checked luggage, so screeners can examine them without pawing your undies.

4. Don't EVER expect that things with TSA will get better. They will only get worse.

Anonymous said...

As a flight attendant, going though security can be a bit hard. And your screeners make it even harder when they have to check Crew Bags. Leave the crews alone we are the ones that have passed backround checks of 10+ years. And are in charge of operating a safe aircraft. Get with the program. The crews are not your problem. Also try to do a real security job and not just act like you are

Eddie said...

I do not think a blog is going to make the TSA any more efficient or capable of keeping us safe. TSA does what they want, when they want to at any given airport on any given day. They waste millions of dollars a year and still fail the 'let's put a fake something through and see if they catch it' test. People will still lose valuables placed in checked luggage and 5 year olds will be denied boarding because they have a suspect name. The whole system needs a complete overhaul at further expense to the taxpayer.

Ken said...

I would like to know why TSA maintains a special security line for first class passengers? When I first saw this in New Orleans, I couldn't believe my eyes! With the federal government being so anti-discrimination, why does it discriminate against me for having a coach ticket? It is my tax dollars that are paying for this screening and this is blatant discrimination.

Close those first class lines.

Anonymous said...

The TSA treats us like cattle. The terrorists are myths. We are being manipulated with fear.

Anonymous said...

I recently flew with my infant granddaughter, at screening they took an unopened sealed bottle of water from me and allowed me to keep a baby bottle of water, and a formula bottle, however on another flight with daughter and grand kids they made me pour out baby bottle of water and allowed me to keep sealed bottle for baby, on both return trips I was allowed to keep all. Why is there no consistancy in this area of screening?

smb said...

I would like to know why at the Raleigh Durham Airport on the morning of Jan 4, 2008 (6 am EST) my 13 year old son had to go through an "interrogation" since he did not have a picture id. The TSA rep stated he had to answer questions as to whom he was traveling with, how old he was, etc..since he did not have a picture ID. Has the rule changed that children under 18 years old now need to have a gov't issued picture ID? If not then you need to better train your staff so they don't harrass innocent children.


scooterbum said...

In 06, flew from PDX to Spokane, Wa. for a conferance. I am a motorcyclist and was headed to a M/C event. Due to the short time frame I had, I had to fly there, as opposed to riding. Which I would have rather done.

As I went thru the main terminal, my office bag was checked by machine and passed with flying colors, as did my backpack with my clothes.

At that time, one was not required to remove their footwear. I wear steel toe boots, since I work in the construction industry.

I informed the screener that I had these and as they wanded me, it went off. I had warned them that it would. They checked them and sent me on my way.

Since the flight was on a smaller airline, similar to Alaska Air with about 30 pax. I got to the end of the tunnel and was again passed thru a detector gate and again checked out. This time I removed the boots while they checked the toes. No problem.

When I got to the counter to check in, I was re-directed to the side and again inspected. I was also directed to fill out some forms and sign them. While this was going on, the people there went thru my property again as as I had my riding jacket with assorted pins and souvienrs, they attempted to remove them from the coat.

One of these pins was my dad's when he rode and was made in 1943. These "people" almost broke it trying to remove it from the coat, by pulling on it from the front. It had a small pin clip on the reverse side, which if they had asked, I could have shown this to them.

After about 5 minutes of their screwing around, they gave up, but not before damaging this antique item.

I had been the second one in line, when I was at the counter. Someone in a wheel chair, was first. Fine with me, that person had a larger need than I did. I also am disabled, however, I can still walk, after a fashion.

Due to the fact I look like a biker, long pony tail, grey beard, jeans, t-shirt, etc. I must have really looked dangerous to these idiots who were half my age. I was middle 50's, white male, retired disabled GI. Where is the threat in that? Are they still watching "Easy Rider"?

After that day, I have never flown on another flight and will not. I will ride my bike to my destination, as opposed to dealing with those fools.

I did file a complaint with TSA, but never got a response. I, actually, did not think I would get one.

In conclution, I guess the TSA really doesn't give a flying (expleitive deleted) about the "customers" they are supposed to be serving.

Way to go folks, another level of bureaucacy we didn't need.

Eric said...

This is a load of propaganda. TSA screeners and supervisors did not follow the guidance on the website before it had "the blog" and I seriously doubt anything will change now.

Anonymous said...

I currently live in the UK and do a lot of traveling. I just wish that the security procedures at airports across the US would be a litle more consistant. A case in point is that in some places you need to take off your shoes and at other you do not. In addition if you are going to force people to remove their shoes how about providing chairs so that they have a place to put them back on.

Wendy said...

I need to address this comment first, one made by eserlin: "Muslim males traveling by themselves. Let's face it, we can be as PC as we want, but the truth is quite obviously that Muslim males pose the greatest (perhaps only legitimate) threat to our national transportation system." It's not just about being politically correct, it's the fact that ANYONE can pose a threat no matter how harmless they look. People like you who are lulled into a false comfort zone with the belief that only *one* group of people can ever be terrorists give terrorists the weapon they need to attack again; if you were better informed you'd know that terrorist groups have used women and children in the past.

That said, I think suitcase locks should be allowed again. I, and many people I know, are afraid to carry valuable items due to this. We don't know what kind of people you're hiring. Also, not a huge deal, but it'd be great if you could make sure all airports would offer hand checking film instead of saying, nope, sorry, you're going to have to throw that away or risk it being rendered useless. FYI, the cost of film adds up after awhile...especially if you're in a foreign country and have to buy there instead.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest few things that may or may not be of importance but I believe will greatly improve the situation at airports:

1- train your TSA agents in customer relations and give them some psychology courses. Make sure they have a proficient use of the English language. Give them a training in sensibility -for the physically impaired and those travellers who do not speak English!

2- bring consistent rules at every airport so that the traveler knows what to expect every single time he/she goes to the airport. Update your staff daily and have memos of the rules posted in front of their posts at all times - to avoid personal interpretation on the part of the employee.

3- rudeness, napoleon complex and disgard should be reportable so that if an employee has a pattern of 'bad' behaviour he/she can be retrained to a sensibility course.

4- as the new generation of computers improve their performance through experience, ensure that your employees and the management do the same. I had once a JFK TSA agent making comments on my personal items in my carryon that were inappropriate! Some of these agents are well mannered and do their jobs with the best of their abilities -with what is given to them!
But a lot of them take their position as a license to vent their domestic frustrations and to alienate passengers knowing they can't really complain if they want to catch their flights. It is very true in big international airports such as LAX. My experience with Burbank airport has always been quite good with professionally geared agents. Of course the volume they have to deal with is different so employees' stress play a role in how they deal with passengers.

Once in a while there should be a problem. Not every hour of the day!
Nothing will ever be perfect. But policies can't be changed unless we change of administration -or maybe not?. TSA can only train and supervise their people better at their own level. And we should be able to see a difference in real time.

AS passengers we need to train ourselves to go to the airport with easy clothing, easy removable shoes and light packing with nothing to trigger a major uphill battle in the carry on. Is it inconvenient? yes. Particularly if you are a business traveler. So maybe the deal should be that TSA create a line for frequent business travelers with a pre screening -i think it is already on. And a line for physically challenged individuals, medical conditions and others. So that they are being dealt with based on their circumstances.

If TSA is going to use a blog to know how to improve their work WE should suggest ideas that they can implement quickly.

Anonymous said...

So I put TSA approved locks on my luggage, the agent even commented about it as he took my bag to the scanner. And, the area was not very busy. So how come when I arrived at my destination my lock was cut and my bag damaged? Also, having traveled throughout the US and Europe why is PWM security so slow and inefficient?

hannah said...

My friend, who I travel with, is a quadraplegic man in a power wheelchair. He is in his mid-50's and obviously handicapped.

Every time we go through airport security, he is pulled aside and a team of people spend 15 minutes examining him with wands, etc. He has to remove his shoes and is asked about his leg brace and urinary leg bag. He is asked to stand up (which he can do with difficulty).

The last time we went to the airport (Sky Harbor in Phoenix), it was to accompany his 11-year-old daughter who was flying alone to meet her grandparents in Kansas. Even though he was not getting on the flight, just accompanying her to the gate, security spent 20minutes examining him.

Before his injury, he had a top military security clearance. There is no reason for him to be on any list. And oddly, despite the fact that a team of people spends a great deal of time checking him out, they mostly ignore his wheelchair with its large enclosed battery compartment and enclosed electronics box.

He is cooperative during this search, but it makes both of us angry. It is humiliating to say the least, especially when it is done in front a long line of people who have nothing to do but stare at him and wonder what is going on.

TSA, please explain why he is treated this way. It is difficult enough for severely-handicapped people to travel. When they are treated in the above manner, it adds insult to literal injury and sends yet another message that they are to remain at home, out of sight.

Bill said...

I was recently told by a screener that my retired military ID card was not an acceptable identification because it had no expiration date. What is the rule in that regard? To my knowledge, all retired ID cards issued to the member have no expiration. Those issued to spouses do.


easternsurvivor said...

I think this is a good idea in a wrong format. It is difficult to read all the blog comments. You need to put this more in a forum.

With that said I agree with much of the comments about making things standard across country. My husband has several medical devises implanted and other problems. We were told not to go through the scanners.(because it's not good for his implants) Show your medical cards and get wanned. Ok. So in Norfolk, wasn't bad, TSA was polite let us through and wanned and searched him discreatly. Leaving St. Louis was awful. The TSA yelled at my daughter for not taking off her belt, accused her of hiding stuff because she forgot to take out her perfume in the plastic baggie and left it in her purse. My husband was told he had to go through the scanner, after it went off was then man handled and searched. He was patted down rough and his colostomy was pulled on and exposed, asked "What's This?" When other devices came upon "What's This?" was asked again. He had medical cards, but no one wanted to see them. He was humiliated and embarrased. This is done in he open and with no respect. When you teach these people the rules, teaching respect would be nice too. We had trips planned with family before my husband passes away and they all have been cancelled for local trips. He will not fly again with such disdain for the handicapped and there privacy.

Anonymous said...

I worked on the initial TSA rollout at Cat-X airports (the largest: JFK, LAX, Logan...) as a contractor and I can say that most of your procedures are still utterly ridiculous and unnecessary.

When a giant, African-America built-like-a-linebacker TSA screener can say to me (a white female) that he'd let "someone like me" through with sharp knitting needles but not "someone who looked like [him]," you have to wonder about the quality of the staffing and the reasoning ability they employ while on the job.

I fly frequently for business and am appalled at some of the things I see. After foot surgery, I asked the screener at the front of the line if I could be hand-screened because it was very difficult for me to balance on one foot to remove my shoes. He refused. I nearly fell over and took out half the line!

One morning at a midwestern airport, I was told I had to take off my sweatshirt -- until I told them I had nothing on underneath!

At a California airport just this month, your screeners checked my boarding pass 4x within a 10ft space. Obviously they had nothing better to do, since I was already corralled within 2 plastic walls and couldn't have gone anywhere in the meantime.

With few exceptions, your screeners are rude, inefficient and make an already harrowing procedure worse. Some airports are allowing beverages past the screening line and some aren't -- which pumps up sales for the beverage stands immediately past the lines, I'm sure.

But wait, it gets worse -- TSA screeners actually stole copies of a book I was taking to a tradeshow out of my luggage! You should have seen the amount of nonsense I had to go through over that (1 hr+ on the phone with incredibly unhelpful people after calling the number on the tag screeners left inside my luggage) -- weeks waiting for the paperwork, and still no guarantee the screeners would even be disciplined!

It's inhuman, undignified and it's not doing a single thing to make us any safer. You should really be ashamed of the false security you're promoting.

Anonymous said...

In general, I have no problem with the behavior or procedures of TSOs, although I also have no doubt that they are not catching everything. I get to the airport early and patiently stand in the line with the rest of the sheep.

Because of the pain in the ass of the security lines, I now check my luggage instead of carrying it on, even if it is very small. (I also hate hauling it through the airport, as I always have multiple flights to get where I'm going.)

I now irritate my traveling companions and the people picking me up because I have to wait for my luggage. And it's always a bit of a tense moment to see if 1. the bag will arrive, and 2. everything will be intact when I open it.

BUT... and here come the gripes... after attending a professional conference in DC, and receiving a nice tool as one of the things we got in our "goodie bag," I carefully packed it in my checked luggage so it wouldn't be confiscated. This was one of the few times I could have carried on a bag, since it was small and the flight was direct. Imagine my irritation when I got home and found it GONE. There was a note from the TSA saying they had opened my bag. Thanks. Since the tool had no sharp edges or points, maybe it would have gotten through the checkpoint, but I didn't want to take a chance. But I lost it anyway. GRRRRR

Now a suggestion for those who need water while traveling. I am healthy, but know that drinking lots of water is a good thing to do. I take an EMPTY bottle with me and fill it at the water fountain after the checkpoint. Just in case anyone has a problem, I use a plastic (disposable) bottle so it's no loss if they take it. But so far, so good, although they always give me a funny look. I just tell them I'm too cheap to buy water, especially at the inflated airport prices.

I also wasn't sure if the banana I was carrying would be confiscated, since it is more than 3 oz, and practically liquid, but it looks like fruit is OK.

I would like to echo the complaint about too many people getting through with large "carry-ons." It cannot be easy to adequately check these large bags, and they just take up all the space the rest of us need in the overhead bins for, oh, ya know, coats and things. But one thing the airlines refuse to do is inconvenience their biggest cash cows, the business traveler. Security be damned, as long as the money is coming in.

dorp said...

The TSA mission is an important one. However, their screening procedures at airports are frequently infuriating. I've encountered many rude or seemingly uneducated screeners. The procedures often lack "common sense". My 83 year old Marine veteran father with a sensitive heart device gets a complete personal scan at airports regularly and he can barely walk. I'm concerned more about secured area breeches and dangerous contraband in checked baggage/freight than what's on one's person, although I understand that all areas are important. I feel strongly that TSA wastes too much effort and expense on low risk issues at airports. The TSA generally seems indifferent to traveler's concerns and its staff are often on a power trip over people simply because they can be! TSA needs to improve its act and attitudes of its staff.

Anonymous said...

As a frequent traveler, I would love to see:
* more consistency, or perhaps consistent enforcement, across airports: some you have to take off only your jackets or coats, others you have to take off your sweater or sweatshirt. At some airports I have to take out only my laptop, at others, I also have to take out my portable DVD player, etc.
* communication: The airport in Las Vegas does a great job of this, but at other airports there is simply a small sign on the liquids policy, maybe a small sign about laptops, and a TSA person periodically yelling at the line to remind people to take off their shoes and coats and keep their boarding passes with them.
* reasonableness: For example, why, if we have just had our id's and boarding passes checked, do we have to show our boarding pass again after we go through the metal detector? Also, as with many others, I fail to see the ulitiey of the liquids policy, particularly because I have had things thrown away that were within the policy (contact lens solution) and I can't remember the last time I flew that I remembered to take every liquid item out of my luggage. With the one exception of when my contact solution was thrown out, no one has ever looked at what was in my clear plastic bag.
* courtesy. I understand that TSA personnel are doing a hard job, lots of pressure, etc., and for the most part, they are friendly. But at the same time, many of us are traveling on business and subject to lots of stress, as well. I am tired of having my things pushed away from me to the end of the line when I am trying to reload everything, put my shoes and clothes back on, etc. We are not conveyor belts who can continue moving as space opens up ahead of us while dressing and repacking our luggage.

Dr. Free Quentflyer said...

The requirements on liquids (only 3.5 oz. in a baggie, or whatever) are ridiculous, and ineffective. The liquids are just eyeballed: "OK, that looks like shampoo; that looks like toothpaste. Next!" There could be anything in there. By combining different liquid agents in several 3.5 oz. containers, a terrorist could easily make a bomb capable of hulling an airplane. The point is, this rule is completely ineffective, and yet inconveniences passengers. Either do away with the rule, or change it to forbid all liquids. In-between measures are pointless--they are just a pain in the neck and give the illusion of security. This illusion will eventually be dispelled by the terrorists, when they get around to trying liquid bombs again. Then TSA is going to have egg on its face. Be pro-active, not re-active.

Another thing: If you're going to allow 3.5 oz. toothpaste containers, let people bring half-empty containers of toothpaste. It's ridiculous to draw a distinction between a rolled-up regular size toothpaste tube with 3.5 oz. in it, and a tube that is manufactured to be 3.5 oz.

Smay said...

Being constructive, courteous, yet still maintaining a level of authority is important. I have had the pleasure of interacting with many nice TSA employees, however, I have had several that were NOT NICE. I write this to remind folks that having some customer service orientation is paramount. These few unpleasant interactions weigh heavy on those needing to travel. I do thank those TSA employees that maintain a positive attitude. Best, Brian.

peachbrandy_2003 said...

Someone out there needs to realize that if another 9/11 (or something worse) happens here ... we will be at their mercy. Bring our troups home to guard the US. Put our ships out on our waters. Put our pilots in our air. Use our troops to guard our borders, airports, and water ways. If something happens to us in the states it will take months to get enough troops back home to help. We are in religious wars that we don't need to be in. Some of those wars have been going on since the beginning of time as we know it. Our freedom needs to start in the United States and here is where we need to keep it most ... not over seas in some 3rd world country that doesn't want us there in the first place.

William said...

I used to enjoy flying, but now I do not fly unless necessary. The reason is that I get upset when the screeners "randomly" pull out people for added screening who are obviously no threat, and very inconvenienced by it. Examples: a woman with four young children who didn't understand what was happening to Mom and cried passionately; an elderly lady who could barely walk was unable to get her shoes back on, and no one from TSA offered her any assistance. Whatever happened to common sense? Everyone understands the need for security, but some of your policies are misguided or misapplied.

navyman2 said...

I, along with many others, have had my knees replaced, and unfortunately every time I fly, I get flagged to go get the pat down and wand wave over my entire body. So not only do I have to arrive a little bit earlier for my flight, but you always feel picked on and scrutinized for a procedure that made my quality of life better so I could travel more. Any suggestions on what the TSA could do to help us avoid this every time I/we fly like maybe an ID card or ?

Anonymous said...

The TSA is really a joke in the eyes of the public and it is because of the overbearing, rude people that they hire. The term "Tackleberry" comes immediately to mind for most of them. I was recently told to remove my belt, but fearing that my pants would fall down, did not, figuring that common sense would dictate that when they waved their little wand over me and got to my belt buckle, they would realize it was just a belt buckle. But alas, common sense and TSA should not be used in the same breath. So they make me take it off anyway, and subject me to one of their new toys which blew air on me to make sure I was not a bomb. Then they proceeded to scan my small belt, telling me "it could be a bomb"....come on. How many "belt bombs" have you pillars of security stopped from going thru?

You know if someone broke a credit card in half, it could cut someone. If they sharpened their watchband or bracelet, they 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"! And let's not forget the items that could be placed in body cavities. Will that be the next "checkpoint"? Pretty soon we will need to strip down to our underwear to be checked by these beacons of security, 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'", what is going to stop a terrorist from putting a bomb in some luggage, checking it and not even getting on the plane?? Do you really think that the majority of the American public is that naive?

The TSA is nothing more than a bunch of rude, obnoxious thugs with self-inflated egos. Even though they fall under an agency of the government now, they are still for the most part the same people who were there "keeping us safe" on 9/11....unqualified rent-a-cops.

alpinemillers said...

I fly all the time for work. The TSA has a tough job and the flying public is not very patient. My only gripe would be the lack of standards across airports. It is frustrating when one airport says take your shoes off and another doesn't or that item is ok in carry on here, but not at my next airport. I know it is a tall task to duplicate actions across so many airports, but that would be a welcome improvement.

The other would be the public paying attention to all the signs and verbal instructions at the check point, but that is probably a dream.

Anonymous said...

I flew for the first time in alomost 20 years this summer and found the TSA and other security folks were wonderful, nothing but polite and had the patience of Job with some of these people they were having to deal with. Great job to all of you, I don't envy your job.

Anonymous said...

I am a Federal Investigator with the Food & Drug Administration. I fly frequently - both for work and personal business and always use my federal credentials as my "goverment issued ID". Recently, I flew out of RSW in Ft Myers FL, heading home after a week with my mother. At the first security check point I was asked to take my credentials out of their case. I explained that wasn't possible - the entire case is the federal credential and I am REQUIRED to maintain it intact. The TSA person then took my credentials away from me and started walking away. During my tenure w/the FDA, it has been engrained in me to NEVER give my credentials to ANYONE. The TSA employee ended up taking the credentials to another agent within my sight, so I didn't freak out - but my heart DID skip a beat. I was then selected for a full search. In all the times I fly, this is the only time I have had my credentials taken from me. Please instruct TSA employees that Federal credentials are not to be taken from Investigators. We run our credentials through the screener(hidden from view to discourage theft by other passengers), since the badge will set off the metal detector. I am often asked if I am carrying a weapon and always reply that I am not and never object to whatever search the agent feels is appropriate BUT - I could lose my job by giving up my credentials or having them copied.

Anonymous said...

I do not mind the TSA's security screening process. As a frequent flyer with a hip replacement, I set off the alarm and get frisked every time. What I do mind is that (from everything I have heard and read) I am sitting above mostly unscreened cargo. How can that be justified ???

Robert said...

My previous comment was polite and on topic. But, has not been posted.

I read your policy: NO
"offensive terms that target specific ethnic or racial groups, or vulgar language"

Does "Soup Nazi" fall into one of the above offenses?

Anonymous said...

Lines are not good, but they are especially bad when they don't move. Hence it makes no sense for a TSA employee to linger at the monitor trying to determine if the item in the case being x-rayed 'is' or 'is not' something that should be allowed to pass or examined more closely by searching. Solution - keep the conveyor moving, pull the bag off and search it. Often there are 2-3TSA employees closely scrutinizing the image while everyone in line waits. Usually the bag gets searched in the end anyway. If it is questionable, search it. Otherwise keep the lines moving!

Anonymous said...

I sent in a complaint over a year ago, and nothing has changed. I can expect that I will "frisked" everytime I go through the airport because I have had both knees replaced. I am one of the old grandma's that will be frisked every time because of that, no matter how early I buy my tickets. Why they frisk my bare arms, and my waist is beyond me, when it is only my knees that set off the alarm.

Anonymous said...

I fly an average of 120,000 miles per year and have two pet peeves.
1. Why does it take so many people for each check point? There are inspectors standing around or refilling stacks of bins. We are not trying to be funny when we say that TSA stands for Thousands Standing Around especially when there are scanners standing empty and the lines are growing. Airplanes fly on schedule..well they are supposed to.. it should not be a surprise when you have an influx in passengers.

2. The person looking at the x-ray should be a “static” environment. He should not be talked to or take his eyes from the screen. This is hard but then should also be rotated more often. Too many times I stand in line only to find out the screener is chatting up a conversation with co-worker not looking at the screen. To me THAT should be a firing offense.

One more item that does not really pertain to TSA but could help the lines. There are smokers out there and while I know its in vogue to beat up on them you are creating longer lines by making us go outside of security to light up. On a particular long lay over I went through security 3 times only to go outside. That’s a waste of time and resources. Smoking booths and rooms work very effective and the no smoking laws should exempt airports.

Anonymous said...

TSA in San Angelo Texas need to alert the screeners of locked baggage to make sure the TSA approved locks are lock on the bags and not just hanging loose.

Anonymous said...

I would just appreciate consistency in security policy from airport to airport. The place I have had the most hassle is in Denver, CO. Most recently over the holidays I had an incident with them not allowing me to bring on sealed, unopened, juice boxes for my 3 and 1 1/2 year olds. There was nothing in my ticket information that told be of that specific restriction and it wasn't until we were having our bags scanned that we were informed. We lost the equivalent of about $20 (having our juice confiscated and having to purchase more at the outrageous airport prices). It seemed a bit ridiculous, especially since we didn't have the same issue flying out of SFO at the beginning of our trip. I don't ever want to fly out of Denver again because of that situation. The security personnel threatened to call the police on me because I questioned the policy at time and was extremely, demonstrably frustrated at the time. At least they could have been a little more understanding of a family travelling with two small kids on Dec 23, or told be about this blog where I could voice my issue. I definitely think we have gone a bit far in "protecting" ourselves from possible, but not very likely, perceived threats. Thanks for reading and listening.

Anonymous said...

Well,this is definitely a unique blog experience. I have noted a couple of things that may be of use just from an outdside observer.
1) Is there a way to seperate entries into topics (i.e. pre-boarding, identification and proofing requirements, in-flight concerns, policy questions, general question, etc). This may help the blog develop better.
In regards to the role of TSA and its efforts, they are to be commended. Their has to be constant improvement in screening procedures, pre-flight boarding, baggage screening etc.
2) To think that the TSA can magically show up and be prepared for every contingency etc. is unrealistic.
Although some of the rules/policies may seem strange to some of us, they have been implemented for a reason, and I would bet that reason is NOT to make your flying more difficult.
So the next time you fly, get there early, be prepared for the screening process, and enjoy your flight. Do not blame TSA for poor planning on your part.

hl said...

I can't understand why I must put my shampoo in a plastic bag. It is already in my shaving kit which is zipped shut and is in my carry on luggage. This strikes me as ridiculous.
Howard Lamb

Anonymous said...

I recently flew in to Chartlotte,NC
from Germanhy and was appalled about the screeners. They yelled at the arriving guest, sounded like market women, and I had difficulty understanding them. I am sure,that some of the arriving guests, to whom English is a second language, had difficulty understanding. I was embarrassed for us. I did not experience that when I arrived in Frankfurt, nor on my departures in Augusta, Atlanta, Nuernberg or Munich. I did speak to a supervisor and was advised that security is their priority. I pointed out, that the first impression to our forreign guests is also of importance and should be included in the training.

Anonymous said...

the last time i flew out of JFK, i saw airport security confiscate knitting needles from a nun.

Anonymous said...

i fail to understand the unnecessarysecurity checks of people that are obviously no threat to security. the baggage and carry ons i understand. but people with prosthetic devices are held-up longer put thru screening that is above what should be needed. also i believe stereo typing should be enforced. obviously a certain amount of security is needed

RadicalPatriot said...

lets get real! profiling is an essential tool in evaluating potential threats. if there is a consistancy in the actions of a particular group, then for the sake of dire security that group should be subject to profiling and it should be public knowledge so that everyone can be vigilint in profiling as we go about our daily lives. profiling in the minds of our citizenry could have helped in preventing 9-11.
when our government takes a politically correct approach to dealing with critical issues, groups, etc., they remove the frontline of defense thus increasing our exposure to danger.

and by the way, quit having us to undress!

Brockwest said...

Handicapped are at the mercy. My wife was dying of bone cancer, in a wheelchair and they rudely ordered me to take the wheelchair apart as she had to stand, then put it back together. I did so, but then asked for a supervisor to complain, not knowing that my ticket would then be flagged for secondary seach from then on.
At Dulles at the gate, they made her do another seach, this time telling her to get OUT of her wheelchair and assume the stance.
I protested she had bone cancer and it would break her hip. I was forcefully told I was breaking security rules to speak to her during search. They then told her to Lift one foot to wand under it, balancing on one foot. I said you'll break her hip.
I was told police would be called if I spoke again. Her hip broke in two, she fell moaning in pain...and they said in a bored manner, she can fly now.
We flew home with her moaning and crying. She was never able to walk again.

Lindsay said...

I would like to see a future post regarding the TSA policy on flip flops. In the past, a person wearing flip flops would not have to take them off, but for the past year we have been required to place them in a bucket for x-ray screening and walk barefoot around the security area. At first, I thought it was just a DCA thing, but then I was required to remove my flip-flops even at airports in California and Hawaii, two states in which flip flops play a dominant role in local footwear culture (I dunno, maybe you guys replaced all the west coast screeners with imported east coasters?)

I mean, I can understand why people who wear Crocs should have to take their footwear off because Crocs are hideous and anyone wearing them should be subjected to extra screening regardless, but there is no way that flip flops pose any sort of threat to national security. So please explain why I have to remove my flip flops during the screening process.

Also, the TSA should have two separate lines: one for people who travel a lot and thus know the policies, and one for the newbs who get on a plane every 10 years to go to Disney World and are unaware that they can't bring their venti caramel mocha raspberry latte with them, and therefore hold up the line to complain.

Frequent-Flyer said...

Overall I think the TSA folks have a difficult job and generally do their best to be professional in dealing with the public.

Nevertheless there are a couple of things that drive frequent travelers up the wall.

1. Inconsistent application of rules. Not only is it irritating to travelers, but TSA agents get upset because you are "violating" some rule which is entirely different elsewhere. Travelers are left with the impression that the rules are arbitrary and that TSA offices to not talk to each other.

2. Taking off shoes. Surely by now there is a technological solution to having to take off shoes to go through TSA screening.

3. I have observed families with children suffering greatly to get through TSA. The airlines seat families with small children first, maybe TSA should review their procedures to make the security procedure more family friendly.

4. Try to be helpful to the elderly. I have seen elderly folks going though a TSA checkpoint and it is a major ordeal. Younger travelers can navigate the process with little assistance, but the TSA staff need to show a little consideration and speak up in a kindly manner to assist the elderly and physically assist them as needed.

5. TSA agents need to distinguish between newbies and seasoned travelers. Folks who rarely travel by air are genuinely bewildered by what is expected, a kindly reminder and a smile from TSA staff is in order. Those of us who know the ropes, are not going to mind agents giving newbies a little extra help.

6. Know your own rules. Nothing drives a seasoned traveler to distraction more, than a TSA agent who is clearly making up rules as they go along.

7. Everybody has a bad day. This applies to travelers and TSA staff. Nevertheless, public servants need to vent to their coworkers and supervisors in someplace other than the screening areas. What has become routine to you is still stressful to travelers and added stress from hearing venting is unprofessional.

Thanks for listening and it will be interesting to see how TSA responds to these comments.

Anonymous said...

I am a premium freq flier on several airlines. Some airports have lines set aside for this level of passenger- others do not. What a major difference in the service and frustration levels!! The standard screening lines vary from airport to airport. The major problem being that when they are bad- they are very very bad! The vast majority are decent- not too much faster or slower than the rest. But when one is bad- watch out!! Last week, I arrived 90 minutes before a flight in Eugene Oregon and nearly missed my flight. Everyone checking in at once and the screening lines- made for a major problem. The screening line was close to 45 minutes long. There were two screening stations and only one was open. This airport has three of their six daily flights that leave within a few minutes plus or minus 6AM. It does not take a scheduleing genius to figure out that you need more folks at 6AM. Why would they bother to have two screening lines at an airport as small as that- and then have one of them closed at the only busy time of the day?

I appreciate that the TSA is doing a thankless job. Everybody wants the security and none of the inconvience. I do not mind the screenings and welcome the security- I just wish that there was a way to streamline it for frequent fliers. There is often a special enterence for flight crews and TSA folks- why can't there be a widely accepted way to get freq fliers through?

I know about the "trusted traveler" programs at some airports, but in over 300,000 miles of air travel in the past year; I have yet to begin a trip in an airport that offers the program. Would a system that used the premium status card from the airline to enter a shorter line have any possiblities?


Dr. Free Quentflyer said...

TSA is reactive instead of pro-active. Every time the terrorists do something new, TSA institutes another restriction. What do these restrictions do? Let's take an example. On 9/11, the terrorists overpowered a flight crew with boxcutters. Soon afterward, everything sharp was banned. OK, good move--except, TSA has only closed the loophole that the terrorists have already (just) used. So they can't use boxcutters--next time they'll use something else. Does TSA forget that at the time of 9/11, boxcutters were OK to bring onboard? Instead of being pro-active and thinking of everything the terrorists might use in the future, they only ban stuff that terrorists have already used. The terrorists are flexible, and use "one-shot" strategies. They know if they can explot a loophole, they can get a big "win" one time. They don't need to use the boxcutters anymore--they did their job.

Barbara said...

I travel quit frequently, I'm a 46 year old female and am disabled. I walk with a cane most of the time. This past Christmas I was returning home from my family gathering in Pittsburgh when the security person opened my bag and I had 4 jars of pastry filling that you can't get where I live. The jars where factory sealed and posed no threat to me or my country except for the fact that they my cause a rise in sugar if you eat the pastries that it's made with. The TSA, and I use that term lightly, made me go back to the ticket counter and check the bag that they were in. I was already dangerously late because of the line at the check point and at the ticket counter. The woman was very arrogant and very dismissive of the fact that It was not an easy task for me to walk back check the bag and get to my gate on time. Fortunately, the nice USAirways ticket lady who checked me in saw me when I got to the top of the escalater and came to help me. I told her what happened and after she said she could not believe they did that, she took my bag and ran to check it for me so I could go right back through the screening. I got to my gate with excatly one minute to spare. The bullying I recieved at that check point will stay with me for quit sometime. The anger I felt was extraordenary. If it weren't for the USAir person I would have surely missed my flight. I would like to now when you draw the line between security and TSA personnel posturing and bullying those whose question why it's being done that way. By the way, I used to work as a security checkpoint person at the same airport and am well aware of what can and cannot go on a plane. Thank You for reading my concern.

Anonymous said...

any colored person who has a complaint tsa needs to travel through France to get the right perspective. the french make the tsa look like god. every time I travel through France it is absolutely racist in how/why they pick me for a security check. in contrast, the tsa has always dealt with me fairly/politely.

Anonymous said...

As a fairly frequent flyer, I am appalled at some of the "screeners" that TSA has hired. Nothing more than common thieves. I have items items stolen from my bags at the "check in" metal detectors - one being a pair of diamond earrings that were a gift for my wife. How damn suspicious are earrings?

Another time I forgot that I had my small pocket knife on me and it was confiscated. Fair enough, but when I asked how I could get it back, I was told to do a search on ebay for "TSA". I did just that and found MANY items listed there. SHAME on you for profiting from people's mistakes.

Brockwest said...

Handicapped are at the mercy. My wife was dying of bone cancer, in a wheelchair and they rudely ordered me to take the wheelchair apart as she had to stand, then put it back together. I did so, but then asked for a supervisor to complain, not knowing that my ticket would then be flagged for secondary seach from then on.
At Dulles at the gate, they made her do another seach, this time telling her to get OUT of her wheelchair and assume the stance.
I protested she had bone cancer and it would break her hip. I was forcefully told I was breaking security rules to speak to her during search. They then told her to Lift one foot to wand under it, balancing on one foot. I said you'll break her hip.
I was told police would be called if I spoke again. Her hip broke in two, she fell moaning in pain...and they said in a bored manner, she can fly now.
We flew home with her moaning and crying. She was never able to walk again.

Anonymous said...

I think the additional security since 9/11 is unnecessary. With reinforced cockpit doors and passenger/crew awareness of what happened on 9/11, I don't think a plane full of people would ever allow that to happen again.

Anonymous said...

All right, here's a funny story. In September of 2006, I was in Louisville, going through the security checkpoint on my return flight to Buffalo. Coming in from Buffalo, I'd had no issues with bringing my makeup on the plane. Flying out of Louisville, however, I encountered a hassle. I was told that my makeup - a container of paste foundation, a tube of mascara, and a tube of concealer, and a lipgloss, would not be allowed on the plane.

I protested, because these items were not liquid. The agent told me that they were considered liquid, and that I would have to dispose of them. When I protested further, pointing out that I had just purchased these items the week before and that they were expensive, the agent told me, "Well, Ma'am, I can tell you that I'm an Avon representative, and these items are on sale this campaign."

I just looked at her in the eye and said, "Tell me that's NOT what you really just said to me." She got her supervisor, who allowed me to take the items on board, given the newness of the rule about liquids, but told me that "next time" I would have to have these items in a plastic ziploc bag (on a side note, why don't they sell these in the airport???)

Here's the funniest part: when I got on the plane and sat down, I opened my purse to get something out and discovered there was an X-acto knife in the side pocket (I'm a graphic designer by trade, so I use X-actos as part of my job). This woman at the security check was so concerned with my cosmetics that she never even picked up on the knife in my purse.

And to that I can only be juvenile and say...DUH!!

Anonymous said...

I have flown frequently in the past three years and I completely understand the need for increased security. People in other areas of the world have dealt with this type of airport security for years, so I have no problems with it. However, the incredibly rude behavior of some of the TSA screeners is completely unacceptable.

The screening staff in Memphis, Tennessee, is the worst I have seen--often unfriendly to the point of hostility and usually slow. I do want to say that I have had the chance to meet two or three of the screeners in the Memphis area who were wonderful--smiling, polite, and helpful, all while being thorough. I wish I could remember their names because their professional behavior really stood out among their surly peers and they deserve lots of praise and a raise. But the rest of the Memphis screening staff needs several classes in customer service and public relations. Better yet, just fire the ones who seem to think it's their job to be arrogant dictators and start fresh with a new crew--but please keep the good ones so they can train the new people the right way.

On the flip side, the screeners at Denver International Airport are some of the friendliest and most helpful people I've met when dealing with security. They are professional, organized, and do thorough checks and searches, but with a smile. I've met only a couple of people on the Denver screening staff who would qualify as rude.

I know being a screener is a difficult and demanding job with a great deal of responsibility, but there is no reason why the job cannot be done in a civil manner. If a screener is unable to do so, perhaps they need to find a less stressful job, because frankly, nothing angers me more than the realization that the TSA is using my tax dollars to pay someone to be rude to me.

Anonymous said...

I don't think we're really doing much other than creating a perception of safety, but since that won't change anytime soon, my major complaint is that the tables where we have to put everything in bins are not wide enough nor long enough.

Because of my work, I must travel with 3 laptops in two laptop bags, so I need 4 bins for them and my shoes and jacket. In many airports, most of the table space is taken up by stacks of bins, leaving no room to spread out 4 bins, fill them, and then push them and the two bags through.

Even in airports that have rebuilt their checkpoints, no one took this little detail into account.

Then on the other end, there is usually even less space to calmly and carefully re-pack the bags.

TSA needs to do observational studies of the struggles people go through on both sides of the x-ray machine, and then re-design the whole physical layout. It's not going away, so it has to be made physically smoother.

And since we have to take our shoes off, wouldn't it be nice to have rubber mats to walk on instead of a cold, hard floor?

Dr. Free Quentflyer said...

Boxcutters and knives are banned, and for a while there were plastic utensils in first class. Now you can get METAL BUTTER KNIVES in the first class cabins and the airline clubs. Are you kidding me? So the terrorist cheerfully turns in his knife at the TSA checkpoint, and then... walks into the airline club and grabs a butter knife, or settles into a cushy seat in first class, waiting for the nice meal with the metal knife . (Remember, these guys are well funded and can afford first class tickets and club memberships.) What's the point of controlling a checkpoint for contraband if the very items you are banning are available on the other side of the checkpoint??? Am I the only one who thinks that TSA ought to either (a) close these ridiculously obvious loopholes, or (b) admit they are completely ineffective and just let there be a free-for-all, with knives allowed in carry-on luggage? I vote for (a). Wake up, TSA.

ARVY said...

I unequivocally refuse to remove my shoes to travel - it ain't gonna happen. I have not flown since it's inception and will not again until this BS policy is revoked.

Anonymous said...

I'll be plain about this from the beginning: I'm no fan of the TSA or the DHS and I hope that criticism won't land me on a watch list, as it might in some other countries. Independent studies seem to confirm that, compared to previous departments, both the TSA and DHS are little more than overhead created to make George W Bush appear to be "tough on terror", but are not particularly effective.

There are loads of stories from passengers about harassment and threats from screeners, inconsistent policy enforcement, ineffective or plain silly security measures, confiscation of non-dangerous property that screeners simply don't have the common sense to understand, strong arm tactics to enforce "rules" that don't exist, etc. I, like any frequent business traveler, have experienced all of these myself. OK, forget anecdotes. There are enough references from mainstream news sources to show this is a valid criticism. Here are a couple:

[ urls deleted, too long ]

What is even more worrying about the trend towards ever stricter security without benefit is the lack of transparency and oversight. If one reads the GOA report on Secure Flight from July 2005 (, it is not comforting to learn the TSA violated federal law, then lied to Congress and the public about it. To top it off, the TSA's response to being caught violating its own Privacy Act statements was to revise them to match their actions, rather than re-examine whether the actions are justified.

Want to get public support? Realistically examine current security restrictions and practices, inform the public about what is policy and why so that EVERYONE is using the same rule book, train TSA staff to use common sense when considering a potential security threat, train TSA staff to treat people with respect if they have done nothing wrong, and be accountable for your mistakes and weaknesses rather than just take credit for confiscating tens of thousands of cigarette lighters.

No one is perfect, but everyone (especially a large organization that is funding with tax money) is expected to improve. If that means a total overhaul of airport security (which I believe is probably necessary), so be it. The past 6+ years have had just such an overhaul, so it is not out of the question. What we all need is effective and efficient security based on realistic threat assessment and management, not based on politics, power, or private profit.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't the most recent blog be at the top and not the bottom?

obliteratedfate said...

Personally, I shake my head every time I see TSA officials shake down the grandparents from Iowa going home after visiting the grandkids in Los Angeles. My only gripe is that I travel with musical instruments in special cases for flying, and they manage to get dinged up anyway. I usually get treated fine by the inspectors, but my instruments get abused.

Anonymous said...

I work for the TSA and would love to know why we now spend so much time and effort matching identification to names on boarding passes THAT THE PASSENGERS PRINT OUT AT HOME? Helloooo? Has it occurred to anyone how easy it would be to forge a boarding pass to match an I.D?

Joe said...

@ Matt: First off, you contradicted yourself within two sentences. Secondly, "it's a priveledge, not a right" isn't exactly a nuanced, brilliant legal analysis. It's also not true.

margaret said...

I flew from Atlanta to Sacramento. I stopped in the Bath and Body shop in Atlanta and bought various toiletries over $100.00 worth. I was also travelling with a small dog who had to relieve himself, so I went out to the front of the building and then had to go back in through security. Upon returning the screener took ALL of my toiletries I had just bought minutes before!!!!

I was appaulled, what kind of scam is this?????

I showed him the receipt with the time and date, but it made no difference to him.

What happens to all the stuff you take???? Thats what I want to know?

Dr. Free Quentflyer said...

Nail polish and nail polish remover should absolutely NOT be allowed onboard. It is a volatile, flammable chemical, isn't it?

repo4sale said...

0 countries with acceptable real estate investment laws!
0 countries with Our Rights 4 Fun!
0 countries with Our Benefits!!
Conclusion:We are the best Country
4 TIMES DETAINED BY US OFFICIALS(I travel 2 much for an American)
I support the AGGRESSIVE security of the Homeland Security & State Department, 100%
When you have visited over 50+ countries, you realize the best country is USA and the best state is CALIFORNIA FOR FUN & MONEY!!

Anonymous said...

You guys have become the thugs of the poor customer service that is rampant in the airline industry. The only description of the treatment I get everytime I fly is "rude." Add uncaring and it pretty much makes flying suck. Complain and the first thing they do is threaten you. Nice.

Anonymous said...

Already underway with a large number of posts saying the same thing, what the TSA staff is doing is "security theater" or making a big show while appearing to accomplish very little except collecting huge bins of personal grooming products.

The kinds of funds that the terrorist organizations have easily could be used to either "reach out" to median wage security team members or actually put them on staff, much like athletes are paid to throw games. My prediction is that the next set of hijackers will board with impunity, and immobilize all aboard with judo.

Having soldiers with loaded automatic weapons made me feel less secure in the airport because of the very real danger of some overzealous enlisted man firing on bystanders while trying to stop a terror suspect.

The airlines spend multi-millions of dollars on customer service to make the traveling experience better, yet the worst customer experience happens in the security line. They are doing the right thing by preventing passengers from boarding with toolboxes as I used to do on a regular basis. But fingernail clippers? Any clever person could make a weapon out of a number of items already found on board that would be far more effective than fingernail clippers and pen knives.

Anonymous said...

The process that one must submit to in security makes me think twice about taking a vacation where flying is involved. It's so stressful - especially when traveling with small children or older people or disabled people, where you are trying to deal with everyone's shoes and coats, and belts - it's just not worth it. Also - some of the things that are "confiscated" is just nonsense - for example, sealed jars of fruit jam that are clearly from the region of one's vacation. And why are they in one's carryon luggage? So they won't get broken being tossed around by handlers! Some things need to be rethought - it gets to the point of ridiculousness.

Tim in PA said...

Liquid ban: ridiculous
Shoe removal: ridiculous
No loose/spare battery ban: ridiculous
Long Lines: ridiculous

We are not safer. People testing the effectiveness of the TSA have brought bomb material through with success. It's a joke and not working.

John said...

We hear a lot of stories (including arrests on the news) about theft from checked bagggage by TSA or Airline employees.

Why don't your procedures prevent this? Surely, if someone can steal from a checked bag and remove it from the airport, they could just as easily insert a dangerous device into a checked bag.

Anonymous said...

PDX tsa agents are fast and efficent compared to other airports visited. My only concern is that these agents are mostly overweight. With such publicly visable people, shouldn't tsa present a healthy side rather than the typical fat american side. Fat sloppy agents don't promote confidence.

Anonymous said...

My biggest problem with security is while you are trying to make it through the detector, security does not protect your items that come out on the other side. My God Daughter had her purse ripped off and my Grandmother had her Jacket ripped off. I alsways watch my bag go in and also make sure I am free to pass through. If I am stopped I kindly ask if they can please move over so I may supervise my bags.

Also, Why does security not stop people who bring o full size cases!! I have been harassed and made to combine my purse in a small back pack into one item, while people with suit cases get through!

I rest my case!

Tim in PA said...

My wife, a US citizen, but born in France, is ALWAYS pulled aside for individual screening. Its annoying, not random, and totally ridiculous.

Its to the point where she will tell the screeners "I was born in France, let's get this over with"

We arrive at the airport an extra half hour ahead of anyone else to put up with this inconvenience.

stressed said...

I think improvement could be made by more quality control so policy is applied the same across airports. When a rule is applied in one airport or one checkpoint but not another, it causes confusion and misunderstanding. When screeners either individually or as a group apply their own policy instead of TSA’s SOP, one is left to worry what other and possible crucial part of security screening is compromised or omitted.
Security of individual passenger’s belongings shouldn’t be overlooked. I like my belongings to go through the x-ray in a particular order with my laptop bag being first, then my laptop, and lastly, my purse. I want to step through the walk-through when I see my purse go into the x-ray tunnel and I can see and get my purse when it comes out without risk of it being taken by someone behind me or ahead of me. I developed this method for myself after an incident in San Francisco where I was waiting to be hand- wanded in a glassed in section and sat defenseless while a screener actually handed my purse and laptop to someone else. Just luck that someone came and I was able to alert them to the problem.
Once in Montana while I was getting my laptop out of the bag, a screener grabbed my purse off the table and put it in the x-ray tunnel. I tried to get it back but wasn’t allowed to. I was told that once I put my item on the x-ray belt, I can’t change my mind and she called the supervisor. The problem was that I didn’t put my purse on the x-ray belt, the screener did and she was very rude and threatening.
In Detroit I was surprised to see a screener going through my wallet without being previously advised or given the opportunity to watch. I commented that I didn’t think they were supposed to do that without telling me first so I could watch and was rudely informed that they can search anything anytime. That’s just wrong and I don’t think it’s within TSA policy. It creates risk of loss for the passengers and risk of lawsuit for TSA.

Anonymous said...

IAD - Many flights start boarding prior to 7am. It seems that the security checkpoints are understaffed for the amount of travelers needing to get through security at that time of the morning. I personally have witnessed only 3 operation security stations open with a 250+ travelers standing in line. My recommendations are to make shift changes to accomodate for earlier opening of additional security checkpoints to forego some of the travelers frustration. Travel during mid-day is slower then the peak hours in the morning and early evening. Adjust the work crew.

Government Agency Transportation Manager

Anonymous said...

This comment page is poorly designed.

1) The color of the text for comments is difficult to read. Put it in black text.

2) It's a long way down to the end of the page, where you can post a comment. Maybe it would be better to shorten the page, and perhaps put the comments into (separate page) categories.

Anonymous said...

A passenger's perspective... I've flown 6 times in the last 2 years, not a great deal and all domestically within the US.

I've found the TSA screeners generally helpful and doing the what they are tasked with, their job.

That said, .. I follow the rules, I have my boarding pass and ID ready, my shoes off and I pack according to the rules.

Jester said...

As an american who travels usually once a month or so, I have to say in an overall review, the security at the airports isnt the problem for the slowdown. From what I have noticed, the slowdown comes from the *lack* of personnel running scanner machines.

Is there any plans to get airports more help so they can actually have all the scanner lines up and running at once there by reducing the wait time in lines by almost 30-50%? I find it silly that I need to go to the airport almost 2 hours before my flight, just to stand in the security check line for about an hour of it (or longer, if the number of scanners is low compared to the number of customers waiting).

Anonymous said...

Reading into these comments a little bit, gives me a pretty good sense of security. As we all know, its not a matter of if, but a matter of when the next will occur... and success means nothing happens.

Thus, seeing huge variation from person to person, and place to place suggests intent... and no doubt significant planning and management as concerns intent and deployment of training and resources, so say nothing of the financial aspect. That is impressive, really impressive.

These comments also seem to indicate, that few if any travelers really consider the potential for something to occur. I guess thats a reasonable stance for the public to take, and one thats not unexpected.

Its a rough spot you TSA folks are in. No doubt it there are problems with rogue officers and customer service in general, but the procedural aspects do seem to be working. I only hope that the other areas you are responsible for are working as well, at least from a technical/procedural aspect.

No doubt, the customer service and PR aspects are a lower priority than the technical, and with daily moving technical targets, solving these soft areas must drive many a manager to hair loss. Yet, this is what the public sees, and what they perceive.... ie the customer service on the front lines.

I think ultimately, it has to start on the front end, ie hiring. Perhaps part of the solution includes some sim runs as part of the hiring interview process. I know it wouldn't be popular, it would likely be expensive, and who knows, with the myriad of regs as concerns hiring practices, perhaps even illegal. Yet, if you filter out the rogues, and the potential for problematic staff upfront, you may well mitigate a great deal of the problems presented in this blog.

I wish you well, and hope this venture into blogging turns out well for you.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I feel that you folks are doing a good and necessary job to protect us in these trying times.
The one suggestion we have is that you folks monitor the inspection times and add people where and when the time is really long, you never know how early to show up at the airport. Thanks

akplt said...

It seems odd to me that airline crews who have been fingerprinted, background checked by their airline and have access to an enormous sharp metal crash axe in the cockpit of their a/c are required to pass through screening (take off jacket,shoes, etc.) holding up the lines with our professional gear, full suitcase and 1 or 2 carryones for our 4 day trip AND YET THE AIRPORT RAMP WORKERS (THE LEAST PAID,MOST TEMPTED BY BRIBES) HAVE ACCESS TO ALL AREAS OF AN AIRPLANE DO NOT HAVE TO GO THROUGH TSA (METAL DETECTOR) SCREENING!!!!!! Do you want to explain that one to me. I can't believe Congress and the flying public aren't screaming bloody murder over that one.

TeachU said...

I flew 80,000 domestic miles last year so I have some experience with TSA. The staff is generally very courteous and seem to pay close attention.

That said, it should be noted this is a very tough job in our self-focused, self-centered society. The stories about some journalist slipping through with a letter-opener get a lot of attention---too much. And then, if a TSA inspector pats down a random traveler, stories abound about too much touching. Further, if someone tries to board a plane dressed as Osama Bin Laden himself, TSA had better look the other way or some group will scream "profiling"!

Customer service is my business and I think TSA could use some training. Educating the flying public should be part of security. The public needs to be sold on the need for security so that they will be less critical of the effort TSA is making. If the public accepts the need for security, they will be more cooperative.

Example. When the rule about carrying bottled water took effect, I saw many "regular" people trying to sneak a bottle of water through security. Then many of those would become indignant when caught because "it's just water" and why aren't they "looking for dangerous stuff"!

Training ought to be incorporated into the process to educate and win over the public. As the police will tell you, most crimes are not solved by the police, they are solved by tips from the public.

Chris Reich

Anonymous said...

This is not against TSA employees, just a senseless TSA regulation regarding the 3 oz. maximum amount of gel/lotions/etc allowed in carry-ons. I'd like to know what the real reason is and why the magic number 3? Realistically, what is the difference between 3 oz. vs. 4 oz. vs 8 oz. etc? If a terrorist is going to concoct an explosive, I'm sure he/she can do it with 3 oz. or less (or a combination of 3 oz. quantities), or even with powderous materials disguised as anything else. I've had to throw away many valuable items due to this absurd rule simply because I forgot to keep them at home. It's a waste of resources (throwing away good water, lotions, facial cleansers, etc.). Instead of having passengers throw away perfectly good items, maybe you can change the regulation to make them drink the water in front of you or apply the lotion on themselves in front of you. If the passenger falls dead to the ground, then TSA will know for sure that it's too lethal to carry on a plane. How about that? Doesn't that make more sense? Really, if an out-of-site baggage handler can break my bags and steal my items and not be seen, what's to be said about airport security when things can go "unnoticed" just about anywhere else in the airport? I just think that this gel regulation was implemented only to reduce TSA liability after one isolated incident caused by someone who had to ruin it for EVERYONE else. It just doesn't make sense.

Anonymous said...

You are all tools of oppression, but the least you could do is learn how to fold a shirt before you rifle through my bags again.

Go ahead, trace my IP address and monitor my phone calls. I don't care anymore.

lspringerf said...

As a former airline employee and flyer, I worked thru 09/11 and am so glad to see the heightened security at the airports. And yes, I, too, have gone thru some craziness while going thru security. My biggest griefs are the non-consistency of the TSA agents between airports, throwing away of unopened food and water, removal of shoes and walking on a non-protected dirty floor, and the limiting of carry-on liquids ONLY allowable in one little baggie! But, my biggest "gripes" are the way the mother's with small children/infants and the elderly in wheelchairs are treated. I have watched the agents "conference between themselves" over the unopened toddler food that a mother is carrying for her now crying and hungry toddler, should be thrown away and telling her she will have to purchase something in the airport! But, to have my elderly parents come home from a trip and tell our family of their "security" experience is beyond me. My father, who cannot walk the length of an airport and uses one of the airport's wheelchairs, (otherwise he uses a cane all the time) all due to a botched back surgery 10 years ago. His health has not only been deteriorating over the years due to this, but he has also had to have both knees replaced because of this. He was told to carry a letter from his doctor, but this is not even looked at by anyone. He has not only been strip searched for the first couple of flights, but it became a regular event each time they flew, taking not only alot of time, but alot of his energy! He was told it is because he wears a brace on his left ankle, carries a cane for walking, and is in a wheelchair. Something about being able to smuggle things in them? And the wheelchair is ALWAYS the airport's, he doesn't even own one! He and Mom have now decided they don't have the energy to fly and will most likely not do it anymore. Even tho this is about my parents, it has to be happened to other elderly people. WHY? With all of the computerization these days, can't there be a way for disabled people or the elderly with braces, canes, or in wheelchairs to be checked in, in an easier way? My father wasn't even upset with being searched, even with the redundancy of it. It was all of the energy he had to expend to do it, explaining everything, taking off and putting on his brace and clothes. It took away from him being able to do much of anything for a couple of days.

I don't know or even think this will change anything at all, but thank you for having this blog to do a little "venting"! I believe that this system works for the most part and thank everyone that does their job correct and well. The airline business isn't what it used to be and shouldn't be anymore. It's sad but true. I'm just hoping for a little more consistancy between airports. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

What stops a TSA baggage handlers to remove and\or insert items in OPEN checked-in baggage?

Anonymous said...

Since when has a pool que been a weapon? As a pool player, traveling by air, and not being able to take my que as a carry on is rediculous. Whereas I realize it is long and made of wood, it also cost several thousand dollars as it is custom made for me. I truely don't like having to check it for someone to steal. Being insured is one thing, but when you get to your destination and its not there, you can't just go to Walgreens and get a new one for a couple of dollars.

gman said...

I would like to as TSA to have a "prefered" screen line for all busniness travelers who have some type of "airline status" with a carrier so we don't have to waste our time behind the single parents who have never traveled before with three toddlers trying to get their "stuff" through the X-ray machine. We business travelers who spend tens-of-thousand of dollars a year traveling on business that have a low security risk should be moved through the screening process with only a minor delay. I can only assume that the screening lines are controled by the airport and not TSA, however if TSA can recocmmend this to all airports, something may be done about this. Because I have flown so often, I know exactly what is expected of me to go through the screening process, I should not have to wait for casual flyer to get their act together. Please just remember who pays the bills for the airlines, airport facility and TSA, the business travelier. With out us paying several hundred dollars for a last minute flight, we would be traveling by train! We (busniness travelers) expect better service from the screen process.

Anonymous said...

Overall, I do think that your people are nice and hardworking. Though, I've had a couple of terrible experiences in Baltimore and Philadelphia. Some of the people in these 2 locations need training to interact better with the public.

Anonymous said...

lot of good questions and concerns. how do we know anyone is reading them.where can we find responses??

Lynn said...

In response to:

FYI-TSA: I use my passport as my ID at airports. It has my former last name on the first page with my picture and my name change on the very last page. When I go through security the TSA person opens the passport and looks at the first page and then my airline ticket which has a different name. 50% of the time I am let on the airplane without security questioning the two different names. Of the security who do question it, many don't even know to look further in the book to find the name change. It has become a game with me to guess if the TSA person will let me through. That's sad.....

I work at TSA and know exactly what you're talking about. The way passports are amended to reflect married names seems silly. I also had trouble using my amended passport at the DMV when I moved because they find it hard to believe a stamp on the back of a passport is legit. I'll pass on a note to the folks who put together information on IDs to make sure they know how passports are amended for married names. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

I live in the Boston area and yes, love my city. I have fournd the TSA people here to be understanding and well gentle if you will. But, man, there are some cities (like Phillie) where the TSA people think they are John Wayne with a rifle or something. Screaming at people, threats, just crazy mean. Some think they have far more power than they do, it needs to stop. Check me, check my bags, cool, but don't harass and threaten me.

Anonymous said...

I'm ok with taking my shoes off. However, I'm not ok with hopping around on one foot while trying to take off the other shoe. Please provide seats near the point where we enter the scanning process so I can sit down and remove my shoes. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Two gripes:

One, when a TSA employee inspects a suitcase, he or she should be sure that the clothing is not left hanging out after closing it.

The other thing is due to Congressional pressure, but I think profiling of passengers makes a heck of a lot more sense than inspecting the elderly, as I have witnessed all too often.

Anonymous said...

The best TSA operation is Tampa airport. Yes, I understand they just failed by passing a fake explosive device through in a recent test but experienced soldiers know that checkpoints only keep honest people honest. The intent terrorist will find a way to get through.

At least Tampa TSA personnel are friendly. They institute changes that assist the passenger get through the system while meeting the TSA's expensive window dressing security.

Anonymous said...

On the whole I think the TSA is doing a very good job, but like everything sometimes things go wrong. While I understand the concept, my biggest gripe is having to take shoes off and walking either barefooted or with socks on on the same path as other passengers who may have Lord knows what kind of foot ailments. It seems completely unsanitary to me. Is there anything you could do that would make this process more sanitary?

Terry said...

Thank you to the TSA for making every effort to keep us safe. Inconvenient? Yes. Time consuming? Yes. Long lines and grumpy passengers? Yes.

If you are going to fly - fly smart! Take your ID out of your wallet and be prepared when you get there! You know what you can and cannot take so pack accordingly! Get there early! Be patient and try being nice! And take advantage of the "Clear" program if you travel often!

The TSA isn't perfect but I for one am grateful they are checking - even when it is me who gets "flagged"!

Anonymous said...

What the TSA does has little to do with security. It is, instead, security THEATER, putting on a show that accomplishes next to nothing. This isn't TSA's fault; rather it's the result of our country's overweening political correctness and cowardice in the face of being called "Racist!" by the grievance merchants.

Commentator Lawrence Auster, who is willing to face reality, has summarized the essential problem:

"We will have terrorist attacks and threats of terrorists attacks and inconvenient and humiliating security measures and the disruption of ordinary activities FOREVER, as long as Muslims are in the West in any significant numbers. The Muslim terrorists are part and parcel of the Muslim community. According to a survey reported in the Scotsman, 24 percent of Muslims in Britain (I never describe them as “British Muslims”) believe the July 2005 London bombings were justified. Imagine that. Not only do these Muslims in Britain support terrorism against Britain, they’re not afraid to say so openly to a pollster! The unchangeable fact is that wherever there is a sizable Muslim community there will be a very large number of terror supporters and therefore—inevitably—actual terrorists as well.

"This is our future, FOREVER, unless we stop Muslim immigration and initiate a steady out-migration of Muslims from the West until their remaining numbers are a small fraction of what they are now and there are no true believers among the ones that remain. Travelers from Muslim countries must be tightly restricted as well. Muslims must be essentially locked up inside the Muslim lands, with only carefully screened individuals allowed into the non-Muslim world.

"The enemy are among us, in America, in Britain, in the West, and will remain so until we remove them from the West and indeed from the entire non-Muslim world. As extreme as this sounds, it is a no-brainer. There is no other solution. All other responses to this problem add up to meaningless hand-wringing. The hand-wringing will go on FOREVER, along with the terrorist attacks and the threat of terrorist attacks, until we take the ONLY STEPS that can actually and permanently end the threat."

Grumpy Passenger said...

I know that most of the screeners are there because (A) it pays better than MacDonalds, (B) they couldn't pass the test to become a cop and (C) they find some weird satisfaction out of the power they have mistakenly been given... but why are we at condition Orange?? Orange tells me that we are only one step away from invasion or nuclear holocaust. It seems to me, as a guy who flew 100K miles last year, that Orange only serves to keep a lot of idle TSA folks standing around - at least those that aren't on break. If it was run as a business half of them would be gone in an instant. In mean, really, do we need two people to look at my boarding pass? No, don't tell me that one looks at the ID and the other looks at the boarding pass. That is just stupid and wasteful.
If these are my tax dollars at work they certainly aren't working very hard and do NOT feel any safer with the TSA on the job.

Anonymous said...

Why am I subjected to additional screening whenever i am flying with a Virgin Atlantic airlines? They seem to use the pen to scribble "SSSS" on my boarding pass. I never get such treatment whenever i am flying with US based airlines such as AA or United internally or internationally.

Anonymous said...

Bravo Zulu to the TSA. I hope TSA managements are reading travelers comments and recommendations. Site is useless until management takes comments seriously and generates honest discussions about issues effecting TSA and travelers.

Being said that, could TSA nudge Airport manager to redesign International Arrival area? Travelers just cleared the Immigration and Custom security procedures and travelers need to connect to domestic airline. Once again travelers are forced to go though domestic securities check point. This ‘Lets do again’ mentality is unwanted and inefficient procedures period. GO DOD!

Anonymous said...

understand the need for security - suggest the following to speed matters:

(1) why make people show boarding ticket twice - once to get on line and the second after go through scanner.

(2) uniformity. In SAN you can wear booties provided so that your socks do not get dirty. At LGA when we put them on, LGA said take them off and made us rescan ourselves.

(3) At busy airports like Dulles and Delta terminal at JFK, please provide more machines to allow faster clearance.

anonymous qwertry

Anonymous said...

My concern is regarding driver licenses or ID’s. Due to the fact that it is now an essential requirement of airline travel to have a driver licenses with us, there should also be a corresponding requirement for the TSA to implement a live online database system that contains records and photos of all US citizens, to provide a back-up means of identification should a passenger loose, forget, or have stolen from them their driver licenses.

Not only is missing a flight an inconvenient, today most tickets are sold as being non-refundable, so this also requires purchasing a new ticket at the time of flight for a significantly increase in cost in addition to the lost value of the current ticket. There are likely also other additional costs due to missing connecting flights or other accommodations. Until such at time that TSA would implement a driver license ID database, there should be some form of protection for a passenger that should they arrive at the airport at the proper time but are denied travel due to a missing ID, that they should not be penalized any additional fees and would be eligible to fly on the next available flight on standby-by status once a proper ID is obtained.

patricia.burnside said...

Certainly, safety and security is of great importance anywhere. I do not envy the jobs of TSA workers. However, I've had some disconcerting experiences. I fly frequently from the Middle East to the US, via British Airways, usually connecting through JFK and Chicago. Heathrow, one of the most secure and restrictive airports in the world, handles the crowds with dignity and humor. We know what to expect before entering the lines, and we are taken one-by-one through security. We are treated with respect. On the other hand, when I enter the US at JFK, we are herded like cattle, with several people being processed simultaneously. My shoes were mixed up with another passengers (and TSA staff tried to hurry us along while we sorted out the mess. Then, I discovered my mobile phone missing. TSA staff would not allow me to look in the collection of bins that had collected at the end of the line; they told me to go to lost-and-found and report it. I ignored it, even though one female employee was screaming at me to stop searching, and I found my phone at the bottom, under an overturned bin. I simply could not reach the bin before it was pushed aside. I was late for my next flight and barely made it. I was so upset that I was treated with such respect in London, but with such disrespect in my native country. On my return trip, I had a TSA employee rip my brand-new Samsonite carry-on (causing items to spill everywhere. This occurred at ORD. The TSA supervisor refused to help me, would not even provide a plastic bag for my spilled items --or tape for my luggage. A kind Chicago city policy officer nearby found me some tape and helped me tape my luggage enough that it made it back to Heathrow, where I caught my connecting flight to Dubai--then Muscat. The kindly security people at Heathrow actualy HAD TAPE for this purpose. They helped me tape my luggage, and I made it to Muscat with no further spillages. It is embarrassing when security is so bad, and TSA employees (the one's I've encountered) are so rude, then I travel to Heathrow and they handle things so well. The TSA also hand-searched my check-on luggage (no problem, I have nothing to hide), and left a note. However, they left my carefully-packed suitcase an awful mess, and like an earlier poster, took sterile medication out of a bag (interferon for MS--accompanied w/ full prescribing info), and many of the glass containers broke--because they were left next to another breakable item. A gift that had been packed carefully (expensive lotion) spilled everywhere. It had been unwrapped and opened, breaking the seal. I looked into filing a compaint, but it seemed to difficult to do from Oman-so I just dropped it all. Perhaps it it isn't the biggest disaster, but to me, it was one thing after another.

Anonymous said...

I was traveling to Canada and stopped in the Tax Free shop where I bought a quart of when I got the the checking gate...the screeners wanted to take away my small bottle of Aqua Velva after shave because I could use it too start a fire or something...but they would allow me to carry on the quart of Rum. Now I ask you....which would make a bigger fire? The only danger with an Aqua Velva bottle is that it is hard enough to use as a club...since it is so hard to break. On the other hand...the bottle of Rum with a piece of tissue stuffed into neck and lit, would make a dangerous weapon.Use some common sense when you check bags or screen the travelers.

Anonymous said...

I would like to concur with those before me who have noted that so-called "TSA-approved locks" are apparently no more than a marketing gimmick. I have yet to have a "TSA-approved lock" remain on my bag; every time I go to pick up my luggage the lock has magically vanished.

I try to go with the flow. I take off my shoes. I bag my tiny bottles of liquid. I try not to make a fuss. But what really ticks me off is false advertising. If TSA employees aren't actually going to bother with the mythical TSA keys (because cutting the locks off is infinitely more entertaining), stop advertising "TSA-approved" locks as a solution! Just announce that checked baggage is not to be secured in any way and then at least we'd know what to expect.

Anonymous said...

For those of you who are leary of missing items in your bags, please remember that many hands touch them. Ophra Winfrey said it best on one of her shows. Checked bags should be packed like you are never going to see it again. Items of major value should not be kept in a checked bag.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this opportunity to provide feedback. For the most part I believe the TSA tries to do a good job. But there are 3 things that have bothered me for some time.
1. The limit on liquids. The 3-oz. limit is ridiculous. It would be so easy for a terrorist/terrorists to get around this and terribly inconveniences everyone else. Some items cannot be had in 3-oz. containers and are messy to transfer to smaller ones.
2. Shoes. This is difficult for old people, people with back problems, etc, not to mention the risk of spreading disease. It also makes no sense. Even the guy who caused this was not able to set off explosives in his shoes. And explosives can be anywhere on the body, so why pick on shoes? Even when I have worn sandals they make me take them off. This looks like a rule designed not to do anything, but to pretend to passengers that something is being done. All it accompishes is irritating people.
3.Drinks. I take a cancer-fighting supplement at specific times during the day; it is about 1 1/2 cups of food. But when I travel to a cancer center for treatment, I won't be able to take this with me, even if I offer to eat a little to show them it's not harmful. This rule is especially arbitrary, and cruel and even harmful to those on special diets. Also, if you are going to force people to buy food and drinks at the airport, then stop overcharging for them. This rule looks like it was specifically designed to line the pockets of airport vendors.

Anonymous said...

I fly a lot, once a month at least. I have had two pieces of luggage come back broken.
This last one was definitely TSA's fault. When I finished at the ticketing counter I was told to take my checked luggage over to the TSA inspection area. When I got there the TSA guy told me to leave the handle up. (the handle that extends when you roll your luggage).
When I got my luggage back at my destination carousel the handle was still out and it was bent. Apparently the TSA guy could not figure out how to close the handle on the luggage. So he forced it and he actually bent the tube.

How dumb can you be??

Maybe TSA shouldn't let their people operate the luggage and just stick to inspecting it.

Anonymous said...

First off, I have flown a good amount last year, and did not have any major problems. I think the TSA is doing a great job at secruity and people need to be more patient. It comes down to this, wait an extra 10 minutes at secruity instead of the departure lounge, or not be 100% safe on the plane.
This past year I've flown out of Buffalo, Newark, Houston, and other airports, including one before Thanksgiving, and security was fine with all my flights.
Keep up the good work.

Weekly Flyer said...

Here's hoping that every TSA employee developes Sleep Apnea. I would love for each one of them to enjoy the pleasure of every time they fly, having an untrained, uncaring individual take the machine out of their bag, handle it, test it, and then hand it back to them as the line backs up behind them. When this happens at the beginning and end of every work week, they might start to appreciate how stupid that policy is. Is every terrorist in the world sleeping with a CPAP? Somehow I don't think so, but I do think that by now the people that man the X-ray machines will have seen a CPAP or two and be able to recognize that they are not suitecase nuclear devices!

Anonymous said...

how many pleas for an end to the liquids and shoe removal policies do you need to get before you seriously re-evalute the need for them?

i travel with a young child and both policies are a complete pain. why do i need to remove shoes from my 2 year old and have them walk through the metal detectors by themselves? then i have to collect my bag, my shoes, his shoes and whatever else, get everyone dressed again out of he way of the line and then buy more beverages.

i want the airports to be safe but i really doubt, like pps, the value of these policies.

bergjme said...

On leaving NYC, while my carry on luggage was passing through the xray machine, the TSA employees were chatting with their supervisor, and no one was looking at the x ray screen. Several bags passed through. I was appauled and frightened. I understand the job may be boring, but this is what terrorists may count on.
Also, I don't mind waiting in security lines for our safety.

Chris Daniel said...

I have flown only 3 times in the past 6 years. Each time I flew one way because I was buying a car off e-bay and was just going to drive it home. All 3 times I flew, I was "randomly" chosen for a pat down and search. I am 5'10", 340lbs, white and bald...(am I being profiled) ???

Anonymous said...

so much for security...I recently got through the Atlanta airport check point with 3 rounds of ammo. I was recently at the gun range and forgot to take the remaining ammo out of my carry-on bag.

scary thought that this did not get flagged.

Lynn said...

In response to:

lot of good questions and concerns. how do we know anyone is reading them.where can we find responses??

Oh yes, we're reading them... about 500 so far! We're currently going through all the comments and questions and here's what we're doing:

1) since many people are asking similar questions about shoes, liquids, IDs and inconsistencies, we're currently working on bucketing these posts together so we can provide answers you can easily find.
2) when we can immediately respond to a comment that comes in, we'll continue to do so in the comments section
3) our moderators are also looking at comments to develop future blog posts - keep checking back.

DJH said...

If anyone at TSA really cared about passengers, the insanity of making everyone go through barefoot and liquid-less, would have ended long ago. Most of us already know the reason for this laughable policies: to make us think you're working to prevent another attack.

What makes these policies so stupid is that all they do is interfere with "normal" people's activities. By now the terrorists have moved on to other methods, and probably have even given up hijacking planes altogether as a vector of attack.

As other commentators have noted, the major changes which DO make flying safer, are the possible presence of air marshals on any given flight, and passengers who will no longer permit any "acting up" on board. Those two factors alone can easily prevent even the most subtle, intricate terrorist plot.

What TSA needs to do is stop making people jump ridiculous hurdles, stop making travelers do things just so you can impress them with your "safety measures." Stop manipulating the public with meaningless gestures, and start serving them instead.

Anonymous said...

I have flown several times since 9-11, and was only targeted for extra security search once. That was because my wife and I had a delay in the closing of the sale of our house, which required us to take a flight later in the day. In that case, since we had changed our flight plans last minute, we were taken to a back room and searched. I am a Libertarian and a strict Constitutionalist, and really do believe that this targeting of American citizens is a fear mongering tactic and is an abuse of our Constitutional right to freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. I do not see how anyone with half a brain could disagree with this assessment. However, since that was the only time that had happened to me, I didn't complain (too much).

However, since the liquid ban was instituted after the British incident, I have said "enough". I have made the decision to boycott all forms of air travel and I now refuse to fly. I now drive everywhere. The liquid ban is stupid and onerous. There is absolutely no reason why a law abiding citizen should not be able to bring their tanning lotion, bottled water, blue ice pack in a cooler to keep their food cold, etc., onto a plane. I have health issues which cause me to become dehydrated and I also have low blood sugar and another health issue which requires me to be able to eat something when I need to eat, which is every couple of hours. I have multiple food allergies so I cannot eat just anything. Certain foods will trigger massive migraines so I bring my own food. This liquid ban has now made it nearly impossible for me to comfortably fly with these medical issues.

In the past, I would always bring 2 bottles of water in a small cooler with some food. I have always done just fine with this. However, with the new rules, you have to buy your bottled water from a vendor in the airport past the security clearance checkpoint. One of my friends, who still flies, told me that this water is very often greatly overpriced compared to what one would pay for it from a vending machine or in a 24 pack from the store. I buy my bottled water for $5 for a 24 pack of 16 ounce bottles. I do not see why I should be forced to pay $2.50 for water in an airport that I can buy for $.25 myself at wal-mart. Shouldn't the FTC be involved in this price gouging scheme? After all, if I sold overpriced water (which is really just a function of the free market - supply and demand) after a disaster such as Hurricane Katrina (another massive government failure), I would be prosecuted for "price gouging". Yet if a company is in collusion / conspiracy with government, it is ok.

Basically, I will never fly again until the liquid ban is removed. It is silly and does nothing to improve the safety of air travel. It only irritates and annoys passengers, and causes major inconveniences for those of us who need water or food on a plane and have health issues.

What I have decided to do, since I will very soon be able to afford it, is to take flying lessons and buy my own small plane. That way I can fly from an FBO without having to deal with all of this government BS and the loss of my civil rights. I can bring a cooler with whatever I want on my own plane. It is just a shame that I have to go through all that expense and trouble to get what should be mine already - the right to fly without being hassled, searched, seized, threatened, having my civil rights violated, etc.

I fear the overreaching of the government much more than I fear any terrorists.

I encourage ALL Americans who are fed up with this out of control government agency to boycott flying, cripple the airline industry, and force change.

What is next? I mean, let's say someone somehow manages to bring down a plane from within the plane, despite all of these new security hassles? The next logical conclusion will be mandatory strip searches of all passengers. (I bet those TSA screeners would like that, huh?) Maybe shackling all passengers, hand and foot, to their seats? If that doesn't work, are you going to shackle them to their seats, then spray anesthetic gasses in the cabin to knock everyone out on the flight "for our own safety"????

How far will this power trip go before the public stands up and says "Enough"?

Listen, if someone really wanted to bring down a plane, what would stop them from using a shoulder launched rocket from the back of a pickup truck in the middle of a cornfield somewhere? That is to me more of a threat than my suntan lotion or bottled water. And I feel that is how any future attacks will probably take place. There is literally no way to stop that, except to equip commercial planes with systems to deal with this threat, which SHOULD not inconvenience passengers.

I urge all Americans who care about Liberty and are sick of the liquid ban to join me and boycott flying altogether until the liquid ban is removed permanently.

If you can afford it, buy your own small plane and take flying lessons. Fly yourself. Avoid all the hassles. If it is a 12 hour drive or less, drive yourself. I would much rather spend a day on the road than a day in an airport or on a plane getting hassled and treated with the utmost disrespect by some goverment flunkies on a power trip who have never read the US Constitution.

I would also suggest that if this agency is not disbanded, that at the very least all employees should be given a comprehensive course and have to pass a test on the Constitution and Bill of Rights. This and the removal of the liquid ban would be 2 giant steps in the right direction.

I seriously doubt this scathing message makes it past the screeners, but it should. These are issues that desperately need to be discussed.

Las Vegas Deaf Man said...

I brought a can of Diet Mountain Dew and put in my carry-on bag. Eventhough I knew it was banned because it has to be under 3 oz. Okay. My carry on bag went through xray. TSA screener YELLED at me and said, "don't you realize you're not allowed to carry Diet Mountain dew on the plane!??"> I said well, look down the hall the sores sell can of pespi, diet mountain dew, coke, 7up and they're allowed to board the plane. How do you explain this?" The TSA screener was furious and threw my Diet Mountain Dew in a trash can. What an attitude.

The 3-oz rule is silly! The airport store sells can of soda and are allowed to board the plane.

That was at Rockford Airport, Rockford, IL.


George Hawley said...

As far as I know, I am no relation to Kip Hawley.
I have flown almost 2 million miles in my lifetime, have served honorably in our armed forces, have no record of arrests for any violation and, yet, have to submit to unnecessary screening at airports.
Let's get up to date and start adding some intelligence to the system. You know who I am. Technology exists for you to make a virtually instant verifying identification through fingerprint or retinal analysis, Yet you continue to expend enormous resources to screen the 99.99+% of passengers who represent no threat and produce no results. On the other hand various tests have shown that your screeners have a very poor record in picking up simulated threats at major airports. Perhaps this is the case in part because of the very unproductive overloading of your screeners with folks who represent no threat. You could save lots of money and time by focussing your efforts on the very small percentage of passengers who present a greater than zero probability of being terrorists.

The terminal entrances funnel passengers into the airport. Perform an ID check at the door. No one, passenger or other wise gets in unless they either 1) pass the ID check or 2) get screened.

Then inside the terminal do random screening of a percentage of passengers (especially those requiring screening at the door) large enough to be a satisfactory backstop.
You could probably reduce the TSA screening staff and equipment by 60-80% with better results (more catches) than you have today.

All the best,

George Hawley

gerald said...

First, we want to see the TSA staff as something more crdible than old cna't find a different job people. I want them tall lean professional intimadating but very friendly
Second, I hate to see the old couple who have a hard time getting dressed in the morning get the once over. It infuriates me to think that anyone wo sees this feels safer in the skys. It is humiliating at best and to have to doit infront of everyone is the worst. Make it so there is considerable privacy, and like an honor to get chosen with a litle reward like an official badge you can wear showing and first class treatment. Mabey even get to go on the plane with first class.
G man PR CA

hikermiker said...

I would like to comment on the trouble hikers and campers have going through TSA and ask that agents be more careful when searching bags. Obviously some equipment used cannot be taken on planes and I don’t try it but other equipment/supplies shouldn’t be a problem and sometimes ends up being a problem.

I fly fairly often with hiking equipment and my last flight from Columbus to Seattle ended up being a problem. When I picked up my pack from checked baggage I saw it had a sticker saying it had been searched and that was not a problem with me. It wasn’t until I had taken several county busses to Concrete, WA and hitch hiked ~50 miles to Ross Lake and hiked 8 miles into the wilderness when I found out my food had been searched but never closed. So food was everywhere in my pack. It was in my water filter, all over my clothes, and mixed in with leafs and grit in the bottom of my pack. So I either had to find a way back to civilization or make do with dirty and substantially less food for my eight day hike. I wasn’t going to let my whole trip be spoiled so I decided to press on despite (1) knowing someone had handled my food, (2) all my food had been mixed with dirt in my pack, (3) I was saturated in odors that could attract unwanted attention, and (4) I may go hungry for a short time.

I just want TSA to know hikers’ equipment/supplies can be critical. If it needs to be searched, realize that hikers can end up in a REAL bind if equipment isn’t treated carefully and please be respectful of people’s property.

Anonymous said...

I find it ridiculous that I can board a plane with a $5 small spray can of mace that my mother gave me to ward off any attackers. Many females carry these around. On the other hand, I cannot board the plane with my $50 ProActiv face wash and I watch as it gets thrown in the trash. I work in R&D... can't we throw some many into a project to detect dangerous liquids and let through harmless liquids like toothpaste and perfume?!

steve said...

I speak as a veteran business traveler - many millions of miles.

1. My greatest security worry is what's in the catering carts loaded off-site by food prep companies employing all kinds and sorts of people.

2. ACLU aside, TSA would better serve the public by allowing frequent flyers, especially those with active government security clearances (an FBI/NCIC database dip revels this), to fast-track through security using whatever RFID/biometric/passport scheme TSA chooses.

Anonymous said...

As a frequent traveler-3 airport visits per week, I have seen the good and the bad amoung TSA staff.

Unfortunatley, mostly unfavorable observations, but with some exceptions.

My first thought is that the TSA guys and girls are, "over-it."

They remind me of my large corporate days when the underlings just stared when you mentioned something like, " Could I go though the "puffer" line, it is shorter." The response was for me to talk to the supervisor we are all busy right now. There were 5 employees, count them, FIVE, and they were certainly not busy but waiting for a customer to really come through.

The guy looked at his watch and said this lane closes in 20 minutes and they are winding down.

How stupid was that? So stupid that the supervisor came over and TOLD them to let non-extra security customers to come through.

Why? Because the whole area, and the supervisor saw them turning flyers away and wondered what was happening.

That job is boring, is repetitive, is dealing the public, so do your job or leave.

Like I said, they are over it, and have the union mentality of that's not my job.

In MCI, the TSA guy told me that I could not take a plyer I had for work on the plane.

In front of me showed it to his friend and commented what an expensive plyer it is and then turned to me and put it under conveyor belt.

I told him to give it back to me and went outside and threw it in a trash can.

When I was waiting for my plane in the boarding area, he went back out and was rummaging through the trash.

TSA hires dopes and good folks in the same class.

I travel internationally often also and some of the foreign carriers could care less about security and I walk through with ANYTHING I want!

Most of my travel is in Denver, Las Vegas and Chicago.

Anonymous said...

I am writing with regard to a more fundamental breach in our national security than deoderant and toothpaste. Back in 2004 TransUnion, one of the largest of the credit reporting agencies, transferred it's customer service department to India. Now I have been told that as a business they can do what they like, I beg to differ. They have in their database the credit and personal information of Millions of American Citizens. I know that I did not give permission for my personal info to be sent to a foreign country, let alone a country that has a large muslim population. If someone wanted to assume the identity of an American citizen all of the info they would need is at thier fingertips. Your social security number, date of birth, addresses, places of business, account numbers and balances, etc. All of the info a terrorist would need to enter this country under a fake passport or ID. Just as scary they could open accounts in the names of American citizens and fund their terror with our money. Long story short our personal information being overseas compromises our nations sovereignty and our National Security.

Anonymous said...

I would like to say as a frequent flier that in most parts of the country the TSA is very professional but in LGA more specify the Delta terminal where I leave from at LGA the TSA is really pretty bad there ctx resembles a club with rap music blaring from the doors the screeners in some cases are wearing ipod’s and dancing when doing there job on the line. They all dress as if they are in the park it really is a disgrace to a government agency and something should really hold them and there management accountable. I just can’t believe this is who is keeping me safe.

Anonymous said...

I think that too many of the screeners enjoy poking through people's belongings after they have already passed through X-ray and magnetometer. Whatever I have on my person --so long as it's nothing flammable, explosive, large metallic, etc.-- should not be subject to the prying eyes of government busybodies. It's also a waste of time -- esp. when there are long lines queued up.

Anonymous said...

TSA: why I won't fly anymore. When my daughter graduated as validictorian of her high school class we agreed to take her to Maui as a well earned reward. Well going through security at the San Antonio airport the TSA screener told her she had to remove all of her jewelry. When she good to the other side of the screening her class ring was not in the tub. The TSA person there told us to file a claim when we got back from our trip. I insisted upon seeing a supervisior, who showed up after 15 minutes. When I explained the problem he asked which screener my daughter had passed though. Then he went over and talked to her and while we watched she pulled the ring out of her pocket and handed it to him. The supervisor then walked over and withour a word set it on the counter and walked off.
Then when we got to Maui and opened our suitcases everything was a mess and two suitcases even had the lining ripped out of them. Our camer and camcorder were gone. When we contacted the airline they said "never put anything of value in your suitcase, all the baggage handlers are theives and druggies". We practiaclly get strip searched and the people on the inside of the airport who have full access to the aircraft are theives and druggies? I think I will drive next tiem.

Anonymous said...

Remember last year the TSA reversed the rule on lighters, claiming them not to be a threat any longer. Did you know that it was costing them millions of dollars to dispose of all the seized lighters. The lighters had to be disposed of as hazerdous material.

So my question is are the lighters no longer a threat or was it too expensive for TSA to deal with seizing them???

Anonymous said...

I am a former TSA screener and my issue was the different standards and interpretations used to enforce the SOP. It varies from airport and supervisor.

I left TSA do to the politics at my airport between the screening managers and screeners. I hope it gets better.


aimee said...

In response to:

Personally, I shake my head every time I see TSA officials shake down the grandparents from Iowa going home after visiting the grandkids in Los Angeles. My only gripe is that I travel with musical instruments in special cases for flying, and they manage to get dinged up anyway. I usually get treated fine by the inspectors, but my instruments get abused.

I work for TSA at Chicago O'hare Airport. I understand why you might shake your head at the idea of patting down elderly persons. What you have to understand is that the majority of the time, these people have medical devices and implants on them. These implants and devices, whether it be hip replacements, knee replacements or various monitors on their bodies, generally contain metal and will set off the metal detectors. By procedure we pat them down, not to inconvenience them. We cannot be biased and assume that an elderly person is not carrying something on them just because they are older. Every person receives the same amount of screening, no matter what race, ethnicity, age or gender.

As far as your instrument cases go, though you shouldn't have to do this, try asking the Officers to be careful with them. Let them know that they're fragile. They'll work with you to make sure everything comes out the way that you put it in.

Anonymous said...

As a passenger and professional Audio/Video Engineer, I find the searching of sensitive{sometimes non-replaceable electronic gear} extremely poor. Bags have belongings shoved in helter-skelter, no care is taken, when staff is asked directly if I can assist or at least oversee to prevent damage there is only extreme resistance given and then I am ignored. I am forced to fly to certain destinations so there must be some type of aid given to professionals like myself to prevent damage and loss of income due to having to replace or obtain replacement equipment on location, which is sometimes impossible.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to the TSA I have given up on flying entirely. Way to kill an industry with your brownshirt security theater tactics!

I am positively irate that my taxes pay for you to intimidate my fellow citizens. You all should be ashamed of yourselves for how you treat your countrymen in the name of "protecting" them. Disgusting!

You should also study risk management and give up on the security theater. It is a tremendous waste of time and resources.

frustrated in PA said...

The lines at Philadelphia are constantly long and slow and the staff is rude and uneducated.

I complained about the slowness of the people processing us through the line. I was then singled out and given the full pat down and treated as a criminal. Why? God forbid someone get upset or voice their first ammendment rights. Since when did these uneducated do nothing know-nothings have the right to delay me, search me, and berate me when I express displeasure? I have been to probably 20 or more airports and Phil is the only one that has consistently long lines, and rude or poor service (if they moved any slower you might think they are asleep or dead.

By the way, what is the policy regarding allowing people who are late to move to the front of the line?
I have been late for flights and told I cannot move to the front of the line - other times I see people be given preference when they are late (like this past weekend).

Is there a policy or not?

Anonymous said...

Well I guess everybody has seen the enemy has won. The intent of the 9/11 attack was to destroy the American economy. And as we see this has been very successful. What has the Department of Home Land Security and TSA provided? In my option not much. They have been successful in driving the air travel into a real pain. They have found some people doing things they should not. But the real cost of the service not worth it. They are really good at hindsight but that is always easy. We are paying Trillion’s with a ‘T’ and we are near bankrupt for searching Americans that have no real intent to destroy the country. My question is how many real terrorist has TSA captured? My research says none. But then TSA would say it is because we are working. I am sure as dumb as terrorist are they would walk right up and tell them they are here to bring terror. At our military bases we are paying Billions in creating check points to enter the base. Did I miss them attacking a Army base? I agree some security should be in place for protecting ourselves from our self but not in the large government program we have.

Hermione said...

After fifty years of flying, the last six of which have been made increasingly burdensome and unpleasant by the TSA operatives, I've finally come up with a solution.

Congratulations, TSA, I no longer even consider air travel. And I can't be the only one to make this decision. The airlines must be thanking you for a job well done.

Anonymous said...

I flew out of Shreveport, La. to Hawaii. My suitcases were locked with some special gun locks that I had received from RUGER gun company. The TSA inspectors said I would have to unlock the locks for inspection but they would lock them back when they got finished. Well as it turned out, the inspectors had stolen all my locks and kept them for themselves. When I returned to Shreveport, my locks were no where to be found! Thanks TSA for your honesty!

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