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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-01-03 18:37
Subject: [travel] TSA, now with even less customer service skills
Security: Public
Tags:california, personal, travel
SFO on a Sunday night, at least in Terminal 3 at the United concourse, is a wee bit understaffed for the passenger load. Everything was moving very slowly, stupidly slowly. The four people in front of me all set off the metal detector with the usual array of coins, belts, cell phones and "huh?"s. When I finally got to the metal detector, I walked through clean, and was promptly waved into the holding pen while "male assist" was called.

I then stood there for five minutes. At least half a dozen women were screened. Several men behind me set off the metal detector, were patted down by the guy who had diverted me and sent on their way. I, who had not set off the metal detector, stood and waited until I finally did something I never do — I backtalked the TSA screener.

I went back out of the pen and asked him why he'd diverted me when I hadn't set off the detector. He said, "Random check." I said, "Then could you please randomly screen me?" He turned away and ignored me. I went back into my pen.

About two minutes later a supervisor came by. The screener told him I'd been in there over five minutes. The supervisor told another screener, who had been standing near me the entire time, to check me. I was, of course, clean, and sent on my way. As I am chronically early to airports, and my flight is delayed anyway, no harm done, but I sure hated watching my stuff through a plexiglass wall while dozens of people filed by, looking it over, and it all stood ignored by the TSA screeners.

I know the front line TSA guys don't make policy, but they ought to have service standards. This wasn't a security issue, it was a staffing issue (presumably) compounded by a communications error.

But what kind of fricking security is it to detain someone with no warnings, and pat-and-wave-on the next raft of guys who set off the detectors?

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User: maurinestarkey
Date: 2010-01-04 03:34 (UTC)
Subject: My experiances...you can nuke it if you like.
I've been screen twice and went through a screening with Crickett Fox. They stopped Crickett and searched her. That was a nightmare. She was so confused. They don't care if it's someone with dementia. They wouldn't let me be with her and her erratic behavior was alarming security. I tried to explain but they weren't listening. Finally I shouted, "Crickett, SIT!". She sat, the security guard backed away and took his hand off his belt. I didn't know if he was going for a gun, mace or a taser. She isn't even five feet tall with early onset Alzheimer's and she was treated like a big bad threat. Outrageous.

The first time I was 'Green Lined' they made me take off my sandals, and they ran a metal detector over my bare feet. Amazing.

The second time was stupid too. I couldn't check in my bag, but it was small enough to fit in overhead. Security got all torqued because I had two exacto knives in my drawing box. I'm an artist, it's a tool. Then the woman who threw my blades away and left me to pack everything back and then ignored me. I couldn't leave until someone gave me the OK. Fortunately another agent caught on to what happened and let me leave. It was some consolation to hear her reprimanding the first agent, "you don't leave people hanging." were the last words I heard as I passed on to my gate.
I'm not a terrorist, and there's nothing worth blowing up in Texas.
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hani: Idiot
User: hani
Date: 2010-01-04 06:48 (UTC)
Subject: Icon's for them
That's really ridiculous. I'm not looking forward to flying this Tuesday.
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User: twilight2000
Date: 2010-01-04 06:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I figure they checked you *because* you cleared so well - figuring you *must* be up to something if you're that good :>
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User: martyn44
Date: 2010-01-04 10:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Long hair? Check. Beard? Check. Spectacles? Check. Artistic inclinations (ie, carrying a book that doesn't have pictures to colour in)? Check. How random do you want it to be?
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User: willyumtx
Date: 2010-01-04 11:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

The above link is from Mental Floss. I find it interesting.
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Janet Chui
User: marrael
Date: 2010-01-04 12:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Eh. I've gotten picked "randomly" at airports so many times I've lost count. And I NEVER set off the detectors. At one point it was really was for ALL the flights I got onto, and there are a lot of flights making up the journey between Singapore and the US... I'm a small Asian woman with glasses and don't know how I look like a threat.

Oh. My dad? Was forced by airport security once to throw away jars of jam he'd bought from one of the AIRPORT GIFT SHOPS.

I hate everything about flying within/to/from the US.
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2010-01-04 13:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My beloved marquis is flying out to California as I type, and will have to deal with all this on his return journey (he rang me from Heathrow earlier and says there all was calm and low key). Like yourself, he is a man with beard and ponytail. He's not going to be happy. Sigh.
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User: threeoutside
Date: 2010-01-04 13:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
As far as I'm concerned, TSA was only EVER about keeping us aware that Herr Bush's iron fist rules us all, all the time, and to provide jobs for some of the over-compensating *real* police-wannabes. Not all TSA staff are like that - most of them, in fact, have always been polite and efficient. But boy, you get a guy with "short man syndrome" in there and you know you're in for some baseless aggravation.

Keeping us safe? Puh-lease.
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Danny Adams
User: madwriter
Date: 2010-01-04 16:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Adding this to my list of reasons why I haven't been on an airplane in eight years. I suppose if I finally make it out to Arizona to visit family and friends I'll have to, but for my annual trips from Virginia to Illinois, a rental car is still consistently proving easier.
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User: farmgirl1146
Date: 2010-01-04 16:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I suggest that weight carried to the front of the stomach may be one of the search triggers. I have read about the screening, I have not flown in years, and there is something specifically said about pregnant women and people whose body confirmation has a rounded abdomen.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-01-04 16:57 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hmm. I can see that. But grr.
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