Why should you feel like a victim to just visit grandma? [©2010 M.Trombly / M.Prophet Photography]

Why should you feel like a victim to just visit grandma? ©2010 M.Trombly / M.Prophet Photography

I normally don’t like to write about super popular things that you can see all over the news, but hating on the TSA didn’t used to be so popular. I have been very critical of the TSA and their “security theater” for quite sometime and it looks like they are finally getting some of the attention they deserve.  Passengers, pilots and even TSA employees are standing up and saying no to aggressive body scanners and pat downs. This makes me happy.

Since I don’t like being angry and writing on the TSA always makes me angry, I am not going to spend a heck of a lot of time talking about what has been going on, but link to other sites that provide much more detail. There has been a lot going on with the TSA since their ban on printer cartridges a while back. Here are some of the highlights:

* Airports can opt-out of TSA: If an airport is fed up with what the TSA is doing, they can kick them to the curb and get private security. But not so fast cowboy, guess what? If you go with a private company, they have to follow all the same rules and are regulated by the TSA. Really, other than politically telling the TSA you are not happy, it won’t help passengers any.

* Pilots don’t need to be scanned or groped: After lots of protest from pilots and their unions, they no longer need to get body scans or enhanced pat downs. This just makes sense. Why should someone who has total access to the cockpit need to be scanned? If a pilot wants to do harm (hopefully that will never happen) they do not need any special devices to do so. I only ask that flight attendants and maybe someday passengers can get that same level of treatment.

* Do not hate on the screeners: Steven Frischling on his blog Flying with Fish takes a look at these enhanced patdowns from the screener’s perspective. He spoke with 17 of them and they had some pretty powerful things to say. Many are not happy about having to violate a person’s personal space nor the hurtful comments they receive daily. One of the quotes that stuck out to me: “I don’t know how much longer I can withstand this taunting. I go home and I cry. I am serving my country, I should not have to go home and cry after a day of honorably serving my country.”

* Photography of TSA security area IS LEGAL at most airports: Again from Frischling’s blog (he does a lot with the TSA), he talks about how he was recently detained at Hartford’s Bradley International Airport (BDL) by the TSA and a state trooper for committing a federal offense. Luckily Frischling had some TSA folks on speed dial and he was released, but what about those that do not have those sort of connections to the TSA? If you take photographs of the TSA security process, make sure you know your local rules and be polite and professional if you are questioned. However,  definitely stand up for your rights, I wish I would have during my TSA encounter.

* The TSA is listening, but not caring: I have talked before about the “TalktoTSA” program, where they seem to take feedback, but not really care to reply. Now the TSA Administrator John S. Pistol has posted a video via YouTube to assure all of us that the TSA is ONLY caring about our safety and will continue their privacy invading body scans and “enhanced” pat downs. Mr. Pistol, you need to listen to the people you are supposedly put in charge to protect.

* We do not have the same parts: Many people argue we all have the same parts and why should it matter that we get scanned or groped? We we do not. I recently talked about a transgendered person having issues and more recently a man ended up urinating on himself, being humiliated by the TSA.

Argh. See, now I am angry. Did I miss anything? I just feel lucky I am not planning to travel at all during the holidays, but good luck to the rest of you that will be flying. If you need a little humor to add to this situation, check out this great TSA video from Saturday Night Live.

Photo from FlyWithDignity.com

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: david@airlinereporter.com

Body Scanner Boycott Tomorrow Nov 24th. Will You Participate?

Don’t just “opt out” of naked scanners only to be sexually molested/assaulted, instead. Boycott Flying COMPLETELY, until sanity returns! Please join us: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Boycott-Flying/126801010710392

I don’t understand why everyone is blaming the TSA for this. This entire issue was caused by 9/11 and the subsequent bombing attempts on commercial aircraft. The flying public should be demanding that the U.S. military (and allies) take action against the groups that caused the increase in security measures (not action like we are taking now – something more aggressive). Lets assume that the TSA would relax the security measures recently put into place and there would be an incident on a US commercial airliner where there would be loss of life due to a militant suicide bomber that got on to the plane and blew it up. What would the public whine about after that? ‘How come the government didn’t protect me?’

BigSix: The issue is not about aviation safety, it is about aviation safety theater. TSA is an out-of control bureaucracy and has decided that the travelling public is guilty until proven innocent. Their training is inadequate (according to their own Inspector General) there are entirely too many rogue agents, and they set policy with no public review.

Is it right that, as a joke, TSA agents put bags of white power into hand carry baggage in an effort to see what the person’s reaction is (usually cute females). Is it right that so many TSA agents are caughts stealing from peoples checked and unchecked baggage. Is ir right that TSA agents subject people to interrogation simply because they are carryinglarge amounts of cash (under $10,000, domestic flights). In their mindset, the mere fact that one has cash means that one must be guilty of something.

Is it right that the TSA rountinelty separates people from their hand-carry baggage, making travelers vulnerable to theft, or that TSA agents on the East Coast routinely stole cas from the bags on non-resident travelers, under the theory they were just a bunch of foreigners.

No, my friend, the revolt against TSA is not a revolt against airline security. it is a revolt against thuggery at the airport, and about insane procedures that do not increase safety but rather try to create the illusion of safety.

I just flew DEN-LAX on Nov 20. I was expecting the worst after all these news stories, but it was business as usual. I went through the old style metal detector and that was that. No extra pat downs or inspections. While watching others in front of me it was the same for them. Is this all being blown out of proportion for a good news story? I don’t know.. but I sure didn’t have any issues. Am flying home LAS-Den so I guess I will see if I have a different experience there.

Hey Dan,

It can just be the luck of the draw. Never everyone has to go through the body scanners. I have been to quite a few airports with them, but have only seen them used once. I think that no knowing if you even have to go through that ordeal or not adds a lot of anxiety to passengers as well.


All this complaints about perverts and such on the news. Can you request a private examination from a TSA member of the opposite sex?

I have difficulty swallowing the line that TSA screeners are serving their country. Someone’s been drinking too much kool-aid.

And at which airport was that photo taken at? I would not mind visiting that airport. JK 🙂

FSX Virtual Airlines

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