Following a National Association of the Deaf (NAD) conference, a passenger who is deaf traveled through Louisville (SDF) and posted a blog about his alleged experience at the SDF checkpoint and issues with his airline. While the passenger has since removed the post, he said that he was mistreated by Transportation Security Officers who he claimed had ridiculed him for being deaf.
TSA takes allegations of misconduct seriously. Immediately following a complaint by the passenger, TSA launched an investigation into the alleged incident, which included a review of more than 120 hours of CCTV footage from a three-day period to look for any scenes that matched the information in the blog post. A close examination of the video during this timeframe indicates that officers working the checkpoint were professional and appropriate with all passengers.
Here are the facts:
TSA has zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind.
When TSA found out the NAD conference was coming to Louisville, TSA reached out to NAD and other members of its disability coalition while Transportation Security Officers at SDF received additional training on screening deaf passengers from local experts in the field.
SDF is a smaller airport with only one checkpoint, which is monitored by security cameras. Our officers are aware that screening operations are constantly under video surveillance.
After a review of the video, TSA found no footage that matches the information in the blog post, such as Officers removing food during any bag search and eating it, or anything to indicate that they were pointing at and ridiculing a passenger.
In general, candy is not a prohibited item, and would only warrant additional screening if it alarmed. TSA does not donate surrendered food and drink items for health and safety reasons.
TSA works regularly with a broad coalition of disability and medical condition advocacy groups to help understand their needs and adapt screening procedures accordingly. Any passengers with disabilities who have questions or concerns prior to their travel they can contact the TSA Cares Helpline: 1-855-787-2227 (The line is open 8-11 M-F and 9-8 weekends and holidays. After hours, travelers can find information about traveling with disabilities and medical needs on TSA’s website. To learn more click here.)
If a passenger has a problem at a checkpoint, or is displeased with their checkpoint experience, we strongly recommend that they call a supervisor immediately or file a complaint with our contact center as soon as possible after the experience. (TSA Contact Center, 1-866-289-9673 or TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov)
If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.