Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Message In a Carry-On

As some of you might have seen on other blogs, Evan Roth is an artist who is designing personalized messages you can send to TSA security officers. He laser cuts the letters out of a sheet of stainless steel. The sheet is designed to be placed inside of a passenger’s bag so they can send personal messages to the officer. Have to give the guy credit, he’s creative. Even we got a laugh out of it.
This may seem like a clever gag, but actually the joke is on whoever decides to use one of these plates. Based on the preliminary examples shown on Mr. Roth’s web page, the metal plate will get the passenger’s bag searched every time. And no, it’s not because of what the plate says, it’s because the metal plate acts as a shield and conceals items below it. If an officer can’t get a good look at what’s in the bag, it’s “bag check” time. Fair warning: there are detailed procedures on how to search this type of bag and it’s not one of our quicker searches.

Mr. Roth goes on to explain that you can get your message across with his creation while also obscuring the contents you don’t want the TSA to see. After rubbing my goatee for a second, it was clear to me as to why Evan is an “artist” and not in the security business. Here’s the problem - many folks who might think it’s funny to “talk back” to TSA won’t be too happy when they find themselves spending extra time in the security line. Here’s the reality of what could happen:

1) You could be cited for interfering with the screening process by deliberately causing a distraction.

2) If there is a prohibited item concealed underneath the plate, you will be cited for artful concealment of a prohibited item.

3) If the message on the plate could be interpreted as a threat, you could be responsible for the closing of a checkpoint, not to mention the inconvenience you’ve just caused your fellow travelers.

4) Whoever is in line behind you will now have to wait even longer to get through the screening process.

So before you put your order in, please be aware of what could happen.

By the way, I thought this one was pretty funny.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team