Friday, April 11, 2008

Passengers Asked For It, Passengers Got It: Passenger Feedback Used in Checkpoint Evolution

While screening 2 million people every day, you learn a thing or two. In addition to this on-the-job learning, we specifically sought out passenger feedback on how a checkpoint could be designed to make their lives a little easier. Easier processes equal more relaxed, patient people. More relaxed, patient people equal better security for everybody.

What we leaned and incorporated is: People want someplace to get ready for screening, people want to move at their own pace and people want somewhere to sit down and put themselves back together after screening.

That’s why we have introduced the prep stop and re-composure benches to the Checkpoint Evolution.

The prep stop allows passengers that need to prepare for screening an unhurried, plastic-bag, trash can and recycle bin-filled environment in which they can make those last minute preparations. This part of the Checkpoint Evolution also helps these travelers better prepare for screening without the cold shoulder from the pinstripe-suited business traveler tapping his wing-tips on the tile floor.


The re-composure benches are specifically designed to accommodate two people and are even split-level to foster sharing and tying those wing-tips when you're done with screening. It's a place to put yourself back together before heading off to your gate.


A lot of thought and feedback has gone into these and the other elements of Checkpoint Evolution and we welcome any suggestions you might have to make this concept even better.

Christopher
EOS Blog Team

151 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have been flying a lot recently, with a 4 and 1 year old (and a husband;-), and I want to thank you for the changes. Especially coming back from Disney in March, loaded down with things, including double stroller and swim noodle, it made a huge difference to be waved into a 'family' line and to have places to sit to regather. Also, your workers are just nicer now, a huge difference from 2 years ago when a TSA screener required us to rip the teddy rabbit from my then 2 year old's hands, without talking to her or explaining anything and while pushing us to hurry. We expect to spend a long time now, and we are happy with the ability to do it in a stress free way.

Ms. OPL said...

Are these available everywhere or just in selected airports? What about Cleveland?

a Pi**ed Off Passenger said...

Try explaining some of your rules to the traveling public.

Why do I have to get my CPAP machine (for those suffering from sleep apnea) screened for explosives EACH time I travel????? It has to XRAYED and then get swabbed for explosives yet NO ONE will explain why!!!!!

txrus said...

Who's paying for this? If, like the rest of your recently unveiled re-decorating attempts, it will be up to each individual airport to purchase this evolved checkpoint Kip & Kompany are now 'selling' (his words, btw), then it's doubtful we'll see these in most airports simply because of financial constraints.

Honestly, the idea of having benches or chairs on the other side of the checkpoint isn't a hard one to come up with in the first place, though it speaks volumes that it apparently did take the TSA 6 yrs & 3+ mos worth of blogging to figure it out. Some airports have long had them, like PHX & DFW, so those that could afford to do so, or had the space to do so, have already done it. Those who don't have the space or the $$ to do it still won't if TSA isn't going to pony up for the renovations needed to make this happen.

Sandra said...

"Why do I have to get my CPAP machine (for those suffering from sleep apnea) screened for explosives EACH time I travel????? It has to XRAYED and then get swabbed for explosives yet NO ONE will explain why!!!!!"

Because you're guilty until proven innocent in the eyes of the TSA, no matter if this is the first time you've flown or the 101st you've flown.

My heavens to Betsy, you could be a decoy, you could have been recruited by an evil terrorist between flights and packed the machine with explosives, you could have fertilizer residue on your hands which transferred to the CPAP and makes you even more suspect....so many scenarios come out of the minds of the threat community, who are totally convinced that there are terrorists behind every tree just waiting to get us.

kellymae81 said...

"Why do I have to get my CPAP machine screenedc for explosives?"

Unfortunately, the rules for these procedures cannot be explained because they are sensitive security information.

HSVTSO Dean said...

Ms. Opl wrote:

Supposedly, it's going to happen everywhere sooner or later. If it's anything like everything else the TSA does, it has to be rolled out in phases. I can tell you that there's nothing like that here at Huntsville yet; can't speak to Cleveland.

A passenger, apparently somewhat angry, wrote:

Why do I have to get my CPAP machine (for those suffering from sleep apnea) screened for explosives EACH time I travel????? It has to XRAYED and then get swabbed for explosives yet NO ONE will explain why!!!!!

Short answer, from the TSO perspective: Because TSA said so.

Longer answer, from the TSO perspective: Now, ignore the fact that it looks like I'm being arrogant — I know about as much as you do in this regard, as a screener on the floor for a little under six years. One day we came into work, and in morning in-briefing the Supervisor said "Oh, yeah, by the way, and now CPAP machines have to be taken out of their bags like a laptop computer, and still have to be ETD'd."

(The ETDing of CPAP machines has been going on for some time)

It's not just CPAP machines, though. It's any kind of respiratory/oxygen/breathing-machine apparatus, including oxygen tanks and air ionizers and humidifers and pretty much anything that alters the way air is breathed or assists in the breathing of air.

Presumably, and this is just me crunching my brain gears together in the knowing-what-is-possible route compared against the knowing-what-they-are-capable-of routines, this is to safeguard against some kind of... well, you see, the nature of it is... hm.

Good point. I don't know either.

But, like in so many other ways, I'm here to do the job that they tell me to do, so I do it.

They say that all the breathing-machine stuff has to be screened for explosives; I can only assume that, somewhere up the chain of command, someone a lot smarter than I am (and likely with some kind of intelligence report in their hand) said that it'd be a good idea.

Literally speaking, TSA told us to do it, and didn't offer up any kind of justification for why it should be done. Not to us, anyway.

:)

Maybe someone else can give a more exacting, more official answer, assuming something more exacting and more official doesn't qualify as SSI.

Just out of curiosity though, why is that enough to get you miffed? At least a lot of other people on here are upset for what they see to be civil liberties violations or what they think are privacy infringements (and more on very legitimate complaints of screener conduct or appearance§) but you're getting steamed over a process that takes about ten seconds at the most, and is usually done (at least at my airport) while you're getting the rest of your stuff together and put on. Here at Huntsville, the total impact of the ETDing-of-CPAP machines on passenger throughput time is just maybe a single fingernail's edge above negligable.

§ - Just an observation, since I've seen so many people complaining about "twenty-something kids" running around the checkpoints having no business being there: I'm twenty-five years old, and I'll be marking my sixth year with the TSA in October.

P.S.: I know it's probably not the definitive answer you were hoping for, Mr. Angry Passenger, but I thought you'd get even more angry if someone didn't say anything at all to it, like so many other questions get unanswered.

Randy said...

Y'all are real quick learners. it's been almost seven years, and you finally figured out if you make people take their shoes off, a seat might be helpful.

What's next? A water fountain?

New England Flyer said...

One request: I would like see mailboxes *outside* of the security area so we can mail our prohibited items. A lot of airports have these already, but (as I've found out on many occasions) many airports/terminals *don't*.

Yes, we should leave those items at home but I'm a engineer that uses items like picks, multi-tools (Leatherman/etc), screwdrivers, etc on a daily basis and sometimes I just forget and leave something in a jacket pocket or buried in my carry-on bag. Between making sure my liquids meet the carry-on limit, remembering ID/tickets, rushing to the airport and so on, sometimes things get lost in the shuffle.

When I get to the airport and realize that my knife is still in my bag I'd like to have an option other than "throw out my $50 Wengar tool" or "miss my flight."

Anonymous said...

What we leaned [sic] and incorporated is: People want someplace to get ready for screening, people want to move at their own pace and people want somewhere to sit down and put themselves back together after screening.

Since I really do want to encourage any attempts the TSA makes to provide improvements based on our feedback, I'll begin by promising to express my appreciation for these genuinely useful improvements when I actually see them.

There are two issues immediately apparent in this announcement. The first is how many airports will actually have those "prep areas" and "composure benches"? From what I've seen, too many airports barely have room for the current security checkpoints. Most of the space has to be taken up with a corral to contain the herd of cattle/passengers as they wait for screening. There's just enough room for a small table at the entrance where one or two passengers can hurriedly separate their laptops, shoes, jackets, and single clear plastic zip-lock bag with loosely-packed containers of liquids and toiletries in manufacturer's labeled packages. At the end of the checkpoint, there's barely room for one or two chairs for those passengers who can't manage to balance on one foot while putting their shoes back on and gathering up their separated belongings. So where are you going to put those prep areas and composure benches? Still, it's a nice gesture on the TSA's part-- even if it's impractical to actually be implemented at major airports.

The more serious problem is that these improvements, while nice, address only peripheral issues. If you had actually leaned [sic?] and incorporated "what people want," you would have announced that you've reconsidered the dubious War On Liquids, Toiletries, and Shoes and its capricious "interpretation." And more importantly, you would have published a TSO Code Of Conduct that mandates respect for passengers, imposes disciplinary action on bullying TSOs, and provides a channel for reporting abuses with an explicit promise that users need not fear retaliation. If you actually read the comments, you'd see that's what people want! If you really think that offering us a peripheral, incremental improvement (which may not be practical for widespread implementation) will appease and distract us from the real problems, you're only making things worse by insulting our intelligence.

But in fairness to Christopher and whoever else may actually care about improving the "experience" of passengers at checkpoints, I honestly suspect they're doing the best the TSA and Homeland Security bureaucracy will permit. The top officials are probably adamant about the need for the War On Liquids, Toiletries, and Shoes, as well as the need for maximum "flexibility" in implementing rules and procedures. And some top managers may believe that bullying and intimidation is an appropriate and necessary way to treat passengers, since all passengers are presumed to be terrorists and criminals until proven otherwise. So I have no doubt that you're trying very hard to do what you can for passengers within strict constraints-- and also that you surely have worked very hard to devise this improvement. Thank you for that, but I think very little will actually change.

Beau Woods said...

Wow, good ideas! I especially like the split-tiered benches. I wonder what it would cost to make them in a wave shape instead of angled? It might encourage people to use them by being perceived as more round and usable. Of course one drawback is that some kids (and kids at heart like myself) might be tempted to slide on them.

Anonymous said...

In the Lubbock, TX. airport today there were 10 (ten) TSA employees at the security checkpoint. Why on earth was there only one machine open? Why couldn't any of those employees go help the ONE guy handling all the luggage for the Southwest ticket counter? It is inefficiencies like this that give TSA its much deserved feeling of incompetence at the airport level. Six people do not need to operate one x-ray machine with three supervisors and one person in the "secure checkpoint" area.

Anonymous said...

@a Pi**ed Off Passenger:

Dude, you have to have your CPAP machine screened each time because they don't know what you did with it since the last time it was screened. Maybe you ripped the guts out and filled with 4oz of liquids! Or maybe explosives, or razor blades. Just like you have to walk through the metal detector each time, the bulky electronic machine you want to take on the plane has to be scanned each time. That one is not really that hard to figure out.

Anonymous said...

When are you going to incorporate the suggestions about not lying to cover up mistakes? This blog has a disturbing signal/spin ratio.

When are you going to respond in a real way to the repeated question of why so-called "dangerous" liquids are allowed to be mixed together in trash cans. (No analogies! Scientific facts only please!)

When is the reasoning behind the new TSA "faux-cop" uniform going to be explained?

Given any thought to the suggestion that complaint forms be readily available to all who desire them without having to ask a TSA employee?

Congratulations on figuring out that people need benches to tie their shoes. I hope someone in R&D got promoted for that one.

Anonymous said...

Now, if could change the liquids policy and the ban on small knives just because they are (Gasp!) KNIVES.......

Christopher said...

"Why do I have to get my CPAP machine (for those suffering from sleep apnea) screened for explosives EACH time I travel????? It has to XRAYED and then get swabbed for explosives yet NO ONE will explain why!!!!!"

Because terrorist could easily hide explosives in a CPAP machine we need to give them extra scrutiny. Think I'm making this up? Go to our home page, tsa.gov and click on the story titled common items, extraordinary threat in the flash box. If a detonator can be hidden in a watch, imagine what can be hidden in your CPAP.

The only reason we screen you, your CPAP machine and your checked lugage is for the safety of the traveling public.

Christopher
EOS Blog Team

Anonymous said...

"If a detonator can be hidden in a watch, imagine what can be hidden in your CPAP."

It never ends, does it Christopher? Always have to come up with something else that can be a threat to keep yourselves employed.

Anonymous said...

While you're rethinking, you should also rethink the idea of dressing up your screeners as law enforcement officers.

Anonymous said...

when will the whole "checkpoint evolution" be available throughout the country, i currently work in BOS and would like to see these changes soon

Anonymous said...

Think I'm making this up? Go to our home page, tsa.gov and click on the story titled common items, extraordinary threat in the flash box. If a detonator can be hidden in a watch, imagine what can be hidden in your CPAP.

The only reason we screen you, your CPAP machine and your checked lugage is for the safety of the traveling public.

Christopher
EOS Blog Team


Sorry, but you're going to have to do better than that. A person could plant explosives on their person sans detonator and walk through security.

Anonymous said...

"Because terrorist could easily hide explosives in a CPAP machine we need to give them extra scrutiny."

Or they could be hiding them in the unassuming carryon just after it, that you're not paying attention to because there's this newfangled whatsit right here that might be a bomb. TSA still misses what, 80% of all bomb detection tests? And instead of improving that, you still want to waste more effort on what ifs and could bes?

Get that miss rate under 5%. If a bomb, conventionally smuggled the way a mustache-twirling, trenchcoated maniacal cartoon villain might smuggle it has a 19 out of 20 chance to be detected and caught, then we can talk. Then you can start in about shoes and liquids and passengers owning the checkpoint. Then we can think about things "they might try." Until then, concentrate on basic competence and customer service. Lord knows you have room to improve.

Anonymous said...

I guess my only comment is: how come it took 5 years to figure out the need for a "recomposure" bench? (Written while sitting in the San Francisco airport, which doesn't have said benches yet -- I had to "recompose" myself in a nearby restaurant.)

Gunner said...

Brilliant.

Absolutely flipping brilliant.

You finally figured out that people need to be able to sit down to take off their shoes and then sit down so the can put them back on again.

And you expect us to stand and applaud.

And how much did these fancy chairs cost? Or is that a top-secret, national security, double-cripto secret as well?

Let me guess -- were they less than an Air Force Toilet Seat, how about a Pentagon Hammer?

Bet there was a comma in the number -- for each one.

Did the installers have nipple rings?

Anonymous said...

"we welcome any suggestions you might have to make this concept even better"

How about you geniuses drop the pointless liquid restrictions and stop making passengers get their shoes X-rayed on the basis of one (1) idiot who tried to use his shoes for something over SIX YEARS AGO?

seo said...

Try explaining some of your rules to the traveling public.

Anonymous said...

The death spiral puts TSA in perspective. Guess where death from airline terrorism (U01.1) lies?

TSO NY said...

a Pi**ed Off Passenger said...
Try explaining some of your rules to the traveling public.

Why do I have to get my CPAP machine (for those suffering from sleep apnea) screened for explosives EACH time I travel????? It has to XRAYED and then get swabbed for explosives yet NO ONE will explain why!!!!!

April 11, 2008 10:08 AM



As a TSo it annoys me when passengers assume the worst, complain or make things up because they don't understand what's going on or why we do certain thing. Unfortunately though, we don't always have the time or authority to explain things to you during the security process.

Jay said...

Christopher is right; CPAPs make a good hiding place. A short while back our officers found a loaded 45 caliber handgun in a CPAP bag at the Passenger Checkpoint.

(Click on my name above to view the catch)

If someone can fit this hand cannon in a CPAP bag they can certainly fit explosives in there too.

TSA Officers who have a machine also have theirs screened and as a Federal Security Director my CPAP gets screened as well. The rules apply to everyone, even those who are responsible for enforcing them.

Jay
EoS Blog Team

Anonymous said...

"If a detonator can be hidden in a watch, imagine what can be hidden in your CPAP."

Then why allow anyone to travel with anything? Imagine what could be hidden in a fake pregnancy suit, in false fillings, wrapped in swallowed condoms, OMG BREAST IMPLANTS! I love the TSA reasoning of "if you aren't scared yet, you aren't imagining hard enough." What if, what if, what if.

As long as the TSA is failing to detect tested threats at 70% or so then the TSA is a complete waste of taxpayers money. USA Today reported last year that the TSA at LAX failed 75% of the time, 60% of the time at O'Hare. Security at SFO failed 20% of the time because it is NOT the TSA providing security.
TSA=EPIC FAIL

Anonymous said...

Hehehehehe. Pretty good, there guys trying 'to stuff the ballot' by getting TSOs to line up with the take the CPAPs out and go through them with a fine toothed comb, while I posted a comment last night April 11, and that one has yet to be approved for posting.

A dedicated terrorist could, if they were so inclined, take plastic explosives and form them to fit a section of the terrorist's body (i.e. back, belly, buttocks).

Guys you're running defense and defense only provides a delaying action at best. The FBI, CIA, NSA, Military, etc are at the tip of the spear. TSA only provides a weak net to catch terrorists because TSA lacks the information gathering capabilities that the other agencies/groups currently provide.

Anonymous said...

I think this prep stop and recomposure area idea is good - and long overdue.

However, there's still potential for harassment. Please do not use this to tell people "you've had enough time, move on" especially in the recomposure area, where people traveling in couples, families or groups are bound to wait for their companions.

Anonymous said...

HOORAY, TSA realizes that people like to SIT DOWN to put on their shoes...

Guys. We just spent how much time and money on this "evolution"?? Try going to the airport and flying once or twice, and it would be obvious. Immediately. To even somebody mildly retarded.

If TSA takes so long to make the simplest changes, whose practicality are obvious to everyone, and spends lots of effort putting some inane PR campaign around that...do you wonder why nobody takes you all seriously?

If this is the best you can turn out, FIRE all that deadwood and just take your advice from this blog. You'll do better AND save taxpayer money. Not that competence seems to be in your mission statement.

Tyler F said...

These are good ideas, and I hope to see them at DIA soon.

One follow-up would be to add comment cards to the re-composure station. We (the American public) have suggested and asked for this thousands of times: it's time to add comment cards right at the end of screening.

Cilt Bakimi said...

thanks....

The Right Foot said...

With all due respects,
Is this video footage and narrative NOT a breach of security in its own right? Given the current security climate in your part of the world.

Anonymous said...

Now, modify the rule against small (Gasp!) knives.

Anonymous said...

TSO NY said .....

As a TSo it annoys me when passengers assume the worst, complain or make things up because they don't understand what's going on or why we do certain thing.

...................................

Kinda like when you said if a medicine has no prescription it doesn't go? Still haven't answered the many questions that post caused have you?

Now your annoyed because we don't trust or understand your arbitrary made up rules?

TSA and TSO's like you are the problem and the sooner that is acknowledged then some forward progress will be possible.

So get annoyed, if I have a question I will state it and expect a polite expanation from the screener it was posed to!

Abelard said...

As a TSo it annoys me when passengers assume the worst, complain or make things up because they don't understand what's going on or why we do certain thing.

As a member of the traveling public, it annoys me when TSO staff assume the worst about their customers, make things up like needing a prescription to carry any type of medicine on a plane or make things up like people being able to make a liquid explosive on board a plane because they don't understand what is going on.

Unfortunately though, we don't always have the time or authority to explain things to you during the security process.

Then call your supervisor over to explain it to me. IF you are unable to provide basic resolution to basic customer inquiries then perhaps being a TSO isn't what you should be doing.

John Mc said...

So I get a chair to put my shoes on, but still have to sit on the floor or hop around to take them off? hmmmm. (oh, and last time I flew there were no 'take off your shoe' signs, we were just yelled at when we didn't...

Trollkiller said...

Are we going to have a new post for every section of the "New and Improved" screening station?

We have already given you our opinions on the initial post.

1. We don't like the fancy lights and soothing music. We don't like it because it is not there to enhance our experience it is there in an attempt to subtly CONTROL the public.

In a typical elitist "we know better than you" fashion, the TSA went to so called behavioral experts to learn how to control the "hostile" and "stressful" behavior of the passengers. I wonder how much the TSA paid of MY money on the worthless recommendations.

The people on this blog and the people in line at the airports have told the TSA repeatedly, if you want to "de-stress" the screening area;

STOP YELLING. Treat us as fellow citizens and NOT criminals.

STOP PRETENDING. You are NOT law enforcement officers, quit acting like it. "Do you want to fly today?" should never leave your lips.

STOP ABUSING. Take care of our property as if it were your own. Take care of us as if we were your own.

In other words, if you want to de-stress the screening area, reign in abusive TSOs.
-----------------------------

Prep areas and "re-composure" benches are great ideas. Like I already said, make the trash can opening bigger and outline in a contrasting color so us old folks can hit it. Keep that area Disney CLEAN.

Re-composure benches just begs the question "at what point in the TSA line did I decompose?" I would suggest a long counter along the side for those of us that don't need to sit down and put our shoes on but need a place to put our stuff while we do the one legged dance.

Anonymous said...

Christopher is right; CPAPs make a good hiding place. A short while back our officers found a loaded 45 caliber handgun in a CPAP bag at the Passenger Checkpoint.

(Click on my name above to view the catch)

If someone can fit this hand cannon in a CPAP bag they can certainly fit explosives in there too.

TSA Officers who have a machine also have theirs screened and as a Federal Security Director my CPAP gets screened as well. The rules apply to everyone, even those who are responsible for enforcing them.

Jay
EoS Blog Team

April 12, 2008 12:47 PM

So then why do you make take the CPAP out of my bag? The xray found the gun!

And stop the fear mongering! I can conger up all kinds of "what ifs" about ways to get stuff through security.

Trollkiller said...

I just finished watching Web Cast on Evolution of Security Blog. Where was Blogger Bob?

I have a few comments on the Web Cast.
First, Chance I like the tie. Very few men could get away with that color and pattern but it works on you. I did not like Kip's tie at all, next time he goes on tape please help him out. For some reason he reminded me of Boss Hog. (from the original series not the movie)

Kip if you don't want your TSOs wasting time calming down upset passengers then STOP the TSOs from upsetting the passengers. STOP the yelling! STOP the bad attitudes of some TSOs. STOP the abuse of our property and ourselves. No fancy lights and crappy new age music needed.

Yes Kip the tone of the blog has changed in the last week. Could it be that the last three posts have been on the lovely new screening area? Of course you won't get the same amount of posters bending your ears back when you tell us of the brilliant idea to put benches so we can put our shoes back on.

Few people want to be jerks and ask why it took so many years to implement something that should have been thought of the minute we were required to kick off our shoes. Most of us are kind and give you a "bless your heart" pass.

Chance, you are right most of the people are on your side. We don't want some idiot on the plane with a dangerous weapon, but we also don't want to be molested when we go through the screening line.

Ethel, yes passengers have tons of practical and cheap to implement ideas because we HAVE to deal with the bad TSOs and with the bad design of screening areas. Most of the people flying are not Govt. workers and we know how we have to treat our customers and we expect and demand to be treated the same way.

Christopher, the blog is a fantastic way to get your side of the story out. Ok so it wasn't the TSA that was confiscating laptops, BUT it was the TSA working with your DHS partners that caused the laptops to be confiscated. To the public the two are the same. If a TSO has me arrested because I did not bow sufficiently, I do not blame the cop that arrested me on the TSO's word, I blame the TSO and the TSA for allowing it.

BTW I had no problem with the booze flowing down Bourbon St. comment. The blog should be informal and the answers should be clear. But, you are not normal people thinking like normal people. You are a PR guy, thinking like a PR guy.
The top folks at the TSA view this as an "us vs. them" scenario. This is evidenced by the light and sound show meant to control the masses.

Between you and me, I like the fact you gave Kip a bit of a pucker moment when he read the Bourbon St. comment. He guesses he is okay with that. LOL Good Job!

Ethel, before wasting MY money on a bunch of pilot programs, try this.

Describe the idea and enable voting on the idea. Take the new and improved screening area y'all are showcasing right now. I can almost guarantee the light and sound show would have received very few votes but the benches would have scored very high.

Gale for 6 years we have been seeking a way to improve the TSA screening process. The blog is a good start but what about something fast food restaurants use, prepaid postage comment cards available at the end of the screening station. Something we DON'T have to ask for. Second make sure the employees name tag is VISIBLE.

Kip, if you want respect for your TSOs, you have to know, you have to give to get. You mentioned your Grinch letter, I for one would like to read that letter. Being below the IRS was no easy feat, most Americans have to deal with the IRS and their aggravating forms on a yearly basis, most people deal with the TSA a lot less frequently.

The TSA accomplished the low approval ratings due to one thing. Lack of respect. I don't think that some of your screeners realize they are part of the service industry. What they and maybe you don't understand is if you treat someone badly they will tell the story to anyone that will listen. Most of the people that hate the TSA have not flown since your creation. They did not have to, one of their friends, relatives, coworkers, clients or vendors told them how shabbily they were treated.

One of the truths my boss drilled into my head when I worked retail was this.

If you treat a customer good they might tell one or two people, if you treat them badly they will tell EVERYBODY.

So start treating us good, and maybe by the time you leave the TSA will have a better approval rating than Congress.

If you want to improve quickly use a secret shopper program. It is very useful in a retail environment because it gives you honest feedback on what your people are doing AND it tends to curb bad behavior when the work force knows that the next person they get snotty with may have a direct line to corporate.

I have a couple of weeks vacation, you buy, I fly. That is a serious offer, I give you permission to track this IP to get my home number. Just ask for Trollkiller.

Anonymous said...

This works. I flew home from MCO last week and I was amazed how quickly I went through security (in the Expert traveler line). At some (lower volume) airports it might not be so beneficial but it was ideal at MCO.

Anonymous said...

Christopher:
Your statements might make sense except that the same issue applies to laptops and other items such as children's toys that are carried on-board. A teddy bear could easily be stuffed with something nefarious. Why does a CPAP have to be swabbed for explosives IN ADDITION to being Xrayed?

Also, the comment below from TSO NY is offensive. :

"As a TSo it annoys me when passengers assume the worst, complain or make things up because they don't understand what's going on or why we do certain thing."

Your TSOs need to be reminded that the traveling public pays their salaries. If a simple blog posting upsets them, perhaps they don't have the temperment to serve the public. Give that some thought, won't you?

Anonymous said...

So TSO NY:
I guess it annoys you that I complained on the blog. You need to get a job where you don't have to work with people. With an attitude like yours, it's no surprise that so many posts on this blog are about screeners.

You need to shut up, do your job professionally and quietly, and let your PR folks respond here because you are clearly unqualified to answer. You are effectively throwing gas on a fire.

Anonymous said...

Since bad guys *could* hide explosives and weapons in a certain body cavity, why aren't those certain body cavity searches mandatory yet?

Ayn R. Key said...

It is interesting that, in the middle of all the questions and comments that I write that you refuse to answer, you post a blog entry about how you are using feedback and answering comments to improve security and improve processes.

Respond to these:

Given that all chemists agree your 3-1-1 rules makes no sense, why do you continue to enforce it?

Given that nipple rings are by no means deadly weapons, why did you have them removed?

Given that TSOs allegedly don't have the power to deny someone the right to fly, do you recognize any connection between holding someone until after their flight has departed and denying that person their flight?

Given that several states are refusing REAL ID, how do you plan to allow legal passengers to fly?

How can a non-terrorist get his name removed from the terrorism watch list?

Given that according to Kip himself, there is a specific policy against giving additional screening to anyone who complains about screening, is there ever going to be enforcement of that policy?

Since this blog is to facilite communication, why do you always ignore comments on all entries other than the absolutely most recent entry?

Anonymous said...

TSO NY said...

As a TSo it annoys me when passengers assume the worst, complain or make things up because they don't understand what's going on or why we do certain thing.


It annoys travelers when TSO's state "without a prescription it doesn't go" like you did in another post. You have been asked many times to clarify your statement but have not done so.

So to me asking for clarification is not "making things up" or complaining. It is an attempt to understand why TSA and TSO's are "making up things" as they go.

kellymae81 said...

As a TSO, I would like to say that I am tired of being called names like "stupid" and "genius". Many of you disgruntles passengers who have so much to say against us, you don't know the half of what we have to deal with on a day to day basis. I'm not gonna say that we don't some bad apples working for us, but 98% of the people I work with are honest, hard working individuals who are just trying to do their best despite your nasty snide remarks. I would like to ask you if your place of employment works at 100% efficiency every day. We do, despite what you think, try to do things as efficiently as possible with the tools given to us. So how about cutting us a break!

Anonymous said...

Quote "When I get to the airport and realize that my knife is still in my bag I'd like to have an option other than "throw out my $50 Wengar tool" or "miss my flight.""

How about taking some personal responsibility, checking your stuff as you pack and DON"T BRING IT TO THE AIRPORT!!!

Anonymous said...

So how about cutting us a break!

Uh, no.

Stop abusing your authority. Stop pulling SOP out of thin air. Stop abusing the elderly, infirm, children, and military.

You've earned the current reputation for being petty tyrants and have a very long way to go to improve your reputation.

djmixmode said...

Complain. Complain. Complain. It's all I read on here. Complaining.

At what point will you stop complaining? Whether its TSA doing the screening or not, you all are still going to complain.

You people need to grow up and stop whining about stuff out of your control and DEAL WITH IT.

Anonymous said...

It is just the right time to withdraw a bit and give your travelers a respite. Americans have to realise that they are no longer citizens of their great country. After 9/11 they became subjects of the Executive Branch. The type of government that Americans had before 9/11 demanded too much participation and responsibility to survive in a fast paced world as we have today. As subjects of the United States, people can enjoy fast moving changes in security that will protect them far better than the pre-9/11 situation. British subjects have enjoyed this protection for centuries.

Allowing for a little better treatment of travelers takes the edge off getting used to a new world.

Good show, TSA!

djmixmode said...

Don't take it personal Kelly Mae. These people on here who are calling TSO's names are acting childish. They don't understand the fact that in order to board a plane, you must go through some sort of security screening.

They don't seem to have the common sense that no matter how tight security is, stuff can and will still get through. It doesn't matter how much xraying you do, or how many people go through the metal detectors, stuff can and still will get through. No security screening is perfect, it is just effective and efficient.

It amazes me how some people on here just dont get that fact. Use some common sense people. Please.

djmixmode said...

Don't take it personal Kelly Mae. These people on here who are calling TSO's names are acting childish. They don't understand the fact that in order to board a plane, you must go through some sort of security screening.

They don't seem to have the common sense that no matter how tight security is, stuff can and will still get through. It doesn't matter how much xraying you do, or how many people go through the metal detectors, stuff can and still will get through. No security screening is perfect, it is just effective and efficient.

It amazes me how some people on here just dont get that fact. Use some common sense people. Please.

djmixmode said...

You people need to realize TSA can't screen every possible place on a person every single time.

After all, its you people (the public) that won't let TSA because you complain that they are infringing on your civil rights.

Patented Patience said...

"Why do I have to have my Cpap screened each time for explosives?"

--Do you suppose the answer is in the question?

Why were there ten screeners standing around?

--How many were trainees unable to assist you, without a trainer present?
--How many were on the checkpoint to retrieve paperwork, or some other business, but only there for a moment, before they were off to another duty?
--Could it have been shift change?

I don't know why there were ten screeners on the checkpoint and only one lane open. However, I can tell you, that there were reasons. We don't want you standing around any longer than you have to. Passengers get cranky, and believe it or not, they're not always pleasent in that state.

Benches and chairs. I think it's funny that this is suddenly new. My airport has had the same issued benches and chairs since I started there. We now make it a point to point them out and assist passengers with carrying a huge amount of stuff in to the cabin of the plane get to the benches, but you'd be amazed how many people hop on one foot, trying to get the other shoe on, by-passing the large red benches to get to the concourse.

In case it's still a controversy, booties (not recycled--that would defeat the purpose) are available, as well, for those opposed to going barefoot on the floors. Not that I blame you. I wouldn't walk on a floor that so many others have peddled across without them. --Plus, I've had to get up close and personal w/some of those feet....

Patented Patience said...

Oh, I forgot to answer why a TSO didn't jump behind the Southwest ticket counter, and help the Southwest employee.

--How about the next time Wal-mart is slow, I jump behind a register and do their job? I have an badge-patch you know. I suppose, I should use it. (Come on, laugh. It was funny.)

Seriously, Southwest might get just a little irritated, if someone who isn't employed by them, hops behind the counter and starts handling their passengers. Not that this should matter, as I am the proud owner of a badge-patch, but I wouldn't know what I was doing behind an airline ticket counter. --Just a thought.

I said it before, I'll say it again, and I'm sorry if it hurts.

I'm not a baby-sitter, personal valet, airline employee, or the person who packed your bags.

Doesn't mean I don't want to help you when you come to the airport. Quite the contrary. Every passenger and the flight they're about to take is a story. Some gut wrenching and some exciting. My interaction with the passengers is my favorite part of my job.

I must ask, though, before you get mad and blame all troubles you have getting on your flight on the TSA to evaluate the situation for yourself. Half the questions that are asked here can be answered with a little simple deduction, and I think you'll find the answers aren't some huge conspiracy to tick you off before you fly to Grandma's house.

Patented Patience said...

Complaint forms are available, and believe it or not, they're at the end of the security check-point, where nothing bad can befall you if you request one.

You can also ask for a supervisor at any time.

The faux-cop uniforms....well, gee, I guess they should have dressed me in a leotard, a barissta apron, how about roller-skates and poodle skirts? Breath, people. I'm only kidding.

Really,
It's not like I had to swear an oath, or that my previous security jobs, or govt. experience qualified me for this job. It's not like I'm a federal officer, or anything...

Truth be told, those white shirts are a pain to keep clean, and considering carrying around a bag, or even a purse can end up causing a delay in getting where you need to go, cargo pants would be perfect. Then though, we might look a little bit like the military. If the "faux-cop" uniforms bother you, I'd hate to see what that would do to you.

I can guarantee you this: I'm sure you don't want to see me in a leotard.

Anonymous said...

I would still like to see more detail around the "customer service" aspect of the screening experience.

As I pointed out previously, the problems with the screening experience are 90% human behavior and 10% physical infrastructure. From what I've seen in this blog section, the proposed solution is 90% physical infrastructure and 10% human behavior .

Anonymous said...

kellymae81 said... So how about cutting us a break!


Earn it!

Anonymous said...

"Security at SFO failed 20% of the time because it is NOT the TSA providing security."

They also have been accused that the sups are tipping off the screeners that testing was occuring and when. Don't take comfort in that 20% number!

Anonymous said...

Much as I hate to disagree whith a fellow TSO, I don't want the flying public to cut us a break. Anonymous people call TSO's names dosen't bother me. I would ask each TSO to ask themselves, "Are YOU part of the problem? Are you the 'yeller", the 'scolder', the 'crank'?" Can you explain the rules without talking down to a person? Maybe is my retail background (where I was taught that the customer may be mad, but don't take it personally. They don't know YOU personally! To them, you are (in this case) TSA.) Maybe it's because I work mostly baggage and go to the checkpoint once each week, so I'm happy to see people! (It is hard to have a coversation with most luggage) Do you really know the SOP or our rules? Or are you making stuff up?

I would like to see a blog area for each airport to see just what local crap is being fostered on the flying public that is NOT what it is supposed to be. Plus I'd like to know how we're doing, or what we could do better in the field. The liquid/knife/ID issues have to be decided at a level far above me.

TSO-Joe MSP

Anonymous said...

Anon posted:
"As long as the TSA is failing to detect tested threats at 70% or so then the TSA is a complete waste of taxpayers money. USA Today reported last year that the TSA at LAX failed 75% of the time, 60% of the time at O'Hare. Security at SFO failed 20% of the time because it is NOT the TSA providing security.
TSA=EPIC FAIL"

Don't forget the part where the private screening contractor at SFO cheated to achieve those scores...oh wait...that wouldn't fit into the bash TSA agenda the FT and LP.org community mindlessly chant. And yes, I will provide the link for your education:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/02/22/MNGIJBF3LR1.DTL

Gunner said...

>>kellymae81 said: As a TSO, I would like to say that I am tired of being called names like "stupid" and "genius". Many of you disgruntles passengers who have so much to say against us, you don't know the half of what we have to deal with on a day to day basis.
>>So how about cutting us a break!

NO, kellymae, how about cutting us a break. You guys scream at passengers, threaten to deny us flights, don't give us a friggin' place to take off our shoes, get snotty if out zip lock bag is the wrong size, and act as if every fart is a major threat to national security. Get your collegues under control -- get rid of the minimum-wage rent-a-cop mentality, and treat the pax with dignity -- and you'll find that our attitudes will change.

I'm driving round trip from Phoenix to Seattle later this summer,just because I don't want to have to deal with you people when I am on my own time -- bad enough when I have to travel.

Gunner said...

PRESS RELEASE

WASHINGTON DC

TSA INTERGALACTIC HEADQUARTERS


TSA today announced a sweeping set of new policies that will guarantee that our nation's airways are perfectly safe.

Beginning Monday morning, no flights will be allowed to depart if the contain any passengers or baggage.

"It took us five years, but we finally figured it out," Morton Throckmorten the TSA spokesperson explained. "Once we got rid of those pesky passengers and their baggage, the number of complaints went way down and in-flight safety went up."

When asked how people will get from Point A to Point B, Throckmorten explained that it is up to the individual traveller, and is not a TSA issue.

In other news, TSA said that any flight or cabin crew members caught with nipple rings would be executed on sight.

Jim Huggins said...

KellyMae81:

I would like to ask you if your place of employment works at 100% efficiency every day. [...] So how about cutting us a break!

With all respect ... because that's not the standard that TSA sets, either for itself or the flying public.

TSA management tells its screeners
that they have to be accurate 100% of the time, not 98% ... because if they aren't, that 2% could also malicious folks to bring dangerous items aboard a plane.

TSA screeners tell the public that they need to follow the rules 100% of the time. If I forget to remove my penknife from my keychain, or grab the wrong size bottle of hand lotion for my carry-on, it doesn't matter that I did everything correctly the last ten times I boarded an airplane. I have to follow TSA's rules 100% of the time, not 98%.

This blog is supposed to be about finding ways to improve TSA airport screening. We won't accomplish this by focusing on the 98% of the things that work well. We'll only accomplish this by focusing on the 2% that doesn't work.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

Since bad guys *could* hide explosives and weapons in a certain body cavity, why aren't those certain body cavity searches mandatory yet?

April 14, 2008 10:06 AM"

An amusing idea...

Probably, because within a week, the ONLY people who would line up to fly would be people who ENJOY being treated that way. Soon the commercial traveling public would be mostly comprised of masochists, and sexual sadist TSO's that attend to their "needs". It would be a great boost to the private aviation industry, however. The commercial airline industry would melt down in something akin to the sub-prime mortgage crisis, eliminating the need for the TSA.

kellymae81 said...

Ok, just to clear some things up. I understand that passengers may get yelled at and told things like "if you'd like to fly today", but I and many of my fellow TSO's do not use this method. As I stated before, there ARE a few bad apples everywhere, and unfortunately, they give us the bad name. My M.O. is not to yell at passengers, I DO have several years of customer service under my belt and I treat people with respect as do the majority of the people I work with. And as always, you can catch some of the nicest people on a bad day, and "oh no", now we're scum!!! You out there complaining need to understand that the TSA security officers you face everyday are not the ones who came up with these rules. You think it's fun for us to send you back around to go through security AGAIN b/c you had the wrong size ziploc bag? I don't think so. You may get yelled at as a passenger, but we get yelled at everyday, all day long, by people just like you b/c you think we're "idiots". Well, the one you're yelling at isn't the "idiot" that came up with the rule. So yes, I think WE could be treated a little better by the traveling public and if you have an issue, call TSA customer service after the fact and state your issues with the operation as an ADULT, not like some kid throwing a fit b/c he doesn't understand something.

Anonymous said...

"Complain. Complain. Complain. It's all I read on here. Complaining.

At what point will you stop complaining?"

At the point where TSA stops pointless policies like liquid restrictions and mandatory shoe screenings that do NOTHING to make anyone safer.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"If a detonator can be hidden in a watch, imagine what can be hidden in your CPAP."

"It never ends, does it Christopher? Always have to come up with something else that can be a threat to keep yourselves employed."

As a former federal prison guard and now an active bomb tech I wonder this - if someone is willing to place drugs and other prohibited items into their body cavity (we will leave it at that) is it so hard to think a CPAP or any other device is out of the question to be modified. Anything can be modified, the problem here is people think everyone is a nice as they are.

In my training classes I like to use a bible that has been modified into a simulated explosive device. It gets them nearly everytime. It must be some sort of a sin but I know it has been done. One thing I make sure of is all of my training devices come from actual events.

When it comes to this subject I must agree with Chris even though it pains me to do so.

djmixmode said...

And to the guy that said "If I forget my knife in my bag, I'd like to have another option besides throwing it away or losing my flight" - How is this TSA's problem? You need to own up and take responsibility and realize thats really all the options you have. It was your mistake in the first place, don't make it TSA's fault. A lack of planning on your part doesn't constitute an emergency on TSA's. Ever heard that quote?

Anonymous said...

CPAP machines, as one of the few effective TSA agents I've met shared with me, have a very dense motor assembly for providing that regulated compressed air (I have two units myself as I keep the 2nd one at my long-term assignment rather than go through the exercise of bi-weekly swabbing).

Because of this, it makes a "dead spot" on the X-Ray. The swab is the quick, less intrusive mechanism than voiding the warranty for a physical inspection.

TSA could go a very long way in putting our minds at ease, and ensuring our continued cooperation without so much duress by sharing this information in a clear and concise manner, rather than trying to hide behind a foolhardy "security through obscurity" approach which has been proven in every other context to reduce overall security.

Jay said...

Ostrich wrote And stop the fear mongering! I can conger up all kinds of "what ifs" about ways to get stuff through security
Fear Mongering? There’s nothing more frightening than this

Anonymous said...

TSO-Joe MSP,

Hello Joe, I often fly out of and back into MSP. For a long time MSP was just another run at TSA torturing passengers. Recently (within the last month or so) I've noticed a change in attitude with the TSOs working around the Northwest area. You folks have become pleasant. Screaming at passengers has nearly gone away (again just a couple recent flights) and the process is much better than it was in the past.

Thank you and your coworkers for working hard to change the screening process (coming from a virulent-vocal-often very harsh critic of your operation). On the last flight I noticed the benches set up for folks to sit while getting redressed. Nice touch, even though I thought the benches were for decorative purposes only. Count MSP as an airport that is pleasant (TSA wise) to fly out of. Your upper level management and coworkers have done a good job.

Anonymous said...

As a former federal prison guard and now an active bomb tech I wonder this - if someone is willing to place drugs and other prohibited items into their body cavity (we will leave it at that) is it so hard to think a CPAP or any other device is out of the question to be modified. Anything can be modified, the problem here is people think everyone is a nice as they are.

In the past you dealt with convicted criminals under a jail sentence. Why do you treat everyone as a convicted criminal? We are innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. While you might like to believe that you are judge, jury, and executioner, all you are are a LEO and as such have limited (fortunately) actions available to you when dealing with the public. Do you play dress up (wearing fatigues when you really don't have a requirement to wear fatigues)? If you do then please enlist in the miltary.

Anonymous said...

As a former federal prison guard and now an active bomb tech I wonder this - if someone is willing to place drugs and other prohibited items into their body cavity (we will leave it at that) is it so hard to think a CPAP or any other device is out of the question to be modified.

So why stop with CPAP machines? Why not ban watches and pens and laptops? Why not remove the mirrors from planes, since someone could break one and create an edged weapon with a shard of it? Why not force passengers to fly nude, or in TSA-issued spandex singlets?

Too far, you say?

So are the liquid restrictions. So is making a woman remove her piercings. So is making everyone take off their shoes for screening.

TSA acts like there's no line past which there's "too much" screening (I won't call it security since so little of the screenings have anything to do with making flights more secure), but we know better -- heck, TSA knows better, even if it refuses to admit it. Problem is, we're far past that line already, and the folks running TSA have their heads stuck too far in the sand to understand and do something about it.

Takeshi said...

I am surprised that the TSA is making such a big deal about setting out some extra seating on both sides of the check point.

It's nice but not such a grand idea or a revolutionary way of doing business that requires bragging. As for those people that hold up the line because they were not ready before hand, well they screwed up. It's as simple as that.

Airport security is nothing new. We all expect to have to remove our shoes, take out our electronics and throw away any beverages we might have. Prepare for it and don't try to take everything you own on to a plane with you. Keep this in mind and you wont have a problem.

I do not believe that a couple of extra chairs will relieve any stress or make traveling any better. It will just give the traveler a place to sit down as he/she is cursing that mother carrying so much stuff that you wonder if she is going to a survival camp.

Jay Maynard said...

Unfortunately, the rules for these procedures cannot be explained because they are sensitive security information.

And TSA wonders why they're so feared and despised. This is nothing more than a secret state police tactic. There's a German word that translates literally as "secret state police", but I'm not going to use it here because it'd cause this post to be deleted.

The only reason we screen you, your CPAP machine and your checked lugage is for the safety of the traveling public.

Baloney. The real reason you do it is to hassle the traveling public into a sense of security. There's a term for this: "security theater". There are lots of things besides CPAPs that could hide detonators, but they don't have to be sparated out and screened separately. As it is, I must always send six separate items through the X-ray, even though it reduces to two once I can repack the world after going through the checkpoint.

Christopher is right; CPAPs make a good hiding place. A short while back our officers found a loaded 45 caliber handgun in a CPAP bag at the Passenger Checkpoint.

In a CPAP BAG??!! Just how does having to pull the CPAP out of the bag help this?! The screening of CPAPs is nothing less than a violation of the Americans with Disabilties Act, because you're punishing people for having a medical condition.

At what point will you stop complaining? Whether its TSA doing the screening or not, you all are still going to complain.

We'll stop complaining when TSA stops deserving it with secret, nonsensical rules and petty power trips.

Anonymous said...

The only reason we screen you, your CPAP machine and your checked lugage is for the safety of the traveling public.

Christopher
EOS Blog Team

...................................
To be 100% sure that travel is perfectly safe perhaps TSA should just ban travel by all commercial means. Then your job will be done.

The current procedures exceed the level of danger. Like most policies it will self correct over time. I'm afraid that TSA will have destroyed the airlines before that happens.

Frequentflyer101 said...

I am still waiting for a response to my postings last week regarding the pretend police uniforms and the Dulles screeners wearing the jackets with "FEDERAL OFFICER" on the back.

Are you really going to let your poorly trained, ill mannered, rude, unskilled security screeners pretend that they are law enforcement?

ibored said...

kellymae-

your comment is insulting and really just proves the point of everyone on here 'complaining'

Having worked in retail I am well aware the phrase 'the customer is always right' is laughably untrue. However it continues because the basic tenant of treating customers properly is vital. Your agency doesn't seem to subscribe to the theory. No one is asking you to do anything that decreases security, we are simply asking for our tax dollars to make us safer, I can see theater at my local university for much less than an airline ticket.

When I worked in retail, I worked at Uhaul. Let me tell you people are stressed when they move. Now when somebody else doesn't bring back a truck on time, I got yelled at. Well welcome to life, that was part of my job. If you don't like the job, quit.

In reality every TSO who posts on here that say 'oh its not fair to compare us to the people who don't do their job'. It sounds like your the ones complaining. Your time (and the TSAs time) would be better spent helping to fix the problem from within. The argument that 'they aren't typical' is a implicit agreement with what we're saying when we make complaints about behavior. Do something about it, you admit they aren't following your policies and ethics but then want to exclude the group travelers have most issue with from any discussion.

And as a point of clarification, a complaint and complaining are very different

Gunner said...

Cowards...you wouldn't post my satirical press release.

Marshall said...

Anonymous said:

"At the point where TSA stops pointless policies like liquid restrictions and mandatory shoe screenings that do NOTHING to make anyone safer."

How about this re mandatory shoe removal (from FT):

"It has absolutely nothing to do with explosives, explosives just gave them cover to implement it. ...... there is a fundamental flaw in the current WTMD used in the United States. That flaw is that the bottom part of the WTMD does not detect metal very well. It appears .... that either the bottom part of the WTMD (bottom 2-4") cannot generate enough of a field to detect metal with any degree of certainty, or simply don't generate a field at that level. They can apparently be "tuned" to detect at that level, but the flooring in the area needs to be very specific to prevent the machine from just constantly going beep. It is this limitation that also created the you cannot "shimmy" through the machine (they are trying to get the soles of your feet above 2" off the floor.) This also explains why a pair of shoes (back in the day) would sometimes set off a detector one day, but not the next. You simply managed to bring your foot up to the point in the WTMD where whatever metal that was in it entered the field, and set it off."

No threat but all shoes have to be removed because the freakin' machines don't work properly!

How's that for your taxpayer money at work, folks?

djmixmode said...

Some of you people have such a hard time dealing with any authority. If some of you acted this way while at a checkpoint, the local LEO's would detain you and make you look silly in front of a bunch of people like I have seen personally on more than one occasion.

You are all hard up for something if you think taking off shoes has "gone too far". Taking off shoes is nothing.... again, too much of an inconvenience right?

"Why should I take my shoes off?" "I'm too lazy and I dont want to be inconvenienced for the sake of security."

Try travelling to Ben Gurion airport and see what security is like over there.

Although I do agree that the total liquid ban on anything above 3.4oz is a bit silly, its a start until they can come up with another way to screen liquids. The technology just doesn't exist to use efficiently (key word - efficiently) at a checkpoint.

anonymous -
"In the past you dealt with convicted criminals under a jail sentence. Why do you treat everyone as a convicted criminal? We are innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. While you might like to believe that you are judge, jury, and executioner, all you are are a LEO and as such have limited (fortunately) actions available to you when dealing with the public. Do you play dress up (wearing fatigues when you really don't have a requirement to wear fatigues)? If you do then please enlist in the miltary."

Do you feel you have stoop this low and belittle this person? You are the epitomy of childish. Grow up. Another point - do you feel like a criminal whenever you pass through a checkpoint? Why? Do you have something to hide? I have news for you, everyone goes through the screening, not just little old special you.

Dunstan said...

"I would like to see a blog area for each airport to see just what local crap is being fostered on the flying public that is NOT what it is supposed to be. Plus I'd like to know how we're doing, or what we could do better in the field. The liquid/knife/ID issues have to be decided at a level far above me.

TSO-Joe MSP"

Another worthwhile suggestion that probably won't fly with the management. TSO-Joe, if you want to see the passenger viewpoint, and some intelligent TSO rebuttal and commentary, go over to Flyer Talk's Travel and Security forum.

Anonymous said...

Once again, I will ask the question. Since the CPAP has to be removed from my bag to be swabbed for explosive residue anyway, why do you demand that it be REMOVED from my bag to be Xrayed? Any number of other items with the potential for hiding nefarious materials within are NOT required to be removed from a bag prior to Xray.
I am neither anti-TSA nor am I against airport security screening; however I do believe in common sense. The previous reply from a TSO that it is sensitive security information is just a bureaucratic version of "We don't have to tell you so we won't." written by someone who does not have authority to speak for the TSA here.
How about more posts/responses from official spokespersons and less from unauthorized TSOs whining because passengers criticize them?

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
As a former federal prison guard and now an active bomb tech I wonder this - if someone is willing to place drugs and other prohibited items into their body cavity (we will leave it at that) is it so hard to think a CPAP or any other device is out of the question to be modified. Anything can be modified, the problem here is people think everyone is a nice as they are.

In the past you dealt with convicted criminals under a jail sentence. Why do you treat everyone as a convicted criminal? We are innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. While you might like to believe that you are judge, jury, and executioner, all you are a LEO and as such have limited (fortunately) actions available to you when dealing with the public. Do you play dress up (wearing fatigues when you really don't have a requirement to wear fatigues)? If you do then please enlist in the military."

Once again, being the one who posted the initial comment - The key word with prison guard is "former", years ago in fact. I am not a LEO, have an MBA (VA benefits earned from military service) and work in a white collar setting (non-gov), but am a military reservist (EOD) and have deployed. I do wear fatigues, but only when required to do so, I guess that is why it is called a uniform.

My point is as stated in my initial reply that having worked around convicted felons and being in the EOD community that over the last 20+ years I understand that ANYTHING can be modified and also understand the vast majority of the population are honest, hardworking and just want to do their part. Although, as stated earlier, I believe TSA only deals with a dozen or so per day of truly "bad acting terrorist types" they don't know who they are just by looking at them.

I don't even like to fly anymore and will drive if within 4-5 hours. It isn't because of TSA it is because if there is anything but sunshine and clear skies nationwide I have to deal with delays, cancellations, over bookings, crowds, not enough crew, mechanical breakdowns-------. It is the airlines who have made me hate to fly, not the TSA and not the possibility of a terrorist. I am treated worse by the airlines than I have ever been by the TSA. It is my choice and not one from being paranoid. In my car I can make a call when driving, conduct business, look around, stop and get out, turn around, eat something besides peanuts, not be crunched into a dog crate sized seat and not be forced to smell someone else’s BO. I never get seated besides the beautiful girl but get the screaming child and find the older I get the less I am willing to deal with the hassle.
Maybe I'll take a cruise, any suggestions on that?

With oil being at $100 + per barrel, airlines going bankrupt and merging, I do not see it getting any better but in fact see it getting much worse as far as available flights, seat vacancy, stressed employees, and ticket prices. TSA doesn't have much to do with that. I am all for holding the TSA or any other gov. entity accountable but would rather start with the IRS, I really dislike that agency.

Anonymous said...

i just realized the problem. Your new checkpoint is all well and good, I'm not going to argue it's merits or pitfalls here. it could be perfect, but right now where is it? It's in a warehouse somewhere. How many airports will it get to? likely none. Why? Who is going to pay for it. Often I hear that local airports are expected to foot the bill for expanding security space. How many will do that? They'll just keep cramming the checkpoints into the little space they have and the checkpoints will reflect the need to improvise. That means bright lights, echos, hard floors, weird snaking lines, etc. Until the TSA gets money to implement this locally, it's all academic.

Anonymous said...

I do not believe that a couple of extra chairs will relieve any stress or make traveling any better. It will just give the traveler a place to sit down as he/she is cursing that mother carrying so much stuff that you wonder if she is going to a survival camp.

There's a good likelihood that this mother has had one too many experiences with checked bags not arriving on the carousel and then having to deal with what used to be called "customer service" to resolve the problem. I don't know whether you've just been lucky, or whether you FedEx your belongings or simply buy what you need at your destination, but if you've ever had to deal with checked bag problems you'll likely be tempted to become a "bin hog."

Think of "carrying too much stuff" as a layer of security. Neither the TSA nor the airlines seem to have any concern for the security of passenger belongings. So it's up to passengers to do what they can to protect themselves.

Ayn R. Key said...

kellymae81 wrote:
Ok, just to clear some things up. I understand that passengers may get yelled at and told things like "if you'd like to fly today", but I and many of my fellow TSO's do not use this method.

So 99% of TSOs give the other 1% a bad name?

Anonymous said...

djmixmode: Some of you people have such a hard time dealing with any authority.... Another point - do you feel like a criminal whenever you pass through a checkpoint? Why? Do you have something to hide?

Congratulations on feeling so completely comfortable with uniformed strangers scrutinizing and handling all your belongings (and your body, if that's what they decide to do). And I'm sure you have no problem "voluntarily abandoning" some or all of your belongings if the uniformed stranger at his or her sole discretion decides it's prohibited. You'll just make a mental note to buy more of what was taken, and to dispose of it before you fly home. Unfortunately, a lot of people aren't as comfortable with that as you are. For them, being subjected to search and seizure under arbitrary rules and capricious "interpretation" by Authorities who yell at them bears more than a coincidental resemblance to the way prisoners are treated. Especially since prisons aren't exactly utopian oases of law and order.

Remember, we're dealing with Americans who have a long history of questioning Authority and exercising what used to be their inalienable right to speak out, rather than blindly (and quietly) trusting Authority as the TSA is asking us to do. Perhaps people will eventually become so accustomed to the TSA (and to other agencies that are snooping everywhere to protect us) that we'll come to accept and even appreciate intrusive measures our Leaders decide are necessary for our protection. I sometimes think this sort of "culture change" is the real reason for the TSA's "security theater."

But until that happens, many of us will resent being ordered to give up up our freedom, privacy, and dignity for bureaucratically-worded assurances of "security." Especially when it's part of measures that look very dubious as far as we can tell, but we have no way of verifying their efficacy because they're all shrouded in secrecy. Maybe we'd be more accepting if we had reason to believe we're actually getting something of value for what we're paying and giving up. But of course that's not possible because it all must be secret. So the answer to all our questions and complaints is "trust us" and "respect authority."

Sorry, djmixmode. For many of us, this administration has given us every reason not to trust it. I'll agree with you that respect for Authority is a good thing. But only if that respect is earned rather than merely commanded.

Trollkiller said...

Be sure to scroll up to read the posts that were held until Blogger Bob got back from vacation.

Anonymous said...

I'll answer you -
Frequentflyer101 said...
"I am still waiting for a response to my postings last week regarding the pretend police uniforms and the Dulles screeners wearing the jackets with "FEDERAL OFFICER" on the back.

Are you really going to let your poorly trained, ill mannered, rude, unskilled security screeners pretend that they are law enforcement?"

The jackets are issued for emergency response by TSA but there are also some who bought them when they attended various training. The other one you will see is "Senior TSA Official". They have their place but I agree should likely stay in the closet unless there is an emergency / crisis response. They are not worn by the uniformed staff.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Whoever this person is has figured it out! A lifetime with the airlines and sadly I feel roughly the same way anymore. Their glory days are past and now it is just dog eat dog and every passenger for themself.

Anonymous said regarding a snippy reply post.

"Once again, being the one who posted the initial comment - The key word with prison guard is "former", years ago in fact. I am not a LEO, have an MBA (VA benefits earned from military service) and work in a white collar setting (non-gov), but am a military reservist (EOD) and have deployed. I do wear fatigues, but only when required to do so, I guess that is why it is called a uniform.

My point is as stated in my initial reply that having worked around convicted felons and being in the EOD community that over the last 20+ years I understand that ANYTHING can be modified and also understand the vast majority of the population are honest, hardworking and just want to do their part. Although, as stated earlier, I believe TSA only deals with a dozen or so per day of truly "bad acting terrorist types" they don't know who they are just by looking at them.

I don't even like to fly anymore and will drive if within 4-5 hours. It isn't because of TSA it is because if there is anything but sunshine and clear skies nationwide I have to deal with delays, cancellations, over bookings, crowds, not enough crew, mechanical breakdowns-------. It is the airlines who have made me hate to fly, not the TSA and not the possibility of a terrorist. I am treated worse by the airlines than I have ever been by the TSA. It is my choice and not one from being paranoid. In my car I can make a call when driving, conduct business, look around, stop and get out, turn around, eat something besides peanuts, not be crunched into a dog crate sized seat and not be forced to smell someone else’s BO. I never get seated besides the beautiful girl but get the screaming child and find the older I get the less I am willing to deal with the hassle.
Maybe I'll take a cruise, any suggestions on that?

With oil being at $100 + per barrel, airlines going bankrupt and merging, I do not see it getting any better but in fact see it getting much worse as far as available flights, seat vacancy, stressed employees, and ticket prices. TSA doesn't have much to do with that. I am all for holding the TSA or any other gov. entity accountable but would rather start with the IRS, I really dislike that agency."

Anonymous said...

RE KellyMae81's comment "Well, the one you're yelling at isn't the "idiot" that came up with the rule. "

I've never witnessed a passenger yelling at a screener. However, I've had plenty of experiences of my girlfriend and I being yelled at for no good reason by some screener.

I know the difference between a screener who's enforcing some silly mandate and one who's on a power trip. The screamers I've encountered were definitely the latter.

The actions and failures to act of the individuals in an organization create the organization's reputation. The TSA needs to recognize that the screamers reflect badly on the TSA and take appropriate action. As I've suggested on this blog before, the TSA needs to have some secret shoppers find out what's going on at the checkpoints.

a Pi**ed Off Passenger said...

Once again, I will ask the question. Since the CPAP has to be removed from my bag to be swabbed for explosive residue anyway, why do you demand that it be REMOVED from my bag to be Xrayed? Any number of other items with the potential for hiding nefarious materials within are NOT required to be removed from a bag prior to Xray.
I am neither anti-TSA nor am I against airport security screening; however I do believe in common sense. The previous reply from a TSO that it is sensitive security information is just a bureaucratic version of "We don't have to tell you so we won't." written by someone who does not have authority to speak for the TSA here.

djmixmode said...

anonymous said...
"Sorry, djmixmode. For many of us, this administration has given us every reason not to trust it. I'll agree with you that respect for Authority is a good thing. But only if that respect is earned rather than merely commanded."

I guess I just don't see eye to eye with you. Why should the TSA have to earn its authoritative powers over the travelling public? They are there as an authoritative figure mandated by Congress, not necessarily the Bush administration - so don't chastise and use the excuse; "dub-ya did it" - they've already "earned" their authoritative powers just by merely being established as a government agency. Granted not all government departments are something to write home about, but that doesn't change the fact that they have a job to do at the checkpoint, security.

The problem is that the people who don't like TSA seem to have a problem with being told what to do. This stems from some sort of lack of respect for any type of authority, TSA or not. Trust me, TSA could care less whether they have a power over you, the only control they have is the small space that is the checkpoints or the checked baggage screening area. Because you feel too timid to speak up and make you're own decision as to what you want to do with your stuff if its not allowed to pass through is not TSA's fault. Get assertive and either ask to speak to supervisor or tell the TSO you want to clarify something or you want to be close to your belongings.

Frequentflyer101 said...

Excuse me, but the FEDERAL OFFICER jackets in question were being worn in the airport by several different screeners at Dulles Airport. They had the rent a cop uniform on underneath.

Why on earth would TSA allow such poory trained, ill mannered people pretend that they are law enforcement. And, what type of emergency situation would warrant a security screener to walk around identifying him/herself as a FEDERAL OFFICER? TSA is asking for nothing but trouble by allowing its glorified mall security guards to pretend to be police officers.

Anonymous said...

Well, let me try agin - "Frequentflyer101 said...
Excuse me, but the FEDERAL OFFICER jackets in question were being worn in the airport by several different screeners at Dulles Airport. They had the rent a cop uniform on underneath.

Why on earth would TSA allow such poory trained, ill mannered people pretend that they are law enforcement. And, what type of emergency situation would warrant a security screener to walk around identifying him/herself as a FEDERAL OFFICER? TSA is asking for nothing but trouble by allowing its glorified mall security guards to pretend to be police officers."

If one really wants to get doen to it the uniformed staff are "Transportation Security Officers" and they work for the federal government except in a very few airports which are part "Screening Partnership Program (SPP)". I stick to my first reply in that the jackets are for more of a crisis response and I have not seen any Federal Security Director (FSD), who is the senior TSA official at any airport, issue them for daily wear. All uniformed employees have jackets which are issued. One is a light jacket that simply says "TSA" on the back and the other, if in cold climates, is heavy and has the same thing on the back.

I know we have Transportation Security Inspectors (TSI) who have them issued and who also are badged and carry credintials. You will see them being worn during certain "surge" security type activities.

So I guess the real answer is it is the FSD who would allow it and any uniformed TSA employee works directly under the Assistant FSD for Screening. I have not seen anything specific on wearing them but can say mine is hanging in a locker and has never been worn except to make sure it fit.

Anonymous said...

djmixmode: Because you feel too timid to speak up and make you're own decision as to what you want to do with your stuff if its not allowed to pass through is not TSA's fault. Get assertive and either ask to speak to supervisor or tell the TSO you want to clarify something or you want to be close to your belongings.

That would normally be good consumer advice. But I would hesitate to apply it to the TSA, since passengers don't have a normal "consumer" relationship with a government "security" agency that has the sole discretion to bar them or their belongings from a flight.

Many passengers have good reason to believe TSOs will respond to any display of assertiveness or questioning of their decisions by yelling "Do you want to fly today?" or even being placed on the infamous "No-Fly List." That may not be official TSA policy. But as you've surely read on this blog, there are enough TSOs who show Zero Tolerance for anything other than Immediate Obedience to their Unquestioned Authority to lead many passengers to believe that they had better obey a TSO's decision swiftly and unquestioningly if they want to fly today (and avoid an even more intrusive secondary screening).

Those common beliefs may not be accurate, but the TSA has yet to do a good job of dispelling them. There may even be a good reason why TSA management would like to maintain a level of fear and intimidation sufficient to discourage assertiveness. The TSA has conflicting official mandates to protect aviation while avoiding undue delay to the herds of passengers (i.e., suspected terrorists) it processes. Passengers who are assertive (especially when it comes to questioning capricious "interpretation" of irrational rules) cause delays and create extra work for TSA personnel. Processing docile and obedient passengers is easier and more efficient than processing assertive ones.

The best way to do promote efficiency-- and to encourage passenger cooperation in what should be a shared responsibility for security-- is to remove irrational rules and treat passengers with respect. But bullying and intimidation is much easier, especially for bureaucracies.

Anonymous said...

Cpap's need to be removed from bags to help with clarity of image, to differentiate between what's on or in the unit itself and the same for the bag and it's other contents (cords, power supply, hoses. If hygeine is an issue, I have suggested to many a passenger to put their mask and hose assembly in a 1 gallon ziploc bag to prevent contamination.

a pi**ed off passenger said...

RE: Cpap's need to be removed from bags to help with clarity of image, to differentiate between what's on or in the unit itself and the same for the bag and it's other contents (cords, power supply, hoses. If hygeine is an issue, I have suggested to many a passenger to put their mask and hose assembly in a 1 gallon ziploc bag to prevent contamination.

April 17, 2008 3:09 PM


Thank you for your response. It it straightforward and makes perfect sense. Clearly based on your comments, you are a TSA employee but I am disappointed that the official TSA blog team fails to address more questions like this that are raised on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Since there seem to be so many of us posting about CPAPs on this board, would someone on the blog staff kindly devote a thread or section of this blog to CPAPs and other medical devices, or disabled passengers in general? A different poster made that same request in January, shortly after this blog commenced publishing.

Frequentflyer101 said...

Anonymous,

Let me try again. Poorly trained, unskilled, unsupervised, immature people should not be identifying themselves as Federal Officers when they are nothing more than mall security. Those who were wearing the jackets were not Senior TSA officials, nor were they any other type of TSA employee other than screener. I fly several times each week and I know what the screener uniform looks like.

If you look at the law enforcement blogs, you will see that there is serious concern that the pretend police uniforms, badges, and referring to these screeners as Officers is going to cause serious problems. The words "Federal Officer" infer that one is in law enforcement.

In reality, TSA Screeners are glorified security guards. They do not have the authority to enforce the law. They are charged with preventing the introduction of dangerous items onto aircraft. They are not charged with enforcing the law and should not be permitted to identify themselves as having this authority.

I would think that with all of the blunders that TSA has been involved in in its short life span, those in charge would reconsider such a foolish decision as to allow these individuals to improperly identify themselves.

Anonymous said...

>>what type of emergency situation would warrant a security screener to walk around identifying him/herself as a FEDERAL OFFICER? <<

Amen to that. I've got more claim as a former Naval officer for walking around in a jacket that says "Federal Officer" than some TSO.

I've got four years of training in organization, leadership and dealing with people, plus five years on active duty under my belt. Compare that to a TSO's 120 hours. No comparison, as evidenced in the level of regard people have for the military vs. their level of regard for the TSA (tied with the IRS and only FEMA ranked worse).

Anonymous said...

RE djmixmode's comment "Why should the TSA have to earn its authoritative powers over the travelling public? "

I think you're confusing authority with respect. There's a huge difference between the two.

Authority comes with having a particular position (such as a TSO's power under the law), and includes the ability to coerce someone into obedience.

Respect can be defined a zillion ways, but first and foremost is earned. A modicum of fairness is also a big help as well.

When I walk up to the checkpoint and immediately get yelled at, that sort of behavior engenders neither respect for the TSO doing the yelling nor the organization that has tacitly approved of all this yelling.

I agree with the other posters about the capricious and arbitrary interpretations of the "rules", and how it feeds the perception of TSO power trips -- which is different from the exercise of lawful authority. I've experienced TSO' just looking for an excuse to start throwing their weight around, which is not the same as providing security.

Consider this wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Respect

I want to emphasize this particular point from the article "Respect adds general reliability to social interactions. It helps people get along with other people."

Now, I want to ask a question -- how does the yelling and power tripping add reliability to the screening process? IMHO, it detracts from the screening process, because instead of making the traveler part of the solution, it alienates law abiding citizens.

To your point about authority figures -- I don't have a blanket problem with authority figures (as a former Naval Officer and past president of several local organizations, I've been one multiple times). What I do have a problem with is abuse of power.

I wish the TSA would realize the whole process would be made easier by treating the traveling public like law abiding citizens until their actions prove otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Check out this article:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24205807/

One highlight:

"The third part of the training includes instructions on how to deal with passengers in a way that creates a calm environment. There will be no more screaming across checkpoint isles, and screeners will get tips on how not to be baited by an angry passenger."

What a concept!

Dunstan said...

" Anonymous said...

Check out this article:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24205807/

One highlight:

"The third part of the training includes instructions on how to deal with passengers in a way that creates a calm environment. There will be no more screaming across checkpoint isles, and screeners will get tips on how not to be baited by an angry passenger."

What a concept!"

Give them another six years, and maybe TSA will have a second epiphany.... Although common sense would be useful.

Dunstan said...

"kellymae81 said...

As a TSO, I would like to say don't some bad apples working for us, but 98% of the people I work with are honest, hard working individuals who are just trying to do their best despite your nasty snide remarks. I would like to ask you if your place of employment works at 100% efficiency every day. We do, despite what you think, try to do things as efficiently as possible with the tools given to us. So how about cutting us a break!

April 14, 2008 5:05 PM

The DHS Annual Employee Suvey might clue you in on the actual values that TSO's put on their jobs in a large number of areas. It is available here:

http://www.tsa.gov/press/happenings/results.shtm

Download the PDF for a full review.

Anonymous said...

In the Lubbock, TX. airport today there were 10 (ten) TSA employees at the security checkpoint. Why on earth was there only one machine open? Why couldn't any of those employees go help the ONE guy handling all the luggage for the Southwest ticket counter? It is inefficiencies like this that give TSA its much deserved feeling of incompetence at the airport level. Six people do not need to operate one x-ray machine with three supervisors and one person in the "secure checkpoint" area.

*RESPONSE*

well im assuming you are talking about the baggage handlers. well...thats almost like people in the capitol asking the janitor to help do clerical work. not only do you feel he may not be capable but your trust issue comes into play as well.

or if you are talking about checked luggage tsa then its probably because they are trained on 2 different aspects. one is trained to only check bags and be good at that, the other is to screen passengers only and be good at that. bringing one into the other's world wont do too much and besides if there is a line outside of the checkpoint that had 10 tso's and you bring in guys from upstairs guess who's bags may or may not make the flight because then they are now understaffed

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
When are you going to incorporate the suggestions about not lying to cover up mistakes? This blog has a disturbing signal/spin ratio.

When are you going to respond in a real way to the repeated question of why so-called "dangerous" liquids are allowed to be mixed together in trash cans. (No analogies! Scientific facts only please!) FANTASTIC QUESTION...i say direct that to tsa headquarters on that one.

When is the reasoning behind the new TSA "faux-cop" uniform going to be explained? also another good question. i guess it was tsa's idea of boosting morale.

Given any thought to the suggestion that complaint forms be readily available to all who desire them without having to ask a TSA employee? well look for the person with 3 stripes. or even 2. that should help.

Congratulations on figuring out that people need benches to tie their shoes. I hope someone in R&D got promoted for that one.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Think I'm making this up? Go to our home page, tsa.gov and click on the story titled common items, extraordinary threat in the flash box. If a detonator can be hidden in a watch, imagine what can be hidden in your CPAP.

The only reason we screen you, your CPAP machine and your checked lugage is for the safety of the traveling public.

Christopher
EOS Blog Team


Sorry, but you're going to have to do better than that. A person could plant explosives on their person sans detonator and walk through security.

2 things..either it will go off at the metal detector OR the other parts of the explosive HAVE to be x rayed and eventually seen. THUS eliminating the use of the detonator

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"we welcome any suggestions you might have to make this concept even better"

How about you geniuses drop the pointless liquid restrictions and stop making passengers get their shoes X-rayed on the basis of one (1) idiot who tried to use his shoes for something over SIX YEARS AGO?

did you see the coverage on what was it ?? abc ?? about that plot that was foiled ?? so imagine if it hadn't been foiled ?? that 7 different places would have been bombed and tsa would take the blame for not doing enough to stop it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"If a detonator can be hidden in a watch, imagine what can be hidden in your CPAP."

Then why allow anyone to travel with anything? Imagine what could be hidden in a fake pregnancy suit, in false fillings, wrapped in swallowed condoms, OMG BREAST IMPLANTS! I love the TSA reasoning of "if you aren't scared yet, you aren't imagining hard enough." What if, what if, what if.

As long as the TSA is failing to detect tested threats at 70% or so then the TSA is a complete waste of taxpayers money. USA Today reported last year that the TSA at LAX failed 75% of the time, 60% of the time at O'Hare. Security at SFO failed 20% of the time because it is NOT the TSA providing security.
TSA=EPIC FAIL

April 12, 2008 12:56 PM


and in another blog this same guy will tell other bloggers not to believe the media. the same media that if a man restrains a woman they dress it up like he beat her. and you go and believe it. if terrorists knew that we failed so much guaranteed something would have happened by now.

Anonymous said...

Abelard said...
As a TSo it annoys me when passengers assume the worst, complain or make things up because they don't understand what's going on or why we do certain thing.

As a member of the traveling public, it annoys me when TSO staff assume the worst about their customers, make things up like needing a prescription to carry any type of medicine on a plane or make things up like people being able to make a liquid explosive on board a plane because they don't understand what is going on.

Unfortunately though, we don't always have the time or authority to explain things to you during the security process.

Then call your supervisor over to explain it to me. IF you are unable to provide basic resolution to basic customer inquiries then perhaps being a TSO isn't what you should be doing.

April 13, 2008 1:32 PM


my definition of customer is someone who has paid for a product or service. you didnt pay tsa anything so how can you be their customer ??

Dunstan said...

"my definition of customer is someone who has paid for a product or service. you didnt pay tsa anything so how can you be their customer ??

April 20, 2008 7:28 AM"
On the TSA website, in paragraphs such as this:
"Most importantly, you are an essential part of what we do. We strive to balance security with the necessity to treat each of you as if you were our only customer.
We focus on people."

Passengers are referred to as customers.

Anonymous said...

my definition of customer is someone who has paid for a product or service. you didnt pay tsa anything so how can you be their customer ??

The purchaser of a plane ticket pays a 9/11 security fee, for one.

Secondly, I'm at the receiving end of the value chain that starts when I buy a ticket and ends when I leave the airport at the end of my journey. That makes me a customer.

FWIW, if the TSA thought of the people it deals with as customers instead of suspects, the whole tenor of the screening process might change a bit.

Anonymous said...

You out there complaining need to understand that the TSA security officers you face everyday are not the ones who came up with these rules.

True, but you are the ones who decided to accept a job where you'd have to enforce idiotic rules and violate the privacy of innocent people who have done nothing wrong.

You can say that you're just following orders, but you aren't a conscript. You chose to accept the job. Should it really be a surprise that a government department with an Orwellian name like "Homeland Security" would have idiotic rules that do nothing but harass innocent people?

Anonymous said...

@kellymae81: You out there complaining need to understand that the TSA security officers you face everyday are not the ones who came up with these rules.

You may not be the ones who came up with these rules, but you are too often the ones who "interpret" the rules capriciously, inconsistently, and irrationally. The rules (at least the ones we can know about) may not require shampoo to be in manufacturer's labeled bottle, but if (for example) you confiscate a 1-ounce shampoo bottle because it's not in a manufacturer's labeled bottle you're making up rules. How can we respect any officer or agency that exercises such capricious authority. And why should we respect it?

You think it's fun for us to send you back around to go through security AGAIN b/c you had the wrong size ziploc bag? I don't think so.

If you constantly have to send passengers through security again because their bags are the wrong size, could that perhaps indicate that the secretive folks in the undisclosed locations who came up with that rule need to reconsider it? If you're truly professional, caring, and want to be respected, take some initiative and show that you're not just a low-level flunkie who yells at passengers who don't follow a rule that they clearly see as stupid and irrational.

You may get yelled at as a passenger, but we get yelled at everyday, all day long, by people just like you b/c you think we're "idiots". Well, the one you're yelling at isn't the "idiot" that came up with the rule.

The "idiot" who came up with the rule is hidden away behind locked doors where he can't be yelled at. And if, somehow, that "idiot" makes contact with the public, his response will be: "The rule is based on robust intelligence. It's essential to protection aviation and will not be changed, not now, not ever. I can't tell you anything more than that because it's classified. You'll just have to trust us."

You may not be the "idiot" who makes up the rules. But you're the public face of the TSA, and you're the one who's enforcing the rules and telling us that "you'd better obey if you want to fly today." So you're going to bear the brunt of public dissatisfaction with the rules. The "idiot" who comes up with the rules is safely hidden away behind locked doors and doesn't have to deal with the real ramifications of those rules for millions of people. Since you're at the front lines working with the public and enforcing the stupid rules, it's your job and responsibility to absorb all the resulting outrage and deal with it professionally. If you can't do that, maybe the TSA has a job for you in a secure building working with the "idiots" who make up the rules, where you'll never have to see anyone who disagrees with you.

So yes, I think WE could be treated a little better by the traveling public and if you have an issue, call TSA customer service after the fact and state your issues with the operation as an ADULT, not like some kid throwing a fit b/c he doesn't understand something.

And what will "TSA customer service" do, other than repeat the official line that the rule is based on classified intelligence and is vital to national security? And maybe put the caller on the No-Fly list?

Anonymous said...

"How about you geniuses drop the pointless liquid restrictions and stop making passengers get their shoes X-rayed on the basis of one (1) idiot who tried to use his shoes for something over SIX YEARS AGO?"

Wow! What a naive comment. Ignore that fact that he MADE IT ONTO THE PLANE!

"did you see the coverage on what was it ?? abc ?? about that plot that was foiled ?? so imagine if it hadn't been foiled ?? that 7 different places would have been bombed and tsa would take the blame for not doing enough to stop it."

Oddly enough, as with the shoe bomber, both plots originated from overseas, where the TSA DOESN"T COMTROL THE SCREENING!

Anonymous said...

Nice article on the TSA theft problem...

www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24187702/

djmixmode said...

anonymous said...

"True, but you are the ones who decided to accept a job where you'd have to enforce idiotic rules and violate the privacy of innocent people who have done nothing wrong.

You can say that you're just following orders, but you aren't a conscript. You chose to accept the job. Should it really be a surprise that a government department with an Orwellian name like "Homeland Security" would have idiotic rules that do nothing but harass innocent people?"

That has got to be the worst response I've ever heard. This argument is full of fallacies. What kind of response is "well, you accepted the job, its your fault". What a lack of knowledge that statement is. On second thought, this doesn't even deserve an explanation.

djmixmode said...

You may not be the ones who came up with these rules, but you are too often the ones who "interpret" the rules capriciously, inconsistently, and irrationally. The rules (at least the ones we can know about) may not require shampoo to be in manufacturer's labeled bottle, but if (for example) you confiscate a 1-ounce shampoo bottle because it's not in a manufacturer's labeled bottle you're making up rules. How can we respect any officer or agency that exercises such capricious authority. And why should we respect it?

Response:

You're complaining about people who could be in any job. How hard is it to get through to your head that these people you complain about are very few and far between. I've never personally seen a screener "make up" his or her own rules. If there is a clarification, they ask for a supervisor or at least a lead. Any screener who makes up their own rules should be fired on the spot, but again, very few of these people exist. Its idiotic to think otherwise.

If you constantly have to send passengers through security again because their bags are the wrong size, could that perhaps indicate that the secretive folks in the undisclosed locations who came up with that rule need to reconsider it? If you're truly professional, caring, and want to be respected, take some initiative and show that you're not just a low-level flunkie who yells at passengers who don't follow a rule that they clearly see as stupid and irrational.

Response:

If its so "dumb" and "irrational" why don't you do it in the first place? Is it not much easier to follow the rules regardless of how "stupid" it is, than complain about it? If you think screeners are "low level flunkies", you're misguided, ignorant, naive, and childish. What say you my friend?
Its much easier to complain and belittle a few people and a few instances, than to commend and compliment the majority, isn't it? Open up your mind to see the bigger picture next time, or is that too hard for you.

You may not be the "idiot" who makes up the rules. But you're the public face of the TSA, and you're the one who's enforcing the rules and telling us that "you'd better obey if you want to fly today." So you're going to bear the brunt of public dissatisfaction with the rules. The "idiot" who comes up with the rules is safely hidden away behind locked doors and doesn't have to deal with the real ramifications of those rules for millions of people. Since you're at the front lines working with the public and enforcing the stupid rules, it's your job and responsibility to absorb all the resulting outrage and deal with it professionally. If you can't do that, maybe the TSA has a job for you in a secure building working with the "idiots" who make up the rules, where you'll never have to see anyone who disagrees with you.

Response:

One person says "you better obey or you can't fly" and you automatically think this is TSA's endorsed response? One rogue screener says this and you think all screeners say this? Thats your problem, you are generalizing. This is where we get the problem of racism and profiling. See the similarities? You people generalize everything. Grow up and realize there is an outside to the box.

And what will "TSA customer service" do, other than repeat the official line that the rule is based on classified intelligence and is vital to national security? And maybe put the caller on the No-Fly list?

Uhh. Sounds like to me you're arguing for the sake of arguing. When do you not call customer service if you've had a problem with the place of business? Because you don't "feel like it", thats YOUR problem.

You people on here critisizing TSA have very little in the way of positive critisism. All you do is blow useless steam with childish remarks and hatred as your theme. Grow up and act like an adult.

djmixmode said...

The purchaser of a plane ticket pays a 9/11 security fee, for one.

Secondly, I'm at the receiving end of the value chain that starts when I buy a ticket and ends when I leave the airport at the end of my journey. That makes me a customer.

FWIW, if the TSA thought of the people it deals with as customers instead of suspects, the whole tenor of the screening process might change a bit.


That security fee has nothing to do with paying salaries to screeners, fyi.

Your value chain that you start when you buy your ticket only deals with the airline and the fees associated only with them, not security at the checkpoints. TSA is there as a mandate by congress and is funded by taxpayers. Yes, you still pay our salaries, but involuntarily through taxes. You really don't have a choice. You, me, our neighbors, we all pay for their salaries.

However, I do agree that passengers are TSA's customers. Not in the conventional sense or the traditional definition, but nonetheless, still a customer that should be treated with respect and dignity. Because you choose to not follow the rules sometimes, do not blame anyone else. Whether it seems "idiotic" or not, you still have to follow them. You should accept responsibility for your own actions.

djmixmode said...

As long as the TSA is failing to detect tested threats at 70% or so then the TSA is a complete waste of taxpayers money. USA Today reported last year that the TSA at LAX failed 75% of the time, 60% of the time at O'Hare. Security at SFO failed 20% of the time because it is NOT the TSA providing security.
TSA=EPIC FAIL


Don't you just love the media. I could care less if those numbers were accurate. Why publish an article like that in the first place? Blame them not TSA for allowing terrorists to take advantage of those security lapses.

Jay Maynard said...

djmixmode: You people on here critisizing TSA have very little in the way of positive critisism.

Why should we bother, when it's obvious that TSA doesn't listen to positive criticism if it doesn't want to?

Dunstan said...

"djmixmode said...

Don't you just love the media. I could care less if those numbers were accurate. Why publish an article like that in the first place? Blame them not TSA for allowing terrorists to take advantage of those security lapses."

So, your response is to blame the messenger? The media is simply helping you correct your failing security model. Exposing your flaws is part of the process. Do you really think that things would be better for the TSA without the media exposure?
Our country was founded by people printing political tracts and broadsides; and freedom of the press, including yellow journalism, has been part and parcel of our nation ever since. When something insidious or underhanded is happening, the victim or a witness should speak up. The issue should be debated, argued from all points of view, and the parties at fault should be brought to task. The press should report the story. People should complain about wrong or rude treatment, or theft. Thats how the system works. Secrecy just promotes distrust and disrespect.

Anonymous said...

"Don't you just love the media."

Actually I do, it's part of being a citizen in a "Free" country.

It's sad that this concept alludes DHS/TSA.

Anonymous said...

djmixmode: One person says "you better obey or you can't fly" and you automatically think this is TSA's endorsed response? One rogue screener says this and you think all screeners say this? Thats your problem, you are generalizing.

You'd be quite right if it were only one "rogue" screener. And if you're a calm and trusting person who is inclined to accept the TSA as performing a vital protective role in the Global War On Terror, the second experience with a "rogue" might be dismissed as simple bad luck to be forgiven and forgotten. But after the third strike, I'm afraid the TSA is out.

I have experienced three bullying screeners. The first commanded me to remove my camera from the bag. When I respectfully told him that it's a still camera (the clearly posted signs at the checkpoint only required removing video cameras), he yelled "ALL cameras! Take them out NOW!!" I said "Yes sir!" and immediately obeyed.

The second yelled at me because I put my shoes in the same plastic tub as my camera bag. "Shoes in SEPARATE BINS!" he screamed. And again I said "Yes Sir!" and immediately obeyed. I suppose I should have been grateful that he didn't make up the same rule about still cameras as the first "rogue."

The third "rogue" was the stereotypcal case. She told me that the one-ounce bottles of sunscreen and shampoo in my 3-1-1 baggie were verboten because they had to be in manufacturer's labeled bottles. When I told her that the website says nothing about "manufacturer's labeled bottles," she scowled and growled "It doesn't matter what the website says. Labeled bottles. That's the rule." When I made the mistake of opening my mouth instead of the baggie, she put me in my place with her excellent TSA customer service: "If you want to fly today, the bottles go in the trash!"

Is it not much easier to follow the rules regardless of how "stupid" it is, than complain about it?

It should be much easier to follow the rules, but not if we can never know how TSOs "interpret" the published rules and even make up rules that contradict the TSA's own signs in the checkpoints! It's one thing to have stupid rules. It's another to have rules that are uknowable until you're yelled at for violating them.

Perhaps I should have asked for a supervisor instead of meekly exposing my expensive camera unnecessarily to theft, or meekly surrendering a bottle of the only sunscreen that doesn't give me an allergic reaction. You'd probably tell me "that was your choice." But believe me, once you've been humiliated and humbled by a "rogue" TSA in front of a crowd of impatient people waiting for their own turn to be humbled and humiliated, the resolve to risk further humiliation and delays (and possible retaliation) by asking for a supervisor vanishes immediately. It's easier to just obey, and lick my wounds while waiting for a delayed flight. I think that's the intent all along. If I did complain, I'd probably get a form letter commending the TSO for following the rules and doing a good job. If I got any response at all.

As for complaining about stupid rules, I think we have not only a right but an obligation to make the government agency accountable and justify what we perceive as stupid. "Trust us" isn't an appropriate answer in what is supposed to be a democracy.

Its much easier to complain and belittle a few people and a few instances, than to commend and compliment the majority, isn't it?

Yes, I may have been extraordinarily unlucky in drawing the "rogues" three times when my turn at the TSA checkpoint lottery came up. And maybe I should forgive and forget, and instead "commend and compliment" all the other TSOs I've encountered who didn't yell at me or make up rules that contradict what the TSA publishes. But those experiences are enough to convince me that even if I were truly unlucky and those "rogues" were just a minority, that minority really is large enough to give the TSA its very poor reputation with the traveling public. The TSA's reaction to the Lubbock piercing incident merely confirms that conclusion, since it's clear that the TSA fully stands behind any bullies whose actions are egregious enough to generate embarrassing publicity.

Open up your mind to see the bigger picture next time, or is that too hard for you.

Yes, that may be too hard for a mere passenger once they've hit their third "rogue." But I do indeed see a bigger picture. It's one of an agency that hides behind the locked doors of "security" and is completely unaccountable to the public it's supposed to be serving and protecting. Is that why you need to insult us like that?

You people on here critisizing TSA have very little in the way of positive critisism. All you do is blow useless steam with childish remarks and hatred as your theme. Grow up and act like an adult.

If you read the comments on this blog, you'll see that many of us offer you plenty of constructive criticism and specific suggestions to improve the process and its effectiveness. But they all seem to be ignored, which only diminishes our poor image of the TSA. If you're unhappy because so many people complain about and hate the TSA, maybe it isn't all those passengers who are "childish." And there's even some "positive critisism," in the form of comments from people who inexplicably feel reassured by the TSA's security theater and actually believe you're doing a great job of protecting aviation.

I'm sorry. I am irrevocably prejudiced. When I have no choice other than flying, I will approach the TSA checkpoint in a state of high anxiety because I have good reason to believe a "rogue" screener will expose my property to theft, confiscate my belongings for violating a rule they made up, or bully me if I fail to show proper docile respect for their authority. I just hope that doesn't earn me a BDO interrogation.

Anonymous said...

djmixmode: However, I do agree that passengers are TSA's customers. Not in the conventional sense or the traditional definition, but nonetheless, still a customer that should be treated with respect and dignity. Because you choose to not follow the rules sometimes, do not blame anyone else. Whether it seems "idiotic" or not, you still have to follow them. You should accept responsibility for your own actions.

How about those of us who do choose to follow the rules-- but not the rules as the TSO "interprets" them or the ones they make up? Who accepts responsibility for the actions of those TSOs? How is it always our fault if we can't know what rules we're supposed to follow until the TSO bullies us for not following them? Is that how the TSA defines "respect"? Is it our fault that the initials "TSA" inspire loathing and hatred in so many people?

Alex said...

This argument is full of fallacies. What kind of response is "well, you accepted the job, its your fault". What a lack of knowledge that statement is.

I think it's a perfectly valid argument. If you voluntarily accept a job where you know that you'll be violating people's privacy, then you have made the conscious decision to violate people's privacy.

What is illogical about that? TSA screeners didn't have to take those jobs. They could have taken other jobs. But they chose to work for an agency with dumb rules that do nothing but cause hassle and violations of privacy. Given that choice that they made, why shouldn't they be responsible for their freely made choice?

Anonymous said...

djmixmode said:

Because you choose to not follow the rules sometimes, do not blame anyone else. Whether it seems "idiotic" or not, you still have to follow them. You should accept responsibility for your own actions.

I'll obey the rules to the best of my understanding, based on the info that the TSA provides me.

However, I have to agree with the poster that said:

How is it always our fault if we can't know what rules we're supposed to follow until the TSO bullies us for not following them?

With all the local embellishments and interpretations of the "rules" -- which are NOT DOCUMENTED FOR THE PUBLIC TO SEE -- the TSA doesn't have much room for complaint. A common example is the need for ones travel bottles to be "labeled".

Where is that "rule" on the TSA web site? I have asked numerous times that either the poster or the blog team provide the appropriate link. The response has always been a deafening silence.

Anonymous said...

Here's a textbook example of why people gripe about the TSA: it took them almost 7 years to figure out that you need to sit down to put on your shoes on and tie the laces. On top of that, they're proud that they had to rely on passengers to tell them that ("...passenger Feedback Used in Checkpoint Evolution").

I wonder who dresses the TSA staff (and ties their shoelaces) before they go to work...their mom?

Ayn R. Key said...

You may get yelled at as a passenger, but we get yelled at everyday, all day long, by people just like you b/c you think we're "idiots". Well, the one you're yelling at isn't the "idiot" that came up with the rule.

Without enforcement officers willing to say "That rule is just plain stupid" then stupid rules get enforced. Stupid laws only get enforced by those who don't bother to think about the rules they enforce. If you shift all the blame for the stupid rules to those who make them up, you are ignoring your part in the enforcement mechanism.

It takes two to enforce a stupid rule - the idiot who makes up the rule, and the idiot who enforces the rule. If you, the front line officer, doesn't want to be thought of as an idiot, don't act like one. Stand up to the TSA and say "look, even we know this is idiotic, and we're not going to do it anymore."

djmixmode said...

Yea, lets all stand up against our superiors and say our work is a joke and a waste of time and then walk out. That'll work! That'll get their attention!

What a thought process.....

Anonymous said...

"Blogger djmixmode said...

Yea, lets all stand up against our superiors and say our work is a joke and a waste of time and then walk out. That'll work! That'll get their attention!"

WOW, what insight! Yeah, just do it!
While you're off the job, we'll screen ourselves and see if it is less safe....

Ayn R. Key said...

Ah, you added the words "walk out". Do you know what that is called? "Straw man".

djmixmode said...

straw man... that is meaningless. look at your alias, that speaks for itself in determining whos side you're on anyway....

HSVTSO Dean said...

Anarchy wrote:
Ah, you added the words "walk out". Do you know what that is called? "Straw man".

Ignore the words "walk out" then. What would happen anyway is that instead of walking out of your own free will, you're walked out with an escort to ensure that you get in your vehicle and leave the premises, very likely also without your badge.

Either way, I'm pretty sure it'd be a quick road to trying to find gainful employment elsewhere.

Straw man or not, the outcome would be the same.

Ayn R. Key said...

So if the TSOs were to say "that is a stupid rule we're not going to enforce it" then who is going to escort people out ... hm ... each TSO is supposed to give himself an armed escort out?

You are trying to paint my comment as stupid, while revealing that being intelligent is grounds for being fired. That actually says a lot about the TSA.

Ayn R. Key said...

By the way, my user name isn't simply "anarchy". The name is quite carefully crafted to give several meanings at once.

Ayn R. Key said...

djmixmode, care to tell me what is wrong with my screen name? Do you understand the component parts of my screen name?

djmixmode said...

Its pretty obvious you're now arguing just for the sake of arguing. If you respond to this it only supports it. I don't need to explain to you what your alias stands for, you know what it is. Its pretty simple.

Dunstan said...

"djmixmode said...

Its pretty obvious you're now arguing just for the sake of arguing. If you respond to this it only supports it. I don't need to explain to you what your alias stands for, you know what it is. Its pretty simple.

April 30, 2008 8:28 PM"

"Sometimes the anger and helplessness hurts so much that you can't even cry out...."

Albert Camus

Otherwise there is just petty discontent....

Ayn R. Key said...

Funny, dj. If I respond, it means you're right. If I don't respond, it means you're right. The problem is that my premise, that the enforcement of absurd or abusive laws can only occur with the cooperation of law enforcment officers, is still true whether or not I respond.

It's obvious to someone studied in philosophy what my handle represents, and it's also obvious that you only got one of the meanings.

So, dj, if you respond to this, it means that you are being petty and argumentative for the sake of argument and that you didn't get any of the other meanings of my handle. If you don't respond it means the same thing.

Anonymous said...

Last weekend I few out of DAL (Love Field). I was excitied to see the checkpoint had the new self-select lanes (Expert, Casual Traveler, Families). As an expert traveler that travels every other week, I was disappointed to see that the Expert lane was closed. I asked the TSA agent directing people at the entrance to the checkpoint and he didn't have an explanation. As I got to the section where the TSA checks your ID, they closed the Casual Traveler lane. We were all left going through the one lane.

What's the point of having the 3 categories and not having them staffed? I think I felt even more disappointed than usual because in the end, there were no choices.

I was traveling out on a Sunday, early afternoon. There seemed to be at least 50 passengers in line at all times.

Anonymous said...

In most cases the TSA doesn't even control what and which lanes are put in for passengers to use. Its the city that installs that stuff. And everyone wonders why they see them not working and think its TSA's fault. They're not the ones who put those lanes there in the first place but they are expected to man them....

Aaron said...

Although the BWI "experience" is branded in lovely fashion, there are still glaring problems:

1. No lane for frequent traveler pros? If I had a dollar for every time a traveling moron left his shoes on, carried $10 worth of quarters in his pocket, etc. I would have a nice vacation fund by now. Guess I have to wait for the "Clear" Monopoly to set up shop.

2. Mood music? It was so loud the older passengers I noticed had a hard time discerning instructions from the TSA agents. Even I had a hard time, and I am not old. At least the agents raised their voice when they noticed.

3. Automated bin robot thing? How much labor cost did this really save? I notice there is still a staffer on either end. Oh, and the bins are too small to fit a standard sized rollaboard briefcase. A thoughtful design it certainly is not!

4. Transparency to public re: cost. How much did all of this marketing magic cost me? My flight fees are surely not all that went into it. I'm sure it's buried in the TSA budget, but I'd like some honesty and transparency from TSA. I deserve to know, as a taxpayer, before you roll this out nationally. Will the GAO be doing an audit of this supposed "improvement" to justify cost? I hope so.

5. Zero time savings. On a recent trip, it took far longer (easily triple) to get through this zone of blue light and mood music, than the A gates, from when I showed ID to when I claimed my bag. Go figure, first and last for me!

6. Metal Police-style badges? Honestly, have you no respect for truly sworn law enforcement officers who actually put their life on the line? Get rid of this embarassment. Police deserve more respect than to be equated with a TSA screener. Sorry, but this was the ugliest "enhancement" of all. TSA screeners are simply not an equivalent, go ask your lawyers.

Sign Twirlers said...

My favorite security measures still include the three questions! It's good to know that security is improving, however.

Milagros Cafferty said...

"The prep stop allows passengers that need to prepare for screening an unhurried, plastic-bag, trash can and recycle bin-filled environment in which they can make those last minute preparations. This part of the Checkpoint Evolution also helps these travelers better prepare for screening without the cold shoulder from the pinstripe-suited business traveler tapping his wing-tips on the tile floor."

I would agree with this