How I knew it was going to be a bad TSA day

I guess I can explain my tweet of last night.  Flying out of PDX, for some reason I didn’t get TSA PreCheck again.  Three weeks in a row.  I made a “Ugh!” type comment, was overheard by a TSA agent, and she proceeded to “bait” me into a fight.  Here’s the exchange:

Me (to TSA ID Checker): Oh jeez…  Three weeks without PreCheck?  You guys are killing me!  (said in a more jovial than not tone).
TSA ID Checker just rolled her eyes.  I made my way into the regular security line.
TSA Overhearing Agent: “You know there’s a line over there?” she said, pointing to the other lane.
Me: “Yes, but that one is wrapped around and this one is shorter, thanks.”
TSA Overhearing Agent: “I’m not arguing with you, sir.  I know you’re angry for not getting PreCheck.”
Me: I rolled my eyes at her obvious bait and asked, “Do you want me to switch lines anyway?”
TSA Overhearing Agent: “I said I’m not going to fight with you, sir.”
Me: “I’m not fighting with you; I simply asked if you wanted me to move to the other line.”
TSA Overhearing Agent: “I understand that you wanted to get PreCheck. It’s not our fault; it’s handled elsewhere.  I’m not going to fight with you, sir.”

At this point, I closed my eyes, counted to ten, and just stayed where I was.  I had a TSA Agent arbitrarily provoking me for whatever douchy reason she had.  I never raised my voice, said anything derogatory, or anything to the woman.  She just wanted me to snap at her for some reason.

Well I wouldn’t take the bait.  But that’s not going to stop me from calling her a giant douchenozzle and blogging about it.

Aah, adventures with the TSA.  Fun, eh?

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Dear Idiot, Welcome to Jail

I can’t believe this kind of thing still happens these days!

So some brilliant man decides to joke about having a bomb in his bag when he goes to check into his flight at Anchorage International late Saturday night.  Well, really his friend’s bag – but still.  And he said he was “joking” and “flirting”.

Seriously, you simpleton?  That’s just…  Well, for lack of a better word, stupid.

What’s better, this guy’s an umpire – so you know he’s used to making quick decisions.  And this one was a bad one.  Seriously.  What’s worse?  This guy isn’t allowed to leave Alaska, because he’s a flight risk.

Okay, so that’s a little overboard.  But still.

Totally reminds me of yelling at the private security firm that’s at the MCI (Kansas City) airport as I was passing through security a few years back when two of the officers, who were working the baggage x-ray machine, were “joking” about planes crashing and exploding.  Seriously.  Except they got to keep their jobs, whereas this dillhole in Alaska’s stuck until his hearing.

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Dear TSA: WTF?

This is frustrating…  People – including me – have gone off about the TSA and their ‘porno scanners’; what an invasion of privacy they are, how unsafe they are, and the like.  A judge ordered that the TSA was supposed to hold public comments, so that we could hear from people and experts.  You know, like the fact that the backscatter machines can cause up to 100 cases of cancer per year (and that’s when they’re working properly!)

So finally, the TSA has set up – 19 months later than it was ordered to – a public comment period, scheduled for February 2013.  Get ready, folks!  Unless you like having your ‘nads subjected to radiation or photographed every time you go to the airport.

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Freedom Of Expression v. The TSA

And who wins?  Freedom of Expression!

Remember a few months back when there was a guy who protested the TSA by stripping naked in the middle of Portland International Airport?  Well he went to trial on indecency charges, and they were dropped by the judge.

I can’t believe they even bothered to take the guy to trial, but they did.  But there’s a ruling in Oregon that freedom of speech/freedom of expression can include being naked, and that’s why the judge threw the charges out.

One for the good guys!

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More on the TSA porno body scanners

Anybody remember the video from last March about getting things through the TSA body scanners?  Well the original guy is at it again, and has video of his incident via a “freedom of information” act.

Here it is.  Support this guy!

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Proof that there is a hell…

…and it’s at the Orlando international Airport.

Seems someone was traveling with their grandfather’s ashes in a properly marked glass container when their bag was subject to a “bag check” by the TSA.  The TSA agent opened the jar and promptly spilled about 25% of John Gross’ grandfather’s remains.  What’s the worst part?  The agent laughed.

I don’t know about you, but I’d be mortified.  First, I wouldn’t have opened the jar to begin with; no sane person would.  But we all know sanity isn’t a strongpoint for the TSA.  And if I was stupid enough to open the ashes and spill them, I sure as hell wouldn’t laugh about it!

And you know what’s even more sad?  This part of the article and quote from the wronged family member:

The TSA agent kept laughing without offering help, he said. And passengers waiting to get their bags were stalled behind him as he spent 10 to 15 seconds on his knees grabbing what he could, Gross said.

“I didn’t want to cause a scene because I didn’t want them to throw me off my flight or put me on the no-fly list,” said Gross, 30, a restaurant manager. “It didn’t really hit me until I got on the plane.”

Mentally abused to the point of not responding to the TSA Asshat’s laughter and being afraid to speak up because the TSA might put you on their “no fly list”?  Jeez…

So yes, Virginia.  There is a hell.  Because if my remains were scattered about TSA agents, I’d be in hell, too.

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Oh racism, my old enemy

So you’ve probably heard about the TSA agent at JFK Airport in New York who didn’t realize his  metal detector was off, right?  If not, have at it – the “exclusive” is over here at the New York Post.

Now I’m no friend of the TSA.  Even when I say something nice about them, I counter it with a criticism, so you know I’m critical of them.  But that’s because of their rude, nasty attitudes and their perceived incompetence.  It has nothing to do with the color of their skin or their ethnic backgrounds.  But as soon as I’d heard about this story, I knew I wanted to follow it.  Why?  Because the TSA agent in question’s name is Alija Abdul Majed.

Whoa… Sounds foreigny and therefore scary, right?  ::facepalm::

Trek on over to the New York Post.  Or if you want, you can read the whole racist-filled rants right here.  I’ve even highlighted the worst of them.  And this was just the first batch; there were more than 100 more to go!

New York Post Racist Comments

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Cover me: I’m about to say something nice about the TSA

It’s not often that I say something nice about the Transportation Safety Administration.  Their usual treatment of individuals is pretty horrid; and I should know since I travel every week.  But I just recently became part of the TSA Pre program – and it’s glorious.

Here in Portland, Oregon, our local airport has joined the TSA Pre™ list of approved airports.  And since I joined myself (as a frequent flier of Alaska Airlines, they joined me up automatically, but only for flights on Alaska), it has taken me no longer than 7 seconds to get through TSA after showing my identification.  It has been glorious!

So if you’re a frequent business traveler, I’d look into it.  It’s so worth the $100 fee.

One note of caution.  When you join TSA Pre™, they will give you a few options.  I chose their Global Entry option, because it made the best sense for me.  Your decision may be different.  But they give you a “Global Entry” identification card, and it’s an official identification from the Department of Homeland Security, and can be used as proper ID.  It can, no matter if a TSA agent refuses it or not.  I fly out of the tiny airport of Prescott, Arizona, and the TSA there refused to accept my Homeland Security ID and wanted my drivers license.

So there you have it.  I did manage to balance some good with some bad, so take that, TSA!  But seriously – join Global Entry.  You’ll definitely be glad you did!  And drop me a line if you have questions.

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Damned body scanners!

So most people have heard of it, but if now, here’s an awesome video that someone put together to show just how easy it is to get ANYTHING past the new TSA porno scanners!

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Why I Love the State of Alaska

Last year there was an Alaska State lawmaker that got “randomly selected” to be porno-groped while going through security.  And when I say porno-grope, I mean it.  I’ve gotten farther with TSA agents than with some dates I’ve had.

But I digress.

Representative Sharon Cissna of Anchorage has sponsored at least 4 bills with the TSA in her sights.  One of them is radiation warnings (because we know that the backscatter radiation – by the TSA’s own admission – causes about a dozen cases of cancer per year), but the biggest one is one that will criminalize any invasive patdown done in the name of the TSA.  Cissna, a breast cancer survivor, knows what it’s like to have her life choices taken out of her hands – and the TSA does that on a regular basis.

My favorite quote of hers is:

“Those aren’t pat-downs,” Cissna said of TSA procedures. “It was a feel-up. I did not experience a pat-down”

And this is after 2 pat-downs in a few months.  Personally I have to go through them twice a week in order to bypass the cancer causing porno machines.  And I totally support her fight to get Alaskan airports to give the TSA requirements the boot!

Go get ‘em, Sharon!

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