Tag: "TSA"

Former TSA agent writing book about TSA

It sounds a little like a cliche – a creative writing major (Jason Harrington) gets a job with TSA to pay for school. Then he writes a book about how bad things are at TSA.

Is this a trustworthy source or just the exaggerations of a disgruntled (former) employee? I have no clue but this short article is an interesting read at least.

And if you want more to read about America’s TSA, we have some stuff here.

Are you a trusted traveler and an American citizen?

TSA, in its continuing effort to keep Americans safe while avoiding as much public humiliation as possible, is readying a new program in which select travelers won’t need to take off their shoes, remove their laptops, and so on.

This could make lines at security checkpoints in American airports more efficient. Personally, I would like to be a trusted traveler for the status – I would like to leave my shoes on while everybody else gets their socks dirty.

According to the comments, you pay $85 for this status and to keep your socks clean. Interesting that I was unable to find that bit of information in the article but poor reporting is nothing new, is it? If the comments are correct, I think improved status will continue to elude me because I’m cheap.

From the article: Passengers who are eligible for PreCheck include U.S. citizens of frequent traveler programs who are invited to apply by participating airlines. The airlines include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America.

Additionally, U.S. citizens who are members of a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler program and Canadian citizens who are members of the NEXUS expedited travel program qualify to participate.

TSA, of course, reserves the right to randomly force a trusted traveler to go through the normal security hoops.

Would you pay $85 to become a Trusted traveler? Assume for the purposes of this question that you meet all eligibility requirements.

Head to the front of TSA’s security line

In US airports, fliers can pay to cut the security line. Why do some get preferential treatment from the TSA? Do they pay the airline for this or do they somehow pay TSA through more than just taxes?

At a growing number of airports, special agents will meet these celebrities, high-powered executives and wealthy vacationers at the curb and will privately escort them from check-in to security to boarding.

American Airlines built a private check-in lobby in Los Angeles for VIPs who are greeted by name, given preprinted boarding passes and then whisked by elevator to the front of the security line.

First, I wonder if it’s fair for richer folks to cut the line. Sure they pay more the first class ticket, but that’s for a big seat in the front of the plane. TSA is supposed to be there to provide security and you would think that their service should be applied equally to everyone. It’s not like a former Miss America should be immune to getting searched so why would someone special get to skip the wait?

Second, I wonder if the elite who get to skip the line are treated differently than the common fliers. If common sense tells you that they do receive special treatment, does that mean they are screened quicker / less thoroughly? Are they less likely to have their bags opened or to be strip searched or whatever is getting TSA in trouble at the moment?

What will TSA do with 40 million dollars worth of full body scanners?

TSA will stop using full body scanners because…

“Due to its inability to deploy non-imaging Automated Target Recognition (ATR) software by the Congressionally-mandated June 2013 deadline, TSA has terminated its contract with Rapiscan,” the agency said on its website. “By June 2013 travelers will only see machines which have ATR that allow for faster throughput. This means faster lanes for the traveler and enhanced security. As always, use of this technology is optional.”

This probably means that the 40 million they spent on the machines has basically been flushed down the toilet to fix a problem that didn’t exist since I don’t think you need nude pictures of a person to determine if they have weapons. TSA could have used that money for better training and higher salaries which would draw candidates who don’t do stupid stuff and make stupid statements.

Any time a passenger requests a private screening, they should be granted one

Another TSA controversy. Sometimes I take a shot at defending TSA but not this time. This time they wanted a woman dying from cancer to remove her bandages so they could get a look at the tubes in her torso. Everyone else in line got a glimpse as well. According to the victim, Michelle Dunaj, she suggested a private screening:

“I asked them if they thought that was an appropriate location, and they told me that everything was fine,” she said.

“Any time a passenger requests a private screening, they should be granted one,” Northwest Region spokeswoman Lorie Dankers said.

I’m not sure if that’s technically a request for a private screening, but it shouldn’t take more than a mild suggestion for someone to have the tubes keeping them alive kept private. In fact, TSA should suggest more privacy. And obviously they should be more careful (they ripped one of her saline bags) and polite (they were as rude to her as they are to everyone else). At least they didn’t allow a passenger with a sword on the plane.