Thursday, February 21, 2013

Clarification on the Screening of 3-Year-Old Girl at Lambert–St. Louis International Airport


An incident involving a girl in her wheelchair has been getting a lot of attention. I’ve been reading a lot of articles, tweets, and posts about this and I feel some clarification is needed. First off, we regret that this happened and TSA has apologized directly to the family for their inconvenience at the airport. 

What we did:

  • Our officer did initially mention a pat-down. We admit this was confusing, and contributed to a stressful situation. Very quickly, a manager was able to step in and give guidance.
  • Also, our officer told the passenger that it was illegal to film at the checkpoint. This is not the case, and you can take a look at our filming policy here.
  • TSA’s Federal Security Director at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL) reached out to personally apologize for the incident. He also offered to assist the family the next time they traveled through the airport.
What we didn’t do:
  • The child did not receive a pat-down. You can read our new procedures for children 12 and under here.
  • Neither the child nor the parent was detained. TSA does not have the authority to detain passengers. Only Law Enforcement Officers can detain passengers.
  • The child’s stuffed animal was not confiscated. It was screened and handed back to the child after being screened. All accessible property is screened prior to traveling to your departure gate. You may remember this stuffed animal from last year.

Incidents like this can trigger a lot of emotions, but please keep the TSA’s mission in mind. We are committed to maintaining the security of the traveling public. This will be addressed with our workforce so we can continue to treat all passengers with the dignity and respect they deserve.

We continue to receive overwhelmingly positive reports about our TSA Cares Help Line and strongly suggest that passengers with disabilities and medical conditions call this number if they have questions or are concerned about their upcoming travel through a TSA checkpoint.

From TSA.gov: 

TSA Cares is a helpline to assist travelers with disabilities and medical conditions. TSA recommends that passengers call 72 hours ahead of travel to for information about what to expect during screening.

Travelers may call TSA Cares toll free at 1-855-787-2227 prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint. TSA Cares will serve as an additional, dedicated resource specifically for passengers with disabilities, medical conditions or other circumstances or their loved ones who want to prepare for the screening process prior to flying.

The hours of operation for the TSA Cares helpline are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. EST and weekends and Holidays 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. EST. Travelers who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to contact TSA Cares or can e-mail TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov.

When a passenger with a disability or medical condition calls TSA Cares, a representative will provide assistance, either with information about screening that is relevant to the passenger’s specific disability or medical condition, or the passenger may be referred to disability experts at TSA.

TSA recommends that passengers call approximately 72 hours ahead of travel so that TSA Cares has the opportunity to coordinate checkpoint support with a TSA Customer Service Manager located at the airport when necessary. 

Bob Burns 
TSA Blog Team  


If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.

123 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your agent was threatening and harassing this woman. Why else would she tell her it was illegal to film?

Your agents are bullies, plain and simple, and this film more than proves that. I've experienced your agents' outright enjoyment of hassling those with disabilities. It's happened to me; it happened to my late, Alzheimer-stricken mother-in-law.

TSA hasn't caught one single terrorist in its entire history. (It's been the passengers and flight attendants who've accomplished that.) TSA has managed to humiliate, strip-search and harass the elderly and infirm, to do an awful lot of inappropriate touching of small children, to hire thieves who gleefully remove valuables from luggage at your checkpoints but who frequently miss knives and guns, and who've done themselves proud confiscating cupcakes, breast milk, hex wrenches, snowglobes and excessive amounts of shampoo. Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Bob, that post about photography is four years old. Why did the TSO so adamantly tell the passenger that filming is illegal? And this is not an isolated incident of TSOs insisting that they cannot be photographed.

If TSOs cannot grasp this most basic of concepts, what else are they not picking up at TSA training?

The other possibility is that she knew filming was allowed and blatantly lied to the passenger.

Either way, a TSO who is so obsessed with a passenger's camera is a TSO who is not working on your stated mission and should be investigated and if necessary, fired.

Anonymous said...

Bob- Your link reads:

"However… while the TSA does not prohibit photographs at screening locations, local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances might. Your best bet is to call ahead and see what that specific airport’s policy is."


Policy or not, these screeners are either bored or miseducated - either way it is hurting your reputation.


What a joke. I'm sure Bin Laden laughs in his grave at the chaos, fear and expense America has inflicted on its own people.

Anonymous said...

Would an average person think being held for 20 minutes answering questions, without being allowed to leave, was being "detained". I think they would. If a person is not allowed to leave, that person is, by definition, being detained.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see your TSA agents who don't follow policy or give out mis-information, like the "no filming allowed" mis-information suspended without pay. To you its a mistake. To people passing through its government intimidation. You make a mistake, a passenger calls you down for it, local LE gets involved, flights are missed, people get arrested. Your mistake, their arrest for speaking out about the mistake.

Wintermute said...

The real question is, why were the TSO's insisting that it was illegal to film the procedure when it is, in fact, not?

Anonymous said...

Has the TSO in question been fired for stating that filming her is illegal or is she going to continue to lie to passengers?

ex said...

A stressful situation for all. The accounts of terrorist actions I have only read about do not discriminate regarding age or gender.

Curtis said...

I think the main thing that people need to get out of this is that handicapped kids would rather NOT GO TO DISNEY WORLD than deal with the TSA. Please, if you are as outraged as me over this, don't just write comments in the TSA blog about this issue- write your congressional representatives and senators. The Republicans have already placed de-toothing this awful agency as much as possible into their party platform, we just need to work on the Democrats a little bit. Tell them that Pistole needs to go, and the sooner, the better.

Anonymous said...

Of course, if the family in this case had called the TSA Cares hotline ahead of time, it likely would not have affected the outcome, as the hotline would have helped them with "what to expect at the security checkpoint", but that would be based on actual TSA guidelines. As the TSA agent in this case violated those guidelines by mentioning a pat-down for the girl and telling them it was illegal to film at the checkpoint, the "guidance" that might have been provided by TSA Cares would not have made a difference in the outcome of this case.
And while TSA officers have no legal authority to "detain" passengers, they can certainly (intentionally out of spite, or otherwise) make the screening process take so long that it is effectively a detention that causes passengers to miss their flights. Anecdotal media reports are full of accounts from passengers who were subjected to all kinds of additional scrutiny in apparent retaliation for actions the TSA agents found offensive. Typically this causes them to miss their flights, which generates a cascade effect that can be quite problematic (airlines, for instance, don't care WHY you didn't make the flight--it's assumed to be your fault).

So I find it somewhat disingenuous for Mr. Burns to cite the lack of dentention authority--while technically true, in a practical sense it's not, as you do not have the right to "back out" of security screening procedures once you enter them, so you cannot simply walk away if the TSA agents are being abusive or otherwise causing unjustifiable delays. In essence, as long as they can think up some new screening-related activity they wish to subject you to, you're effectively detained for the duration.

While cases like this are extremely rare in the overall volume of passengers being screened, it does point to a lack of proper training of the TSA agents on what the correct policies and procedures are. Hopefully they will find ways to do better.

Porter Versfelt III said...

Bob,

The phrase is "first of all .. " not "first off" as you wrote. Just a FYI. :)

Porter Versfelt III
Atlanta
vcgtv@yahoo.com

Ted said...

Flying is a privilege, not a right, not enshrined in the Constitution or anywhere else. It is terrible that the child has to use a wheelchair, but TSA has to be allowed do their job. At the same time, every passenger is different; the team and managers on duty that day in St. Louis need some sensitivity training to be kind.

Anonymous said...

TSA you really should be ashamed of yourselves. I cannot believe that 12 years after you were created you still cannot teach your screeners how to handle the disabled without creating such psychological trauma or infringing upon our 1st Amendment rights (photography and assembly). I strongly urge each blog reader to contact the U.S Congress Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (oversight and funding of TSA) and find out why this matter is being so downplayed by TSA. The receptionists at the Comnmittee are very nice to deal with and would seemingly want to hear how the public feels about how it is being mistreated by TSA or having to watch a disabled child be mistreated by a government employee screener--the Sequester cannot get here fast enough in my opinion. You can easily contact the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure at:


Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
U.S. House of Representatives
2165 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-9446
Fax: (202) 225-6782

Anonymous said...

While I appreciate your explanation, this incident illustrates two issues that I see as an ongoing problem with TSA personnel.

1) While most of your people do attempt to be professional and helpful, I still find that some still seem to be deaf to passenger input or questions. I've had situations where I've asked a question and had it answered by something like "that's just the way we do it." Most recently, this occurred when I asked about why laptops still have to be removed from luggage for screening while tablet computers do not. This also happened when I questioned why most TSA locations are no longer enforcing the "liquids in baggie" rules (just about anything under 3.3 ounces can go through in a briefcase, without a baggie. If you've changed the rule, even unofficially, how about telling us?)

2) A LOT of TSA agents tend to give out misinformation, as seen in this case with the "you can't film here" statement.

Additionally, the article I read on this incident indicated that it took 45 minutes before TSA would agree to inspect the girl's wheelchair without her in it. If this is indeed true, I can understand why someone subject to 45 minutes of scrutiny would consider themselves to be "detained," even if you contend otherwise. Also, once someone starts the security process, do they not have to complete it, even if they indicate that they would like to stop and depart the secured area? If so, isn't this person being detained?)

You guys have gotten better over the years, but there are times when I still leave the TSA area wondering a) what the rules/procedures actually are and b) what is the logic behind some of these rules.

SUGGESTION: How about publishing a "passenger's rights" manual that might address some of these common issues? It should be made available at each security entrance, for passengers to read while in line. A little education could go a long way.

Anonymous said...

Bob--she was 3 years old in a wheelchair. Customer service, customer service, customer service and a little common sense would help your agency a great deal.

Anonymous said...

It is time to get your head out of your butt and start being real. I hope your piece of crap attitude is over, karma baby, what comes around goes around.

Anonymous said...

So in other words, TSA employees didn't follow procedures and didn't correctly process these passengers resulting in unnecessary interaction, inconvenience and traumatizing a child? Then they apologized for it? Still a fail.

Wintermute said...

Ted said...

"Flying is a privilege, not a right, not enshrined in the Constitution or anywhere else."

Ted, you are mistaken. The right to travel is enshrined in law.

Laura Monteros said...

Ted, the point is that the TSA agents were NOT doing their job. They were ill-trained and uninformed about policy. A patdown should never have been suggested at all, and filming is legal.

There is no excuse for suggesting the patdown of a 3-year-old confined to a wheelchair with spina bifida, and there is a kind, gentle way to explain the necessity of scanning a toy.

Ayn R. Key said...

How about instead of apologizing (with the caveat that "procedures were followed" every time) and never taking any screeners to task for their misbehavior, why not do something about the awful procedure and take the screeners to task?

Anonymous said...

The wheels of security cannot stop spinning to appease a three-year-old anymore than our bombing of terrorists overseas can stop because they imbed themselves with civilians. It is a dangerous world and any actions to save Americans may yield collateral damage.

Anonymous said...

Why are we continuously seeing your employees lie to passengers about recording at checkpoints? Do you have any intention taking disciplinary action against these employees?

Anonymous said...

You keep saying that filming is permitted. If that is true, why do so many TSA employees seem to not know this? There are many videos online where the TSA employee says filming is not permitted or is illegal. Why is it so difficult to train your employees to not harass or intimidate people with cameras? I'm starting to think the TSA publically says filming is ok, but privately tells the screeners to harass people. It really undermines my confidence in the TSA if they can't get a simple thing such as this filming policy correct.

Sommer Gentry said...

It is curious that the TSA is aware that they have no right and no authority to detain people. Please explain precisely how the family could have ended this non-consensual encounter with these poorly trained TSA employees. Either they are being detained, or they are free to leave.

I once refused to allow screeners to pat me down at a TSA checkpoint and was forbidden to leave the area, even after I made it clear that I had no intention of flying that day. I just said, I want to leave, I don't want to fly, I will not and I do not consent to let you touch me. The TSA detained me for over an hour. Explain, precisely, how I could have been "not detained" and yet I was threatened and physically menaced by a gaggle of TSA screeners when I tried to leave the checkpoint to go back to my car.

Bob, you distort the English language until it's unrecognizable. Of course this innocent family was being detained! If they weren't being detained, they surely wouldn't have stayed there to enjoy spending time with the screeners shown in the video.

Russell said...

It's nice to see the TSA admitting to a mistake for a change instead of deflecting and inflaming the situation even further. Transparency is tantamount to understanding. This post is a necessary first step. Now please go back and rewrite all of the previous entries.

Anonymous said...

Bob, the child did not receive a "pat down" because the mother continued to film and question the TSO who was telling her recording was an illegal act. If she had stopped and stood quietly by, I'm sure the child would have received a full body search. TSO's who provide false and conflicting information are going to reduce the public's cooperation with the TSA . There are so many videos available of TSA employee's telling people recording is illegal that it must acceptable behavior to TSA managers or you have a workforce that can't be trained. This needs to be fixed, not explained away.

Anonymous said...

The TSA is a national disgrace and embarassment. Nothing else need be said.

Anonymous said...

I feel it should be illegal for TSA agents and other government officials to "astro-turf" for the agency, like Ted's comments above.

If you work for the TSA, please post your real identity instead of claiming to support the TSA's mission, blah blah blah.

Anonymous said...

Has the agent in question been fired? If not, why not? Lying to the public is unacceptable!

Anonymous said...

Bob, I would assume that a TSO has to pass some sort of test after training, yes? Is it also safe to assume that passengers' rights (e.g., to film how a TSO officer interacts with the passenger's child) are covered as part of that training and testing? If the TSO is documented as failing to follow the procedures that he/she trained on, isn't that grounds for suspending the TSO without pay for a few days, or firing the TSO if a pattern of ineptness is demonstrated?

And I want to second the recommendation from one of the comments above about having a passenger's bill of rights brochure available. While I don't mind going through TSA screening and appreciate the important role that TSOs play (and the balance they need to maintain in order to not fall into profiling), passengers do still deserve to be treated with dignity and respect just as a matter of routine.

Anonymous said...

Balance one child against the millions that fly without incident each day. TSA is a success.

RB said...

Iwhen TSA blocks or delays a person that is effectively a detention.

When TSA locks someone in a glass cage like in the breast milk caper that is a detention.

I guess the real question is why TSA illegally uses detentions to exert screeners power over travelers.

What is TSA doing to resolve, once and for all, the TSA issue of employees not knowing that pictures and video are not against any TSA rules?

Anonymous said...

Ted said...

Flying is a privilage....

---------------------------
Another ignorant person.

The Constitution doesn't establish rights but limits government.

The USSC has ruled that travel is a right. The decision did not limit the means. Nowhere in the Constitution is limitation on a persons right to travel. So any claim that travel by air as being a privilage is hogwash.

Anonymous said...

When we trained some of the original TSA people, we told the Government, you will have trouble controlling your field staff. The issue then and now, remains the same; if you hire the same way the post office does, you will have the same result.
TSA and the post office hire people who have had little or no power over others. Now they have some and it goes to their head. The badge later added to the problem. Airline employees have a similar issue. They provoke passengers, and when they lose control, they run to TSA or local authorities for protection. Don't look for this to improve anytime soon

Brendon Walsh said...

The TSA is a useless waste of taxpayer money. Your idiot employees protect nothing and have an overblown sense of authority.

Anonymous said...

Your apology means nothing
There has been no progress
My 7 year old daughter with cerebral palsy had the same thing happen to her at JFK in April 2012
The story was covered in the press but the TSA continues to harass innocent disabled children
I have activated the TSA cares when we have travelled subsequently
Guys it does not work either, totally useless
Never even get a callback
The people you call on the phone are clueless


http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/trending-now/tsa-under-fire-mistreatment-7-old-girl-cerebral-164507761.html

Anonymous said...

Bob,

It is posted in at least two places on the TSA web site that photography and videography at the checkpoint is not prohibited, so long as those engaging in it do not interfere with or delay the screening process.

Yet, as in this case, your TSOs continue to tell people that photography and videography is illegal, against the rules, not allowed, or otherwise prohibited, in places where there are no local or state ordinances prohibiting it.

They are either deliberately lying, or have not been properly trained on TSA SOP Section 2.7 Paragraph A.

What is TSA currently doing to correct this problem?

Anonymous said...

Curtis said...
I think the main thing that people need to get out of this is that handicapped kids would rather NOT GO TO DISNEY WORLD than deal with the TSA. Please, if you are as outraged as me over this, don't just write comments in the TSA blog about this issue- write your congressional representatives and senators.

I'd think it's be more effective to write to Disney. "I'd love to come to Disney World, but I won't be groped by the TSA..." Maybe a large corporation might be more...effective... in getting rid of the TSA than ordinary people are.

Anonymous said...

Terrorizing a three year old in a wheel chair is in pretty porr taste. but then again, it's the TSA, so why am I surprised?

SSSS for some reason said...

"Ted said...
Flying is a privilege, not a right, not enshrined in the Constitution or anywhere else. It is terrible that the child has to use a wheelchair, but TSA has to be allowed do their job. At the same time, every passenger is different; the team and managers on duty that day in St. Louis need some sensitivity training to be kind."

You are incorrect, Ted. Flying is a Right and while Flying is not 'enshrined in the Constitution' there are plenty of other things that are that the TSA are in direct violation of like, for example, the 4th Amendment preventing unlawful search and seizure. There are plenty more examples but I'll let you look them up yourself. Keep in mind while you are reading that the Constitution and Bill of Rights apply to the Government which means the TSA. If Delta is going to require you to wear pink rain coats to fly and you buy a ticket on Delta you will be wearing pink or you won't be flying Delta. If the TSA requires me to wear the pink rain coat my only option is not to fly and that is not an option, that is an ultimatum.

Anonymous said...

Please share with the citizens how many children in wheelchairs have been involved in terrorist attack, suicide bombings, shootings, hijack attempts, or any other crime or danger to the public.

I am boycotting flying for myself and 3 children until things change.

Anonymous said...

This was a weak apology with excuses being made for improperly trained employees that make up rules as they go along. It is incredibly stressful to travel as a disabled person. A good agent can be kind,sensitive, and respectful and still keep the plane safe.

Anonymous said...

You say you did not detain the family. So you are saying they could have walked away from security and continued on to their trip to Disney or could have left the secure area without repercussions?

Clarify what the family should have done instead of standing around the TSA check point in lieu of their detainment for 45 minutes.

M.L. Browne said...

The TSA employees who work at the checkpoints are just that -- employees. They are not "officers." They lack the training, credentials and qualifications for that specific designation, and it would serve us all better if you and your co-workers could remember it.

Anonymous said...

In the video, the TSA agent asked:

"and where are you traveling to today?"

At this stage in the screening process, was it appropriate to ask that passenger to divulge details of her private affairs? No. Please tell your staff to keep communication relevant to the screening process. In this age of identity theft and actual theft (knowing when someone will be gone for awhile and thus perhaps leaving their home unoccupied), TSA management needs to train their employees to understand that they have no business prying into the details of passengers' lives.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, terrorists. You've won.

Swissguy53 said...

While I understand that the TSA agent's jobs can be frustrating, and while I understand that TSA agents have to deal with all types of passengers, the TSA agents need to understand that passengers are nervous as well and that most passengers are not seasoned travelers and are easily confused at the check points. I have seen and experienced many good and pleasant TSA agents, but I have also experienced just as many that feel they are “Walker Texas Ranger”. You know as well as I do that it only takes one bad apple to spoil the whole barrel.

What I have found is that most TSA agents are unaware of some of your basic requirements and allowances. This is why I carry a TSA printout of permissible substances in my computer bag. I had one TSA agent argue with me that I could not take my bottle of a liquid prescription ($850 per bottle) through in my hand luggage until I showed her the list, and even then she got her supervisor to come and approve, wasting my time and hers and that of the passengers behind me. This is basic stuff that they should all know. I don’t know what kind of continuing education program you have but if you do, it is not working.

I am not sure what kind of review process the TSA has for its agents, but there should be one with strict metrics. Do you review how many complaints TSA agents have had and what for? Do you employee “secret shopper” people whose sole mission is to pose as travelling public to see if TSA locations are doing their jobs and write up reviews of check points? Many things to consider here instead of trying to justify the actions of a misguided TSA agents with a 3 year old disabled child.

David said...

Ted, your statement of "Flying is a privilege, not a right, not enshrined in the Constitution or anywhere else" only shows that you have never actually read the Bill of Rights, specifically amendment IX:

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

The Constitution does not grant any rights, it merely lists ("enumerates") some of the rights that all people naturally have. And as noted in Amendment IX, the list was never meant to be all-inclusive. Among the rights that all people naturally have that are not specifically listed is the freedom of travel. The specific means of travel is unimportant to this right, flying is just as much a right as walking.

RB said...

Missing from What we did:

Corrective action was taken TSA wide to ensure this never happens again.

We fired this incompetent employee.

How about it bobby, tells us what TSA is doing to correct TSA screeners.

Giuliano said...

One of the biggest dent's in the TSA's credibility comes from its Orwellian use of language. The two most common examples are the TSA's insistence that it does not "confiscate" items (it is instead "voluntarily surrendered"), and that it does not "detain" people.

The twisted logic behind this is that people can always choose to just leave and not fly.

For most people this is not a reasonable choice. To either go put an item in your car (if you happened to drive to the airport), or to go and mail it to yourself, will in many if not most cases, mean missing your flight.

If your choice is "surrender the item or miss your flight," that is for all practical purposes confiscation.

Similarly, being told you're not being detained because you can just leave and go home (if you are in your home city), but you can't go and board the flight for which you've already paid, is, in plain English, being detained.

If TSA would just be more honest and straightforward in their communications, people might trust them more when it comes to policies and procedures.

MU said...

My family and I travel STL often. My experience with TSA officers in St. Louis is frustrating. I have personally seen TSA officers in STL be disrespectful, demeaning, hateful, and harrassing to travelers. Because we do travel through many cities, STL stands out as downright awful to go through security. I am using this horrible incident as an opportunity to say what I have needed to for awhile. **TSA in STL needs training. You do not need to be intimidating to travelers. You do not need to be hateful or "put out" doing your job. You do not need to instill fear and anxiety in children and elders, nor in anyone who is possibly flying for the first time or for goodness sake forgot to take their toothpaste out of their bag. There are plenty of places in the US where TSA works hard to ease the fear and anxiety of travelers and still provide exceptional security by being friendly and responsive.

Anonymous said...

Ted, flying is a right. Also, the TSA isn't enshrined in the Constitution either.

@SkyWayManAz said...

Bob there have been so many recent posts on here with links to video of screeners intimidating travellers when they were filmed. It is not believable management in DC was unaware this was happening. It is completely unacceptable any screener would threaten someone in this manner for filming. I said before our rights need to be clearly spelled out on your website and at the checkpoint. These things and more wouldn't happen if we can point out to the screener were it is allowed on the posted signs.

Anonymous said...

So you made a series of bad mistakes regarding the screening of a three year old disabled child, and this apologizing is good enough to take it all away?

Do I understand that after all that we saw on the video your people still had the guts to take the stuffed animal away from this child in order to "clear" it?

Do you have no heart, no sense of reason, no common sense?

You have made bad mistakes regarding the screening of children repeatedly. When are you going to get it together?

I have no doubt your organization does more harm than good.

Anonymous said...

" . . . we can continue to treat all passengers with the dignity and respect they deserve."

Since it is patently obvious my your apology that the quote above is flat out wrong, why don't you quit covering your backside and try to change what is a terrible situation. Your organization and its operations are terribly flawed and from your "leadershiup" example won't get better soon.

Anonymous said...

Ted said...

Flying is a privilege, not a right, not enshrined in the Constitution or anywhere else... February 21, 2013 at 6:33 PM


Actually, Ted, flying is a right held up by the courts. It is easy to find this information.

Current US Code addresses air travel specifically. In 49 U.S.C. § 40103, "Sovereignty and use of airspace", the Code specifies that "A citizen of the United States has a public right of transit through the navigable airspace."

Happy travels!

Adrian said...

Ted wrote, "Flying is a privilege, not a right...."

Where do people get these strange ideas? I have the right to contract with a private company for a service. Rights don't come from the Constitution. Some rights are guaranteed there, but it doesn't list all of them. In fact, the tenth amendment explicitly says that we have lots of rights that aren't explicitly listed.

Saying flying is a privilege is like saying buying groceries in a privilege. Could you imagine if you had to pass through a government checkpoint as you lined up for the registers at the Piggly Wiggly? "I'm sorry sir, I can't let you take these Cheetos to checkout, and I'm going to have to swab your cart."

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. —Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

As far back as the circuit court ruling in Corfield v. Coryell, 6 Fed. Cas. 546 (1823), the Supreme Court recognized freedom of movement as a fundamental Constitutional right.Wikipedia

You could try to argue that travel doesn't equate to flying. But remember that the domain of the TSA is all forms of transportation. Just because their current primary focus is on air travel doesn't mean they won't in the future also interfere with our ability to travel by car, bus, highway, train, unicycle, etc.

Anonymous said...

I for one applaud the TSA's effort to keep 3-year-olds off aircraft.

Anonymous said...

Can somebody please disband the TSA? I have grave trouble understanding why an agency that's produced so little, cost so much, and managed to annoy so many people is allowed to continue to exist. Really, what's next? How does the bar go lower than harrassing a three-year old in a wheel chair?

Anonymous said...


I am tired of reading adverse comments to TSA. They only do its work and it is to make sure of the safety of all. Some errors can take place(be produced), but fully they pay the work that benefits us to all.

Anonymous said...

Why are you so afraid of people videotaping you doing your job? People videotape me doing my job because I work with sensitive materials (disabled children, coincidentally enough). You should be under the same scrutiny, especially from the public.

Anonymous said...

I have to give kudos where kudos are due. For such a universally hated agency, one that tramples upon our rights, is a huge waste of tax payer money while getting us nothing but a security theater, you guys sure do let people express their hatred in the comments section.
So, kudos are due.

Anonymous said...

Why is is so difficult to train your employees that filming and photography is permitted at the checkpoints? If you want, I will prepare a statement that you can pass along to your employees.

"Filming and photography is permitted at the checkpoints. Please do not tell passengers that it is illegal or not permitted. Do not harass these people or attempt to intimdate them to stop filming or taking pictures."

Feel free to distribute to your employees. I don not want any compensation or recognition.

Anonymous said...

I will continue to lobby my Congressman to cut funding and get rid of the TSA, DHS, and all affiliated tumors of the "USA PATRIOT ACT". I will not rest until we return to September 10, 2001 in our laws and administration.

Anonymous said...

"TSA does not have the authority to detain passengers." - it also has no authority to search them then. It has no police powers whatsoever but every one of its members didn't get the memo apparently as they pretend to be police every day.

Anonymous said...

Please. How is not a detention?

Were they free to leave?

No. That's 'detention.'

John said...

If one of us were to "not follow procedures" when going through your checkpoints, we might well be arrested. What will happen to the employees who did not follow procedures?

Anonymous said...

Ted:

The 10th amendment states the following:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The right to travel BY ANY means is a right that preceeds the establishment of the US by centuries. It is a principal of Common law.

Travel is not a privilege. It is a right. It is a Human right that is also enshrined in the UN declaration of rights

Article 13.

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

It has been a very sad process where Human rights have become "civil rights" and then "Privileges" which can be revoked.

Anonymous said...

YOU HAVE NOTHING TO APOLOGIZE FOR!!!! You should be proud of the work you are doing. So some poeple have to be inconvenienced some of the time.... TOUGH!!!! If they don't like it, they don't have to fly. You did the job you were supposed to do. Just because some whiny little "bloggers" wanted to post a video any make a big deal, you shouldn't need to worry about them.

Mike Wallette said...

Bob, do you have any statistics for how many times the TSA has "apologized" for handling something improperly since you started electronically strip-searching and/or conducting "enhanced pat-downs" at the airport? Here's an idea for you: how about you stop apologizing and instead have your employees *start acting appropriately* for a change?

TSA's PR team has repeatedly said, "We hold our employees to the highest standards." Yet after two and a half years (since Nov. 2010), TSOs at the airport seem to either be ignorant of TSAs official policies, or they are willfully disregarding them.

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...
"The wheels of security cannot stop spinning to appease a three-year-old anymore than our bombing of terrorists overseas can stop because they imbed themselves with civilians."

What the TSA does in NOT security. Ask any expert.

"It is a dangerous world and any actions to save Americans may yield collateral damage."

At which point we no longer hold traditional "American" values and, therefore, the terrorists have won.

TSORon said...

Anonymous said...
[[Ted:

The 10th amendment states the following:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The right to travel BY ANY means is a right that preceeds the establishment of the US by centuries. It is a principal of Common law.]]

All forms of travel (no exceptions) on the other hand are regulated by government, be it local, state, or federal. Air travel is no different from any other. TSA is a Regulatory Enforcement agency. And since most air travel is interstate in nature it falls under the federal government to regulate as appropriate.

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...
"You did the job you were supposed to do."

So, the TSA's job is to make 3-year olds cry that they don't want to go to Disney World, and lie to parents insisting that filming is illegal when it is, in fact, not?

And, as I've stated many many times before, just because you are willing to give up your rights to "feel" safe, that does NOT give you the right to give up mine.

Anonymous said...

People forget that TSA agents are people too. Required to enforce procedures established according to the agency. People complain about everything, yet have no idea what it is like to be on the other side. While TSA agents may not be perfec, nneither are many passengers.

RB said...

Not one word from Pistole or anyone else at TSA saying what steps are being taken to make sure an this never happens again.

Apparently TSA has no such plans.

Anonymous said...

TSA needs to understand that they will eventually be sued under the Americans with Disabilites Act (ADA)... if they have not already been sued.

tramky said...

EVERY incident at a TSA checkpoint is downplayed by the TSA. In the end, the police and sovereign powers of the Federal government have been placed in their hands by our members of Congress and the President of the United States.

DHS & the TSA are now entrenched as a Federal government bureaucracy. TSA has access to, and will call for any reason, virtually ANY AND ALL law enforcement agencies in the world.

TSA checkpoints are Federal operations. Local ordinances, laws, regulations, or state laws do not apply. And in any case, so what? Take photos with impunity, and tell any TSA agent--or any other agent or law enforcement agent who tries to shut down YOUR camera or camcorder to pound dust if they try to prevent YOUR photography. And take a photo or vid of THAT person/people for good measure.

There is NO WAY a passenger passing through some airport somewhere is going to have any knowledge of photography laws and local ordinances at an airport in some city--like a Los Angeles resident is supposed to know such trivia about photography at an airport in Iowa or Florida!! Absurd on its face!

Security at any and all cost is the mission of the TSA--well, actually it's trying to keep up with its 50% agent turnover rate. TSA is actually a personnel agency, not a security agency.

Anonymous said...

This is not a customer service issue. This is a SECURITY checkpoint not a spa....

Anonymous said...

There are signs with passenger options posted at every checkpoint. You just have to actually READ them.

tramky said...

Flying out of Hong Kong a couple of months ago, I discovered there that passengers on flights going to the U.S. and Australia must pass through at least TWO separate security checkpoints. The first one is the 'big one', with carryons and your other possessions going through the X-ray process, and people going through metal detectors and wanding.

Then, at the boarding gate of U.S.A. and Australia-bound flights pass through another mandatory check involving hand searching of all carryon bags, women's purses, whatever. And for this particular flight to L.A., this extra search is described by public announcement at the gate as required by American Federal government requirements for air travel to the U.S.

So a couple of hundred people got to stand in yet another long line for their previously X-rayed & screened bags to be hand-searched.

Anonymous said...

TsoRon: Can the public photograph or not?

TSORon said...
Anonymous said...
[[Ted:

The 10th amendment states the following:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The right to travel BY ANY means is a right that preceeds the establishment of the US by centuries. It is a principal of Common law.]]

All forms of travel (no exceptions) on the other hand are regulated by government, be it local, state, or federal. Air travel is no different from any other. TSA is a Regulatory Enforcement agency. And since most air travel is interstate in nature it falls under the federal government to regulate as appropriate.

Anonymous said...

Can you tell me why:
1. You do not fire screeners who lie to passengers about their right to TSA screenings?
2. You don not fire the managers of TSA screeners who lie to the public about their right to record TSA screenings?

3. You consistently hire people who are not even smart enough to understand the rules and laws about recording TSA screenings?

@SkyWayManAz said...

"TSA recommends that passengers call approximately 72 hours ahead of travel so that TSA Cares has the opportunity to coordinate checkpoint support with a TSA Customer Service Manager located at the airport when necessary."

On my last trip there was a misunderstanding over my rental car reservation. They were attempting to charge me more money then my reservation showed. I showed it to the manager on duty on my smart phone and the rate was corrected. Is there some reason TSA Cares can't take advantage of this kind of technology? My car was reserved a lot less then 72 hours ahead of time.

I seem to recall reading in the early days of TSA how it was such a big deal that all security checkpoints were getting blackberry phones to keep them up to date on the no fly list. A smart phone was more uncommon then but common place now. A call to TSA Cares shouldn't need to be more then 4-5 hours ahead of time this way (Calling while driving to the airport or waiting in line obviously is not a good idea). Whoever they talk to generates a ticket in your computer system with a reference number. The traveller should be able to securely access it on a smart phone with a TSA app or email confirmation to the phone or printed out. When the traveller approaches the ID checker they announce they have special needs with the reference number that could instantly be accessed and verified by anyone at the checkpoint. There would be no excuse for telling the traveller they are mistaken and that's not TSA policy when their ticket number from TSA says otherwise.

By the way the rental agency bent over backwards to make this right with me. They didn't argue with me or lecture to me that I was mistaken. They didn't ask me "Do you want to drive today?" Then again they actually fight to get my business. They don't have a monopoly allowing them to be rude, indifferent, aloof, or make up rules on their own with minimal consequences.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Please clarify per the post above:

Did you reomove the stuffed animal from the child after the footage we saw in order to "clear" it?

If you did, your agency really and truly has no heart.

Sandra said...

Does anybody have a clue as to what TSORon was trying to say in his response to Ted?

screen shot

Wintermute said...

TSORon said...
"All forms of travel (no exceptions) on the other hand are regulated by government, be it local, state, or federal. Air travel is no different from any other. TSA is a Regulatory Enforcement agency. And since most air travel is interstate in nature it falls under the federal government to regulate as appropriate. "

Does the US government have the right to regulate travel? Yes. However, they do NOT have the right to restrict travel. There is a difference, and what the TSA does treads awful close to the latter.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"This is not a customer service issue. This is a SECURITY checkpoint not a spa....
February 22, 2013 at 11:33 PM"


Actually, this is very much a customer service issue.

If you think the only people who deserve respect, dignity, and good customer service are clients of spas and other private luxury services, you are mistaken.

No matter what government agency one works for - from the smallest local water department to the TSA - when government employees interact with citizens or visitors to this country, they must give good customer service.

Every day, millions of people who want to get on an airplane must interact with the TSA. The TSA should be emphasizing how to be efficient and effective, all while being polite and respectful.

It is as easy as:

- Smiling

- Saying "Hello," "Please" and "Thank-you"

- Speaking to flyers without yelling or condescending language

- Being aware that not everyone is a healthy, white, young, English-speaking American male

- Knowing and following TSA policies

- Being careful with passengers and their property

- Not stealing, lying, or retaliating

All of these customer service concepts can be applied while being alert and watching for ACTUAL security issues.

Anonymous said...


"Anonymous said...

There are signs with passenger options posted at every checkpoint. You just have to actually READ them.

February 22, 2013 at 11:41 PM"

What about people who cannot read English?

What about visually impaired people?

What if the signs are poorly designed, printed small, and placed in a location that is difficult to see?

Reality isn't as simple as you try to make it sound.

Wintermute said...

Sandra said...
"Does anybody have a clue as to what TSORon was trying to say in his response to Ted?"

I think the reply was to an Anonymous who was disputing Ted's "flying is a privilege" nonsense. That anonymous is the person who quoted the US Constitution and also cited UN and common law as travel being an inherent human right. I think TSORon is stating that these things do not apply to the TSA.

Anonymous said...

In this video you can clearsly here a TSA agent threatening the woman:

http://www.sickonews.com/tsa-agents-detain-crying-3-years-old-girl-in-wheelchair-and-confiscate-her-stuffed-animal-for-real/

Anonymous said...

No one ever addresses the core problem at the TSA. Instead American taxpaying travelers are patronized and dismissed with the "apology of the week" by the disgraced government agency (TSA) whose credibility was long since destroyed when they began groping or virtually strip searching men, women, and children at airport checkpoints.

While not politically correct, the simple truth is that many TSA personnel are minimally paid unionized government employees who feel like they are entitled to receive a government paycheck regardless of their work performance. Firing TSA personnel or taking disciplinary action is extremely difficult thanks to the combination of union rules and EEOC laws. Until America elects leaders who have the courage to confront ongoing issues that have become commonplace at agencies like the TSA, it's the average Americans going about their daily lives that will suffer most.

TSORon said...

[[Sandra said...
"Does anybody have a clue as to what TSORon was trying to say in his response to Ted?"]]

For those who didn’t get what I was pointing out, the right to travel is not without regulation. Government regulates how we may travel, but does not restrict it without good cause.

Wintermute said...
[[I think the reply was to an Anonymous who was disputing Ted's "flying is a privilege" nonsense. That anonymous is the person who quoted the US Constitution and also cited UN and common law as travel being an inherent human right. I think TSORon is stating that these things do not apply to the TSA.]]

First of all, the UN is not the United States Federal Government and has no authority to regulate what US citizens do in their own country. Second, the US Constitution provides for the Federal Government to regulate or legislate as appropriate for the common good. TSA does not enforce laws, it enforces Federal Regulations. From there the topic becomes far more complicated than the simplistic understanding of the average citizen.

Mike Wallette said...

@TSORon:

Quote:All forms of travel (no exceptions) on the other hand are regulated by government, be it local, state, or federal. Air travel is no different from any other. TSA is a Regulatory Enforcement agency. And since most air travel is interstate in nature it falls under the federal government to regulate as appropriate.

Okay, I will grant you that. But can you explain to me how the 4th Amendment, the right to be free from unreasonable searches, is voided by government regulation? Yes, "unreasonable" is a wiggle-word, but the 10th Circuit Court ruled in Ek vs. US that an X-Ray search (i.e., body scanner) is sufficiently invasive to require a higher burden of proof than, for example, merely frisking someone, so I would argue that what TSA is doing at the airports is a far, far cry from "reasonable."

The bottom line is this: the government, and by extension, the TSA, may very well have the right to regulate travel, but they do *NOT* have the right to violate my civil rights in the process. The government is bound by the limits of the Constitution, but TSA is blatantly ignoring those boundaries, and Americans are getting fed up with it.

Bill said...

Movement by the prevailing method of travel is such an ancient right under common law, recognized for centuries before this country was founded, that perhaps the founders didn't think we'd ever be so pathetic as to allow it to be infringed. Look who's laughing now, huh.

RB said...

The government might regulate air carriers but that has nothing to do with a persons "right" to travel. If by air it is a contract between an individual and the airline.

It would be refreshing if a few of these TSA employees had a basic understanding of the Constitution they swore an oath to defend.

Susan Richart said...

"From there the topic becomes far more complicated than the simplistic understanding of the average citizen. "

Ron, is this another one of your unprofessional insults directed at the people who post here or are you telling us that you don't understand the topic either? Please clarify.

If it's an insult, then it is against the TOS.

screen shot

@SkyWayManAz said...

For all the TSA screeners out there who feel hassled by the public filming them you need to take a deep breath and think. Seriously how many of these videos would have gone viral if screeners hadn't provoked the people filming them? Nobody cares to see a video of TSA screeners actually doing their job correctly. It's the screeners actions and attitudes that get them in trouble and then it goes viral. The screeners here argued with the parents instead of doing their job correctly with a special needs child. That’s why the cell phone camera came out and the screeners behavior got worse until a supervisor took over.
There was some video I saw on youtube with a title something like police harassment. I clicked wondering what I'd see and the policeman could not have been nicer to that jerk. It was a legit stop in a state that required vehicle inspection and he had no inspection sticker. Being such a jerk to that cop guaranteed that would be a citation instead of a warning but the cop was smiling and professional the whole time. He gave his full name and badge number too, something TSA feels they are not obligated to do.
Years ago when I worked for a property management company at a 30+ story high rise I got stuck working during the Super Bowl one year. When I ducked out for lunch I found a camera crew set up in the alley out back had electrical cabling all over our parking garage into all available outlets on several different floors in the garage. I quickly double checked our office paperwork to see if this was authorized, it wasn't. I double checked with the on call engineer and he told me to make them cease immediately as they could damage a transformer with the building in a low power mode. When I approached the crew to inquire if they had authorization to use electricity from the building the cameraman to the side ran over and swung a large Panavision camera immediately at me jamming it into my face with millimeters to spare.
Is the video on youtube? Heh I dunno maybe, does it matter? Nope, I kept my cool, smiled, informed them of the situation. Stated if we had known we could have accommodated your crew and things would have been different. They confirmed they had no authorization to use our building electricity and hadn't asked. They were very angry with me and the cameraman did his best to provoke me repeatedly the entire time while I kept smiling. I never once made any reference to them filming me or the camera blocking me. If the video is up people aren't going to think I was a jerk for kicking them off our electrical grid. On the other hand if I had been a total jerk about it then it might have a million or more hits.
Guys it really is up to you how you want to be seen in the public eye. Do your jobs professionally and as if it will be on youtube when you get home. (Btw I had a passenger I flew in my own airplane once film me and put it on youtube without telling me. I show that one to people all the time but sadly it only has 197 hits. It shows me being professional.) Best advice I ever got when I did your job in the mid 80's, yes a different world then but still true, "If you feel the need to say something unprofessional don't pass up the opportunity to shut up." May be offensive but it works. Bite your tongue and let the other guy be the jerk. That's how I kept my cool with that cameraman then and when I deal with a TSA screener on a power trip now. Doesn’t happen very often but you long time screeners know exactly who I’m talking about even if you can’t admit it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
It is as easy as:

- Smiling

- Saying "Hello," "Please" and "Thank-you"

- Speaking to flyers without yelling or condescending language

- Being aware that not everyone is a healthy, white, young, English-speaking American male

- Knowing and following TSA policies

- Being careful with passengers and their property

- Not stealing, lying, or retaliating

All of these customer service concepts can be applied while being alert and watching for ACTUAL security issues.


Hahahahahahaha!

They hire people who reply to ads on pizza boxes and gas pumps, and you expect good customer service from them???

@SkyWayManAz said...

Mike Wallette said:

"the 10th Circuit Court ruled in Ek vs. US that an X-Ray search (i.e., body scanner) is sufficiently invasive to require a higher burden of proof than, for example, merely frisking someone, so I would argue that what TSA is doing at the airports is a far, far cry from [']reasonable[']."

That is probably why Bob insists so often on here that AIT is merely voluntary. Those of us who travel on a regular basis know we are routinely directed to AIT. The screeners refer to it as the primary screening method. Often if you exercise your right to opt out, like TSA insists you have the right to do, you will encounter rude offensive threatening intimidating and bullying behavior from screeners. Isn't that what prompted this thread and TSA's need to apologize? Sure it's voluntary in the spirit of the court ruling you cite but it is widely understood that failure to comply with it will be a humiliating and demeaning experience. That's why the mother in the story grabbed her cell phone to film. We all know TSA would not have apologized if she hadn't done that.

Anonymous said...

I have been questioned by an agent for having a laptop when I was a junior in college taking a family spring break. When I responded to his "why you got a laptop?" question after I forgot to take it out of my bag with "I'm a student and had to finish a project." he responded laughing with "oh so you a student huh, but that don't mean you need a laptop, why you got one?"
I told him he could have it as long as he wrote a letter on official letterhead signed by his superior that my computer and report were confiscated and were of the highest priority in America's war on Terror.
These people are much too full of themselves, restricting mothers who are not nursing and other similar acts are part of the new wave of terrorism. I'm not worried now about a bomb or a gun or a hijacking, I'm worried my daughter is going to be asked why she has a tablet with educational apps and she will respond with "I'm smart, you're dumb." Which of course will result in myself and her mother sitting in a room for 45 minutes.

Mike Wallette said...

@TSORon:

Quote:TSA does not enforce laws, it enforces Federal Regulations.

Okay, I could argue some semantics with you, but basically, yes, I agree. Now, answer this for me: do the Federal Regulations say that TSA is to microwave, x-ray or grope travelers who are not suspected of committing, intending to commit, thinking about maybe some day eventually committing (maybe) a crime? No. The Federal regulations state TSA is tasked with preventing passengers from smuggling contraband on board a commercial aircraft. My criticism of TSA stems from the fact that TSA is uses overly intrusive and heavy-handed tactics to carry out that mandate -- tactics that are far out of proportion with the threat TSA is supposed to be reducing (note that I said "reducing" -- not "eliminating" because you will never, ever eliminate all risk).

Quote:From there the topic becomes far more complicated than the simplistic understanding of the average citizen.

And that attitude is why TSA is more reviled even than the IRS. In my experience, people usually say, "it's complicated..." when they are trying to justify doing something that they know is wrong. It's not complicated at all, Ron. The 4th Amendment says government is to keep its hands off of me and my family unless it has reason to believe we are involved in some kind of wrong doing. Are you trying to tell me that TSA seriously thinks that several million passengers a year are all part of a grand terrorist plot to relive 9/11 twelve years later? If my understanding of the 4th Amendment is too simplistic (seeing as how I'm just an average citizen and all), then by all means, please enlighten me.

Anonymous said...

We will be doomed to repeat history until we have truthfully all have learned from it. We are on path of reverting back to less security. Then someone will take advantage of this and use it to cause harm to innocent people.

Unless a TSA officer dies on the job.. or prevents prevents an explosive from getting on a plane.. they wont get the respect from the selfish people who wear blinders and pretend the world is a happy place without murder, terror, greed, and stupidity.

Wintermute said...

TSORon said...

"First of all, the UN is not the United States Federal Government and has no authority to regulate what US citizens do in their own country. Second, the US Constitution provides for the Federal Government to regulate or legislate as appropriate for the common good. TSA does not enforce laws, it enforces Federal Regulations. From there the topic becomes far more complicated than the simplistic understanding of the average citizen. "

First off, I was attempting to clarify who you were replying to to begin with, since your method of quoting others leaves much to be desired when it comes to figure out who said what.

Second, who claimed the UN was the US Federal Government? I did not see that claim, nor have I made that claim myself. However, as a member state, we DO have certain obligations.

Third, please be clear. Are you stating that these things do not apply to the TSA? It appears that you were (and are), and I was just attempting to clarify that this was my understanding of your previous comments.

Finally, stop with the insults, please.

Anonymous said...

I have heard from some people who called ahead to use the TSA Cares line, and had a wonderful experience when they flew with their two severely Autistic children. While I think a slip of the tongue should be addressed, I think its harsh to fire someone over it.
People who are not security minded are clueless to how things can go wrong quickly amongst people who are willing to die to inflict chaos/injury on those around them.
Also, why does everyone feel ENTITLED to a free pass on security just because your rich,politically connected, old, young, disabled, or suffering from any ailments? Terrorists have been known to use people in wheelchairs, children, women, and elderly people to carry bombs into crowded areas. Give me a break.. Check everyone. Remember, the goal is for everyone to arrive safely at their destination.
Also, passengers never lie, never exaggerate their own willingness to break the rules, or fess up to their own ignorance. Please!?
Bad behavior and deeds happen everywhere. Deal with those as needed, case by case. It shouldn't matter if you're a doctor, lawyer, police officer, or any of ten thousand other professionals. If others are entrusting themselves into your care, then you should do your best to care for them as if they were your own. It is how I treat everyone I work with.

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...

"they wont get the respect from the selfish people who wear blinders and pretend the world is a happy place without murder, terror, greed, and stupidity."

Ahh... So now I'm selfish for standing up for our Constitutional rights? No, we do not wear blinders. We know those things exist, but also know there is no possible way to eliminate them completely. We accept the fact that life is full of risks, and we refuse to be terrorized. The two things that would have prevented 9/11 have been completely implemented. All the rest is just for show, and makes us all LESS safe.

Anonymous said...

I posted
"It is as easy as:

- Smiling
- Saying "Hello," "Please" and "Thank-you"
- Speaking to flyers without yelling or condescending language
- Being aware that not everyone is a healthy, white, young, English-speaking American male
- Knowing and following TSA policies
- Being careful with passengers and their property
- Not stealing, lying, or retaliating
All of these customer service concepts can be applied while being alert and watching for ACTUAL security issues."


Anonymous replied,
"Hahahahahahaha!

They hire people who reply to ads on pizza boxes and gas pumps, and you expect good customer service from them???"


-----

I know what you're saying, but good customer service was expected of me when I worked in retail, making $3.00/hr.

And since TSA employees are paid by American taxpayers, yes, I do expect them to be taught and provide good customer service every day.

If we give TSA screeners a pass on service, then we are not going to get our money's worth.

@SkyWayManAz said...

Anonymous said:

"Also, passengers never lie, never exaggerate their own willingness to break the rules, or fess up to their own ignorance. Please!?"

I'm sure screeners do deal with passengers having major attitude issues every day. I saw it when I had your job one summer back before the TSA. I can easily believe it’s worse now. If you arrive at the checkpoint that way and take it out on the screener then yes you probably will have a bad experience with TSA. That doesn't excuse a screener taking out his rage on the next guy afterward. If they want to vent let them vent. They won’t pass until they cooperate and being rude should not be your first response.

Any screener remotely paying attention would notice I smile and say thank you out of courtesy. Most times the document checker doesn’t even make eye contact with me. I made it thru security just fine once with a female coworkers boarding pass and my passport as did she with my boarding pass and her drivers license. Our last names began with the same letter but are otherwise very different. I suspect even if they didn’t the result would have been the same. (I’d say where but experience says every time I do my post gets sent to the delete-o-meter.) It was a genuine mistake as we didn’t check which boarding passes the ticket agent handed us back individually. Maybe I should be glad it wasn’t caught or I might have been yelled at based on certain previous incidents.

Is there really any excuse for shouting at me repeatedly to empty pockets already empty? What about loudly accuse me of lying when I quietly repeat over and over they are already empty? The screener was feeling the button in my back pocket in that example. Then lectured me about how he could not have known this. It is a common style with men’s slacks so I do not feel his pain on that one. While this is not a normal experience I've been in a number of similar situations where the screener needlessly escalated the situation.

I've never had a single item confiscated from me. The only rule I believe I have broken is to have a plastic zip lock bag that was slightly to big, not the contents, the bag itself. It wasn't taken away from me so I'm not sure what the verbal abuse that followed accomplished that a smile and kind word couldn't.

Sorry guys but asking you to have manners is not unreasonable. No one calls the police because they are having a day full of sunshine, lollipops and puppy dogs. Responding back with attitude is not acceptable for their operators. Passengers are often stressed when they arrive at the check point. Being snippy and disrespectful to them will not make your job any easier.

TSA likes to pretend these things don't really happen until someone records it though. There is a customer service aspect to your job and it needs to be applied. When the public encounters screeners that act like they are at war with the public the public tends to respond in kind. I always turn my iPhone audio recorder on now when I pass thru a checkpoint. My previous experiences indicate I will not be taken seriously without the audio to back up my claim. Look at the quote again at the top. That says exactly why I won't be believed otherwise. That's just the TSA line period no matter how it is worded. Most frequent travelers have seen this behavior at least once and it is part of why TSA rates so poorly with us.

Anonymous said...

You keep training, and training and training... and still these things happen.

No wonder the federal budget is all but spent.

And you can do your job without trumping the Constitution. Don't justify your bullying with the excuse "but look, we have found dangerous stuff, so harassing people without valid suspicion is OK"

We the People don't support TSA.

Anonymous said...

We have FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT granted by our CONSTITUTION...and TSA is restricting thas freedom.

The CONSTITUTION bestows the duties of protecting FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT to the STATES, not the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

READ:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_movement_under_United_States_law

Time for WE THE PEOPLE to do our duty and get rid of the TSA...

Anonymous said...

Transportation via airplane is not a privilege; it is a right as defined by US Code 40103. It reads:
A citizen of the United States has public right of transit through navigable airspace.

Anonymous said...

Also, our officer told the passenger that it was illegal to film at the checkpoint. This is not the case, and you can take a look at our filming policy here.
...........................

Why is it that the public knows this policy but after more than 10 years since the start of TSA employees of TSA don't know this policy?


Either they are being told something different than policy or perhpas they are just stupid.

Sandra said...

Bob, it sounds to me as if the TSA totally forgot to screen the teddy bear and the wheelchair at the checkpoint, thus causing the entire incident.

screen shot

Anonymous said...

If the tsa admitted wrong doing how much did they pay that family for there lost time and inconvenience wouldn't that be the proper thing to do or should tax payers be on the hook for lawyers fees and a lawsuit even if they don't sue they should be compensated

margielynn said...

I think all of you people on here who like to disagree with policies and procedures need to have something tramatic happen to you so that you could understand why policies and procedures are in place. You'll be the first to say too much is being done and this one is being mistreated and blah blah blah but the minutes something on the lines of terrorism happens you are the same ones being the first to say not enough is being done! Make up your minds or shut up! Every situation is different yes but policies should not be changed to suit every situation. One set of policies for all situations. TSA is not here for because this world is a safe place, they are here because it's not. Maybe if there was a TSA back when 9-11 happened so many lives wouldn't have been lost and so many families wouldn't have had to suffer. You people don't think about that now do you. You just want something to complain about. For the record a terrorist has no description. For all you know it's the person standing next to you in life at the grocery store, or your neighbor that you have known for years. A terrorist comes in many colors, religions, races, ages, sizes. Stop being so ignorant to the world around. I support the TSA and any struggle they have to go through. I advise all of you who think you know but really don't to enroll yourself in a terrorism awareness class so you can learn just what really goes on in this world and what goes on in a terrorist's mind. Keeping thinking the the naive people you are and there will be many more opportunities for something along the lines of 9-11 to happen again. SMH at people...complete ignorance to the world they live in

Anonymous said...

I find it frustrating that they apologized for the "inconvenience", not the blatant lie about the rights of a concerned parent (filming) or the stressful situation the little girl was put in.

Mike Wallette said...

@margielynn:

I understand your point of view, but with all due respect, I disagree. Strongly.

First, I would caution you in your generalizations of those with whom you disagree. I, for example, am not one to cast blame when something like 9/11 occurs; rather, I want to know what *effective* and logical measures can be put in place to prevent it from happening again. I blame neither the government, the airlines, nor airport security for the terrorist attacks on that evil day. Rather, the problem, in my opinion, stems from naivity and complacency of the American people. Prior to 9/11, the expectation was that if you comply with the hijackers' demands, everyone goes home at the end of the day -- or at least, a few days later. That policy and expectation was deeply and tragically flawed. The single most effective change to prevent another 9/11 from ever happening again occurred automatically that day, without a single government bureacracy or rule: Flight 93 showed that a hijacker will never again be able to repeat the events of 9/11. Furthermore, the two incidents following 9/11, the so-called "shoe bomber" and the so-called "underwear bomber" were not stopped by TSA, but rather by other passengers on board the aircraft, further bolstering my argument that it is the airline passengers, rather than a bored security guard, that is most effective at stopping future terrorist actions on board an airliner. The second most important change that will prevent another incident like 9/11 was accomplished when the airlines locked and hardened the cockpit doors. If a hijacker cannot get access to the cockpit, a hijacker will be unable to pilot the aircraft into a ground target.

The "electronic strip-search" (AIT) machines, groping passengers (i.e., "enhanced pat-downs") and all of the other procedures that TSA has inflicted upon the flying public is little more than window dressing to make the naive and impressionable *feel* like the government is doing something to protect them. If you consider the rate at which TSA has failed to detect contraband in repeated tests, you will see how ineffective such methods really are.

Furthermore, even if TSA was effective at keeping terrorists off of the airlines, all that will accomplish is driving the terrorists to other, easier targets. Do you really want airport-style checkpoints at shopping malls, at sports stadiums, at random on the highways...or at schools? Do you really think the country can *afford* to do that? Even if you think that such checkpoints are a good idea (and I sincerely hope you don't), even that only serves to push the weak point somewhere else. Just a couple of years ago, terrorists targetted Moscow's Domodedovo airport, detonating a bomb in the line at the security checkpoint, killing 35. In that incident, the only thing that the security checkpoint accomplished was move the weak link out of the airplane and into the airport terminal; it did not stop the terrorists, however.

The bottom line is that the statistical risk of terrorism to Americans within the United States is so insignificant as to be laughable. If safety and saving lives is truly the purpose of TSA, then the money spent on this mammoth bureacracy could be far better spent in areas where there really is a significant statistical risk of death and/or serious injury, for example, making driving safer. The fact that TSA is providing incentive for people to avoid flying and to take to the highways for travel -- statistically, orders of magnitude more dangerous than flying, even with *pre* 9/11 security -- would be funny if it weren't so tragic.

You may disagree with me, and I respect your right to your own opinion. However, I strongly resent being forced to submit to overly invasive, ineffective screening methods as a result of the fear of those who are still worried about another 9/11. I, for one, refuse to live in fear. Please stop trying to force your fears on the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

@ margielynn

I don't even know where to start, except at the beginning.

We the people of the United States...

We declared independence from tyranny long ago. And we established this great country under the Constitution, guaranteeing our rights.

Don't assume anyone critical of the TSA hasn't suffered. In fact, many have faced personal losses and came out the other side not afraid and unwilling to gratefully hand over their rights in the vain pursuit of 100% safety at the loss of liberty.

If you choose to see every stranger at the local store and your own long-time neigbors as possible terrorists, I am so sad for you. You don't deserve our ire. Rather you deserve our pity for choosing to see the bogeyman in every face and shadow.

I wish you the peace you so desperately want, but not at the cost of everyone else's rights.

Wintermute said...

margielynn said...

Maybe if there was a TSA back when 9-11 happened so many lives wouldn't have been lost and so many families wouldn't have had to suffer.

I deleted most of the strawman to address this, specifically. Had TSA been in place on 9/11, the tragedy still would have happened. The general wisdom of the day was that you cooperated with the terrorists to survive the hijacking, and the cockpit was easily accessible. Those two things, and those two things alone, are all it takes to prevent another 9/11. The rest is all for show and arguably makes us LESS safe.

RB said...

margielynn said...
I think all of you people on here who like to disagree with policies and procedures need to have something tramatic happen to you so that you could understand why policies and procedures are in place
.....................
and more senseless drivel......


.........................
TSA policies don't make sense because those policies fail to address risk.

If TSA was interested in risk they would not let airport workers free access to the secure areas with no screening.

TSA would address risk by understanding that common liquids and such present almost ZERO risk.

TSA would understand that shoes are no threat.

You mention how things might have been different if TSA had been on the job prior to 9/11. I question that. Had the same screening standards been in place nothing different would have happened. Nothing went on the airplanes that day that was not allowed.

I think most of us believe security is needed but at what cost? I feel the cost of sexual assault feel downs is to high.

Electronic Strip Searches is certainly to high a price to pay.

TSA is allowed an Administrative Search, nothing more, yet TSA has not restricted its activities to Administrative Searches, a search that must be done in public not behind some door of privacy. ID checking and interrogations are not part of an Administrative Search.

It is TSA that is out of step with the United States Constitution and every TSA employee who took an Oath to Defend our Constitution has failed to honor their Oath.

Anonymous said...

Sure, mistakes were made. They're human. But if we hadn't already been victims of terrorists commandeering airplanes the TSA wouldn't be necessary and this whole issue would be moot!

But it DID happen! What better way to smuggle a bomb or weapons on board than hidden on a seemingly invalid child in a wheelchair?

Just chill-out and remember these agents are trying to protect your safety -- whether you deserve it or not!

Jim Huggins said...

I see TSA is in the news again for the way in which it (mis-)treats passengers with disabilities. This time, the subject is a Marine who lost both his legs in combat:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/inside-politics/2013/mar/19/tsa-agents-humiliated-wounded-marine-aggressive-in/

Mike Wallette said...

@anonymous:

"But if we hadn't already been victims of terrorists commandeering airplanes the TSA wouldn't be necessary and this whole issue would be moot!"

The whole issue *should* be moot. Hardening the cockpit doors and changing the attitude of airline passengers from "comply and go home" to "fight back or die" was all the change that needed to happen, as proved by Flight 93 and the two subsequent terrorist attempts that TSA *FAILED* to catch.

"Just chill-out and remember these agents are trying to protect your safety..."

Sorry, no. I will *NEVER* "chill out" while a government agency, funded by my taxes (over my strenuous objections), continues to ignore the restrictions set upon it in the Constitution by wiser men than you and I. The Bill of Rights exists for a reason; ignoring it when it is "inconvenient" is very, very bad idea. After all, "[the Bill of Rights exists] to protect your safety [from government tyranny] -- whether you deserve it or not!"

acousticfreeze said...

My experience in working with Law Enforcement has been one of witnessing the use De Escalation training designed to defuse conflict. For some persons with Disabilities, escalation can lead to symptoms associated with their Disabilities to get worse. Keeping this in mind, I have some questions for you Bob.

In most situations I have seen involving TSA Agents, escalation seemed to be more of the protocol than De Escalation. How should a person with Disabilities interact with a TSO in light of the agencies history with persons who have Disabilities?
What forms of training does your personnel have with persons who are on the Autism Spectrum?
At the Baltimore Airport, there is a breath test that has been described to me, as less invasive than a Pat Down, can you comment on the use of this test?
In order to make Travel easier on all other passengers, wouldn't be adviable for the TSA to have one uniform policy for all Airports?
Finally, on the issue of the D- Security Rating for your agency, as a person with Disabilities familiar with Security and Law Enforcement training to an extent, how can I trust TSA to handle its job requirements in dealing with people with Disabilities, if the basic functions of the agency are not being met?