Thursday, January 13, 2011

Taz Arnold’s Spiked Shoes Are Clear for Takeoff and Options for Prohibited Items That Are Not

Spiked Shoes
Photo courtesy of christianlouboutin.com
Just last week at Dulles International (IAD), Taz Arnold came through the checkpoint and our X-ray Operator saw a pair of shoes like no other they had ever seen before… It was a pair of Louboutin Spikes. As you can imagine, the X-ray image was quite unique. After taking a closer look, our Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) permitted Taz to travel to the gate with his spiked shoes. It caused a slight delay, but it all turned out well in the end. Taz tweeted his experience and many different blogs understandably decided to jump on the chance to write about it. This led to a few tweets and blog comments sent in our direction.

While Mr. Arnold’s shoes were not a prohibited item, I’d like to talk a little about what happens when a prohibited item is brought through the checkpoint.

What caught my eye in many of the articles about the shoes was the word “confiscated.” Even if Mr. Arnold’s shoes would have been prohibited, he would have had options. I think some people assume that if a prohibited item is brought through the checkpoint, we just take it and that’s that. This is not the case. You have the option of being escorted out of the checkpoint with your item and at that point, you have a number of options:

1) Take the item to the ticket counter and check it in your baggage or a box provided by the airport.
2) Ship your item through the US Postal Service or other shipping service at the airport.
3) Hand the prohibited item to family or friends who may be at the airport to see you off.
4) Take the item to your car if you drove to the airport.
5) If the item is a liquid, gel or aerosol that meets the 3.4 oz requirements but was not packaged properly, you can depart the screening checkpoint, package it properly, and then return with it to the checkpoint.

If you’re not given these options, or not permitted to use them, you should ask to speak with a supervisor or manager. You can also use the Talk to TSA program to contact TSA Customer Support at that specific airport.

Of course, if you have an illegal, prohibited item, (guns, bombs, Illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulators) you will not be given the above options. You’ll have a conversation with a Law Enforcement Officer.

We understand passengers aren’t always able to use these options due to the chance of missing flights. If the passenger doesn’t have the time or doesn’t want to bother with it, they can surrender the item. So, what happens once an item is surrendered? Some people are under the wrong impression that our TSOs get to keep the items. Nico wrote a really informative blog post on what happens to surrendered items. You can read it here.  

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

If you’d like to comment on an unrelated topic you can do so in our Off Topic Comments post. You can also view our blog post archives or search our blog to find a related topic to comment in. If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact a Customer Support Manager at the airport you traveled, or will be traveling through by using Talk to TSA.

82 comments:

Anonymous said...

Does the TSA have a hot line that people can call if they are having a problem? Not everyone has a smart phone, nor has the time to wait for e-mails to be exchanged.

Especially if you are stuck in the TSA glass box and have had your possessions removed.

Anonymous said...

Why do you continue with the absurd shoe removal farce? No other country on earth has one and they've had no ill effects. Why does TSA continue to overreact to one failed bombing attempt by an idiot almost ten years ago?

Renee said...

This post is patently false. I got stopped at ORD for carrying a McQueen knuckle-duster skull clutch in my carryon. It made it out of NYC just fine, but the good TSA folks at Chicago freaked out over it when I tried to fly home. I kept offering to check my bag; the TSA agent kept insisting that wouldn't be enough b/c I'd "tried to bring a weapon on a plane". He sent a cop over to talk to me, put me through a backscatter, and went through every piece of underwear in my bag, unfolding everything. I highly doubt this comment will even get posted, b/c there was radio silence when I tried asking the @TSABlogTeam twitter account about the situation.

Anonymous said...

So why wasn't I allowed to bring my similarly studded belt last year?

Marvin the Martian said...

I'm not angry, just terribly hurt. I will take my Illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator and leave it in my spaceship so it will be there when I return.

RB said...

Would talking to these supervisors or managers as you suggest result in being held hostage like what happened to the lady in PHX for simply asking for alternative screening of Breat Milk in accordance with TSA policy?

Anonymous said...

"If you’re not given these options, or not permitted to use them, you should ask to speak with a supervisor or manager."

Who most likely will support the original decision

" You can also use the Talk to TSA program to contact TSA Customer Support at that specific airport."

Which won't help in your specific situation but it will get you a generic response about how well trained and professional our TSO's are.

Anonymous said...

Dear TSA,

Your repeated posts such as this one regarding shoes are an insult to hard working Americans who must travel for business. Why do you waste our tax dollars with these silly posts? My own, and only, conclusion is that the TSA is really unconcerned with average American concerns like...

1. Is it TSA policy that passenger personal property be in the passenger line of site throughout all screening procedures?

2. Will the TSA conduct independent studies on the installation, operation and ongoing maintenance of the AIT machines to protect passenger short-term and long-term health concerns?

3. What legal steps are being taken to protect passenger privacy?

4. What steps are being taken to make TSA officers most accountable to the American taxpayer?

Your repeated refusal to address these simple questions can only mean that the TSA has no regard for the American taxpayer. For those of you in government who do not remember, American tax dollars fund your salaries.

Anonymous said...

This tired argument again?

What is it with your agency and cringing at the word confiscate? Everyone from front-line TSO's to senior management have a visceral knee-jerk response against it.

Newsflash: To a passenger worried about making his flight (most passengers), with no spare checkable bag to put an item in (even more passengers), or not departing from an airport where they have a parked car (over half of passengers), it is effectively confiscation.

And when it happens with an item that is not explicitly on the prohibited items list and/or has not been a problem in the past, it is extremely frustrating. Google "custom battery pack TSA" and "TSA leather bookmark" for more.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,

Thank-you for this information regarding what to do with prohibited items.

Alex Sterling said...

Bob,

I was wondering if you could help me out. Some of my friends and coworkers aren't as grateful for the work the TSA does as I am. I've tried to point out the TSA makes us safer, and we should respect that. But one of them was saying that the TSA hasn't ever caught any terrorists, or stopped any evil doers.

I couldn't find any online articles that talk about any terrorists that the TSA have stopped. It would be great if you could make a blog post sharing some of these stories, or pointing us to articles that talk about them.

Thanks!
Alex

Grace said...

So you can be escorted out of the security area without the threat of an extensive fine, even though you did not complete the security screening? Is this because you actually submitted to the screening? It was my understanding that once you began the security procedures you were not allowed to leave the screening area without completing the procedures, and that an extensive fine might apply if you did. Is this the case? Can you please clarify when you may leave the security area, if your screening is not complete.

Thanks.

LeeAnne said...

Dear TSA,

Please tell me what my options are when I am repeatedly forced to allow TSOs to touch, fiddle with, alter settings on, and threaten to confiscate my scuba gear?

I am a scuba diver, and I travel to places around the world to dive. I carry my regulator and computer on the plane with me, because they are expensive and too delicate to trust to checked baggage. Every time I go through the TSA checkpoint, my gear bag is opened, and my gear is touched, which is completely unacceptable and, in fact, downright dangerous. This is, after all, life support equipment. The TSOs, not recognizing what it is, often twist knobs, move switches, and do various other things that could put my LIFE in jeopardy. How do I get them to stop messing with my stuff?

Further, I have found myself several times having to beg them NOT to confiscate certain items. In particular, there's a 6-lb metal strip with bolts on each end that I assemble to my buoyancy control device before diving. It is not a weapon, and is no more dangerous on a plane than, say, a metal blow-dryer (which doesn't seem to elicit any of the same suspicions). Yet, I find myself repeatedly have to beg TSOs not to confiscate it. (It's a custom-made item, and quite expensive.) If it was confiscated at the beginning of a trip, the entire trip would be a waste as I wouldn't be able to dive.

I cannot avail myself of any of the options you mentioned. I don't drive myself to the airport. By the time I get to the checkpoint, my checked bags are already on their way. I am usually going somewhere international and exotic - this last trip was to Costa Rica, so shipping the item there would be cost- and time-prohibitive. So...help! What can I do to be allowed to retain possession of my legal and valuable personal items, and avoid DEATH due to untrained hands messing with my life support equipment?

TSM, been here... said...

Quoted:
"Renee said...
This post is patently false. I got stopped at ORD for carrying a McQueen knuckle-duster skull clutch in my carryon. It made it out of NYC just fine, but the good TSA folks at Chicago freaked out over it when I tried to fly home. I kept offering to check my bag; the TSA agent kept insisting that wouldn't be enough b/c I'd "tried to bring a weapon on a plane". He sent a cop over to talk to me, put me through a backscatter, and went through every piece of underwear in my bag, unfolding everything. I highly doubt this comment will even get posted, b/c there was radio silence when I tried asking the @TSABlogTeam twitter account about the situation.

January 13, 2011 1:44 PM
---------------------------------
Uh, because this item looks/can be used as, a "dual purpose" item. Meaning it is close enough to being an actual pair of brass knuckles that the TSOs were correct in not allowing it to fly. Since it resembles a pr of brass knuckles, which are illegal, you were given extra screening. Kudos to the TSOs who recognized this.
At my airport you'd be speaking to a LEO.

RB said...

"I think some people assume that if a prohibited item is brought through the checkpoint, we just take it and that’s that."

Oh, please Bob. Even your administrators and other employees use the term "confiscated" and that is exactly what TSA does.

What I wonder is how much of that confiscated material ends up in TSA employees pockets?

Anonymous said...

No doubt this shoe incident could have gone either way. Would anyone be surprised if the guard started screaming: "Shoe Bomber!", and ran out?

The problem with TSA is that the rules they employ are haphazardly enforced. Some are just made up on the spot and no one is held responsible. The courts could fill quickly with the actions perpetrated on innocent travelers.

Rock said...

Bob, instead of the typical drive-by shooting post where we get a posting about how the TSA is great and never wrong, and you don't answer questions, can you simply go through all the specific questions posted and answer them?

Yes and no answers or specifics. And not "maybe, we like to keep them random". Like, a real answer.

A real answer that isn't evasive or doubletalk or, y'know. Not real.

That's what we'd like.

Are you aware that's what we'd like?

And can I have that question answered too?

MarkVII said...

Here we go again with a "this is the way things are supposed to be" post from blogger Bob, followed by "this is the way things are actually done" posts from passengers.

If a passenger uses "Talk to TSA", what happens next? If a passenger is wrongfully deprived of property, does the TSA replace it? (I highly doubt it.)

Mark
qui custodiet ipsos custodes

Jim Huggins said...

TSM Been Here writes: "because this item looks/can be used as, a "dual purpose" item. Meaning it is close enough to being an actual pair of brass knuckles that the TSOs were correct in not allowing it to fly."

Oh, puh-lease.

Anything you bring on board an airplane can be used as a weapon. A pair of scissors can be broken apart to make two knives. A pen can be used to puncture an artery. A walking cane can be used as a club to hit someone. A guitar string can be used to strangle someone.

Under that standard, the only way to prohibit weapons from being brought onto an aircraft is to prohibit all items aboard a aircraft ... and even then, you'd have to handcuff us to our seats to make sure we didn't untie our shoelaces and turn them into garrotes. Is that really the direction we're headed towards?

GSOLTSO said...

Renee sez – “This post is patently false. I got stopped at ORD for carrying a McQueen knuckle-duster skull clutch in my carryon. It made it out of NYC just fine, but the good TSA folks at Chicago freaked out over it when I tried to fly home. I kept offering to check my bag; the TSA agent kept insisting that wouldn't be enough b/c I'd "tried to bring a weapon on a plane". He sent a cop over to talk to me, put me through a backscatter, and went through every piece of underwear in my bag, unfolding everything. I highly doubt this comment will even get posted, b/c there was radio silence when I tried asking the @TSABlogTeam twitter account about the situation.”


Renee, if you are referring to this clutch - Alexander McQueen then the TSOs should have offered you the option to place it in your checked bag, take it back out to your car, give it to someone outside the checkpoint that you know, or mail it to yourself, unless it is illegal where you are. If brass knuckles are illegal where your incident occurred, you should have been referred to an LEO, and they should have taken proper steps.

Based upon the laws found here Illinois gun Laws - possessing, carrying, manufacturing or using metal knuckles is against the law.

West
TSA Blog Team

TJ said...

So Bob are you the official fashion officer of the TSA?

First underwear now shoes. What next?

Anonymous said...

I hope someone answers LeeAnne's questions regarding scuba gear.

I have a question myself regarding carrying on life-saving equipment.

With the new restrictions on insulated coffee mugs, would that rule also apply to helmets? For bicycle or motorcycle tourists, we may want to carry on our helmets, as they are expensive and sometimes customized for our needs. If they were damaged by baggage handlers or the TSA, our trips would be delayed or ruined, depending upon where we are going.

TSM, been said...

Quoted:
"Anything you bring on board an airplane can be used as a weapon. A pair of scissors can be broken apart to make two knives. A pen can be used to puncture an artery. A walking cane can be used as a club to hit someone. A guitar string can be used to strangle someone. "
----------------
The difference is, those items are NOT prohibited. Brass knuckles are. The purse is made with a pr of brass knuckles. If you visit the websites of the manufacturer you will see that they even make purses where the brass knuckles are removable AND they talk about carrying a weapon/purse.

kimm said...

Bottom line is, the abuse will continue at the airports in the name of "security".

How sad that we can be treated this way, our "dangerous" water be taken, (litterally) electronically strip searched, and treated like criminals just because we want(or some of us need) to fly or have some sort of disability that flags us as a "risk".

I'm not that old, but I NEVER thought I'd see this in America!

Anonymous said...

To Renee (about the purse),
How about a little common sense?

"Hmmm, let's see, I'm going through an airport. My purse looks like a pr of brass knuckles (of course, the very name "Knuckle-duster" might have been a clue). My bag is going to be x-rayed. Maybe it would be a good idea to put it in my checked bag."

Or, I'll just complain about the big bad TSA.

It's called "Personal Responsibility" people!

Anonymous said...

Why does TSA continue to overreact to one failed bombing attempt by an idiot almost ten years ago?

January 13, 2011 1:27 PM

Probably because the next guy wearing a shoe-bomb might not be an idiot. Think McFly, Think.

LeeAnne said...

Is there a reason why TSA won't answer my clearly stated question above about how to protect my scuba gear, and get it through the checkpoint so I can bring it with me? None of the options offered by Blogger Bob work for me.

I strongly feel I have a right to bring my scuba equipment with me when I travel, on my person, not checked (where they could be fiddled with outside of my view by baggage screeners). I can't check them, I can't ship them, I can't leave them home.

Please tell me what to do

Is this really not a reasonable enough question for TSA to answer? If not, why not?

TSORon said...

LeeAnne asked...
Dear TSA,
Please tell me what my options are when I am repeatedly forced to allow TSOs to touch, fiddle with, alter settings on, and threaten to confiscate my scuba gear?

Dear LeeAnne,
As a fellow scuba diver I know that you are trained in adjusting your equipment to the appropriate settings and that you checked them each and every time you dive, after all it is life support equipment that you absolutely depend upon when diving. Therefore whatever a TSO does when screening your regulator should have no affect to the equipment, not if you are a safety conscious diver.
The other thing you need to realize is that regulators and some other associated diving equipment are quite robust and not really easy to damage. So a TSO inspecting your equipment honestly has no possible way of damaging it. The computer is a different story of course, but it also is a pretty tough little item and it would take a concerted effort to damage it.
And last but not least, everything you bring with you on the plane is subject to screening. That means that a TSO may have to touch it. You know this, so stop complaining about it. Our touch is not going to harm your equipment, and if you have concerns of a sanitary nature just ask the TSO to change their gloves. What’s so hard about that?

TSOJP said...

LeeAnne said...
Dear TSA,

Please tell me what my options are when I am repeatedly forced to allow TSOs to touch, fiddle with, alter settings on, and threaten to confiscate my scuba gear?


LeeAnne, No Tsa Policy prohibits the entry of Scuba Diving Gear into the sterile area, However if you had in your possesion a 6 pound Belt full Of metal Bolts I do Not fault The Officers in not allowing you entry into the sterile area with this item. It does not take much common sense to realize that something of that weight containing metal bolts could be easily used as a weapon, therefore i would suggest putting a lock on your luggage and checking your bag with the airline. it is the explicit responisbillity of the TSO to asses the items in your bag, to test the items in whatever way neccisary to ensure that that your safe and everyone else is safe who may be flying. Remeber, By Law, The TSA has the right to screen you and any acessible property you may have with you.

Anonymous said...

@ alex sterling...TSA may not have directly stopped any terrorists but has foiled many terrorist plots. With the exception of the underwear bomber(he foiled his own plot and manhood, no help needed from TSA there.) Everything TSA does is for a reason or result of something that has happened or from intel they may hear. Sometimes as ridiculous it may sound to you or me it is in place to protect us and prevent the terrorists from attacking us... they do not want to go through a security checkpoint where there is so much going on and more of a chance that they will get caught!!!! That is how they stop the terrorists everyday. thank you TSA for everything you do to keep the US safe!!!

TSM said...

Quoted:
" LeeAnne said...
Is there a reason why TSA won't answer my clearly stated question above about how to protect my scuba gear, and get it through the checkpoint so I can bring it with me? None of the options offered by Blogger Bob work for me.

I strongly feel I have a right to bring my scuba equipment with me when I travel, on my person, not checked (where they could be fiddled with outside of my view by baggage screeners). I can't check them, I can't ship them, I can't leave them home.

Please tell me what to do

Is this really not a reasonable enough question for TSA to answer? If not, why not?

January 14, 2011 12:42 PM"
_________________
LeeAnne,
As a SCUBA (& Skydiver) myself, I sympathize with you. I am usually called over when someone has this type of stuff as most TSOs do not (you are correct) know about such equipment.

You should see what happens when I go to an unfamiliar airport and go through security (yes, we go through security just like everyone else) with a parachute!

Anyway, my suggestion to you is to do what I do, pack as much non-breakable items (dive knife, 6 lb strip of metal, etc) as you can in your checked bags. Carry only your rig (Dive Computer, 1st & 2nd stages) with you in your carry-on.
Ask politely for a supervisor when you get to the checkpoint (or call ahead - people do it all the time) and explain that you have SCUBA equipment that is very sensitive and that you would appreciate the STSO observing the screening with you present to answer any questions.

I can guarantee that if you follow these steps you will have a much better experience than just popping up with the equipment and getting an inexperienced TSO who doesn't know what he is handling.

Good Diving!

Anonymous said...

"With the new restrictions on insulated coffee mugs, would that rule also apply to helmets?"
------------

What?

Anonymous said...

Grace said...
So you can be escorted out of the security area without the threat of an extensive fine, even though you did not complete the security screening? Is this because you actually submitted to the screening? It was my understanding that once you began the security procedures you were not allowed to leave the screening area without completing the procedures, and that an extensive fine might apply if you did. Is this the case? Can you please clarify when you may leave the security area, if your screening is not complete.
___________________________________
When someone is escorted out of the checkpoint with an item that can not come into the secured area it is after their screening is completed.

TSM West said...

Kimm said
Bottom line is, the abuse will continue at the airports in the name of "security".

How sad that we can be treated this way, our "dangerous" water be taken, (litterally) electronically strip searched, and treated like criminals just because we want(or some of us need) to fly or have some sort of disability that flags us as a "risk".

I'm not that old, but I NEVER thought I'd see this in America!

January 14, 2011 11:55 AM
-----------------------------------
How sad to have this much hatred and no personal responsibility.
After all of this time do you still not know that when you go to the airport that you will need to go through some type of screening. And if you still have to surrender a bottle of water after over 4 years as a policy, then even pictures won't work to educate you.

TSM West said...

LeeAnn, your question seems to be a loaded question. I'm not sure where to start.Are they taking your property out of sight to go through the bag? If so call a supervisor or Manager. No TSO should ever go through your bag without you present and observing.You can also ask for a private screening when your bag is being checked. This will allow for a second TSO in the room to verify that you are being treated properly. Another thing you can do is call the Airport's RSA Customer Service Manager and tell him about whats happening. He can investigete it for you. You can also call him prior to you arriving on your next trip to help prearrange with the supervisor to take care of you personally. As far as your homade bolt, I would have to see it to give you advise on that. It would all depend on whether or not the Supervisor feels that it could be used as a dual function piece of equipment. I know some Supervisors who would not allow a 6 cell kell light on because of their past experiences in Law Enforcement. Without seeing it my only advise would be to check it in. May not be what you are lookig for but I hope it helps.

Anonymous said...

TSM, been said...
The difference is, those items are NOT prohibited. Brass knuckles are

But they all are weapons (or can be turned into weapons). Why are some weapons allowed, but others not allowed? Isn't the point of the TSA to prevent ANY weapons from getting aboard?

Or is it only the more... valuable ones you confiscate? Pair of scissors that can be unscrewed into two sharp blades, goes for $6.99 at the local mega-mart? Passenger can keep it.
Alexander McQueen Knuckle Duster Skull Clutch that sells for thousands of dollars? Um, that's a 'weapon', I'll need to take it.

Hmm.

Anonymous said...

LeeAnne
Perfectly reasonable question. and that's why you wont get a real answer out of them.
It falls outside of the norm and TSA is not equipped to handle that.

RB said...

TSM West said...
LeeAnn, your question seems to be a loaded question. I'm not sure where to start.Are they taking your property out of sight to go through the bag? If so call a supervisor or Manager. No TSO should ever go through your bag without you present and observing.You can also ask for a private screening when your bag is being checked. This will allow for a second TSO in the room to verify that you are being treated properly.
...............

Just what she needs a second potential thief to keep watch over.

Anonymous said...

TSM, been said...
The difference is, those items are NOT prohibited. Brass knuckles are.

Why exactly are brass knuckles prohibited. How can they possibly be a danger to the airplane? I see no way to use them to either hijack or do significant damage to an airplane.

If you just want to punch a few people you don't need to go through the expense and trouble of boarding an airplane. There is also no chance of escape. It just doesn't make sense.

Jim Huggins said...

TSOJP writes: It does not take much common sense to realize that something of that weight containing metal bolts could be easily used as a weapon, therefore i would suggest putting a lock on your luggage and checking your bag with the airline.

This is not an acceptable response.

First of all, just about anything a passenger brings aboard "could" be used a weapon. Such a standard is completely arbitrary and gives the passenger no way to know whether or not their possessions will be allowed through the checkpoint.

Secondly, your suggestion to place the items in checked baggage is nonsense. Airlines routinely disclaim all liability for items placed in checked baggage, and strictly advise passengers not to place valuable items in check bags. Furthermore, the suggestion to use a lock is non-effective; locks are regularly cut from checked bags, especially if TSA decides that it needs to inspect the contents of checked bags outside the presence of the passenger.

TSM, been here.... said...

Quoted:
" Anonymous said...
LeeAnne
Perfectly reasonable question. and that's why you wont get a real answer out of them.
It falls outside of the norm and TSA is not equipped to handle that.

January 15, 2011 3:19 AM

---------------------
hey Anon,
take a look at the at least 4 posts from TSA personnel (myself included) where her question is directly answered.
Nice rhetoric though!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Why do you continue with the absurd shoe removal farce? No other country on earth has one and they've had no ill effects. Why does TSA continue to overreact to one failed bombing attempt by an idiot almost ten years ago?

Actually Your Wrong, There are many countries in europe who also have passengers remove there shoes, among these are The UK,Russia and france. outside the U.S

Canada, Samoa, Austrailia, New zealand and many others. To say no other country has shoe removal policy in airports is factually incorrect. And why do we continue scanning shoess after ten years? because the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior, and The past has shown that terrorist will attempt to use the same methods agian and again until they are sucessful. Proof of this is the fact that long before Richard Reid, Ramzi Yousef smuggled IED Components in his shoes and onboard an aircraft, once they realized they could smuggle these components, they refined their methods to see how they could possibly construct a full IED within the shoe and smuggle it through an Airport. Luckily the fuse was to damp to be lit and reid was unsucessful. They still want to refine their methods and eventually carry out another attack on aviation with these types of items, and shoes are actually one of the greater vunerabilties, therfore to not have shoe removal and examnination knowing that it is a week spot and a vunerabillity for terrorist who want to exploit security once again, would be foolish.

avxo said...

TSOJP wrote: "it is the explicit responisbillity of the TSO to asses the items in your bag, to test the items in whatever way neccisary"

Really? In whatever way necessary? So you are asserting that a TSO can, say, disassemble a laptop? Or demand that it be turned on?

You clearly are deranged if you think that TSOs can perform any test, at their sole discretion. I hope you aren't, actually, a TSO.


TSM West wrote: "It would all depend on whether or not the Supervisor feels that it could be used as a dual function piece of equipment. I know some Supervisors who would not allow a 6 cell kell light on because of their past experiences in Law Enforcement."

And therein lies the insanity of the system. I understand the need for allowing TSOs some leeway and discretion, but basically what you are saying here is this:

"There's no limits. Rules are meaningless, unless it's the rule that basically means 'there's no rules'!"

You are saying that bringing anything on-board is a gamble. Forget all about the prohibited item lists. It's 100% discretion.

So maybe that sweater you are bringing will be allowed, maybe not. After all, you could use it to choke someone!

Maybe that pen you carry will be allowed, maybe not. Why, you could stab someone with it!

And let's not even talk about magazines. Why, haven't you see that one Bourne movie? He used a magazine to beat some guy to death! So NO COSMO FOR YOU!

Of course, you may just be super-lucky and come across someone sensible, like our friend PJ above.

He exercises his discretion carefully and instead of taking your magazine away, he will simply test it in the necessary way to ensure it's safe. Perhaps by tearing every page, and handing you back a sheaf of pages -- but not the spine!

Happy travels!

Marshall's SO said...

Our good friend, ;-), West, wrote:

"No TSO should ever go through your bag without you present and observing. You can also ask for a private screening when your bag is being checked. This will allow for a second TSO in the room to verify that you are being treated properly."

NEVER EVER GO INTO A PRIVATE ROOM WITH TWO TSOs WITHOUT A WITNESS OF YOUR CHOOSING. Better yet, refuse any request to go into a private room even with your own witness. Anything the TSA does to either your personal property or yourself should be done in public so everyone can see what they are doing.

Marshall's SO said...

TSM wrote:

"You should see what happens when I go to an unfamiliar airport and go through security (yes, we go through security just like everyone else) with a parachute!"

1. TSM, something tells me that when you travel you use your TSA ID to get past the ID checker. That immediately sets you apart from all the other travelers.

2. Because of that, you can get a parachute through security. Us ordinary "fares" would never be able to do that.

Sandra said...

From TSOJP, in part:

"it is the explicit responisbillity of the TSO to asses the items in your bag, to test the items in whatever way neccisary to ensure that that your safe..."

WOW, just WOW. If you are a TSO your writing is a very sad commentary on the quality of the employees of the TSA and speaks volumes as to why travelers have so much difficulty at checkpoints.

A screen shot has been taken of this comment.

Anonymous said...

Jim Huggins said:
"Under that standard, the only way to prohibit weapons from being brought onto an aircraft is to prohibit all items aboard a aircraft"
FINALLY a good idea! let ban all carryons and everything would go much smoother for everyone!

Anonymous said...

I travel a fair amount, and have had a number of items confiscated (that is the only word for it, really) and I have NEVER, despite my pleas, been offered any means to get the confiscated item to meby any mechanism.

These items include

1) a snow globe from Israel that was confiscated in Denver

2) a screwdriver set, with no shaft longer than 2 inches, that was confiscated in Chicago

3) a breadboard (look it up) that was confiscated in Las Vegas, apparently just because it was suspicious

4) a makeup case in Chicago (because it wasn't an approved plastic bag -- despite meeting all the requirements -- for my liquids -- which is itself another dumb-as-a-post policy)

On my last flight from Pittsburgh to Seattle, I sat behing a woman knitting with 4 long sharp needles, which are themselves clearly "dual use items."

But in each case where something of mine was confiscated, I protested and asked if I could go mail it, and I was refused each time.

And how, exactly, do you suppsoe we are to put it in our checked bags? They have _already_ been checked.

This is the very first time, despite my attempts to locate such information, that I have ever sene the TSA offer an alternative to jsut pocketing my stuff, and I'm glad for it (which is not to say I endorse the policies themselves). But the agents actualyl doing the works are woefully clueless about such rules, and demonstrably hostile to people who try to assert their rights.

So, some suggestions --

1) please post these rules everywhere there is a 3-1-1 sign. Our rights ought to be given equal billing with the rules, at the very least. These rules should include where it is we get the "boxes provided by the airport."

2) make sure all the TSOs offer these options when anything prohibitied is screened.

3) require airports to permit appropriately bonded and licensed indioviduals to set up a small business next to screening stations that will, for a small fee, mail any confiscated items. Or, put 24 hours post offices near the screening points.

I appreciate that you are trying to improve the situation, but quite candidly it needs a lot of improvement and your efforts to date have not been effective.

Anonymous said...

@LeeAnne and @TSM: I'm also a skydiver, and I've taken my skydiving gear through TSA checkpoints a few times. Never had a problem. Is there a national scuba divers' association?

USPA (US Parachute Association) has worked closely with the TSA to make sure it knows skydiving gear is safe to carry on board, and how TSOs are to handle skydiving gear to avoid safety issues. They also have a government relations department that can handle things if a skydiver is given grief by the TSA over their gear. If scuba divers have something similar to USPA, they should be able to help smooth things out with the TSA.

Anonymous said...

So, the TSA blog gets to joke about security, mentioning space modulators, and treat the whole subject in a cavalier manner, while there are signs at the airport mentioning that if we do that, we'll be arrested. Hahaha, let me just leave my space modulator with my friend, and the next thing you know you're detained for making jokes about national security. Set a better example!

Gunslinger said...

Why do you continue to call a gun "illegal"? Guns ARE legal and in fact I can carry a gun in any of the public, unsecured areas of the airport. I understand that it's "Prohibited", like a pocketknife or box cutter, but like those items, it is legal to own and legal to carry but prohibited in the secure area.

Molon Labe

Gunslinger said...

TSOJP said

"By Law, The TSA has the right to screen you and any acessible property you may have with you."

FALSE !!! The TSA is a government agency and as such does not posess any rights. Rights are reserved for individuals. The TSA has "authority", which is granted to it, in this case, by elected officials. That authority should NEVER be confused with a right. We the people can (and will) take that authority away from you.

Write this on the blackboard 100 times:

"Government agencies do not have rights, people have rights"

Anonymous said...

TSM, been here.... said...

hey Anon,
take a look at the at least 4 posts from TSA personnel (myself included) where her question is directly answered.
Nice rhetoric though!

**********
And she got four different answers. But most of them involve the statement of the TSA can do what ever it wants to something we search. Only one of which was remotely helpful, call ahead 24 hours before you go to the airport and arrange for on-site assistance from a manager.

I used to travel with a specialized and hard to replace item that was critical to my work and involved life support. During an inspection no one touched it without my supervision and if it was necessary to demonstrate how it worked I was the only one to touch it. When my life is at risk no one handles my gear.

Earl Pitts said...

@Anon: "Actually Your Wrong, There are many countries in europe who also have passengers remove there shoes, among these are The UK,Russia and france. outside the U.S"

How many of these countries do this only on US bound flights?

I've flown out of several countries in Europe and Asia. The only times I've ever been hassled about shoes is either boarding a US flagged carrier (even if not bound for the US) or a flight going to the US.

At Seoul/Incheon, I had a UA boarding pass for a flight to Tokyo. Wasn't going on any further. People with other airline/non-US BP's went out without the shoe carnival why I and others with UA/US bound BP's had to remove our shoes.

Other countries don't care about shoes like the US does. If another country is doing the shoe carnival, it's most likely for a US bound/flagged flight and at the behest of TSA.

Earl

Anonymous said...

"Actually Your Wrong, There are many countries in europe who also have passengers remove there shoes, among these are The UK,Russia and france. outside the U.S

Canada, Samoa, Austrailia, New zealand and many others. To say no other country has shoe removal policy in airports is factually incorrect. "

Actually, you're wrong. No other country requires every air passenger to remove their shoes, as even "Blogger Bob" admitted after initially trying to deny it.

Anonymous said...

How about a comment on why you've confiscated car keys from passengers?

Or a comment on how you sell confiscated items for a profit at http://stores.ebay.com/KYsurplus and other state sites? Why exactly did TSA confiscate cell phones from passengers, anyway?

TSM, been here.... said...

Quoted:
" Marshall's SO said...
TSM wrote:

"You should see what happens when I go to an unfamiliar airport and go through security (yes, we go through security just like everyone else) with a parachute!"

1. TSM, something tells me that when you travel you use your TSA ID to get past the ID checker. That immediately sets you apart from all the other travelers.

2. Because of that, you can get a parachute through security. Us ordinary "fares" would never be able to do that.

January 16, 2011 8:18 AM

______________________
Yup, just another example of someone talking about something they know nothing about.

1. Unless I am travelling on duty and leaving from my own airport (And even then I still have to be screened) I do not use my TSA/DHS ID. Using my gov't ID tends to lead to TSOs thinking they are being tested and even greater scrutiny of my stuff!

Plus, until our newest IDs came out (some don't even have them yet), our Gov't IDs were NOT acceptable as a primary ID at TDC (I know, go figure).

2. Uh, for your info, parachutes are, and have been, allowed through security since the very beginning of screening. TSOs know this. My point was that some TSOs are unfamiliar with them as they may never see one thier entire career. My being a TSM has absolutely nothing to do with getting a parachute through.

Maybe you should read up before you comment.

Author of "Wasteland" said...

TSM, been here.... said...
Quoted:
" Anonymous said...
LeeAnne
Perfectly reasonable question. and that's why you wont get a real answer out of them.
It falls outside of the norm and TSA is not equipped to handle that.

January 15, 2011 3:19 AM

---------------------
hey Anon,
take a look at the at least 4 posts from TSA personnel (myself included) where her question is directly answered.
Nice rhetoric though!

January 15, 2011 10:28 AM

Does the mere fact that one uses "TS" in their post "prove" that he/she is a real TSA blueshirt?

Blogger Bob said...

Anonymous said...How about a comment on why you've confiscated car keys from passengers? Or a comment on how you sell confiscated items for a profit at stores.ebay.com/KYsurplus and other state sites? Why exactly did TSA confiscate cell phones from passengers, anyway? January 19, 2011 3:47 AM

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

Car keys are not prohibited. As far as ebay... Kentucky’s Division of Surplus Property is responsible for the disposal of state and federal surplus personal property. All of the items listed here are not items that were abandoned at TSA checkpoints. Just some of them...

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Jim Huggins said...

Blogger Bob writes:

Car keys are not prohibited.

Tell that to Nathan Rau, who was forced to surrender his Audi car key at DFW.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob said...
As far as ebay... Kentucky’s Division of Surplus Property is responsible for the disposal of state and federal surplus personal property. All of the items listed here are not items that were abandoned at TSA checkpoints. Just some of them...

SO, you think it's fine because only "some" of the items being auctioned were stole.. .er, confiscat... er, "voluntarily surrendered by passengers" to the TSA??

Coca said...

I am presently injecting myself everyday with FORTEO. This is a medicine to rebuild my bones. I need to travel with it. I cannot send it with the luggage. The reason is, because the case with the injection and needles has to be checked manually. I was told by Lilly the laboratory that manufactures this medication, that ithe medicine will be not be good if it goes through an x-ray machine.I was also advised by Lilly Labs that I have to notify the security person before passing through the xray machine, that the case has to be checked manually

I will be flying to Florida next week. I started the medicine Yesterday, I will be taking it for 2 years daily. I cannot interrupt the medicine.

Kindly advise,

Anonymous said...

Isn't what passes for security much dependent upon how busy the TSA people are and what they decide the rules will be on the occasion of your passing through? Busy times seem good for travelers, slack times bad for travelers.

BTW - Ever notice the walks on the TSA people? Look at some YouTube. The TSA Strut could become a popular dance!

Anonymous said...

TSM, been here.... said...
______________________
"Yup, just another example of someone talking about something they know nothing about."

Watch your attitude, TSM. You work for the public.

Not knowing what they're talking about is a task normally assigned to TSOs (confiscating car keys, detaining nursing mothers, etc).

TSM continued:

"1. Unless I am travelling on duty and leaving from my own airport (And even then I still have to be screened) I do not use my TSA/DHS ID. Using my gov't ID tends to lead to TSOs thinking they are being tested and even greater scrutiny of my stuff! "

Are you saying that TSA employees actually identify themselves when they're testing security?! If they do, the terrible results of audits are even more astounding.

TSM continued:
"Plus, until our newest IDs came out (some don't even have them yet), our Gov't IDs were NOT acceptable as a primary ID at TDC (I know, go figure)."

Combine that with the missing and improper background checks and it's of no surprise at all. The TSA has done a shoddy job since day one.

TSM continued:
"2. Uh, for your info, parachutes are, and have been, allowed through security since the very beginning of screening. TSOs know this. My point was that some TSOs are unfamiliar with them as they may never see one thier entire career. My being a TSM has absolutely nothing to do with getting a parachute through."

So you're saying that no one has ever been prevented from taking a parachute through security? Do you really want to make that sweeping a statement? I'll warn you to do consult google before you respond.

The problem, TSM, is that the TSA has very poor standardization. I'm sure if you were told you couldn't bring something that you knew to be permissible through security, you would identify yourself and have the situation favorably resolved. The rest of us don't have that option.

"Maybe you should read up before you comment."

Again, watch the attitude. You may well be applying for a privatized screener job in the near future.

GSOLTSO said...

Coco says – “I am presently injecting myself everyday with FORTEO. This is a medicine to rebuild my bones. I need to travel with it. I cannot send it with the luggage. The reason is, because the case with the injection and needles has to be checked manually. I was told by Lilly the laboratory that manufactures this medication, that ithe medicine will be not be good if it goes through an x-ray machine.I was also advised by Lilly Labs that I have to notify the security person before passing through the xray machine, that the case has to be checked manually

I will be flying to Florida next week. I started the medicine Yesterday, I will be taking it for 2 years daily. I cannot interrupt the medicine.

Kindly advise,”


Coco, traveling with syringes, and medicines should not be a problem at all. We have many passengers that have the same (and many other types) of medicines that are hand cleared all the time. When you approach the checkpoint, simply explain to the TSOs that the medicine needs to be hand checked due to x-ray sensitivity, the syringes themselves do not have to be with the medicine – you can simply take the meds themselves and ask them to clear those by hand. If you wish to plan ahead, you can contact TSA at the specific airport you travel through by visiting this site - https://contact.tsa.dhs.gov/talktotsa/talktotsa.aspx

I hope this helps and have a great trip!

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Sandra said...
"A screen shot has been taken of this comment."

Seems a couple of people are posting that.

In all seriousness I ask; You took a screen shot.

So what?

What do you think it 'proves'?

Anonymous said...

If Coco''s lucky, he/she might get through, anyway. There's dozens of reports of TSA agents either ignorant of that rule, or actively refusing to abide by it.

The whole organization is rotten from the top down to the bottom.

RB said...

Coco, traveling with syringes, and medicines should not be a problem at all. We have many passengers that have the same (and many other types) of medicines that are hand cleared all the time. When you approach the checkpoint, simply explain to the TSOs that the medicine needs to be hand checked due to x-ray sensitivity, the syringes themselves do not have to be with the medicine – you can simply take the meds themselves and ask them to clear those by hand. If you wish to plan ahead, you can contact TSA at the specific airport you travel through by visiting this site - https://contact.tsa.dhs.gov/talktotsa/talktotsa.aspx

I hope this helps and have a great trip!

West
TSA Blog Team

January 22, 2011 4:52 AM

West, is it your belief that TSA policy would require the removal of syringes from the medical kit so that medicine could be hand screened?

Is this a new TSA policy?

If you had an understanding of how injectables are carried you would know that the syringes or pens have a safe and clean storage provision in devices like a Frio wallet. To remove the syringes would only risk exposure to unsanitary conditions often found in TSA checkpoints.

So if you would, please reiterate how a person carrying injectables can clear a TSA checkpoint without having clear procedures available to the traveler and must somehow comply with secret rules that even TSA official Bloggers seem to not fully understand.

Must the person remove the syringes from the medical wallet if request non xray of the item? Do they also have to remove the needles?

Is this absolutely required?

Please provide a publicly accessible reference for this policy.

Anonymous said...

Coco, I would not take anything posted here by a TSA employee as a statement of policy. TSA policy allows TSO's to use discretion, which often results in TSO's abusing and inventing TSA policies.

Your best bet is to call the TSA office at both airports you traveling from a week in advance and for an escort. So there are no problems. TSO's have no medical training and do not understand how easy it is to contaminate medical supplies.

Anonymous said...

I flew recently and was offered the alternative of shipping my prohibited item, a miniature snow globe. The woman TSA officer was very polite and almost apologetic about not allowing me to bring it. She was just doing her job, which I respect. Unfortunately, the post office AND self-serve mailing unit were both shut down that day, I assume because of the snow storms in Atlanta. I was forced to leave the souvenir I bought for my grandma. For shame.

What is funny though, is that after passing through security and going to look for a possible replacement souvenir, I happened upon MORE snow globes in the airport gift shop. Does the TSA plan to eliminate these snow globes from airport shops post-security? Or are there certain "approved" snow globes? If the argument is that the liquid inside is dangerous, then I would assume that no snow globes should be allowed at all, correct?

GSOLTSO said...

RB sez – “West, is it your belief that TSA policy would require the removal of syringes from the medical kit so that medicine could be hand screened?

Is this a new TSA policy?

If you had an understanding of how injectables are carried you would know that the syringes or pens have a safe and clean storage provision in devices like a Frio wallet. To remove the syringes would only risk exposure to unsanitary conditions often found in TSA checkpoints.

So if you would, please reiterate how a person carrying injectables can clear a TSA checkpoint without having clear procedures available to the traveler and must somehow comply with secret rules that even TSA official Bloggers seem to not fully understand.

Must the person remove the syringes from the medical wallet if request non xray of the item? Do they also have to remove the needles?

Is this absolutely required?

Please provide a publicly accessible reference for this policy.”

RB, this is not a new policy or anything of the sort, merely a reference that some folks with medicine requiring injection, travel with the syringes separate from the medicine. Plain syringes being x-rayed is not going to damage them. I was merely pointing out that if the person was carrying the syringes in a separate container, that they did not need to be removed like the medicine would. If the person is carrying something like a wallet style that keeps it all together, that may be kept together for the alternate screening. The specific information regarding medications are listed here - http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Really, my favorite part of this blog:

"Of course, if you have an illegal, prohibited item, (guns, bombs, Illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulators) you will not be given the above options. You’ll have a conversation with a Law Enforcement Officer."

I hope that is one stern "conversation" at the least! Thank you to the TSOs who read this for keeping us all safe.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous above who thanked the TSA for "keeping us all safe"

I want to thank you, personally, for keeping me safe. You do as much good as the TSA, without doing a thing. Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

You people are so rediculous. All the TSA bashers...

As long as you know and follow the rules things will be smooth and easy. Bob is saying that you TSA doesn't confinscate prohibited items. The passengers have choices. If TSA takes an item without giving a choice, speak to someone in authority. If the supervisor doesn't give you choices then you should take it a step further. I just don't understand how that is hard to understand. All passengers have a choice.

"Why do you continue with the absurd shoe removal farce? No other country on earth has one and they've had no ill effects. Why does TSA continue to overreact to one failed bombing attempt by an idiot almost ten years ago?"

To this guy...really? TSA does this to prevent another idiot from doing the same thing. Copycats are a common thing. They may have been reactive to this situation then, but its something TSA has to deal with now. It's just the way it is.

If you fly blindly and do not know the rules its your own fault this day and age. The rules are the rules. This goes for any walk of life. Get over it. Follow them and things will be easier. They are all on the site. I think there is even a TSA app now for smartphones.

Sorry...its annoying to read these absurd comments. Is TSA perfect? No. Is it neccessary? Unfortunately yes. It is amazing how easily we all forget the events that have happened.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
You people are so rediculous. All the TSA bashers...

As long as you know and follow the rules things will be smooth and easy. Bob is saying that you TSA doesn't confinscate prohibited items. The passengers have choices. If TSA takes an item without giving a choice, speak to someone in authority. If the supervisor doesn't give you choices then you should take it a step further. I just don't understand how that is hard to understand. All passengers have a choice.

"Why do you continue with the absurd shoe removal farce? No other country on earth has one and they've had no ill effects. Why does TSA continue to overreact to one failed bombing attempt by an idiot almost ten years ago?"

To this guy...really? TSA does this to prevent another idiot from doing the same thing. Copycats are a common thing. They may have been reactive to this situation then, but its something TSA has to deal with now. It's just the way it is.

If you fly blindly and do not know the rules its your own fault this day and age. The rules are the rules. This goes for any walk of life. Get over it. Follow them and things will be easier. They are all on the site. I think there is even a TSA app now for smartphones.

Sorry...its annoying to read these absurd comments. Is TSA perfect? No. Is it neccessary? Unfortunately yes. It is amazing how easily we all forget the events that have happened.

January 30, 2011 12:38 PM

..................
Given that your the expert on travelers complying with TSA "rules" would you mind telling me and the other readers of this blog where we can find a "copy of the rules" that TSA requires us to know and comply with?

Take your time, I'll wait.

avxo said...

Anonymous wrote: "As long as you know and follow the rules things will be smooth and easy."

How can you know and follow rules that the TSA doesn't publish under the guise of SSI? When even items that are not explicitly prohibited may not be allowed at the sole discretion of whichever TSO happens to screen you that day?

Even if you somehow, magically, know all the rules and follow them to the letter things won't necessarily be smooth and easy.

Look at the nursing mother that was harassed. The gentleman who had to traverse a checkpoint with a urostomy bag. The student who had fake white powder stuffed into her luggage. The list goes on.

These people followed the rules -- and their experience was anything but smooth.

So please, cut it out already. The notion that "if you just do as you're told everything will be ok" and "you're only making trouble for yourself" is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

For AVXO and RB,

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/index.shtm

A nice website for helping the traveling public posted on TSA website. I believe there are many more sources out there. Plus TSA has people telling you what to do and signs all over the checkpoint.
Airlines usually have stuff on their sites. For example:

http://www.delta.com/traveling_checkin/airport_information/security_checkpoints/

All really easy to find.
Also, Google also works wonders.
Open your eyes and pay attention.

Anyways...

Instead of listening to TSA bashing what should they do? Of course there are going to be hiccups like the ones you mentioned. No one is perfect. There are nearly 50000 TSOs? That is a lot of people to demand perfection from. TSA is a small wall of security created and not perfected after 9/11. I understand complaints. I understand the inconvenience of it all, but really, what else can the Government do? Go back to the way it was before? I don't know. The percentages of the incidents that you mentioned are very low and some are blown out of proportion. Around 2,000,000 people fly a day. You just don't hear about those incidents very often.

I have to say it...quit being ignorant...

avxo said...

Anonymous wrote: "A nice website for helping the traveling public posted on TSA website. I believe there are many more sources out there. Plus TSA has people telling you what to do and signs all over the checkpoint."

This doesn't take into account the fact that TSOs have discretion, a fact Bob and others have made clear.

So the website is meaningless, because the TSO you encounter at the checkpoint can decide that a particular item can't be brought into the sterile area, even if it's not explicitly listed on the TSA list.

The posts on this site, both by Blogger Bob, and by people in comments make that very very clear.

You want an example? The TSA site says: "There is no restriction on the amount of baby formula, breast milk, or medicines you can bring, but they must be declared and presented for inspection at the checkpoint."

Tell that to parents like Dr. Soni and Dr. Pratap who had a TSO tell them "Oh it seems like too much" before calling for a supervisor.

The supervisor, predictably, said: "[I]t’s too much food for a flight that’s two and a half hours."

The TSA spokeswoman said that the parents "mistakenly believed they were entitled to bring on unlimited quantities [...] and obviously the officer has some discretion on defining what that [amount] would be."

Anonymous said...

From the site "Medications, baby formula and food, breast milk, and juice are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces (100ml) and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Officers may ask travelers to open these items to conduct additional screening and passengers should declare them for inspection at the checkpoint."

You are right that it doesn't say the amount allowed, but by saying "reasonable quantities" people should understand that means enough to get you to your destination. Plus maybe extra for any delays or anything like that. Those items are exempt but not in unlimited amounts. They do leave it to the reader to decide on what "reasonable" means. Maybe that is TSA's mistake?

(maybe we found contradicting qoutes?)
Links to my quotes:
http://www.tsa.gov/311/index.shtm
also
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/children/index.shtm#formula

Second one needed to scroll down a bit.


Now discretion is the key. Not all screeners are the best at this. With that size workforce it would be hard to hire that many people with good discretion. I think discretion should be used on certain items i.e. brass knuckle belt buckle. Items that could be used or look like items that could be a thread should usually be supervisor calls. On the opisite end, I have seen screeners allow an elderly lady to take a lotion that was too large, but obviously not by much. Just examples. Again no one is perfect. So TSA isn't perfect. It is a needed though or something like it.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

My husband made an incredibly stupid mistake... but it was, honestly, as mistake. He went through security in Atlanta without realizing he had his deceased grandfather's WWII genuine Swiss Army Knife in his bag. The knife was of enormous sentimental value, as my husband was very very close to his grandfather, a veteran of both WWII and the war in Korea. He carried his knife with him on a regular basis and cherished it, knowing it was one of a kind (not to mention that it did have some monetary value as an antique).

Now, my husband is the furthest thing imaginable from a terrorist. He does know he can't have the knife on a plane (obviously), so when he realized his mistake, he asked the TSO if he could leave security in order to mail the knife home to himself. The TSO said no, and told him he would have to take the knife and throw it away. My husband asked if there was any other option. Again, the TSO said no and took the knife (he never saw the knife go into the trash). I've never seen my husband so sad before... not angry or upset... just deeply saddened.

In short, this item was, in fact, "confiscated". You and the TSA are caught in a lie, once again, Blogger Bob.

Anonymous said...

Again, the TSO said no and took the knife (he never saw the knife go into the trash). I've never seen my husband so sad before... not angry or upset... just deeply saddened.

In short, this item was, in fact, "confiscated". You and the TSA are caught in a lie, once again, Blogger Bob.

February 17, 2011 2:37 PM

I am saddened and dissappointed by what happened to your husband. As a TSO I have always offered passengers an alternative rather than "voluntarily abandonning" an item. The only time I would tell someone that they couldn't check or mail an item is if I know it's hazardous and prohibited, such as gas, bleach, fireworks, etc.. To everyone out there, if a TSO does not give you options or tells you "no" you can't mail or check an item, ask for a supervisor. They are there to help. Try to arrive early for your flight so that if you do need to check/mail something, you have a little extra time. I want everyone to have a plesant start to their trip...but I also want everyone to be safe. That is my responsibility and my goal...to ensure everyone gets to where they are going safely. If there is anything I can do to help you along the way, just ask. I'm the one in the blue shirt.

Rick said...

My comment or question has to do with prohibited and permitted items for carry-on. Why are "hand-held laser weapons" and “blinding electronic weapons permitted as a carry-on items ” (These items are not on our prohibited list at this time. Should they be added to the list, I will let you know. TSA Service Center) but cranberry sauce is not?