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Stricter Private Security Before TSA Checkpoint  
User currently offlinewashingtonian From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (3 years 12 months 16 hours ago) and read 5340 times:

On my last two flights, I've noticed that the private security employees before TSA checkpoints (the ones who usually glance to make sure you have a boarding pass) are getting strict with enforcing the airlines' carry-on policy. At MIA the other day, they made a friend consolidate her bags. At the Marine Air Terminal at LGA yesterday, the security guard was extremely rude to the lady behind me in line: she was carrying a purse, a small suitcase, and a tennis racquet. The lady said she had no problem coming up to NY on the Shuttle, but the guard was aggressive with her. The result, since the tennis racquet could not fit in the small suitcase, was that the lady had to put her purse in the suitcase and then remove it after the TSA checkpoint. Pretty ridiculous if you ask me.

My question: What would happen if the lady had just ignored the private security guard? As far as I know, these are not TSA regulations.

38 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineLONGisland89 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 735 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 12 months 14 hours ago) and read 5173 times:

I always wondered the same thing. More than 50% of the time I travel, this non-airline "airport employee" usually has an attitude and a false sense of authority. I usually just ignore what ever they say. For example, I mentioned to one individual that I travel several times a month and that I was a non-rev. I usually then walk away while they ponder what "non-rev" means.

User currently offlineikramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21516 posts, RR: 60
Reply 2, posted (3 years 12 months 14 hours ago) and read 5108 times:

I suppose next time something like that happens, one could simply say...

1. "Do you work for XX airline?" (the airline you are flying that day)
answer will likely be NO
2. "Do you work for the TSA?"
answer will be NO
3. "Then I think we finished discussing my luggage."



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineWoof From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (3 years 12 months 13 hours ago) and read 5025 times:

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 2):
I suppose next time something like that happens, one could simply say...

1. "Do you work for XX airline?" (the airline you are flying that day)
answer will likely be NO
2. "Do you work for the TSA?"
answer will be NO
3. "Then I think we finished discussing my luggage."

In the UK we would probably abbreviate that as Foxtrot Oscar Over.


User currently offlineikramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21516 posts, RR: 60
Reply 4, posted (3 years 12 months 12 hours ago) and read 4855 times:

Quoting Woof (Reply 3):
In the UK we would probably abbreviate that as Foxtrot Oscar Over.

Yes, but I'm trying to avoid having the police called on me. The security has no authority other than to call someone in power. They are contracted to maintain security in the TSA lines and make sure you are in the right one. They aren't even charged with checking IDs, and if they want to talk to you about your luggage, they better have a TSA badge or airline uniform.

After all, how does the power happy security guard know that you aren't split up from your party in the terminal already and are carrying the luggage for them? This happens a lot with families where Mom takes the kids inside while Dad parks the car, for example. Or someone goes in with grandma who's in a wheelchair while others return the rental car. The limit on carry-ons is per person at boarding, not per person at the TSA checkpoint and certainly not per person when some random security guard tells you they are in charge.



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineckfred From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 5225 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (3 years 12 months 9 hours ago) and read 4693 times:

While the rule is 1 carry-on and 1 personal item per person, TSA also enforces it. My wife has had TSA screeners (people with TSA on their uniform and the cloth badge stiched on a shirt or sweater) tell her that she has too many items.

This is despite the fact that at PIT, she gate checks her rollerboard while carrying her laptop bag and purse into the cabin on an Eagle Embrear 135/140/145.

So while AA doesn't care how many bags she brings through security, so long as only 2 items go aboard in the cabin, TSA has had a major problem with the number of items she tries to take through security.


User currently offlinechrisair From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 2103 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (3 years 12 months 9 hours ago) and read 4668 times:

These people are the worst at SFO T1. The two in particular are these two older Asian women who don't speak much english. One in particular insists on looking at your BP/ID before the TSA person. I've given up trying to reason with them after showing them my WN A-list card and trying to use the express lane (or whatever it's called). No matter if I'm on WN or AS in F, they insist on telling me to use the other lane with a long line. Now, I just walk right past them and ignore them. I certainly would never show them my BP/ID. They can go pound sand for all I care.

User currently offlineB777LRF From Luxembourg, joined Nov 2008, 1334 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 4347 times:

They're basically rent-a-guns, but without the guns. They have no official authority, only an elevated sense of utterly unfounded importance. People like that are to be ignored at leisure. If they ask you a question, apart from seeing your BP, just ignore them and keep on walking.


From receips and radials over straight pipes to big fans - been there, done that, got the hearing defects to prove
User currently offlinerunway23 From US Minor Outlying Islands, joined Jan 2005, 2192 posts, RR: 35
Reply 8, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 4316 times:

Quoting B777LRF (Reply 7):
They're basically rent-a-guns, but without the guns. They have no official authority, only an elevated sense of utterly unfounded importance. People like that are to be ignored at leisure. If they ask you a question, apart from seeing your BP, just ignore them and keep on walking.

This reminds me of a few years back at Gatwick when they first brought in the yellow shirts (i'm not sure they were already yellow at that point). There was nobody at security, but a very long ropped area that you had to zig-zag back and fourth about 12 times to get to the security point.

Being in a hurry and not having anyone in front or behind of me, I ducked under the rope and went forward. This didn't please the yellow shirt who started running after me and screaming. My first reply was, who do you think you are. He continued shouting and being quite aggressive and obviously I got quite annoyed and told him to shut up. He threatened to get me kicked off my flight but I continued forward and he didn't follow behind that.

I ignore all those rent-a-cop fools at security, for me they are there to help old grandma's who fly once in a decade, but ultimately get in the way of experience travelers with nonsense questions that slow down the process more than anything else.


User currently offlinemrocktor From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1668 posts, RR: 50
Reply 9, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 4224 times:

So now anyone without a government badge is to be disrespected and treated with contempt. All trust in the TSA. Something doesn't add up... but carry on (no pun intended).

User currently offlineatcsundevil From Germany, joined Mar 2010, 1202 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 4136 times:

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 4):
The security has no authority other than to call someone in power.

So...they're mall cops. The only difference is that mall cops wear lots of shiny badges and ribbons, but airport security look more like bus drivers. They don't actually secure anything except their own sense of entitlement.

Just to clarify the following: I'm very rarely a jerk to people doing their jobs, but when they start by saying, "Hey you, can't you read the damn sign?", they lose my respect, and then my attention. One of these "security" workers tried to stop me (don't remember where) for having a backpack and a shopping bag, which apparently makes me illiterate. I just looked at her like she was stupid and walked away (because apparently I'm stupid and can't read the damn sign), ignoring her repeated sassy attempts to try and get my attention, and of course, nothing came of it. TSA couldn't have cared less; same with the airline. Feel free to use my technique.



1954 1974 1990 2014 -- Los geht's!
User currently offlineAustrianZRH From Austria, joined Aug 2007, 1384 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 4114 times:

Reminds me of that wannabe-officer in ORD. Two counters in use, intl terminal. At one of them, an Indian family was processed, the other one was free. A big mistake I made there in just walking up. The woman started to shout shoo shoo shoo and made gestures like pushing me away. When I stepped back two yards, she waved me towards her, grabbed my boarding pass and passport without comment and started flipping around in my passport with the rudest face I've ever seen. Then she tagged my boarding pass, looked in the other direction (towards the wall), grunted and made a very rude gesture waving me towards the TSA checkpoint. My girlfriend in line behind me: exactly the same, including shooing away and waving on again. What's the problem with those pople?


WARNING! The post above should be taken with a grain of salt! Furthermore, it may be slightly biased towards A.
User currently offlineexFATboy From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2974 posts, RR: 9
Reply 12, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 4029 times:

Quoting ckfred (Reply 5):
While the rule is 1 carry-on and 1 personal item per person, TSA also enforces it. My wife has had TSA screeners (people with TSA on their uniform and the cloth badge stiched on a shirt or sweater) tell her that she has too many items.

I've only seen TSA enforce carry-on limitations once - a guy at EWR who was by himself and had 2 rollaboards, a computer bag, a duffle bag, and a small backpack...he kept having to run back and forth moving his stuff every time the line moved. Even then the TSA agent asked him if he was traveling with someone else who would meet him before boarding. When he answered "no", the agent told him he really did need to check some of the stuff.

Other than that, the only time I've ever seen TSA turn people back for luggage issues is if their bag is so big it isn't going to fit in the x-ray machine.

I suspect this may be one of those issues where TSA is just very inconsistent from airport to airport.

Quoting mrocktor (Reply 9):
So now anyone without a government badge is to be disrespected and treated with contempt. All trust in the TSA.

I don't agree that they should be treated with contempt, but I don't tolerate their attempts to exercise authority they do not have. I've (politely) pointed out that lack of authority to them a couple of times, but would never get to the point of seriously dressing them down unless they get really belligerent or persistent about it.


User currently offlinexero9 From Canada, joined Feb 2007, 153 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 3650 times:

So just out of curiosity.. I'm all for ignoring people who have no authority what so ever, especially if they're going to slow me down or be rude to me, but how does one know who they can blow off without any recourse and one who will pull out a Taser so you can be the next featured video on YouTube? Are we safe to ignore anyone who doesn't work for the airline or TSA?

User currently offlinechrisair From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 2103 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 3529 times:

Quoting xero9 (Reply 15):
So just out of curiosity.. I'm all for ignoring people who have no authority what so ever, especially if they're going to slow me down or be rude to me, but how does one know who they can blow off without any recourse and one who will pull out a Taser so you can be the next featured video on YouTube? Are we safe to ignore anyone who doesn't work for the airline or TSA?

If they're not a cop, they shouldn't be carrying a Taser. You can ignore TSA all you want, too. "Take your liquids out" is the one that I frequently ignore. A lot of TSA folks tell you that you have "no choice but to go through a body scan." That's false.


User currently offlineZeke From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2006, 9041 posts, RR: 75
Reply 15, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 3376 times:

Quoting washingtonian (Thread starter):
What would happen if the lady had just ignored the private security guard?

Worst case, you could get barred from any airport that belonged to the same landlord. Unlike shopping centres and malls, you normally cannot just drive 15 minutes in another direction to go to a different one.

Quoting xero9 (Reply 13):
Are we safe to ignore anyone who doesn't work for the airline or TSA?

No.

I would caution people making blanket statements about the authority of security employed by various airports.

Normally an airport terminal can be considered a semi "private" facility where airlines "rent'/"lease" check-in, office, lounges, and gates. For the privilege of using these facilities, airlines pay a service fee to the airport. This fee maybe on a per passenger basis, per square foot, or by the gates etc.

In exchange for paying the fee, the airport supplies various services, and this includes security around the airport, in the terminal, and on the apron.

Whilst the security guard may not employed by the government, or an airport tenant (i.e. an airline), they may well be employed by the landlord (the airport). While you are a guest in the premises, every visitor has an obligation to follow lawful directions of the landlord and their representatives, which includes the security guards.

Whilst I have also experienced "rudeness" from some security guards, I would normally pre-empt many discussions by asking the airline to tag the hand luggage upon check in. My experience is that airport security guards will respect the tagging of carryon luggage by airlines at check in.

I would also find that these security guards are normally only telling you what check in staff for an airline will also say to you (however they often do not have the same inter personal skills as the check in staff). Check in staff will also ask you to consolidate the number of items, restrict dimensions and weight, as that is what you have agreed in your acceptance of the "contract of carriage" when buying your ticket for restrictions on your carryon luggage.

I have little sympathy for is the people who clearly carry way beyond what their "contract of carriage" with the airline state for carryon luggage. The limit is fairly uniform across airlines for economy passengers, with business and first allowing more. I have no problem with any ground staff enforcing these rules.

I have seen passengers check in their maximum permissible hold luggage, which may even be slightly overweight, and not have the hand carry luggage with them at check in (they ask friends/family to hold the luggage elsewhere while the check in) and claim to check in staff that is all they have to avoid paying excess luggage fees. When the proceed to the aircraft they have excess hand carriage, and then claim to other ground staff they have no check-in. This sort of practice not only is unsafe, it is effectively knowingly forgoing excess luggage fees the passengers agreed to pay in their "contract of carriage" with the airline when they purchased their ticket.

If you have a problem with a security guard, there is a time and a place where you can make a complaint against them. I would suggest the time to do this is not when you are trying to get onto a flight.



We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
User currently offlineWoof From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 3337 times:

Quoting Zeke (Reply 15):
If you have a problem with a security guard, there is a time and a place where you can make a complaint against them. I would suggest the time to do this is not when you are trying to get onto a flight.

A very, very good piece of advice.


User currently offlinecatiii From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 3029 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 3325 times:

Quoting ckfred (Reply 5):
While the rule is 1 carry-on and 1 personal item per person, TSA also enforces it.

TSA has zero stautory authority under ATSA to enforce carry on limits. None at all. They should not, nor do they have the authority, to tell you that your bag is too big, or that you have too many carryons.

Quoting mrocktor (Reply 9):
So now anyone without a government badge is to be disrespected and treated with contempt. All trust in the TSA. Something doesn't add up... but carry on (no pun intended).

Not diesrespected, but it is a fair question to ask who they are working for. And if the airline feels that strongly about policing carry on limits at the checkpoint, then they should have a uniformed employee at the checkpoint doing so.


User currently offlineexFATboy From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2974 posts, RR: 9
Reply 18, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 3251 times:

Quoting Zeke (Reply 15):
Worst case, you could get barred from any airport that belonged to the same landlord.
Quoting Zeke (Reply 15):
While you are a guest in the premises

All commercial airports in the United States (except Branson, MO) are public - they are owned by a government authority. Thus, we are not "guests" at an airport, we are citizens. We OWN the airports. Of course, this doesn't mean we can run around willy-nilly doing anything we want, but it does mean airports don't have the same rights as a private company, and airports are bound by Federal regulations regarding access to the security checkpoints. I'm not sure an airport in the US can actually bar someone from entering the facility without going to court and getting a restraining order, unless the individual has committed a crime where being barred from airports is part of his sentence or probation order.

The personnel we - or at least I - am talking about here are the people stationed at the entrances to the security checkpoint queues. They are not "security guards", although they may be hired through security firms and sometimes display a security firm's logo on their uniforms. They're there to:

* make sure you have a boarding pass or other document that authorizes you to pass through the screening checkpoint - this is more of a service the airports provide to relieve pressure on the TSA document-checker, since some folks still don't understand you have to have a boarding pass or other authorization (escorting a child who's going to fly as an unaccompanied minor to the gate, accessing a lounge in some airports, etc.) to go through the screening checkpoint

* make sure you're entering the correct screening checkpoint for your flight

* if you're trying to enter an "elite" line, redirect you to the non-elite line if you're not entitled to use the elite one

* in some airports where multiple checkpoints serve a given set of gates (EWR Terminal "C", for example), they help out with passenger flow, redirecting people to other checkpoints with shorter lines

* in some airports with space limitations post-security where passengers are not allowed to pass through security until a certain time before their flight, to advise passengers of the restrictions and when they can enter (only place I've ever seen this is at FLL)

That's pretty much it. Notice there's a lot of "advising" and "directing" and such in there - these are really pretty much customer service functions...but all too frequently, they're low-level positions staffed by people who aren't trained very well, sometimes take the insignia on their shirts a little too seriously, and frequently have limited English skills.

Now it's entirely possible that some airport authorities have told these people to look at luggage and advise passengers if their bag is too big or if they have too many bags. But "advise" is not the same as having the authority to deny entrance to the checkpoint. And in a lot of cases, I've seen these "guards" speaking to passengers in a way that suggests they have authority they don't - I think most of that is a lack of customer service training, sometimes exacerbated by limited English proficiency.

I've had a couple of encounters with these folks over the years, and when I've been right I've politely stood my ground and ignored their directions. No need to be rude about it, and no need to be overly aggressive - after all, while they may have no legal powers, like anyone at an airport they can summon the real police and make your day rather unpleasant - but like many people, I've reached a point where I'm just not inclined to put up with crap out of people I don't have to put up with.

* - am I the only one who has to do the Eric Cartman voice every time I type the word "authority"?  


User currently offlineAcey559 From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 1532 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 3228 times:

Quoting catiii (Reply 17):
And if the airline feels that strongly about policing carry on limits at the checkpoint, then they should have a uniformed employee at the checkpoint doing so.

I almost wish this was the case, we were just talking about this at work yesterday. I know people are just trying to save a buck, and normally I don't complain much about people's carryons, but yesterday was the worst I've seen it in a while. There were three bags that were, by no stretch of the imagination, way too big to be carry on bags. We don't have enough people at the kiosks checking to see what people are trying to bring on, and people will use the kiosk to avoid being asked to see their bag. Also, I wish we would weigh them more often. I had a bag two days ago that was a normal sized carry on, nothing odd about it, except that it had to have weighed at LEAST 55 pounds. As I said, I normally don't care because I understand that money is tight, but when people are flagrantly ignoring the carry on rules and our own employees don't even bother to check, it makes me slightly upset.


User currently offlineZeke From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2006, 9041 posts, RR: 75
Reply 20, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 3202 times:

Quoting exFATboy (Reply 18):
Thus, we are not "guests" at an airport, we are citizens. We OWN the airports.

That is not true, "citizens" in the US do not have free and open access to government facilities, you have only got access where they grant it. Airports have the right to completely close a terminal or airport down excluding every citizen and alien. The majority of all airport areas (i.e. the runways/aprons/terminals) provide no public access at all, only limited controlled areas have conditional access.



We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
User currently offline777236ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 3153 times:

Quoting Zeke (Reply 20):
That is not true, "citizens" in the US do not have free and open access to government facilities, you have only got access where they grant it. Airports have the right to completely close a terminal or airport down excluding every citizen and alien. The majority of all airport areas (i.e. the runways/aprons/terminals) provide no public access at all, only limited controlled areas have conditional access.

It is true I'm afraid, it would be illegal to ban a US citizen from using airport in the US.


User currently offlinehiflyer From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2172 posts, RR: 3
Reply 22, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 3114 times:

Thanks Zeke for those good words...

First off....there are police near every checkpoint. Required.

Secondly..the TSA is enforcing fellow gov agency FAA rules regarding carryon contents (including hazmat) as well as size so get over that part of it. Oh yeah...remember the TSA does LIKE the 1 plus 1 rule...speeds their processing up and far less "hand checks".

Lastly..FAA fines on exceeding the 1 plus 1 rule has moved into 4 to 5 figures per incident....fines to the carrier which can translate to discipline to employees. Whether you are serious about it or not the Feds are and the FAA has been quite clear that status with a carrier does not waive the 1 plus 1 rule...(I know more than one carrier has been fined for allowing top tier pax to go thru by the way).

Don't like it? don't pick on the agent or the guard or TSA...write your congressman or take a private aircraft....the FAA controls your 'rights' as the governing agency on commercial public air transportation...take it up with them if you feel like making a scene. (BTW the FAA considers it a safety of flight issue so good luck!) I personally see multiple folks a day turned away from the checkpoint for too much carryon...including turned away by police....ending up missing their flight.


User currently offlineexFATboy From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2974 posts, RR: 9
Reply 23, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 3089 times:

Quoting Zeke (Reply 20):
Airports have the right to completely close a terminal or airport down excluding every citizen and alien.

Actually, the airport authorities can't really close anything, except for the airport police (if the airport police in a given area happens to be an arm of the airport authority - that varies) conducting security operations in the sphere granted them under Federal regulations, or enforcing non-aviation laws (for example, briefly closing off a part of a terminal to catch a thief.)

But, to use my local airport as an example, the airport itself (the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey) itself cannot close Newark Airport - security closures would be a matter for the TSA or FAA, depending on circumstances, and even weather closures are controlled solely by the FAA. They can, of course, close parts of terminals for construction and maintenance. But, except in the extraordinary conditions I mentioned, they cannot prevent a citizen (or, for that matter, a non-citizen here legally) from entering the public (pre-security) areas of the airport or from passing through the TSA checkpoint into the public (post-security) areas if they meet the TSA's regulations for doing so.

I also think you missed one point - I was objecting in part to your use of terminology, equating an airport with a shopping mall or other private property. Airports are not private property, and we are not "guests" there. Yes, there are security restrictions as to what parts of the airport we can physically access, but the principle is that all is public except for that which must be restricted for valid, objective reasons (security and safety), whereas in a private property situation all is private except that which the owner chooses to make public.

(Admittedly, in the case of an airport, a lot of the facility is closed to the public for valid safety and security reasons, which is all the more reason for vigilance to prevent the various agencies involved from overstepping their bounds.)


User currently offlinewashingtonian From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (3 years 11 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 3042 times:

Interesting replies....I wonder if I would have the cajones though to simply ignore them speaking to me.

25 chrisair : It's not hard. You just keep walking. It's not like you're going up to them and telling them to go f- themselves....just keep walking and don't look
26 PresRDC : Who said anyhting about respecting the TSA?
27 norcal : So they are really no different than the TSA
28 Zeke : Could you point me to a law that states that ? as far as most if not all parts of airports (i.e. inside the airport boundary) are deemed "restricted
29 norcal : I was being facetious. However this half of his statement does fit the TSA: They have to get local police to arrest offending passengers, they can't
30 FURUREFA : At many stations, AA uses G2 Services as their contractor. Their job is not only to verify that one is going in to the right security screening line,
31 catiii : I think the problem with this setup though is that it is ambiguous who these contractors work for. That's why they need a uniformed airline agent the
32 FURUREFA : I agree, but airline agents are expensive and that's why airlines us contractors. Matt
33 exFATboy : If the airlines want these people to be recognized as representing them, at the least their uniform needs to display "Representing airline X" or some
34 Zeke : If you are on the TSA "no-fly" list, airlines will not issue a boarding pass, and do not need to be arrested. You just do not fly. I disagree, send p
35 Post contains links hiflyer : Folks...carryon baggage size and amounts are regulated by a F.A.R. ie the Feds now. Just checked and fines are now in the 5 figure area. Carriers are
36 catiii : But who makes that determination? I was flying out of DCA the other day and there are no less than 4 different airlines that occupy the pier at the c
37 Zeke : I think the airline should, many airlines tag carryon luggage. That way if the contactor sees the tags, they know the airline has cleared them. That
38 catiii : No airline in the United States does that for domestic travel.
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