Thursday, May 27, 2010

TSA 2010 Summer Travel Tips

Summer Travel Banner
Summertime isn’t officially here yet, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s summer as soon as the pools are open. So, in preparation for this holiday weekend and the summer travel season to come, I wanted to post some helpful travel tips. Our highly trained security officers are prepared for the increase in passenger volumes and are dedicated to ensuring safe travels. TSA will be fully staffed and prepared to address the needs of the traveling public this summer.

So lather up with your favorite suntan lotion, take your laptop out in the sun, and read all about TSA travel tips. Fruity beverages and lounge music are optional.

How to Get Through the Line Faster: Passengers can help speed up the screening process by packing their carry-ons in an organized manner. This helps our officers efficiently see what's inside to quickly process it through screening. We put together some great tips on how to get through our lines faster. Click here to read tips about how to pack your bags, the right clothes to wear, which ID to use and many other helpful tips and videos. If you travel through an airport with Advanced Imaging Technology (Body Scanner), ensure you remove everything from your pockets whether it’s metal or paper to prevent you from having to undergo additional screening. How to Get Through the Line Faster: Passengers can help speed up the screening process by packing their carry-ons in an organized manner. This helps our officers efficiently see what's inside to quickly process it through screening. We put together some great tips on how to get through our lines faster. Click here to read tips about how to pack your bags, the right clothes to wear, which ID to use and many other helpful tips and videos. If you travel through an airport with Advanced Imaging Technology (Body Scanner), ensure you remove everything from your pockets whether it’s metal or paper to prevent you from having to undergo additional screening.

Are You Going Camping This Summer?: Check out this post for tips on traveling with your camping gear.

The 4-1-1 on 3-1-1 (Liquids, Gels & Aerosols): If you have liquids, aerosols, or gels that are used for medical or infant/toddler purposes, they do not need to adhere to our 3-1-1 policies and do not have to be placed in a bag. You may be asked to go through a TSA Family Lane (see below) so we can expedite the screening process. The liquids, gels and aerosols will need to be removed from your bags and declared to a TSO.

If you’re checking a bag, make it easy on yourself and just put your liquids in your checked luggage. That way, you don’t have to worry about 3-1-1. I know that suggestion doesn’t work for everybody. Some liquids are essential and some of you understandably would not like to pay to check your luggage. If you’d rather take liquids in your carry-on, please continue reading…

3-1-1 is the name for our liquid policy. You can read here for more details, but here is the gist of 3-1-1… Each passenger is allowed to take one clear quart-sized sealable bag and fill it with as many liquids in 3.4 oz or less sized containers that will fit, while still being able to seal the bag. Basically, don’t stuff it to the point where it won’t close. Make sure you take the bag out of your carry-on prior to sending it through the X-ray, or our officers will have to search your bag.

Answers to common questions: Stick deodorant is not limited to 3.4 oz or less, but gel or spray deodorant is. Powder makeup is fine. Common size facial cosmetic and medicinal products in a tube, for example mascara, lip gloss, and lip balm are not required to be placed in the 1 qt. bag.

Family Lanes: Frequent flyers hate it when they’re in line behind a family, and guess what… families hate it when the frequent flyer is behind them tapping their foot and sighing. That’s why we created Family Lanes. They’re designed to let families take their time and ask questions without feeling rushed by the experienced frequent flyers who can zip through a checkpoint in no time. Also, as stated earlier, anybody carrying exemptible liquids, aerosols and gels in excess of 3.4 oz may be directed to a Family Lane.

Foods: Food items that are in the form of a liquid or gel are generally not permitted however, items such as cakes, bread, donuts, ham sammiches, etc. are all permitted. Here is a list of items that are prohibited at the checkpoint… Creamy dips and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, salsa, jams and salad dressings, gravy (mmm gravy), jams, jellies, maple syrup, oils and vinegars, sauces, soups, wine, liquor and beer.

ID & Boarding Pass Checking & Secure Flight: As you approach a TSA checkpoint, you will see an officer checking IDs and boarding passes. Please have your acceptable ID and boarding pass out and ready to present to our officer. If your ID is in a plastic sheath or other type of holder, it will need to be removed so our officers can properly inspect your IDs. By having your ID and boarding pass out and ready, you’ll help move the line along faster. The several seconds it takes to get your ID and boarding pass out might not seem like much time, but it really adds up when you’ve got people in line behind you.

Also, folks have had questions about the Secure Flight program and whether the name on your ticket has to match the name on your ID. The Secure Flight watch-list matching process occurs before a passenger even gets to the airport so if you get a boarding pass, the Secure Flight watch-list matching process is done. In other words, you are clear once you get that pass.

If you have lost or forgotten your ID, you will still be permitted to fly as long as you help us verify you are who you say you are by answering a few questions for us. It will take some extra time, so please make sure you get to the airport earlier than you normally would.

Inconsistencies: You may notice your screening experience at one airport doesn’t match the experience of another airport. We realize this happens, and some of it is intentional. While it can be a little confusing for our passengers, it also makes things unpredictable for those who might wish to do us harm.

Here are some more links to tips for traveling with special items this summer:
The best piece of advice I could give a traveler is to arrive early. No matter what happens, (aside from a flight being cancelled) if you get to the airport early, you should be fine. Worst case scenario is you’ll have some time to catch up on some reading or a few Z’s while you wait on your flight.

For a complete rundown, check out our “What to Know before You Go” blog post. It has everything broken down by category.

Also, we’re going to be Tweeting a TSA Summer Travel Tip every day for the rest of the week, so follow us on Twitter @tsablogteam for travel tips, blog post announcements, and other useful information.

Make sure you check out our Summer Travel Checklist. (PDF)

If you’re traveling internationally, be sure to check out U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s international travel tips.

Have a great summer!

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Tteam

73 comments:

John said...

"You may notice your screening experience at one airport doesn’t match the experience of another airport. We realize this happens, and some of it is intentional. While it can be a little confusing for our passengers, it also makes things unpredictable for those who might wish to do us harm." Still using that canard to avoid doing any training or discipline?

RB said...

When will TSA teach its employees what ID's are acceptable.

If I have a 4 ounce bottle of "Clear Care" brand contact lens solution will it be cleared at screening? What if the same "Clear Care" contact lens solution is only 3 ounces?

What steps is TSA taking to ensure a persons property is safe and secure while being screened?

Is TSA responsible for a persons property until those items are returned to the traveler?

When will TSA publish a concise set of rules that a traveler must comply with to transit a TSA checkpoint?

Anonymous said...

Says the uneducated person who has never worked at an airport checkpoint. Rant on.

Anonymous said...

Is it Friday already? Wow! if this isn't a puppy post, i can't wait till tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

Hey, its not Friday. Are you changing the day for puppy posts?

Nice try, but we aren't forgetting about the sham job your BDOs are doing.

Marshall's SO said...

Getting a lot of heat from the BDO thread, so we'll put the puppy post up a day early.

Bubba said...

Nice attempt to divert the subject. Please address the extensive article in the top scientific journal Nature entitled "Airport security: Intent to deceive?" published today that questions the science behind the SPOT program.

HappyToHelp said...

RB said…
“When will TSA teach its employees what ID's are acceptable.”

An officer needs to be certified in order to perform the task of Travel Document Checker. This has been true for as long as I have been working for TSA. So I don’t have a direct answer of when TSA started training Travel Document Checkers “what’s acceptable” and “what’s not”.

RB said…
“If I have a 4 ounce bottle of "Clear Care" brand contact lens solution will it be cleared at screening? What if the same "Clear Care" contact lens solution is only 3 ounces?”

The four ounce bottle will receive additional screening in order to clear screening. Will it make it through? That question is a case by case that depends on test results, and a slue of other factors that can be present at the checkpoint.

If the bottle is under or is 3.4 ounces, the bottle receives x-ray screening, and is still subject to additional screening. For the average passenger, x-ray screening will be the norm. Again, it is a case by case.

RB said…
“What steps is TSA taking to ensure a persons property is safe and secure while being screened?”

It depends on what checkpoint you are talking about. In general, you will have CCTV, and checkpoint policies about keeping passenger property within the view of the passenger. Some checkpoints policies are the bare minimum set forth by HQ and others go way above and beyond the written word. If you have specific questions about a checkpoint, then you should contact the customer service folks at said airport.

RB said…
“Is TSA responsible for a persons property until those items are returned to the traveler?”

This is a case by case. File a claims form RB if you have had something damaged or go missing during screening. If something has gone missing, please contact the local airport police department. If possible, call them while you are at the checkpoint. From my experience working here at SMF, deputies will pull checkpoint tapes, and make arrests when possible. I hate thieves!!!! Sorry RB if you have had anything taken from you.

Tim
TSA Blog Team

Tomas said...

RB said…
"Is TSA responsible for a persons property until those items are returned to the traveler?"
HappyToHelp Said...
"This is a case by case."

This should not be "case by case." If if a person is required to surrender their possessions to a government agent (TSO), that agent and the agency should, without question, be responsible for the property until it is returned to the person.

Anonymous said...

"You may notice your screening experience at one airport doesn’t match the experience of another airport. We realize this happens, and some of it is intentional. While it can be a little confusing for our passengers, it also makes things unpredictable for those who might wish to do us harm."

"Inconsistencies" really means that we can't train our screeners to do the job according to our SOP so we obfuscate and call them intentional.

RB said...

HappyToHelp said...
RB said…
“When will TSA teach its employees what ID's are acceptable.”

An officer needs to be certified in order to perform the task of Travel Document Checker. This has been true for as long as I have been working for TSA. So I don’t have a direct answer of when TSA started training Travel Document Checkers “what’s acceptable” and “what’s not”.

..............
Then why do problems continue at
TSA checkpoints with ID that is suppose to be acceptable and is still rejected by these trained and qualified TSA employees?

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

RB said…
“If I have a 4 ounce bottle of "Clear Care" brand contact lens solution will it be cleared at screening? What if the same "Clear Care" contact lens solution is only 3 ounces?”

The four ounce bottle will receive additional screening in order to clear screening. Will it make it through? That question is a case by case that depends on test results, and a slue of other factors that can be present at the checkpoint.

If the bottle is under or is 3.4 ounces, the bottle receives x-ray screening, and is still subject to additional screening. For the average passenger, x-ray screening will be the norm. Again, it is a case by case.
..........................
The question dealt with "Clear Care" brand contact lens solution. Will it be permitted or not? Seems an easy question.
................................

RB said…
“What steps is TSA taking to ensure a persons property is safe and secure while being screened?”

It depends on what checkpoint you are talking about. In general, you will have CCTV, and checkpoint policies about keeping passenger property within the view of the passenger. Some checkpoints policies are the bare minimum set forth by HQ and others go way above and beyond the written word. If you have specific questions about a checkpoint, then you should contact the customer service folks at said airport.
........................
So TSA doesn't have standardized policies to safeguard travelers property during the screening process?

Just how can a person have visual contact with their property while held hostage in a TSA BACKSCATTER PEDO PORNO STRIP SEARCH MACHINE?

How can a person protect their property while being detained unlawfully in one of TSA's plastic enclosures?


RB said…
“Is TSA responsible for a persons property until those items are returned to the traveler?”

This is a case by case. File a claims form RB if you have had something damaged or go missing during screening. If something has gone missing, please contact the local airport police department. If possible, call them while you are at the checkpoint. From my experience working here at SMF, deputies will pull checkpoint tapes, and make arrests when possible. I hate thieves!!!! Sorry RB if you have had anything taken from you.

Tim
TSA Blog Team

May 27, 2010 2:05 PM
........................
TSA is either responsible while property is being screened or not. This is one of those black or white cases.

TSA cooperates in the complaint process by TSA employees hiding their names, refusing to identify themselves and in some cases by the FSD claiming his employees wouldn't do any such thing.

I have no zero confidence that TSA takes any theft problems seriously. I agree, calling police while still at the checkpoint is the only thing that may help because travelers certainly cannot count on TSA for any help.

Anonymous said...

Boycott air travel until TSA fixes their problems

Anonymous said...

""Inconsistencies" really means that we can't train our screeners to do the job according to our SOP so we obfuscate and call them intentional."

Says the person who has never worked at a checkpoint and knows nothing about airport security. Rant on.

HappyToHelp said...

RB said...
“Then why do problems continue at TSA checkpoints with ID that is suppose to be acceptable and is still rejected by these trained and qualified TSA employees?”

Ohhh okay. Your previous question was just a declarative statement. I got it.

RB said...
“The question dealt with "Clear Care" brand contact lens solution. Will it be permitted or not? Seems an easy question.”

The answer is the same for all brands. There are no guarantees it will pass. If it was guaranteed to pass, then there would be no need for secondary screening for these types of items. Anything that does not pass secondary screening is not permitted to enter the sterile area.

RB said…
“How can a person protect their property while being detained unlawfully in one of TSA's plastic enclosures?”

If you are being detained unlawfully, call the police.

RB said…
“TSA is either responsible while property is being screened or not. This is one of those black or white cases.

TSA cooperates in the complaint process by TSA employees hiding their names, refusing to identify themselves and in some cases by the FSD claiming his employees wouldn't do any such thing.

I have no zero confidence that TSA takes any theft problems seriously. I agree, calling police while still at the checkpoint is the only thing that may help because travelers certainly cannot count on TSA for any help.”

Transportation Security Officers are not law enforcement. I cannot detain or arrest anyone you accuse of stealing from you. I can simply call the police. Even if I witness theft, I still will call the police and I would be glad to be a witness. The police are going to be your point of contact. As far as payouts go, you need to file a claim form. Will TSA pay out? That is a case by case basis. If you have legal questions, you need to consult a lawyer.

Tim
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

I pack my luggage for my convenience, not TSA's.

Anonymous said...

And, don't forget, never carry or wear anything of any value. Even cash is cause for trouble. The trick is to separate you from your valuables which then disappear.

TSOWilliamReed said...

Anonymous said...
"You may notice your screening experience at one airport doesn’t match the experience of another airport. We realize this happens, and some of it is intentional. While it can be a little confusing for our passengers, it also makes things unpredictable for those who might wish to do us harm."

"Inconsistencies" really means that we can't train our screeners to do the job according to our SOP so we obfuscate and call them intentional.
-----------------------

Actually it really means each checkpoint has minor technical differences due to being in different areas or having to be managed differently for many reasons. The primary rules are going to be the same no matter what, How the checkpoint operates may be different but the rules are the rules. Kind of like every mcdonalds won't be the same, there will be minor differences however they must make their sandwiches all the same and must follow the same food regulations. The rules and sandwiches are the same, the minor details are different.

Dunstan said...

Anonymous said...

"Boycott air travel until TSA fixes their problems"

Roger that, anonynmous-

31 months and counting....

TSOWilliamReed said...

RB Said....

Then why do problems continue at
TSA checkpoints with ID that is suppose to be acceptable and is still rejected by these trained and qualified TSA employees?

The question dealt with "Clear Care" brand contact lens solution. Will it be permitted or not? Seems an easy question.

So TSA doesn't have standardized policies to safeguard travelers property during the screening process?

Just how can a person have visual contact with their property while held hostage in a TSA BACKSCATTER PEDO PORNO STRIP SEARCH MACHINE?

How can a person protect their property while being detained unlawfully in one of TSA's plastic enclosures?

----------------------------

1. ID's are not "turned away". The officer may ask you for a different one because of many reasons. Maybe your card was made incorectly, or maybe the officer hasn't come accross this ID before and would feel safer with a different one. Either way not having an ID isn't going to keep you out of security. We have ways of verifying your ID with our coordination center it just takes longer. Worse case scenario is your trip through security takes 15-20min longer.

2. It will be permitted, except when a liquid (in this case "Clear Care") alarms the test for explosives on multiple tests, it will not be allowed past the checkpoint.

3. At our airport, if you are getting a patdown there is a clear pane of glass in front of you. about 5 feet away from that pane of glass is the conveyor belt with your property waiting for you. Or you can ask us to bring your items over to the pat down area and we will do so. Every airport has similar, probably different but similar, ways to make sure you can see your items. In fact one of the advisements TSO's will give you before begining a pat down is "Can you see your items?"

Plastic enclosures are clear, and x-ray tunnels are long. You will be out of the scanner and to the convneyor belt probably faster than your bag.

Anonymous said...

This is a case by case. File a claims form RB if you have had something damaged or go missing during screening. If something has gone missing, please contact the local airport police department. If possible, call them while you are at the checkpoint. From my experience working here at SMF, deputies will pull checkpoint tapes, and make arrests when possible. I hate thieves!!!! Sorry RB if you have had anything taken from you.

Tim
TSA Blog Team
----------------------------------

Does filing a complaint with the TSA automatically put a passenger on the "difficult passenger" list that was just recently brought to light?

If not what actions would put a passenger on the list?

Please tell me if asking to know what actions put a passenger on the "difficult passenger" list is SSI.

Anonymous said...

Almost there guys. one more puppy post and you can bury the embarrassing "TSA small penis assult post" in the archives. i will help. I know it is a few months away but why not a patriot fueled 9/11 victims tribute post to remind us how much we need the TSA. That's sure to push the strip search scanner acceptance over the top.......I know, you're welcome.

Isaac Newton said...

Blogger Bob said:
Our highly trained security officers are prepared ...

Problem is, Bob, the "highly trained" ones are only about a third of your work force.

For the rest, you have to trot out the "inconsistencies" argument and refer to "a few bad apples."

Anonymous said...

Why does my perfectly valid NEXUS card continue to be rejected, even after contacting the airports customer service manager? He said he would "retrain" the agents but yet it is still rejected! He mentioned they were "rebriefed" and a memo was sent out.

Why am I 0/11 on my netbook being allowed to stay in its case? Once again, I have contacted the customer service manager at each airport. Some of them didn't even know what a netbook is. It has been rejected at LGA, DFW, MIA, LAS and LAX.

When will you properly train your employees? It is not hard to send a memo or mention in a briefing that NEXUS cards are acceptable ID and/or netbooks can stay in the bag. Do your officers not pay attention to the memos issues or during the briefings?

Anonymous said...

Dunstan said...
Anonymous said...

"Boycott air travel until TSA fixes their problems"

Roger that, anonynmous-

31 months and counting....

May 27, 2010 6:39 PM

ONE is the loneliest number that you'll everrr doooooo... somehow that three dog night song applys to you Dunstan.

RB said...

Transportation Security Officers are not law enforcement. I cannot detain or arrest anyone you accuse of stealing from you. I can simply call the police. Even if I witness theft, I still will call the police and I would be glad to be a witness. The police are going to be your point of contact. As far as payouts go, you need to file a claim form. Will TSA pay out? That is a case by case basis. If you have legal questions, you need to consult a lawyer.

Tim
TSA Blog Team

May 27, 2010 5:24 PM
...............
I'll ask the simple question once again, does "Clear Care" brand contact solution present issues not common with other brands of contact solutins?

IF a person is herded in to one of TSA's plastic booths are they not being detained? They are certainly not free to leave the checkpoint while locked up in the enclosure.

Since you claim that you cannot detain a person should not these enclosures used to detain people be removed from TSA checkpoints?

And I don't believe I ever suggested TSA employees are LEO's. Most I have seen would not make it past day one of any police academy!

Former TSO said...

Bob, the section on traveling with pets should be expanded to note that if you are traveling with "wet pets" -- fish or aquatic frogs -- those CANNOT go through the checkpoint unless they're in 3.4 oz. of water or less.

Yes, it's obvious that if a fish is happily swimming in the bag, the liquid is not explosive, but them's the rules!

And yes, I used to work for the TSA and know something about airport security! :)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said: "I pack my luggage for my convenience, not TSA's."

Here! Here!

Especially when my carefully packed (to maximize carrying capacity not make TSA's job easier) gets unpacked because the junior TSA X-Ray operator wants to make sure his supervisor know he's a gung ho sort of person.

Anonymous said...

"Our highly trained security officers are prepared for the increase in passenger volumes and are dedicated to ensuring safe travels."

You don't HAVE any highly trained screeners, Bob. (Let's drop the "officer" pretense, please -- blue shirts and tin badges notwithstanding, you aren't cops and we're all very, very grateful for that!)

Anonymous said...

Family lane? please. Families use the "speedy" line just the same as everyone else because everyone has a plane to catch! Please stop spending money on cutesy ways to organize the line of inconvenienced, harried passengers and just get us through the security farce so we can get on with our day.

Anonymous said...

"maybe the officer hasn't come accross this ID before and would feel safer with a different one."

Is it now TSA policy that the only acceptable IDs are the ones that make your poorly trained, unprofessional ID checkers "feel safer"? Bob, care to weigh in?

TSM, Current said...

Quoted"
Former TSO said...
Bob, the section on traveling with pets should be expanded to note that if you are traveling with "wet pets" -- fish or aquatic frogs -- those CANNOT go through the checkpoint unless they're in 3.4 oz. of water or less.

Yes, it's obvious that if a fish is happily swimming in the bag, the liquid is not explosive, but them's the rules!

And yes, I used to work for the TSA and know something about airport security! :)

May 27, 2010 11:34 PM"
---------------------
Actually "Former TSO" you are wrong. According to current policy a fish swimming in water is proof that the liquid is able to travel through regardless of size. (Though I guess a couple gallons might be an issue!)
This is explained on our CP FAQ site which only Current TSOs have access to. Guess "Former" TSOs shouldn't comment on "current" policy.

Anonymous said...

HappyToHelp said...
I can simply call the police. Even if I witness theft, I still will call the police and I would be glad to be a witness. The police are going to be your point of contact.


Then how do you reconcile that with what happened to the woman in Florida:
(http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2010-05-23/story/woman-sues-over-missing-24000-watch-after-airport-security-check)

"she was ordered by security officers to put her watch in a bin and place it on a conveyor belt. She said she objected several times but was told she had no choice" ... "When she was put through an additional security check, she again asked to be allowed to retrieve her watch first. Again, the answer was no"... "When she finally returned to the conveyor belt, the Rolex was gone"..."She asked for police to be called, but security officers told her she was disrupting the area and had to leave."

Anonymous said...

TSOWilliamReed said...
The rules ... are the same, the minor details are different.


It seems to me the differences mentioned are significant. How can you say 'the rules are the same' when, at one airport, you need to remove shoes and put them in a bin, while at another you don't? That's not a detail, it's a significant change in the rules.

Also,
3. At our airport, if you are getting a patdown there is a clear pane of glass in front of you. about 5 feet away from that pane of glass is the conveyor belt with your property waiting for you. Or you can ask us to bring your items over to the pat down area and we will do so. Every airport has similar, probably different but similar, ways to make sure you can see your items. In fact one of the advisements TSO's will give you before begining a pat down is "Can you see your items?"

Plastic enclosures are clear, and x-ray tunnels are long. You will be out of the scanner and to the convneyor belt probably faster than your bag.


Then how did that laidies $24,000 rolex mysteriously go missing in Florida? "When she was put through an additional security check, she again asked to be allowed to retrieve her watch first. Again, the answer was no, she said. ...When she finally returned to the conveyor belt, the Rolex was gone."

Anonymous said...

TSM, Current said...
Yes, it's obvious that if a fish is happily swimming in the bag, the liquid is not explosive, but them's the rules!


So, it comes down to "I'm just following orders", huh?

Anonymous said...

TSM Current said:

"This is explained on our CP FAQ site which only Current TSOs have access to"

It's a good thing information like that is only available to TSO's and not to the traveling public.

Amazing......

Anonymous said...

"So, it comes down to "I'm just following orders", huh?"

As much as I enjoy bashing the TSA for all the things that are wrong with it, unfortunately "I'm just following orders" is only an invalid excuse for following an *illegal* order. The TSA's policy on liquids is extremely illogical, but legal, so that actually is a reasonable statement as to why one is following a (as stated, legal) order.

I would say something about allowing TSOs to think for themselves, but... we have enough horror stories about them thinking for themselves and doing things like practicing medicine without licenses already to show THAT'S not a winning plan.

HappyToHelp said...

RB said…
“I'll ask the simple question once again, does "Clear Care" brand contact solution present issues not common with other brands of contact solutins?

If a person is herded in to one of TSA's plastic booths are they not being detained? They are certainly not free to leave the checkpoint while locked up in the enclosure.

Since you claim that you cannot detain a person should not these enclosures used to detain people be removed from TSA checkpoints?

And I don't believe I ever suggested TSA employees are LEO's. Most I have seen would not make it past day one of any police academy!”

Don’t expect those areas to go away anytime soon. We need an area for a person to wait for screening, but still be in view of their items. Waiting areas are different from checkpoint to checkpoint, but can be similar to others.

If you are waiting in that queue, the screening process has begun and must be finished. Who enforces that? Answer: Local law enforcement. Who does any kind of enforcement at the checkpoint? Answer: Local or federal law enforcement, and not Transportation Security Officers. If you have specific legal questions, contact a lawyer.

Tim
TSA Blog Team

HappyToHelp said...

Anonymous said...
"she was ordered by security officers to put her watch in a bin and place it on a conveyor belt. She said she objected several times but was told she had no choice" ... "When she was put through an additional security check, she again asked to be allowed to retrieve her watch first. Again, the answer was no"... "When she finally returned to the conveyor belt, the Rolex was gone"..."She asked for police to be called, but security officers told her she was disrupting the area and had to leave."

I have two things to say about this case. I can’t comment on pending litigation. I wish her the best (I’ll give her a prayer), and I hope she gets some kind of closure. Boy, do I hate thieves. grrrr

Tim
TSA Blog Team

Sally Fields said...

i recently flew with Delta and wanted to bring my harmless sugar glider onto the plane with me. she weighs 2oz and I literally take her everywhere and nobody ever knows she's on me. Delta said only birds, cats and dogs were allowed in the cabin and that it was TSA's policy. She's so small and tiny and I can fit her inside a pouch and nobody would ever know. I really wish they would reevaluate their policy as they can't really travel in air cargo.

TSM, Current said...

Quoted:
" Anonymous said...
TSM, Current said...
Yes, it's obvious that if a fish is happily swimming in the bag, the liquid is not explosive, but them's the rules!

So, it comes down to "I'm just following orders", huh?

May 28, 2010 12:44 PM"
-----------------------
Actually, you need to read what you are quoting. What you attributed to me was actually a quote from a "Former TSO". My response is at the bottom.

Roark said...

TSO here,

Someone commented about TSOs not accepting some forms of ID. In many cases you just didn't understand what the TSO was telling you or you didn't bother to listen (okay, I admit, in some cases there's no point explaining either--being direct gets results, and lengthy explanations gets you nothing).

Example:

Guy at TDC (Travel Document Check) comes from the line giving me his valid boarding pass and a Louisiana State CCW permit. I take a few seconds to check the boarding pass, everything looks good, I look at the ID and see it's not something I am admittedly 1000000x better at determining if it's a legitimate ID or not. I ask the man if he has a state drivers license or passport on hand to show me instead.

The above example happens often enough for me to remember it, and not once has the individual not made it clear to me (as if I didn't know) that their CCW permit is a state issued ID. Correct, sir, it is in fact issued by a state government and is a valid form of ID. However I am not trained on such IDs. You're misinterpretation my request for a more common form of ID as a rejection of sorts. If in fact all you have on you for ID is your CCW permit I will be happy to radio for my supervisor so he can make the decision if it's legitimate or not.

I am sorry you think I am dumb for not clearing identification I don't receive training on.

And on a semi less related note, many state CCWs don't have security features like microprinting, UV dye, holograms, etc. The function seems to be aimed more towards a physical permit and not a primary ID, as police would be the people checking your CCW and would be able to run any numbers against a database to see if it's legitimate. I do not have the luxury.

Roark said...

Sigh @ my grammar and spelling errors.

Also, "When will TSA teach its employees what ID's are acceptable."

It's a standing order to not clear something (an ID, image, etc) if you're not 100% comfortable with it. On the topic of IDs you either get a second opinion or request a different form of ID.

As always, we apologize in advance for the severe inconvenience we cause to everything everywhere, for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Anon said
"..."She asked for police to be called, but security officers told her she was disrupting the area and had to leave."
-----------------------------------
So why didn't she refuse to leave. The police would have been called and she could have reported the incident. Something just doesn't sound right in this claim. I just hope she has a reciept proving she bought the watch.

TSM/West said...

Anon said
TSM, Current said...
Yes, it's obvious that if a fish is happily swimming in the bag, the liquid is not explosive, but them's the rules!

So, it comes down to "I'm just following orders", huh?

Anon you quoted the wrong person. TSM Current posted that there was a change since former TSO left TSA. But I guess in your haste to bad mouth someone from TSA you missed that.

TSM/West said...

Anon said
Does filing a complaint with the TSA automatically put a passenger on the "difficult passenger" list that was just recently brought to light?

If not what actions would put a passenger on the list?

Please tell me if asking to know what actions put a passenger on the "difficult passenger" list is SSI.

I believe that list is a workplace violence database, violence being the key word

TSM/West said...

Isaac Newton Said
Blogger Bob said:
Our highly trained security officers are prepared ...

Problem is, Bob, the "highly trained" ones are only about a third of your work force.

For the rest, you have to trot out the "inconsistencies" argument and refer to "a few bad apples."

Inconsistencies is not an argument it is fact. Our SOP is designed with unpredictability in mind. It allows TSO to use their discretion on just about everything. They can always go above what the SOP states but never less. They are also taught to fall back on their own experiences or to use their network and rely on their experience. For those who think unpredictability doesn't work, ask any police officer what would happen to them if their movements were predictable. Ask any military member what would happen if they left the base for a patrol in the same area and followed the same path everytime. We get it. It makes it difficult for you, but it also makes it difficult for the bad guys.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

On another DB, a person claiming to be a TSA Manager, who supervises 150 employees contradicts TSA's published policy on medically necessary liquids stating:


"...containers larger than 3.4 ounces are prohibited past the checkpoint regardless of whether they are medically necessary or not."

Can you please clarify? Who is telling the truth?

Anonymous said...

The liquids, gels and aerosols will need to be removed from your bags and declared to a TSO.

When was the requirement to "declare" liquids, gels and aerosols to a TSO implemented? Does the declaration have to be made in written form (like the CBP declaration form) or will an oral declaration suffice? What happens if a person places the plastic bag of these items on the conveyer belt without making the required declaration? Is the person denied boarding? Does the declaration have to be made to the first TSO a passenger makes contact with, the officer directing people through the metal detector, the officer screening the bag, or somebody else?

Would you please provide a link to the law, regulation, policy letter, or webpage that informs passegers of the requirement to make a declaration they're carrying liquids. gels, or aerosols?

Also, I thought the use of AIT was suspended? Are they being used once again?

Anonymous said...

This should not be "case by case." If if a person is required to surrender their possessions to a government agent (TSO), that agent and the agency should, without question, be responsible for the property until it is returned to the person.

Tomas...

your not surrendering your items to any agents.... that would mean you dont get to take them with you and that is why we do not push your stuff into the xray for you that is why you are supposed to be pushing it in yourself were not taking away your stuff your just submitting it for xray

Tomas said...

Tomas said...
This should not be "case by case." If if a person is required to surrender their possessions to a government agent (TSO), that agent and the agency should, without question, be responsible for the property until it is returned to the person.

Yet Another Anonymous said...
your not surrendering your items to any agents.... that would mean you dont get to take them with you and that is why we do not push your stuff into the xray for you that is why you are supposed to be pushing it in yourself were not taking away your stuff your just submitting it for xray

OK, I'll play the little word games with you. Unless, like me, one is handicapped and has a TSO assist them, one isn't "surrendering" one's possessions to a TSO, BUT what one IS doing is surrendering one's personal control of one's possessions for a period of time at the demand of a TSA employee.

There is no "choice" in not surrendering that control of one's possessions at the demand of the TSA if one wishes to fly, so minutely parsing words just doesn't cut it.

If the TSA demands that I give up my personal control of my possessions for any reason, and if something of mine disappears before control is returned to me, TSA should be responsible for that event.

Keep in mind, too, that being handicapped I am NOT able to rapidly gather up my possessions when TSA is through fiddling with them. Typically I'm still being screamed at for accidentally touching the side of the walk through metal detector because TSA has temporary control of my cane, and without it I'm not always stable enough to satisfy TSA (PHL, last time I was through there, if you are wondering).

So, word games aside, if something I own disappears while it is temporarily out of my direct control at the demand of the TSA, TSA should be responsible for it.

All I am asking is for TSA to take responsibility for my possessions during that time they have demanded I relinquish control of them.

From the time they leave my hand until the time they are once again in my hand, those who REQUIRED me to relinquish control need to be held responsible for what happens to them.

Do you understand now that I've said it in so many different ways?

Tom

RB said...

Roark said...
TSO here,

Someone commented about TSOs not accepting some forms of ID. In many cases you just didn't understand what the TSO was telling you or you didn't bother to listen (okay, I admit, in some cases there's no point explaining either--being direct gets results, and lengthy explanations gets you nothing).

Example:

Guy at TDC (Travel Document Check) comes from the line giving me his valid boarding pass and a Louisiana State CCW permit. I take a few seconds to check the boarding pass, everything looks good, I look at the ID and see it's not something I am admittedly 1000000x better at determining if it's a legitimate ID or not. I ask the man if he has a state drivers license or passport on hand to show me instead.

The above example happens often enough for me to remember it, and not once has the individual not made it clear to me (as if I didn't know) that their CCW permit is a state issued ID. Correct, sir, it is in fact issued by a state government and is a valid form of ID. However I am not trained on such IDs. You're misinterpretation my request for a more common form of ID as a rejection of sorts. If in fact all you have on you for ID is your CCW permit I will be happy to radio for my supervisor so he can make the decision if it's legitimate or not.

I am sorry you think I am dumb for not clearing identification I don't receive training on.

And on a semi less related note, many state CCWs don't have security features like microprinting, UV dye, holograms, etc. The function seems to be aimed more towards a physical permit and not a primary ID, as police would be the people checking your CCW and would be able to run any numbers against a database to see if it's legitimate. I do not have the luxury.

May 29, 2010 2:34 PM
.............
A Motor Vehicle Operators Permit is not an ID, just a document saying a person is legally able to operate certain motor vehicles.

A CCW is exactly the same just for a different types of items.

Besides, since TSA does not compare presented ID to any list or records ID adds zero to security.

If TSA screens people properly for WEI then ID or lack of ID has no impact on aviation safety.

Just another TSA Dog and Pony Show!

Anonymous said...

TSMWest said

Inconsistencies is not an argument it is fact. Our SOP is designed with unpredictability in mind. It allows TSO to use their discretion on just about everything.


So what you are telling us is that everything you post, everything Bob posts, and everything on the TSA web site is useless since TSO's can "use their discretion on just about everything"

And you wonder why people dislike the TSA?

John said...

@HappyToHelp: "I have two things to say about this case. I can’t comment on pending litigation. "

But TSA people on this blog are always happy to comment when it is a case AGAINST a passenger, why is it different this way around?

RB said...

What is TSA's issue with Clear Care brand contact lens solution?

Surely ETD tests used by TSA are capable of distinguishing the difference between dangerous compounds and those that are not.

Is something with 3% Hydrogen Peroxide that difficult for TSA to determine its safety?

If TSA cannot tell the difference from something dangerous and something that is not dangerous then TSA testing programs demonstrate the incompetence of TSA.

Anonymous said...

"It makes it difficult for you, but it also makes it difficult for the bad guys."

The bad guys one of whom TSA has never, ever, ever caught.

TSM/West said...

ANON Said

TSMWest said

Inconsistencies is not an argument it is fact. Our SOP is designed with unpredictability in mind. It allows TSO to use their discretion on just about everything.


So what you are telling us is that everything you post, everything Bob posts, and everything on the TSA web site is useless since TSO's can "use their discretion on just about everything"

And you wonder why people dislike the TSA?

June 2, 2010 9:21 AM
-----------------------------------
No thats not what I'm saying. The TSA web site, Bobs post and the posts from the many TSO's are guidlines to help you get through the screening process faster and hopefully with less difficulties. What would be usless is (ex.)if we told you that because you claimed that a certain liquid was needed for medical reasons it would be allowed no matter what just to find out that when you declared it and the required test tested positive we would have to tell you that it couldn't be carried past the screening checkpoint. In other words there are no guarantees on anything until the screening process is completed. Another example. Someone could bring a harmless homemade electronic through and the x-ray operator doesn't feel comfortable with the image so he calls for a bag check. Depending the device there may be no way to properly clear the item. The Supervisor in this case would have to use some type of threat mitigation to determine if the item will be allowed to go further. These are where the discretions come into play. The supervisors and TSO's don't know you from Adam. Taking your word that the item is harmless would be the most irresponsible thing to do. I could give hundreds of examples of where making a blanket statement would be the wrong answer. So telling you that unpredictability is part of the process and doesn't guarantee the same results is the best any of us can do. If this is a reason why you and others don't like TSA (in your words)then I really feel sorry for you but still wish you a safe flight.

Anonymous said...

"In other words there are no guarantees on anything until the screening process is completed."

Combine that with


"(TSO's can )use their discretion on just about everything"

and you are left with

"no guarantees".....



"I really feel sorry for you"

Bob, is it acceptable for TSA personnel to make such personal attacks on this board?

RB said...

TSM/West said...
ANON Said

TSMWest said

Inconsistencies is not an argument it is fact. Our SOP is designed with unpredictability in mind. It allows TSO to use their discretion on just about everything.


So what you are telling us is that everything you post, everything Bob posts, and everything on the TSA web site is useless since TSO's can "use their discretion on just about everything"

And you wonder why people dislike the TSA?

June 2, 2010 9:21 AM
-----------------------------------
No thats not what I'm saying. The TSA web site, Bobs post and the posts from the many TSO's are guidlines to help you get through the screening process faster and hopefully with less difficulties. What would be usless is (ex.)if we told you that because you claimed that a certain liquid was needed for medical reasons it would be allowed no matter what just to find out that when you declared it and the required test tested positive we would have to tell you that it couldn't be carried past the screening checkpoint. In other words there are no guarantees on anything until the screening process is completed. Another example. Someone could bring a harmless homemade electronic through and the x-ray operator doesn't feel comfortable with the image so he calls for a bag check. Depending the device there may be no way to properly clear the item. The Supervisor in this case would have to use some type of threat mitigation to determine if the item will be allowed to go further. These are where the discretions come into play. The supervisors and TSO's don't know you from Adam. Taking your word that the item is harmless would be the most irresponsible thing to do. I could give hundreds of examples of where making a blanket statement would be the wrong answer. So telling you that unpredictability is part of the process and doesn't guarantee the same results is the best any of us can do. If this is a reason why you and others don't like TSA (in your words)then I really feel sorry for you but still wish you a safe flight.

June 4, 2010 9:50 PM
........................
As a traveler I don't know any screener from Adam and I should not have to take the word of a screener if that screener declares something that should be permitted is not.

What if they are in fact wrong?

There should be a process to clear unusual items or at least a means for a traveler to challenge a call by a checkpoint screener that would require involvement of management before any items are confiscated (surrendered).

If TSA can't figure out what items are safe and which items are not safe then TSA and the employees invovled should be held accountable when not allowing an item.

TSM/West said...

ANON Said
In other words there are no guarantees on anything until the screening process is completed."

Combine that with


"(TSO's can )use their discretion on just about everything"

and you are left with

"no guarantees".....



"I really feel sorry for you"

Bob, is it acceptable for TSA personnel to make such personal attacks on this board?

June 7, 2010 2:17 PM
-----------------------------------
No personal attack, just freedom of speech. If it's ok for people to call TSA employees pedophiles with out knowing them then it's ok for me to use that same freedom of speech.

RB said...

TSM/West said...
ANON Said
In other words there are no guarantees on anything until the screening process is completed."

Combine that with


"(TSO's can )use their discretion on just about everything"

and you are left with

"no guarantees".....



"I really feel sorry for you"

Bob, is it acceptable for TSA personnel to make such personal attacks on this board?

June 7, 2010 2:17 PM
-----------------------------------
No personal attack, just freedom of speech. If it's ok for people to call TSA employees pedophiles with out knowing them then it's ok for me to use that same freedom of speech.

June 9, 2010 6:07 PM
................

If you condone or engage in screening children with WBI/AIT then I think the tag Pedophile is appropriate.

Don't like it then don't do it!

Anonymous said...

I am so sick and tired of people berating TSA. I have been with the organization for six (6) years, and yes, it's not perfect. That is a standard for any workplace you visit. You are always going to have your bad employees, along with the good. Unfortunately, we are out in the open for everyone to see, so it becomes much more apparent. Try spending an hour inside an office building. I guarantee you will be able to pick out the workers that don't belong there. Either way, a majority of what I have heard from passengers is what we're doing wrong. But you know what, you never ask or hear about what we do right. As long as nobody takes down a plane, we have done our job. Now since 9/11, has that happened? But as soon as one little thing somewhere else goes wrong, then we get chastized. The travelling public out there seem to forget that we are human beings too. We are trying to make a living in this economy, and we are not TSA as a whole; we are people. I have been cursed at, had things thrown at me, been assaulted, and am harassed on a daily basis by passengers. In the six years I have been employed here, I have only raised my voice ONCE at a passenger, and that was only because he was acting hostile towards another passenger. A simple smile and thank you will make a screener's day, which I sadly only hear maybe twice a month. I take pride in my badge and uniform, and I always have. I show every passenger the same amount of respect and courtesy as I would my own parents, as do many others that work for TSA. Personally, I have saved lives at my airport, but you never hear about that do you? Because TSA stopped something bad BEFORE it even happened. Next time you think about how horrible TSA is, think about how it would be like if we just let everyone on the plane with whatever they wanted to bring. You may not understand all the rules, but they are there for a reason.

Anonymous said...

TSO West said:

"just freedom of speech."

And if you look at post that were deleted you will find that "freedom of speech" is just another thing TSO's apparently have complete discretion.

It's OK for them to make some statements, but the same thing from a member of the public doesn't get posted.

Kevin said...

"You may notice your screening experience at one airport doesn’t match the experience of another airport."

I experienced this in Denver and SFO. I had a harder time in Denver.
SFO was a breeze.

daniel said...

Thanks for the tips, being in the U.K and visiting the usa, it's good to find out how to get onboard without any issues through things we're not aware of.

Lisa said...

TSA really need to post their sets of rules or requirements to lessen the hassles on both parties.

fotoviva said...

Well this was a handy post but then I started reading through the comments and got completely lost!

Accommodation said...

With all the hassle at airports (not their fault) and with some airlines introducing sly charges it has put me off from flying abroad, lucky i live in the Cotswolds and rarely need to go far for a holiday

Lily said...

Great article and tips on preparing for airplane travel. Thanks for this list!

isabelle said...

high security > less comfort > but more safe..
low security > more comfort > but unsecure....

Anonymous said...

I had a tiny bottle of Clear Care contact solution confiscated at JAX today. I've flown with various sizes of Clear Care at least 15 times per year over the past 4 years, and this is the first time I've had a problem. When I asked why, now, it was suddenly not allowed through security, the agent said "because it tested positive for peroxide." Well, that's because it IS peroxide. Since when is that not OK? Now I never know what they're going to suddenly decide is not OK. Will it be my belt because it tests positive for leather? How about a hair clip testing positive for plasic or, God forbid, my Tic-Tacs that have agood chance of setting off the minty alarm?

Computer Tips said...

If your screening experience at one airport to another airport on the experience and did not notice. When this happens but there we were, and some intentional. It can be slightly confusing for our passengers, it is the unexpected things that they did not want to do us harm. "Still no training or discipline, and to avoid using the canard?

Anonymous said...

Dear Bob,
I don't know if you're still monitoring this column, but my question is about this statement:
"Common size facial cosmetic and medicinal products in a tube, for example mascara, lip gloss, and lip balm are not required to be placed in the 1 qt. bag."
I've had both mascara and lip balm confiscated, when not packed in the bag. When will TSA rules be clarified regarding these items, please? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the info. I've been flying since I was little, but it's always good to have a refresher course/place to ask questions where I can get actual answers. Please keep blogging :)