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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imf16 said...

As a TSA Screening Manager I would just like to say that I think this blog will be informative for both the public and the screening force at large! Maybe it will bridge the gap that seems to have formed between the public and the TSA.

imf16 said...

As a TSA SCreening Manager I want to welcome all those who are viisting this site! I believe it will be a positive force for bridging the gap between the public (which for the most part seems to have forgotten about 9/11) and the TSA which is reminded of it every day.

kbfree said...

Great Job Kip!

As a TSA Supervisor in Seattle since September 2002. I think the public's feedback is going to be tremendously invaluable to the job TSA does daily.

Anonymous said...

As a person that flights kind of frequently, I think this will help us to get more info since there is not much info about security on the airports. Making this blog public/out there will be good.

park said...

Speaking as one who has just been approved for the Ready Pool, Thank you! I look forward to the commentaries on this site from both a personal, and hopefully, professional level.

Anonymous said...

I have been with TSA since Sept 2002. I think this is a fantastic idea and I welcome all the passengers to join in and help foster a community where we are all working towards the same goal - keeping people safe when they travel.

habberstad said...

The following is a email to TSA. Maybe you can help...
I am a traveler, and a US citizen.

At LAX, NEXUS photo ID, which takes elevated security to obtain, and is government issued, is not recognized by TSA as "valid government photo ID."

LAX Customer Service Manager, Pamela Cooper is very helpful, but cannot solve this problem. She suggested I contact Ombudsman for help...

TSA requirements for security screenings at airports is, as copied from the TSA website:

"What You Need...his/her airline boarding pass and government-issued photo ID..."

The NEXUS pass is photo ID, issued by Homeland Security as noted in their website...

Can you please help to educate TSA at LAX as to the validity of the NEXUS pass as valid, government issued photo ID? Or educate we as to why this photo ID is not accepted?

Anonymous said...

As always, I expect TSA's detractors to take the most negative information away from this blog. Or even to question why TSA is "blogging". But I look forward to reading it, because there is a great deal of public misconceptions about who TSA is, what TSA does, and why the public still needs TSA to fulfill its mission.

Be prepared, Mr. Hawley, for comments both praising and scathing, but which will help you and TSA reconnect with the traveling public in a fruitful relationship.

PRPD2002 said...

As a STSO I am happy to see that we are trying to help our fellow Americans and better understand this process. It can be very stressful going through the checkpoint, I am hoping that more passengers and customers find this Blog and better understand us when we ask for their cooperation in screening.

Lanz said...

Excellent idea, providing you actually make use of this blog as something other than a propaganda organ. Since this is a government site, moderating comments is almost certainly necessary, if unfortunate. Please allow as many comments as possible to go thru, barring the to-be-expected nuts, spambots, and abusive anti-government types.
Number one rule of blogging: be honest. Don't gladhand thorny issues, speak openly and clearly about them. The more honest and transparent this blog is, the more successful it will be.
The whole thing is a great move!

Bob said...

Why do pilots with guns and air marshalls have to be so public with the walking in through the out?? Read about this in USA Today and loads of people know about it!

Anonymous said...

I frequently fly to different airports around the country, and I find that some metal detectors are much more sensitive than others. I have a hip replacement, and why, for example, will one scanner let me through and another will not? Aren't these scanners standardized with a similar test items. Sometimes, I doubt if a BB could get past the scanner at some airports. Anyone in TSA care to comment on this?

Anonymous said...

As a TSO in Wisconsin I believe it is imperative that we all remember that we are people outside of our jobs. This is a good way to make it easier for our passengers to relate to us. We do what we do because WE believe in it and because we want anyone who travels through the U.S. to have less to worry about as they move through their daily/weekly/yearly routine of travel and life.

I certainly believe that this blog can be a good source of information and a bridge to close the gap between the0 misconception and the reality of what airport security is for.

Thanks to ALL who serve @ Airports anywhere TSA serves.

Christopher said...

That’s a great question and it’s questions like these why we launched this blog. We’re currently working on several posts to answer this and other common questions like IDs, technology and why we do what we do at the checkpoint. Come back on Friday to check out our post on the top three questions security officers get from passengers.

Meanwhile, if you have an immediate need for answers to travel related questions, you can email them to:

Evolution Blog Team Member

Tom said...

As a Transportation Security Officer (TSO), I welcome this forum and believe that it will be informative to not only the traveling public but to the employees and leadership of our agency as well. I would also like to say that the majority of the people I see on a daily basis are cooperative and relieved that we are doing what we're doing. Some of them still don't understand the 3-1-1 policy but they cooperate just the same. Our biggest obstacle is the media. They only portray the negative about airport security and rarely do we hear of the positive side of our job. This is an issue that should be addressed so that the media is on the same track as us, and are delivering the most useful information to the public.

tiphani said...

As a Transportation Security Officer since 2005, I think this is a great idea. Making public site where passengers and employees can ask each other WHY. I have read some really nasty blogs about us here at TSA, and a lot of them are because people just don't understand, or that they didn't have the time to ask a TSO why, and vice versa. This is going to be a substqantial benefit to making the organization more passenger friendly.

I_guess_I'm_on_the_List_now_eh said...

DHS and TSA are fundamentally broken. Disband both immediately and return our civil liberties. Thank goodness Richard Reid did not conceal something in his underpants or these people would be strip-searching every poor grandma from here to Branson. Would someone please explain to these people that putting shoes through an x-ray does not mean they don't contain an explosive? And honestly-- Refusing a valid ID because it is "expired"? Confiscating deodorant and sun block? Does anyone believe that this kabuki security theater really makes us safer? If you guys are serious about your responsibility to protect the country I suggest you start by (1) not cutting off "TSA approved" locks anymore (2) learning and sticking to your own rules and regs especially those pertaining to passengers with medical problems (3) not trying to intimidate anyone who asks for a complaint form and (4) immediately crack down on the threatening screeners who shout "do you want to fly today?" anytime their crazy made-up-on-the-spot orders are questioned by passengers--who in my opinion often know the rules better than the screeners themselves. Oh and by the way your first amendment rights to free speech don't stop when you enter an airport screening area, even at MKE.

Anonymous said...

How do you expect anyone with more than a 3rd grade education to buy the liquird policy? We all knwo it is scientifically unsound. When can we quit this charade and begin to carry our water and toothpaste with us again?

Anonymous said...

Let's start with some questions regarding ID:

1. Does an ID have to have an expiration date to be "valid"? My US-Government ID is frequently refused because it doesn't have an expiration date, although it is a "valid, government issued ID". If no expiration date is required, what is my recourse when my ID is refused on said grounds? What rule/procedure/etc. can I ask the TSO to refer to?

2. When using a US passport as ID, is it now required that the TSO look at and review every page and read every visa? A TSO supervisor told me that is the new rule. Was he telling the truth?

3. What is the security benefit of checking ID in the first place? Since ID is NOT required to pass through the checkpoint (if you have no ID, you simply must go through a secondary screening), what, then, is the security benefit of checking ID in the first place? A bad guy will simply claim he/she has no ID.
Certainly the airlines like it for revenue protection, but what makes it a government function? If the answer is to look for 'fraudulent documents', again, what is the SECURITY aspect/benefit as related to keeping bad things off of airplanes? Isn't this just mission creep?

4. In general, what is our recourse as air travelers when a TSO violates SOP regarding acceptable ID, and refuses us access to the secure area?

arthur said...

Another step forward in the evalution of the Agency and improved customer service and security.

Seth said...

I applaud the idea of getting everyone back on the same side. Here's a suggestion for starters: transparency. The implication that the passengers need to remain in the dark and that and TSA policy must remain secret in order to fool the "bad guys" is a naive way to approach security. Share legitimate reasons for the policies and maybe people will agree that they aren't so onerous.

If the idea of getting everyone back on the same side is for the travelling public to bow to the whim of the TSA/DHS without questioning policies then you're asking citizens to forego one of their primary responsibilities in society - to ensure that the government does not abuse its power at the expense of the people.

I look forward to true dialog, not typical rhetoric. I hope it comes to pass.

Robert Krex said...

I have a question, but first some background.

I live in a US territory that has not ratified RealID (Puerto Rico). Soon, my license won't be sufficient to get me on a plane without additional scrutiny.

I have a passport, but I try to avoid flying domestically with it due to the difficulty and length of time required to fly with it.

My question is:
Will the Passport Card being issued by the US State Department be an acceptable identification to board a domestic flight?



Christopher said...

Very interesting post. As I posted earlier, come back on Friday and see how we answer the liquids questions and two others we get every single day at checkpoints across the country.

Also, commenting on this blog will NOT get you on any list TSA keeps.

TSA Evolution Blog Team said...

I hope you will use this blog to maintain an open dialogue with serious critics of TSA such as Chris Soghoian. Don't let anonymous comments detract from the possibility of letting government officials speak openly and helpfully to the citizens they serve.

Doctor Anonymous said...

The TSA liquid policy is ludicrous and indefensible. It suggests that 6 oz of liquid can blow up a plane but two 3-oz containers can't. In addition, it was instituted in the wake of an impossible plot--the London bombing plot in 2006 supposedly entailed the manufacture of TATP aboard an aircraft with precursors brought aboard. But, of course, this is impossible. Synthesis of TATP is difficult--as I learned long ago in Chemistry class in a pre-9/11 world--enough in a laboratory, requiring careful control of temperature, and many hours of drying time. It couldn't be done in an airplane lav.

Furthermore, the rule does nothing to prevent collusion. Let's suppose that there's a liquid explosive I can make on board from precursors (there isn't, but we'll pretend). I can carry on a collapsible, nonreactive, watertight container that would hold several gallons. Then, I need a number of collaborators on the same flight, and we can now combine all our 3-oz bottles into the larger container to make an arbitrarily large amount of explosive.

The liquid restrictions are nothing more than a classic CYA move that perpetuates the "security theater" nature of TSA. It does nothing but inconvenience travelers. It serves only to sow fear--essentially doing the terrorists' work for them. It is a way for the government to be seen to "do something" but it accomplishes no useful purpose. It fails to protect against a phantom threat.

Kip has responded to these criticisms before by deflecting them--essentially saying, "There's magic liquid explosives out there, but we can't tell you what they are. Trust us." Trust me. Nobody believes you.

And finally, and most damning of the military, the TSA is preparing to fight the previous war. Terrorists WILL NOT attempt another 9/11. Look at what's happened over the past few years. Every time someone acts up on a plane, passengers gang up and beat the tar out of them. It would be impossible for terrorists to take over a plane for nefarious purposes. 9/11 didn't occur because the terrorists had boxcutters. It occurred because the CONOPS of the time were for the crew to comply with hijackers' demands. The error of this was seen before the attacks had even finished--one of the four hijacked flights figured this out during the attacks.

The liquid restrictions need to be removed. They are pointless, and are a major reason that TSA is the least respected, most hated government agency.

In the interest of full disclosure, I work for DHS.

Anonymous said...

Why do we have to take our shoes off? Does anyone really believe this is preventing a terrorist act?

carrot-top said...

I see some really good questions here - especially the "real id" one but dr. anonymous just sounds very angry AND misinformed. Since (s)he works for DHS you'd think they might have access to some decent information.

i_guess_im_on_the_list_now_eh - Jeebus! I'm sitting on my couch right now and I'd like prevent you from getting on an airplane too. You must be PO'd all the time. I'm surprised you even fit in the cabin with the GIANT CHIP ON YOUR SHOULDER!!!! Give those folks a break! You think they like being told hundreds of times a day how stupid they are, or how unneccesary their jobs are? Don't use the first amendment as an excuse for a lack of manners!!!

Anonymous said...

Shoes on or off?? Seems to be different rules at airports.

Anonymous said...

This is not a product or service promotion. I support everything the TSA is doing and hope to help.
Walking on bare floors without shoes is a source of fungus, bacteria and staph infection. I have invented a machine that will dispense surgical booties directly to passenger feet without bending down to put them on.
This will improve the TSA image to the public, speed up the lines and allow passengers to walk through security without anger and disdain.

Rush said...

Please change your font color to a higher contrast. It is difficult to read text that is very light gray on a white background.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

shoes off for sure. This rule is fine. The only problem is can we get some foot booties to help protect us from fungus.

Doctor Anonymous said...

Carrot Top, would you please inform me how I'm misinformed? I will gladly retract anything that's wrong. But everything I've said is correct. TATP cannot be produced on an airplane. The 3-1-1 rule has no effect on the amount of liquid I can accumulate on an airplane. It is nothing more than a way to perpetuate fear in the populace over a terrorist threat (hijacking a plane) that doesn't exist. Please explain what I got wrong.

And yes, I admit I am angry. I'm angry at a system that values making sure I can't have a six-ounce shampoo bottle or a leatherman tool or have to take my shoes off before I board a plane over ensuring that all the cargo in the plane is scanned properly. I'm mad about a system that will actually stop, question, and search a five-year-old just because his name is on the no-fly list (like they couldn't add another column to the list that's "age"?). I'm angry at losing my liberty and the expense of gaining illusory security. You should too.

Spacetech said...

This Blog will be a challenge; for Kip's voice to be heard through the chatter, for truth to be heard through the questions, and civility to help TSA to change many of it's veiled activities that are called "Security" processes.
TSA cannot and will not provide rationale for shoes and zip-loc bags. It would make more sense to ban 100% of all carry-on material over 24 ounces....

Anonymous said...

As the wife of a pilot, I thank you for all that you do to keep our planes safe. However, recently my bag was searched, which is fine, but they unzipped a bag that had all my medical supplies in it and did not re-zip it causing everything to fall out all through my suitcase. These items were to remain sterile, and now I have to throw them away. Supplies for diabetes are extremely expensive (if you are not over 65 and on medicare) and I really cannot affford to waste anything. Thanks for relaying my story so that more "checkers" take care in protecting passengers things.

Anonymous said...

Dear fear mongering air gestapo,
While I appreciate your attempt to tell people that your agency is staffed by human beings with a difficult job, that doesn't mean their job is worthy of respect.

TSA: Preventing implausible threats while unable to cope with tests for real ones, all the while saying "papers please" and destroying America.

Anonymous said...

as a passenger (and particularly one who flies over 100,000 miles a year, i have some questions directed to the "shoes off policy". i wear (and have to wear) orthopedic shoes and custom fitted orthotics as a result of ankle surgery and my question is simple....

why do the tsa's own policies differ from airport to airport? there are tsa procedures in place as to how to deal with pax who cannot take off their shoes but repeatedly they are ignored, misconstrued, or made up by the tsa employees on duty with the addition that more than 50% of the screeners i come in contact with do not know the definition of the word "orthotics". i have been threatened with "do i want to fly today" to "do you want me to call a cop"(both at JFK UA) yet to also go to other extreme, the screeners at my home airport (SFO-United terminal) have it down pat.

simply put, you need to have ALL airports follow THE SAME rules (including the ADA and FRPA and HIPPA) and screener s and supes need to know what they can and cannot ask. if you want to see record clearance times (and trust me, i know what i'm talking about as operational efficiency has been my career for 30 years, the whole key to line mgmnt is to have it done the SAME ACROSS THE BOARD with all TSA employees not only having a complete understanding of privacy laws but also a basic grasp of customer service techniques and the english language (case in point: lax t-7 ua terminal footbridge on sunday, january 20, 2007 approx 9pm. i told the screener i was wearing orthopedic shoes and orthotics and i was presented with "what?, your shoes have to come off". this was followed by my repeating that i was wearing orthopedic shoes and orthotics which was met with the response of" "supervisor, he be wearing ortho something or others and don't want to take his shoes off". as you can see, this is not a grammatically correct comment and n.b. i wne thru the very same terminal and checkpoint just over 36 hours before and did not have a problem.

Anonymous said...

In its current form, this blog is beyond useless.

It's just a huge pile of random comments, only some of whose questions or comments are half-addressed many, many posts later.

It really should be a proper forum with separate sections with individual topics so people can actually find useful information. You could never find anything if you tried.

Did you people spend more than ten minutes planning this?

Anonymous said...

I think the liquid ban should end. It totally seems to be window dressing and frustrates travelers.

So should the shoe removal requirement. Alot of elderly people have trouble taking shoes on and off. Why does the TSA feel explosives are only hidden in shoes?

myob1776 said...

I think it was Bruce Schneier who pointed out the three things that have been done since 9/11 to make air travel safer: (1) reinforced cockpit doors; (2)passengers who will now fight back; and (maybe)(3) sky marshals.

Checking IDs does not make travel safer. In fact, it is often possible to fly without an ID -- witness John Gilmore's no-ID Airport Challenge. But just try to get a TSA official to admit this. In fact, those without ID CAN fly -- if more extensively searched. Fair enough. But don't tell me that a valid ID is a substitute for a thorough search. That just doesn't make any sense.

That is part of the problem. The rules under which travelers are required to give up their privacy to government officials are kept secret. This puts way too much power in the hands of the screeners, with inconsistent application. Those that are made apparent -- the liquids ban, shoe removal -- are silly, don't make any sense, and certainly don't materially increase the safety of the millions who are forced to endure that nonsense every day.

So while I am interested to see how this blog develops, given the knee-jerk reaction of the TSA every time some new threat is perceived, I'm not optimistic that it will result in any real change. Remember the London bomb plot that resulted in the liquid ban? That was known to authorities for months before the August 2006 arrests, but it was not until the arrests that the liquid bans were put in place. If explosive liquids were truly a danger, why not begin the ban earlier? Because it was the PERCEPTION of the threat that the TSA reacted to, not the threat itself.

bek said...

I'd love to see some consistency between airports. I'm an engineer who often has to fly with Allen keys and wrenches. Now that security lines have become so ridiculously long and slow, I avoid checking bags whenever possible to save time. I can depart with my allens no prob, but then on the way home suddenly they're not okay. Each one was held up to a ruler and it was determined that the largest one could be a deadly weapon, but not the second largest.

On another training note, it says right on the renewal form for drivers licenses that the form plus the expired license is acceptable ID for air travel, but I almost missed a flight as the TSA agent refused to accept that ID and refused to get a supervisor and threatened to have me arrested when I disagreed with him. It will be a great day when defending oneself doesn't automatically make one a terrorist.

Anonymous said...

As a frequent flyer who started living in the US and flying from US airports a couple of years ago, there are a few things I don't understand:

1. Why does one have to remove their shoes at TSA airport security screening? Do screening machines at foreign airports work better?

2. Why is it that at almost every screening, I see TSA employees hanging around doing nothing while there are security lanes cordoned off and queues building up? A little bit of operations management seems to be needed.

3. Why do TSA employees have to loudly yell to no one in particular exactly what is posted on several signs around the screening area and announced on the airport PA system regarding security rules? A little bit of politeness and respect for travelers seems to be needed.

Anonymous said...

As a LTSO I have very proud to work for TSA. I understand that some of the passengers do not like taking off their shoes or surrendering their toothpaste, however, there are many passengers that thank us for what we do. We must all remember that 9/11 happened and we are just trying to make the air safe for everyone. Flying is not a right granted under the Bill of Rights and due to the state of the world today, we must all make smart decisions. I am proud of what we do and what we represent. Thank you Mr. Hawley!!

sam said...

I don't know why the TSA makes the "official" liquid policy so ambiguous. Seasoned travellers know that you can have up to 3.4 oz (100ml), not just 3.0 oz. however, no where on the TSA website or anywhere else in publications is it noted. Why cant you be consistent and write 3.4 oz (100 ml). We do all know how to read labels, and can apply this rule better if we know for sure what it is.

Anonymous said...

Why do airline crew need to go through security? It is pointless and takes up time.

Addwaita said...

blah, blah, blah, blah
what a waste of fricken
money. We don't need you
people to stop another 911,
americans won't sit by next
time. But the extreme you
people took it to is so
fricken stupid. Really, what good have you done?



There is free technology available to protect passengers from virus and disease when going through the security screening. You currently use rubbermaid tubs that crack and are filthy. People that are sick or have blood from on them are using these tubs daily. There are silver based bio-inert liners available at relatively no cost or free if advertising is printed on them. Why doesn't the agency test them out. This technology has been available for a while.

Anonymous said...

The TSA has been reactionary from the start. The shoe thing, the liquid thing, what's next? We are being checked by very low paid employees and I personally don't feel any safer knowing the TSA screeners are pawing through my underware. We are being told that they are looking out for issues that so secret that they can't even tell us. That is not true. I've been in the air transport industry for many years and go through the same training. This is smoke and mirrors. If we want results, ask the Israelis. They know how to do it.

maf said...

I lived in NYC on 9/11. I always thank my TSA screeners -- even when they take away the moisturizer my dermatologist said I needed, which doesn't come in 3-oz containers -- because I appreciate their efforts to do their jobs and keep us safe. And I thank all the National Guard folks patrolling the airports. Y'all have a tough and generally thankless job. We don't hear much about your successes -- if security had prevented the 9/11 hijackers from boarding their planes, we wouldn't have had huge page-1 articles saying, "The World Trade Center didn't fall down today, thanks to the work of security agents in Boston and New York." You can't see the tragedies that were prevented. Thank you for what you do.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see our friend “I_guess_I'm_on_the_List_now_eh” has graced this blog with the talking points memo he so mindlesly chants like the "sheeple" he supposedly rails against. Well, at least we all know who he is so we can all move past his meaningless rabble and self proclaimed expert opinions based upon his 5-10 minutes of waiting at the checkpoint for his $39 southwest fun fare.

jasonrhode said...

I've been wary of the TSA since the Ryan Bird incident. $4.7 billion, and this is the best you can do?

Whenever most of us encounter the TSA, we're in a position of weakness; we need to make flights or make connections. I personally have had good encounters with the security personnel. People have been professional and courteous. But my experience is small, and the country is wide.

But surely I'm not alone in feeling that the latitude granted to security agencies after 9/11 was overbroad. Everyone knows that you're never going to remove these limitations. Why would the TSA allow for its own obsolescence? Security theater is too good of a business.

I still can't accompany people to the gate at my hometown airport. The liquid rule. If I write "Kip Hawley is an Idiot" on my luggage, will I be detained and questioned? I'm banned from bringing a knife on board -- but I can buy a bottle of Jack Daniels and smash it on the floor, and I've got a good weapon, haven't I?

Why do your people sleep on the job? Why do you search down grandmothers? Why is it that the Bill of Rights no longer applies to us? Why do you sell what you confiscate from us?

Finally, why are you hiring thieves to go through our personal possessions? You can't dismiss all of the critiques of your agency as media distortion. Everyone has a story.

I doubt this'll make your blog. Knowing your reputation, I'm wary of even attaching my name. But someone has to speak up about this stuff.

I'm a citizen of this country. If I follow its laws, so should the government. You've got nobody but yourselves to blame for your image problems.

I appreciate an open forum, but you have a long way to go.

Anonymous said...

As far as I'm concerned, Kip is the real terrorist, using fabricated threats to justify this government workfare program.

So my question, why do TSA scum make up rules? For example, an item that is stolen at one checkpoint might easily be allowed at another, even after it is looked at? Yet when you mention something to the scum stealing the item, you receive either "do you want to fly today" or "the rules have changed."

Another question: after the TSA steals a bottle of wine or liquor, do they take them home to enjoy or do the very dangerous bottles just sit in a trash can?

Anonymous said...

From this blog's T&C: "In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect."

Hmmm, would that be the same respect that TSA agents mistreat the traveling public with every second?

Anonymous said...

The TSA acknowledges its place as our most disliked public agency.

ID checks don't make flying safer - they only serve as revenue protection for the airlines. Binary explosives are impossible to accomplish in an aircraft environment. Screeners have an abysmal record at detecting test objects in carryon baggage. Shoes are not a unique or special threat. Not one terrorist or actual explosive has been detected by your agency.

Why should we continue to pay your salary given this record?

ChrisBman said...

I think the TSA needs to take some lessons from Disneyland on people flow, line queueing and general process flow. Airports are inconsistent on staffing for ID checks versus going through xray. In PDX, MSP, DTW, LGA, LAS to name a few I see 1 or 2 agents looking at ID's and a 30+ minute queue while the lines to go through xray are non existent and I see TSA agents looking bored waiting for people to make it through the ID check line. I'm all for security but really hate inefficiency and wasting time when there are better ways. What are you doing to address this?

Constitutionalist said...

The TSA is a deceptive joke promoted by a government that is out of control and inept - Very little has been implemented in the US since 911 when compared to the leading airports in the world.

Fact: Following 911 the nation's business 22 airports were given millions (each, some more than others totaling in the Billions $$) to implement the latest security technology for airports.

Today, 5-6 later, this money cannot be accounted for and zilch was implmented.

Cargo is still not completely screened.

The US government is now corrupt, $broke$, and run by criminals in the administration and Congress. Every politician is either supported by Energy/Oil, Telecommunications,Pharmaceuticals and major health care providers, finanical institutions.....

Remember, every country gets the government it deserves.

It is estimated it will take a minimum of ten years to integrate all of the sub-entities absorbed by Homeland Security.

The director, Chertoff, might not be able to run most small businesses in the US.

Bush's grandfather, Prescott, profited from investments with I. G. Farbin in Germany. They made Zyclon-B gas for the concentration camps, and their CEO was brought before Nuremburg.

For those of you who fly...remember the morning of 911? What did the tactless and stupid government do? They shut off all the TV's at the nations airports so we couldn't see what was going on in New York.

This is not a criticsm of TSA employees. For the most part, they are firendly and courtesous in their conducting a thankless job as their job description calls for.

bbspawpaw said...

Most Of the TSA people that I've came in contact are reasonable. I travel every 28 days overseas and my biggest problem is some TSA make me pull out different things an will not aloud me to take on plane and some say it's not a problem. Point, I had two bolltes of after shave lotion, one under the 3oz and one used 4oz The frist airport justmade me put it in a plastic bag and another removed it all together saying it wasn't aloud. It seem that it's mostly up to the TSA agent at the time what they consider what you can take or not.

Anonymous said...

So how does forcing us to remove our shoes make us any safer?

Anonymous said...

As a former Las Vegas airport employee, I have seen the best and the worst of the screeners.

There are a few who are outgoing and positive but the vast majority seem to be just drawing a paycheck and couldn't care less about their surroundings.

Realisticly, why are there so many obese, loud-mouthed, rude and semi-mobile screeners anyway.
You would expect that the screeners would be pros, not just one step above Wal-Mart greeters
sorry Wal-Mart greeters

Anonymous said...

I have a question. If it's so important that we take off our shoes when we go through airport security, why isn't it equally important that my baby take off his diaper? He could be hiding anything in there.

skidmarks said...

AS a person in a uniformed service and FREQUENT traveler I ahve a question for the TSA folks.

I travel in uniform alot (with my gov't ID and official passport!!!!) and I am always stopped going throught the detectors. I know this seems obvious to most but there is a lot of metal in my uniform. Ribbons, shirt stays (my personal pet peeve), and name badges all set off the detector even after removing my belt, shoes, coat, etc. I spent nearly an hour (45 minutes actually) in Orlando trying to explain shirt stays!!!!!

I could not think of a lower threat person than someone in uniform, with proper ID. Can't you give us some help? I ahve to plan an extra hour to travel in uniform. Just seems silly. Not to state the obvious, but in your own public tests you let bomb materials thoguth but you wast 3 screeners and a supervisor to figure out what a shirt stay is!!!

Ed said...

You know, I've travelled three times in recent months, in July, at Christmas, and just a week ago. Security was no problem whatsoever anywhere. The worst part of each experience was the air travel itself, delays, dirty planes, surly gate and flight personnel, and unreliable schedules.

It seems to me that the airlines have only themselves to blame if they're hurting. I'm 45 and have been flying commercially since I was an infant and it used to be nice. You dressed up and were on your best behavior. It was fun. Now it's awful and unpleasant. Every time I get home I say I'm done, I'm not flying any more.

Ironically, I find it has been relatively painless to adapt to the security procedures. Know what to check and what to carry on and how, plan on the additional time, and just get with the program. It's not really that hard. I've lost a couple of items over the years and I don't like taking my shoes off, etc., but I know what needs to happen and do it and haven't had a problem in a long time. I know there is some element of luck in there somewhere, but since I'm never flying again ;-) I'd say I came out ahead.

The airports I've been through are LAX, Las Vegas, and Colorado Springs. The airlines are United and US Airways.

eserlin said...

As a fairly infrequent traveler (but a trained commercial pilot), I think there are a few problems most travelers have with the current security system. The primary issue is quite clearly that the TSA has not empowered its personnel to use either logic or commonsense in the screening of its passengers.

As far as I can determine, there are generally only three groups that require anything more than cursory screening by security at all: (1) Celebrities (who seem to travel with drugs and guns an awful lot); (2) the drunk and disorderly, who don't typically carry dangerous objects but who do threaten the safety of a flight; and (3) 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. Even so, there has never been a case where a Muslim male traveling with family has been involved in a terrorist incident (on board an aircraft anyway), so we can also exclude Muslim males traveling with family. So why then does TSA spend so much of its time fruitlessly searching the average parent traveling with little kids; the elderly; females; Asians; etc., etc. No one standing on an airport screening line cares about fairness - ie: screening everyone the same or not at all. A 60 year old Asian male does not pose a threat and should not be searched like a 30 year old middle-eastern male. If you want to do the right thing, instruct your personnel to use their commonsense and logic in making such a determination. Don't throw PC nonsense at us as a basis for such a policy.

Secondly, I think the general public fairly and accurately has assessed your security personnel at the gates as being little more than junior high school graduates. Most of them are completely clueless about what the latest TSA regs are, leading to the obvious conclusion that they don't know their job. Under such a circumstance, what confidence should the general public have that the person screening our carry-ons can even spot a dangerous item? Frankly, you often hear comments from other travelers while waiting that these security personnel are not much better trained than the person who served you your coffee a few minutes earlier. Perhaps the TSA can do something to at least make us think that their screeners have a clue.

Finally, and connected to my previous point, it is quite evident to anyone who has traveled recently, that there is way too much inconsistency in your security procedures. On one round trip flight recently, I was allowed to carry on a certain item by the TSA screeners, only to be told on the return trip by a screener in a different airport that I couldn't take it. When I informed him that the prior screeners at my home airport said it was ok, I was told in no uncertain terms that those guys didn't know what they were talking about. I don't know or care who was right or wrong, but you clearly have a major deficiency in your employee knowledge base.

Anonymous said...

I am a spouse of a pilot and travel frequently in the southwest. Each Airport (LA, Vegas, Tucson, San Francisco, Phoenix, Salt Lake City...etc) seems to choose which rules to enforce. Some what the plastic bags out, shoes on, some don't care.

Consistency is what everyone is asking for.

We're tired of guessing what airport will enforce which rules.

As per the liquid ~ I believe most people think it's a conspiracy to make beverage companies more profitable.
Shoes- isn't there a better way?

Wouldn't it be easier just to limit carry on to purses, backpacks (diaper bags etc) No more rollers. This would strongly reduce the wait times at check areas, and even further limit what can make it's way through?

Glad to see this blog. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

The DHS and TSA are ridiculous. Field testers get fake bombs and other test items through all the time. The only thing you guys are good at is making us all feel like we are in tremendous danger and thus the fear should keep us from acting up. Maybe you ought to go back to the days where you asked, "Did you pack your own bags today?"...that might be less ridiculous that your current procedures.

polonia001 said...

I would like to know how you can be randomly chosen for extra security search/questioning every time you fly???? My wife is a foreign national of a country that we have a very good relationship with. Namely Poland. I find it somewhat upsetting that every time she flies, on every leg of the trip she has to check in, she is randomly chosen for extra search and questioning. I feel this is something that needs to be addressed. The fact is, there was a certain group of people who were responsible for the terrorist attacks which caused this increased security and I have no problem if that group is held more closely under a microscope. I know some say that is profiling but it is the truth. There was not a single catholic,Norman, black , white, Mexican, Frenchman or any other group that did that horrible act. So we should not candy coat why and who we are specifically searching. But to say it is random to everyone and think we as Americans are so stupid that we actually buy that is a farce in itself. Please answer me this, why is it so bad to look at the facts and accept them for just that....facts?? I would love to know why my wife is singled out when she is a productive, law abiding member of this country whom does not fall into the category of those who truly want to harm our country? Lets call a spade a spade folks and give the American people some credit. Maybe if we focused more of our efforts and resources on the true group of people we should be looking for, then maybe we can honestly say that our airports, airplanes, sky and nation are indeed safer. I think there are many Americans out there whom feel the same as I do but are afraid to admit it because this has become a nation which looks to punish or ostracize those whom make a factual point if it against a specific group of people or a specific religious group. Please protect our airports, not our consciences.

phead's mom said...

Traveling through Chicago I set off the metal detactor. I'm an almost 60 year female. I stopped dead in my tracts, afraid of what I had done. The TSA lady (??) barked at me worse way than how I talk to my large dog. All she kept yelling at me was, "BACK!" I'm not that used to traveling and didn't know what she meant. Why cannot you not talk to us as if we are 'people'? You say that you yourselves are people...I doubt that!

Andy said...

I really do not know why so many people have an issue with this. I have never in my history of flying ever not been stopped for a extra security screening. I do not fly anywhere I can drive to in 6 hours or less. Even before September 11th I never made a screening without getting the all amusing B.S. we are performing a random screening sir. I have even stood by a screening station afterwards on numerous occasions and I can attest random means targeted. Get used to it because in over 10 years of flying I have never been let through easily and don't even bring check in baggage anymore just so it is easier to be searched. That being said, As long as we have airports get ready for more of you to enjoy my favorite part of flying!!!! The security stop.

Airport-LEO said...

As a police officer working at a midwest airport, the thing that irks myself and the other officers 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. They like to come across as having the sole power and authority to let that person on that flight. I have personally complained to Screening Supervisors and Screening Managers about the attitude of certain Screeners but to no avail. If I had a citizen complain to my superiors about my attitude I can assure you I would hear about it!

Anonymous said...


here is my personal opinion and observation.

TSA rushed to hire any warm body off the street or worse, from the airlines as the airlines were cutting their worst dead wood.

TSA hired 5 or 6 SENIOR level dumb. dumb.dumb people from Miami that used to work for UNITED.

These people are vile and morally corrupt. I know for a fact.

You want TSA to be respected.. haha.. you hired the wrong people, you hired the people the airlines discarded because they are dead wood.

you have a nice day Kip

klurgsheld said...

I have a personal interest in knowing that the TSA doesn't trap false positives in an identity check -- a man with my name was taped leaving a military base with anthrax several years ago, but the search was called off when the trail led to Israel, so he's still at large.

As other posters have noted, much of what the TSA does has more value as 'security theater' than as a way to protect either travelers or aircraft. Gaining compliance to arbitrary rules can be a small part of the larger task of getting the citizens of this country to accept the constant stream of lies and deceptions promulgated by the government on behalf of corporate sponsors and disseminated by a complicit media, as demonstrated recently on 60 Minutes.

Shrouding the rationale behind such actions as stopping groups of travelers at LAX and insisting that they remain still for 20 minutes (as reported at is an open invitation for such acts to be used against the very people they may have been meant to safeguard. I wrote a short story called "Incident on Concourse B" to illustrate this risk of mischief, and to show how serious a problem it could invite. If you're interested, you can read it at

sahulsizer said...

I fly about 3 round trips/year, Seattle to east coast. Once I am in Boston, all the rest of my travels are by rail, since the security hassles have made any trip under 550/600 miles longer by air than by rail.

Two specific incidents come to mind. The first was at LAX. There was a long line going up and around to the security station. People were bunching up as the area was wide. Down below a fat, and I mean fat, TSA agent was bellowing like a drill sargent to the crowd ordering them to get in four lines. The guy was probably too fat and and out of condition to go up and address the problem at hand.

The second was a woman in Seattle with leg braces on both legs. In spite of the fact that she was wearing shorts and the braces were fully exposed, TSA made her remove the braces and stumble through the magnetometer.

Regarding the restrictions on gels, please remember that the CIA over 20 years ago gave that Venezualan agent (Posada?) a tube of toothpaste to blow up a Cuban air liner. Why did it take the Department of Bureaucratic Terrorism so long to find out about this technique, and then learned it from the Brits?

I remain firmly convinced that the entire airport security exercise is nothing more than to A) impress the public how much Bush/Cheney is doing, and B) continue the scare tactics that the administration has practiced ever since 9/11. As I mentioned to one agent, they will never catch Osama this way. He doesn't wear shoes.

And that leads to another problem. Invariably, there are few or no chairs to use while putting shoes on again. I'm just unstable enough that I need to sit down to put on my shoes.

Anonymous said...

I went from Seattle to the Dominican Republic via Houston with my used camp stove in my luggage. I had washed out the fuel bottle (a gasoline stove) and blown out the pump with an air compressor. No gasoline at all remaining. i did not use the stove while camping in the D.R. and had no problem with security in Santo Domingo on my return flight. But when going through security to board my connecting flight at New York, the TSA person looked at my stove and said, "This is used, right?" I said, "Yes, I've had it for several years." The TSA person said, "It's had gasoline in it at some time in the past." And then confiscated it. So I can buy a new stove to go camping overseas ($120!) but I have to throw it away before I can come home? This sort of experience leads to my present very negative feelings about TSA and air travel.

Anonymous said...

Since I have an extensive amount of metal in my leg I know that I will set off the "bells" so I prepare for the inspection and do not mind it. I usually ask for a female assist before I go through the scan and tell them why. My only problem is that I am then separated from my laptop and carry on luggage, shoes and coat [usually 4 containers worth] which are coming down the belt with at least 2 or 3 other passengers picking up their things. In St Louis I lost a coat and in Chicago I had a man try to walk off with my laptop. Can there be a better way for those of us who need to bee screened further to have better security on our personal items which I for one keep a very watchful eye on while I am being wanded? The security personnel are usually very busy helping others while my things are just sitting there in the open. I have asked for my personal items to be brought to where I am being searched and some of the personnel have been nice enough to do that however it is not uniform and something that is a major concern for me. I would not care if they were searched for I comply to the rules but being separated from my personal items for sometimes 5 minutes at a time is scary.

Anonymous said...

TSA staff are often rude and fail to explain an ything when asked.
We passengers get to the airports following TSA guidelines for early arrival. TSA employees CANNOT promptly process passengers and must frequently be told that passengers for soon to depart flights must be processed immediately and reluctantly move people up in line.

One incident from SFO truly relates to employee incompetence. An elderly crippled woman weighing over 250 lbs with both an aluminum walker plus aluminum crutches caused one line to completely stop. The TSA employee had to call for assistance and seemed oblivious that the rest of us in line could bypass her and make or flights. I was personally threatened with deliberate delay to miss my flight. I replied that if I did miss my flight I would criminally prosecute the TSA employee for an unlaful detention. Made the flight with 5 minutes to spare.

There are NEVER any chairs for someone to sit in when we are required to remove our shoes. We must go through security and then there is a chair. This is backwards.

Support staff always have to be called for. They are never there when needed.

Anonymous said...

The baggage screeners atPVD would rather talk to each othe than screen bags even when lines are long. Also Pvd is only place that makes you wait for bags to be scanned.

Anonymous said...

Question for all you chemists out there. Would 3 oz of nitro glycerine be enough to bring down a plane?

Ed said...

I'm a frequent business traveler and a US citizen. I'm not sure what rules TSA uses to put people on the watch list, but unfortunately I'm on it, which causes me lot of delays when I travel. Late last year I submitted a request to have my name removed from the TSA watch list. I received a letter back from the TSA that after evaluation of my profile TSA had agreed to remove me from the list. However, it seems after a few months I'm now back on that list. Obviously your process for managing that watch list is not working at all.

Anonymous said...

AS an American I strongly believe in the TSA. Since 911 we have had no other terriost attacks by airliner. The TSA should be praised by the media instead of chastised by them. I feel that the TSA is verry under staffed due to lack of funding. They need to pay these people more! They need to have the best trainning and all airports should have the lateds detectation equipment that money can buy. I feel safer flying now than ever before. Now for better news, In October last year I flew from Atlanta/Hartsfield GA to Ontario CA I was amaized at the efficency of the TSA in moving about 1200 est. people through security check point in record time. I thought that I was going to be inline for about 3 hrs. It took only 20 minutes to get through the process and they even opened up extra lanes to accomidate the demand! I hope that the TSA workers ignore the news and keep doing the job that they do. I know the job can get mondane, but the TSA is on the front line just like the military in protecting fellow Americans from the terriost. I know that alot of people want to post alot of negitavity on this blog but they are complacence about what can happen if we let our guard down. Keep up the great work and God Bless John 14:6

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the work that TSA is doing - helping to prevent another 9/11 incident. However, somehow I've been added to their SSSS list and I find it rather insulting. Here's why:
1) I'm an Air Force pilot (C-5) that flies troops and cargo into the combat zone each month.
2) Some of my missions include pre-positioning and de-positioning the President's motorcade and Secret Service personnel along his visits.
3) I have a Secret security clearance.

So, if our nation & government can trust me to carry the President's vehicles, fly monthly into hostile territories and keep classified information to myself... do you think I can STOP getting secondary screening.

Please remove me from your list. It truly is insulting.

Scott W.

Ben Franklin-Fan said...

As someone who is on the "No Fly List", has never been arrested, holds a high ranking government job, I am immensely offended that I (or anyone)am constantly required to prove that I am not a terrorist. (So much for innocent until proven guilty).
While I am sure that the majority of TSA agents are normal respectable persons, I have never found a more customer "hostile" agency, who in my opinion act this way "because they can". There is virtually no way to file a complaint without instant repercussions, no accountability , and no functional way to vindicate yourself to get off the list. (Sorry, but spending months to get a letter from the TSA saying that you might not deserve to be on the "No Fly List" and presenting it to the supervisor on duty, is no less cumbersome than simply going through secondary screening!)

The flying public needs the TSA to have, Transparency, Accountability and respect! Not to mention, our civil rights back.

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

Anonymous said...

If your name is on a list of possible trouble makers, would that not deter people from flying? I mean, who wants to go to an interrogation room right before trying to catch a flight to be harassed with questioning for hours. I'm sure you get a lot of innocent people into this situation. Also, on the news I saw security officers disposing of chemicals before flights, (liquids) I thought to myself, how silly, your afraid of these liquids exploding on board, but you were not afraid to pour out a mixture of thousands of chemicals mixed together in a bin, which would really explode depending on what types of chemicals they were. You could have blown up an airport of people doing that.

the teacher said...

Why is it that all local airport employees, that is, those employed by the airport and not a government, berate TSA associates as aloof, conceited, egotistical & any other number of adjectives conveying a 'superiority complex'. I, too, see their complaint and it isn't just in some regions, ie: DEN,LAX,DCA,IAD,DFW & TPA are just some of the airports that I've heard the comments and seen TSA's actions., I even watched a TSA agent start a fight with a bagage handler for no reason whatsoever at BWI., and yes, I did report it however, I'm quite certain that nothing became of it, so I pose this question to you., "Why is it that you feel so much more superior then me or the bagage handler?"

bob said...

In my view, airport security is a waste of my time and my money. Any terrorist with half a brain ( and that is just about what most terrorist have..half a brain ) could come up with dozens of targets where loss of life and /or property damage would be greater....
And I'd feel safer( and a lot happier )any day of the week in an airport with NO security than i'd feel walking the streets of any U.S. inner city after dark.
How about spending my TSA money on policing our cities.

bob leonard.
costa mesa ,california

@bdul muHib said...

After three years of living overseas in Morocco, and visiting Dubai, Yemen, and Mauritania, I returned in 06. I stupidly had a layover in Portland on my way to Seattle. As my first port of call, I was stopped by TSA for 4 hours, and all my luggage searched. I don't object to this.

I object to my computer files being searched, and opened. Confirm the computer is not a bomb, yes. But you had no right to go into the private files of a citizen of the United States, just because he uses a particlar mode of transportation. There remains a right to privacy, and a right to liberty, if our constitution is still valid. Just because I fly gives you no right to search through my laptop.

Worse yet, you didn't tell me you had done so. I thought you took the computer to another room to confirm it was actually a computer, and not a bomb. Instead, you opened files, and then returned the computer to me. It was only when I got home and looked at the most recently opened files that I realized what you'd done. Numerous files were recently opened, ones that I hadn't looked at in over a year. You didn't tell me about this breach; I had to discover it for myself. Why didn't you mention it? Could it be because you realized that such actions were illegal, or maybe just unethical? Or maybe treating a US citizen with respect and upholding their rights is simply too much to bother with.

There are many, perfectly legal, reasons why a citizen might wish to have private files on their computer. I don't have to justify these to you, and no citizen should have to. No just law gives you the right to search my files without a warrant. No just system gives you the right to do so without even telling me that you've done so.

Anonymous said...

As a traveler, my concern is safety, but would like to know why some airports require different screenings.
Why is it that an almost used up tube of toothpaste, a freezer gel pack(to keep my lunch from becoming toxic on a cross country trip) can leave the west coast, but I was not able to bring them back?
Why when I lost my wallet before boarding my flight did I have to endure extra security outbound and had NO question on my return?
Why are so many of the TSA workers just unpleasant? One guy challenged me as to 'how much time I had wanted to spend in security?' I was more than 2 hours early, my carry on complied with all regulations and I am a pleasure traveler, so I really don't have the rush rush hurry hurry that so many have.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I think the TSA is doing a good job. As a veteran who had to protect military facilities, I understand and appreciate the need to be extra cautious at the security checkpoints. I believe that it might be possible to incorporate a multi-layered detection system, which would use additional devices to detect C-BRNE materials, as people are arriving towards the airport and when they enter into the airport. Since almost all chemicals or explosive devices give off an identifiable trace or signature, a machine could pick up the scent further away from the main security checkpoints- which would allow an offender to be apprehended before entering the security checkpoint and also help to reduce casualties in a congested security checkpoint area if there was an incident.

Even though this may slow things down a bit more, when people are being frisked or asked to strip down, there should be more private areas that are separated by men and women- this process would make the security inspection less intrusive, or at least viewed as less of an invasion of privacy.

In closing, keep up the good work- even though everyone may feel inconvenienced because of the slow moving security checkpoint, these procedures are needed to help ensure the safety of every traveler.

Anonymous said...

I recently travelled through O'Hare Airport and received extremely rude service from the screeners. There were no signs instructing those of us in line what to do, so everyone was in a last minute rush to take off their belts and shoes. The TSA lady took my laptop case through the machine and got extremely mad that my laptop was in there (duh!). She hurriedly took it out of my case and THREW IT IN A PLASTIC BUCKET! There was no need for that. Later, when returning through Dulles Airport there were instruction signs and a more professional staff. O'Hare TSA folks just stood around and talked to each other and were clearly amateurs.

I fully support national security and took a flight to DC for a model rocket competition. I called TSA numerous times to find out the policy of bringing competition rockets on the plane WITH NO ENGINES OR COMBUSTIBLE materials whatsoever. After two weeks of trying to make contact of someone who knew what they were doing at TSA I finally had to resort to shipping my rockets via UPS at a great expense. It's ironic that you can bring firearms on a plane, but can't get a direct answer for 1 ounce model rockets. I had wanted to bring them to the airport in advance of my flight so that they could be totally screened. I eventually gave up after talking to far too many unqualified hacks (sorry, but it's true) who didn't know what they were doing.

Anonymous said...

Although I believe, this blog is a good idea, it’s ironic that that the TSA they would only have one TSO and one FAM (I’m not even sure what the other two blogers do) to explain “the ‘why,’ of what we ask you to do at the checkpoint”. We all know, aviation security has many layers and the checkpoint and FAM mission are just a couple. If you really want to know about the “Evolution of Security” then you should ask one of the many TSA Inspectors who has been doing this a lot longer then the blogers and have truly been through the evolution process.

Anonymous said...

Well, other than complete waste of traveler time, what can TSA claim to have done?
Saved us from the menace of liquids and gels?
Saved us from exploding shoe weapons?
Disband, if you have any sense of decency. You menace American life more than anything you claim to be "protecting" us from.

Anonymous said...

Wait in line, be "happy" in line, or get "special security." What TSA fails to do is getting security done quickly and efficiently. Why must security take 2 hours or more at airports in the DC area? There are not enough security stations for demand.

Additionally, if you don't like lines, express any opinion that is not a “happy thought,” then the lowest staff can pick you out for harassment "special security."

pmb49858 said...

As an ex TSA screening officer who now travels through airports 4-6 times per week all over the country, I can relate to some of the frustrations expressed by many of the blog participants. It's unfortunate that we even have to have the level of screening that we have now. Some of it is, in my humble of opinion, nonsensical. (confiscating 1" knife blades on money clips and throwing out umarked cups of salad dressings carried by passengers comes to mind) But for all of the people that hold the TSA in such low esteem, show me something better.

Anonymous said...

Against many complaints my family and I didn't really run into any issues while going through 2 separate security checks. We removed out shoes, emptied our pockets and had a myriad of carry ons containing clothes, many electronics and personal items. There was one delay which was minor and left us clueless until we got to our hotel after the flights. One bag that was selected for hands on inspection was our child's diaper bag. The inspection found nothing but what we found was a bottle of bubbles for blowing that we had forgotten to remove from the bag. We assume this is what security observed in the x-ray but the inspector was unaware when he conducted the search.
I'm not wanting to criticize but I do think that an appropriate action might be for better communication between security personnel or perhaps the person that spots the questionable item be the one to actually do the search so it isn't missed. It's an eyeopener that this one item made it past even after being noticed by one person.

Anonymous said...

I have flown all over world the US has the worst screener in the world. There
is no across the board constancy between airports. I have found when traveling in the US to go to the TSA website and print out a copy of rules of what they can and cannot do and when I get a know it all screener I just pull out the rules out and call for a supervisor and it is all settled in just a few minutes. You would figure that the Federal Goverment would hire people with something higher than Jr. High education and understanding of the english language.

Anonymous said...

On a recent vacation to Atlanta, as I attempted to enter the airport to return home to Boston, I was stopped by security because they did not believe that my Massachusetts state ID card is real, because it has no expiration date. (It's real.) Because the supervisor was unavailable (he smiled, waved, and walked away when the TSA screener attempted to get his attention) I ended up with no fewer than six TSA agents examining my ID and debating its authenticity, right in front of me.

During this discussion, three of the agents repeatedly stated that they didn't know if my ID is real or not or what to do. One repeatedly stated that she didn't think it is real, but wasn't sure. One repeatedly stated with confidence that it is a fake. (I shudder to think what might have happened to me if I had approached her line instead of one of the "I don't know" gentlemen.) And finally, one kept saying "It could be real."

The woman who said it could be real eventually produced a book which seemed to contain information about ID cards. One of the other agents took it from her, casually flipped through it, and pronounced my ID to be fake. All of the agents except the woman who had gotten the book then began to discuss the terrible obvious flaws of my "fake" (perfectly legitimate) ID card, making such mistakes as to confuse my date of birth with the date of issue. They would not allow me to point out their errors, making sure to whip the ID card out of my reach every time I attempted to point at it. This was all deeply offensive to me, an innocent citizen being treated as a petty criminal.

Meanwhile, the woman who had stated that my ID card might be real and obtained the book had gotten the book back from the other agent, and calmly looked through it, and found the information which confirmed that my card was in fact legitimate. The other agents mostly seemed disappointed, and wandered away. My ID was finally returned to me, and I was finally permitted to enter.

I will be flying again three times in the next month or so, and it is unlikely I will have time to get a replacement ID card with an expiration date on it before I do - and nor should I have to, since I am an innocent citizen and the ID card I have is legitimate in every way. I am very afraid of what TSA personnel might do to me because of my completely legitimate ID card. I am deeply upset that I have to worry about getting arrested on my vacations because of insufficiently trained security staff.

Ironically, while on the trip to Atlanta I inherited my grandfather's World War II pilot's wings. He served in that war and risked his life in order to ensure that I would never have to face a beligerent guard demanding "Dein Ausweiss!" It is sadly ironic that I now face the very same thing from Americans.

Anonymous said...

On my last trip through Logan airport, I was yelled at (actually yelled at by TSA security screeners because I placed my laptop through the X-ray machine while still in its bag.

I would have been happy to have removed the laptop from its bag for X-ray screening had I been asked to do so, but amid the flurry of signs telling me do this and don't do that, and the TSA staff telling me to remove my shoes etc, nobody and nothing mentioned taking my laptop out of its bag.

And I don't feel it's appropriate for TSA personnel to yell at travelers as if we were wayward children while we're doing our best to comply with an ever increasing number of restrictions while worrying about missing our flights and at the same time trying to remain calm and courteous to TSA personnel while we feel generally mistreated by the whole procedure.

Twitch said...

I would like to start off with by saying to all that "Im Sorry" I have been a Screener with TSA from its first roll out on the west coast.

Im sorry that I asked you to remove your shoes so i could follow policy set forth by our Government.

Im sorry I asked you to remove your lap top and video cameras so we could check them.

Im sorry I asked you to please remove all liquids gells creams and lotions and place them seprately in a 1 quart or less zip-lock bag so we wouldn't have to check all of your stuff, just the zip-lock.

Im sorry that somewhere some place in the past, someone told you it was ok to take this item but we happened to catch it today and its not allowed.

Im sorry for my family, Who after 5 years, my 2 children, still don't understand why daddy has to work most hoildays and has to miss school plays and things. But they do understand why daddy does his job and goes place to help people, like during Katrina.

But most of all im sorry for all the people who died on 9/11 and their familys that will never see them again. Im sorry for all the service men and woman who have died in our battle over seas. Im sorry for the service men and woman who come home after leaving a part of them in the middle east. Never to be the same again.

And if you don't understand what Im talking about on this blog, Im sorry for you to. This is not a job for me, Its a Mission, to stop the threat here before it gets on the plane. I take pride in what I do and I fear the day we have something happen again.

Americans seem to forget things rather quickly. As a Marine who was in Beirut in 1983, we have a saying. "Our first mission is to never forget." At TSA its, " we have to get it right everyday, they only have to get it right once'

Please try to remember the golden rule when you talk to the Officers. we're just trying to follow policy and procedures and get you on your plane safely.
Remember, we're human to & have feelings. Think about how you would feel if every 3rd person told you how wrong, horrable or bad your job was and how you were doing it.

And if you have a problem, please ask for a Supervisor, thats what we're there for.

thanks for listening and have a great day and a nice flight

Anonymous said...


Tim said...

I get so burned up every time I see two lines to go through security, the fast lane for those who pay more, and the slow lane for those of us who can't afford to pay for business or first class. I understand why airlines can and should provide more perks to those who pay more, but why isn't security a burden shared equally by all citizens?

Having people buy their way out of the slow lane is reminiscent of the civil war practice of being able to buy your way out of the draft, and it lead to the biggest riots in American history, in New York.

If you want to keep support for your security measures, they should be a burden shared equally.

Anonymous said...

Israeli security treats you with respect and dignity (plus very little shoes are screened and you can carry your beverage through security) while in the u.s., you are treated like a terrorist if you you forget to take a nickel out of your pocket going through the scanner.

Most TSA screeners seem to have power trips and enjoy yelling at people. Most seem to need anger management courses and most seem to be more suited to being drill sergeants than they are dealing with the public.

I feel safe and respected going through Israel airport security. I feel intimidated and threatened going through U.S. security.

Anonymous said...

I have very common first and last and last names, and a very uncommon middle name. For several years, I was on a watch list, presumably because of my first and last names. I went through the DHS TRIP process, and received an obtuse letter indicating that any inaccuracy had been resovled (did this mean that I was determined to be a terrorist, or that I would finally be able to check in online?).

This entire process ties together several of the recurrent themes in this blog. First, a policy based only on first and last name in a country of 300 million is either completely unconcerned with false positives, or oblivious to its own errors.

Second, the resolution process illustrates TSA's opaque and frustrating response. In an open society, administrative stonewalling is uncharacteristic and irritating. Why does the agency refuse to share information with the public? It took me a long time before anyone would admit that I was on a watch list (they never did, actually, they finally gave me a number to call w/o mentioning the list). Now, I have gone through the resolution process, and I don't know if I've been removed!

In TSA's defense, they may be at the tail end of a long administrative process. If the watch lists are generated by intelligence agencies, and if screener training is underfunded, TSA may be stuck between a rock and a hard place. They may be the public face of policies adopted by other agencies.

ttakv said...

Here is my situation...prior to this date 4 years ago I traveled without a hitch, then all of a sudden I am stopped every time I enter an airport.I get delayed I can't get an e-tkt, I get searched. I filed papers with the TSA to prove that I am not a terrorist. I supplied 3 or 4 forms of proof all notarized that I am an U.S. citizen. I am 55 yrs. old, I was born in the U,S,A, I am white, anglo-saxon, catholic, blah blah blah. Why am I still persecuted when I enter an airport? Why do others that are more profiled than myself, skating right through the gates?

Anonymous said...

I travel about 2 times a month for business, to and from various airports in the US and internationally. Being muslim with a lastname "Husain", I know I will be searched during 'random' searches (or by the SS on my boarding card). Since I travel so much and have nothing to fear, does TSA have some sort of list or something that I can apply to so I don't have to go through the hassel every time I fly? I heard about this sometime ago but have no been able to find any concrete application so far. Please advise.

Anonymous said...

I was a flight attendant for Pan Am and for United, and I still travel for pleasure more often than most. I have had far more good experiences with The TSA than bad ones.
My question is, how often does anyone actually say "Thank You" to these people? Whenever there is a slip up, it's national news, but do we hear about what The TSA does RIGHT every single day? They keep us safe and save our lives.
Try saying "Thank you" when you go through airport security. If you think about it, you will realize just what a thankless job these people have. They really do deserve some appreciation.

B C said...

I predict the answers to previously posted questions!:
1) Why the shoes off?
Shoes can contain a variety of objects. In fact, good shoes are usually built around a strong metal shank. They also can contain explosives like the one that English guy had. Other shoes have buckles, eyelets, and other materials which are made of (you guessed it) metal. Metals in sufficient quantities should set off metal detectors that result in extra screening procedures. The more times that metal detector goes off due to belt buckles and shoes the longer your lines get and the more people get the wand. This all results in extra time and hassle over something as trivial as a metal buckle or metal eyelets or a shoe shank in ones shoe. So making people take their shoes off is designed to increase security by causing a visual inspection of the shoes and keeping secondary screenings to a minimum by not having the metal detector endlessly alarm do to belt buckles and shoe shanks. (I think this can be selectively enforced depending on experience; I bet the screeners get to know which types of shoes are more apt to set off the metal detector than most would initially suspect)
2) Why isn't something done about different airports seemingly having different policies?
There are thousands of TSA screeners who must comply with a variety of evolving rules. It is nearly impossible for every screener to catch every object or spot every suspicious item entering a sterile area. The screenings are designed to reduce the risks as much as possible. To say it another way, the more checks and the more VARIED the checks from airport to airport actually decrease the odds that something bad will happen on your flight or others around the system. So, while the TSA takes rules seriously, it finds that the varied checks and rules actually reduce the odds of bad things happening. It is good if bad guys cannot depend on not having to remove a belt loaded with C4 explosives before going through a metal detector (sorry for the double negative). If everyone followed the same rules they could be exploited.
3) Liquids?
Again it is about reducing the odds of bad things happening. The amounts of liquid are arbitrary but there needed to be away of allowing pax to bring on liquids for personal use, rather than an outright ban on all liquids. Rather than a big chemistry experiment to see what shampoo reacts with what liquid oxidant, just allow personal amounts and one does not have to worry about things at all (i.e. the risks are brought back to practically zero).
4) Long lines and TSA standing around watching.
Working on this and they have had success in a few cities by redeploying manpower and better cooperation with the airlines wrt expected passenger loads.

I don't know if any of that stuff above is true. I can tell you I have waited hundreds of hours in security lines and you get a lot of time to think about things like this when you see these things every week for four years. So I kind of convince myself why they do things like they do.

Anonymous said...

I'm probably sure this won't be read, but at least it might be.

My understanding of the current security screening process is that it is highly ineffective. It seems that every month a news report comes out about how "testers" slip through nearly every time. Nearly every time a travel (which is quite often) I always find a new loophole or something that I accidentally forgot to take out of my suitcase (lighter, pocket knife, razor, scissors etc.) I guess here are a few of my questions/concerns:

Real Security Means:
1) A slim chance of there being a threat to the plane.
Is there any realistic way of achieving this desired result? How can you implement policy without completely violating our basic privacy rights?

Unfortunately, without some ludicrous regulation (like not being allowed to travel with personal belongings) security screeners can receive all of the blame, but the system is set up to fail.

Therefore, again unfortunately, the greatest security measures must take place before someone even sets foot in an airport. With information technology making great strides every single year, this seems like the only logical place where increased and fair security measures can take place. Instead of "randomly" selecting people of color for secondary screenings, every single person should undergo the same pre-airport process. I'm sure that some level of security at this level already exists, but again focussing every bit of energy on this area is truly the only functional way to strengthen airport security.

Hopefully this is of some use to whomever it may concern.

Deadman said...

I recently came back to the U.S.from Madrid thru Newark Liberty airport and out side of thinking the whole operation at Newark Liberty left something to be desired,i have just two minor gripes.They are,i realize your employees responsibilities and sometimes less than ideal working conditions,but i don't feel like i should have to put up with their surliness or obnoxious attitude and if one of your employees is on break or has nothing to do,at least look busy,not alot in dealing with the public,a bad impression at the beginning of your shift is going to last all day,if all you got to do,is be ill-tempered when your day starts.I know you have a big responsibility,but you deal with thousands of people a day,so learn how to deal with it or find a new career.Like i said,two minor problems,overall,your employees do one heck of a job.

Thank you for listening!

Anonymous said...

To all the TSA personnel here, I would like to suggest some things for you to consider.

We, the civilian citizens of the US, do not believe you have our best interests at heart, and we do not believe that your rules and procedures make us safe. Whether or not you agree with these beliefs, you really need to recognize that we believe these things, and examine your agency's people's behavior to understand why. If you do not take steps immediately to ensure that TSA staff stop abusing innocent passengers and replace showy but ineffective screening procedures with actual effective procedures, we will continue to lose faith and trust in TSA.

Christopher posted that commenting on this blog will not get us on any TSA lists. Consider that I do not believe this, and I am posting anonymously because I am afraid that in criticizing TSA, I could find myself on a do-not-fly list when I next attempt to travel. You may believe I am paranoid, that this is ridiculous. But I ask you to consider that TSA's poor behavior has given me reason to fear. You should try to correct the behavior that makes TSA feared by the general public rather than brushing off the criticism.

TSA employees have posted here to say that TSA's bad image is a result of the press only reporting negative stories about TSA. Perhaps so. But consider the fact that the negative stories happened. Consider all the complaints already posted on this blog. Even if TSA does much good work, it is nevertheless abusing many innocents.

Before 9/11 I was a very frequent business traveler, sometimes taking as many as six flights a week on business. I was very experienced at preparing my belongings for security to make it as easy as possible for everyone, and in general security was a smooth and courteous procedure in my travel experience, and I had no fear of travel. In the one instance in which I had a problem with badly behaved security people, I complained to the airline and the problem was resolved.

After 9/11, I have taken exactly one trip by airline - not out of fear of terrorists, but out of fear of TSA, because I do not trust TSA people to obey the law, and I recognize that TSA screeners have the power to ruin my trip, if not my life, and will almost certainly refuse to allow me to complain to anyone who could overrule any poor decisions they make.

In my one trip since 9/11, I was treated abusively by TSA people at both airports despite that I was making a serious attempt to comply with every rule and be completely courteous to the TSA people. This does not instill confidence in me that TSA's bad image is merely the result of poor reporting.

I am particularly offended by the TSA employee who posted here that air travel is not a constitutionally protected right. Aside from the fact that I disagree with that specifically, the constitution grants us equal protection under the law, and that means TSA violates our rights when it arbitrarily applies confusing rules to some passengers while allowing others to travel unmolested while doing the same thing that some passengers were permitted to do.

JR said...

I had an interesting encounter when a guard at Melb airport swabbed passengers bags pre-check in. he swabbed an old lady's in front of me, put the swab into his machine and said "this says the bag contains TNT explosive". He then asked the lady to open her bag so he could look inside. Sorry, but I was 1 metre away and not too happy about a bag being opened that apparently contains dynamite inside it. The machine obviously wasnt trusted, which is why he wanted the bag opened for the all clear. If you put all this money into security, you need to trust it and take appropriate precautions when there is an indication of an explosive in a bag, including clearing the immediate area.

Anonymous said...

I travel by air about 10 times a year and I get tested for explosive residue EVERY time. My husband and I often travel together and it is a bit of a joke between us. But honestly, how many overweight women in their late forties have been the cause of a bomb threat or hijacking.

Anonymous said...

Why is there the perception that first class passengers are safer then a coach passenger? My blood boils when I hear that we must be patient with the long TSA lines and that it is some how connected to our national security. The only long line is the coach line. Where is the first class passengers sacrifice for national security? How often have you stood over an hour in a line and another line was available, with a guard and full working security system and yet, you couldn’t use it? You are paying for it. BUT, it is the privileged line.

Here is a suggestion for TSA, stop burning the middle class. We are all suppose to be sharing the same boat when it comes to “national security”

Anonymous said...

Short Version: Please dont dump all my wrenches/sockets out all over my toolbox, and please dont take anymore of my tools.

Long Version: I travel for Industrial Machine installations, and I check my toolbox... Big Yellow 2ft sqare Toolbox with all my tools. I do not lock it per the rules. I'm trying to help you out. Inevitably every time I travel my tools are scattered all over within my toolbox and I'm usually missing a tool or two. Please be nice to my stuff.

Stellarsaint said...

With all due respect to those who have special disabilities, most of the rules can be view on the TSA's
website. As a former employee of the Sky Harbor Airport, I often seen both flight crew, workers, and regular passengers fail to obey simple rules. Again, this is with respect to those with disabilities. It's understandable that airports should have uniform policies (i.e. shoes off at ALL airport security checkpoints when asked to). However, to complain about small travel size items to be carried on, what you can and cannot bring, etc. why not try this:

1. Leave items you want in a larger size at home, and buy them at destination.

2. Buy a travel size in an airport/hotel (yes, I understand they are expensive, I used to work for a company that sold them high)!

3. When in doubt about policies or rules, read TSA's website PRIOR to flying, OR at the least, read the signs that are littered at every checkpoint.

4. Pay ATTENTION to the folks around you! Often times, they make mistakes others are bound to follow. I've seen hundreds of folks for example, not take dvd players / laptops out when asked to. Learn from the mistakes of others so you don't share in their sufferings!

5. Come early. 'nuff said. Most lines are a result of 1-4 but also because of folks not paying attention to their flight time and anticipating sescurity wait times.

6. Take shoes (again, not applicable to everyone) off when you see 3 or less folks ahead of you.

7. Leave enough space for your belongings in the x ray machine - never know if they need to rescan it!

If folks did hese things, even airline employees and flight crews; the security lines would be much faster.

Anonymous said...

The last time I was at O'Hare, I was lucky enough to go through security during a down-time (not very busy), and I put my coin change, along with my watch, in one of the dog-bowl containers to go through the x-ray. When it went through the machine, the container got tipped over. My watch came through and was just turning over on the rollers. I saw it and grabbed it. No harm done. My change was still in there. It was only a couple of dollars, maybe 3 at most, in change, but I asked about it anyway. The TSA officer seemed barely interested in helping (as I said, they weren't busy; he was mostly just chatting up his co-worker). He opened some hatch below and said there was no change. Then another TSA officer came over as though I was making a scene or something. I hadn't even slightly raised my voice. I had just politely inquired if they had my change. Then the latest officer to come over asked me if I wanted to speak to the supervisor, but it sounded more like a threat than an offer. I declined. I didn't want to spend 20 minutes on the issue, but I still think it was lame that they couldn't recover my money for me right away. Where do you think it went - up to the heavens?? It WAS, obviously, in the machine, and my guess is that it probably could have been extracted in under a minute. Maybe TSA employees are underpaid. If so, I sympathize, and I hope they get better pay. But I didn't exactly feel like giving a "tip" to a couple of employees for their lame, unhelpful behavior. I'll keep my change in a zippered coat pocket from now on, but my bet is that some lucky screeners open up the machine once a week or whatever to collect their "tips" from passengers too afraid or not willing to bother to speak to a supervisor about it.

Also, I agree with other commenters about the typical lack of seating at the security checkpoints where people are removing shoes. It's no problem for me to remove my shoes while standing, but for pregnant women, older people, and those with some weight issues, it can be a real problem. Put some chairs in there, please!

And, finally, my wife has noticed that, when travelling with our child (without me), she rarely gets any help trying to juggle her bags, shoes, and the kid. She doesn't expect anything major, but perhaps just a quick bit of assistance. It's happened, and is greatly appreciated, but it's too rare.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I want to thank all other TSO's For being where you are. We do put up with alot Passengers throwing shoes and other items and they want us to smile and say thank-you for the items. We have called everything under the sun but nice. I know there are a few tso's with attitude out there but there is anywhere. Do you throw groceries at a rude clerk at the store? We follow what we are told to the best of Humane abilities.. We are not Super Humane,We are mothers, sisters,daughters, Dads, Brothers....Respect does go both ways

Anonymous said...

My husband is an airline pilot and I"m a retired flight attendant. We travel weekly, either for him to commute to work or to ski, visit friends or to play. The complete lack of consistency between TSA screeners is appalling. One week I have to take my shoes off, the next airport I don't. Last week I had my plastic bag of liquids separated and when I arrived home, I put my hand in my purse and found a small bottle of Purell and two tubes of hand lotion that I had forgotten to take out. No one found them. What kind of security is this? I can walk thru the magnetometer in SJC with my jewelry on and not set off the alarm, go through it again on the same trip in Salt Lake City and have it alarm. Wearing the same clothing on the way home, with the exact same jewelry, I could trip the magnetometers in the opposite cities on the way home. There is NO CONSISTENCY. Thanks for all you do, but good heavens, please make it consistent. That's the ONLY way to stop goofy people from doing horrid things.

Anonymous said...

TSA screeners seem to make up rules out of whole cloth. During a recent pass through security in Orlando I was told that my non-video digital cameras had to be scanned separately because they were "big".

They were normal size Canon EOS digital cameras that I've been taking on-board for years but, of course, the screener was backed up by her know-nothing supervisor and so my expensive gear was plopped into a tray and taken away.

After re-checking the TSA web site (which I do before every trip) I can find NO suggestion or rule that this is supposed to take place and, in fact, it goes against the rules posted on the site that say that any additional searching/testing is supposed to take place in front of me.

It's no wonder that the TSA has such a poor reputation.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a wonderful idea.
I do agree with a lot of the people posting here about consistency and unprofessionalism.
While this is frustrating to the passengers, it is also frustrating to those of us at TSA. We constantly hear, "I didn't have to do that at the last airport" or "I just took this through XXX".
We do need help in the customer service and communication area. Part of this is the hiring process. If we would screen the people that are applying for these jobs you could find out whether or not they are customer oriented. Unfortunately, a lot of this stems from the area you are in. But we could still make adjustments in our efforts to hire more respectful people not just someone that wants the money.
As for those of you that are waiting in line to have your documents checked, please be patient. This is a new section to TSA, the airlines used to hire the document checkers. It takes time to get efficient. As for your expired ID's, why do you feel they are still valid, if you are driving and get stopped, is a police officer going to allow you to go while driving on an expired license? Can you reenter a country with an expired passport?
Just a few things to think about.
Thanks TSA for supporting an open line of communication for us and the traveling public.

Anonymous said...

Categorization and organization is needed for these pages.
Has anyone been to USA jobs and noticed that TSA does not have any education requirements for employment other than GED, even for a postiton as important as FSD of an airport? This might explain the lack of professionalism within the organization including this not so well thought out blog system.

The lack of consistency liabilty should be directed at the senior executive staff as well as middle management staff! No accountability!

Has anyone noticed how supervisors at airports can walk through metal detector and alarm without anybody even questioning the alarm. Why does it seem that the only employees held to scrutiny are the screeners? Has anyone seen the interaction between supervisors and screeners, it is just as bad as screeners to passengers, no respect? I wonder where the seed got planted?

Give the screeners a real security management team instead of laid off pilots, wanna be rock stars, retired school teachers, and inexperienced just out of high school kids.

Anonymous said...

At the beginning of Jan I was stuck in Chicago airport all day. I am a smoker so going outside a few times and having to go back through security was a pain but the TSA were nice. Since I was in no hurry I didn't feel the tighter security was a problem. I felt that I was going to be safe on the plane. What I didn't like is them opening my checked bag and looking at my under garments. Don't they x-ray the bags? Don't they have dogs to sniff out drugs & bombs? I am a white middle-aged female born in America raising a family. Instead of paying for extra people get more dogs and leave my panties alone.

DickL said...

My wife has a life threatening allergy to some unknown but common food and has made several trips to emergency rooms. As a result, she must always carry emergency medications, including Epi-pens. On one flight, the Epi-pens were confiscated WITHOUT COMMENT and she only learned upon arrival that she had been traveling without that vital protection. She could easily have died on that trip. She should, at least, have been notified and given the option of canceling her travel plans. It should, also, be possible to let the flight crew take possession of such materials for the duration of the flight.

PEDRO said...

Recently I was departing from Washington Dulles Airport. My flight was scheduled to leave at 7am. I was in the security line at 5:15 am The line was very very long. There were only two xray machines open that were feeding the line. When I asked a TSA rep what the problem was he said and I quote "you don't have to travel. The Federal Government has determined that we are adequately staffed for this time of day". I was through the security checkpoint at 6:45 amd had to really run to make the gate. While I was running with another passenger the airline announced our names and said we had 5 minutes before the door closed. We did make it but barely. Just another tale of woe in the security dilema.

Anonymous said...

I would like to respectfully invite Commercial Pilots to use this communication tool. I have been a TSO since day one (July 2002) and although most of them don't say much when they come through security, an unacceptable portion of them publicly give us a hard time and vocally express their negative views about our processes. They clearly think they should not have to go through the security process and don't hesitate to express this to the public. I would like to ask these Commercial Pilots to direct their negative feedback to the proper TSA department and not in front of passengers while they are standing in the security lines. This behavior makes our job more difficult. Thank you.

Green Go said...

This is a comment directed to the TSO (and really to all of those members of the public, TSA/DHS staff, and others) who stated flying is not a right. Air Travel IS a right. Not all rights of US citizens are listed in the bill of rights.

Article IV of the Articles of Confederation (predecessor to the US constitution) states as such, and the right has been upheld by the US supreme court on numerous occasions (see Saenz v. Roe, Zemel v. Rusk, and Aptheker v. Secretary of State among other cases)

Furthermore, Title 49 of the U.S Code: Section 40103. Sovereignty and use of airspace states:

(a) Sovereignty and Public Right of Transit. - (1) The United
States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the
United States.
(2) A citizen of the United States has a public right of transit
through the navigable airspace.
To further that right, the
Secretary of Transportation shall consult with the Architectural
and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board established under
section 502 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 792)
before prescribing a regulation or issuing an order or procedure
that will have a significant impact on the accessibility of
commercial airports or commercial air transportation for
handicapped individuals.

Have a nice day :)

Anonymous said...

I would like to understand the experience/education requirements to become a TSA employee. It appears to be a welfare type employment as you have scores of employees that can't put together a coherent sentence.

I travel quite a bit and have seen professionals as well s unprofessionals, especially in Atlanta and Houston. Some of the employees are very thuggish looking, earings, braids, etc., some of the women simply sit around doing their nails, standing around chatting with their co workers, and really doing a sloppy job. I aplaud the DHS for implementing the TSA but there must be a level of reasonableness in the hiring practices.

We need to ensure the perception is security ... not some derelicts who can barely read/write acting as out front line defenses.

Michael said...

I want to let you folks at the TSA know that I have not experienced anything but kindness and excellent customer service in the past year. I fly a lot on the east coast and I would even go as far as to say the screeners at EWR (Newark NJ) Terminal C are the nicest I have encountered. I know what you are doing is important so keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

What do you guys do with all of the nail-clippers, lighters, and pocket knives after they are confiscated?

Are they recycled or do they end up in landfills?


solublesaltremover said...

I just traveled Newark to Phoenix via Atlanta round trip and I thought the TSA folks were efficient. They took their time, as I would, in order to do as thorough a job as possible. Clearly the extra staff helped and I was even selected both times for extra screening. No problems. My only advice for all travelers is to add a hefty hour in so as to avoid anxiety at all levels. I would like to offer that this is akin to trying to rush a surgeon working on your own body, a toll taker making sure everyone has paid their fees, or a teacher making sure everyone is handing in their own test paper. Thanks, and yes I know I am paying for this, but I would rather pay this way than the alternative by having unwanted misery.

Bill said...

I travel frequently. Far too often when my bag is physically inspected my belongings are put back in the bag as if they were thrown back in, rather than being taken out in the folded condition that they were packed in. I have no objections to the screening. I do have objections to having my bag ransacked.
I no longer place anything of value in my bags after having several things (of a non-security nature)stolen from my belongings. Since the bags cannot be secured I am unable to determine who was relieving me of my belongings.

Anonymous said...

Two questions:
1. Do the TSA screening managers get incentives to load this comment board ?
2. If the shoe bomber had put the explosives in his underwear, would we have to remove our pants?

Anonymous said...

I think the screening folks are very professional and reassuring, but I am on a "watch list" based on my name, Bob Smith, and cannot get off of it, no matter what I do... people with common names are discriminated against.

Anonymous said...

Not too long ago, I was going through the checkpoint at Dulles and my back pack had a non-TSA approved gym locker lock attached to one of the zipper loops. It was not locked and they had full access to the bag at any time. However, they cut the lock off anyway and I just lost a new lock and had to buy a new one at my destination. How does this make it safe for travelers?

EverWatching said...

Things can be dramatically improved with just a little understanding and common sense on both sides...
Travelling Public-
Learn the rules and think for a sec....
-An X-ray machine converts your 3d luggage into a 2d image... take the metal and wires out, things will be easier
-liquids, as an explosive deterent.. I think 5 oz would be just as effective, and easier to shop for. Keep in mind though... most of the liquids probably look like explosives on an x-ray... I hear stories about penut butter panics. Think of the job the TSOs must have, trying to use ill-suited equipment to find things that could look like anything.
-Shoes... Just take them off. Most have shanks anyway, why should they reduce the effectiveness of coverage for you. I do think they could loosen a little... flip flops... can store less matter than your quart bag.
TSA: (Cont)

Anonymous said...

Who hires the screening personnel at airports, TSA or the airport itself? Also, why is it contracted out

Anonymous said...

I don't travel a lot by air and handn't flown since before 9/11. I didn't know what to expect as far as wait time and inconvenience of airport security.I made sure to read the website for what I was able to pack in carry-ons and what was prohibited. I was still nervous. To my surprise, it went incredibly smooth and fast. I even forgot to declare my daughters nebulizer in her carry on but it still only took under two minutes for them to check it. Maybe this isn't always the experience with others but it was mine. A few minutes of our time is nothing to give for security. Good job.

Anonymous said...

in December, I flew overseas and when I got my suitcase at baggage claim, I found TSA had put a lock on it (it didn't have a lock on it when I checked it in). Who can I talk to at TSA for compensation? Whoever put the lock on wrote "TSA" on one side and a "$" on the othe side of the baggage tag put on my suitcase when I checked it in

Anonymous said...

Why screen the airline crews. They have all had criminal background checks, and are all ready in command of the aircraft. They don't need to sneak something through to take over. They are all ready in charge. Screening them just slows down the line for the rest of us.

vietnamveteran said...

I am a diabetic and I went through the Orlando International Airport on December 20, 2007, afternoon. Prior to flying I called the airlines and TSA to see if there would be a problem bringing a bottle of water with me. I was told it would be okay. However, one of TSA's old black male officers just threw my water in the garbage. I told him I was a diabetic and was allowed to bring it with me. He replied "right". I did not protest, because I had to catch a flight and I did not want to be stripped searched and have all of my body cavities explored by TSA agents. We are at their mercy and if they happen to be racist, we are screwed.

EverWatching said...

-Train your front line better and allow them to use reasoning. Nothing is more annoying than watching their irrational fear of all electronics. Putty seems to confound most of them, when not causing a panic. Clearly, you're training them like dogs, rather than rational beings. If you don't think they can grasp making judgements on their own... shouldn't you raise standards... but then I guess you'd have to break the 23k salary mark and treat them like people, not thralls.
-Tell your Law Enforcement to stop flounting liquids clearly not available after the checkpoint when they're in plainclothes.
-Again.. Let the checkpoint have some common sense, because clearly, your rigid procedures leave much to be desired... political correctness has stopped you from doing the function you're designed for... might as well be hated for doing the job well while intruding.
Just look at the panic in the eyes of the screeners when ever someone is in line next to you wearing certain headwear... They seem more afraid to search them than of letting things through..
I guess they have no liability insurance

Anonymous said...

I have to say that since TSA has taken over, my luggage has been literally TRASHED by them six times. I've received the "card" about 15 times, but that's still a rotten percentage of times to be disrespected. They have taken breakables which I have packed within layers of clothing, unwrapped them and stuck them together on the top so they would be chipped and broken upon arrival. Maybe they aren't intentionally trying to damage my stuff. Maybe they just don't have comon sense. When I complained, I was told to fill out a form that was never responded to in almost two years.

That said, I'm sure there are some wonderful people in TSA, but my opinion is, since they have been there, prices went up and quality went down.

precious said...

why check your own wheel chairs?, why should we have to take shoes off to risk the possibility of catching something from someone elses feet? the attitude of most screeners is rudeness in the first degree-and this is at most all airports...........

Anonymous said...

The first requirement of any security policy is the need for the security workers to have flexible common sense. Let me recount an experience that shows just the opposite:

I was flying out of Boston's Logan Airport. I had a small carry-on box containing antique glassware. Going through security, I had to do the full range of emptying pockets, taking off shoes, etc. and as I got everything together and walked away, I realized that I had left my box behind. Remember, every thirty seconds the airport public address system is telling everyone to beware of unattended packages.

I returned to the security check-in station to collect my box and I asked the security worker, who was looking right at it, why he had said nothing to me when I left it behind. He replied, "That's not my job."

Anonymous said...

Hello. I travel between Europe and Atlanta fairly regularly. I have direct flights between Paris or Amsterdam mostly and go through strict security screening at both airports. I sit for 10 or hours in the plane but when I get to Atlanta I have to go through screening AGAIN (remove shoes, belt, iPod, etc) to exit the international terminal. Why go through this again since I've been through the screening once before boarding the plane?

Anonymous said...

TSA, you have IDIOTS working your security lines at Reagan National in Washington DC. I got hauled out of line, a special "supervisor" was called over and a big production was made over a set of hot rollers in my carry-on, which the screener had insisted was an "undeclared electronic device." I tried to explain that the presence of a cord with a plug indicates an "electrical device," not a sophisticated series of integrated circuitry...Oh never mind. I nearly missed my flight. Dear God, isn't this hard enough already with the plastic bags and the belts, shoes, coats and laptops? I HATE THIS. And I'm beginning to hate you.

Anonymous said...

At LAX, I was somewhat surprised when, after "checking with his supervisor" to see if my five jars of jam would be okay to go onboard, the TSA employee returned them in their plastic bag and neatly tucked them back in my suitcase, patted them and waved me on. I was REALLY surprised when I got home and found that he had stolen one.

Anonymous said...

I think overall the TSA has done a fantastic job & doesn't get credit for the fine work they are doing.

Anonymous said...

My kids came home round trip from FLL to MCO with shaving razors and multiple large bottles of hair and face gel and cream in their carry on bags. No one at either airport stopped them. I told them to leave the stuff at home before they left but they said they carry this stuff regularly and no one really cares. How scary it is for me to want to fly now that I know security is really just a joke.

Anonymous said...

I hadn't flown since 9/11 and found the web site very helpful before flying to Pittsburgh to Denver last summer for a backpacking trip. Things went smoothly in PA and although the line looked really long in CO, it went surprising fast. I was shocked however, when I reached into my pocket after my return flight and found a Swiss Army knife that neither I nor the screeners found when I boarded the return flight in Denver.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I flew from Memphis to Tampa on 01/24 via NW 878. The Northwest ticket agent at the counter did not compare our Id's (drivers license) to our boarding pass. Then as we passed through security, the TSA agent at the walk through metal detector did not even look at our boarding pass. You now have 2 votes of 'no confidence' for Memphis.

Larry said...

I am a frequent traveler out of Orlando. I have noticed something new of late that bothers me and I'm wondering what's going on. To me, TSA should represent an image of security, monitoring and response in the area of securing the gates and access to aircraft. I think you would agree with that but in the past couple of months I have seen TSA agents now being utilized as crowd control agents directing the boarding of the trams to and from the gates. I'm sorry but it should be "beneath" a trained security force to appear to be employees of some Central Florida amusement park. The truth is that image and perception is everything. This is just one more thing that countermands the perceived effectiveness of the TSA.

Just my thoughts.



Jim said...

In my opinion, it's not the policies that cause issues, it's the lack of customer service. Numerous times I've witnessed TSA security agents treating passengers with total disrespect. TSA agents in direct contact with the public should be required to complete a customer service training course before taking their place on the line, and there should be an easy way to lodge a formal complaint against a particular agent.

To agents: remember that the people you deal with on a daily basis are others' mothers, fathers, friends, and family. Treat them with the same respect and care with which you would treat your own!

To passengers: It's very easy for us to forget that the agents are performing a very important service. Remember that they are also someone's mother, father, friend, or family, and treat them as though they were yours!

BTW, blog is a good idea, just be sure to take the time to process the comments!


Anonymous said...

I can't help but think that this site is a huge waste of bandwidth."This is a moderated blog, and TSA retains the discretion to determine which comments it will post and which it will not." Doesn't that pretty much say it all. I believe that any hard questions that the TSA doesn't want to deal with will never make it to this forum anyway.
I do however believe that our tax dollars are being spent on this blog, and that's money that's not being spent on our security

Jeff Taylor said...

Just curious as to why now whenever i fly I am now pulled out of line for "scrutiny"?? it seemed to start right after i dared to complain that a TSA employee at MHT put a screwdriver into the usb port of my laptop, causing damage to it. It was suggested by the TSA supervisor that i "deal with it" as i might mot make my flight if i continued to put up a stink.seems petty to me to put my name on some list beacause I dared to com[plain.

Anonymous said...

TSA continues to be a fallible entity. All TSA does is inconvenience the law abiding passenger and crew. Every day, Bomb appraisal officers and Red teams get IEDs and other prohibited items past screeners. These tests are sometimes televised on CNN. Just a couple of things that really make no sense what so ever; A pen knife with a 1" blade will be taken at a checkpoint, yet a pair of scissors 7" long (sharp pointed) or a screwdriver that's 7" long is okay to pass. A person with a full bottle (12oz) of water that declares they're "diabetic" is allowed pass the checkpoint without question. I could go on and on. Tighten the procedures!

Anonymous said...

What has the TSA done to prevent a recurrence of the deaths of distressed airline passengers at the hands of law enforcement personnel? I'm referring to the cases of Rigoberto Alpizar, an unarmed passenger who was shot on the runway by air marshals, Carol Anne Gotbaum, who died mysteriously while detained at the airport (she supposedly "strangled herself"), and the case in Canada of the Polish man who was tasered to death at the airport. Are employees being trained to avoid the use of excessive force? Why does this keep happening?

Anonymous said...

As a Naval Officer on a small ship, I had a Top Secret clearance, and was a qualified cryptographer.I am not the potential bad guy, and don't like to be treated as such. Why can't we have a better system?

kathleen said...

well, I hope this will help someone else - I have celiac disease, which means I cannot eat most commercially prepared foodstuffs - I have to avoid any wheat, rye, oat, or barley products, as well as anything derived from those sources, such as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, grain vinegars. Last July (2007), I tried to board a flight from San Jose to El Paso, carrying 2 sealed cartons of yogurt, which I had purchased not 20 minutes before (& had the receipt in my possession). They were confiscated, and I was told I could "buy yogurt inside the terminal" unfortunately the yogurt for sale was not safe for me, as it contained granola, and I was forced to go almost eight hours without anything but ginger ale (the airline's snack peanuts also contained wheat). When I reached El Paso, somewhere around 7:45 pm, I needed something in my stomach and I purchased some trail mix, hoping that would be safe, but it was not (chopped dates, rolled in flour, not disclosed on the label, either - I threw it out, but the damage was done) - it took me over six weeks with severe mouth sores, digestive upsets, to recover from the trip - and I feel lucky I did not have to end up in the hospital. Some celiacs would have had to end up in the emergency room.
I had checked your website before I bought the yogurt, it said nothing about yogurt, other than that you could carry your own food, and I never dreamed that sealed cartons ofyogurt could be considered a hazard to anyone. My contacts with TSA regarding the incident a not much more than a dismissive shrug, but I still feel you need to address this issue, as there are many more folks than just myself that suffer from this disability. As for me, I hope I will be able to just take a bus, next time - air travel is not all that safe for celiacs...

Anonymous said...

The TSA provides better theatrics than most broadway plays. Here's some info I have learned and would love to share with you.

1- You can't have any bottle larger than 3oz but you can have 10 3oz bottles! That's 30oz's!

2- Where does all the liquids that aren't allowed past screening go? In a big trash can, aren't these potential explosives? Shouldn't they be dealt with in a proper mannor?

3- They truth on why we take our shoes off? The bottom 12 inches of a majority of the metal detectors are turned off. The steel in the concrete floors of airports set the bottom portion off so the bottom of them have been inactive for years.

4- Why do we remove our laptops? Years ago a computer manufacturer named Micron made a computer that had a ribbon cable inside of it that looked like a knife on the X-ray. This computer was made 6 years ago but yet we still have to do it here in the US. Not overseas.

I travel about 90,000 miles a year and the TSA isn't providing security. How many news reports do we hear about the TSA thwarting terrorist plots?

Anonymous said...

Lots of questions, comments and suggestions but no apparent replies or answers! So what's the point of the blog?

TSOinMINN said...

As a TSO it is importatnt for the public to know that the TSO's at the airports DO NOT make the policies and SOP(Standard Opperating Policy). We are just the ones who recieve the brunt of the passenger/pilot/employee ire. The procedures are based on the fact that people have caused dammage and loss of life with liquids, shoes, and electronics.

The public seems to forget that anyone can be a threat to our freedoms. Most people are lawfull and respectiful.

Put yourself in our shoes, could you do our job? If I came to your place of business, and raised a ruckus, how would you treat me?

I ask the public, to take a moment, and realize that we TSO's have a job to do. Protecting you from a possible terrorist, is like finding a needle in a stack of needles.

Anonymous said...


I just want to know if you do "racial profiling" as a white female I had never got pulled aside or searched until I traveled with my fiance who is Indian. It seems every time he travels he gets pulled aside and searched. Everytime I have traveled with him I have been pulled aside and searched. This has never happened to me before until I started traveling with him. Just because a person appears to look like they are "middle eastern" doesn't mean they might be a terrorist. I never thought this stuff happened until it happened to me several times. Its embarrasing to be pulled aside in front of the entire airport.

Anonymous said...

I had never dealt with an airport until November of last year. I found the security at the airport I was at to be on the rude side. I have yet to figure out why they confiscated an unopened bottle of dansani water, but left me keep a bottle of juice?? This just seemed really odd to me. Instead of worrying about confiscating every little bottle of hygiene products, and beverages, perhaps the security should worry more about making sure there are no weapons that could leak onto a flight by doing a better search of luggage, and of the person engaging the checkpoint. I found it quite irritating that I had to take my hair clips out because they set off the alarm, and that was the only metal on my person besides wedding rings and dog tags. C'mon now.

Yogi said...

The TSA has undertaken a huge task to help maintain the security of the American citizen, they are going to be blasted right wrong or indifferent but at least they are trying.

I do have a question and it is over time an maybe with in my life do you think that we will end up having to carry papers to cross from one state to the next?

Anonymous said...

My biggest concern as a passenger on a plane is that I see thousads of cars, trucks, tractors, etc. traveling around the airport in a somewhat chaotic manner....It doesn't seem as though there is an appropriate system in place to ensure that these vehicles keep my bag on course (I've seen many items fall off carts and be left while my plane was backing away from my gate) or much worse, nothing that keeps them from traveling out on the runway....think of the trouble a simple S10 Blazer can cause by driving out on the runway while a 777 is landing.....

Anonymous said...

My husband and I are frequent fliers. We "almost" never carry on any luggage. It is very frustrating to stand in long lines behind people who wait until the last minute to get ready for security. I would love to see an express security line for people like us who travel with no carry on.

Anonymous said...

I fly a lot and if you think that taking off your shoes, surrendering your tooth paste or any other of the randomly selected "new security measures" (enforced by disinterested employees with random precision)will make flying perfectly safe, you need a reality check. What's next -- a body cavity check?


I read most of the comments on this blog and I am glad to see I am not the only person that thinks that all the efforts of TSA are simply window dressing. A really determined individual has many ways of bringing an airplane down if he or she chooses. The policies of TSA seem to be haphazard at best and not very well thought out. For example, why do computers have to come off their bags and not other electronic equipment? You could just as easily conceal explosive materials in a camcorder, a digital camera, a PDA, even a cell phone, or many of the chargers that people carry nowadays with them. And anybody with some knowledge about explosives knows that x-rays machines DO NOT detect explosives. They only detect solid mass.

The issue of the No Fly List kept by TSA is another one that should be done away with until it is accurate. Right now anyone with a name similar to someone on that list is prevented from flying. I read a recent case of a family that could not fly because their 2 year old child had the same name as someone on the list. Do any of the TSA employees really thought a 2 year old could be a terrorist?

I truly believe the TSA should implement a policy of profiling. After all, every single person that has committed an attack on the US in the past 10 years, except Timothy McVeigh, belonged to a specific ethnic group. We have never have a 60 year old grandma attempt an act of terrorism against the US.

As far as the TSA applying their policies across the board, I believe that would go a long way toward improving their image. I was a "victim" of the lack of standardization a while back. I traveled through 3 different airports the same week and found a different policies concerning shoes at each of the 3 airports, even though I was using the same pair of shoes at all 3 of them.

The liquids policy is stupid at best. Like another blogger said, since you can carry 3 or 4 containers of 3 ounces each on board, 10 individuals could end up with up to 120 ounces of whatever liquid they need to cause damage. And they would all have been cleared by TSA at the checkpoint because they had adhered to the 3-1-1 rule. BTW, my wife recently accidentally flew through 3 airports with a bottle of conditioner that contained more than 3 ounces in it before finally being stopped at the 4th. one. And even then she was allowed to proceed after the TSA employee verified the contents of the bottle. So much for "security".

I do not intend this post to be an attack on the individuals who work for TSA at the checkpoints. I have found all of them so far to be courteous and willing to work with you. (except for one in San Juan, PR who claimed they were the only ones that knew and applied the rules properly, even though this was the same airport that left my wife through with more than 3 ounces of conditoner)

It is an attack on policies that are created by bureaucrats far away from the flying public, most of them do not make any sense and do not increase security one iota.

jim said...

Jim Berry Winfield Kansas
I fully support everything that the TSA does...I know its for our own safety..Folks should just get to the airport early dont take what they are not suppose to and be glad that someone is trying to keep you safe. However, I do think that if the TSA starts a new program to catch would-be bad guys keep it under wraps...dont make it public..that way plans cannot be made to beat it. Semper Fi

Anonymous said...

I would like to see the TSA be more neutral with the airlines that use the terminals at the airport. I questioned the motive of a airline clerk bumping me to a later flight which in turn scrambled my whole flight package that I had purchased. I then ended up with the whole TSA rubber glove treatment at every stop of my flight. Just because I wouldn't give in to the changes she made. It was like I bought a new car and had a problem with the dealer and the DMV harrassed me for it!! Dont forget the airlines can be wrong to even after the purchase of the ticket!!

Thank you

MacMikey said...

I recently had to travel by air from PHL to Birmingham Alabama. In PHL, I had to wait in line to see a ID screener, then I waited in line again to go through the detector. I always travel with my Laptop, my backpack and sometimes one carry on bag ( I rescue tractor/trailers that have been abandoned by drivers). I have a Class A commercial license that includes a HazMat endorsement. This means that I was checked by PA State Police, HomeLand Security and god knows who else to get that HazMat added to my license.
On this trip I got singled out for an extra screening, not just the bags, but taken to a private sort-of area where another screener went through my stuff with his swab thingy.
When he was done, he just walked away. I called after him and asked if I was done. He said yes and I could leave the area with my things. My boarding pass was on a table so I picked it up and went to my gate.
Upon boarding I was stopped by the gate person and was told that TSA wanted me for an extra screening and he could not see how I got to the gate. I told they did a screening on me and the guy let me go. Not good enough. Apparently the screener forgot to put some kind of mark on my pass before letting me go. The boarding gate person walked me back to the security check, a good walk at the other end of the terminal and luckily we found the screener. He remembered me and assured the gate person I was good to go, marked my pass and we returned to the gate where I boarded the plane, about 10 minutes before take off.

Not such a bad thing, but if I had been held up any longer at the checkpoint, I never would have made my flight.

And, I agree with another commenter above, there were several tsa'ers standing around barking orders, but only one line was open and had a very long queue.

This seriously needs to be fixed. With my HazMat clearance and backgrounds checks done, a lengthy screening seems redundant.

Chuck Muth said...

Hate is a pretty strong word. But not strong enough to express how I feel about the TSA - the Transportation Security Administration or Thousands Standing Around, depending on your point of view - which runs those security checkpoints at American airports. I may fear the IRS, and I may dread the DMV - but for sheer bureaucratic stupidity and its affront to personal liberties, the TSA has earned a special place of loathing in my heart.

And apparently I’m not alone. An Associated Press story this past December on MSNBC’s website is titled, “TSA draws travelers’ complaints: Security screeners are the most familiar - and hated - face of government.” The story notes that TSA receives about a thousand complaints about its operations every month - which doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the number of Americans who quietly seethe at security checkpoints but don’t waste their time filing a formal complaint. Deaf ears and all that.

TSA spokeswoman Ellen Howe, however, bristles at the criticisms leveled at her agency, insisting her screeners “are on the front lines and they deserve our respect.”

No, they aren’t, and no they don’t. From a December 2007 story by Reuters:

“Airport security lines can annoy passengers, but there is no evidence that they make flying any safer, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday. A team at the Harvard School of Public Health could not find any studies showing whether the time-consuming process of X-raying carry-on luggage prevents hijackings or attacks. They also found no evidence to suggest that making passengers take off their shoes and confiscating small items prevented any incidents.”

The story notes that over $5 BILLION a year is being spent on airport security operations and that the vast majority of items confiscated by screeners are cigarette lighters - which at one time were deemed by the TSA to be extremely dangerous, but now are OK. Toothpaste and deodorant are apparently the new weapons of choice by the world’s most vicious, cold-hearted terrorists.

Meanwhile, TSA chief Kip Hawley says his agency is deploying new screening techniques to make the sheep…er, people…in those long lines “calmer” and not “so tense.” The AP reports that Hawley claims new “behavioral observation and document checking are proving to be the most successful in rooting out would-be terrorists.”

Oh, puh-lease.

“Behavioral observation” is nothing more than a cover-your-butt smokescreen to deflect criticism by human “rights” goofballs that TSA agents are “profiling” someone. When a 23-year-old named Mohammed is pulled out of line for additional screening, the screeners can claim he was “acting suspicious,” a totally subjective assessment, rather than note that he looked just like the 19 guys who flew planes into the World Trade Center. Let’s get real here.

But I can now attest from personal experience that these new “behavioral observation and document checking” procedures to root out would-be terrorists are a crock.

My family and I – which means all three kids, including the baby - were returning home from vacation last week and dutifully filed in line for the ol’ “Papers, please” routine at the Honolulu airport. I handed our five boarding passes and our ID to the lone TSA guy who gets paid to look at boarding documents and, according to TSA chief Hawley, use them to root out would-be terrorists every day. But this genius couldn’t find any of our names on the boarding passes and handed them back to me, demanding that I show him where the names were.

In the meantime, the line behind us was getting longer and longer and the folks in that line were getting tenser and less calm by the minute. Finally, I find where the names are located on the boarding passes and hand them back to (offensive term deleted).

We’re finally approved to move to Phase Two of the front-line against terrorists, much to the collective relief of those behind us. Off with the shoes and belts. Out with the laptop. Oops, almost forgot to remove my keys from my pants.

One-by-one we dutifully file through the metal detector, miraculously not setting off any bells or sirens. Whew! At least we can now put our clothes back on, head for the gate and grab something to eat before the flight, right? Not.

Apparently there was something in our “behavior” and/or our “documents” which triggered the crackerjack TSA security guards’ suspicions. Yes, a middle-class white family with three young children, including a 16-month-old baby, returning from vacation set off alarm bells in some bureaucrat’s mind. So we were instructed to move to the side for “enhanced” screening while all of our carry-on bags, including the baby’s stroller, were hand-inspected.

Out of morbid curiosity, I asked if this was simply a “random check” that we’d been so lucky to be honored with. The terse reply from the agent on the front-lines of the war against terrorists was a simple, “No.” So our selection couldn’t even be explained away by the stupidity of random selection; these people intentionally singled us out as a potential security threat.

(Offensive term deleted) then proceeded to get a female agent to pat down my wife and two daughters before feeling me up-and-down himself. At which point my wife was instructed to hold the baby out with outstretched arms like Rafiki did with Simba on the rock ledge in “The Lion King” for a pat-down.

In the meantime, another crackerjack TSA agent was busy rifling through our carry-on bags, and lo and behold, he caught my wife trying to smuggle onboard a tube of skin cream which exceeded the federally-mandated 3-ounce limit. (Offensive term deleted) informed us he was confiscating the potentially lethal tube of Lubriderm, much to the relief of the other passengers standing in line who clearly were worried it might be used to send us all to a watery grave in Davy Jones’ Locker somewhere over the Pacific.

With one of our bags now 5 ounces lighter, we finally were allowed to leave Checkpoint Charlie and proceed to the gate. Now for the kicker.

When we finally get home and unpack, I discover that the girls had inadvertently packed a pair of metal scissors they found at the condo where we stayed in their carry-on knapsack. Neither the TSA’s expensive, super-sensitive X-ray machine nor hand-inspection of the bag detected this pair a metal scissors - but they did find the Lubriderm! Don’t you feel safer now?

I’ll leave you and this topic (for now) with the following CNN story, which came out on the exact same day of our latest thrilling experience with the TSA:

“A passenger who went through an airport security checkpoint — before remembering that he had a loaded gun — is facing charges after going back to report his error, authorities said.”

So a LOADED GUN and a pair of metal scissors can make it past professional airport screeners, but not a tube of skin cream? And once the guy realizes his mistake, HE gets charged with a crime for reporting it? Unbelievable.

The real crime here was perpetrated by President Bush and the idiots in Congress who foisted this asinine airport security regime on the land of the free and home of the brave. And for all the dolts out there who mistakenly think this ludicrous and ludicrously expensive TSA crud is needed to make Americans safer, I can only refer to you the immortal words of founding father Ben Franklin: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Case closed. Next. Papers, please…

Jack said...

I wish there was a way we travellers did not have to walk in our stocking feet in the inspection area. It seems so unsanitary. Perhaps there is a santizing and safe chemical that could be put on the carpet. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

How does one go about getting compensated for the pain, suffering and management of the ring worm I picked up walking on the same dirty carpet thousands of others have?

PS. Based on the past history of tsa I do believe this will be held against me.

Anonymous said...

For the most part TSA does a good job of moving passagers through security zones. My ony complaint is that their staffing does not meeting flight schedules. For early morning flights only 1 gate is open causing long long lines.

Anonymous said...

Why do airport staff and airline crews get to cut in line? Why don't they just show up for work on time like the rest of Americans are required to do? There is no reason for this, and it is frustrating for other travelers. The attitude that the "planes can't fly without us" is ridiculous. The reality is the planes can't fly without the passengers! TSA and the airlines do have jobs to do, but must also keep in mind that the customer is always right. Thus, try to implement policies consistent with this behavior.

ajt said...

I fly quite a bit and I believe that the TSA should have been in place decades ago. They do quite well considering the people and baggage they have to deal with. I do however wish they would enforce the carry-on sizes. I feel the larger the bag that goes through the security stalls with people distractions, the more that can be snuck though in small amounts and possibly assembled to be lethal. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I’m a frequent business traveler. I don’t mind the liquid rules… or the shoe rules or any of the other restrictions - though I am very aware that this is all mostly a bit of theater designed to reassure the flying public, while the real danger (checked bags) remains at least partially unaddressed. My biggest gripe is the express lane for first class passengers. I can understand why an airline’s customers, who pay more, should expect better service – FROM THE AIRLINE.

But why should they get better service from the TSA, who are paid for by EVERYONES tax dollars?

Not only is this unfair, it creates at least the impression of collusion between the airline AND the TSA. A government agency can’t protect BOTH the business interests of an airline, AND passenger safety, without a very real conflict of interest. Just ask the FAA.

Anonymous said...

I travel with a disabled partner. I am also 66 years old. We are required to remove out shoes to go through security. I asked why there was no place to sit to remove our shoes and I was told "If we provided a bench, people would sit on it". That answer was totally unacceptable and I think we deserve better.

Anonymous said...

I will join the ranks of those who are informing the TSA about the rude behavior of the screeners. Is this a newsflash to anyone? I sincerely doubt it. (Please do not say the screeners get it all day from nasty passengers that is why they are so curt.... if you can not handle the job quit..... there are many in line for your job)

I read through much of the entries, which are from frustrated passengers and NOT the TSA answering any questions. Oh... they did say come back friday for 3 canned responses...

I get the impression those managing this site listen to us as much as the screeners show any customer service qualitites

Anonymous said...

As a traveler and an airline employee, I say take as long as you need to screen. I want the focus to be more on the qaulity of the screening rather than how many people you can get through in a minute. I think most people have come to terms that you need to get to the airport early. I would gladly give up 30 minutes of my travel day to feel safer.

thduggie said...

I just flew from Washington Dulles to Tokyo Narita and discovered on arrival that not even the elastic straps that hold things in place were closed again by the TSA personnel that opened and checked my suitcase. This adds to a longish list of little grievances: broken plastic hooks and torn rubber elements on my suitcase interior along with small items lost upon arrival make me wish TSA agents were a little more careful. I'm sure they operate under great time pressure and other pressure, but I for one am beginning to worry about my luggage more than about flight security.

Anonymous said...

What we are experiencing is a shift of the government from being of the people by the people to one that overrides the peoples rights. Since 911 we have lost more rights then at any time in our history. We are no longer a free people who run the government but rather we have a government that rules the people. The idea that we must give up some rights to have national security is exactly what every oppressive government around the world has claimed.If we really want to make this country more secure then we have to deal with those who want too attack us, not our own citizens. We need to close our boarders, put in prison all illegals and when they complete their time return them to their country.

Steve Zytkovicz said...

I fly all the time! And usually I find that there seems to be a lot of TSA agents standing around wasting our tax dollars.

Usually there is one agent helping you put your stuff on the belt. One letting you go through the metal detector with one standing in the background watching. One watching the monitor with another by helping the monitor and helping the unload area. Still another 3 standing around by the exit area just talking! This is crazy!

To top it off you have only ONE LINE for everyone to go through the metal dector!

This is our tax dollars at work.

Fire all the ones that our a burden to the tax system or open up ALL lines.

Anonymous said...

I am a 6 times a year traveler and have only limited amount of flights to discuss. I can accept the security as a precaution for the people on the plane and ground below, but I really object to be treated as a criminal as I am going thru the security. As a business owner myself I have gone thru people in my workplace that are not people persons !! I would work on the hiring policy for these positions to help the stress of traveler for your customers.Indeed we are YOUR customers. Keep up your good intentions. It is working

Anonymous said...

I am a 58 yr old grandmother, Blonde, blue eyed, retired nurse..WHY do I get searched alllll the time??? Everytime I am in Florida especially..I can't even check in early because I am "flagged" by security this ruins the trip for everyone I am with especially on airlines where it is essential to check in early to get a good seat since seats are not assigned. Can anyone tell me what to do about this? Last time I was put in the "bomb" booth! I've never been arrested, I've only gotten one ticket in my life...what gives?

eldee said...

I have suggestion about water/liquid restriction. I find that it makes no sense in throwing out bottled water or having us to discard the water first from our own bottle. If TSA is suspicious that the liquid is flamable or explosive, why not have the person drink the water to prove that it's a drinking water? For other cases such as lotion, after shave, etc, just have the person test it on them (apply to their skin, etc). Besides, TSA have that chemical detector anyway, right?

Other than that, I don't mind taking off my shoes, taking out my laptop, etc. I realize that TSA is trying to make our flight safe. I do want to arrive at my destination in one piece. :)

ceruti said...

Some government employees in various department of the executive branch, such as DoD and DoE have high security clearances. The government already has paid to clear them and Pres. Bush has mandated better information sharing among government agencies. Why can't federal agents with clearances have them sent to TSA who would maintain a database on cleared and trusted travelers so all these travelers would have to show is their ID with embedded electronic clearance information that would be checked against the TSA database? Then they could and skip all the screening designed to catch people who are at the opposite end of the trust spectrum. It would streamline the process for all travelers not to have everyone wait to screen travelers who are already PROVEN to be honest, loyal and trustworthy. It also costs less for everyone. Time is money. First, try out the system on government agents and if it works, it could be extended to cleared contractors or anyone else who wants to pay $25,000 and wait over a year for a background investigation.

Anonymous said...

Why does the TSA cover up serious allegations such as the time I reported a man go through an exit lane without being screened? Just because someone is in a military uniform they still get screened right?

Anonymous said...

As a frequent traveler I would find it most conveinent (and rewarding) to have express lanes for those of us who carry nothing or just a laptop/pocketbook to board a plan. This would benefit TSA as well as it would lessen the amount of items to be screened at the gate area. Those whom must bring all the other items should wait in a longer line to be screened.

Anonymous said...

I sincerely hope this forum helps TSA officials see that many travelers, including myself, see the agency as "Thousands Standing Around" rather than the "Transporation Safety Administration." And, unfortunately, the qualified individuals who really have a desire to maintain safety get a bad name because of the majority that are not qualified. TSA should be made up of highly trained, appropriately compensated American citizens who take this job very seriously. The job requirements for all TSA employees need to be stringent, training must be exceptional and background checks should be thorough--just as they are for air marshals and federal flight deck officers. Instead, many of the airport screeners (the most visible of jobs with the TSA) do not receive extensive and ongoing training in the areas of security, professionalism, crisis management, etc. If our country is serious about maintaining security, it is critical that government agencies such as this reevaluate the current status quo.

Anonymous said...

As a Federal Employee traveling under government travel orders and/or government travel orders and diplomatic passport. Why do I get singled out and searched? It does nothiing but draw unwanted attention to me.

Anonymous said...

I think what the tsa does in general is a great thing for all of our safety but I would Like to know why the staff does not treat people with the respect that they get from people oh I know some people of the public are idiots but if you treat a staff member with respect and are nice to them why don't they do the same back for a major example My Wife is the niceist person in the world she treats everyone very nice and with great respect but every time she has flown your staff treats her so bad and disrspectful it is really starting to make me mad she has a hip replacement and every time she goes through the detector of course it goes off and then they ALWAYS YELL AT HER I mean YELL and treat her worse then a dog like shes some kind of crimminal WHY?and her purse has been totally ignored by the staff anyone could just take it and if she asks the staff to get it they YELL and say it will be just fine she had to stop 1 person who took it once already and that is just not right with the way your staff treats people its no wonder people get upset with you if came out of your safty zone and treated her like that in the general public even though I am not a violent person you would not be standing there acting that way very long
act like cowards in your safety zone and treat people like dogs ITS JUST NOT RIGHT

Anonymous said...

I fly a lot for work and always have something to drink with me. If I can take a drink of something before I go through security, what chance is it that the liquid is dangerous?? This is the most completely frustrating and dumb rule ever. And becuase one man tried to use an explosive device in a shoe, we all have to take our shoes off to be scanned. Seriously??? I mean, How often have we seen something like that repeated? It's now a ridiculous step that we have to take because the TSA thinks "they're" going to try that again! WHY WOULD SOMEONE TRY THAT AGAIN??? Every shoe is examined now. Seriously, the TSA rule makers need to get a little more oxygen to the brain and say to themselves, "Hey, should we stop treating the Americans like severely retarded people?" "Yes, I think we should." "Well, why don't we stop doing that pointless shoe scan for starters"
-See!! See how easy that was? Sheesh, I mean, come on people. If the Coke Zero I bought 2 feet away from the security line is soooo dangerous that I can't take it through, maybe that whole part of the pre-security line airport should be shut down. Apparently they're selling highly controversial liquids!!

Anonymous said...

I think that the TSA needs to look more closely at the locks they cut off. Even though it was a TSA lock, it was still cut off at the Dayton Airport. I even told them it was a TSA lock.

Dennis "Live Free Or Die" said...

I travel just about every week, and my biggest problem is consistence the screening is not the same at anyone one site. Also does the 85-year-old woman who can’t walk so well really need the full security check? Some of the checks just are crazy to me. I know I know, racial profiling is not legal. Another thing would be to have professional training classes for the security young men and women since some are not professional at all; appearance is everything in my opinion.

New Hampshire

Craig said...

Where do I start? I felt like I was treated like a criminal. I had to take off my jacket, belt, shoes and was still frisked. The same went for my 3 year old son. Do they honestly think that a 3 year old would have a bomb?
After I arrived home and checked my luggage, 2 locks were broken off of my bags with a THA pamphlet. I would have gladly opened it for them. Why would they do that behind my back?

Anonymous said...

I would like to make mention the inconsistencies that I have encountered at different airports throughout the USA. When I visit my home airport, I know the TSA screnning process and what to expect. Accordingly, I plan for the screening so that I can be as little of a burden as possible. However, when it comes time to return home and I experience the TSA screening in an airport that I am unfamiliar with, I am surprised to find a few inconsistencies. Shoes off, shoes on. Computer bag in a tray, computer bag on the x-ray belt. Take your own tagged luggage to the TSA screening point, someone else takes the luggage to the TSA screening point. When ever I encounter these small differences, I am always shocked at the way the TSA Personnel speak with me as though I am some idiot and I should have known exactly what to do without having to be told. I work for a large theme park in Orlando and I would like to impart the importance of training the TSA to remember that people are traveling from all over the world and do not know what to expect in every airport. TSA Personnel need to remember that, YES, they will answer the same questions over and over on a daily basis and YES they will have to bone-up their service skills to be a little more patient with travelers. Now, I would like to offer a few TSA Screening areas (instead of relying on the retrofits across the country) within every airport. This custom area/structure should be consistent no matter what city you are flying from. At least when I walk into a post office, I pretty much know what to expect and what to do. Suggestion number two: Install digital, tourist proof signage that CLEARLY outlines what a passenger will be expected to do during the screening process. i.e. take out your lap top and put it in a tray. Put your computer bag on the x-ray belt, etc. These signs should be EXACTLY the same from airport to airport. Let me end this long post by stating that I DO appreciate the efforts of the TSA. I just want the opportunity when I travel to make their jobs a little easier and less complicated for myself.

DJBoomerang said...

As a Vietnam Vet and a Comercial Pilot, I have a security sugestion.I call it the Black Box System. Since detecting equiptment varies from airport to airport, every pasenger is led into an enclosure (oversized porta-potty), then any real machine screening is done, but also lights, fans, humming noises are experienced(like a Disney ride). For a small cost, The potential terrorist won't know what test equiptment is at what airport, and will be more afraid of beating the system.

Ano said...

In early February my mother flew from Orlando, FL to Philadelphia, PA and back. This was not the first time she had flown or the first time she was treated poorly by TSA officials. She is completely ambulatory, fully sighted, and has excellent hearing. She has, however, had 2 hip replacements and 2 knee replacements.

I contacted the TSA in regard to her treatment back on 2/15/07. I could have better spent my time talking to a wall or empty chair. There was NEVER ANY FOLLOWUP. Not with me, not with my mother, not with the sister that traveled with her and witnessed this.


“As the medical implant industry continues to expand--an estimated 20 million to 25 million Americans currently have pacemakers, artificial joints, and other implants, and they are using them for longer periods of time as the human life span increases.”
Retrieval, Analysis of Medical Implants Will Improve Outcomes
Family Practice News, Feb 15, 2000 by Heather Lindsay


“I hope somebody reads this. It used to be stocks and pillory. Now we have TSA for public humiliation. I am one of those who sets off the alarms in the airport because I have four metal and plastic implants in my hips and knees. All have been surgically replaced because without them I would be a helpless invalid.

Boarding in Philadelphia to get to Orlando on February 4th is when this particular set of indignities occurred. I joined the line such as it was that quickly resembled a herd of animals. I took off my shoes, tucked them under my arm. I carried my carry-on bag that contained my purse over my shoulder, and around my neck wore an 8X11 laminated sign that reads, “4 Medical Implants, (hips and knees)” to make sure the passengers around me knew what was going to happen. Experience has taught me that this is kinder than if they think I am carrying a gun when the alarms go off. I had my ticket and boarding pass in one hand and my picture ID between my teeth.

Each member of the pressing herd had to obtain a plastic box for themselves to put their things in for the X-Ray. They were piled high and stuck together, not easy with things in both hands. Then I went through the cage and the alarms went off. I was immediately separated from my shoes and bag and my traveling companion and taken to the cordoned off enclosure. My “attendant” was named Shawn, according to her name badge. It was very noisy and she began telling me, six inches from my face, all the things she was going to do, almost yelling, and as if I didn’t know the procedure. Sit down on the chair, raise your feet, she wanded each foot and leg slowly, before she commanded me to stand up and assume the position of spread legs and outstretched arms. Three times she patted me down, and found the hooks in the back of my bra, my watch and bracelet, my necklace and earrings, and I am sure she knows if I have fillings. Yes, she found my implants and also learned that you can’t feel them from the outside of my body. This process took nearly ten minutes and all the time she was jabbering away with her canned running comments. Right there in front of God and everybody.

To say that I didn’t enjoy this process is an understatement. This whole procedure is so humiliating!

Do I feel safer? Not a bit. I feel that my personal dignity has been unnecessarily violated in public. I feel degraded. I am a white woman of 75 years, not frail but able to travel. I feel resentful and angry at having to submit to all this and believe there must be some kinder way to accomplish safety in the air. There is always the implied threat that if the victim complains or refuses to comply with these demands that police will be summoned and they will be escorted away and thrown on the street. A little authority creates many petty tyrants. Nobody likes to be in such a forced situation.”

So, there it is. This is NOT the first time my mother has been abused by the TSA. She has had her clothing pulled up or down by TSA staff "looking" for her implants. She has had TSA staff PROBE her (not just pat down) looking for her implants. (By the way, some implants can be pushed out of position by pushing on the area.)

I understand that air security is important, but so is human dignity.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I am a frequent traveller (30,000+ miles/year) and quite proud of how seriously the TSA takes security.

In the last few years I have travelled to the UK, Europe, Middle East and Australasia. The US has by far, the best screening I have been through. After going through "security" at some major international airports outside of the US I am often a little scared to get on the plane!

Keep up the good work. Thank you for taking our seccurity seriously.

sam said...


finally a place to tell the US government that it is searching US citizens who live abroad simply because they live abroad: without warrents and in targeted searches that result in damage to property, embarassment, and in clear violation of constitutional guarantees of the inalienable human rights... such as the right to freedom from unreasonable search and seizure...

the last four time i have flown into the US my checked baggage has been searched on each occassion(twice with the result that items from my bag were either lost or broken with no clear means for providing suitable replacement or compensation)

in particular the last time i flew in (knowing that my bags were going to be searched) i didn't check any items, but carried only a small travel bag with a few changes of clothes...

on this occassion i was pulled aside by armed gaurds and asked a series of invasive questions and my bag was serched without my permission (albeit this time in my presence... and yet with a verbally lodged protest that the search was not random--to which the armed gaurd responded "you're right, but you've been out of the country so long..."--but precisely targeted)

just another thought for you... i don't mind taking off my shoes to put through your x-ray machines... but the very first question you ask me when i try to enter my own country is "have you been walking in dirt?"

do you think maybe you could provide some slippers?

I mean, that is, as a matter of course, the norm for most of the civilized world... in airports from europe, to africa, to asia when they ask me to take off my shoes, they provide me with a pair of slippers so i don't have to walk in the dirt of a foreign land...

but at home they tell me i need to buy my own.

you are the people who want me to take off my shoes, why don't you provide a reasonble means of doing so without soiling my body... why should i have to carry slippers at expense to me, halfway around the world so that you can be satisfied that i am not carrying a bomb in my shoes?

couldn't i just as easily put it in my slippers, and wouldn't your official armed gaurds want to x-ray my slippers as well? again leaving me standing in the dirt?

seems to me the obvious solution is for you to provide resonable footware to those you request to remove thiers.

but hey what do i know... except more than most of the tsa's "highly trained" first line of defence in a terroist attack...

on my last trip home i was flying next to a teacher coming home from micronesia, an armed guard stopped him the moment he said he lived in microneasi... doesn't that belong to us?

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