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TSA: Are They Getting Better?

Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:20 pm

Don't laugh, the question is legitimate. I don't mean to disparage TSA or have this thread turn into a TSA-bash. They have a difficult and important job to do and we all should hope they succeed everyday.

With that being said, I've had more unusual and downright weird encounters with TSA screening in the past few months than I've had since TSA's inception. Recognizing that my experience is just a tiny sample of overall TSA customer interactions, I thought I'd ask for the opinion of the list.

Is TSA getting better, or not?
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RE: TSA: Are They Getting Better?

Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:44 pm

Quoting Crewchief (Thread starter):
Is TSA getting better, or not?

I will extend that to security in general all over the planet from what I experience.

No, it is not getting better, it is getting worse. I am speaking from a pilots view here.

We are checked as we are the biggest threat to an airplane. I remove my jacket, my belt, my shoes, need to unpack my bag because of a tie clip which looks suspicious, they are unfriendly and rude to me and then there is coming a guy from the cleaning staff and waves nicely to the security officer and he only waves back and waves him through, NO search at all... Ok, I am the bigger threat here...
Then the police officer who is carrying a gun, no security search again, because he is a police officer and there is no need to search him, he is safe...
But me as a Pilot, I am a huge threat... and with my tie clip I am indeed dangerous to everybody...

Yes, I am sacrastic as there are just things I just don't get.

Of course we need to be security checked as we want to go into the secured area of an airport. But it should be reasonable and done to everybody then and not only a few people... That is my point here. Treat everybody the same way!

And I'd wish that the guys from security have the same standard. At one checkpoint I need to remove my shoes and belt, 5 minutes later at the next: no need for that. Why not?! "I don't know!" Great reply from him. Do they actually know what they are doing?! Sometimes I get the feeling some of them just do what they want.

I know this is not valid for them all, there are many very competent and good guys at security.

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RE: TSA: Are They Getting Better?

Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:31 am

Going through security at LHR a couple of weeks ago was a pleasant experience. No shoe carnival, no taking my shoes off, etc.

Was so much better than TSA.
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RE: TSA: Are They Getting Better?

Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:06 am

I haven't been to enough airports to make a judgment, because from what I can tell the TSA is quite inconsistent from one airport to another. But from my traveling experiences, they have loosened up from the paranoia that gripped airport security shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the 7/7 bombings and the liquid bomb scare in the UK.

As we A.netters are "aviation experts", we should be having a slightly easier time through security. We should know what we can bring and what we can't, and to not clog up the line.

So to answer the question: Is the TSA getting better? Yes, they are better, but they are still far from the standard that would be expected from airport security.
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RE: TSA: Are They Getting Better?

Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:07 pm

In terms of the people doing the scanning, my experiences have only been positive.

As for the overall implementation and enforcement (as well as the lack of any attempts to improve efficiency in the slightest for the average traveller!), they are not doing anything to improve at all.

I save my venom specifically for the cretinously stupid decisions such as "no liquids" rule which is ridiculously easy to circumvent, but also for the "over-compensating" mall-cops that go out of their way to be unfriendly, intimidating, mean, rude, and who are looking for a reason to "increase their size" by declaring someone a threat who dares to point out how incredibly stupid the entire set-up is.

My last trip through SAN had a set-up for three lines, all clearly marked, indicating "Families With Children", "Expert Flyer", and "Elite". I got in the line for "Expert Flyer". When the line stopped moving, I asked the TSA agent if this really was the expert traveller line. Not only did he become rude, but he was quite angry that I had spoken to him. "We're not using those lines anymore!!" he barked at me. I didn't bother at that point to ask why then the signs were still up.

In other words, ladies and gentlemen, if TSA tells you to say that the Emperor's new clothes are beautiful when he's really buck naked - and you REALLY want to get on the airplane - you say how beautiful the clothes are even when it is the stupidest thing you have ever encountered.
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
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RE: TSA: Are They Getting Better?

Tue Feb 03, 2009 10:58 pm

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 4):
In other words, ladies and gentlemen, if TSA tells you to say that the Emperor's new clothes are beautiful when he's really buck naked - and you REALLY want to get on the airplane - you say how beautiful the clothes are even when it is the stupidest thing you have ever encountered.

I agree. . . They have the power -- definitely. I kiss thier a-- and smile politely at any request. I just want to get past them and to the gate. . . if you confront, question, get surly -- you could be in for a long wait. I understand the frustrations sometimes. And in truth -- many of the TSA agents I encounter nationwide are polite and professional. Once and awhile one I can tell is on a "power trip" but infrequently.
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RE: TSA: Are They Getting Better?

Wed Feb 04, 2009 12:55 am

Quoting Crewchief (Thread starter):
They have a difficult and important job...

If you're talking about airport screening, I disagree completely with that premise; but you asked to not turn this into a TSA-bash, so I'll stop there. To answer your question, are they getting better? No, I've seen no evidence of any improvement myself.
Fly, you fools! Fly!
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RE: TSA: Are They Getting Better?

Thu Feb 05, 2009 8:23 am

I actually have seen improvement over the past year or two, though I could chalk it up to visiting different airports. I have had terrible experiences with rude, demanding, ambiguous and irrational agents in PHX, PHL, DCA, BUF and SEA within the past two years.

I've also had encounters with very friendly and outwardly competent agents within more recently at GEG, PUW, BOI and LWS. Additionally, the last time I cleared security at SEA, the agents were quite pleasant as well.

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