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I've been going through on PRE for several years, but on the trip I took recently the PRE got lost in the shuffle when I added EB to a Southwest flight out of Dayton, Ohio. TSA folks were plenty surly. Fair enough. I wouldn't want their job. Unless somebody can point out a logical reason for giving me a complete pat down after a body scan, then I'd say this is a good place to start in trying to move things along. What exactly are they going to find on this old lady by doing a pat down when the body scan didn't find anything? Well, they found nothing. I had nothing whatsoever on me that could have set off any kind of alarm.

 

I just remember this: TSA does nothing for actual security. It is there only to provide a "theatre" for people who think "anything as long as it makes me safe" can keep thinking they are safe.

You got the pat down merely because you are an old lady - TSA has to show that they will treat anyone rudely without cause, they can't discriminate or profile.

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I just remember this: TSA does nothing for actual security. It is there only to provide a "theatre" for people who think "anything as long as it makes me safe" can keep thinking they are safe.

You got the pat down merely because you are an old lady - TSA has to show that they will treat anyone rudely without cause, they can't discriminate or profile.

 

I agree with all that you said - and it's all things that I already knew and thought. If I'd gotten the full pat-down at an airport with no full body scan, I wouldn't have given it a second thought. Can't be profiling! But to do it after a body scan? That moves things from "theatre" to "Three Stooges" in my opinion. :D

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I agree with all that you said - and it's all things that I already knew and thought. If I'd gotten the full pat-down at an airport with no full body scan, I wouldn't have given it a second thought. Can't be profiling! But to do it after a body scan? That moves things from "theatre" to "Three Stooges" in my opinion. :D

 

They probably still have to randomly "on purpose" pick people every so often to give the "Freedom Grope" to make the casual traveler feel like TSA is actually doing something to make them safe. Just like the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on iPads (or another tablet) to have a clerk hold and run a randomizer app on it - used to pull people from the regular line and give them the PreCheck line. Not a special program, just a randomizer.

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Shockingly, Pre Check was open at JFK this morning. The Aangel at the Admiral's Club told me that they normally close the line between 10 and 1, but it was open and moving along. There was a TSA Agent in the regular line who should do a training video for all agents. She was getting people to move along, telling them what to do and how to do it to get through quickly.

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So, off the subject a tad bit but it is related.

I was running a little late to the airport after an extremely delayed disembarkation in San Pedro last year. The CBP computers went down at the port and our ride had just left without us ... blah blah blah! We finally made it to the airport all in a huff. I hate running late for anything ... and usually don't cut things short but those circumstances were out of my control.

 

So, we get in the security line with our carry on luggage after a cruise. It was a short cruise, so only one wheelie bag each. We are obviously stressed out ... must have shown on our faces so who do you think they pick in the line to be checked for explosives? Yep ... you guessed it ... it has to be me!

The TSA agent (or maybe just airport security) swabs my hands and puts it into a little machine. They detected explosives on my hands so that bought me a trip out of the line and for a private screening. They swab my shoes ... explosives. They swab the inside of my wheelie bag ... explosives. They swab my clothing ... explosives. It is all over the place! So, that bought me a trip to the super private room for my search and a full body massage (hahaha!) with half my clothes taken off. More explosives detected ... but mostly on my hands, inside my shoes, on my belt loops, the front of my jeans by the zipper, the handle of my wheelie bag and also on some of the contents inside my bag.

Well....they just couldn't find anything particularly dangerous on me though indicating that I was up to no good. Come to find out -- I had mentioned I had been on a cruise and they told me that it was most likely something that is commonly found on cruiseships -- Purell!! I also worked in healthcare so probably have that running through my veins. I have also read that products containing 'glycerin' can cause these false positives for explosives at the airport.

 

I am rather amused by it now .. as of course I have purell all over everything I own when disembarking from a cruise. Mr and Mrs Washy Washy at the entrance of the buffet made sure of that. I just made it onto my flight without that obligatory 90 minute wait at the gate. LOL

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So, off the subject a tad bit but it is related.

 

Exactly the same thing happened to me once at our regional airport, although not quite as extensive as your experience. Made thru security with no problem - little light went on for TSB to allow me thru... then - beep, beep, beep. Stand over here sir (while I waited for an inspector). Swabbed my hands and viola - please come over here for an inspection. They checked everything and found nothing conclusive (didn't have the full body shakedown though). Turns out it was from the soap I had just used in the lav before going thru security. You would think they would learn??

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I just remember this: TSA does nothing for actual security. It is there only to provide a "theatre" for people who think "anything as long as it makes me safe" can keep thinking they are safe.
If you think they do nothing for actual security, do you think the security checks ought to be abolished? Do you think that would have any effect on the risks of an attack on an aircraft?
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If you think they do nothing for actual security, do you think the security checks ought to be abolished? Do you think that would have any effect on the risks of an attack on an aircraft?

 

I think going back to the good old "mag & bag" for everyone would be sufficient. Why do I have to say my name? Why do I have to put on a happy face for them when I'm tired and angry at having to get up at 4am so I can get to the airport for an 8am flight. Why do people have to choose being in pain because they must lift a blown shoulder for the nude-o-scope or have to endure the vagina chop at the hands of some stranger? If more then 3.2 oz of liquid is so dangerous, why do the clerks have us just dump them in the garbage bin next to them instead of calling the hazmat team?

I do not feel any safer when the front-line clerks only have to have a GED or a high-school diploma and are given very minimal training. If a clerk cannot open a document book and find that the GE card is indeed a legal ID, or that they demand to see a drivers license instead of a passport when traveling domestically (both have happened to me). I'd feel better if clerks were required to at least have a security/law enforcement associate degree from a junior college or someplace like ITT Tech, THEN given at least a good month's training in procedures, knowing the documentation, have to have continuing education in psychology of groups, and have actual tests done in the classroom AND practicals on the line where, if you miss something, you are gone, NOT have the results covered up like they are now...

 

Personally, standing in the TSA lines is unnerving for me. I'm still waiting for a terrorist to detonate in that line - it is a target-rich environment just waiting for someone to use. Just like in Brussels. There are too many easy ways to get something through the employee portals (so I've heard lately from the talking heads on TV this past week).

Edited by slidergirl
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... (so I've heard lately from the talking heads on TV this past week).
Thank you. I suspect that if you actually worked in aviation security or counter-terrorism, you might have a different view about what is and isn't effective.
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There are too many easy ways to get something through the employee portals (so I've heard lately from the talking heads on TV this past week).
I'll just say that the elevator in the South Satellite at SEA has a notice from TSA. It tells non-flying employees (both airline and ground) that it is OK for them to bring in liquids of over 100ml, so long as they do it through screening portals other than than the main passenger checkpoints.

 

Guess that they can bring in the liquid explosives, leave them for a confederate, but we have to endure the Freedom Baggie.

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Thank you. I suspect that if you actually worked in aviation security or counter-terrorism, you might have a different view about what is and isn't effective.

 

I am sure that I might have a different opinion. but, for now, based on my own experiences and those I see on FT and here on CC, and what my friends tell me of their own experiences, I have very little faith in our TSA. It may be OK for the "casual" terrorist, just like locks on bags may keep the "casual" thief from looting my bag.

 

My trip last month from SJU to VQE had no TSA check done. My fellow passengers and I got to walk through the operational belly of T1 out to the tarmac. We were "allowed" to bring any size bottles of liquid with us - they even had bottles of water in the "waiting lounge" that we were welcome to take. Good way for someone to "leave" something for any of those employees working T1 plane side (T1 is where JetBlue bases, as well as some Caribbean commuter lines).

Edited by slidergirl
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My trip last month from SJU to VQE had no TSA check done. My fellow passengers and I got to walk through the operational belly of T1 out to the tarmac. We were "allowed" to bring any size bottles of liquid with us - they even had bottles of water in the "waiting lounge" that we were welcome to take. Good way for someone to "leave" something for any of those employees working T1 plane side (T1 is where JetBlue bases, as well as some Caribbean commuter lines).
Are you going to explain what inference we can draw from this experience, without having any further details about what your trip was and who you were flying with and on what? It would not be unique to find that even a scheduled airline flight has no security screening requirement.

 

The TSA has lots of issues, and it's been variously cack-handed in different ways dating right back to when it was formed as a knee-jerk reaction to US aviation security having been complacently over-lax for years. But you were seeming to suggest that there is absolutely no point in aviation security other than as "theatre". I know that that's the view taken by some of the tinfoil hat wearers on the TS&S board on FT. But that's as unreasonable a view about what aviation security achieves as those who think that everything the TSA does must be right because it protects us from [insert favourite bogeyman of choice].

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I'm 6'8", I have a part time job that sometimes I have to work at various stores behind security at airports as well as my own travel.

Since we do not work a the airport we can not keep our shoes on and go thru the metal detector so it is always (98%) the Millimeter wave scanner.

At 6'8" guess which part of my body always alerts?

 

Yup, yellow square on my head each and every time thru. Seems my head is outside the sensor detection range, up where most people's hands are.

 

Sometimes I'm asked to bend down so they can stare at my bald spot to see what explosive I'm hiding there.

 

Sometimes they ask me if they can touch my head.

Depending the mood I'm in I may ask them to re-glove before they touch my head.

Wow the different reactions I get from TSA; from complying to why am I being a pain to getting a supervisor to the full body inspection.

At least I'm on the clock.... But seriously you have been patting down people with those gloves, even their clothes and you are asking me to allow you touch my head?

 

I guess I'm just wrong in asking, I still can't figure out what I could be hiding in my receding hairline...

 

Don't get me started about the reactions I get when my hands hit the roof of the scanner, there is no other place for them to go and your arms can't be by your side...

TSA, their business to touch your business. (OK, tag line is from an SNL skit)

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I'm reading through this thread because we're planning on a flight to Amsterdam for a river cruise in August. Our flight from EWR to Amsterdam leaves at 6:15pm on a Tuesday.

 

Most of the flights we do are from EWR to BDA at 11am - not exactly peak. We've gotten the TSA pre-check printed on our boarding passes the last two times and it was wonderful (through United's Frequent Flier program). We've traveled enough to know what to do without being very frequent fliers, but it's so nice not to have to deal with the shoes, and the liquids and the laptop. And when you're coming back from Bermuda you do Customs & Immigration in Bermuda - so that's a breeze.

 

I've been reading about nightmare lines, and I've also read that they are cutting back on issuing the Pre-check through the frequent flier programs. We're flying Delta to Amsterdam - a new airline for us, though we have joined their frequent flier program. I'm thinking we probably won't get the TSA Pre-check stamp. But we are also flying business/first - which is also a first for us.

 

So I have no idea what to expect - and I hate that :D. I was thinking of doing the GOES card, but our flight is in August - is there time to get it? Is it worth it? Our return flight is Zurich to JFK.

 

Are there special lines for business/first? From my reading on the Delta site - it sounds like it.

 

I'm inclined to do it, but it seems like a lot of trouble (with the appointment and all), but if it means we can get to the airport 2-3 hours ahead rather than 4 hours (and not being able to check bags).

 

I have to convince DH that it's worth it to get the GOES card and if we get to the airport and still have a nightmare line to deal with - he's going to be a bear :D

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Our flight from EWR to Amsterdam leaves at 6:15pm on a Tuesday.

 

We're flying Delta to Amsterdam - a new airline for us, though we have joined their frequent flier program. I'm thinking we probably won't get the TSA Pre-check stamp. But we are also flying business/first - which is also a first for us.

 

So I have no idea what to expect - and I hate that :D. I was thinking of doing the GOES card, but our flight is in August - is there time to get it? Is it worth it? Our return flight is Zurich to JFK.

 

Are there special lines for business/first? From my reading on the Delta site - it sounds like it.

 

 

1. Flying business/first has no bearing on whether or not you randomly will be assigned PreCheck or not.

 

2. Only you can decide if getting a GOES card is worth it or not. Much will depend on how often you fly internationally.

 

3. It's been ages since I flew through EWR, so I have no idea whether or not there's a Priority line at security for Delta Sky Priority pax. EWR isn't a DL hub though so I'd doubt it. Someone more familiar with the airport can say for sure.

 

4. If you are mainly concerned about expediting the security process you can purchase PreCheck without getting GOES.

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I'm reading through this thread because we're planning on a flight to Amsterdam for a river cruise in August. Our flight from EWR to Amsterdam leaves at 6:15pm on a Tuesday.

 

Most of the flights we do are from EWR to BDA at 11am - not exactly peak. We've gotten the TSA pre-check printed on our boarding passes the last two times and it was wonderful (through United's Frequent Flier program). We've traveled enough to know what to do without being very frequent fliers, but it's so nice not to have to deal with the shoes, and the liquids and the laptop. And when you're coming back from Bermuda you do Customs & Immigration in Bermuda - so that's a breeze.

 

I've been reading about nightmare lines, and I've also read that they are cutting back on issuing the Pre-check through the frequent flier programs. We're flying Delta to Amsterdam - a new airline for us, though we have joined their frequent flier program. I'm thinking we probably won't get the TSA Pre-check stamp. But we are also flying business/first - which is also a first for us.

 

So I have no idea what to expect - and I hate that :D. I was thinking of doing the GOES card, but our flight is in August - is there time to get it? Is it worth it? Our return flight is Zurich to JFK.

 

Are there special lines for business/first? From my reading on the Delta site - it sounds like it.

 

I'm inclined to do it, but it seems like a lot of trouble (with the appointment and all), but if it means we can get to the airport 2-3 hours ahead rather than 4 hours (and not being able to check bags).

 

I have to convince DH that it's worth it to get the GOES card and if we get to the airport and still have a nightmare line to deal with - he's going to be a bear :D

 

Cyber Kat,

 

If you are in Business with Delta (or sky team partner) You will use the Sky Priority Lane for US and international terminals for security and passport control. If we didn't have Sky Priority changing from our international flight from LA at CDG to our flight to Amsterdam last month, I don't think we would have made our connection. On the return last week we were on KLM to CDG and the KLM agent who checked us in personally took us, lifting security ropes, to the head of the security line. The security line was very large on a Saturday afternoon. Security at AMS was very thorough. We were allowed to keep our shoes on, but everything else went in the bin: liquids, ipad jackets and even the scarf I had around my neck. Our caryons were opened as well.

 

Don't forget, with business on Delta or Sky Team international you have use of the Lounges before and during your flights.

 

We don't have any of the GlobalAccess or similar programs, and didn't find ourselves inconvenienced.

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Thank you. I suspect that if you actually worked in aviation security or counter-terrorism, you might have a different view about what is and isn't effective.

 

 

 

I can say definitively that there has been an ongoing problem at MCO with contraband that has included drugs and automatic weapons being smuggled into the sterile concourse by badged airport/carrier employees no crews as well as TSA agents. It is public record, admitted to by LEO including various Federal agencies, and irrefutable. Yet they spend their time searching grannies Depends rather than securing the real gaping holes in our airspace and national security.

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Are you going to explain what inference we can draw from this experience, without having any further details about what your trip was and who you were flying with and on what? It would not be unique to find that even a scheduled airline flight has no security screening requirement.

 

The TSA has lots of issues, and it's been variously cack-handed in different ways dating right back to when it was formed as a knee-jerk reaction to US aviation security having been complacently over-lax for years. But you were seeming to suggest that there is absolutely no point in aviation security other than as "theatre". I know that that's the view taken by some of the tinfoil hat wearers on the TS&S board on FT. But that's as unreasonable a view about what aviation security achieves as those who think that everything the TSA does must be right because it protects us from [insert favourite bogeyman of choice].

 

OK. More details. Vieques Air Link from SJU to VQE. Check-in is in T1, right next to the JetBlue counters. The only thing we had to do was to pass our bags through the Ag Check. Absolutely no TSA checking, did not go through the checkpoint. Counter agent checked our IDs, nothing more. There is a little lounge area upstairs from Jet Blue for the island-hopping airline passengers. When it is flight time, we were escorted by one VAL employee down through what I think was where baggage comes and goes from planes at T1. We were out on the tarmac, and lead to our plane. Same thing coming back, but without the Ag Check.

 

I am not against true aviation security. I know there are things "behind the curtain" that actually do good. But the big show of force at the checkpoints do come off more as theatre than something actually working towards security. I do opt out, and I've been belittled and yelled at more times that I care to remember for doing something that 1)I am allowed to do and 2)I must do due to a physical issue… if liquids were really so dangerous in 101ml bottles, why do we just dump them in the trash? if a 3/4 empty toothpaste tube was so dangerous, why do we just dump them in the trash? It's stuff that this that seems so unnecessary, yet are part of the "show" to me… The tin hats are fun to read, though...

I've been through security at Ben Gurion a few times. You find agents with college degrees with extensive training. I was amazed at the interviewers' abilities to drill down to the next level when I gave them answers. My questions were totally different from my spouse's (me - tagged along for fun on his business trips). Never see that with a TSA BDO. If Ben Gurion's security techniques and education requirements and training were scalable to the US (it isn't - one airport vs hundreds of airports), I would not mind the process at all because it is well thought out and performed by competent people.

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OK. More details. Vieques Air Link from SJU to VQE. Check-in is in T1, right next to the JetBlue counters. The only thing we had to do was to pass our bags through the Ag Check. Absolutely no TSA checking, did not go through the checkpoint. Counter agent checked our IDs, nothing more. There is a little lounge area upstairs from Jet Blue for the island-hopping airline passengers. When it is flight time, we were escorted by one VAL employee down through what I think was where baggage comes and goes from planes at T1. We were out on the tarmac, and lead to our plane. Same thing coming back, but without the Ag Check.
It sounds like you never physically mixed with "normal" airline passengers who were required to pass the security checkpoint and had done so. Is that right? (BTW, the code for Vieques is VQS.)
… if liquids were really so dangerous in 101ml bottles, why do we just dump them in the trash?
Is this really a serious question? You've now made this point twice, and it is a classic tinfoil hat question. If you really are asking this, you may need to think a bit more about what the liquids restriction is there to do.
If Ben Gurion's security techniques and education requirements and training were scalable to the US (it isn't - one airport vs hundreds of airports), I would not mind the process at all because it is well thought out and performed by competent people.
How often do you fly through TLV? Have you talked to people who have to go there a couple of times a month? Do they mind? Most people that I know in that category do, because it is a right pain in the neck if you have to do it all the time. I suspect that if you had to put up with the intrusive questioning every time you flew anywhere within the US, you would rapidly begin to mind it immensely.
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Cyber Kat,

 

If you are in Business with Delta (or sky team partner) You will use the Sky Priority Lane for US and international terminals for security and passport control. If we didn't have Sky Priority changing from our international flight from LA at CDG to our flight to Amsterdam last month, I don't think we would have made our connection. On the return last week we were on KLM to CDG and the KLM agent who checked us in personally took us, lifting security ropes, to the head of the security line. The security line was very large on a Saturday afternoon. Security at AMS was very thorough. We were allowed to keep our shoes on, but everything else went in the bin: liquids, ipad jackets and even the scarf I had around my neck. Our caryons were opened as well.

 

Don't forget, with business on Delta or Sky Team international you have use of the Lounges before and during your flights.

 

We don't have any of the GlobalAccess or similar programs, and didn't find ourselves inconvenienced.

 

Thanks - this was very helpful. I'd read about Sky Priority on the Delta site, but it wasn't very clear. I'm used to putting things in the bins - but I'd be glad to keep my shoes on. I hate that - I want really thick socks to walk where all those other people (some with bare feet) are walking!

 

And I'm looking forward to using the lounge!

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It sounds like you never physically mixed with "normal" airline passengers who were required to pass the security checkpoint and had done so. Is that right? (BTW, the code for Vieques is VQS.)Is this really a serious question? You've now made this point twice, and it is a classic tinfoil hat question. If you really are asking this, you may need to think a bit more about what the liquids restriction is there to do.How often do you fly through TLV? Have you talked to people who have to go there a couple of times a month? Do they mind? Most people that I know in that category do, because it is a right pain in the neck if you have to do it all the time. I suspect that if you had to put up with the intrusive questioning every time you flew anywhere within the US, you would rapidly begin to mind it immensely.

 

Sigh.

We may not have mixed with the JetBlue folks, but there were others who were on other flights from VAL and another airline who were up in the lounge. I'm not sure that your point is that I didn't mix with JetBlue people.

The "tin hat" crap you talk about - is that all you have to offer about why a 101ml bottle is contraband, yet goes into a regular trash bin? I know it was a knee-jerk reaction to the possibility of a group of people bringing in separate bottles of stuff that, when mixed together in the lavatory, theoretically could become a bomb. Not sure why a single bottle would be different from a kippie bag stuffed with "legal" bottles of same liquids. I have not read any rationale for it. If it is only whack jobs who think of this, then there are a whole bunch of us here on CC. People flying out of TLV may think the questioning is a PIA, but I believe the nonsensical screening I have to go through domestically is also a PIA. Like I said, it isn't scalable to the US.

Done arguing with this - we will have to agree to disagree.

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We may not have mixed with the JetBlue folks, but there were others who were on other flights from VAL and another airline who were up in the lounge. I'm not sure that your point is that I didn't mix with JetBlue people.
I suspect that you did not mix with, and could not have mixed with, passengers who required screening. You will no doubt have seen comparable mechanisms to achieve this at other airports where some flights' passengers must be screened but other flights' passengers do not require screening.
The "tin hat" crap you talk about - is that all you have to offer about why a 101ml bottle is contraband, yet goes into a regular trash bin? I know it was a knee-jerk reaction to the possibility of a group of people bringing in separate bottles of stuff that, when mixed together in the lavatory, theoretically could become a bomb. Not sure why a single bottle would be different from a kippie bag stuffed with "legal" bottles of same liquids. I have not read any rationale for it.
Because it is a clear bright-line rule that imposes an effective volumetric control on each passenger, who is in practice capped at somewhere around 600 ml of LAGs in total because you actually can't get more than that much into a baggie. The practical limit is achieved by a combination of the control on the size of individual bottles and the size of the baggie. You need to have a bright-line rule to make this sort of thing work quickly, as it has to in a high-volume environment - otherwise you get difficult people arguing the toss with questions like "If 100 ml is OK, why isn't 101 ml OK?" And 100 ml is used as the bright-line rule because it's such a common measure.

 

If you didn't already know this, how were you in any position to criticise?

People flying out of TLV may think the questioning is a PIA, but I believe the nonsensical screening I have to go through domestically is also a PIA. Like I said, it isn't scalable to the US.
And as long as it isn't scalable to the US, you will have to go through traditional security screening methods. The TSA can dish out an awful lot of crap when implementing them; but if you accept that you would never put up with Israeli-style security at US airports and that it will never happen there, then waxing lyrical about those techniques and Israeli staff is just a pipe dream.
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Sigh again…

 

Since you seem to be the expert in the internal ways of TSA and it's logical illogical rules…

 

Please contact whoever you know inside TSA responsible for these things and let them know that they need to train their clerks to know that a 100ml - only labeled container is "allowed" - it does not need to be marked 3.2 oz… Had that discussion with a few before, also, especially at JFK coming back from Europe.

 

So, you 'd be OK if they decided that 3.1oz was the bright line? because someone has decided that enough 3.2oz containers with binary solutions could be combined in the lav by someone?

 

You don't need to respond. I'm not going to look at this thread anymore. Done, over, out.

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Since you seem to be the expert in the internal ways of TSA and it's logical illogical rules…

 

Please contact whoever you know inside TSA responsible for these things and let them know that they need to train their clerks to know that a 100ml - only labeled container is "allowed" - it does not need to be marked 3.2 oz… Had that discussion with a few before, also, especially at JFK coming back from Europe.

 

So, you 'd be OK if they decided that 3.1oz was the bright line? because someone has decided that enough 3.2oz containers with binary solutions could be combined in the lav by someone?

I don't know anyone inside the TSA and I don't need to, because all of that is published information. And these rules are international standards, so I don't know why you keep griping specifically about the TSA setting these rules.

 

The international standards could set that bright line at any point that achieved the object of the exercise, which I've explained. But as it happens, it's been set where it's been set because 100 ml is such a common measure - so it makes sense to do that because it means that plenty of people can buy and carry 100 ml containers without difficulty.

 

How would you implement a volumetric restriction that can be verified within about a second or so per passenger, which is how long it normally takes a screener to check your baggie? It would be interesting to see you come up with a plan for that.

 

And I think that you've missed me saying several times that I think that the TSA does some things badly. TSA hassle is one of the reasons I seldom bother to come to the US any more (and other bits of CBP hassle add to that).

 

But none of that means that this is all pointless theatre, as you seem to think.

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What about union contracts that don't allow split shifts?

 

I have seen dozens of TSA agents just standing around BSing.

 

What about part time non union jobs of directing traffic instead of TSA agent?

 

I think a high school student could tell people to remove shoes and belts and does not require a unionized TSA agent.

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