Friday, February 10, 2012

The Importance of Getting to the Gate Early


You may have read in the news today about a woman who missed her flight because there weren’t any female officers to screen her. As in most cases, there is more to this story. Read on…

In TSA’s smaller airports, we work closely with the airlines and airport to keep the security checkpoints open to make certain that all passengers are screened appropriately. Once TSA is informed by the airline that our screening services are no longer needed, the security checkpoint is closed.   

Recently, a passenger attempted to access the checkpoint after it had closed. The airline had already made final boarding announcements and notified TSA that no additional passengers would be accepted. A TSA officer made two additional public announcements asking for any remaining passengers to report to the security checkpoint for screening. After both the flight and checkpoint were closed, a female passenger requested screening. Even though the checkpoint was already closed, our officer told the passenger he would attempt to recall a female officer to screen her, but was informed by the airline that she would not be able to board.

Yes, it is standard procedure for us to provide same-gender pat-downs when needed; however, in this instance, the airline had made final boarding announcements and notified TSA that no additional passengers would be accepted. This is why it is so important to arrive early, at least an hour before your departure when possible at smaller airports and two at larger ones to ensure you make your flight.
When possible, TSA makes every effort to accommodate a passenger’s request. 

 
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.

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

You should do a post entitled "The Importance of Getting the TSA out of the Security Business."

Anonymous said...

From what I remember, aren't the checkpoints supposed to be open until the flight PUSHES BACK from the gate?

RB said...

What would have happened if the airplane had pushed back but later had to return to the gate?

Who from TSA would have been available to handle any passengers who ended up needing to be screened?

If the airport is open then TSA checkpoints need to be manned and ready.

David jones said...

I agree about 'getting to the game early', but do TSA officials take into account the additional time the elderly ann seniors might need to get through security or is it purely first come / first serve?

Anonymous said...

Or maybe you lot could adequately staff your gropepoints. You DO realize that gender is a protected class, and that you refused to serve someone because of her gender, right, Curtis?

Anonymous said...

It is good to hear the whole story!

Anonymous said...

So, Bob, you're claiming she's lying?

http://www.kdvr.com/news/kdvr-no-female-tsa-agents-means-no-flight-for-denver-woman-20120209,0,7106350.story

"She said she checked in and arrived at security about 35 minutes before the scheduled departure of her United flight.

“They asked if I was on the flight to Denver, I said yes, they said that they couldn`t screen me because they sent all the female TSA agents home,” Winning said."

According to that, she was there 35 minutes before the flight. Also, there is no mention of being late, just that the TSA had no female sceeners.

Russell said...

Hi Bob,

There are probably thousands of TSA protocols already in place. The TSA is already wasting the tax payer's money so why not add a rule that states, one member of each sex must be present at any given time.

Also, and in reference my previous comment, watch out for pie filling! Based on volume it's surely more dangerous than the confiscated cupcake. But pies are allowed through? Sorry Bob but the government isn't giving you much of a leg to stand on.

Anonymous said...

Still nothing about the insulin pump fiasco.

@SkyWayManAz said...

What's clear is someone isn't being truthful here. TSA has been caught many times being less then truthful. The JFK elderly strip searches that were repeatedly denied on this blog come to mind. Also right or wrong on the part of Sen. Rand your agency still denies detaining him. He wasn't free to leave for the better part of an hour so thesaurus new speak alternate wording is a little stale. In this case the passenger claims she was at security 35 minutes early. If there is security footage of the screening area that should make or break your claim.

Anonymous said...

So the TSA felt - after a careful review of airline schedules - that only male TSOs were needed? Were there male-only flights here?

Time to get rid of the TSA's Constitution destroying mission and replace it with competent security.

Anonymous said...

Where's the video with the timestamp? That may clear things up. Stating she wasn't at the checkpoint until her flight was closed, which is 10 minutes prior to departure, should be verifiable as fact with video.

I

Anonymous said...

It doesn't make any difference if the person was late for the flight or not - if the airport is open then the checkpoint should be properly staffed.

There are many other possible reasons that someone may have to enter the airport.

You just make yourselves look even worse when you try and justify an obvious TSA failure.

Anonymous said...

No Bob, you guys don't set the hours. The flight had not departed yet. TSA doesn't understand its own policies, film at 11.

RB said...

Anyone else notice a pattern?

TSA employees steal stuff, passengers fault for putting valuables in their luggage.

Senator tries to go to Washington to vote and TSA detains them illegally yet it is the Senators fault for trying to travel by air.

Lady tries to clear security and TSA doesn't properly staff a checkpoint and it is the ladies fault that TSA is incompetent.

TSA is never at fault!

...............................
All postings submitted to the TSA Blog, a government propaganda activity, are done so in full acknowledgement that "Free Speech is a Right" and cannot be infringe upon as detailed in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and upheld by numerous Supreme Court decisions.

Any violation of this right by TSA, an agency of the United States, and its employees is a willful Civil Rights violation and actionable.

tramky said...

This tale doesn't sound like a Federal agency devoted to, well, the security of the nation. It sounds like a small-town night watchman business run by a bunch of rubes. How ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Many times passengers come to the airport with only minutes left to board. TSA has been the security checkpoint prior to boarding a plane for over 10 years. The standard has always been - arrive early to get through the security checkpoint in order to be at the gate 20-30 minutes prior to boarding!!!!!!!
People want TSA to look bad no matter what - BOTTOM LINE> NO PLANES HAVE BEEN ATTACKED OR DESTROYED SINCE TSA SECURITY HAS BEEN IN PLACE!! Take your pick people...no security to get on a plane or one in a while BURPS! which are caused by people who think they are more important than anyone else flying!!!

Anonymous said...

So when you have to pay payroll to hundreds of checkpoint staffers at JFK for the hours the airport is open before the first flight and after the last flight, you're NOT gonna cry out about the waste?

In this case it doesn't matter whether there were any females or not. The airline said they were not accepting any more passengers, that the flight was closed. Anyone hear SkyWest deny that?

While I agree there have been times in the past when TSA dropped the ball, we can't blame them for EVERY thing. Different airlines at different airports have different rules about when a flight closes. I have seen flights close and take off 30 minuted before the scheduled departure time, especially small regional flights, and where weather can be an issue (like Denver).

Let's hear from SkyWest - was she late, or is TSA cutting you off from your customers?

Anonymous said...

"I offered to sign a waiver to let a male screener check me, but they wouldn’t do it," Winning said. "I asked, 'If I was a man I could get on [the plane], but because I'm a woman I can't?' And he said, 'Yes, that's correct.’"

Given the history of "truthiness" the TSA has, I'm inclined to believe this statement over anything the TSA has to say about it.

Anonymous said...

What's clear is someone isn't being truthful here. TSA has been caught many times being less then truthful.
And so have many of the flying Public!!! No one should blame anyone just see how it can be fixed next time. Sometimes things happen. It might have been TSA's or the airlines fault. No one really will ever no for sure, so whats the point in talking about that anymore.

Anonymous said...

"It doesn't make any difference if the person was late for the flight or not - if the airport is open then the checkpoint should be properly staffed."
Airports are open all night. It does not mean security is there all night.
So you kinda just make yourself look bad when you have no clue what really happens at all airports.

Anonymous said...

" Anonymous said...
From what I remember, aren't the checkpoints supposed to be open until the flight PUSHES BACK from the gate?

February 10, 2012 5:09 PM"
----------------
Some airports do this. Some close the CP once the flight has boarded and the airline tells TSA that they are done. Some airports don't want to pay the exit monitors (when it's not TSA for example) to sit there if the last flight is closed. If there is a delay and the flight has to come back the passengers are told that they are not to leave the departure lounge or they will not be able to return.
Evidently this is what happened here.

Anonymous said...

" RB said...
What would have happened if the airplane had pushed back but later had to return to the gate?

Who from TSA would have been available to handle any passengers who ended up needing to be screened?

If the airport is open then TSA checkpoints need to be manned and ready.

February 10, 2012 5:25 PM"
---------------
Checkpoint was manned and ready. Lady left the area AFTER she was screened and the flight was delayed. Delayed flights can leave at any time. Announcements were made. She either missed hearing them (outside smoking perhaps) or chose to ignore them. Air carrier told TSA there were no more passengers being accepted through. TSA started to close down. females went home. If there is any blame at all, try blaming the passenger who thought through her typical sense of entitlement that she could go through after 3 announcements were made and then complain when they wouldn't allow it. or blame the airline for not accounting for all of thier passengers who had gotten off the plane, though I really think there is no one aty fault but the passenger herself.

" David jones said...
I agree about 'getting to the game early', but do TSA officials take into account the additional time the elderly ann seniors might need to get through security or is it purely first come / first serve?

February 10, 2012 5:38 PM"
------------------
TSA screens whoever gets to the Checkpoint in whatever order they get there. If you know you need extra screening or time, GET THERE EARLY!!!

Many, many times I have seen airlines checking in people (even issuing boarding passes!) after a "final call" has been made. Then the passengers have to rush down to the Checkpoint and invariably miss their flight. Of course, then it's TSA's fault for not screening them quickly enough. Airlines routinely ignore thier own "cut off" times.

" Anonymous said...
Or maybe you lot could adequately staff your gropepoints. You DO realize that gender is a protected class, and that you refused to serve someone because of her gender, right, Curtis?

February 10, 2012 6:33 PM"
-------------------
See the above comments. CP was staffed. woman decided to come back through after 3 announcements were made. Even if she had made it through security, the airline probably would not have let here board anyway because they had closed the flight.
She was not refused because of her gender. She was refused because she felt she was entitled to come through after announcements were made that the flight was closed and employees had gone home. Put the blame where it belongs.

Anonymous said...

Unsurprisingly, most of you are clearly unaware of setups in smaller airports. Rock Springs, WY is a Category 4 airport that likely only does 4-6 regional flights day. The checkpoint is probably right in front of the gate area. TSA officers in these airports are usually split shift full-timers or part-timers as there are typically 2-3 hour gaps in between flights. The airline had closed the flight, so TSA closed the checkpoint, a common practice in Cat 4's.

The woman was late, and her story doesn't add up. TSA policy allows for opposite gender screening in exigent circumstances. No one needs to sign a waiver. She may not have even needed a pat-down, no Cat 4 that I know of has bodyscanners, so she would just be going through a metal detector. If she doesn't alarm, then no pat-down takes place. If she had a metal implant and did alarm, a male officer could perform a "modified standard pat-down" using a female airline employee or police officer (if available) as a witness. If the female passenger required a pat-down and refused the opposite gender screening option because no female officers were present, she may do so, and only then would she not be allowed to entire the sterile area because all alarms must be resolved.

Anonymous said...

I honestly do wish that people would read before they post.
From Bob’s blog post:

The airline had already made final boarding announcements and notified TSA that no additional passengers would be accepted. A TSA officer made two additional public announcements asking for any remaining passengers to report to the security checkpoint for screening. After both the flight and checkpoint were closed, a female passenger requested screening.”

TSA works WITH the airlines, and when the airline tells them that they are closing boarding TSA takes them at their word. In smaller airports they take TSO’s off the checkpoint and send them home as they are no longer needed for duty, trying to save the citizens a buck or two. But of course TSA can never win with the folks who watch this blog, nothing is ever enough. Apparently reading is too much.

Anonymous said...

So you're saying at larger airports, people should show up TWO HOURS before their flights?

Amazing. The average flight duration in the US is less that the amount of time you "must" allot to the TSA to not screw up.

Anonymous said...

Why do you need a female TSO to process a female pax? I thought the proper procedures didn't require contact that could be construed as groping or sexual assault.

Sounds like someone is lying - again.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote: Sounds like someone is lying - again.

My bet's on the TSA - again. They've been caught lying too many times in the past.

If the airline wasn't boarding any more passengers, why was she told that if she'd been male should could have been screened? In every published statement about this, her story has been consistent and the TSA's story has changed repeatedly.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"TSA works WITH the airlines, and when the airline tells them that they are closing boarding TSA takes them at their word. In smaller airports they take TSO’s off the checkpoint and send them home as they are no longer needed for duty, trying to save the citizens a buck or two."

And what if a problem causes a need for re-screening the passengers?

The TSA shouldn't close the checkpoint until the plane is off teh ground.

Anonymous said...

At our airport we work with the airlines closely. They set the cutoff time TSA does not, so when they tell its cutoff time we close the gates.They instructed my supervisor that once they make their final annoucements that they will not except anymore checkins.So if they want to blame someone go to the airlines!!!.

Anonymous said...

"TSA works WITH the airlines, and when the airline tells them that they are closing boarding TSA takes them at their word. In smaller airports they take TSO’s off the checkpoint and send them home as they are no longer needed for duty, trying to save the citizens a buck or two."

Normally airlines "close" flights ten minutes before the scheduled flight time. Frequently, that ten minutes is not sufficient and airlines will continue to accept passengers.

"But of course TSA can never win with the folks who watch this blog, nothing is ever enough. Apparently reading is too much."

Reading isn't too much; believing the unbelievable is too much. Most checkpoints I see are staffed with people standing around with their hand in their pockets so I'm not sympathetic to a claim to save .16 hr of TSO time.

Time for privatization.

Anonymous said...

"The woman was late,"

Please provide your evidence of this. I don't believe you.


"... and her story doesn't add up. TSA policy allows for opposite gender screening in exigent circumstances. No one needs to sign a waiver."


So you're saying the passenger is making up the story regarding a waiver? Why doesn't Bob's propoganda suggest this?

" She may not have even needed a pat-down, no Cat 4 that I know of has bodyscanners, so she would just be going through a metal detector. If she doesn't alarm, then no pat-down takes place. If she had a metal implant and did alarm, a male officer could perform a "modified standard pat-down" using a female airline employee or police officer (if available) as a witness."

No. A passenger need not accept a patdown (ie, non-Constitutional search) from an officer of the opposite sex. Sorry, it's not up to the TSA to make this determination.

"If the female passenger required a pat-down and refused the opposite gender screening option because no female officers were present, she may do so, and only then would she not be allowed to entire the sterile area because all alarms must be resolved."

Well not all alarms. But you know that, don't you?

SSSS for some reason said...

"...BOTTOM LINE> NO PLANES HAVE BEEN ATTACKED OR DESTROYED SINCE TSA SECURITY HAS BEEN IN PLACE!! Take your pick people...no security to get on a plane or one in a while BURPS! which are caused by people who think they are more important than anyone else flying!!!..."

Wrong again. You and the TSA are both wrong.

The argument is not, as you put it, TSA or nothing. That is called the Strawman and is the debate style for people supporting the weaker position.

The argument is actually, and should be, and always has been, TSA verses Private Security Companies.

I choose Private Security Companies. They have the greater interest in protecting aircraft and travelers. And they can make appropriate rules for the airport they are protecting.

The TSA is only going to protect itself and its existence. It is going to make rules that apply to ALL airports regardless of them being even remotely effective. Someone pointed out a category 4 airport, why would that airport need even half of the rules and regulations of the TSA?

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to me that our disconnected political leaders are outraged over a contraception mandate to religous institutions but are perfectly fine with thousands of Americans being inappropriately touched by an United States government employee at US airports. Talk about government intrusion!

The real lesson of this incident is that average law-abiding Americans should not have to be subjected to an unwanted physical encounter to board an airplane.

AMERICA, VOTE FOR CHANGE IN 2012!

Anonymous said...

"It's interesting to me that our disconnected political leaders are outraged over a contraception mandate to religous institutions but are perfectly fine with thousands of Americans being inappropriately touched by an United States government employee at US airports. Talk about government intrusion!"

Don't be discouraged - there are huge changed coming to the TSA. Most were in place before the illegal detention of Senator Paul but that added fuel to the fire.

Lyon Cartwright said...

Working in the airline industry myself I would say that a "check in" could be aquired in several ways. I could consider myself checked in for a flight once I use an automated kiosk, or even just the internet, regardless if I still have bags to check.

Secondly, almost all flights close the jetway doors at 10 mins before departure (read your tickets). This is especially the case with the first flights out of that aurport that day. Their departing early helps ensure that the rest of the other flight that plane needs to make that day will leave on time. A one minute delay for a large air carrier at a large airport cost the airlines about $16,000 in lost revenue per minute. So this turns her "35 minutes before departure time" into 25 minutes. Thats if she wasn't stretching the truth in the first place. Now add walking from the airline counter to the checkpoint and then line at security. And yes, TSA takes time with elderly and disabled, so you throw a few of those in the line and you won't be processing as quickly as you'd expect. The time is takes a seriously disabled person to go through screening process, at least 10 non physically disabled business traveler passengers could be screened. Add screening time into the mix and then the time taken walking to the gate, or gate monitors first in case they don't know which gate to go to, and you have one very unlucky passenger driving a rental car.

On top of all that, if you are in a rush (because of your own or someone elses fault) and you are engaging in a thorough and unfamiliar process (like security screening) and add the high pressure of knowing that if you don't make it to the gate in time, you aren't going anywhere and you now have yourself a grand recipe for "Oops, I fogot to take my liquids/laptop out of my bag and change/cell/keys out of my pockets. I swear it takes more time screening someone in a rush than it take 3-4 people who are calm and prepared. A rushed passenger is quick to anger which never seems to bode well with government employees (think U.S. Post Office). Also, a rushed passenger will most likely leave something very important behind at the checkpoint. Laptop, cell phone, house/car keys, I've seen it all. Just my two cents. Its easy to blame anyone else when you aren't accustomed to taking responsibility for your own actions.

I hope anyone reading this has a better understanding of air travel as 35 mins arrival before flight departure will rarely guarantee you a flight out. You make all variables on you getting to the gate (10 mins prior to scheduled departure for those who forgot) be completely dependent on other people haveing to work harder and faster than what they are paid to do, and I'm sure anyone can understand that is not a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Um, Bob? This makes no sense:

The airline had already made final boarding announcements and notified TSA that no additional passengers would be accepted. A TSA officer made two additional public announcements asking for any remaining passengers to report to the security checkpoint for screening.

If the airline had already stopped taking passengers, then what's the point of the two further announcements supposedly made by the TSA? To use a bar analogy, that's like the bartender saying they made two 'last call' announcements... several minutes *after* the bar closed.

If you're going to make stuff up to make it appear as though you went 'the extra mile' ("We even made two more announcements! Aren't we nice! And isn't the woman stupid!), then you gotta watch the contradictions, or no one will believe it.

Oh, wait- you work for the TSA. No one believes you anyway.

Anonymous said...

heres what i love, everyone complains about the tsa spending way too much money. then someone complains that they couldnt get on a flight because the tsa are was closed. therefore, keep tsa open and staffed with overtime so they can spend more money... basic blog logic. any flights that dont go out on time cause tsa to keep officers late therefore creating overtime hours at time and a half. im sure that all bloggers are aware that very few airports are open 24 hrs correct? tsa has business hours just like any other business. they set their hours based on SCHEDULED fligth times not delayed flight times. all over the country tsa areas open and close based on SCHEDULED fights. they are actually saving taxpayer dollars by closing when there arent any flights. imagine that, tsa saving money. how about we as Americans start taking responsibilty for our actions rather than blaming anyone that they can. how about we as bloggers stop being two faced and argueing both sides of the issue depending on what the topic is so that we can show our bias as anti-tsa. good grief!

Anonymous said...

So many questions…

Why is the first point of concern the pat-down? Was this passenger about to opt-out of a body scanner? Was this passenger about to have an unresolved alarm through a metal detector? Was this passenger about to receive a "random" alternative screening? If a pat-down is as rare as TSA says it is, wouldn't the presumption be that the passenger would be clearing security normally and wouldn't be needing a pat-down?

Didn't the male TSA agents on hand admit that if "she" would have been a "he", "he" would have been able to get through security? This was reported from several sources. If so, isn't the blame realistically on TSA and not the passenger or the airline?

Is this an admittance that the pat-down is sexual in nature? If there is no sexual component, why should it matter what the gender of the screener is?

What law authorizes the touching and groping of passengers? There are very strict laws against assault, battery, sexual assault, fondling, molestation, coercion, extortion, etc.; why don't they apply? Why is the TSA violating our laws, our morals, our bodies and our children's bodies through unwanted, unnecessary, and unconstitutional pat-downs?

RB said...

Seems this is the real reason that TSA wants people at the gate early:

http://www.infowars.com/tsa-forces-woman-to-use-naked-body-scanner-three-times-because-of-cute-figure/

"Female passengers say they are being targeted by TSA screeners for sexual harassment, with one Texas woman being forced to pass through a naked body scanner three times so chuckling male TSA workers in a back room could get a good look at her “cute” figure.

The incident occurred at DFW International Airport earlier this month. Wife and mother Ellen Terrell was asked by a female TSA screener “Do you play tennis?” When Terrell asked why, the screener responded, “You just have such a cute figure.”

Terrell was then told to go through the naked body scanner not once but a second time. She then heard the TSA screener talking into her microphone saying, “Come on guys, alright, alright, one more time.”

After Terrell was forced to undergo a third blast of radiation from the body scanner, the male TSA agents in the back room who were obviously enjoying the show tried to send her through yet again to see more images of her naked body.

“Guys, it is not blurry, I’m letting her go. Come on out,” the female TSA screener said, finally ending the ordeal."

.....................
Why are 33% of all items submitted to the TSA blog censored?

Is TSA aware of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights?

Anonymous said...

BOTTOM LINE> NO PLANES HAVE BEEN ATTACKED OR DESTROYED SINCE TSA SECURITY HAS BEEN IN PLACE!!
And none were similarly attacked or destroyed in the time between 9/11 and the implementation of TSA. See, I can do it too. One does not mean the other. If I could remember the latin I'd post it, but it would most likely mean nothing to some.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"... - BOTTOM LINE> NO PLANES HAVE BEEN ATTACKED OR DESTROYED SINCE TSA SECURITY HAS BEEN IN PLACE!!... "


Sigh, the tired old correlation/causality error.

Well, try and explain this then, the TSA SPOT program has allowed 17 known terrorists to fly within the United States, including the New York City car bomber, who conducted his attack just days after passing through TSA security. So there is one, bona fida terrorist attack that TSA could have stopped, but failed to.

I would like to see the mental gymnastics required to exonerate the TSA on this one.

Anonymous said...

She was NOT late. However, let's assume that she was...

A woman would be denied passage, but a man would not??

Additionally, why is the TSA sending agents home? Why are your employees allowed to leave early? Are your employees receiving full pay for 1/2 days?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"heres what i love, everyone complains about the tsa spending way too much money. then someone complains that they couldnt get on a flight because the tsa are was closed. therefore, keep tsa open and staffed with overtime so they can spend more money... basic blog logic."

You totally miss the point. It isn't just the amount of money spent by the TSA but *how* they are spending it. Buying expensive scanner machines that don't actually work for example.

Anonymous said...

Quoted:"Um, Bob? This makes no sense:

The airline had already made final boarding announcements and notified TSA that no additional passengers would be accepted. A TSA officer made two additional public announcements asking for any remaining passengers to report to the security checkpoint for screening.

If the airline had already stopped taking passengers, then what's the point of the two further announcements supposedly made by the TSA? To use a bar analogy, that's like the bartender saying they made two 'last call' announcements... several minutes *after* the bar closed.

If you're going to make stuff up to make it appear as though you went 'the extra mile' ("We even made two more announcements! Aren't we nice! And isn't the woman stupid!), then you gotta watch the contradictions, or no one will believe it."
-----------------------
Well, since you weren't there and neither was I, I will explain what REGULARLY happens at an airport. The airline announces final boarding for a particular flight. They use the loudspeaker system which may or may not be able to be heard at the Checkpoint. Usually, as a courtesy, a STSO will then repeat the announcement at the CP for those who may be still in line or coming through the CP and taking their time. This is not an uncommon event. Many times an airline will announce that a flight is closed when they still have a passenger or two outstanding. They do this to insure that anyone who may be loafing or just clearing security can now get their butt over to the boarding gate. It's a courtesy. I suspect something like this happened here. The airline made the final announcement, the TSA repeated it to double check that everyone was through and then they started to close down the CP. At this point the woman showed up. You know what? Sorry Charlie, you snooze, you lose.

Anonymous said...

"I hope anyone reading this has a better understanding of air travel as 35 mins arrival before flight departure will rarely guarantee you a flight out."

Nonsense. I routinely show up at the checkpoint in several airports 30-40 mins before departure. With over 100 flights in the last four years, I've never missed a flight. Care to try again?

Anonymous said...

"


Recently, a passenger attempted to access the checkpoint after it had closed. The airline had already made final boarding announcements and notified TSA that no additional passengers would be accepted. A TSA officer made two additional public announcements asking for any remaining passengers to report to the security checkpoint for screening."

Why did the TSA ask for passengers to "report" to the security theater checkpoint after the flight had closed?

The sequence of events makes no sense at all. What was used to recreate this chronology?

(screenshot)

Anonymous said...

Bob: A well-run PRIVATE company would apologize about this incident and modify its approach such as in the future closing the security checkpoint after the last plane leaves the gate. They would have to in order to remain competitive in the market place. Instead, the government run, bureaucratic TSA once again blames the innocent citizen for the problem. The TSA response to this event has been completely backward to what a good company would do. Yet another reason to privatize the TSA.

PS - I certainly hope you are indeed reviewing your procedures although we have not heard about it.

Anonymous said...

"Sorry Charlie, you snooze, you lose."

Kind of how I feel about the TSA. It's had years to become a professional security force but instead has stuck with security theater, repeatedly having incidents like the insulin pump outrage or the explosive cupcake (and you know I could go on and on).

The push for reform is coming from both sides of the isle. There will be reform. Privitization will play a large part. Bringing in professionals will also play a large part.

Sorry. You snoozed, now you lose.

Anonymous said...

anon said:
"Bob: A well-run PRIVATE company would apologize about this incident and modify its approach such as in the future closing the security checkpoint after the last plane leaves the gate. They would have to in order to remain competitive in the market place. Instead, the government run, bureaucratic TSA once again blames the innocent citizen for the problem. The TSA response to this event has been completely backward to what a good company would do. Yet another reason to privatize the TSA."

actually i think not, the private company will only worry about its bottom line and try and keep costs down by not adding unwanted costs. the screening area has closing hours just like any other government business; thats to save on taxpayer dollars.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"I hope anyone reading this has a better understanding of air travel as 35 mins arrival before flight departure will rarely guarantee you a flight out."

Nonsense. I routinely show up at the checkpoint in several airports 30-40 mins before departure. With over 100 flights in the last four years, I've never missed a flight. Care to try again?

February 17, 2012 1:08 AM

----------------
You just keep doing that. I know that at my Cat 2 airport, 9 times out of 10 you can actually get to the airport if you have checked in at home and have no bags to check, literally when they are announcing final boarding and still make your flight. This occurs because MOST days, our flights are scheduled far enough apart and the planes are small enough that you can get away with this. Our departure gates are also literally less than 30 steps from the back our our checkpoint. So it is possible to do as you do. HOWEVER, certain days of the year (spring break, holidays, etc) if you get here an hour early to get the same flight, you will just barely make it, if nothing goes wrong. Add delays, inexperienced travelers, a group of school kids on a field trip, etc and 1 hour just isn't going to cut it. That's why OVERALL, TSA recommends arriving at least 1-2 hours prior to your flight.
Do you want to keep gambling?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
From what I remember, aren't the checkpoints supposed to be open until the flight PUSHES BACK from the gate?

February 10, 2012 5:09 PM

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Uh, No.
Even waiting till the flight pushes guarantees nothing.
Once the flight pushes back, most airports allow TSA to close the CP. However, even waiting till the flight pushes guarantees nothing.

If the flight needs to come back due to mechanical or whatever, the passengers are simply told not to leave the departure lounge. They are told that if they do, they will not be able to be screened or allowed back through.

At our airport, our AFSD makes us stay until the last flight is actually airborne. Even then there have been issues where the airline has stated that they are gone, yet they are in fact waiting at the end of the runway to actually take off. Since we can't see the actual planes, we've taken them at their word, closed up and then the flight has returned, sometimes up to an hour or more later.

Anonymous said...

RB said...
What would have happened if the airplane had pushed back but later had to return to the gate?

Who from TSA would have been available to handle any passengers who ended up needing to be screened?

If the airport is open then TSA checkpoints need to be manned and ready.

February 10, 2012 5:25 PM

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Sorry RB, just not the actuality of the situation. For example, our airport is "Open" 24 hrs a day as flights come in at all hours. However, outgoing flights stop at typically 930 pm. Should we stay mannned for 24 hours according to your statement?
Once the last flight pushes back we leave. Should we stay till they actually are airborne? That would entail overtime. Or should we schedule our screeners end of shift time to be 1/2 hour after the pushback time? That would usually entail paying them for 1/2 hr of time when they are doing no work since the flight boarded on time or early. Boy wouldn't you squawk about that.. "TSOs being paid to stand around".

Bob, these new CAPCHAS are unreadable - sometimes have to cycle through 7 or more to get one I can read!

Anonymous said...

"That would usually entail paying them for 1/2 hr of time when they are doing no work since the flight boarded on time or early. Boy wouldn't you squawk about that.. "TSOs being paid to stand around".

During the half hour, the screeners could sweep, throw away the dangerous liguid explosives (ie, water bottles), etc.

Anonymous said...

Compare:
"At our airport, our AFSD makes us stay until the last flight is actually airborne. "

With:

"Once the last flight pushes back we leave. Should we stay till they actually are airborne? That would entail overtime."

Wow, the TSA can't even standardize something as basic as when to close the screening points.

"Even then there have been issues where the airline has stated that they are gone, yet they are in fact waiting at the end of the runway to actually take off. Since we can't see the actual planes, we've taken them at their word, closed up and then the flight has returned, sometimes up to an hour or more later."

Our crack, preeminent transportation security force can't even tell if an airplane is airborne? How about a scanner on tower frequency or a web browser opened to flightware?

RB said...

actually i think not, the private company will only worry about its bottom line and try and keep costs down by not adding unwanted costs. the screening area has closing hours just like any other government business; thats to save on taxpayer dollars.

February 20, 2012 6:13 PM
..................

Are those hours posted just like any other business would post business hours?

Anonymous said...

Our crack, preeminent transportation security force can't even tell if an airplane is airborne? How about a scanner on tower frequency or a web browser opened to flightware?

February 22, 2012 7:34 PM

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Because that is not the job we are tasked to do. We are tasked to screen the passengers coming through our CP. It is the airlines job, a job which YOU are paying them to do, to notify us of when the flight is closed/pushed back. Many airports, especially smaller ones, track flights visually from the tower. A tower that is usually not even located on the same side of the field as the departure/screening area. The tower is ENTIRELY to busy doing things like, you know, preventing planes from colliding on the runway, to call TSA to tell us a flight is still on the ground when the airline has already told us its pushed back. First you guys complain about mission creep, now you want us to monitor flights which isnt our job.
It's still very simple...
Arrive at the airport early.

Anonymous said...

During the half hour, the screeners could sweep, throw away the dangerous liguid explosives (ie, water bottles), etc.

February 22, 2012 7:31 PM

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Uh huh... so what your saying is that we should have them do other people's jobs just to waste a half hour of time when the simple matter is, if a plane comes back, the passengers stay in the departure lounge till it reboards.
Also, having them stay 1/2 hr later would usually mean bringing them in a half hour later. At many airports that means that the early shift will not be relieved on time AND that there will be a lack of personnel during the mid day hr when it's busiest at the CP. Scheduling is a tricky business. You can't just arbitrarily change it without impacting other areas.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 6:48 PM on February 21, 2012 said...
...our airport is "Open" 24 hrs a day as flights come in at all hours. However, outgoing flights stop at typically 930 pm. Should we stay mannned for 24 hours according to your statement?


If the airport is open 24 hours a day, then how does TSA determine the difference between someone who came in on an overnight flight and stays airside due to a connection versus someone that may have walked in before the checkpoint is open?

Anonymous said...

"Also, having them stay 1/2 hr later would usually mean bringing them in a half hour later. At many airports that means that the early shift will not be relieved on time AND that there will be a lack of personnel during the mid day hr when it's busiest at the CP."

Or you could stagger when screeners start. It's not difficult and happens at literally thousands of businesses every day. The military does this as well.

"Scheduling is a tricky business. You can't just arbitrarily change it without impacting other areas."

Well, no, not that tricky. Ask around. In fact, it's pretty trivial.

Anonymous said...

"Because that is not the job we are tasked to do. We are tasked to screen the passengers coming through our CP."

Which you failed to do in the case of the woman who couldn't get on her flight to Denver.

"It is the airlines job, a job which YOU are paying them to do, to notify us of when the flight is closed/pushed back."

Not really. The airline's job is to get me to my destination on time.

"Many airports, especially smaller ones, track flights visually from the tower. A tower that is usually not even located on the same side of the field as the departure/screening area. The tower is ENTIRELY to busy doing things like, you know, preventing planes from colliding on the runway, to call TSA to tell us a flight is still on the ground when the airline has already told us its pushed back."

LOL. Not at all. Are you aware that the tower makes literally dozens of notifications during the course of normal operations? How about an automated notification? How about waiting until there's no risk of "planes colliding on the runway?" Towers also have awesome technology like telephones and email that would allow them to make the notification all the way from the other side of the airport!

I admit that my view may be biased as a former airline pilot with extensive ATC experience.

"First you guys complain about mission creep, now you want us to monitor flights which isnt our job.
It's still very simple... "

Being informed about when a flight is airborne in not "monitoring flights" anymore than what you normally do is real security.

Your job is to be at the checkpoint when you're needed. As the case of the Denver passenger shows, you failed to do this. We've had enough. Privatization is on its way.

Anonymous said...

"Because that is not the job we are tasked to do."

I can't believe you're telling us what job you're tasked to do when the story in question involves a passenger who was denied a flight due to the screening area being closed prematurely.

"We are tasked to screen the passengers coming through our CP. It is the airlines job, a job which YOU are paying them to do, to notify us of when the flight is closed/pushed back."

Although as another screener stated, when the screening area is shut down isn't uniform, is it?

"Many airports, especially smaller ones, track flights visually from the tower. A tower that is usually not even located on the same side of the field as th departure/screening area. "

Acually, flights are tracked visually at ALL airports, metereological conditions permitting.

"The tower is ENTIRELY to busy doing things like, you know, preventing planes from colliding on the runway, to call TSA to tell us a flight is still on the ground when the airline has already told us its pushed back. "

OK, how about having the ground controller call? As I'm sure you know, the runways belong to the tower controller. If both are too busy, how about letting clearance delivery do it? For the towers that are colocated with approach control, don't you think one of the other could take 30 seconds to send an email or make a call? You are aware of the different ATC positions since you're telling us about all this, correct?


"First you guys complain about mission creep, now you want us to monitor flights which isnt our job."

How many people do you think would need to be dedicated to the task of listening to the scanner?

"It's still very simple...
Arrive at the airport early."

It's even simpler: Do the job that, for the time being, you're being paid to do. We will require it of the private workforce that will displace you.

(scrrenshot taken)

Anonymous said...

"actually i think not, the private company will only worry about its bottom line and try and keep costs down by not adding unwanted costs. the screening area has closing hours just like any other government business; thats to save on taxpayer dollars."

Not at all. The private company will meet the requirements of the contact under which it is performing the work.

Trust me, we'll all be much happier with professional security.

Anonymous said...

" Anonymous said...
Anonymous at 6:48 PM on February 21, 2012 said...
...our airport is "Open" 24 hrs a day as flights come in at all hours. However, outgoing flights stop at typically 930 pm. Should we stay mannned for 24 hours according to your statement?

If the airport is open 24 hours a day, then how does TSA determine the difference between someone who came in on an overnight flight and stays airside due to a connection versus someone that may have walked in before the checkpoint is open?

February 23, 2012 5:01 PM"
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Been to any airport other than a CAT X lately? In most other CAT airports, the screening area/departure lounge is secured after the last flight leaves. Anyone deplaning after that time cannot get into this area. They simply exit. So there is no way anyone can "stay airside". If the are waiting for a cennection, then there are usually personnel on duty in this area.

Anonymous said...

You bet there is more to the story - until you stop humiliating people by unconstitutional strip searches there will always be more to this story. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

There are so many issues surrounding TSA screenings. Would it be better if there was a third party company that handled all of the airport screening? That way everyone could file a complaint? Maybe if they just offered us all cheap business class flights for the hassle we wouldn't mind as much.

Marty Paul said...

I think the TSA is just doing their best to accommodate every passenger in the airport. Besides the airline already announce the final boarding, the woman should know about that and she won't push herself to go and request for a screening.

SAY WHAT? said...

So, this story was posted by a member of the TSA Blog Team, right? And I'm supposed to believe that I'm getting the whole story? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! TSA is a joke. I'm all for airport security. But not the way these clowns do it.

Anonymous said...

My iPhone disappeared from my carry-on luggage which was brought aside and searched by a TSA agent, as I was passing through airport security. I did not discover that the phone was missing from my luggage until after boarding a flight. I believe my personal property was stolen by a TSA agent, but it is impossible to identify by name which Federal Civil Service employee did it.

What is your agency doing to protect the public from theft by TSA agents? What can I do to recover my stolen property?