Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wow! What a Response (Commenting Disabled)

Wow! The number of comments on our blog has been amazing. Many of the posts during the last 24 hours are exactly the types of questions we hope to answer and the conversations we hope to begin with the traveling public. Some have been downright mean and cranky but that’s okay too. For most people, this is the first chance to reach out directly to TSA and tell us about your experiences and we very much want to hear from you.

Frankly we’ve been overwhelmed with the number of response we’ve received, more than 700 comments at last count, and comments are still pouring in. Several of you have suggested a format change to go from a laundry list of: shoes, cranky officers, idiotic rules, you guys sure try hard…, stream of consciousness diatribes to a more logical way of collecting and hopefully shedding light on many of the things that passengers want to know.

Well we’ve heard the comments and we’re making the move. Later this afternoon you will find several common questions or topic areas that have been raised and are on the front of all our minds like shoes, ID requirements, liquids an others. This list will evolve as this blog does and we’ll be posting answers, thoughts and comments on each of these topics on these pages.

Because of the software we’re using to run this blog, it’s up to you to post your comment on the right page, in the correct topic. Today we don’t have any way to move posts from one place to another so we’re relying on you to post in the right place. If it’s not posted under the right topic we will not be able to move the post. Because we have more than 700 comments on the Welcome post, we are closing the comment feature there. Even though that post is not longer accepting comments, we still welcome your feedback and thoughts here.

In the spirit of transparency, we plan to note how many comments we've rejected and tell you why. Mostly the rejected comments include profane language, political rants or abusive posts that we just can't print, and some are completely off topic. Other than these, every post will go up as written and we will continue to operate this way.

Thanks again for the great range of insightful, sad, humorous, outrageous comments. Keep them coming and we’ll do our best to try to keep up.

Evolution Blog Team

electronics in flight said...
electronics in flight said...can someone please explain to me all the fuss about having all of your electronics OFF before we leave the gate?

A good question. Actually it was found that cell phone signals, specifically those in the 800-900 MHz range, did interfere with unshielded cockpit instrumentation. Because older aircraft with unshielded wiring can be affected, because of the possible problems that may arise by having many airborne cell phones "seeing" multiple cell phone towers, and because of all the electronic systems in a modern airplane that would have to undergo lengthy and expensive certification, the FCC (via enforcement through the FAA) still deems it best to stay on the safe side and prohibit the use of cell phones while airborne. It should be noted, though, that such a prohibition is being lifted in Europe.And while I'd like to take credit for that rant...all credit goes to The Mythbusters (with a little help from Wikipedia).


How about Booties?
In response to anonymous who would like booties for their feet…
I understand your concern on the hygiene issue. While part of TSA’s mission is to promote great customer service the reality is that customer service in aviation is a partnership between the airport authority, the TSA, and the airlines. While I speak only for my airports most of them do in fact provide some type of ‘booty’ to passengers as a customer service enhancement. Those who don’t provide footwear ensure the cleaning crew cleans those floors regularly.
My recommendation is to start with your airport and explain your concern to them…the same could be said about having plastic baggies at the checkpoint for folks who forget to bring them to the airport. The airports also care about customer service and sometimes a gentle reminder goes a long way…



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brody said...

I don't understand how ID checks do not provide security.

Maybe the TSA should stop spending money on wasteful things like shoe x-rays and SPOT and should invest in explosives detection equipment.

The fascination with shoes and liquids is causing screeners to fail tests right and left.

Anonymous said...

Although you didn't post my original comment, it's good to see you're reacting so quickly to the realities of running a blog. Maybe there is hope!

Original post:

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

Anonymous said...

Why don't TSA staff at the Memphis airport know TSA policies regarding infant formula? Traveling with my 10 month old twins, TSA staffer tried to confiscate the water I had to make bottles, told me I could buy water inside. All that water is cold and my kids don't take cold bottles. TSA official policy on web site is "reasonable amounts" - one of water bottle per child seems reasonable to me given the extensive wait times associated with air travel. She acted like she was doing me a favor by letting me have one bottle only after another PASSENGER concurred with my recitation of the official TSA role. Additional note - traveled through washington's DCA with the same babies and the same amount of water the same week - no problem. AND the DCA staff were very helpful in getting the babies back in the stroller and diaper bags repacked after inspection. Memphis couldn't be bothered and they were no where nearly as busy.

Anonymous said...

(I don't see different "sections" for posting yet so here it is)

I just want to report a potential security risk. On a flight last year, my mom was able to get on the wrong plane! She only discovered it when another passenger said she was in her seat. A flight attendant then looked at my mom's boarding stub and realized my mom's mistake.

But don't they scan the boarding passes to prevent people from boarding who don't belong there? And to keep track of who got on and who didn't? If my mom was a terrorist, then she could've left a bag or something on the plane before being removed!

It's things like this that make we wonder how secure we really are when flying.

AND I don't mind going through security at all. Arrive early to the airport. Everyone knows that. Don't decrease security measures because of complainers. Just improve it.

ed b said...

It is unbeliveabl that TSA cannot [or will not] provided handicapped people with a card or such that says that I have an artificial hip. My wife also has one!!

Needless to say we are taken aside, wanded, frisked, and subjected to an inordinate amount of wait time. we are both close to 70 years old.

When we go into the 'pen' we are separated from our possessions, camers, jewerly etc. that have just gone thru the X-ray machine. we are not allowed to fetch these to keep them close. This separation has caused use to be robbed on two occassions, and TSA will do nothing about it. They claim that they are not responsible for our possissions. I have now lost over % 5,000.00 worth of cameras, CD players, and jewerly.

Chris said...

The reason that everyone was posting to the Welcome topic is because your software is not 'user friendly' at all and is kind of annoying to navigate.

Anonymous said...

Why do airline pilots have to go through security? We have ID and at some point you have to trust us for what we are. Is our ID not good enough? FFDO's have an ID. Why not get that kind of ID for all pilots?

Anonymous said...

My concern lies between the front doors of the airport and the ticket counters. I have waited in snaked lines of as many as 300 people, all with unscreened luggage, waiting to check in for flights at busy airport times. What's to prevent a terrorist from getting into line to "check in", only to blow themselves up as they wait with everyone else to "check in" for a flight?

I know, nothing. Why isn't this "loophole" talked about more and dealt with in some fashion?

Anonymous said...

Why do I have to take off my shoes, and not my underwear?

Could a potential terrorist not hide more explosives under their boxers, than in their sneakers?

Anonymous said...

Topic is "Body Piercings"
On four occassions now I have been outright threatened by TSA agents with "you are not going to fly if you don't take them out". The number of people with these items must be staggering and the fact that so many are not easily removed should be evident. What is really baffling is on two occassions after wanding and then a physical look to verify that indeed that is what I did have I was made to remove them and once placed in my pocket allowed to board. Does that make any sense to anyone. I am currently in the process of writing a book and have one chapter titled "My terrorist nipples and the TSA"

Anonymous said...

I have some general comments as to TSA I feel generally safer travelling since TSA. But do the TSA people really need to be just plain rude? I'm sure that some people don't treat them the best but my gosh I flew 28 times last year and I don't remember one time that some was even just a little nice. And to those of us that flying remember these people have a job to do and that is all they are doing. But I don't think the screening process really works. I smoke and I know you are not allowed to have lighters so I always try and pack matches but I can't tell you how many times I have gone through security and been waiting for my plane and digging in my purse and one time I had 5 lighters in the bottom. So my question is if I could get through with that what are others getting trough with?

Chris said...

Also, the "approval" process adds a significant time delay and smacks of just plain old censorship. Do you want the unvarnished assessment wtih thorns and all, or do you want the TSA-typical sanitized version? You know, a blog is nice, but when it is designed to filter for a softened version of people's irritation and pain, what use is it? I like the idea of the blog, I HATE the idea of "approval" and "removing the destructive" (What does that mean anyway?)and censorship. One of the ideals that the TSA is intended to help protect is our constitutional rights, yes? First amendment included? Or is that not the purpose of the TSA? Sure the "owner" of a blog is entitled to control who accesses it and what he or she posts. Aren't the tax payers the owners of this blog, ultimately? That being the case, you have no right to censor or display only "approved" content. And, please, lose the 'TSA Poster Children' in the Meet Our Bloggers topic. Gag! These people are NOT the typical representation of TSA employees. And, please, don't even attempt to buffalo me, I've been there. Two years all over the country as a Lead in the MSF ran me by damn few MIT graduates. Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

TSA "random" searches are not actually random. Screeners pick passengers out of line who they feel should receive additional attention based on any criteria the screener feels appropriate. This is not actually random. This policy creates at least three problems:

(1) Bad security - while TSA screeners sometimes pick innocuous people to ensure broad searches, they seldom pick the non-descript. So while, the innocent, grey-haired old lady might get picked because she stands out; the guy who looks like everyone else probably won't. Conversely TSA screeners may be reluctant to pick passengers who meet risk profiles (such as obviously observant Muslims) even in a random search for fear they are engaging in discrimination. For a random search to be an effective security measure, it must actually be random.

(2) Violations of Constitutional rights and federal statute - The TSA's use of screener discretion for "random" searches invites discrimination. A TSA screener who selects every obvious Muslim, every grey haired grandmother, or even every rich-looking white guy has broken the law. Moreover, if they detain a passenger on some other arbitrary, non-random basis such as the passenger talked back, or the screener just feels like stopping him, then the screener has made an illegal search and seizure. Sure you are subject to search if you board a plane, but the law always protects against discrimination and arbitrary government action.

(3) Poor monitoring - If TSA searches are not actually random, than the TSA can never know whether security at a facilty has improved from policy changes or technology, or if its just a random fluctuation. e.g. Did Airport X find more dummy bombs because of a policy or technology change that improved screening, or because the dumb screener who always picked attractive blonde women to search left the job. The statistical quality of TSA monitoring data would improve dramatically if it was based on actual random searches.

SOLUTION: Use random number generators (a $5 circuit) to select every Nth passenger. This will increase security and ensure passengers' legal rights are respected.

Why hasn't the TSA done this already? Because it wants to be able to peform illegal searches based on racial, religious, and political profiles. Eventually bad security or liability from this nearsightedness will come back to bite the agency.

Mr. Paul said...

Ok here is my story. I am in Las Vegas going back home to St. Louis.
As usual there is about 1/2 hour line to go through security. I wait my turn obviously. The man in front of me still has his boots, jewelry, gold belt buckle watch everything still on and he is at the metal detector. Walks through ding ding ding. He makes his allowed second pass and goes through. I am next to go. I look at the TSA agent for his signal to go through. Instead of waving me through he asks if I have anything on the scanner belt. I said no. He asked again same question my wife says tell him your shoes. I say my shoes. At this point it gets ugly. He yells at me I DON'T KNOW WHO HAS WHAT ON THE BELT. I said I have answered your question twice what answer are you looking for? At this time he takes a step towards me and I felt he was going to hit me. So I moved closer to him to lessen the force of the blow. Again he starts yelling about he does not know who's belongings are on the conveyor belt. I told him again(yelling at him as loud as he was yelling at me I HAVE TOLD YOU! The next thing he yells supervisor and everyone is yelling at me to get in the plastic cube. I told them no I did not do anything wrong. The yelling at me got louder so I moved into the cube. Where they decide to teach me a lesson for not having anything on the belt. I get wanded put my arms down they yell put my hands back up and they wand me again and again and again. I have no metal on me whatsoever. So I get a stern lecture about what I DID WRONG??!! So this point I went to the supervisor and asked him explain to me why after giving the TSA the correct answer why did he go off on me. Of course he can't say because we have a little man in a big job syndrome. But that is what is was. I have always wanted thank you TSA people for the professional attitude you had towards me and the correct answer.

Anonymous said...




EverWatching said...

Actually, I'd call them jeremiads rather than diatribes.
But they'll keep coming, based off of public ignorance and bureaucratic inefficiency. I wonder.. are the moderators sharing offices with the number wizards that say that each lane requires only 4.5 people, a full person (and fractional person) less than the GAO originally recommended. Or the ones who help ensure that the workforce will be perpetually underprepared for increasing demands upon them. You can't fight the impact of incredible attrition by training less thoroughly. A "performance" system can't work when you can't keep enough people to fire the incompetant ones either.

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

Can you make space in the topic areas to discuss the TSA policy on breastmilk? Thanks!

BenThere said...

Speaking specifically of Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta, Georgia:

Why not stagger the shift changes of the TSA agents to avoid so many empty security stations at one time? The agents tell us they have shift change together and receive "updates" during this shift change period. Perhaps staggered shifts and paper updates (even have the agent sign in receipt of the update) would be more efficient use of personnel.

TT said...

I'd tolerate a background check. I would happily let authorites see that I have no criminal record, no negative DMV record, perfect credit, no a.k.a.s except my maiden name, etc. But the current security checks? Sorry, but they don't make me feel any safer at all. They're just hassle and wasted time. [You might not want to post the rest of this: I get lots of stuff through security, all the time. I never listen to your rules about liquids or weapons. Coming home from vacation, I got a knife through (a souvenir for my son) and routinely I sneak through water and lotions. I'd be happy to provide more information if that would help. (I'm not looking for money or a job, I'd provide the information free and confidentially). I care about people's safety and about my country. I just know for a fact that the current system doesn't make us safer. I work as a criminal law attorney, and I know that most criminal don't pose a real threat to mainstream society. But that small percentage who do are definitely crafty enough to get themselves and dangerous things through your security checks, especially since I can.]

Anonymous said...

I work for preboard screening at an airport in Canda and I think this blog is a great idea. From my experience a lot of times you get complaints/comments from passengers, but when you pass them off to your supervisor nothing seems to be done. I think because I work in the industry I'm able to relate to delays without being too upset.

I do have a problem with the liquid rule. I understand why it's in place, and I know that having people put their liquids in a bag certainly speeds up the screening process. But at some airports if I've forotten to put a liquid in the bag (I know I should be the last person to forget) they'll check it to make sure it's ok. That's fine, but then thery waste time by puting it in a plastic bag. Wouldn't it be simpler to look at the bottle see it says it's only 2oz and go "that's under the limit and it's not a dangerous good, so it's ok to go."

I also don't think that a terrorist list should be used to bypass certain people from being screend. The travelling public often fails to realize that many terrorist incidents involved people who were unknowingly accomplishes. I remember one stories about a guy who'd put an ied in his pregnant wife's diaper bag and she did't know it was there. If people are just allowed to pass through because they aren't a criminal or suspected terrorist, then such a tragic incident could occur. Also I thinkit's important that all air mail and parcels be screened, they could contain letter bombs. I don't know if that's something you do already or not, but it should be done.

Another problem that happens in the airport I work in is mis commmunication. Often the airlines or stores are told one thing about security when thet rules in reality are different. We'll get people flying through with a prohibited item who say the airline told them they'd be able to take it through security. Maybe the passenger is lying or maybe they were misinformed. But all the airlines should be provided with up to date lists of items that can't go in carry on and checked baggage. That way when someone checks in with a knife and asks if it's ok, the airline can tell them it should be placed in their checked baggage.

Because Transport Security Authority works along side with other preboard screening services, I hope you can encourage other countries to start up similar blogs. I have a feeling that the complaints passengers have are similar around the world.

Another Unsatisfied Customer. said...

No offense to the mods, but in my experience, the level of security provided by the TSA is a bad joke. The TSA is a theatre group, and I feel bad for its employees, who are constantly asked to seize nail-clippers, bottles of after-shave, and breast-milk with straight faces. I can easily see why so many of them seem on edge...I would too, if I knew my job was a sham.

At the same time that I am being asked to remove my sandals(!), hundreds of airport employees are driving up to store entrances outside and just wandering in with pallets of un-checked boxes. TSA "secret Shoppers" are walking straight through the security lines carrying all sorts of concealed weapons. And the richer people can pay extra money to be excluded from the charade. Believe me, I don't feel safe, just annoyed.

So please don't feel that the TSA is just misunderstood. It's poorly run. And it was never meant to be anything except another case of "Closing the gate after the cows have escaped."

Anonymous said...

First, as a frequent flier, I have to say that I've only experienced annoying issues with TSA less than 10% of the time. What I have noticed, however, is that the rules change from airport to airport... it would be fantastic to have across-the-board standardization. I believe that if people had ONE set of rules to remember, they would come more prepared and the lines would be faster. The ONLY gripe I have with TSA (and it's a big one) occured in the Orange County airport as I was traveling with my 5-yr-old. Her ticket was tagged for additional search, and when I questioned the necessity of "frisking" a 5-yr-old, I was told that I could allow the search or be arrested, my choice. Shocked, I relented and allowed my daughter to be searched, which terrified her and caused her to cry. At the end of the search, the TSA agent said "Next time, you can ask to speak to a supervisor and bypass this." Oh really? Wasn't my comment enough to indicate that I wanted to bypass it? Because I didn't specifically use the code word of "supervisor", you didn't understand that I didn't want my child frisked? Give me a break. I was livid, and spent the next hour consoling my terrified child. I think TSA should, when becoming aware that a minor child has been randomly tagged, offer the parents the option of bypassing the physical search. Look through my bags and my daughter's backpack if you want, but I have a SERIOUS issue with a stranger putting their hands on my daughter despite my protest. We teach our kids about stranger danger and then have to say "Well, it's ok for THIS stranger to touch your body." Not cool, and this situation needs to be addressed.

Josh Jones said...

This blog is an exciting development... not only for opening a public dialogue with travelers but for organizations who are leary of using blogs to communicate their message due to the potential for negative feedback and the need to apply precious resources to make the blog successful. Looking forward to how the blog develops!

Anonymous said...

Many problems of TSA checkpoints come down to two issues. 1. They are understaffed for the number of people they need to process. You need to fix that. It pisses off everyone, employees and travelers alike. 2. You've given great power and authoority to employees (with the exception of a small percentage) who have neither personal knowledge or training on how to handle unpleasant situations, and to use intelligent discretion. (Small children on no-fly list, an engineer with something 'computery-dangerous-looking' in his/her luggage, and the all important "You seemed upset about something, so we're detaining you!")
Many of these people have never been in a position of authority, and immediately feel the need to forego written policy that is matched with common sense, and hold this power over the heads of passengers, threatening detention, arrest, and worse. All this over complaints, mishandling expensive technology that cannot safely go in checked luggage (it would be stolen!) and then being offended that the passenger becomes royally pissed when it gets broken.
Choose your people more wisely, do background checks and personality profiles on them. And for crying out loud, train them! Show them what bombs do look like, heck, teach them what goes into making bombs. They'll never again confuse an external hard drive or an art project for a bomb!
And one last thing... while on the subject of bombs: The liquid bomb threat was debunked! Scientifically! Couldn't be done that way! Really. I bet you could read about the studies in journals and on teh internets. Bah.

Anonymous said...

Don't decrease security policies because of complainers, but improve the processes. Maybe a streamlined process for frequent flyer business travelers who can register AT NO COST, so as not to be held-back due to family travel and those who don't know the drill.

Anonymous said...

This is a CNN video of TSA learning on the job. A marshall "sneeks" a fake bomb past screening to find vulerabilites of the system and to enhance on the job training in Tampa airpot.

Anonymous said...

Is there any chance your heroic TSA employees will stop stealing valuables from airline passengers? I thought not and would like to suggest that you advise passengers not to bring cash or loose jewelry through "security checkpoints". I'm sure this won't be approved for posting but the suggestion is serious. I've known several people who've been robbed this way. Among them my mother and a friends grandmother (way to pick on old ladies).

Anonymous said...

As much money that has been spent on TSA, it seems like someone could do analyze and improve the 'terminal side' of the screening process.

A person gets to the screening area, removes their belt, shoes, jacket, laptop, liquids, etc... and then walks through the metal detector/puffer.

When this is complete, all of their stuff has piled up on the 'terminal side' of the x-ray machine and has to be handled again. This appears to be the bottleneck in the process.

I think the public has learned to be better prepared on the outside of the screen which speeds that part of the process up. Now if the 'terminal side' of the process could be improved, it would be greatly appreciated by those of us that are forced to travel frequently.


Anonymous said...

I'm a frequent flyer for business (twice a week). I fly out of Atlanta and am confused as to the (apparently) different rules for employees versus travelers. Travelers are required to remove their footwear before going through the x-ray while airport/airline/TSA employees walk right on through. It's pretty ridiculous considering the incredibly casual ID check those people go through. The checkers examine my ID up and down while anyone with a uniform on can walk right through with barely a glance. Not good.

Anonymous said...

Hi -- I am a frequent traveler, and I always have a laptop with me. I generally don't mind / have problems with screening (I know in advance how to go through with my laptop out, etc.), but there have been a few times, specifically in Chicago O'Hare, that screeners don't seem to understand that laptops are fragile. On more than one occasion, the screeners have picked up the laptop after it goes through the scan and handle it quite rough. One time a screener was even about to toss it to the end of the belt before I quickly snatched it out of her hand!! It is a work-issued laptop, and I cringe at what would happened had she carelessly tossed my laptop. Now I know the job is rough, and passangers are cranky which is why I always try to be kind / patient / polite to the screeners, but I do believe we are entitled to a little professionalism and at the very least, not having personal effects damaged in the process.

Anonymous said...

I recently flew over the holidays and had a nice, leather purse stolen from bag... it had been sitting right where the "Searched by TSA" piece of paper was now resting. It's completely outrageous! As if airline passengers aren't going to notice! The worst part is that there's no proof I had it in there so no one is held accountable. I went to replace the bag and the store manager said I was one of 4 people that weekend that said the exact same thing had happened to them. When is TSA going to be held accountable for their illegal actions??

JohnnyBGood said...

Here is a perspective from a regular traveller to the USA from Europe. Travelling to the US these days for business is very much like travelling to the Soviet Union during the cold war. We have no indication of what is required of us, beyond every single piece of personal information except perhaps our raw DNA. We are treated like animals, and yet there seems to beno clear link between our treatment and actual security.

To be honest, if I could avoid travelling to the US, I would gladly do so. This is very sad, since I like the place and the people very much indeed.

Your perhaps do not realise that outside the US, people do not generally share your perspective on what you call the GWOT. US actions overseas are clearly a driver of terrorism, and yet it is us Europeans who are treated with suspicion.

I sincerely hope the time will come again when we can enjoy visiting the USA, and not be offended and scared by rather over-zealous, aggressive TSA staff .

Anonymous said...

---Lack of consistency
This is my number one complaint. If I knew that all the TSA screeners had the same expectations of me, I would be so much more relaxed going through security. Unfortunately that's not the case. Some require all shoes off, some don't. Some want everthing in a bin, some don't. Etc., etc. Minor things, but multiplied by the thousands/millions of travelers every day/month/year and you've got a whole lot of confused and frustrated people on both sides of the fence.

--Ridiculous ban on small liquids
3oz is ok, but 4 is not? If I wanted to get 12 gallons of liquid in, it would take me, a couple friends (or accomplices) and a few hours. Nothing is secured, nothing is protected by this ban.

Seems like most of what the TSA does in the past few years is only to make old people and soccer moms feel better.

Anonymous said...

I think you should open the comments back up for the other thread. Those were hilarious.

When I fly I always get randomly selected too. I've yet to not get selected. What is that all about? I must be extremely unlucky.

Scott said...

Why is it that when I check luggage, some airports (e.g. LAX as opposed to BWI) require me, after receiving my luggage tags to stand in a separate line to hand my bags to a TSA person for secuirty. It seems totally inefficent both in terms of space and time to have the separate lines.

Anonymous said...

The TSA has done a wonderful job of protecting people from such deadly weapons as shampoo and toothpaste, especially as wielded by terrorist five-year-olds.

This security has only cost billions of dollars of taxpayer money, hours added to boarding time, harassment of people and, in general, the blatent destruction of civil liberties.

I refuse to believe you people are all inept. When virtually the entire scientific community says that the liquid-bomb threat is a joke (as they have), get rid of the ban. Fix the no-fly list. Fire people who invent rules, threaten or otherwise harass travelers.

You know - start acting as though you were responsible to the people who's interests you are supposed to be protecting.

Until you do, you're just going to keep getting hate and abuse and nobody will ever take you seriously. Because honestly, if I was a TSA employee, I would be too embarrassed to admit to anyone.

steve said...

I am still trying to get off your "list" so I can use
the automated kiosk's during check-in.
I done all the paperwork and received a reply
that said this might or might not work.

What else can I do...

Wintermute said...

OK. So the TSA is going to actively censoring their blog comments? I'm sorry, but free speech should remain free, *especially* if it offends. Otherwise, we might as be living in Soviet Russia.

For anonymous (comment # 2), we're complaining about the lack of security but the abundance of security theater. Nothing the TSA has done has actually increased security. Your mother's boarding of the wrong plane proves that.

Freeze_Dried_Brilliance said...

Can you please let Ziploc or someone else sponsor your check points - and in the process give out ziploc baggies!

In San Diego the officers were giving people that forgot their chapstick was in their purse a correct sized bag, in Pittsburgh they were not.

If Ziploc gets to put their signs around and put a message on the baggies you hand out to passengers it would 1. be good for their brand, 2. allow you to provide a little convenience for a passenger that didn't realize lip stick counted as a liquid at one airport but not another. and 3. If Ziploc isn't interested you can use the message spot on baggies to put messages for other brands opening this up to what could be a significant revenue source then you could hire more screeners and shorten those lines!!!!

Clothahump said...

My comment is brief: the only thing the TSA accomplishes is the annoyment and harassment of the paying passengers. Nothing that you do makes the passengers any safer.

Mike said...

Frequent Flyer here...I often have to travel for work with lots of camera and computer equipment as carry ons. I don't mind TSA agents inspecting these, not in the least. But I'd prefer that after they've had their look, they would allow me to repack them, as I've had some agents simply toss very expensive lens, camera bodies, and computer hard drives into my bags without care. I'd be glad to step aside from the line to repack...perhaps they could simply empty my bags, inspect each item, and then ask if I'd like to repack them myself. The equipment I travel with is just too expense to have treated this way. Thanks - for the job you're doing, and for establishing this blog.

EverWatching said...

One more thing (since there are no sections yet)
I'm getting annoyed at DHS/TSA over its division of labor. Far too often, I'm there while a passenger is having his ticket checked, saying "no English" to everything, until "no visa" comes up.. then the screener pulls the magic red marker on them and they're on their way. I thought they were "Federal officers." With the big deal made about the change to "TSO's" from "screeners" you'd think it could mean something. How about their oaths? Shouldn't illegal immigration be reported? Why isn't ICE nearby? If all that is needed is a penstroke by the undersecretary to make any TSA employee law enforcement, with the power to enforce federal laws (as per ATSA) why not at least arrange to have a greeting party on the other end (especially if the arrival point is CONUS). They'd already be at an airport, why not force a transfer onto the next flight out?
(Yes, I understand the legal problems.. but the point is clear)

J. said...

I hope that by seeing the sheer number of negative comments, people working for the TSA take it to heart.

1. If the screeners are so important, hire more capable and educated personnel. Test them to make sure they know at least 80% of the policies of the TSA. Reward and encourage TSA screeners to use common sense.

2. Work with airlines to give the policies and regulations a higher visibility to passengers. Instead of making it fine print, include a checklist of the most important and common policies for the passenger when he or she picks up the ticket from the ticketing counter or in the email for e-tickets. Keep the checklist simple and have it make sense. Make sure all TSA screeners have access to th same checklist at the security screenings.

3. Make it easier to lodge a complaint against abuse and failure to follow policy. Most passengers expect the TSA screener to be rude and apathetic, but when a TSA threatens or bullies a passenger, or is in violation of TSA policy, such complaints should be taken seriously.

4. Make it possible to compliment an effective and professional TSA screener. Provide survey cards for passengers at the gate or on the plane for passengers who request them. Recognize outstanding employees.

5. Give people with special considerations (infants, elderly, the disabled) a special line that they can use. Have screeners who can anticipate the needs and special circumstances and adapt the one-size-fits-all examination to give these people the dignity and respect they deserve. (For example, disrobing an elderly woman in public or patting down an infant while the mother is commanded to hold the child at arms' length seems to be the opposite of dignity, respect, or common sense.

5. Listen to the American people who want reform on some of the TSA policies. We pay your salaries. You work for us. The goodwill and appreciation most passengers initially extended to the TSA has been eroded by mismanagement, incompetent staff, and nonsensical and inconsistently applied policies. Nobody wants another disaster. We all want to feel safer, and we want people out there looking out for us. But the current people and policies of the TSA don't seem to be working.

This blog could be a step in the right direction. Don't dismiss the legitimate anger and frustration and puzzlement of passengers. Reform TSA policies now.

Anonymous said...

I have a real problem with something that seems to be a common place habit with TSA employees.Recently all over the television was a story about a womwn who was dressed to look like a homeless woman at LAX.She went up to first TSA employee spoke to them then that employee left their post along with many other TSA employees to help this woman to skip past an huge line ,which people had been waiting a great deal of time in,and go right thru Security.On the TV there had to have been 6-9 tsa employees.This woman was Nicholette Sheridan,Actress on Desprate Housewives.By the way I have contacted Touchstone Studios,Since I am a considerable Stock holder in the Disney Co. and technically she works for ME.But It`s extremely wrong for people like her and other actors and actresses to have special treatment.They should be told if they don`t want to wait in line then they can rent a PRIVATE PLANE or JET.Everyone should be equal.My money is just as GREEN as hers.And hers comes from mine.And lets not forget all those TSA employees that left their posts to go see and be near this woman.Can you imagine what could happen?I can only think the worst.Your employees are wrong to allow this and errors were greatly made.But this act of "the special people "getting special treatment MUST STOP.Thats what Private planes and jets are for.Please address this with the employees of LAX so I and everyone who has to fly in and out of there can feel safe and be treated EQUALLY!!!!!!!Juli

Anonymous said...

Now that you all have released the steam you had inside you, I think it is time to post useful questions that this site was intended for.
First, I think you guys are doing a great job so keep up the good work.
Second, I usually travel on vacation every now and then and I carry with me my Laptop, Video Camera, cell phone, and a bunch of other gadgets. I recently heard that passengers will be allowed a limited amount of lithium batteries on flights. Most if not all of my gadgets run on lithium batteries and I don’t think I will travel without them. Can you please elaborate on this issue?
Will a traveler with a bunch of gadgets exceed the allowed lithium batteries? If so, what can we do? Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I think TSA does a great job. I recommend 2 things:

1) Always have a place for people to sit down and put their shoes back on after they go through security.

2) In Portland, cars are always sitting unattended outside baggage claim. Sit a tow truck there and have them instantly tow away any empty car.

Bloggulator said...

International terrorism is, fortunately, an exceptionally rare occurrence (in the West): the probability of witnessing, or being killed/injured in an attack of such nature is far less than being struck by lightning, for example.

I have no absolutely no problem, of course, with the presence of an efficient screening system to catch the "common or garden" type of terrorist/criminal who might try something on. The really bothersome part however, is knowing that TSA, (or other agencies) have little power to prevent attacks, by "privileged" terrorists who can evade security systems because they are (a) part of that system, (b) have no accountability to that system, or in some cases, can redirect security efforts so the targets of a prearranged attack are vulnerable.

That is the unpalatable truth: total security is impossible, because certain aspects of human nature (corruption and the exercise of power), prevents it.

Jim said...

Hey There,
I'm a frequent flyer.

Could you explain in your blog the high degree of variability in the interpretation of security?

For example, in Burlington, VT, I was told that it is a law under the Patriot Act that the transparent baggie had to go in a round bin, and could not go in a rectangle one.
I read about another traveller at LAX that was told by TSA that the patriot act made it illegal to wear sunglasses in an airport.
Where do you guys get this stuff?

Anonymous said...

CPAP - I really resent having to remove my CPAP machine from my carry on. This means that I can't pack other items around it in order to protect it. I also also consider this tas a personal item and don't like to expose it to fellow travelers who might then ask obtrusive questions.

Liquids - It's already been stated in several places that the liquids restrictions are a joke. I'm restricted in what I can carry on by the 3-1-1 policy, but over-the-counter medications are permissable and do not have to be in the baggie. Is saline solution in volumes greater than 3 oz. permissable? If not, how is this saline solution different from saline solution used to augment the body? I have boarded a flight in Syracuse with my contact lens solution, only to have it confiscated in Louisvlle when returning to Syracuse. Lastly, the US is one of the last countries in the world to use Imperial measures. Could you please provide the metric equivalents for us visitors to the US? I found one mention of metric measurement on your web site and it says that 100 ml of liquids etc are permissible, yet 100 ml is equal to 3.38 oz. and not 3.0 oz. Also, if I have liquids and gels that are not labeled with Imperial measurements will your screeners let them through? Since they don't consider un-dated (or expired) id's to be valid, I'm skeptical that they will understand that 100 ml is permissible.

Anonymous said...

If someone wanted to construct an improvised destructive/offensive weapon device, it's quite simple using common items.

For example, I can use a ballpoint pen to devastating effect (stabbed into someone's jugular, it will be deadly). How about using Lithium Ion batteries as an incendiary trigger ? Short one of those puppies out with some heavy jewelry and just see how hot they'll get. Or how about using a common CD or DVD, crack one in two, and you have a nice jagged weapon for cutting purposes.

The point here is, all TSA does is inconvenience law abiding travelers. The REAL threats will know how to work around any minor speedbumps presented along the way. It's like gun control. Only law abiding people are the ones who are affected the most.

What's the purpose of having the CAPTAIN of the aircraft run thru security?
He's the one at the controls! You think he's going to smuggle in a gun to hijack himself ???

Sort of like having a Marine (who honorably served his country) coming from deployment being forced thru security as well.

If you present valid DOD ID, or other "vetted" credentials (some of us have active security clearances already investigated over and over by the FBI), we should be allowed to bypass security altogether.

The improvised weapons list is only a starter. Some of us can think of dozens (if not hundreds of more methods).

Security is an ILLUSION for the masses. REAL "bad guys" will do their deed no matter what.

dogfish83 said...

Please generate new ideas for general security screening that allows "documented" non-risk passengers to move through the process faster. Frequent travelers are only able to use the fast track process at a few airports. Searching for the nail clippers I failed to remove from my bag or the 4 ounces of soap/make-up or whatever that I have in my bag is a waste of your time. Inconvience to me is a part of travel. Searching and scanning is fine for me, but I wonder whether it is worth the cost to you or me.

I'll pay for a fast track permit with rules. You would still have the right to spot check or quality control fast track travelers.

Get a better more available process! You have lots of data on bags and travelers. There must be common denominators.

pelted said...

I want to echo a few things. Reinforced cockpit doors solve the problem of highjacking. Done. It's over. Thus, various TSA policies over last few years (ie, at times confiscating people's scissors) seem totally ridiculous. TSA should focus on making sure pilots and stewardesses keep those doors closed from the moment passengers are admitted on the plane. I have seen instances where the door is left open while the plane is loading, where stewardesses open it to give the pilots food, etc. I realize pilots are human, but THAT seems like the weak-point. Other than that, as everybody knows, the threats are: 1) bombs on board, 2) guns on board, mainly because they could shoot out windows, 3) and bombs in the hold. Given threat number three, combined with the fact that the exact threat we saw on 9/11 has been neutralized by reinforced cockpit doors, why are cost and inconvenience concerns over-ridden to check all passengers, but not to check all packages and luggage shipped in the holds of planes?

Concerns like that one lead to the perception that the TSA is only interested in the appearance of security, not in real security. Nobody buys it, and consequently your public perception is abominable. If you can intelligently address concerns like these, without political spin, you will do a long way towards improving public perception of your agency. You'll also make us safer....

pelted said...

Just realized I used the term "stewardesses," rather than flight attendants, implying that they are all female, and being rather un-PC. My apologies!

Anonymous said...

I fly as little as possible because of the haste and long waits for security. Last year I flew and my checked baggage was opened and inspected both ways. I don't like to take a lot of clothes, instead I opted to do laundry where we stayed. The place we stayed was small and advertised washing machines but said they did not provide supplies on-site so I packed one of those single use detergents. On the way there my bag was inspected. The detergent box was opened and inspected and that's fine. Next time please put it in a Ziploc bag or something. When I got to the hotel everything was coated in soap. The clothes all had to be washed and it took about 10 rinses in the tub to get it out of my suitcase, which ruined it. I had to buy another for the return flight.
On the flight home my bags were again opened and inspected. This time the after shave bottle was not tightly re-capped.

I can understand your wanting to increase security at times, but what's with the increase in laundry?

Anonymous said...

I know the majority of folks believe that there is a serious, continuing threat by semi-organized bad people, but I'm not one who believes that. Private aircraft take off every day without the extensive, labor intensive, and downright redundant and humiliating 'security' screening and absurd regulations.

I know your Agency's intent is good, and your screeners are mostly very competent and try to be respectful and upbeat, so do not think this is meant to blame anyone.

Having said that, here is my suggestion and question:

Suggestion: Since the majority of 'selections' for enhanced frisking and snifferpad wipedowns come from airline reservation automation, could you please investigate why airlines always automatically target tickets booked through competing web agencies. It's obvious, having booked online through travelocity and other online agents that some airlines always 'punish' travelers who don't book through their system directly.

Question: Can we please stop forcing people to go through this absurd screening process every time they fly, and, as a previous blogger said, just have a 'known frequent traveller' and therefore exempt line. You still scan checked baggage, but you simply quick scan their carry ons with a wand.

Jim said...

I hope you will post a periodic summary to this blog, or start new topics that are specific to shoes, liquids, etc.

I would like to know why an ID that involves a security clearance or other background check (certain military IDs, the ID you need to get on the ramp to your personal airplane, a Frequent Traveler ID, or similar) isn't already an automatic pass and exemption from screening?

I may be carrying a Leatherman or pocket knife, but I'm already proven by my background to be no risk to anyone else. No more risk than the Air Marshall with his firearm.

Why should the pilot have his luggage screened? Do we not trust him after granting him the license and the ramp pass? Or do we think he's an imposter? He doesn't have to carry anything, just drive the plane into a building. Don't bother checking his luggage.

Some TSA clearance should be persistant, based on a TSA-recognized photo ID or biometric ID. This would cut lines tremendously as all frequent flyers will quickly sign up.

But, if my Frequent Traveler ID is only good at one airport (as they seem to be today), it's not worth the bother and expense to get one.

Anonymous said...

I have a question about photographic equipment which I can't find answered anywhere on your web site. Are tripods and monopods permitted to be carried on to the plane in your carry-on or personal item?

I've seen both of these pieces of photographic gear permitted and rejected at security.

Jay Maynard said...

I truly don't believe that the TSA cares what the hoi polloi think. Their job isn't to make the traveling public secure so much as it is to make the traveling public feel secure so they'll continue to travel. Nevertheless, I'm posting in an attempt to get an answer on an issue that really scares me: Airport screening managers can act in a totally arbitrary and capricious manner and deny people the ability to travel by air, with no recourse whatsoever.

I make my living as a computer consultant. My customers are nationwide, and I have to be able to get there quickly. If I don't fly, I don't work. I have no choice in the matter, despite the standard TSA response of "you have a choice not to fly, so this screening is voluntary".

I got so tired of getting groped by TSA screeners with no explanation of what they were doing - they'd just pull me aside and start running their hands over my body - that I started going through the security checkpoints wearing nothing but spandex. Most of the time, I got chuckles or nods, but the checkpoint managers at Greensboro, NC and Columbus, OH both told me they'd refuse to allow me through the checkpoint if I did it again - and the guy at Columbus went so far as to call the cops, just because he was offended! (They told him I was doing absolutely nothing illegal.)

When I sent a letter to Kip Hawley about the guy in Greensboro, I got a reply from a middle manager saying that I shouldn't do that any more, and completely failing to address my larger concerns.

I didn't even bother complaining about the guy in Columbus. What's the point? After his arbitrary, capricious action, I stopped doing it, because I was scared of losing my job by not being able to travel any more.

Not once did anyone bother to try to explain just why they thought my clothing was a problem. There was certainly no justification offered as to how I was doing anything to impede the security process; I contend that I was making the screeners' jobs easier, by making it obvious to them that I was carrying nothing on my person.

The TSA behaves as though they're above the law and the Constitution, and are totally unaccountable to the average traveler. I don't expect to get an explanation, but it would be nice...

Taeheel said...

I have a titanium total knee replacement and a card given to me by the physician who did the surgery to carry with me to show that I do, indeed, have the joint replacement...but airport security will not honor it. I get held up in security EVERY TIME I FLY and it gets old. The TSA workers at the security check points are quite nice and courteous but frequent flyers should not have to be delayed at the checkpoints indefinitely. I was returning home after the holidays with my 8 year old grandson; as usual, I was stopped at the security checkpoint because of my knee, I am used to that. However, my grandson was told, "you stay right there and don't move," he was not allowed inside the clear walled cubicle where I was told to go. For the next 45+ minutes, I was scanned by 4 TSA workers before they called a supervisor. Had someone really wanted to kidnap my grandson, they could have done so quite easily AND THIS CAUSES ME GREAT CONCERN for, not only him at that time, but for any child in the same situation. We were in a strange place and were separated unnecessarily--in my opinion. I also had a bandage on my left hand (I accidentally lacerated it while attempting to get fresh coconut out of the shell) and they took forever scanning it with those little white patches several times.

The supervisor finally said what ever it was dressed with contained an oxide which was causing their machine to alarm. My grandson was frightened and I was concerned due to the manner in which he was treated. I won't have a bandaged hand next time I fly but I will always have a titanium total knee replacement. The last time I took a trip with my husband, he dropped me off at the terminal, returned the rental car, went thru security and still got to the departure gate well ahead of me.

Is it possible for the TSA to come up with some way of identifing those of us who do have joint replacements and fly frequently, to allow us to get thru security at a faster rate?

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in hearing more about 'trusted traveller' programs, like FlyClear. I'm not sure if there are other similar programs, or if there will be one program that is the standard. It's not very widespread at this point and thus doesn't really seem like much of a value unless you frequently fly between two of the 16 or so airports that currently have those lanes.

Just a thought. Thanks for providing a forum to address such questions.

Madeline said...

My biggest concern with the TSA's policies has to do with liquids. Entirely aside from questions about whether or not banning liquids makes us safer, it's just not clear what constitutes a "liquid."

I do not use many commercial beauty products, which saves me a lot of headaches regarding liquids, but I like to bring my own shea butter with me when I travel. I usually carry it in a 12 oz package, since that's the package it came in. Shea butter, in case you don't know, is solid at room temperature. Nonetheless, I have been stopped and asked to put my shea butter in a checked bag - though not at every airport.

While TSA officials have always been polite to me, I wonder why I am not allowed to carry some solids through the screening. I also wonder why a person would be allowed to carry cheese through the screening - since cheese is about the same consistency which shea butter is.

I wish that these rules made any kind of sense to me. I try to be polite and friendly to TSA officers, who I know only want to keep me safe, but it really boggles my mind that I'm required to do so many nonsensical things.

Anonymous said...

No system is perfect, but our family appreciates your efforts. Thank you for treating everyone equally and ensuring our safety.

Anonymous said...

One of your drones left this.. We cannot be biased and assume that an elderly person is not carrying something on them just because they are older. Every person receives the same amount of screening, no matter what race, ethnicity, age or gender.

Screw the PC crap. Grandma ain't packin' heat, the infant isn't carrying anything except perhaps in their diaper (chemical/biological). For Gods sake how about using some common sense? I've heard first hand reports of your drones throwing away a $1000 worth of Insulin.

Johnny Jihad is the problem. Give us all clubs and I can guarantee that any problems will be taken care of in an expedient manner. Or would that be against their civil liberties?

For Gods sake how about using some common sense? I've heard first hand reports of your drones throwing away a $1000 worth of Insulin.

Anonymous said...

Why does the Orlando International airport (MCO) not allow unformed crewmembers with proper id to carry liquids through the TSA checkpoints, when in fact it is allowed by TSA procedure? Lack of standards frustrates passengers and crewmembers and not allowing crewmembers in uniform to carry coffee does NOTHING to aid security. Please tell the emperor at MCO to get in line with rest of the TSA.

Nebraska Traveler said...

I saw on Fox News today about this blog and thought I’d share some of my experiences and suggestions. A little background info, I am a frequent business traveler (2-3 trips a month) and have come to conform easily to TSA requirements over time since 9/11. I guess it’s easy for me since I know what to expect even before I walk into an airport (arrive 1-2 hrs. before departure, take off shoes, take out laptop, take off suit coat, etc.), but I can see the frustration that new travelers and people who don’t fly often can experience. A few suggestions to TSA that might ease frustrations and tense feelings of those “ripe” travelers would be: 1) Maybe change the TSA attire. I mean come on, you guys look like one step below the FBI or CIA. Get rid of the formal uniforms and wear business casual with your credentials around a lanyard. No need for the fancy shoulder insignia and badges. People are uneasy around law enforcement and it doesn’t make sense to appear that way in the travel industry. 2) Be a little more personable. I’m not saying every TSA person needs to change, but have a standard where you would ask how a person is doing that day, take a moment to strike up a conversation with someone waiting in line. Make it more of a causal setting rather than a cattle drive through lines and gates in order to get to the other side. 3) Try to find out who are the less frequent travelers and help them out. I see families all the time with a confused stare on their faces of what to do, and they are scared to ask questions and face ridicule or punishment. It seems like those people fear TSA and don’t want to do anything to prevent their trip from happening. I know TSA announces what to do while standing in line, but maybe have a specific line for less frequent or new travelers or ask “Does anyone have any questions for us?” or “let me know if I can help with anything.”. Now, after my suggestions I though I’d share some experiences. Last week I flew through LAX and my flight was to board at 5:30 AM. I got to the airport at 4:00 AM and was the first in line for security. However, TSA did arrive and start working until a little after 4:30 AM, and by that time the line for security was well over 100 people long. Not that it effected me, but if I was toward the end of that line and I had a flight departing around 5:30 AM, I would be a little scared knowing if I was able to get through security in time with over 100 people ahead of me. My suggestion is that TSA be ready 1.5-2 hours before the first flight is to depart from the airport. The other experience I have is with liquids. My trips are usually a week long so I need to have more than just travel size bath amenities. I also have contacts which require contact solution. So, for these trips which I usually don’t like checking in my main bag, I check in a small duffle bag with only my liquids. It never fails, I always open up the duffle after I arrive and find a TSA note saying it was checked. As well it should be! If I’m doing it, how many other people are clogging the baggage system with these duffle bags only for liquids. I think TSA needs to lift the ban on liquids or have a better detection system so that passengers can carry-on normal sized bottles and not have to pay more for a small travel size. With that said, I will see you in the airports of America. I’ll be through O’Hare and Memphis on Monday! Safe travels.

John said...

Below is an email I sent to you and your response. This is why you have a bad reputation. I asked a very legitimate question and made a helpful suggestion and received canned responses that didn't have anything to do with my commetns:

--- Original Message ---
From: "John"
Received: 1/31/2008 10:12:24 AM Eastern Standard Time (GMT - 5:00 )
To: "TSA Contact Center"
Subject: Question and Suggestion

First, the question: Why isn't expired identification
acceptible for air travel? I just read a news story
about a traveler who had a problem getting on a flight
because their drivers license had expired and also I
noticed when traveling this last weekend that the
screener also checked the expiration date in addition
to making sure I was the person named on my boarding

Second the suggestion: I have luggage with built in
combination locks purchased before the new screening
proceedures. The locks really don't keep anyone out
but keep the bag from coming open by itself. I don't
lock the bags by spinning the combination before
checking them, however worry that it could lock
inadvertantly. It would be great if you had an TSA
approved combination (since the combinations are
usually settable by the owner), such as "0-0-0" so
that TSA could easily open locks if there was a

Looking forward to your response,



Thank you for your e-mail concerning TSA Approved Locks.

Under this system, TSA screeners are able to unlock and then relock luggage without damage through the use of passkey sets that are available to TSA screeners. These locks are accepted and recognized by the TSA for use at all airports where TSA screening is performed. However, TSA does not approve or endorse this particular product and we expect additional vendors to provide different versions of these "Dual Custody" padlocks to the retail market. While we cannot guarantee that the TSA accepted locks will not be broken during security screening, we do request that you report such incidents to the TSA Contact Center (TCC) so that we can take appropriate action.

Additional information on these products can be found on the Travel Sentry web site at and on the Safe Skies web site at

Please visit our website at for additional information about TSA. We continue to add new information and encourage you to check the website frequently for updated information.

TSA Contact Center
Thank you for your request for information regarding the presentation of identification.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requires air carriers to request a valid form of identification from commercial airline ticket holders over the age of 18.

Part of TSA's requirements are that air carriers request a valid form of identification from ticket holders. While an air carrier is required to request identification, the actual presentation of identification by the passenger is not absolutely required, and there is currently no prohibition against allowing someone on an aircraft without such identification. However, the absence of identification may result in having additional security measures taken against that person, in order to provide an adequate level of security protection.

Security requirements issued by the TSA establish a security minimum for adoption by air carriers and airports. Air carriers and airports may exceed those minimum standards by implementing more stringent security requirements. Refusal to allow a passenger without photo identification to board the aircraft is an example of such differences and is at the discretion of an individual air carrier.

The TSA currently does not require air carriers to request a valid form of identification from commercial airline ticket holders under the age of 18 and we have no plans to require this in the foreseeable future.

ID checks are part of the security measures TSA imposes to ensure that passengers will not endanger the flight. They are not intended to carry out other law enforcement functions, which are the purview of other agencies.

We encourage you to visit our website at for additional information about TSA. All travelers, and particularly those who travel infrequently, are encouraged to visit the section on travel tips before their trip. The website has information about prohibited and permitted items, the screening process and procedures, and guidance for special considerations that may assist in preparing for air travel.

We hope this information is helpful.

TSA Contact Center

am i on the list now said...

I can't stand to see my civil liberties stripped so cleanly and violently in Airports now. You enter an airport and you are no longer a trusted citizen, but a suspected 'terrorist'.
You are now suspected to be a possible enemy of the state. A suspicion lacking any realistic merit, but only conjured to give more power to those doing the suspecting.

I take this power back by avoiding airports and airplanes at all costs. As someone who lives across the country from my loved ones, this is a big sacrifice. Instead of one day of travel to see them, I now have to spend 3 or 4 travelling across the US.

A sacrifice I am willing to make to take keep my liberties close to my heart.

Who Watches the Watchers?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for interacting with the public via your website. It's admirable and very cool -- especially for a government agency.

The "sippy cup" video that you posted online a while back was good to see, in the sense that it showed how much of an overly bad rap TSA tends to get from the public. Prior to the video, most everyone (including myself) automatically believed the woman's story due to TSA's less-than-stellar reputation -- but the video proved her a liar.

So it's good to see TSA going out of their way to interact with "the people", ask for suggestions, answer questions, and even set the record straight every now and then. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

I would like to say that although it is slightly inconvenient to go through all the security checkpoints and have to practically strip down naked to get through. I think we still have a laxed system. On a return trip from Europe I had to endure many security checkpoints that required me taking my shoes off 3 times. I had to first be checked before I even got to the check in counter. Then checked when I got to the beginning of security. I had to stand and chat with a lady so they could take a picture of me. Then My bags were xrayed along with my shoes. Then my bags were searched and my shoes were checked again. Finally I was allowed to walk to my gate. However before I could get to the gate (it was surrounded by plexi-glass). I had to have my bags searched again, my shoes were taken off again, and I was patted down again. So for those of you who complain about our security, get over it. It could be worse.

Anonymous said...

I fly as seldom as possible. If the trip can be managed as a pleasant drive, so much the better. Curtailment of air travel for pleasure is not terrific for the airlines, as recent news stories mention.

I'm not happy with TSA policy, but am also reluctant to go into detail, even anonymously. Even if more comfortable with talking specifics on this forum, I would not likely be able to elaborate absent any kind of at least peripheral political context any more than I can swim without water. There's your catch-22: this forum's rules will prevent any truly open and honest exchange with those who believe -- and again, I must self-censor, lest I speak politically. Get the picture?

Anonymous said...

People want actual security, not security theatre.

Anonymous said...

It's this simple:
NOTHING TSA has done since 2001 does anything to protect us whatsoever. All it has done is created a new class of handlers to abuse us in the airport and keep us paranoid.

The current TSA policies are unAmerican. I do not live in fear.

Anonymous said...

How is this site's comments/suggestions etc. being presented to the TSA? Is there a timeline (On March 31rst we will take your concerns to...???).. or is it an ongoing process? What department of the TSA is "in charge" of this website? What's the accountability factor here (if any)?

P.S. When I go thru the line before I hit the Scanning machines, someone checks my ID against my ticket stub and with a ball point pen either puts their initials or a simple circle to indicate the ID has been verified. Usually (@SeaTac anyways) the lines backup ad they bring additional people to check the IDs... they are placed a few (say a dozen) people back from the final ID checker, they also make the little circles and initials... It's easy (seen it done twice) to make your own circle and proceed to show no one your ID. You still have to go thru the detectors, and have a ticket so it's not a big flaw, but one I've seen personally done.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you guys hired a great PR firm to handle your blogging.

Anonymous said...

I was an airline pilot for 30 years and I always carried my tiny Swiss Army knife with the scissors,tweezers and toothpick---until 9/11 when it was confiscated at a checkpoint while I was in uniform.I still miss having it with me when I travel. Can't your highly trained and motivated screeners, some of whom are American citizens, be taught and trusted to discriminate between a Bowie knife and a gentleman"s accessory? I think one could do much more harm with the permitted sharp scissors, screwdrivers and knitting needles.

Anonymous said...

I understand security and agree with the majority of it but to have elderly seniors go through special searches because of joint replacement is beyond the pale. The sooner you stop being PC and use the profiling techniques at your disposal to better identify potential terrorists the safer we all will be. Then our seniors can lower their arms to the existing rediculous and demeaning searches.

Cooney (not on a no-fly list) said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mithrandirself said...

Hello, I would like to suggest you not use a blog format as it is a horrible way of garnishing and responding to public opinion. Generally blog's are used to report On an issue, not discuss it. Blog comments are so varied and unorganized its difficult to sort through them all for relevance.

Furthermore, why are you outsourcing your blog to when there is secure blog software systems out there that you could install directly to the .gov site. Why would you want people to feel like they are voicing their opinion to government officials on a commercial (.com) intermediary website?

An alternative would be to use a forum format like (which is free and can be installed on your .gov site directly, which would allow you direct access to everything instead of having to work through an intermediary) and there are many other forum programs that you could obtain via a few minutes of online searches.

A forum would allow you to set up structure and ways for people to respond to certain types of issues. Like for instance, there was a guy complaining about 3 dollars in change falling into a machine by mistake, perhaps that shouldn't be grouped with people complaining they are being harassed by agents.

Also with forums you could set up a FAQ "stickie" at the top of the forum with all the questions that have previously been answered based in that forum.

If the end goal of this website is discussion and education, I think you will find yourself responding to the same thing over and over again in a blog, as new people joining will most likely not search through every previous blog ever made.

Although it is good you are attempting to engage the online community, I feel you would be better served with a different online organization.

Anonymous said...

Why does the TSA score worse in bomb tests than private security in the few airports in the U.S. that still employ them? If the private companies are doing better than the TSA than something has to change (Going back to private ones since it is clear government is incompetent in such big levels).

Anonymous said...

I just don't fly anymore. It is not worth it to me. I was in the Air Force and Vietnam and have never been afraid to fly and wouldn't be now except for the absurd bureaucracy that is TSA. Secure the cockpit, keep guns and explosives out of the cabin AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE and that is ALL that needs to be done. There is no such thing as PERFECT security and there is no point in pretending there is. Read "Beyond Fear" by Bruce Schneier and you will know what I am talking about.

Anonymous said...

How does an arbitrary expiration date change the information provided on a government issued ID? My family was traveling with me and on the outbound trip no one noticed that my wife's driver's license had expired, but on the return trip she was almost not allowed to pass. It was still her picture and the information is all correct.

My brother works for a government agency. He has a picture ID issued by that government agency. However, he cannot use it for travel because it does not have an expiration date. It hasn't expired, but it still can't be used.

Finally, just because the date on the ID is current, it doesn't mean the rest of the data is. After I moved I renewed my driver's license online so I still had my old one. Since it still has a few years on it I use it for my traveling ID so I don't have to risk dropping anything out of my wallet. The picture is the same, the date is valid, but that's about it. Please explain how this policy makes us safer.

Keyser Soze said...

The first time I checked in electronically I uttered the unforgivable LOUDLY.

"This electronic check-in thing

At which point I clapped my hand over my mouth looking HORRIFIED at what I had said IN THE AIRPORT.

Heads snapped around and I thought I was about to get the rubber glove treatment but the security guard looked me up and down, saw my horrified look, glared at me, looked skyward, shook his head, pointed at the gate and said "Go!"

Maybe I'm in the minority but so far I don't think it's been too aggressive or inconvenient and I've yet to miss a flight over it.

If anything sometimes I think things are TOO lax. Make 'em fly in hospital pajamas! No luggage!
Hey, you want REAL security or what?

Anonymous said...

To the guy with the total knee replacement. so all you're saying is that a terrorist or someone else intending to do harm to america (yes, americans do this as well. remember timothy mcveigh?) all they have to do is get a knee replacement and a card and they can be clear to walk through security without having it checked? clear to carry that gun through or whatever else they intend on doing harm with? get real! doctors should not be repsonsible for avaiation security. as a frequent traveler, im glad i get checked and i could care less if you are "inconvenienced". Thats the world we live in.

Avoid Flying said...

My first post never appeared and I assume it was censored because I focused on that very point, Censoring of Posts You Don't Like".

I also criticized the TSA Union and apparently that too is subject to censorship. Oh! Right! That would be Political.

The fact is, the airports with problem TSA officers will find it almost impossible to get rid of them making improvements unlikely.

My thought is rather than censoring the messages, place them in a section clearly marked, "Censored for Cause - Enter at Own Risk". Also a section marked "TSA Union".

The number one action that could improve the situation is "Independent Oversight" and "Instant Removal of Problem TSA Officers".

Anonymous said...

Why are you using a blog for this? Wouldn't a messageboard be a more appropriate format for the type of discussions you're trying to encourage in the previous few posts?

Anonymous said...

I have a question regarding stopping of passengers on "the list". Every time my family flies, we are stopped because my 10 month old son shares a name with someone on the list. TEN MONTHS OLD. I also have a 3 year old, so traveling is quite an ordeal. Yet every time, we are stopped and pulled aside, forced to wait (with a 3 year old and 10 month old) so someone can figure out that my son is allowed to fly. How can I resolve this permanently? Every form is written as the person on the list is requesting clearance, not a guardian.

moses said...

Yeah, I am very curious to see why you're not posting some comments. I posted a comment to the original post, well before closure (at about 9:50AM CST), that was topical (luggage locks, luggage matching, 3-1-1, and more), non-profane, non-abusive, and non-political. It didn't show up. Perhaps my pseudonym of "moses" put you off?

Endroren said...

OK, I'll admit that I'm skeptical about whether posting here will do any good at all. Sorry for my doubt but I figure I will be honest.

Frankly, most of the stuff we're being checked for is pointless. From where I'm sitting it is a lot of effort and unhappiness with no appreciably safety gain.

ID? My friends made fake IDs in their dorm room in college. In Michigan non-citizens have gotten real IDs very easily through bad practices at the department of motor vehicles.

Nail clippers? Pocket Knives? Moustache scissors? I can buy a nice set of non-metal cooking knives for under $100 and stick it in my pants. Furthermore, any person who pulls any weapon on a plane with US passengers is in for a butt-kicking. No need to check for something that every terrorist knows won't work.

Liquids? Plenty of explosives come as solids and yet I never have to turn over my sandwich or snacks.

No relatives at boarding/departure? This stinks. I used to wait with my kids for the plane and it was wonderful. Now I say goodbye and sit by myself for an hour. Sure, the security makes this time-impossible but (see above) what is the point of all the security?

There's more but I'll leave it at that. And I'm afraid that now that so many people's jobs depend on this system, that we're stuck with it.

whitewater said...

I retired as a Navy Captain after 30 years service. I had and still hold have very high clearances. Why can't TSA take advantage of the Background checks and service commitment to develop an acceptable risk list, instead of just a "no Fly List". In many cases the glass is half full not half empty!!

Robert Krex said...

Still waiting to hear on whether or not the US Passport Card will be accepted for domestic flights for those of us in states that rejected RealID (or for travelers who prefer an ID with less personally identifiable information, but don't want to risk losing their passport book.)

Anonymous said...

I gave up and stopped flying altogether, thanks to TSA. I'm walking disabled and, of all the things I have to deal with in my life now, airport security was the worst of the avoidable ones.

I walk with a cane, but standing in line for an hour puts me in nearly intolerable pain. I've seriously considered switching to a wheelchair or scooter just to deal with this one issue.

Once I finally reach the checkpoint, fully half the time I have to spend a couple of minutes arguing about my need to be hand-scanned. It seems these noble government workers resent taking the extra time to hand-scan those who need it. The last two flights they tried to make me take my shoes off BEFORE I could be hand-scanned.

"Ma'am, as I said I'm a heart patient. If I bend over long enough to get my shoes off, I'm either going to pass out or throw up. Do you really want to deal with that?"

Then the scan itself takes several minutes. I've had it take as long as ten before I get my shoes back. Ten minutes, out of sight and reach from my valuables. I wasn't flying alone, so my family was able to protect them, but if they weren't with me, what are the odds my stuff would still be lying at the end of the conveyor?

Congratulations, you win.

Pair-a-Docs said...

First off, let me say KUDOS to the team for instituting this blog. It is wonderful to have a place for people to air their frustrations, and conversely, their appreciations.

After reading the majority of posts thus far, I would like to offer some basic answers to a few of the concerns I hear repeated over and over. I can't address them all, but here are a few of my offerings:

As in any workplace, there will be varying skill levels among employees. New hires will not have the same abilities as 5-year employees. While I might easily recognize an article in the X-Ray picture, and assess it as no threat, another Officer may have no idea what it is. The first times I saw tape measures, micrometers and yes, even a sextant, I had to call for a bag check. Now, I don't.

Please don't assume it's always TSA who is destroying the locks and zipper tabs on your luggage. Have you ever been inside the cargo hold on a passenger aircraft? It is littered with zipper tabs and locks - not the doing of TSA, and not the deliberate doing of the baggage handlers. It simply is the nature of the beast, with stacking, moving, shifting in flight, causing the things that flop around on the outside of the bag to be torn off.

Many of you have wondered why we have to dispose of the liquids, gels and aerosols collected at the checkpoints around the country. I would like nothing more than to see the unopened items donated to our troops, to food banks, to women’s shelters, or to the homeless. Sadly, however, we live in a culture of litigation. How long would it be before someone figured out how to make a quick buck by claiming he/she was poisoned or otherwise harmed by some article donated in good faith by TSA? This is one reason for the waste – liability. The other reason is – if you didn’t bring it in the first place, it wouldn’t be being disposed of by us. Think about it.

I've traveled through or worked in a total of 33 different airports around the country. Each airport has signage posted to inform the traveler of the expectations for screening. Many has been the time I've interacted with a passenger regarding the requirement to remove their laptop for separate screening, with them telling me "I didn't know" while they were standing within 18" of the sign showing the requirement. The signs are there, but they're not being read. The videos that play in some of the airports are very specific, but they're also not being watched. The information is there for your convenience, if only you would utilize it. At the same time, I understand that airports are centers of information overload, and the average citizen tends to not be overly observant in such an environment. Still – the information is there, so please look around and take it in before assuming we’re not telling you ahead of time what the requirements are.

I personally regret the necessity to give additional screening to individuals with metal implants - knees, hips, etc. But if you stop to think a moment, I'm sure you'll see why it has to be done. If you come through the metal detector and it alarms, and you show me the card from your doctor, yes, I do believe you have that implant. But if I let you go without additional screening, you also could have a gun in your waistband, or strapped to your leg, and you would be cleared to board the aircraft. I'm positive that you would not feel safe knowing that anyone with a metal implant could carry on as many guns or knives as he/she wanted just by showing a card for a prosthetic knee or hip. Right?

I will never attempt to excuse away rude behavior by my peers. There is never a reason to be rude, even if we're being treated poorly by someone. Among the plethora of classes we're required to take, I believe it would be very worthwhile to both us and to you if we could get some good training regarding the differences between assertiveness and aggression. Sometimes it IS necessary for us to be assertive - but it's never permissible for any of us at any time to be aggressive. At the same time… we’re not the only ones being rude sometimes, and as the old adage goes, “It takes two to tango.”

I understand your frustrations regarding the watch list and the SSSS on your boarding passes. It really does no good, however, to take these frustrations out on the screening crew. We have nothing to do with that aspect of the process. We are expected to follow the procedures – nothing more, nothing less.

Security lines take longer to get through if we have to coach each passenger when he/she arrives at the X-Ray and metal detector. “We need your coat and shoes… yes, shoes, and is that a laptop in the case? It needs to be taken out and put in a tray by itself. Do you have any metal in your pockets? Keys, coins, cell phones, gum packages? I’m sorry, but your bottle of water won’t be allowed through.” Then this passenger walks through the metal detector, alarms, and is sent back out to divest. “Do you have a cell phone? Anything else in your pockets? Ahhh… yup, that’s it, here, put your change and cell phone into this bowl and try again.” See how long it took you to read this? It takes longer in real life. This is part of the reason you’ll sometimes hear an Officer yelling out to the crowd – it’s to help remind you of the things you need to do in order to get through the process as quickly as possible, because despite the signage posted, many people arrive at the divesting point completely unprepared. I don’t personally like the ways I’ve heard some Officers yell out to the crowd, and I won’t do it myself, but that’s the reason it’s done. Not to harm or insult you, but to help the line keep moving.

I’ve read some real horror stories here, situations that you have dealt with and how you’ve been treated in your various travels, and I don’t blame you one bit for being angry. Let me offer this to you: When you feel you’ve been mistreated by an Officer, get his/her name. Write a letter very specifically stating who it was (clear physical description if you can’t get the name), the location (which checkpoint, which lane), the exact time, exactly what was said or done by both you and the Officer, and send it to the FSD at that airport. If you don’t know who that is, send it to the head of the airport’s Port Authority, which you can find online, and I can guarantee they’ll forward it to the FSD. Your Epi-pen should NEVER have been taken. Your computer should NEVER have had a screwdriver inserted into the USB port. Metal leg braces should NEVER be required to be removed. These are egregious breaches of our procedures, and deserve to be addressed. Security camera video can be pulled, and the situation addressed with the individuals at fault. But – someone took your toothpaste? I’m sorry, that one’s on you, because the rules and expectations are posted, and have been since September of 2006. You had to surrender your pocketknife? Again, that one’s on you. If you’re following the rules and are mistreated, however, report it. Actions can’t be taken if nobody but you knows something bad happened, right?

Some of you have written about personal items going missing from your checked baggage. I won’t deny that there are thieves, and they are everywhere. They’re in your office. They’re at the mall. They are at the airport. Some of them have worked for TSA, some of them still do. What you may not realize, however, is that the screening of your baggage takes place under the watchful eye of security cameras. Once the baggage is screened, it leaves our hands and goes to the airline baggage handlers, whose job is not conducted under the watchful eye of security cameras. We have your bag for a matter of moments before our job with it is done. It can be a matter of hours, however, before your bag is loaded onto the airplane. Think about it.

PLEASE don’t put gift-wrapped items into your checked baggage!! There’s a good chance they’ll have to be unwrapped, depending on factors that I’m not at liberty to discuss, and they won’t be re-wrapped. We simply don’t have the time to rewrap presents. Put your tape and wrapping paper in along with the unwrapped gifts instead.

Many of you have questioned why some people get singled out for additional screening and other don’t. This video may help to enlighten you as to why at least some people are selected: Is this selection consistent? No. Should it be? Yes, it should.

In closing, let me say Thank You to all of you who help pay my salary. In return for my wages, I am committed to doing the best job possible to keep each of you safe so that you may have the full and long life you deserve. And, thank you for the occasional smiles you give me, the friendly conversation, and your cooperation in a process that in a perfect world would never need to happen. Keep your comments coming, both good and bad, because with your help I believe the world can become a better place for all of us.

fed up said...

Everyone seems to have an issue with TSA regarding searches, long lines,etc. Same is true with the hastles involved in securing a passport now. Instead of venting against the employees of TSA or those processing passports, you should aim your ire at the core problem which brought these situations about: RADICAL ISLAM. Airport and passport hassles basically did not exist prior to the rise of this "disease".

Anonymous said...

Maybe from now on every flight can have a 'sister' flight that takes off at the same time to the same destination. On one plane we can put all of the peole who think airport security is a waste of time (without being screened) and on the other plane we can put the passengers who think screening is acceptable. I would be curious which plane would have more people on it.

Joe said...

I frequently travel internationally, and have dealt with security in many different countries. I can categorically say that I am treated worse in the U.S. by TSA employees than in any other country I've travelled to. Even when I travelled to Malaysia, expecting, perhaps, icy treatment (Muslim country--and we're not doing very well with Muslim countries lately), the security staff were polite and professional.

There's one single thing TSA could improve upon--it's politeness and professional demeanor. Good security does not mean staff need to be cold, jerks, condescending, or contemptuous. I've experienced, unfortunately, all of these. In fact, I suspect that a friendly TSA agent who's able to engage a passenger in a short conversation may get more information to truly help security than being a jerk--thus precipitating jerk-like behavior from the passenger in response.

It's a hard, thankless job, no doubt. And most of us passengers HATE the screening process. But other countries make it far more pleasant and equally secure. Try that here and start hiring TSA personnel based upon their personality and ability to interact favorably with the public. Oh, and really emphasize that as a management priority.

One final thought, I was told in Switzerland when I related a U.S. experience with TSA, that if that had happened in Switzerland the agent would be disciplined or fired. Unfortunately, here in the U.S., it's always the passenger's fault. Until TSA agents are held accountable for better demeanor, us patriotic U.S. citizens will still hate TSA and hate traveling through your checkpoints.

Anonymous Industrial Engineer said...

I'm an industrial engineer that recently started a job that requires a lot of travel around the country. For the most part, security lines have been managable, but there are times when things seem to be very disorganized and/or there are bottlenecks in the process.

How do you develop the processes/layouts of the security checkpoints? Do you have industrial engineers working with you to balance the flow of each step in the process?

If not, you might want to look into it.

(ps- I love my current job, so no, I'm not asking this to try and get you to hire me!)

pojikt said...

Tell me this: why do I have to show ID to fly? Surely if I'm willing to smuggle a weapon onto a plane, I could do as hundreds of thousands of college students and get a fake driver's license. And most terrorists are well funded enough to get legitimate ID. There are even plenty of illegal immigrants who can get fake or legitimate ID.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight. You guys are taking my bottle of water, my dad's toothpaste, and my mom's shampoo, but we've got undercover agents getting bomb making parts and even models of plastic explosives getting through security without a hitch.

What are they teaching you guys in Security School? Oh wait, that's confidential, right?

adam said...

Security is useful, but in order to implement security that solves the problem it means to, you have to understand what the problem is. Put another way, what's the threat model? Who is threatening air travel?

Richard Reid was a bungler, sure, but as others have said, merely looking at shoes through an X-Ray doesn't tell you whether they're explosive or not.

Threat model: explosive shoes; threat detection: examine shoes for metal weapons; conclusion? Ineffective security.

Threat model: explosive liquids; threat detection: limits on volume of liquids allowed per passenger; conclusion? Ineffective security (even assuming that it's possible to make liquid explosives, just send 100 travelers each with the maximum amount of liquid allowed and have them meet up and give all the liquid to one terrorist).

Threat model: knives, edged weapons, etc; threat detection: metal detection, x-ray machines; conclusion? Ineffective screening (but safe), ceramic edged weapons are readily available, etc. But we're safe because cockpit doors are reinforced and the public wouldn't let anyone with a knife do anything harmful post-9/11 anyhow).

And on and on. What's the TSA done to make us safer? Nothing. What's the point? Apparently, what Schneier calls "Security Theater" is the goal. (

I fly 150,000+ miles/year (and have since the late 80s). Flying has gotten more and more hassle-borne since then, and post-9/11 it's become nearly unbearable due to the complete insanity and inane TSA security procedures.

Perhaps, Kip, you can do something useful with TSA. Frankly, I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to this communication effort.

Some comments made me think that perhaps you should also have a "kudos section" so people can post praise or thanks to TSA employees (or airport security check point) who did a good job, were courteous, efficient, etc. Better if the comments could also include the day and the time range because apparently this can be varied depends on the employees on any given time slot.

I also agree with the comments that this kind of communication is better done through a discussion forum software. This allows you to have a better subject categorization and manageable communication.

webdivision said...

This is a topic of great interest to me. You can get through the screening with stuff in your pocket. I hate flying anymore because of the security theater which is totally illogical and stupid. Our government thinks all of us are stupid--yes many are and believe all the nonsense but many of us are more logical.

Here is the solution. If the problem is baggage and stuff, why not fly all of the baggage on a separate plane and pay the pilots great hazard pay. It's unlikely the terrorists will be interested in blowing up a bunch of luggage. Let passengers get on the plane with nothing at all. This has been my idea since right after 911. At the very least don't frisk little old ladies who can barely stand on their own.

The separate place idea could solve most of the problem--so why not do it?

Lance said...

When can we get a National Travel ID card that can be used to verify that we are law abiding citizens who will not harm anyone. This should be able to be done by a background check like the FBI does. This ID card would allow us to go to a different line at the airport for a quick usher through using a metal detector only.

Anonymous said...

My request is for you to publish statistical data of how many people go through the TSA, and how many of those people were found to be terrorists and/or dangerous, and how many were detained and/or arrested?

Everything else is a moot point about how the TSA operates if there's no benchmark to compare the TSA to, no statistical data published about how many terrorists have been caught, detained, or prevented from boarding flights.

TSA screenings and rules are excessive and ridiculous. Not to mention, they don't work. Case in point, I just got back from a round trip flight and noticed while on the plane I had 2 lighters in my bag -- not on purpose, that the TSA security missed from both directions.

Please publish the above requested information, so we, not just you, know how 'efficient' you have been at your job, so we can all feel like there IS a place for the TSA, and that we are not just being harassed.

Anonymous said...

4:48 anonymous:

I have to agree wholeheartedly. Do you know how much more damage I could do to someone with an ink pen vs. your mini army knife?

Anonymous said...

A while back when TSA would open a bag and inspect stuff they would leave a note saying this was opened by TSA. Off late on several ocassions there has been no note left but things have been taken from suitcases of people. This amounts to stealing. It is up to the passenger to figure out if everything made it. Why dont you put a note anymore that something was taken and to contact the TSA?

sph-associates said...

The price of freedom is to remove our shoes and toss our water bottles. If it makes us safer - well, then keep up the good work.

The terrorist have won in one manner - they affected our way of life. We are not as free as we once were. So there is a point on the terrorist side.

BUT we should work at ways to make the process faster. More screener during peak times. The lines at Newark (LIBERTY) airport can stretch on and on - sundays and mondays. SO address these peaks!

And please, the screeners should be friendly. We are not the enemy, we are travelers. Why some guy or gal in a uniform has to bark at us is beyond me? If they don't like their jobs - go elsewhere. They need to recognize that people are stressed at airports - they should help us through... and in the end, they will be more accepted.

BUT consistency is crucial. Although not an airport - there are huge lines to get into Giants stadium - we are patted down... but they never touch the ladies. So any smart terrorist is going to give the bomb to a lady. I seen this dozens of times. and of course, i have my shoes on... if you are not being consistent - then lets us all in!

anyway keep us safe but dont make us seem like criminals - help us through to our destination safely!

Anonymous said...

The comment that you would screen out posts that you felt were unsuitable, goes against your statement that you will be transparent and leaves me with a feeling that ultimately, the only posts we see on this thread will be those which you like, plus some low level 'midly unhappy' ones. (I'll be surprised if this post makes it on!)

Like it or not, it's a free speech world we're living in. Most people do have valid opinions to present and unfortunately the best way that some people know how to present these does not always match what others see as morally correct.

If a swear word or cuss word is in a dictionary, does that make it socially acceptable to use? What words are 'too rude'? Ask 100 people and you'll get 100 answers.

May I suggest leaving "the crazies" and the sailor mouthed comments in for all to see. Readers can form their own opinions on the sanity and validity of the post and will choose whether to gloss over it or not.

Alternately, many blog and forum programs have controls that the moderator can switch on to substitute other words or asterisks for 'undesirable' words and phrases. Perhaps you could investigate that option.

Avoid Flying said...

I would like to add to my previous post.

I am a veteran of many years of Government Service. One thing the government is good at is tracking endless statistical information. That they rarely do anything constructive with all the data is another matter.

I take it as a matter of faith that there are volumes of data tracking complaints about airport screening. Yet litle improvement is to be seen.

I will make an educated guess that every one of the locations with the most complaints are the Union dominated sites.

How about making public that data? Then make public the follow-up to correct those sites.

Please don't cite privacy as an argument for concealing critical data that points to the heart of the problem.

Anonymous said...

I can't express strongly enough my disbelief at the level if incompetence and narrow thinking I encountered on my last experience. I had a pair of surgical clamps in my bag that on x-ray raised suspicion. After two passes in the machine to determine which compartment in my bag they might be in, I offered to show them so that I might still make my flight. "Don't touch your bag." Was the reply. So I waited thru 4 more x-ray passes and ultimately missed my flight. Honestly, if I could choose between a flight that screened and one that allowed concealed carry passengers, I would pay double to choose the later. The TSA has been a very big mistake in government oversite and should honestly be disbanded along with several other federal programs and sectors.

Anonymous said...

I recently travelled through Europe and was amazed how humane their airport security was. One screenpoint checker in Porto actually ASKED politely if he could open my bag to search it.

By contrast, on my return flight back to America, I was immediately pulled over for a pointless security check interrogation which was so severe that it left me in tears. The American (I believe TSA) staff never explained why I was questioned or what the point of it was when I asked.

TSA staff should have the patience and skills to deal with the public in a reasonable manner. Politeness and common decency can go a LONG way. People will be happy to comply with most regulations if you treat them like members of the free world, instead of like kulaks under Stalin.

Anonymous said...

Two years ago, I was boarding at the Lihue, Kauai, HI airport. The TSA agent at the front end of the metal detector asked me (reasonably enough) if I had packed my own bag. "Sure," I said, while I'm trying to placate my 18 month old. The fellow looks straight at my kid and says, "is your Daddy a liar?"

If that SOB hadn't been wearing a badge -- or if my kid had been old enough to comprehend -- there would have been a throwdown, right then and there.

Most of the TSA folks are alright, but some of them are just a little too tickled with their power over their fellow Americans.

Anonymous said...

You people are idiots, your security theater is a joke that keeps no one safe, and your baseless rules have no basis in rational thought or serious security concern. All it takes is any random investigative reporter and a hidden camera at any airport to prove that you're not keeping anyone safe.

Brooklyn said...

I'm sorry, but this blog is fooling no one. Well, okay, it seems to be fooling about 700 people so far, but for everyone who has posted a "two thumbs up," there's another person reading all this and shaking his or her head. Probably a frequent flyer, like me.

This blog isn't "transparency". This is another layer of obfuscation, another veil, another tactic for avoiding having to deal with reality, tell the truth, or provide proof of operational effectiveness.

To date, the TSA has provided zero proof positive that they have actually stopped an act of foreign or domestic terrorism via its screening policies. The TSA hasn't provided this proof because they CAN'T. There isn't any. Screenings manage to harass the common citizen and draw out air travel into an unpleasant and soulless undertaking, but not once have they stopped a specific person with specific materials with obvious intent to do harm. Of course, I have no proof of that charge - I believe, though, that should such a case exist, the Agency would be widely publicizing it and trumpeting their own effectiveness.

False security is not worth the money, not worth the loss of liberty, and not worth the "guilty until proven innocent" mentality. (To be fair, the TSA is not solely responsible for that attitude, it being institutionalized from the president's office on down.)

The rest of the country seems to have forgotten that screenings are not new to the post-9/11 era - we went through metal detectors, had our bags and shoes x-rayed. I held the same attitudes before that day that I do now - that the screenings do nothing but keep an army of people employed. Very Brazil, IMO.

The liquids rules are the most visible and prominent - and the most laughable - measures of our airport security. Which brings me to my last point: the people the TSA aims to stop before they do harm are hell-bent on outwitting the TSA - and can and will do so easily. It doesn't take a criminal mastermind - or even a lot of imagination - to see how to get enough damaging materials on board (right past screening) to bring down a plane. Or to blow open a cockpit door and attempt to gain control.

Keep up the smoke and mirrors, guys. I'm sure that when you "randomly select" those little old ladies and six year old kids for wanding and item-by-item searches, the next little old lady feels safer. I, however, watching more obvious targets (yes, profiling works, and you know it) walk right on through makes me feel like the TSA can't do the job it's been charged to do (because of political correctness?) and that none of us are any safer.

Anonymous said...

First off, thanks for starting this blog. I suspect that as the first outlet that many weary frequent flyers have ever had for the indignities suffered at security checkpoints, you personally are bearing the brunt of much pent-up frustration.

As many have noted, there is much frustration at what knowledgeable travelers recognize as the "theatre of security". Everybody acknowledges the need for security, but much of what we must pass through has neglible benefit if any, while making flying a more time consuming and degrading experiences. A few particularly egregious examples are:

1) The liquids rule: This was formulated in response to a threat that turned out to be bogus. I know of no credible studies that suggest a person could actually manufacture an explosive device in an aircraft lav. Nevertheless, our toothpaste, lotion, water and baby formula are confiscated without due process and thrown away. Either give us some credible reasons or give us back our water bottles!

2) Shoe removal: There are so many ways that a clever, determined individual could get explosives onto a plane other than in his or her shoes that this rule is utterly silly. They know you'll check their shoes so they will hide it in their underwear or elsewhere. Unless you plan to stripsearch all passengers, checking the is pointless, and enduring this ritual is time consuming and humiliating.

3) Making flight crews pass through security: Flight crews undergo extensive background checks and even if these people are legitimate security threats, making them pass through security would hardly solve that problem. I note that aircraft maintenance workers and others (whose background checks are less extensive) do not have to pass through metal detectors upon arriving at work even though they have extensive access to the aircraft. Again, submitting flight crews to security checks is merely another act in the theater of security that does nothing to increase passenger safety while inconveniencing millions of travelers.

We all appreciate the job you do keeping travelers safe, but I hope that the TSA would seriously rethink certain of its policies that greatly inconvenience travelers with no appreciable safety benefit. This would also free up TSA resources to deal with more legitimate threats, ultimately making everybody safer.

Anonymous said...

I like TSA. you make us safe again after 911 Giluliani was right. TSA and my parents keep me safe from bad peple who want to take our fredom.

Anonymous said...

In response to everlasting:
I am a TSO that has worked in both large and small airports, and I fully agree with your suggestion to have us converted to "law enforcement". It would greatly aid us in enforcing the rules that are in place. We are able to inspect and inform, but not enforce, and that is just one of many frustrations that we deal with daily.

I too hope that this blog will be used to create a better process for the traveling public, employees, and airlines.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your power trip for now, W will be out of office soon and hopefully all of you subhuman types will be in the government cheese line.

Doug said...

I agree with the great many posters who feel that the TSA should be abolished. I am comfortable with the security measures required to board a city bus or subway, and feel that these are sufficient for commuters on air transport as well. Thanks to the wretched quality of service on US based airlines, air travel is already an undignified and uncomfortable means of getting from point A to B. The scowling, draconian MPs that herd passengers through screens at the airports now makes the experience even more dehumanizing. In the end, if given a choice between accepting risk or loss of freedom, I'll take the risk (especially if it is as minimal as the threat of international terrorism).

Anonymous said...

THIS IS A MESSAGE FOR KIP HAWLEY: please work undercover as a regular TSA screener for a month (in a large airport) to find out what people really think of the TSA. it should be obvious what is going right and what is going wrong in the system. thank you.

Foolster41 said...

What i want know is the mindset of "answering questions" or are you actually willing to change things that are a problem? To see that there is no problem, or to assume the problem is with your customers is a GRAVE marketing misstake. Right now what the TSA needs is good PR. Trust me, there are pleanty of room for improvement for the TSA, starting with the mindset that everyone is a potental terrorist.

Anonymous said...

The "random" searches are a pathetic solution to a serious problem. So here's a few better ideas:

2 types of lines: Shoes on, shoes off.

Big Brother already has plenty of info on all of us -- don't just create "threat" lists... generate "safe" lists for those with verified personal information (w/ photo ID and Biometrics) so things can be sped up a bit. Could charge a yearly subscription for this "speedy" line that would allow a more lenient search to happen, if at all (say, 3 flights before another quick screening is required).

We live in the age of technology where our tax money has been wasted on garbage like RFID and 2D bar codes on our state issued licenses yet nobody utilizes these things!

Anonymous said...

Since you have implemented this security theater, I hate flying to the USA. Please stop it - it serves no purpose.

Queos Denpor Elculo said...

How Roosveltian, to create an useless agency to create jobs to offset a well deserved recession. I live in Europe and travel often to Latin America. Ever since you exist and decided to harrass in-transist passengers as you now do. I avoid you. I used to do a lot of business in your country. Going there is just too much hassle now. They treat people better in Panama and Venezuela. Sad sad sad

kschendel said...

The only action needed after 9/11 was to secure the cockpits so that an airplane couldn't be used as a bomb again. That was done.

EVERYTHING else you do is a waste. The TSA has wasted precious hours of my life, never to be restored, with NO IMPROVEMENT in security.

I feel a lot more endangered when I stand in a security line with 100, 200, or more people, than I would if the TSA screeners would simply all pack up and walk away. Why? Because I'm just waiting for some loony to take advantage of the crowd. Am I somehow less dead if I am killed on the outside of the security zone? I don't think so!

The liquids restriction is ridiculous, there IS NO combination of plausible materials that can blow up a plane in 6-oz quantities. Maybe a couple gallons. Take a look at the BA 777 that hard-landed at LHR recently to see how much abuse a plane will take.

The shoes thing is even more ridiculous, for a similar reason.

I do not appreciate the screeners taking their frustrations out on me, and threatening me with imprisonment if I object to some rule that I KNOW for a fact does not exist. (And would be stupid if it did!)

I'm not eager to be killed in an airplane crash, but I take much greater risks driving to the airport. I don't WANT to be harassed and delayed in the name of "security". The TSA passenger screening process has destroyed any pleasure in air travel. I guess that's what Al Qaida wanted. No thanks for playing along, guys.

kschendel said...

One little thing I forgot to mention, and want to add my "me too" to:

Screening the flight crew, especially the pilots, is totally ridiculous. They are FLYING THE PLANE. For some reason the screeners can't seem to get that through their head. If a pilot has been subverted, people are going to die, and it's that simple. No entry screening is going to stop that and it's a waste of everyone's time to try.

I could maybe see some sort of ID scan requirement to assure that someone in uniform really is a pilot. They do wear airline ID's and it would be easy enough to double check. Anything more is just stupid and furthers the image of the TSA as a bunch of nincompoops more interested in appearances than reality.

JTS said...

Why are you still taking away my Coffee/soda/shampoo/etc... when it has been proven repeatedly that it is nearly impossible to create a "liquid bomb" and have it passed through screening?

The liquids required for such a bomb to exist are extremely caustic, extremely maloderous (they REALLY stink to the point of causing nasal pain just from getting a whiff of them), extremely volitile (they would detonate merely by being transported in a walk-on container), and many other conditions that would make using such explosives EXTREMELY IMPOSSIBLE.

Stop taking away my drinks.
Stop making me remove my shoes. (the shoe bomber tried to LIGHT HIS SANDALS WITH FIRE for pete's ssake!)
Stop confiscating mundane items in a useless attempt to feign security.

You are pissing everyone off, and we are tired of dealing with this crap.

How can the public have faith in the TSA for their safety, if the general public believes that the TSA is governed by morons that take away nail clippers and Starbucks because they cannot reasonably determine what items are an actual THREAT to the public, and what tastes good with some cream and sugar?

Anonymous said...

Since others have written concerns here, I'll add one:

One of my relatives has kept a manicure kit in her purse; she just never uses it and forgets that it's there. Not too terribly bad in comparison to what could be brought aboard, but sharp metal objects nonetheless.

Thus far, she has managed to get through Boston, Jacksonville, Miami, Chicago... most of which on multiple occasions. Neither she nor the airport security staff seemed to know about it while she has gone through security.

I have to admit... things seem relatively safe. This was just one tidbit I noticed.

Anonymous said...

Airport screening in just a big security theater. What a bunch of expensive time wasting nonsense. We endure this charade so as to get on with where we need to be but what a farce for any really effectual measure. One last thought... "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin in 1759

Anonymous said...

I am almost a frequent traveller, meaning I fly about once every two months, so I've been reading these entries with interest.

The hatred, the diatribes, and the accusations from passengers all seem completely accurate, and I applaud every outburst, whether emotional or not.

I'm posting, however, not to add to the list of complaints about TSA's policies and implementation in the airports but, instead, to complain about TSA workers posting on this site.

Could the majority of you be more inarticulate? Incapable of using correct grammar? Sound any more sycophantic? The majority of your posts sound like they written by, at best, 6th graders (and I don't really want to insult 6th graders, so my apologies to them).

Just my thought... because it's clear that most of the people working the security checkpoints barely, if ever, passed high school. These ill-educated masses are what are guarding our borders and making us more secure?

Anonymous said...

I cannot understand why so many people complain about airport security being too strict. If being strict in any way affects the safety of my trip, then by all means be strict. I travel quite a bit, and every time my bag is selected for additional screening, I just smile and say, "Be my guest". I also make sure to thank the agent when I get my bag back.

If there is one person out there that can give me one valid reason to reduce the scrutiny placed on a bag, shoe, or laptop, I would love to hear it.

Anonymous said...

First of all, thank you for this blog. It is a fantastic proactive initiative, and it gives the TSA a great chance to tell us 'your side of the story'.

In terms of concrete feedback on the process, I recently read a post from the respected commercial airline pilot Patrick Smith, who blogged his feedback and analysis of the current screening approach and policies. I would recommend it to fliers and TSA employees alike. It can be found here:

best of luck and stay safe!

Bob said...

Wintermute said...

"OK. So the TSA is going to actively censoring their blog comments? I'm sorry, but free speech should remain free, *especially* if it offends. Otherwise, we might as be living in Soviet Russia."

I think anybody who has read the blog by now will see that we’re taking the punches.

Nonproductive degrading comments have no place in this blog and that’s the type of comments we’ll send into the digital abyss.

Thanks for commenting and welcome to the Blog!


Evolution Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Why is there no section on ID requirement issues, such as what's acceptable, as well as even the need for an ID requirement?
There were MANY comments/questions in this area, is it being 'conveniently ignored' for lack of good answers from TSA?

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with Blogger Mithrandirself this blogger is nice.. but it would make more sense to be in forum format.

def770 said...

I have made up my mind that I will deal with the delays and aggravation personally, if that is what is necessary to protect me as a traveler...BUT... I think there should be special security lines to accommodate members of the American military,so they don't have to wait in line....and, they should not have to remove their lace up boots. These men and women are protecting and defending our country, and their last memory of home before they board airplanes should not be of long airport security lines or the frustration of having to remove a part of their uniform. Each time I see a military person going through the general public line, I want to apologize!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Bob...
You object to "Non-productive degrading comments?" Funny, so does the traveling public, but that's what you hear from TSA agents all the time.
You all have a SERIOUS pr problem, but you refuse to address it. Take off your uniform, leave your government ID behind and wait in line with the rest of us. You'll see what we're all so angry about.
But you're not going to do that, are you? C'mon Bob...answer this question.

Anonymous said...

End the liquid ban, please. Flying is about as bad experience as you can imagine nowadays, childish and meaningless policies like the liquid ban expose the utter lack of imagination on the part of the TSA. It's more pagentry (albeit an ugly and crude one) than it is effective policy.

Or at least be consistent and do screenings for gremlins on every airplane before takeoff.

Avoid Flying said...

You have censored three out of four of my messages.

I haven't used any profanity, ranted or raved, or anything like that.

What I did is point out that the biggest problem with TSA is the Union and the almost impossible task of removing incompetent people.

The Union was a mistake and should be removed. Privatize the process.

Also. The government undoubtedly has records detailing by location the numerous complaints they have received.

PUBLISH those findings and DISCLOSE what actions are being taken to remove and/or retrain problem (read incompetent) employees.

Far too many of your employees are unfit for the job.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for starting this blog. I don't know if you'll be able to keep it up, but thanks for the great effort.

I see 3 categories of comments here that should be addressed to 3 different parts of TSA:

1. Comments about the actual rules, such as the ban on liquids, which the screeners are powerless to change should be addressed to the head of the TSA.

2. Comments about the behavior, attitude, and (in)consistency of the screeners, should be addressed to the screeners and their supervisors.

3. Comments about this blog itself, which the Evolution Team should be addressing pronto.

Of these three, the first one will be the hardest to change, the middle one should not be impossible to change, and the last one should be the easiest to change.

It's unfortunate, but because the actual rules seem so pointless, many travelers take their frustrations out on the screeners, who have no ability to change the rules. If the rules made more sense, travelers would be more patient and understanding.

If the TSA really wants to support their employees and the travelers, they would look at the rules and change them from window-dressing to something more meaningful. As many have said, we should do what Israel does.

However, I won't hold my breath. Given that you folks have to enforce silly rules, what can be done to make it better? All you can do is improve your screeners and listen to the public better.

The best way to listen to us would be to change this blog to a forum or message board as many have suggested. This format is unworkable for you and for us.

But once again, thanks so much for trying!

Bord Ing said...


The blog is a great idea. You may want to have a comment policy. Dipo Blog didn't and just deleted important comments from world leaders, etc.

The Tampa TSA test was chosen by who? Who at TSA chooses the target? Since you are unionized, arent there rules to running a test? For example, you would have to know it's a drill.

Police and Air Force personnel might try to carry on board without the proper paperwork from their supervisor. This would be a test, but, if it's classifed, no one would know about it; for example a 'black box' with new equipment for monitoring terrorists.

The explosive used in the Tampa test was what type? Would a sniffer know it? Is TSA relying on the report showing human error finding a fake bomb that could be one if you looked real close? Why wouldn't TSA use sniffers? Any explosive can be programmed, so why not?

Anonymous said...

First a quick suggestion:

Create a section for general comments on the TSA and security policies.

Second: Here is my comment that would go in that section if there was one.

The security policies currently in place are primarily reactionary in nature. The TSA responds to each potential threat after the fact with a band-aid solution. There needs to be a mission-driven policy set up to efficiently get people to their planes.

Baggage handlers should be subject to greater scrutiny than passenger. A baggage handler interacts with thousands of flights a week, compared to the typical passenger who is taking one flight once in a while.

In my mind the most important issue is this: Even if the TSA policies are 99% effective at preventing dangerous people/items from getting onto planes, but if terrorists or other nefarious people trying to get stuff onto planes only makes up .01% (or less) of the population then that means that 99% of the people identified as possible threats are false positives. Example, 1,000,000 people ride planes. TSA identifies 10,000 (1%) of them as potential threats. But only 100 (.01%) of them are actual bad guys. That means 99% of people stopped by the TSA haven't done anything wrong.

Obviously these are all made up numbers, but you get the idea. In my opinion the number of people actually trying to do something wrong is such a small number that the TSA can never hope to create countermeasures that only stop them without inconveniencing many innocent people. If that is true, then I don't see the point of any security measures at all beyond simple metal detectors and X-ray machines for baggage.

Anonymous said...

Hello TSA:

I recently traveled to Israel, where the security was more thorough than anything I have experienced at any of the many airports I have been to in the United States.

At Ben Gurion airport, no one removed their shoes.

The fact that Israeli security doesn't require this inane measure makes it pretty clear to me that there is absolutely no need to do so in the US.

Anonymous said...

First, I can't believe you were surprised at the response. I hope that was just some type of PR spin because if you truly were suprised then we have a loooong way to go.

Second, to post a comment I had to scroll to the very bottom. Any chance of also putting a post link closer to the top?

Third: my concern is the stress of flying. Beyond the usual stress of weather, delays, planning and packing for a trip, hoping you can get to the airport on time, we also have to get there earlier. First we have to get through the check in, that can be fast or slow; then take our checked bag to the security scanner, though in some airports it's behind the counter now so we don't have to transport it ourselves. Then we head for security and the gate. Plus we never know how many security stations will be open, will the lines be long or short. Will I have to take off my shoes (pretty much all the time now) will my watch or my belt buckle trigger the detector (sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't, I never know).
Will we get through security in time? Will we get a chance to relax at the gate and prepare for the next stress - is the flight on time or delayed?

What we're looking for is consitency from airport to airport (shoes off or on; laptops on or just take out of the bag?) and enough security checkpoints always open.

Thanks for the blog and we wish you luck.

Brian said...

I would love to see a response to Scott Beale's comments about electronic items:

My work bag for my portables takes between 10 and 15 minutes to repack from scratch. It takes long enough to get through the line now with two laptops, let alone if they have to inspect all my cables and storage devices individually.

Anonymous said...

Don't know if this is still true but even after 9/11, I could clear security in John Wayne airport and have breafast using an easily pocketed, full size, serrated metal knife. Seems kind of pointless to collect all those swiss army knives at security and then allow me to have a much larger, stronger albeit less pointy knife to cut my eggs!

Anonymous said...

How ironic is it that you won't post "personal attacks" but that the public are subjected to just that?

You hassle us, rife through our personal possessions, invade our personal space with your little wand and grubby hands, humiliate us in public in front of total strangers.

All that, and you still can't find the real bombs. Why are you wasting my tax money?

tim said...

How high, organizationally, are original TSA posts and answers to consumers' questions vetted?

Anonymous said...

So, where in the Constitution is the TSA even authorized?

In case anyone's wondering, it's not.

The Constitution was written under what's referred to as "positive grant"

This means, that the federal government is only allowed to exercise those powers which are specifically given to it in the Constitution.

The 10th Amendment makes it clear that EVERYTHING else is left to "the States, respectively, or to the people"

Thus - everything an unconstitutional agency does is in direct violation of the constitution. (and that includes using your money to run this TSA blog)

Anonymous said...

Im seeing on different blogs that people are now being asked to have every electronic item scanned seprately, people are worried and some apparently are having some items confiscated.
If someone knows that if TSA security Wrongfully Confiscate an electronic item or it is lost by their own fault, is this covered in your standard travel insurance?
as WE are the people that suffer.

Midwest Product said...

Is the TSA sure it's worth taking time out of their busy schedules to run this blog? I mean, don't you have more 4-year-olds to detain because their names are similar to ones on the Do Not Fly list?

Anonymous said...

Someone from TSA needs to explain why every person in a wheelchair is treated like the greatest threat to national security in our history. Every time I see an old man or woman degraded by TSA's prison work release program employees, it makes me want to leave the US and never look back.

Atlanta said...

What kind of training do the security folk in airports across the country get? And, are they full-time federal employees or do they come from private companies hired by the government? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Amen Pair-a-docs!! Amen! You make a lot of sense.

Anonymous said...

In response to pair-a-docs:

You said the following:
"What you may not realize, however, is that the screening of your baggage takes place under the watchful eye of security cameras. Once the baggage is screened, it leaves our hands and goes to the airline baggage handlers, whose job is not conducted under the watchful eye of security cameras. We have your bag for a matter of moments before our job with it is done. It can be a matter of hours, however, before your bag is loaded onto the airplane. Think about it."

While what you said is certainly true, this defense ignores the main issue-- It is TSA that requires the bags to be unlocked, and thus makes them vulnerable to thieves!! I'm not concerned if the bag sits for hours somewhere if I know it's locked. Bag theft is primarily a crime of opportunity, and a locked bag (even with a zip-tie) is less vulnerable than an unlocked one. And if the answer is to use "Travel Sentry" locks, I can't tell you how many of those I've had cut off or missing, so that's not a solution.

If TSA has to open the bag, do so in the presence of the owner, and allow them to re-lock it when you're done. I don't want to hear about how that's hard/impractical/etc. Find a way; somehow every other country has been able to figure it out.

Oh, and by the way, if someone can steal something OUT of an unlocked bag, someone can also put something INTO one. Think about that. Apparently TSA doesn't.

Scott said...

Hey TSA -

I am a frequent business traveler (+/- 200k miles/yr). I must admit, at my darkest times I refer to your service as "Security Theater." Sorry 'bout that. I know you are all trying to do your work while dealing with the public, which is never fun.

This blog is a GREAT idea and makes the TSA more human. So far you've done a great job getting this out.

As long as you guys can remain consistent (a hooded sweatshirt is not a jacket, ice is not a liquid, etc) traveling will be much happier.

Take care, and good luck out there.


Anonymous said...

Seems like some people need more guidance getting through security (families, newbies, the elderly) and others are seasoned pros who don't want anything to slow them down.

Could we have two different kinds of lines, like a slow lane and a fast lane? People in the fast lane would be expected to hurry through, kind of like the express lane at a grocery store. Folks who need more help could go to the slow lane and not feel so stressed, because they would get a little more TLC.

Our needs are very different, so why not separate us?

Anonymous said...

Do you have any statistics about how effective your methods are? I'd like to see some numbers and percentages regarding how many people and/or items you have screened, detained, confiscated, etc., vs. how many actually were arrested, threatening, etc. Also, what is the rationale behind confiscating people's property without an option to return it to them, how does that differ from theft, and what legal recourse do passengers have in these situations?

Anonymous said...

Totally agree!!

"'If TSA has to open the bag, do so in the presence of the owner, and allow them to re-lock it when you're done. I don't want to hear about how that's hard/impractical/etc. Find a way; somehow every other country has been able to figure it out.

Oh, and by the way, if someone can steal something OUT of an unlocked bag, someone can also put something INTO one. Think about that. Apparently TSA doesn't."

Anonymous said...

The TSA is worthless, Air Travel has become inconvenient and slow. If you are lucky enough to fly a corporate or private jet (as I do on occasion), you wonder, "why the hell is there NO SECURITY, on private/corporate terminals?!?".. you literally have no checks, or security of ANY KIND!... TSA is complete waste.. it is a complete waste of time, and money.. END IT!

Evan said...

Wow Bob, it looks like we have a few things in common. I too was a musician in the past and got to see a lot of the US and Canada. Fun times! And would like to be a Behavior Detection Officer at some point (reading up on my Paul Ekman). But first I need to get hired on at my local airport. I have applied as a TSO and my application is “under consideration” right now. I just hope that if I get a job offer at some point, that they can accommodate a full time student’s schedule. Only able to work weekends I fell might prevent me from a job. But I hope not.

Anyway, my comment follows….

I just wanted to say that in these days of terrorist bombings, school shootings and serial killers, I am glad to have a staff of people who, lets face it, potently put there lives on the line every time they clock in for work, are in place doing there job the best they can to make sure we the traveling public make it to their destination in one piece, literally. Long lines, having to empty my pockets, put my skin lotion in a clear bag, opening up my laptop and taking off my shoes are all very very small inconveniences I am gladly willing to put up with to increase my chances of a incident free traveling experience.
I see that some people have expressed their opinion that the TSOs are missing a lot of stuff at the checkpoints. Well a few years ago a friend of ours passed away and we had to fly down the Southern California to deal with it, as my wife was the beneficiary of his Will. One of his items that I decided to keep was his Swiss Army knife. Well, on the way home going through security and having the knife and a heck of a lot of other stuff in a bag, I was asked to come with one of the TSOs to for a second search. Low and behold, they found the knife. Subsequently I had to turn it over to them but damn, I was glade and surprised that they could see it on the x-ray. So that proves to me that what ever they are doing at the checkpoints must be working. I say keep up the good work DHS.

Anonymous said...

The entire TSA is a joke! Why not just strip naked before you get on? Would be easier. This is all a result of our government keeping us all scared and to make it seem like the government wants to do something to protect us. If the terrorists are going to do something, they will find a way to get around all these silly security measures.

Anonymous said...

Contrary to Anonymous of February 1, 2008 11:56 AM, I believe that the whole point of communication is to get real answers as to policy. Not to get into the micromanagement of issues as they have arisen.

For policy to work two things have to happen. First you need good policy. Second you need the people at the top to put the screws into the people at the bottom to guarantee that policy is being implemented as it is set out. Failure of either means that the system is broken. A broken system would suggest that the top level needs to be replaced forthwith.

I assume that the goal of the TSA is to protect travelers physical safety as well as their dignity and personal space.

My personal pet peeve comes from the fact that every time my wife and I travel, the screeners pull her aside and grope her.

So how about providing some insight into how many employees have been let go for violation of policy. How many managers have been let go for covering their butts. And how many ex-screeners (I assume they are ex) have spent time in prison for sexual assault? I can't find any numbers, but given the widespread complaints it must be happening.

Unless it isn't, in which case, I'd like to know why.

Avoid Flying said...

This message is for Bob on the Blog Team.

You have censored 5 of 6 messages even though I am polite, have not used profane language, or any other so called offensive language.

What I have pointed out is,
TSA already has more data than they will ever need to pin point problems.

What TSA DOESN'T have is the guts to remedy the primary source of complaints, the rudeness and incompetence of their employees. And that is because they are unionized, thanks to politics, and almost impossible to remove.

My guess is Bob is a Union Representative and will continually censor any criticism of the TSA Union.

McGaladon said...

Wow back attcha! Have to admit I'm impressed that you all actually have this site, and are responsive, too! -- not just "talk". Yesterday, when I found this blog, it was grey print on ecru. Tasteful/serious, I guess was the thinking by some designer with 23-year-old eyes? Very hard to read. But just a few complaints about that, & today I see it is good ol' basic black-on-white!

Answers so far are good, too. May that only presage improvements in the other kind of terminals too!

Seems most of my own gripes & suggestions have been voiced many times already, + I have to admit that my absolute Worst security experience Ever was a few months *before* 9/11, by a contract worker, who would not possibly be hired by TSA today.

I just wish they'd pay you all better. It is so hard to stay focused on a repetitive, mundane task, even one as (arguably) crucial as TSA's. IMHO, that's worth more compensation than a fascinating job...if done well, of course.

Anonymous said...

In response to "pair-of-docs"

". . .Among the plethora of classes we're required to take, I believe it would be very worthwhile to both us and to you if we could get some good training regarding the differences between assertiveness and aggression. Sometimes it IS necessary for us to be assertive - but it's never permissible for any of us at any time to be aggressive."

To relate this to my own experience, I have been a part-time sports official for >15 years. My local organization includes some training on "conflict resolution and de-escalation" at pretty much every clinic we have. Why? Because it is important to our role to prevent minor disputes from escalating into major ones and to defuse potential conflicts as quickly as possible. Why does TSA not require "training regarding the differences between assertiveness and aggression"? Because that is not viewed as important by TSA management. There is another phrase that describes that attitude, "institutional arrogance". Frankly, most of the ills that TSA suffers stem from a culture of institutional arrogance.

"What you may not realize, however, is that the screening of your baggage takes place under the watchful eye of security cameras. Once the baggage is screened, it leaves our hands and goes to the airline baggage handlers, whose job is not conducted under the watchful eye of security cameras. We have your bag for a matter of moments before our job with it is done. It can be a matter of hours, however, before your bag is loaded onto the airplane."

Again, relating to my own experience as a business traveler who has flown fairly frequently since 1975. 1) From 1975 until the advent of TSA: nothing missing from a carry-on or checked bag. 2) From TSA to the present: one theft from checked baggage, one theft from carry-on, one theft attempt thwarted, one other possible attempt stopped. You asked us to "think about it". Given my experience to date, what should I be thinking?

Anonymous said...


Just curious, but have you noticed the common thread among almost all the comments from the public - ie..that TSA screeners are rude, arrogant, and unhelpful. Why can't their attitude change? Why are they so ungodly hateful?

Anonymous said...

We're being prepared for the New World Order. One Constitutional right lost after another. "Papers please?"

Stop being sheep.

Let's see if this gets through.

Anonymous said...

Good Job TSA

Anonymous said...

"if the answer is to use "Travel Sentry" locks, I can't tell you how many of those I've had cut off or missing, so that's not a solution.

If TSA has to open the bag, do so in the presence of the owner, and allow them to re-lock it when you're done. I don't want to hear about how that's hard/impractical/etc. Find a way; somehow every other country has been able to figure it out."

As a TSAer I fully agree. If you have something in your bag that causes us to have to open it, we should put that bag aside, have you paged, make you come all the way back to the bag screening area, wait for you to find your lock keys, open your bag, screen it in front of you, reclose it, have you re-lock it and then go back through screening. Of course we know that you will make your flight because after all, you did come to the airport 4 hours before your flight, correct?

Oh and Travel Sentry locks... TSOs are supposed to have the master keys handy. Sometimes they can't be found. Sometimes the lowest bidder cheap crap keys break and take months to get replaced so they aren't there. In any case, if your TSA locks are cut you can bring them back to where you purchased them and they will be replaced free. Not many people realize that.

Anonymous said...
"what is the rationale behind confiscating people's property without an option to return it to them, how does that differ from theft, and what legal recourse do passengers have in these situations?"

No legal recourse. You gave up those rights when you submitted your bags for screening. Someday you should read ALL the fine print on your boarding pass jacket and on the airlines websites and on the TSA & FAA pages. Flying is a privelage NOT a right. When you submit yourself or your bags for screening you are giving up certain rights. Your recourse is not to fly.

Since you went to the TSA website and carefully checked that you didn't have any prohibited items in your bags, you shouldn't have anything to worry about. However, if you did have a prohibited item that we needed to remove, you have no option to get it back.

I've seen people pack gasoline, kerosene, stove fuel, bottles of rubbing alcohol which leaked all over the place, (God knows, none of this stuff is available where they are going.) Lbs and lbs of modeling clay which looked like explosives, expensive crystal with no padding, etc.

Jordan said...

Privatize airline security. When government controls it, we get a poor quality. This isn't a foreign concept... you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Anonymous said...

You guys gave me the shaft. I flew out of San Jose, CA to New York two years ago. The video camera with my honeymoon video footage was stolen right out of my bag while it was in YOUR HANDS. I called, and your TSA rep in San Jose told me she would not investigate, that you don't have any video survelance. So basically, one of your employees, who is supposed to be protecting me, ruined my honeymoon memories forever by stealing from me. And did nothing about it. Shame on you!

Anonymous said...

I'm not afraid of terrorists.

Anonymous said...

"So basically, one of your employees, who is supposed to be protecting me, ruined my honeymoon memories forever by stealing from me. And did nothing about it. Shame on you!"

It was for your own protection. Trust us, we know things you don't.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is great! I've never seen another government agency so openly engage the public.

Anonymous said...

I just want to state that the comment about your "mother getting on the wrong" plane really is'nt TSA's job, that is the airlines doing.

Anonymous said...

It's a good thing that you guys confiscated my toenail clippers the other day - I mean, that could really have been dangerous! Who knows what I would have done with those things!

I hope that one day you'll figure out that when you treat people like inmates, that's exactly how they're going to behave.

Anonymous said...

For the guy whos mother got on the wrong plane...TSA does not have anything to do with which passenger gets on which plane. The scanning of boarding passes is done by the airline personnel. Airline personnel are suppose to check the passenger prior to boarding. I am glad your mother finally reached her destination safely.

Anonymous said...

From the inside looking out...

it's so easy for passengers to say, well maybe there should be no TSA, for you all with that type of mentality, I have a suggestion/question. Would you really feel safe flying on a COMMERCIAL airplane that was completely unsecured? That is that TSA would not check your checked bags, would not screen you, would never verify your identity would never touch you. What kind of flight do you think that would be? From the inside looking out, believe me, i WOULD NEVER PUT MYSELF INTO THAT SITUATION. I WILL ALWAYS be willing to go thru security, ALWAYS.
And regardless of what the agency might say, for TSO's our motto is Security first, Security always. We're serious about our jobs, and we will NOT LET IT HAPPEN ON OUR WATCH. So, i'm sorry to say, if that means inconviencing you to make sure that you're not carring a prohibited item, so be it.
Please, use this sight to educate yourselves and know what is going to happen before you get to the checkpoint/baggage screening area. And, don't worry, as long as I'm on duty, NOTHING will happen, you will get to where you're going safe and sound.

Jack said...

Keep up the smoke and mirrors, guys. I'm sure that when you "randomly select" those little old ladies and six year old kids for wanding and item-by-item searches, the next little old lady feels safer. I, however, watching more obvious targets (yes, profiling works, and you know it) walk right on through makes me feel like the TSA can't do the job it's been charged to do (because of political correctness?) and that none of us are any safer.

TSA has 'numbers' to meet and I suspect that in many cases they choose (with the help of the airlines) people that will be most compliant during the screening process. A little old lady or a toddler won't usually go off on them. I've sat within 20 feet of the screening line and seen the burqued up women and their male keepers walk right on through without being searched, while nuns, little old ladies, infants and toddlers get the 3rd degree treatment. TSA your 'random' searches aren't so random and we, the flying public are aware of your skewing the numbers to make people look good.

Anonymous said...

I just have a few things to say to those people who are complaining about the security measures such as having to take off your shoes or stand in long lines. IT'S FOR YOUR SAFETY! Anybody could suddenly decide that they want to blow up an airplane. Any normal looking person blending in with the croud could be mad at the world and want to do something evil! The TSA shouldn't decrease the security measures just because of some impatient and selfish people. They should improve it!

Alex said...

One of the goals of the 9/11 terrorists (and presumably terrorists everywhere), was to cause havok to the US economy, to cause the degradation of our civil rights, and to make air travel so inconvenient, embarrassing and just outright unpleasent that it would siphon billions from our economy.

Given this, how is the TSA combatting terrorism?

Anonymous said...

Response? Wait a few minutes when the Slashdot story hits. Then you'll get more response than you know what to do with. If your servers haven't screamed yet, they will be...

smitty1e said...

Recommend you guys bring in Bruce Schneier for some constructive criticism:

Jack said...

Oh and Travel Sentry locks... TSOs are supposed to have the master keys handy. Sometimes they can't be found. Sometimes the lowest bidder cheap crap keys break and take months to get replaced so they aren't there. In any case, if your TSA locks are cut you can bring them back to where you purchased them and they will be replaced free. Not many people realize that.

So just because someone pocketed the keys your becomes our problem? So what are we to do in the mean time? Baggage theives do exist and you just took secured bags and turned them into unsecured bags. Who becomes responsible for the security of those bags? Airlines? They point at TSA. TSA? They claim that the stolen objects never existed, you're lying about the theft, etc. I've had TSA cut the locks off of my tool chest even when I gave them my tool chest unlocked. I have never discovered who becomes responsible for the contents of my tool chest when they remove the locks and fail to resecure the chest.

I even talked with the president of the organization that deals with the specifications for the TSA approved locks and he said that the locks weren't intended to provide high security, and that the locks are fragile. Every time I talk with TSA about this issue I get the "use TSA approved locks and this wouldn't be an issue." Stop trying to spoon feed me used bull food and tell me that it is the food of the gods.

So what does it take to get your luggage from point A to point B with the contents intact?

Jack said...

I just have a few things to say to those people who are complaining about the security measures such as having to take off your shoes or stand in long lines. IT'S FOR YOUR SAFETY! Anybody could suddenly decide that they want to blow up an airplane. Any normal looking person blending in with the croud could be mad at the world and want to do something evil! The TSA shouldn't decrease the security measures just because of some impatient and selfish people. They should improve it!

You either don't travel much or you're a TSA hireling. Much of the security measures can be gotten around by a determined group/individual. Much of the security measures were designed to give the appearance of having security for the 'I flew ten years ago' crowd.

Rev. Randy said...

We are frequently told the reason that liquids can't be taken on board is they might be hazardous or explosive. If that is the case why are these liquids discarded into open containers at security checkpoints and not treated like hazardous materials?

If in fact they are prohibited because they are deemed to be hazardous, isn't it contradictory to take these confiscated goods and donate them to homeless shelters or other aid agencies? If they are okay for the homeless then shouldn't they be okay for us?

To me it is hypocrisy to claim they are hazardous and take them away from us, but not treat them as hazardous. If they are, full hazmat procedures should be in place at EVERY checkpoint. If the liquids are not hazardous, then we needed to be able take them through security.

You can't have it both ways.

Anonymous said...

Hi! Please disband the TSA as it serves no purpose and makes us no safer than we were before! Thanks. Have a nice day.

Ben FrantzDale said...

Is this for real? This level of openness is exactly what the government needs. I'm astonished to see the TSA leading the way on this. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

I work for a large international science project, with groups from all around the world.

I have recently turned down an invitation to attend a conference in the US because of the amount of security theater we have to put up with to travel there.

Whenever the discussion comes round to where we will hold the next conference, a number of people have requested anywhere apart from the US.

We don't feel any safer as a result of the security theater, in fact we feel humiliated, irritated and scared.
Not scared of the terrorists, but scared of your personnel and what they might do. If I take a photo in the wrong part of the airport, will I get arrested. If I laugh, look happy, look nervous, behave oddly, have anything unusual in my luggage .... will I get taken aside and interrogated.

The whole process is set up to make it very clear, we are all suspects and are treated as such.

Anonymous said...

You may wish to fix your website of one annoying feature. If I click on a highlighted name to get a profile on the blog, etc, I get the page in Chinese. I do not speak, read or write Chinese and the page does not allow me to change the language. I spend a llot of time in China and I guess the blog software reads my location as China and selects Chinese language. It is a gee whizz feature that is a nonsense, it is silly. And it contributes to a lingering public impression that the TSA are basically idiots. Not useful, I suggest you change the feature.

Anonymous said...

I'm not afraid of the terrorists - I'm afraid of the random, capricious TSA officer who will detain me if I look at him funny, mutter anything under my breath, or have a ziploc baggy with a comment on it...

Anonymous said...

TSA employee should not be allowed to post here at all. They have the worst BAD security ever. The people who check the boarding passes are borderline illiterate. I absolutely hate everything about TSA. If I was in charge, you would be ALL out of job.

Anonymous said...

Dear TSA

Security of our airlines and our country is important. Until we know what happened on 9/11 we will have NO security in this country. You KNOW we have NO evidence of the so called "hijackers' boarding the so called "hijacked planes". Please show us the videos of the boarding of the four "hijacked" flights.


mike said...

As a european I DO NOT feel welcome in the USA. I know for a fact that more people die in car accidents than in terrorist plots, so enough with that crap.

You might want to change the tagline of your site too, it's just scaring people. Do you want your customers to think they will have a pleasant 'experience' of should they think that on every trip they are risking their lives? It's up to you to make that difference.

To conclude my contribution to your new view on reality: USA is not a welcoming place, traveling on a plane is not cool. Change that and you'll have accomplished something.

Anonymous said...

I remember days after 911 and the travelling public was tolerant of added security and understood longer lines and increased scrutiny of luggage and carry ons.
The further we get from 911, the more people seem to forget that there are reasons why current policies are in place. When the TSA provides a public formum to provide feedback and ask questions, I find it disheartening to see people taking personal attacks on the TSA workers themselves...things like they work there 'cause they couldn't get a job at Walmart. That is not right and I hope that the folks monitoring these blogs consider that such personal attacks really shouldn't be posted. And no, I don't work for the TSA. Common sense,Common decency please. Let that guide these discussions please.

Daniel Mick said...

Thank you for a avenue for those you serve to express their (numerous) grievances. It's at least the first step toward desperately needed change.

Thank goodness I am a very infrequent flier. I am brimming with complaints about US airport security and I only encounter it a couple times a year! I want to make one just comment concerning this post (many other more flustered passengers can provide plenty of comments for the other posts):

First, it was mentioned that the number of deleted comments would be noted. Please do that as soon as possible. I would also ask that you outline precise guidelines for why they are banned. >>>>If the TSA some how doesn't realize it already, or has stubbornly been ignoring the issue, the fact that so many otherwise normal calm rational people are driven to cursed ranting should be a 'clue' to the TSA that their policies are unwelcome, and should be an amazing incentive for the TSA to review their efficacy and necessity.<<<<

People do not explode in anger because of logical, reasonable restrictions created for their safety. They welcome them! However, they do eventually lose it because of inane, pointless, contradictory control forced upon them. We are angry because we not only see no reason for the restrictions, we are provided none.

Show us WHY, for example "dangerous" liquids aren't allowed on a plane but can be dumped in giant barrels next to crowds of hundreds of people. Not a reference to 'studies', but the actual studies themselves.

We are highly informed with access to the world's knowledge through the internet. When every security professional on the internet not only dismisses TSA policies as ineffective but decries them as mere theatre and monstrous wastes of money and time that infuriate the masses, and the TSA continues to employ, we demand an explanation!

This blog has been overwhelmed with comments despite only being days old and only an infinitesimal fraction of the traveling population being aware of it. The number of comments, including raging rants, it has already attracted should have you racing to change things.

Thank you for at least listening. I hope to see change!

Anonymous said...

You all made slashdot so the traffic will now pour in which is good for visibility.

Now someone just needs to Digg this story to that front page.

Mrs D to be said...

We're white, middle class, normal everyday Australians and we decided against the USA for our honeymoon, mainly because of the apparent goings on in the airport.

I dont want my memory of the first hours of my honeymoon to be wrecked by overzealous rent-a-cops, I don't want my stuff stolen, I don't want to be yelled at, I don't want to be groped or cavity searched.

I've wanted to go to the US my whole life (my parents were from there and I've never been), but between talking to people who have flown recently (which I do every day in my job), the news reports, the net reports etc, it's just too big a risk.

That's right - for tourists who want to have pleasant memories, the TSA makes visiting the US too risky.

We're going around Asia instead. That's about $15000 we're pumping into someone else's economy. Congratulations TSA.

Anonymous said...

Many travellers carry multiple luggage items and laptops. After you cross the metal detector, it is very stressful to grab stuff like shoes, laptop, coat/jacket, keys, coins, suitcases from different trays because there is little room on the belt/platform and then you have to grab everything without forgeting anything and then put the shoes on standing while others are rushing in. And also to remember to not drop boarding pass and driver's license while you are doing all this! Can this be improved?

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