Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Popsicle Makers and Potato Peelers

TSA advisement. I was just as confused as other folks when I saw reports going around about a sign at Aspen’s airport stating that Popsicle makers such as this one, and potato peelers were not allowed. The sign didn’t look like something TSA would print and distribute so I looked into it a little further.

The sign was actually made by an airline and was displayed at their ticket counter. Apparently there was a wine festival in town where Popsicle makers and potato peelers were popular items that people were packing in their carry-on luggage.

Your standard run of the mill Popsicle makers are OK, but the ones from the festival were filled with a solution that’s sealed inside their bases. Apparently, it enables rapid, uniform freezing. Hi-tech Popsicle science! Gotta love it… This is another one of those cases that makes me long for the day that the liquid algorithm is ready to go for our X-rays so we can allow liquids and end 3-1-1 as we know it.

Now as far as the potato peelers go, that one is a mystery. They’re permitted as long as they look something like this, and not like this.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

32 comments:

Gadfly said...

"This is another one of those cases that makes me long for the day that the liquid algorithm is ready to go for our X-rays so we can allow liquids and end 3-1-1 as we know it."

Considering that there's a million and a half holes in the current policy, why not just end it now? It's like the TSA seriously thinks that the terrorists can't just buy a second ticket or go through security multiple times ("Opps, left something at my car" or "going to the food court," especially at a layover) after handing their liquid stash to a co-conspirator. Instead, we're focused on taking away Granny's apple sauce or making everyone buy $3 bottles of soda.

Anonymous said...

One of those innocent, permitted potato peelers looks to me like it could still do some serious damage if one were stabbed in the jugular with it.

Why allow potato peelers but not butter knives? Preposterous.

Anonymous said...

You could also just admit that liquids are harmless, you overreacted to nothing in 2006, and end the policy now, for free, and not watse millions of dollars on more expensive, nonfunctional equipment.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Why allow potato peelers but not butter knives? Preposterous.


Actually, Butter knives are allowed. What is prohibited is "Knives - except for plastic or round bladed butter knives".

What gets me is they also allow "Scissors - metal with pointed tips and blades shorter than four inches". All I need do is unscrew the pivot, and I now have two sharp blades. But they'll take my nail clippers because it has an attached, swing out, file the TSA thinks is a knife.
It's inconsistent crap like that that makes people think the TSA is incompetent.

Anonymous said...

"This is another one of those cases that makes me long for the day that the liquid algorithm is ready to go for our X-rays so we can allow liquids and end 3-1-1 as we know it."
---------------------------------

Y'know, I had a similar thought today when I got home. Ever since I heard about a meteorite fragment that passed through the atmosphere and plummeted to earth, I have worn a large bulky helmet every day. Hopefully some day they will get the algorithms right so that I can just employ a lightweight meteorite detection/interception system. As long as it only costs a few million dollars, I would surely invest in this technology, as my helmet is really uncomfortable and unsightly.

Some people might say that I'm foolish for worrying about such a tiny, insignificant risk-- I'd like to hear them tell that to the grieving relatives of a meteor victim. No price is too high when we're talking about safety, right?

Two words: COST/BENEFIT. Look it up.

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

An unrelated note: I had to pull myself out of bed on Sunday to get to Logan airport for a 6:30 flight. As if the experience weren't miserable enough, my family and I were forced to endure one of your highly-trained employees, a young man who was literally doing nothing besides pacing back and forth with his hands on his hips, yelling, "DISPOSE OF LIQUIDS OVER 3.4 OUNCES OR WE WILL DISPOSE OF THEM FOR YOU" repeatedly. The other employees seemed decent enough, but of course not one of this gentleman's colleagues thought to correct his obnoxious, arrogant, and petty behavior and tone.

Anonymous said...

Flying is a privilege, not a right. Driving is a privilege, not a right. why is it that you find the laws to air security more ignorant than those of the road, and why do you seem to assume that you have some right to flying, when you do not. Everyone called for federal security after 9/11, now everyone calls for the newspapers when something happens that they assume is TSA's fault, when its most likely not. Maybe people should remember why we're here, and understand that some inconvenience are extremely acceptable compared to the inconvenience of death or losing a loved one.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Flying is a privilege, not a right. Driving is a privilege, not a right. why is it that you find the laws to air security more ignorant than those of the road, and why do you seem to assume that you have some right to flying, when you do not. Everyone called for federal security after 9/11, now everyone calls for the newspapers when something happens that they assume is TSA's fault, when its most likely not. Maybe people should remember why we're here, and understand that some inconvenience are extremely acceptable compared to the inconvenience of death or losing a loved one.

June 29, 2010 11:06 PM
================================

understand that some inconvenience are extremely acceptable compared to the inconvenience of death or losing a loved one.


Being that the TSA has not caught 1 terrorist at a checkpoint in their entire 8+ years existence and also let the time square bomber (who was on the NFL) board a plane at JFK.....who are you actually inconveniencing?

It would seem that the only ppl suffering from enhanced security are innocent passengers, not the terrorists you are supposed to be protecting us from.

bob said...

Of course this wasn’t a TSA sign: It got the size of the per-container liquid limit right. Whereas TSA’s policy is to NOT update signs, or even cite the correct limit (3.4 oz rather than 3) on new signs.

Am I concerned that someone will confiscate my 3.4 oz shampoo and cite the 3 oz limit? No, I’m concerned because I want to do my part as a flier to cooperate with and advance reasonable, legal, and effective security guidelines, both by observing signs and following instructions. The first sign I see at security (after the airlines’ more correct signage) is a reminder that TSA’s policy is not to post correct information in the first place.

avxo said...

Anonymous wrote: "Everyone called for federal security after 9/11, now everyone calls for the newspapers when something happens that they assume is TSA's fault, when its most likely not."

Not everyone called for federal security in the wake of 9/11. So please don't exaggerate or lie. It doesn't further your argument

Still, the security operations at the airport are now under the control of the TSA, a part of DHS, itself a part of the Federal Government.

The checkpoint is an airport location that TSA itself claims is a domain under its complete control, and a domain from which individuals, under the doctrine of administrative searches, are not allowed to leave, without completing some "security theater" and receiving the explicit permission of a federal officer.

So yes, when something goes wrong at the checkpoint, it is legitimate to place the blame on TSA -- the checkpoint is, by TSA's own admission its domain.

None of this has anything to do with flying being a privilege, so don't use that as an out either.

Blogger Bob said...

@Gadfly: All of TSA's procedures are based on current intel. Current intel tells us that liquids are still a threat and we currently don't have a better more efficient way to screen them other than 3-1-1.

@Anonymous: Butter knives are allowed. I personally think that all knives up to a certain length should be permitted, but that's a decision for the folks on the hill. Plus, the airline unions are pretty sensitive to the subject.

@Anonymous: Per your scissors comment, take a look at my response above. If polled, I imagine a large majority of TSA employees both in the field and at HQ would agree with you. Myself included.

@Meteor Man: They are making rather fashionable helmets these days. I'm sure if you searched hard enough, you could find one that you're happy with. May I recommend the foil variety? :)

@Bob I knew somebody would notice that. Congrats on being the first to comment on it. At this point, TSA is more focused on ending 3-1-1 rather than spending a ton of time and money to replace signage and pamphlets for .4 oz.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Flying is a privilege, not a right. Driving is a privilege, not a right. why is it that you find the laws to air security more ignorant than those of the road, and why do you seem to assume that you have some right to flying, when you do not. Everyone called for federal security after 9/11, now everyone calls for the newspapers when something happens that they assume is TSA's fault, when its most likely not. Maybe people should remember why we're here, and understand that some inconvenience are extremely acceptable compared to the inconvenience of death or losing a loved one.

June 29, 2010 11:06 PM

-----

Check your Constitution, particularly the 9th Amendment. The right of Americans to travel by their chosen means of conveyance, especially by plane, is a right.

Anonymous said...

At this point, TSA is more focused on ending 3-1-1 rather than spending a ton of time and money to replace signage and pamphlets for .4 oz.

All they need to do is end it. Nothing to 'focus' on. Just admit it was a useless overreaction, and end it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymus said:Check your Constitution, particularly the 9th Amendment. The right of Americans to travel by their chosen means of conveyance, especially by plane, is a right.


Please reciew the Ninth ammendment recap attached nowhere does it state anything about transportation......

The Ninth Amendment bars denial of unenumerated rights if the denial is based on the enumeration of certain rights in the Constitution, but does not bar denial of unenumerated rights if the denial is based on the enumeration of certain powers in the Constitution.[15] It is to that enumeration of powers that the courts have said we must look, in order to determine the extent of the unenumerated rights mentioned in the Ninth Amendment

MarkVII said...

Anonymous at June 29, 2010 10:41 PM noted --

a young man who was literally doing nothing besides pacing back and forth with his hands on his hips, yelling, "DISPOSE OF LIQUIDS OVER 3.4 OUNCES OR WE WILL DISPOSE OF THEM FOR YOU" repeatedly.

And I thought "checkpoint evolution" was supposed to "calm the checkpoint". Anon's comment reminds me of a friend who recently described the TSA folks at DTW as "downright nasty".

So much for calming the checkpoint...

Mark
qui custodiet ipsos custodes

Blogger Bob said...

Just a reminder to please keep on topic with the content of the post. I'll be posting in the next few days with more of an explanation and an alternative for off topic comments.

Thanks!

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Blogger Bob said...

Forgot to mention...

I don't have the ability with Blogger to move an off topic comment to a related post or I would.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Beware the fries of March? One potato, two potato, three potatoe, Dan Quayle?

I figured everyone needed a laugh.

Anonymous said...

People: Just because you speak 'Tpyo' does not mean others will read it without thinking you are illiterate. There is a reason there is a 'Preview' button right next to the 'Publish your comment' one. It is very easy to use. May I suggest you become familiar with it?

TSO Tom said...

Anonymous said...
Beware the fries of March? One potato, two potato, three potatoe, Dan Quayle?

I figured everyone needed a laugh.

July 1, 2010 5:17 PM
***********************************
LOL anon, thanks I certainly needed that

TSO Tom said...

Blogger Bob said in part:
@Anonymous: Butter knives are allowed. I personally think that all knives up to a certain length should be permitted, but that's a decision for the folks on the hill. Plus, the airline unions are pretty sensitive to the subject.
***********************************
Bob, let's make it perfectly clear so they don't say we didn't tell them. Butter knives with NON SERATED ROUNDED edges are permitted. Serated blades are not. As for the allowing of all knives up to a certain length, I tend to agree that some of the items we take on checkpoint would not be likely to "take down a plane" although, you could kill someone with a knitting needle yet they are permitted as well. Go figure, but again, it is not us who make the decisions.

avxo said...

TSO Tom wrote: "Go figure, but again, it is not us who make the decisions."

That's not accurate. You may not have had input into what goes on the list, but in your role as TSOs make decisions all day long, with TSA's blessing!

And that, is actually a big part of the problem. That you guys make are allowed to make 'decisions' without having to justify any of those decisions.

And so, more often than not, we end up with obnoxious, abusive screeners, deciding things and making up 'rules' as the day goes on.

Decisions like: "this here fancy car key? Can't have it. It's a knife!"

Or: "You sure look funny carrying a wad of cash. Imma gonna call the cops!"

Or: "This here medal of honor is mighty sharp. Let me man-handle it some more just to make sure. Yeah, mighty sharp. Sure is. Can't let this one on the plane."

Or: "That there t-shirt you got on is a threat boy! Can't let you board like that!"

Or: "Here's a pair of pliers. Get those nipple rings off! Can't board with them!"

All those incidents involved decisions -- decisions made by TSA personnel. So please, don't insult our intelligence by suggesting you aren't making the decisions.

Anonymous said...

AVXO Said in part
All those incidents involved decisions -- decisions made by TSA personnel. So please, don't insult our intelligence by suggesting you aren't making the decisions.
-----------------------------------
If you used an ounce of intelligence and understood half of what TSO have been trying to tell you, you would understand that they can make decisions that don't violate the SOP. In otherwords if the SOP Says no serrated butter knives, then the TSO can not allow the knife. If the SOP said no sharp butter knives, then the TSO can make the decision whether or not he feels the knife is sharp or not. Big difference in just randomly making up rules. TSO can never do less than what the SOP says, but can always do more.

Anonymous said...

anonymous spewed:

Anonymous said...

AVXO Said in part
All those incidents involved decisions -- decisions made by TSA personnel. So please, don't insult our intelligence by suggesting you aren't making the decisions.
-----------------------------------
If you used an ounce of intelligence and understood half of what TSO have been trying to tell you, you would understand that they can make decisions that don't violate the SOP. In otherwords if the SOP Says no serrated butter knives, then the TSO can not allow the knife. If the SOP said no sharp butter knives, then the TSO can make the decision whether or not he feels the knife is sharp or not. Big difference in just randomly making up rules. TSO can never do less than what the SOP says, but can always do more.

Which opens the door to abuse by the TSOs. Scream at a passenger and what happens to the TSO? NOTHING. Demand an amputee remove their artificial limb and what happens to the TSO? NOTHING. Find a lot of cash at a checkpoint and have the passenger hauled in for questioning. What happens to the TSOs involved? NOTHING.

TSA is an out of control agency with delusional visions of grandeur. Stop going to Hollywood for your threat scenarios. We, the traveling public are fed up with dealing with the insanity just because we want/need to travel.

avxo said...

Our "anonymous" friend wrote: "If you used an ounce of intelligence and understood half of what TSO have been trying to tell you, you would understand that they can make decisions that don't violate the SOP."

I think you are the one who didn't understand. Either that, or you simply didn't the first sentence of my post. So let me reiterate:

No, TSOs don't get a say in what goes on the list. That's decided way above their pay grade. But my post was about something else:

Namely, the fact that TSOs routinely hide behind cries of "SOP! SOP!" when, in many cases, they're either making things up and/or being capricious because they are power-tripping.


Our "anonymous" friend then added: "In otherwords if the SOP Says no serrated butter knives, then the TSO can not allow the knife. If the SOP said no sharp butter knives, then the TSO can make the decision whether or not he feels the knife is sharp or not."

Of course, I mentioned nothing about serrated butter knives. But why let little details like that bother you?

I spoke about car keys, the Medal of Honor, carrying cash and t-shirts. The SOP said nothing about car keys, Medals of Honor, carrying cash or t-shirts.


Our "anonymous" friend added this gem: "Big difference in just randomly making up rules."

Of course there is -- randomly making up rules isn't following the SOP and it's not doing your job properly. I'm glad we agree.


And he finally closed with: "TSO can never do less than what the SOP says, but can always do more."

It's unclear if they can do more, and if they can, just how much more. Things aren't as cut-and-dry as you make them out to be.

The bottom line is that an administrative search -- the kind that takes place at a checkpoint -- isn't a carte blanche and that the checkpoint is not the private fiefdom of the TSO who happens to be on duty on the lane at the time you cross.

Anonymous said...

AVXO, TSA never took a MOH away from anybody. Do your research.

This is just another case of people talking of things they know nothing about.

And please, TSA has answered your questions. You just do not like the answers they give you and call them liars and keep asking the same questions over and over.

avxo said...

I am not sure if the post I'm responding to is by someone who is just obnoxious-by-accident or someone who's simply being dishonest on purpose. But onwards...


Anonymous wrote: "AVXO, TSA never took a MOH away from anybody. Do your research."

I never said it confiscated it. I said: that they man-handled the Medal of Honor. Words have meaning you know, and what you suggested I said isn't actually what I said. Go back and read it again.


Anonymous wrote: "This is just another case of people talking of things they know nothing about."

Unlike your case, where you just misrepresent what people say, and think you've made a point. Amirite?!

But seriously -- you can google every incident I mentioned to read the news coverage. No need to take my word for it.


Anonymous wrote: "And please, TSA has answered your questions."

I don't believe I've asked any questions in this thread. Bob and a couple of the other TSA-affilated bloggers have answered some of my questions, which is nice of them.

And even if they have answered my questions, what's your point? That I can't still post on this blog, or that I exhausted my quota of questions to the TSA?


Anonymous then added: "You just do not like the answers they give you and call them liars and keep asking the same questions over and over."

No, I don't like some of their answers -- and I didn't realize I was required to, thank you for educating me!

And for the record, I challenge you to find one post from me on this blog insulting anyone. Friendly hint: don't waste your time...

RB said...

TSO Tom said...
Blogger Bob said in part:
@Anonymous: Butter knives are allowed. I personally think that all knives up to a certain length should be permitted, but that's a decision for the folks on the hill. Plus, the airline unions are pretty sensitive to the subject.
***********************************
Bob, let's make it perfectly clear so they don't say we didn't tell them. Butter knives with NON SERATED ROUNDED edges are permitted. Serated blades are not. As for the allowing of all knives up to a certain length, I tend to agree that some of the items we take on checkpoint would not be likely to "take down a plane" although, you could kill someone with a knitting needle yet they are permitted as well. Go figure, but again, it is not us who make the decisions.

July 4, 2010 11:15 AM
.....................
You know the serrations on a butter knife or completely different than the serrations on say a steak knife.

But it is TSA we're talking about, and I guess making reasonable lists of banned items is just to hard for the TSA braintrust.

TSO Tom said...

RB said in part....
You know the serrations on a butter knife or completely different than the serrations on say a steak knife.

But it is TSA we're talking about, and I guess making reasonable lists of banned items is just to hard for the TSA braintrust.
***********************************
RB, while I cannot say that I disagree with you on this particular topic, I was merely pointing out the way the procedure is outlined. As an employee there are some things that I scratch my head at, but I'm not the one responsible for making the rules, "above my pay grade" if you will.

TSO Tom said...

AVXO, you are correct, we are permitted to make decisions based on what we are presented with, the circumstances, the passenger, any suspicious behaviors, and taking into account what is in the SOP. We are permitted to go above the SOP when the situation warrants, but we are never permitted to go below the standards. Are bad decisions made? Maybe....and there are situations in which we have to answer for those decisions, and in some cases consequences as well.

Blaze Smith said...

The sign does indeed look confusing. Some might think of it as a prank and may disregard it. As for the Popsicle makers and potato peelers, it would've been better if they posted pictures of what's allowed or not.

Anonymous said...

Most of what TSA does is smoke and mirrors. Allow an empty 20 oz coffee mug but only 3.4 oz shampoo? So I get 10 of my bad guy buddies to carry 3.4 oz through the check point hidden on their body or in it. meet up once through screening and combine in the mug. TSA is a WASTE of money the way it is currently configured. Fix it or disband it.

SEO Company said...

This is another one of those cases that makes me long for the day that the liquid algorithm is ready to go for our X-rays so we can allow liquids and end 3-1-1 as we know it."