Tuesday, April 30, 2013

TSA Travel Tips Tuesday - Wearing Expensive Jewelry through TSA Checkpoints

Jewelry
Photo Courtesy of US Marshals
Some passengers come through TSA checkpoints wearing a simple piece of jewelry, and others are all blinged out like the A Team's Mr. T. 

So what’s the scoop? Should you remove jewelry or keep it on to go through security? The answer, in most cases is that you can keep it on, but there are a few different choices that you can make based on what kind of jewelry it is.

Here’s my advice:

  • Unless it’s a really bulky piece of jewelry, keep your jewelry on. Chances are, it won’t alarm and if it does, you can let our officer inspect it with you there. It really doesn’t take long to inspect, unless you are blinged out like the aforementioned Mr. T.
  • If you choose to remove your jewelry, and it’s expensive or has sentimental value, take it off and put it in your carry-on bag. Bowls have been known to tip over on conveyor belts, seemingly sending small jewelry into another dimension where it is never seen again.
  • If you’re wearing inexpensive jewelry and you don’t mind placing it in a bin or bowl, go for it.

In the event that an officer informs you that your jewelry might be the culprit as to why you alarmed a walk through metal detector or the Advanced Image Technology, the officer will work with you to clear the alarm.  It could involve a visual inspection or in some cases you might have to take it off.  

Bonus tip #1: Metal body piercings may cause an alarm at the metal detector, resulting in additional screening. You may be asked to remove your body piercing in private as an alternative to the pat-down search. 

Bonus Tip #2: Although not jewelry, I wanted to mention that your eye glasses can remain on. I’ve seen people take them off and stumble through the checkpoint. Your glasses should not cause an alarm, and in the unlikely event that they do, it’s better to keep them on than to take a spill.

See you next Tuesday with another travel tip! 

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.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

TSA checkpoints have signs that say to remove watches. Is it ok to wear your watch through the security checkpoint? I've gotten confusing information from the agents.

Anonymous said...

Most airports involve a ride on a shuttle either from rental car return or remote parking. During the shuttle ride is a good opportunity to take the cell phone, keys, and change out of the pockets, pull the Blackberry clip off of your belt, stash all of it (and your watch) into your carry-on bag. DO NOT leave valuables in view in those bins and bowls! It's a free and easy steal, and thieves have been known to work in groups who cause delays at screening, and while you're delayed behind the seemingly ignorant traveler, his/her accomplice is on the "clear" side of the checkpoint dumping the contents of your bin/bowl into their bag. Almost all checkpoints are under video surveillance - if you realize your items have been stolen - SPEAK UP! The video can easily and quickly be reviewed, and the culprit can be fairly easily located - but time is of the essence!

SSSS for some reason said...

Wait a minute.... my glasses and rings can stay on, but my body piercings may have to come out?

Have you completely given up on trying to think before creating policy? Are you even aware of the bias inherent in your post and policies? Rings are 'normal,' body piercings are indicative of someone who needs more searching.....

Mike Toreno said...

Or the TSA could fire employees who are caught stealing.

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, quite often passengers steal from passengers. The TSA is usually more than happy to call in the PD and get the camera tapes reviewed to ensure you recover your property.

Anonymous said...

SSSS For Some Reason, the reason why eyeglasses and rings can stay on and body jewelry may have to be removed in private (if sets off the sensors)is because eyeglasses and rings can be visually inspected out in the open, and contrary to popular misconception, TSA does not do any strip searching or removing of underclothes to reveal private area. Body jewelry that may be located in more private places and is bulky enough to alarm would have to be removed because the TSA cannot do a visual inspection in such places.

Susan Richart said...

As someone said on another website. TSA is a giant psy-ops program, trying to force us to dress a certain way, not use hand/body lotions, pack our travel bags a certain way, and now think about what jewelry we may wear when going through a checkpoint.

Will the American people ever wake up to this travesty?

screen shot

Anonymous said...

Does the TSA ever post an article about "real issues" that passengers encounter at TSA checkpoints like being separated from their property or "over zealous" pat-downs? One of the many reasons that TSA has lost credibility is that it NEVER addresses real issues affecting real tax-paying American travelers.

Anonymous said...

" Wait a minute.... my glasses and rings can stay on, but my body piercings may have to come out?

Have you completely given up on trying to think before creating policy? Are you even aware of the bias inherent in your post and policies? Rings are 'normal,' body piercings are indicative of someone who needs more searching....."

Body piercings can be made out of materials that the metal detectors pick up more easily. If the metal detector alarms you have to be searched. If you go through the Imager it will pick up piercings. You will have to be searched. I think the post was meant to remind people of that, not as acommentary on the "Type" of person who has piercings.

" Or the TSA could fire employees who are caught stealing. "
TSA does fire people caught stealing. Passengers can be thieves too.

Anonymous said...

If you wear jewlery, and alarm the system, isn't that when the groping starts!?

I don't seem to recall that they "resolve" the issue, they simply push you to the hands man/woman and the lawful(?) groping begins!

Makes no sense that TSA gropes your entire body if you've a watch that alarms the system.

RB said...

Yeah, put expensive jewelery inside a bag and then have some TSA screener try to steal it, make a complaint to TSA and then have the FSD (FLL) cover up the attempted theft by a TSA employee.

Why not have reasonable screening standards that don't require people to remove anything.

And TSA doesn't know if the last screener caught stealing something from a bag was fired or if he just quit.

That's TSA, doesn't have a clue.



RB said...

Anonymous said...
" Wait a minute.... my glasses and rings can stay on, but my body piercings may have to come out?

Have you completely given up on trying to think before creating policy? Are you even aware of the bias inherent in your post and policies? Rings are 'normal,' body piercings are indicative of someone who needs more searching....."

Body piercings can be made out of materials that the metal detectors pick up more easily. If the metal detector alarms you have to be searched. If you go through the Imager it will pick up piercings. You will have to be searched. I think the post was meant to remind people of that, not as acommentary on the "Type" of person who has piercings.

" Or the TSA could fire employees who are caught stealing. "
TSA does fire people caught stealing. Passengers can be thieves too.

May 1, 2013 at 8:53 AM
...........................
The imagers should not alarm on something like a piercing since all TSA is legally allowed to search for is WEAPONS, EXPLOSIVES, and INCENDARIES. Any search that just searches for things violates the LIMITED ADMINISTRATIVE SEARCH doctrine and violates the law and our civil rights.

It is time to stand up to the illegal TSA Searches and say enough is enough.

RB said...

None of us want unneeded TSA Grope Downs, not for wearing common socially acceptable jewelery or anything else like personal sanitary products.

Question, do TSA Electronic Explosive Trace Detectors alarm from common glycerin based products like hand lotion?

It's a real simple questions, how about an answer for once?

Anonymous said...

Have you given any thought to the fact that the reason passengers HAVE these questions is because you've been forcing people to remove more and more of their clothing with each passing year and with each new, pointless "security" procedure?

Anonymous said...

> Bowls have been known to tip over on conveyor belts, seemingly sending small jewelry into another dimension where it is never seen again.

This "dimension" is also known as "the screener's pocket".

> TSA is usually more than happy to call in the PD and get the camera tapes reviewed

The exception being when the TSA agents themselves are at fault... then the camera tapes suddenly become unavailable due to "security concerns".

Anonymous said...

If you take off expensive jewelry, you should put it in your carry-on and lock it with a lock that TSA can't unlock. That's the only safe-ish option for your valuables at the checkpoint. Travelers have caught TSA screeners rooting around in their bags without their permission.

Then, never let your bags out of your sight, and never let a screener take your bag out of your sight. I once had a bag check in which a screener took my purse (with expensive jewelery inside) and electronics out of my locked carry-on, spread them out in a tub, and walked out of my sight with them to run them back through the x-ray. I was bogged down with my two young kids so I didn't protest, but I made sure he saw me check to see if he stole anything. I'll never let it happen again.

Anonymous said...

Give the TSA a break, they are trying to keep you safe. Have we not learned anything since 9/11.
The Boston Marathon bombings just happened 2 weeks ago. We live in a different world since 9/11, get used to it! I am not niaeve enough
to think it can't happen again.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Believe it or not, quite often passengers steal from passengers. The TSA is usually more than happy to call in the PD and get the camera tapes reviewed to ensure you recover your property.

Unless it's the TSA that's accused of doing something- then the video cameras are mysteriously 'not working' or 'don't exist'.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 1, do you realixe how difficult it is to have the watch watchers who watch the watcher's watches?

Worse, we need to watch the watchers who watch the watchers' watches.

Ancient Rome asked the question best: who will watch the watchers' watchers' watches? Quo?


Anonymous said...

Bob,
When the screeners will undoubtedly criticize and shame passengers for wearing their jewelry as outlined above, can we point out this blog post resulting in an apology from the screeners?

I don't care who steals from me - passengers or TSA. The checkpoint is under the "power" of the TSA. They are responsible for thefts, either by committing them or allowing them to happen through poor policies, procedures, or employees.

Am I being harsh towards the TSA on this issue? I don't think so, because the arbitrarily run checkpoints put passengers and their property at risk, and we are always blamed by the TSA for negative events that occur in "their" checkpoints.

I also find the fact that Americans and visitors to this country are being treated as criminals and terrorists for not being a young, white, healthy, Christian, suburban American male with short hair and "normal" clothes.

This isn't profiling the guy wearing a pro-marijuana
shirt while flying to Colorado or Washington state. We are threatened with assault for wearing skirts, body piercings, religious or cultural head coverings, jeans, blouses with stones or metal, shirts with printed artwork, large jewelry, long hair, afros, hair buns, sweaters, sweatshirts, underwire bras, etc.

I sadly laugh when people talk about how great America is because we can do and be and wear whatever we want. These same people put down countries that restrict what their citizens can wear. All the while, our government is telling flyers what underwear and other clothes they "should" wear in the hopes of not being assaulted.

@SkyWayManAz said...

Bob Burns said:

"Bowls have been known to tip over on conveyor belts, seemingly sending small jewelry into another dimension where it is never seen again."

I don't doubt this is true and experienced it first hand another lifetime ago when I had the screening job pre TSA. That said another dimension sounds like a TSA screener's pocket. I think even you knew that Bob when you wrote it so maybe that was you being brutally honest.

Anonymous said:

"Believe it or not, quite often passengers steal from passengers. The TSA is usually more than happy to call in the PD and get the camera tapes reviewed to ensure you recover your property."

Also true. I recall TSA cooperated with local PD in my city when someone's laptop was stolen at the checkpoint. (If I say where in my posts they seems to hit the delete-o-meter) Security tapes led them to the suspect and it was recovered. Although I should point out TSA does require us to place some tempting items in plain sight creating these opportunities. While there may be legitimate security reasons requiring this they aren't always good about letting the passenger keep their items in view per policy.

Anonymous said...

The TSA needs to just go away. Seriously, that is enough already.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, responding to "SSSS for some reason"-you gave a much clearer explanation than I did. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

If you wear jewlery, and alarm the system, isn't that when the groping starts!?

I don't seem to recall that they "resolve" the issue, they simply push you to the hands man/woman and the lawful(?) groping begins!

Makes no sense that TSA gropes your entire body if you've a watch that alarms the system.

May 1, 2013 at 9:38 AM

- You are allowed to remove the item(s) and make another (Multiple) attempt to go through without setting off any alarms. Choosing to do so-or not-is up to you.

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...
"Give the TSA a break,"

Ummm... No.

"...they are trying to keep you safe."

They are not doing a very good job of it, I'm afraid.

"Have we not learned anything since 9/11."

Some of us have learned more since 9/11 than others. Things like how inept TSA screening is and how many people are willing to throw away their rights for an illusion of security.

"The Boston Marathon bombings just happened 2 weeks ago."

And had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11 or the TSA.

"We live in a different world since 9/11,"

And this justifies living in a society about as "free" as Soviet Russia?

"get used to it!"

I will never get used to my government violating my Constitutional rights.

"I am not niaeve enough
to think it can't happen again."

And I'm intelligent enough to know that A) it was a rare event, and B) passenger awareness and secured cabin doors will prevent that exact attack from ever happening again.

@SkyWayManAz said...

Anonymous said...

"Travelers have caught TSA screeners rooting around in their bags without their permission."

I can attest to this happening to me on at least one occasion. While my view was blocked by a screener doing a secondary inspection on me another screener was removing the arch inserts in my shoes. Now he may have had a darn good reason to inspect them but that doesn't excuse the circumstances. The passenger should always be present for any inspection of their items, no exceptions. Unintentional or not those circumstances are exactly how passengers are robbed, either by other passengers or TSA. Any screener caught inspecting items out of the passenger’s sight needs to be terminated. They are needlessly creating a situation where they can be accused of theft. Regardless of intent it is easily avoided and should not be tolerated.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Give the TSA a break, they are trying to keep you safe. Have we not learned anything since 9/11.
The Boston Marathon bombings just happened 2 weeks ago. We live in a different world since 9/11, get used to it! I am not niaeve enough
to think it can't happen again.

May 1, 2013 at 3:04 PM

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

I feel the TSA screening procedures lead to a greater risk of a Boston style attack. Think about how crowded a busy airport checkpoint is. It can be much more densely packed than the marathon. The slow screening processes with the body scanners, liquid restrictions, shoe removal, etc. lead to longer lines.

Of course if we constantly under threat of terrorism like the government wants us to believe, shouldn't the TSA have caught one terrorist or shouldn't there have been at least one successful attack in the years since 9/11. I think the terrorist threat is way overblown.

Curtis said...

RB- yes, the explosive trace detector tests for glycerin. I always opt out, and often get the 'back room' secondary pat down. They don't allow you to stay in public for this one. It has been confirmed by several TSA employees that glycerin in lotion alarms the machines. Glycerin, btw, is a major ingredient in almost every name-brand lotion.

SSSS for some reason said...

Anonymous said...
SSSS For Some Reason, the reason why eyeglasses and rings can stay on and body jewelry may have to be removed in private (if sets off the sensors)is because eyeglasses and rings can be visually inspected out in the open, ... Body jewelry that may be located in more private places and is bulky enough to alarm would have to be removed..."

My hearing aids set off the machine and they are inside my head. And I don't see the TSA using the Magic Wands any more so any time someone alarms the system, like me, they are shuttled to the side for the grope down. The grope down for those of you who haven't seen it done yet or lucky enough to receive one, is a very through all-over body massage. If your nipple ring sets off the alarms the TSA Agents are going to be rubbing the inside of your waist band and rubbing up your legs until they reach resistance (i.e. your 'nads).

So I will stand by my original statement and ask the TSA: have you completely given up on reason or logic when it comes to security? Do you have to give me the full body rub down because my hearing aids have just enough metal in them to set off your machines? Couldn't you use the magic want to see the alarm issue is above the neck line and leave my inseam alone?

JudyinNM said...

I love your blog. Thanks for taking the time to write it.

RB said...

Apparently it is against TSA Posting Policy, a policy that clearly violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution regarding government censorship, to point out that TSA does not properly investigate reports of attempted theft by TSA screeners, especially if the airport is mentioned.

And we should trust TSA to defend our rights when TSA is are so afraid of having the light truth cast upon the actions of TSA leadership.

You show me TSA and I will show you and organization that has no concern for the publics rights.

Oh, that's when the TSA Blog team posts comments at all. Anyone notice how few comments are posted these days? Anyone notice that the Delected comments number is not moving up?

TSA Blog: Nothing but Propaganda.

Anonymous said...

I am getting my Texas CDL (where I went to school) put on my Missouri driver's licens. Missouri only gives you a piece of paper with your picture on it in your drivers license information, but I still have my other drivers license cards with void stamp in them, are they still acceptable forms of ID with void stamped in them? I don't trust the temporary paper ID as being acceptable because it looks like something I could print on my home computer.

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...

"I don't trust the temporary paper ID as being acceptable because it looks like something I could print on my home computer."

Don't worry. With the quality of today's printers, even the official, "permanent" one is something you could print on your home computer. Making the whole ID requirement one of the most useless parts of the whole charade, especially, as TSORon has pointed out, the TSA is about keeping items of of aircraft, not people. Even the TSA's own know the ID thing is a scam.

Wintermute said...

RB said...

"Anyone notice how few comments are posted these days? Anyone notice that the Delected comments number is not moving up?"

However, they DO allow spam. The "Great Post..." comment has been posted to multiple threads at various times, with Post being a spam link. Yet it is allowed. Repeatedly. But some of my comments have been censored.

Anonymous said...

I certainly have noticed the past several weeks how few public comments are being allowed through by government employees on this government website.

Shame on you, "blog team."

Anonymous said...

I travel occasionally with computer etc, etc and I've never had a problem. I need to watch as there are confidential client files,etc. I always ask and they usually carry my stuff to a separate area where I can see it while they politely pat me down (I have several metal parts beneath the surface). I've never had a bit of a problem. I hope they continue to do their job especially if it's a plane I'm traveling on. You're all a bunch of suspicious sissies!

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...
"I travel occasionally with computer etc, etc and I've never had a problem. I need to watch as there are confidential client files,etc. I always ask and they usually carry my stuff to a separate area where I can see it while they politely pat me down (I have several metal parts beneath the surface). I've never had a bit of a problem. I hope they continue to do their job especially if it's a plane I'm traveling on. You're all a bunch of suspicious sissies!"

Again, when has name-calling EVER been allowed according to comment policy?

Also, this anonymous is GLAD he's being searched, and WE'RE the suspicious ones? I suggest he look irony up in the dictionary.

fire door regulations said...

Wow this is interesting. Should I also remove my tongue and belly pierce in doing checkpoint? I hope not.

Babs said...

They said MAY need to remove your piercing. This is most likely a disclaimer meaning IF it happens to trip the scanner, stated explicitly because it's such an inconvenience. The same would probably go for rings and glasses, if those were to do so.

The likelihood that a body piercing would trip the scanner, but not eyeglasses or other types of jewelry, probably would have to do with the composition of the piercing. It'd probably have to be a fairly low gauge (very thick) piercing. As in, wider than the rims on a metal pair of glasses. Which is not at all uncommon.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_jewelry_sizes

Seriously, people. Critical thinking skills. Use them. :-P