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TSA -- this might surprise you
Old 06-03-2015, 05:02 PM   #1
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TSA -- this might surprise you

We just got back from a delightful week on the Oregon coast, and had the most remarkable experience at the Portland airport (PDX).

On entering the security area, we were greeted by the TSA screener at the start of the pre-check line, and we were quite surprised at his friendliness.

Then I started to take my laptop out of my briefcase, just out of habit, but another TSA screener quickly stopped me with "No, sir. No need for that in the pre-check line."

Walking through the metal detector, I had a severe shock. When the beeper went off and I retreated to the entry side, I must have looked bewildered, and another TSA screener quickly came up with the wand and offered to help. Seriously, she said "May I help you, sir?"

Well, my worst nightmare came true. I normally carry a very hefty pocket knife, and I'm never without it except when flying. I had forgotten to put it in my bag on the way to the airport, and I just said "Oh, crap!"

Still another TSA agent came up, looked at the knife, held it and escorted me to the side. Here is the actual conversation as I remember it:

Quote:
TSA: "Sir, this can't be taken on the flight."
Quote:
Me: "I know. Damn, I guess I'll just have to put it in the trash."
Quote:
TSA: No, sir, not at all. I can see that this is valuable, and we want you to keep it. Let me go through the four options you have.
  • You can put it in your checked bag, but that has probably already gone.
  • You can go back out to the parking lot and give it to someone who may have seen you off.
  • You can give it to me.

At that point I interrupted with "Well, that sounds like the best option; better than the trash."

Wait, let me finish. We have a mail drop here, and for about $14 you can mail it to yourself at home.
Sure enough, he escorted me to a machine that scanned in an envelope number. He dropped the knife in the envelope, printed a receipt for me, and dropped the envelope in the slot. Then he said "Just swipe your credit card there, enter your home address, and it will be in your mailbox in a week or so."

Before I even got on the plane, I had an emailed receipt from the mailing service.

A bit later, since our flight was delayed, I was watching the scene and became utterly impressed. It wasn't just me. I commented to one of the TSA people that it was the friendliest, most helpful security area I had ever seen.

His response was that they had been voted the best for at least seven of the last ten years, and that other airports send their screeners to PDX to see how it should be done.

"We take great pride in being the best. Our boss treats us well and lets us use our discretion to the max. This is pretty much the model for how it should be run."

Long story, but I thought I would share it to show that TSA doesn't have to be the nightmare that most of us usually experience.
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Old 06-03-2015, 05:09 PM   #2
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Nice to know their customer service has improved --- others will have to judge if that offsets this TSA screeners failed tests to detect explosives, weapons - CNNPolitics.com.

Quote:
The Department of Homeland Security said Monday that the acting administrator for the Transportation Security Administration would be reassigned, following a report that airport screeners failed to detect explosives and weapons in nearly every test that an undercover team conducted at dozens of airports.

According to a report based on an internal investigation, "red teams" with the Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General were able to get banned items through the screening process in 67 out of 70 tests it conducted across the nation.
They never miss pocket knives or bottled water but...
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Old 06-03-2015, 05:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post

Long story, but I thought I would share it to show that TSA doesn't have to be the nightmare that most of us usually experience.
Nice. Thanks for sharing that. A friendlier TSA would go a long way to making people want to travel by air once again.
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Old 06-03-2015, 05:14 PM   #4
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I've had great TSA experiences in both my home city of Charleston (you get a great response when your carry on luggage is a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts) and also in Burlington VT when we were carrying a ton of chocolate and cheese in our carry on bags.
That's a great service to offer for mailing the pocketknife home. Very cool. And I am a huge fan of Pre-Check!
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Old 06-03-2015, 05:29 PM   #5
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I must have run into a TSA agent having a bad day a couple of years ago in Portland. We were returning home after our annual trip to visit the inlaws, which included a couple of days of hiking. My carry-on was the day pack I used while hiking and I forgot there was a bottle of sunscreen in one of the pockets. The TSA agent saw it on the X-ray and when I got pulled aside she gave me a nasty lecture about "liquids cannot be brought through the checkpoint".

Thee was no need for her to lecture-- I explained that I forgot it was there and I knew it had to be thrown away but she still felt the need try to make me feel like a criminal.
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Old 06-03-2015, 05:38 PM   #6
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Not that Oregon doesn't have some duds - but it has to have some of the more friendly helpful people you are likely to ever meet.
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Old 06-03-2015, 05:54 PM   #7
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I love pre-check , I do believe they are easier to deal with. Had good experience in KC and Melbourne FL. with the pre-check folks. Actually Melbourne didn't has pre-check just expedited security.

I do believe with the findings that say TSA needs improved. Two years ago DW went through with a forgotten full 10 round 9mm magazine, breezed right through security. It came home unloaded in a checked bag.


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Old 06-03-2015, 06:23 PM   #8
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It is not new that they allow you to mail something to yourself....

I was going on a trip and was taking some sport gear... they was a small pocket knife in there (less than 1 inch).... this was maybe 8 years ago.... they said I could toss it or mail it to myself...

When I heard the price to mail, I tossed it.... the knife was not worth that much money....

I will say.... I do not think that I have ever had any unfriendly TSA agents... nor would I say I have had any friendly ones either... they just do their job and process me through....
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Old 06-03-2015, 08:02 PM   #9
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Great story!
Reminds me of how my mom was treated when she absent-mindedly went through airport security few yrs ago with some steak knives that were sentimental family treasures. When they stopped her she tearfully explained that she was taking them home after her mother's funeral. Showed 'em the funeral announcement. A security agent took the knives saying they might be checked onto her flight as baggage. Since Mom was running late for the flight, she surrendered the pieces fully expecting never to see them again. After the flight, an airline skycap met her at baggage claim and returned the knives all nicely padded and wrapped in a proper shipping box.

I do not condone taking prohibited items to security checkpoints. I would not expect such kid-glove treatment by TSA every time. But there are many good folks in that organization who seem to understand that upstanding passengers who honestly forget to remove a prohibited item from their carry-ons are not always terrorists.
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Old 06-04-2015, 05:56 AM   #10
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I just got back from France yesterday and the TSA folks did seem better at both ends. In he return line a friendly officer wandered through the crown with a cute little dog sniffing luggage. She was very friendly as was the dog but the officer wouldn't tell us the dog's specialty - probably explosives.
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Old 06-04-2015, 09:23 AM   #11
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I just got back from France yesterday and the TSA folks did seem better at both ends. In he return line a friendly officer wandered through the crown with a cute little dog sniffing luggage. She was very friendly as was the dog but the officer wouldn't tell us the dog's specialty - probably explosives.
I've never found the TSA to be unkind if you don't give them gruff.

I was surprised in Paris how some of the screeners seemed like kids fresh out of high school and they were more interested in talking about girlfriends and boyfriends to each other than they were to actually screening. It was kind of alarming, but maybe they are just sly and really were paying attention to the xray devices and magnetometers. Sure didn't seem like it.
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Old 06-04-2015, 09:59 AM   #12
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The last time I went through pdx the TSA dude at the the checkin line looked at my driver's license and then looked at me and asked, "so when is Texas going to cede from the Union?" I thought thought that was a strange question for a passenger. I just looked at him and went on through. Maybe it was an attempt at humor. Or did he want a conversation on the current political issues, in 3 seconds?
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Old 06-04-2015, 11:05 AM   #13
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A few pleasant encounters with the TSA don't surprise me, but the system is broken. All of us are treated like potential terrorists while the Underwear Bomber and the Shoe Bomber saunter onto the aircraft. OK, that was years ago, but that recent study showing the 95% error rate is darn scary. The liquids plot was uncovered by co-operation among international intelligence agencies who were scrutinizing the usual suspects- not by groping children and putting 75-year olds through the Nude-O-Scope.


The TSA is a major reason my husband and I drive to any destination where it's feasible, even if we need an overnight or two on the road.
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Old 06-04-2015, 12:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by tfudtuckerpucker View Post
The last time I went through pdx the TSA dude at the the checkin line looked at my driver's license and then looked at me and asked, "so when is Texas going to cede from the Union?" I thought thought that was a strange question for a passenger. I just looked at him and went on through. Maybe it was an attempt at humor. Or did he want a conversation on the current political issues, in 3 seconds?
Then of course, there's the problem of unfriendly travelers.
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Old 06-04-2015, 12:06 PM   #15
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Old 06-04-2015, 04:11 PM   #16
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A few pleasant encounters with the TSA don't surprise me, but the system is broken. All of us are treated like potential terrorists while the Underwear Bomber and the Shoe Bomber saunter onto the aircraft. OK, that was years ago, but that recent study showing the 95% error rate is darn scary. The liquids plot was uncovered by co-operation among international intelligence agencies who were scrutinizing the usual suspects- not by groping children and putting 75-year olds through the Nude-O-Scope.


The TSA is a major reason my husband and I drive to any destination where it's feasible, even if we need an overnight or two on the road.
Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!
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Old 06-04-2015, 06:22 PM   #17
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Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner!

The TSA regularly monitors this board , with all the dangerous independent thinkers we are, so I'm afraid you might now be on the " NO FLY " list

It sure is broken, has been from day one.

Simple metal detector screening, better intelligence, and responding to same in a sane manner is the solution.

I really think anything other than explosives would be handled by flight attendants and passengers , by any and all means, knowing the consequences of inaction to a clear and present threat.
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Old 06-04-2015, 07:09 PM   #18
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Had a fellow employee a few years back that got back from a sales trip, opened his briefcase and found that a large butcher knife had been carried there by mistake. Knife went through six TSA check point without discovery.
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Old 06-04-2015, 07:47 PM   #19
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Had a fellow employee a few years back that got back from a sales trip, opened his briefcase and found that a large butcher knife had been carried there by mistake. Knife went through six TSA check point without discovery.
"A large butcher knife had been carried there by mistake" Happens all the time.....
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Old 06-04-2015, 08:31 PM   #20
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The TSA regularly monitors this board , with all the dangerous independent thinkers we are, so I'm afraid you might now be on the " NO FLY " list


.

Sssssh. Don't tell 'em who I am. I traveled back to my home state the week before last for a HS reunion and did decide to fly since DH stayed home. I was TSA Pre-check both outbound and coming back home!
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