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msjones
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The TSA-agent-scolding-the-flannel-wearing-teen thread got me thinking. I'd love to hear your TSA stories. Good or bad. It's such a bizarre part of American life that it seems to breed stories.

 

I had a TSA agent pull me aside after I went through the nude-o-scanner. I was told to turn around. So I did. She pointed at my jeans pocket and asked what I had in there.

 

Yikes! I had forgotten to empty my pockets completely (my fault, I completely admit...) and still had my chapstick in my pocket. I took it out to show her. I apologized for my oversight. She put on her gloves, examined my chapstick and handed it back. She then wagged her blue-gloved finger at me and said, "Shame, shame, shame!"

 

Huh? Shame?!?!? Okay.

 

Same day, I had even more fun with the TSA. They went through my carry-on bag and confiscated my hummus. It was for my lunch to go with some crackers and fruit. They threw my hummus in the trash saying it was a liquid. I politely pointed out that it was garbanzo bean paste. No luck. It was, according to the TSA, a liquid.

 

I have also met a lot of very nice TSA agents, but those stories aren't as fun to tell. :)

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In general I adore the TSA at our local airport. They are respectful and efficient. (And I always choose the pat down rather than the scanner)

 

I did once have to be pat down 3 times and then brought into the special room for a more thorough search - the sniff-o-meter detected something off and flagged me. The agent later said it was probably my hand lotion and let me go on my merry way.

 

I now know not to wear hand lotion while traveling. Whoda' thunk?

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My sound asleep 9 month old who could not stand got strip searched because his name came up on some list- he of course woke up crying because they kept trying to stand him up but they would not let me touch or comfort him "no contact between passengers"

 

He got them back though when they searched his baggage-it was a bag of dirty cloth diapers and I did warn the guy but he would not listen and just shoved his whole arm into the plastic liner and swished it around- he was so mad at me when his uniform came back all poopy.

 

I did not feel bad- nope

 

 

The first half of your story would have had me livid. I would have definitely lodged a formal complaint and possibly gone to the media about it. (I think more of these horrid stories need to be told.)

 

The second half of your story had me laughing. They definitely deserved that!

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I have not flown in years because of a near panic attack with a security pat down after 9/11.

 

I had been a frequent flier for years, but it was our first trip since the terror attack and, despite reading up on the changes in security, I was emotionally unprepared for my child to be carried away from me and for the spike in my anxiety when the agent touched me. If DH had not been right there talking calmly to me I would have had a full blown panic attack.

 

I think if I had to I could work up the gumption to go through security again, but it would have to be either a once in a lifetime trip or an absolute emergency.

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My personal worst was witnessing a TSA agent attempt to force an approximately 18 month old child through a metal detector alone. Would.not.let.the.mom.or.dad.carry.the.child. The child was really scared of him and didn't want to walk through. He eventually grabbed the little girl by her arm and yanked her through. Mom was crying; dad looked like he was ready to punch the guy in the face.

 

There was a local sheriff's deputy on duty at the airport, and I went and got him. The agent disappeared with the officer. The TSA manager on duty came out and profusely apologized to the parents. On a side note, I think sheriff's deputies rock! I've never met a bad one and they always seem so willing to protect and SERVE!

 

Hopefully the little girl wasn't scared enough that it imprinted into her long term memory. Otherwise, good luck teaching her that "people in uniform", ie. police officers, security guards, firemen, medics, etc. are good people to approach when you are lost, injured, or scared. Good gravy!

 

Otherwise, my personal experience has not been bad. However, I wear yoga pants, sleeveless shirt with no collar, sports bra, open toed, flat sandals, and no sweater or jacket on my person until after security. I don't carry on food or beverages (which means I starve because I have gluten issues) and my purse is fairly spartan. I put a change of clothes, whatever will be appropriate for when I arrive, in my carry on. If I need dress clothes when I get there, I take a small suitbag that folds in half and clips together to keep it from unfolding. The jacket is tied to the handle of carry on so I have it for later. This has worked well. Dh wears loafers with short sport's socks, a t-shirt tucked in tight, and lightweight khaki shorts and pulls the pockets out before he gets to security to show he has nothing in them. He hands his laptop directly to a TSA agent for inspection and his carry on is his computer bag which he keeps very well organized and fairly spartan in furnishings as well. This seems to work well for us.

 

Every single one that has personally dealt with either of us has been professional, friendly, and decent.

 

My sister not so much...she has been actually groped. Seriously had her breasts out and out grabbed, and her hoo hoo felt up...no back of the hand, and definite wandering of the fingers while the female agent made suggestive jokes.

 

Oh, and she took her expensive violin on a flight to a performance and the TSA agent broke it, rather badly too! So much for the concert. No apologies. No recovery of money from the TSA or the airport. GRRRRRR.....

 

I think there are more good eggs than bad eggs. I won't characterize all TSA agents by the actions of a few, but I do have to admit the general reputation in Detroit Metro is not good. That said, they've got great reps in Bishop and MDS in the Mid-Michigan area. I do think their job in Detroit is fairly stressful, though certainly no excuse by any stretch for abusing passengers.

 

Faith

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My sound asleep 9 month old who could not stand got strip searched because his name came up on some list- he of course woke up crying because they kept trying to stand him up but they would not let me touch or comfort him "no contact between passengers"

 

He got them back though when they searched his baggage-it was a bag of dirty cloth diapers and I did warn the guy but he would not listen and just shoved his whole arm into the plastic liner and swished it around- he was so mad at me when his uniform came back all poopy.

 

I did not feel bad- nope

 

Dateline, CNN, the morning shows, ABC, Primetime,...somebody should hear about this and splash it all over the network news. That is sickening.

 

Faith

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We are flying quite a bit: overseas every year, with three legs each way, and DH travels multiple times per year for work.

Yes, security is a pain in the neck, but to be honest: the majority of TSA agents I have encountered has been friendly and professional.

They have a truly awful job: everybody resents them; touching strangers and going through their stuff can't be fun; explaining for the hundredth time in a day that, yes, toiletries must be in zip loc bags and laptops must be taken out and no, you can not take the water bottle through must challenge the patience of angels.

 

I have been through traditional scanners, the new scanners, been patted down, been swapped for explosives, had my shoes taken away and run through a mass spectrometer because the swab was suspicious for explosives, had our carry-on luggage opened and rescanned several times because we were carrying so many electronics and batteries and cables - but in the big picture, that did not really irritate me, it was more a temporary nuisance. What really bugs me are the long lines and the moron passengers who seem to be unable to read and hold up everybody. I have not yet had any issues with the agents.

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We travelled right after they changed water policies. The kids were quite young, still with sippy cups. It was late and they were tired. At the time, you could bring water but it had to be scanned. They children were in hysterics that their sippy cups were taken away. Had we known, we could have prepped them for this, but instead some random strangers demanded their sippy cups which resulted in hysterical crying and weeping. (They were nice about it and reassured the children that they would get their cups back, but the damage had been done.)

 

It took a while for them to calm down, even after getting their sippy cups back. It's kind of funny now, it brings to mind the veggie tale

song. At the time, we did not think it was funny.
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My sound asleep 9 month old who could not stand got strip searched because his name came up on some list- he of course woke up crying because they kept trying to stand him up but they would not let me touch or comfort him "no contact between passengers"

 

He got them back though when they searched his baggage-it was a bag of dirty cloth diapers and I did warn the guy but he would not listen and just shoved his whole arm into the plastic liner and swished it around- he was so mad at me when his uniform came back all poopy.

 

I did not feel bad- nope

 

They searched my 15 month old, took him away from us and patted him down. It was ridiculous.

 

Your story made me smile!

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On a good note, our TSA agents at our local airport have been great every time DH has flown. (Our airport is not nearly as big as some which may be part of the difference.)

 

When Bug was 2 or 3 and DH was going for a week of training out of state we took him to the airport, watched him go though security, and were waving goodbye when Bug flipped his lid. Big tears, wails and saying "hug" over and over. The agent let DH come back into the waiting area to soothe and love on his little guy. Then he expedited his return trip through security; it was very sweet.

 

(Lest you think we were those thoughtless people we always fuss about here at the Hive, Bug had never gotten upset with dad leaving through security before, the security line contained less than 5 people at the time of the incident, and DH apologized and shared thanks all over the place coming and going. :) )

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All of our experiences have been positive. Half of our flights are out of PDX (Portland, OR) and I think we have nice, professional folks here. Once in Orlando we approached the incredibly long security line. A TSA agent saw dd in her wheelchair and pulled us through on the side immediately. She always gets checked thoroughly and it's always by a female who tells me what she needs to do. They check her meds but I have never had any problems with her liquid meds or syringe-looking diastats. Everyone has always been nice to us even though our family of 5, one wheelchair, takes quite a bit of time. No complaints here.

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We fly internationally every year, 3 legs each way, and there are five of us -- we've been doing it for 6 years now. We mostly have nondescript encounters, neither exceptionally great nor exceptionally horrible. A few stand out, though.

 

There was the time I kept a can of Coke from one plane to have on the next leg of the flight, forgetting we had to pass through security again since it was the international arrival/departure portion; completely spaced out about it, my carry-on got pulled aside, my youngest was having a fit because he'd had to take off his shoes (this was before the recent change to that policy), I was helping him get his shoes back on and calm him down, etc. and right about then I remembered, and said to DH, "Oh....the Coke. I bet it's because of the Coke I kept from the plane...." The agent checking my bag looked at me, made eye contact, nodded, and said, "I have to check it out, but I'll let you keep it, you look like you're going to need it." So he swabbed the top of it with whatever stuff they use for that kind of thing and handed it back to me along with my bag.

 

To counter that, there was also the time I was flying solo, and had picked up a ton of school books for the kids. I was packed to the gills, and had tucked a brand new, unopened jar of peanut butter into my carry-on because the checked luggage was just FULL. I also tucked a water bottle in one pocket, just to carry from the car through checking in luggage, and was going to throw that away before security. Forgot to throw it away. So the bag got flagged, the agent found the peanut butter, which I argued was food, not liquid, and she said, "...or paste. Sorry." I begged, to no avail. (we cannot get peanut butter here). She said I could go check-in my carry-on instead, but I already had 2 checked bags and didn't think DH would approve of a $100 extra bag fee, even for peanut butter, LOL! So, she kept the peanut butter, I went on my way, stopped in the bathroom, discovered the stinking water bottle that she missed, and burst into tears. I'm pretty sure if I'd remembered to toss the water bottle, the bag would not have been flagged and I'd have kept the peanut butter. Drat.

 

Mostly though we've had really great agents, every time.

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I fly a lot, mostly with my kids. We have lived in two different places in Germany, been stationed in Hawaii twice now and have been stationed on both coasts while dh and I are from the middle of the country. I have never had a crazy encounter with a TSA agent. I even fly with meds that have to be kept cold in a cooler with ice packs, and it has never been an issue.

 

The only time I have been pulled aside was once when I was leaving Hawaii and were x-rating my bag, they brought me around to the screen and asked, "what is that?" It was a Lush bath bomb. I said, "oh, it's soap." They said, "oh, okay, it looked kind of like fruit."

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I have flown several times with the kids, always within the country, and have never had a single problem. My husband flies often for work and hasn't had any issues either. However, he has one co-worker who is an American of middle eastern descent who gets pulled aside every. single. time.

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My sound asleep 9 month old who could not stand got strip searched because his name came up on some list- he of course woke up crying because they kept trying to stand him up but they would not let me touch or comfort him "no contact between passengers"

 

He got them back though when they searched his baggage-it was a bag of dirty cloth diapers and I did warn the guy but he would not listen and just shoved his whole arm into the plastic liner and swished it around- he was so mad at me when his uniform came back all poopy.

 

I did not feel bad- nope

 

I cannot believe they take babies away from their parents?! That is so wrong. Glad baby got his revenge :)

 

I've never had problems going through security with my kids. Usually agents are very understanding if one of the kids doesn't want to walk through on their own or whatever. I've carried sleeping babies through as well.

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They made my 100 year old great grandmother get out of her wheel chair and take off her shoes, which she couldn't do, so they did it for her. I wasn't allowed to help and was so shocked by the whole thing that I didn't speak up.

I will no longer fly and refuse to let my children fly.

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I fly a couple times a year (within the US) and have always had positive or neutral experiences with TSA.

 

A few years ago I was flying alone with my 4 month old and 2.5 year old. Trying to get the three of us, the stroller, the diaper bag, etc through security was a bit of a circus. As I tried to get the toddler's shoes off while juggling the baby a TSA officer came over and asked if he could help. He was very kind to DS and put him at ease. He said he was sorry we had to go through the hassle and that the rules were being rewritten to make it easier for parents of young children. After the stroller went through the scanner, an officer took it off the belt and opened it up so I could set the baby in there as I got us put back together.

 

Wendy

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- I've had my bags pulled aside and rifled through every single time I've flown.

 

- I've been pulled aside for the 'random' extra search.

 

- When I was 15 and flying alone (returning from visiting one parent), I kept beeping. Apparently it was the zipper on my skirt and then, the clasp/underwire on my bra. I was given a more in depth search in front of everyone while people nearby stared. When I continued to beep, the TSA agent told me she was going to have to reach under my clothes to feel so I asked to go to a private room and got 'felt up' till they were satisfied I wasn't carrying anything dangerous. As I left the area to head to my terminal, I looked at the time and realized I only had a couple of minutes till my flight was supposed to leave but I was so flustered and in tears that I got on the wrong trolley, ended up lost at the wrong terminal (crying like a baby lol), and then somehow managed to make it back to the right plane running and caught them just as they were closing the door. They asked me if my name was ____ and said they'd been waiting for me and calling around since I was an unaccompanied minor so fortunately, I did JUST make the plane. I was pretty scared to fly for a long time after though.

 

- When dh and I were first married, he was going on a trip and I accompanied him to the airport and was at the check-in desk with him. The agent was very nice but apparently she 'flagged' DH because as soon as he handed his ticket at security, he told me the guy yelled 'we have an SSS here' and he got the full monty 'random' search. Now, almost every time he flies he gets the SSS search lol. He thanks me for that.

 

- Dh was hassled by tsa agents and taken aside for 2 hours on his way back from a medical mission in Jamaica. The agent couldn't understand why he would go to Jamaica (for medical humanitarian aid...duh) and questioned him about the places he'd visited in his passport.

 

- Last time I flew, I thought it went quite smoothly aside from the usual special treatment we get but they did make me wake up my comfortable sleeping 15 month old (he'd JUST fallen asleep) and force him to walk through the scanner by himself and be wanded by himself.

 

I should add that our names are not on any special list. My husband's name, especially the spelling, is kind of confusing as to the origin if you didnt know what it is supposed to sound like, and my first name (at least, at that time, I usually go by middle name) is not a foreign sounding name and my last name, though Moroccan, sounds Spanish. It is really due to the headscarf or my husband being seen with me wearing a headscarf. We plan ahead to get profiled and always try to arrive extra early at the airport so there is time for whatever they want to do with us ;).

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Otherwise, my personal experience has not been bad. However, I wear yoga pants, sleeveless shirt with no collar, sports bra, open toed, flat sandals, and no sweater or jacket on my person until after security. I don't carry on food or beverages (which means I starve because I have gluten issues) and my purse is fairly spartan.

 

 

Please don't feel you have to starve when flying. Dd is GF (celiac disease). Before we fly I buy her several Laura Bars and pack them in my carry on. She eats them on the plane instead of whatever gluten-filled snack they serve. She can also eat one if we get delayed and can't find a place she can eat at.

 

Another tip is to pack an empty water bottle and fill it at a water fountain after going through security.

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They threw my hummus in the trash saying it was a liquid. I politely pointed out that it was garbanzo bean paste. No luck. It was, according to the TSA, a liquid.

 

 

 

I guess you need to bring whole garbanzos next time, and mush them enroute. :lol:

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The worst part for me is the checked baggage. They always ruin my suitcases. Always. They rip out the plastic that lines the interior sides, and leave the broken parts in amongst my clothes. They tear foam away from the sides. They take carefully packed delicate things, unpack them, and repack them so poorly that they break. Again, and again, and again. With no apologies, no policy about it, no warnings that it may happen, no guidelines as to how to avoid it. I am so over it.

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We fly pretty often, and things are almost always smooth sailing. The agents have always been good with my little guy, and it's really nice to not have to take his shoes off now. I did go through a phase where I was getting pulled to be swabbed for explosives really often. I have no clue why, but it hasn't happened lately. My carry on often gets an extra look because I travel with food for my LO with food allergies, but other than being asked to open the occasional thing, there has never been an issue. I've had the new, more invasive pat down, and the agent was very good. She asked if I wanted to go into a private room, explained what she was about to do, and warned me before she touched any sensitive areas. The only time my son had any extra screening was my fault. I forgot to take off my belt (which I virtually never wear) in the Paris airport, and I had carried him through the metal detector with me. We both got a pat down because of it, but they let me hold him (he was about 2.5) while they did it. His pat down was very mild and non invasive. My pat down was a little more... friendly, but it certainly didn't scar me. The only thing I dread about TSA is the occasional long line.

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This past weekend when I flew the TSA agent was really, really cranky. I was flying from Reagan which is a small airport, steady traffic but not crowded. The guy was berating everyone for not turning their bins "facing out" so it would go faster. He kept saying put them facing out so we can see the numbers. The guy in front of me didn't speak much English, and the TSA agent acted like increasing his volume and crankiness would help the situation. He finally waved the guy on through but his exasperation was on full display. I put my four bins carefully with their numbers all facing out and he started yelling at me, too. I told him that I was trying to comply, but his repetition of "out" wasn't clear to any of us: we didn't know what he meant by "out." Out = away from the direction of the conveyer belt? Out = facing the lady watching the scanner? No, "out" to him meant facing him! Good grief!

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#1 true story- flying home from Japan, guy notices we are missionaries. He asks what version of the bible we read because we should be reading the King James only! ugh!!!

 

#2 true story- brought a sandwich from the airplane service off the plane in my purse. Apparently ham is a no, no! Guy scolds me like crazy, treating me like a criminal in a way. So scary!

 

#3 true story- brought a group of people from Japan to the U.S. for a 2-week trip. One of my guests was a mother-daughter. The mom was quizzed as to why she was bringing her daughter to the States without her husband's permission!!! Ugh!!!! This is from Japan to America not vice-versa. The husband is also Japanese.

 

#4 true story- brining Japanese into the U.S. for the first time and having NSA people shouting at them to move in line, when they don't speak ENGLISH!!!!! What a way to welcome people to the Good ole' USA.

 

#5 true story- one day I had to go through 3 body scans on a trip home from Japan. I am serious.

 

#6 true story- had all my jewlry stolen once by TSA. I didn't notice till I got back to Japan, but they went through that bag at the airport in the early, early, morning, and I'm sure it was an agent. There is no other explanation.

 

I am so sick of the TSA. They are the scum of the earth in my mind. (Sorry to those who are decent NSA people) But they are a bunch of control freaks. I hate traveling to the US now.

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I fly frequently, and it hasn't been difficult. I have been respectfully patted down (and I know some people think there is no such thing) a few times when I have worn more flowing garments. Once, I was asked to remove my hair clip, and the agent put her hands under the clip.

Otherwise, it's been a breeze. Sometimes they ask me to go through the scanner, other times no.

TSA slows us down, but not by much.I don't find it overly time-consuming or upsetting. I understand there are jerks in every profession. :(

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Bringing food through security is not allowed. You can try to put in checked baggage, but normally, you have to buy it after you go through security.

 

Even before the towers, food was an issue.

 

Food certainly was, and is, allowed. I almost always travel with food.

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I haven't had anything happen that wasn't my own fault (like having them throw out a new $20 bottle of sunscreen because I stupidly forgot and didn't pack it in my checked baggage.) The times I have been selected for search/pat down there has not been anything uncomfortable or inappropriate about it. I am sure there are agents who are obnoxious about it but I have not encountered any of them so far. I don't fly more than a few times a year though. One of my brothers always seems to get searched. Always.

 

I have to say I would have a hard time not punching someone in the throat if they were planning to strip search my kid.

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Bringing food through security is not allowed. You can try to put in checked baggage, but normally, you have to buy it after you go through security.

 

Even before the towers, food was an issue.

 

 

I have had so many times were I did not get stopped with food in my carry-on bag, pre and post 9/11. We even brought back 3 foil wrapped burritos from the mission district in SF well past 9/11. TSA rep saw them and let us on through. I always pack snacks for the kids in their bags and it has never ever been an issue, even more recently.

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I have had so many times were I did not get stopped with food in my carry-on bag, pre and post 9/11. We even brought back 3 foil wrapped burritos from the mission district in SF well past 9/11. TSA rep saw them and let us on through. I always pack snacks for the kids in their bags and it has never ever been an issue, even more recently.

 

Pretty lucky. I've had my food taken in the past, so I don't bother.

 

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I bring food for myself and my kids through security all the time.

According to TSA:

 

 

 

 

"Food

 

food.jpgAll food must go through the X-ray machine. Do NOT bring food to the security checkpoint unwrapped, as shown in the image on the right.

Food must be wrapped or in a container. Unpeeled natural foods like fruit are okay, but half-eaten fruits must be wrapped."

 

 

 

http://www.tsa.gov/t...d-and-beverages

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I fly almost every week, for work, and have since pre-9/11.

 

I always bring food, always. I usually bring yogurt, and in all of those trips (national, international, big airport, small airport, busy time, slow time) have only had it tossed once. I had it questioned a second time, but the scanner let it go once she saw what it was. I've had a few scanners question my ice packs, but only ever if they were thawing (and thereby, becoming liquid). I've never had any ice packs thrown out.

 

I think there are a few things going on with TSA agents. One, it's a big organization and there's always bound to be inconsistencies with those. Two, it's like playing Monopoly at a friend's house - "house rules" differ, and most people don't know if the customs they're following are the "real" rules or a house variation. The agents just know "how it's done here" and act accordingly, right or wrong. That frustrates them as much as it does us, the travelers. Three, nobody likes the TSA. Yes they've chosen this job and yes some think that putting on smurfy blues gives them the right to rule the security lane and the world ... but for the most part, it's hard showing up to work knowing the world hates you LOL. I know because I've BTDT in a different job. It doesn't excuse those agents on power trips, but it's an insight worth considering given the few who truly are high on their wittle bitty bit of control. All jobs have morons on ego trips, even the job of homeschooling mother ;).

 

I am fortunate to frequent the same few airports on a regular basis, so I "know" many of "my" TSA agents. But on the few occasions I travel somewhere new I can still break even the most stubborn of agents by simply smiling and being nice. Even if they're barking. I don't take it personally and they seem relieved that someone is actually recognizing them as a human being. They soften up, for the people behind me also. They're humans; humans are predictable. Use the predictability of humans to your advantage!

 

I look ethnic. I'm the kind of person who passes for many non-white and non-black ethnicities. I get confused for mediterranean, asian, latin, and every mix in between - even middle eastern. I have black hair and dark skin, and I don't talk much so people assume I don't speak English. (Actually that's a favorite time-passer of mine at the airport - pretending I don't understand the people around me. They really do change how they speak when they think no one understands or can hear.)

 

I don't mean to be an apologist for the TSA. They're far from perfect, and I remember more fondly the days before they were around. And even around to a lesser extent (pre-9/11). I travel fairly often outside of work with anywhere from one to nine minor children and haven't had any problems there either. In fact, just today I went through security with two sons and the TSA at LAX was overly accommodating. They even mucked it up with my boys, discussing the new Superman movie and debating on who was the better superhero, Superman or Batman.

 

My experiences? Some good, some bad, most mediocre. Same as anything LOL.

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I fly almost every week, for work, and have since pre-9/11.

 

I always bring food, always. I usually bring yogurt, and in all of those trips (national, international, big airport, small airport, busy time, slow time) have only had it tossed once. I had it questioned a second time, but the scanner let it go once she saw what it was. I've had a few scanners question my ice packs, but only ever if they were thawing (and thereby, becoming liquid). I've never had any ice packs thrown out.

 

I think there are a few things going on with TSA agents. One, it's a big organization and there's always bound to be inconsistencies with those. Two, it's like playing Monopoly at a friend's house - "house rules" differ, and most people don't know if the customs they're following are the "real" rules or a house variation. The agents just know "how it's done here" and act accordingly, right or wrong. That frustrates them as much as it does us, the travelers. Three, nobody likes the TSA. Yes they've chosen this job and yes some think that putting on smurfy blues gives them the right to rule the security lane and the world ... but for the most part, it's hard showing up to work knowing the world hates you LOL. I know because I've BTDT in a different job. It doesn't excuse those agents on power trips, but it's an insight worth considering given the few who truly are high on their wittle bitty bit of control. All jobs have morons on ego trips, even the job of homeschooling mother ;).

 

I am fortunate to frequent the same few airports on a regular basis, so I "know" many of "my" TSA agents. But on the few occasions I travel somewhere new I can still break even the most stubborn of agents by simply smiling and being nice. Even if they're barking. I don't take it personally and they seem relieved that someone is actually recognizing them as a human being. They soften up, for the people behind me also. They're humans; humans are predictable. Use the predictability of humans to your advantage!

 

I look ethnic. I'm the kind of person who passes for many non-white and non-black ethnicities. I get confused for mediterranean, asian, latin, and every mix in between - even middle eastern. I have black hair and dark skin, and I don't talk much so people assume I don't speak English. (Actually that's a favorite time-passer of mine at the airport - pretending I don't understand the people around me. They really do change how they speak when they think no one understands or can hear.)

 

I don't mean to be an apologist for the TSA. They're far from perfect, and I remember more fondly the days before they were around. And even around to a lesser extent (pre-9/11). I travel fairly often outside of work with anywhere from one to nine minor children and haven't had any problems there either. In fact, just today I went through security with two sons and the TSA at LAX was overly accommodating. They even mucked it up with my boys, discussing the new Superman movie and debating on who was the better superhero, Superman or Batman.

 

My experiences? Some good, some bad, most mediocre. Same as anything LOL.

 

 

 

Same here. I've always had my food taken, even yogurt, but it looks like others have been able to take theirs through (beyond the packaged stuff). Maybe these various stories illustrate that TSA are not the evil minions we've been lead to believe.

 

Believe me; next time I am going to chance those Mission burritos and look innocent. They are *amazing*.

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I haven't had anything happen that wasn't my own fault (like having them throw out a new $20 bottle of sunscreen because I stupidly forgot and didn't pack it in my checked baggage.) The times I have been selected for search/pat down there has not been anything uncomfortable or inappropriate about it. I am sure there are agents who are obnoxious about it but I have not encountered any of them so far. I don't fly more than a few times a year though. One of my brothers always seems to get searched. Always.

 

I have to say I would have a hard time not punching someone in the throat if they were planning to strip search my kid.

 

 

They were fine with the snacks we had packed for Punk, but they jacked up several of his diapers checking them.

 

I would have been fine with them holding Punk, next to me, and checking him. (They did not do a strip search, just a pat down.) I was unprepared for them to walk away from me with him. He was equally unprepared and let them know his deep displeasure.

 

I would have been extremely uncomfortable with my pat down under perfect circumstances; I have PTSD and being touched can be triggering for me. When I had them take my baby away combined with a pat down I about lost it. My sweet MIL and FIL were standing on the other side of the security check point watching and she starting tearing up because she saw how distressed both Punk and I were, but could not do anything to help us.

 

I fully recognize that my issues are *my* issues, but they definitely impact my travel choices.

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I have a fav place...wanna share suppliers? :)

 

 

 

I can never remember the name of the one we like best. I know how to get there from the Bart but I can't remember the name. My husband is the one who remembers restaurants and movie titles. I have great recall of books and music and transit but names are over my head. I am so lame. Their meats and sweetbreads were to die for. Please do tell me your fave so I can see if it is the same place...when my husband gets home. :lol:

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We haven't had any problems at all with the TSA. We almost always fly out of BWI (Baltimore) though sometimes we have to use Philadelphia. We've flown to/from Orlando, Phoenix, San Diego, San Jose, LAX (three guesses as to what state my extended family lives in!), Denver, and Salt Lake City.

 

Twice I had to get my hands swabbed. It was due to a moisturizer I had used. No one has been patted-down. Dd18 and I wear underwire bras all the time. Perhaps we have been lucky with our choices of airport.

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They were fine with the snacks we had packed for Punk, but they jacked up several of his diapers checking them.

 

I would have been fine with them holding Punk, next to me, and checking him. (They did not do a strip search, just a pat down.) I was unprepared for them to walk away from me with him. He was equally unprepared and let them know his deep displeasure.

 

I would have been extremely uncomfortable with my pat down under perfect circumstances; I have PTSD and being touched can be triggering for me. When I had them take my baby away combined with a pat down I about lost it. My sweet MIL and FIL were standing on the other side of the security check point watching and she starting tearing up because she saw how distressed both Punk and I were, but could not do anything to help us.

 

 

 

 

I totally get that. I would likely flip if my small child was separated from me.

 

I have PTSD from childhood events but my triggers don't often get pressed with women. So I know I am a lucky traveller.

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I totally get that. I would likely flip if my small child was separated from me.

 

I have PTSD from childhood events but my triggers don't often get pressed with women. So I know I am a lucky traveller.

 

 

 

 

Life is confounding. I've thought frequently about how I might handle travel if I were (the mortal) queen of the world, and I can't come up with a simple protocol.

 

Triggers abound.

 

:(

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What kind of food are you talking about? You can't bring most food through security.; maybe peanuts, some dry packaged items, formula. You can pack some it in your checked luggage. The food thrown away by TSA is legendary. Try traveling with fruit internationally. lol

 

 

This has not been my experience, and is also not what the rules say.

You can take fruit and other foods through security without problem if they are not gel/cream/liquid: no yoghurt, apple sauce, nutella.

The issue with fruit and meat is that you can not bring them INTO the other country to protect their agriculture. You can take it through security and bring it on the plane, but they make you throw it away at immigration. If you eat it on the plane, no problem.

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#2 true story- brought a sandwich from the airplane service off the plane in my purse. Apparently ham is a no, no! Guy scolds me like crazy, treating me like a criminal in a way. So scary!

 

 

Now was that entering the country, or an actual TSA security checkpoint for a connecting flight?

You can't bring meat into another country; the agricultural patrol will take it away. But TSA should not, since they are only concerned with a risk for the flying plane.

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I am in the mission district frequently, so if I could take those on without issue, I would! They are THE BEST.

 

I have a fav place...wanna share suppliers? :)

 

 

Butting in to say I like El Farolito followed closely by Los Coyotes.

 

If I'm missing a better one, please school me. I should be in that area in a few weeks and am always game for new, recommended food joints. I'll just have to remember to scarf it down before security I guess! Actually I wonder if the tin foil is the problem, and if re-wrapping it in wax paper would help any. They'd still know it's food, but maybe it'd be less HERE I AM than the foil?

 

Son of a gun, now I'm feeling like I need to conduct an experiment.

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We have flown overseas every year for the last 4 years and last year dd and I flew another two times within the US. Like another poster mentioned, we dress simply (yoga pants and t-shirt) with simple open shoes, carry very little in our purses, and keep a change of clothes in our carry on with a jacket or sweater attached to it. We have never had any problems or seen a problem. Most TSA agents we have encountered have even been pleasant with one exception, maybe she was having a bad day.

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This has not been my experience, and is also not what the rules say.

You can take fruit and other foods through security without problem if they are not gel/cream/liquid: no yoghurt, apple sauce, nutella.

The issue with fruit and meat is that you can not bring them INTO the other country to protect their agriculture. You can take it through security and bring it on the plane, but they make you throw it away at immigration. If you eat it on the plane, no problem.

 

 

This depends upon the state/country. Fresh fruit will not be allowed on a plane leaving Hawaii, for example. You can eat it on a plane to Hawaii, but you are supposed to rid yourself of it before you arrive. Some other countries are similar.

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I have 3 stories, two more puzzling than terrible and one just embarrassing:

 

We traveled as a family a couple months after 9/11, so before TSA and when the rules seemed to change every time you flew. At this time, you had to show your photo ID every step of the way (counter, security, gate). Somehow, I lost my photo ID between our first flight and our second. The airline did not want to let me board the plane without my photo ID and directed me to their customer service desk. The woman at the desk had to call someone else and discussed the ID I did have with me: photo ID from work, credit cards, voter registration card, SS card, etc. It really looked like I wasn't going to get on the plane until I pulled out my airline frequent flyer card. Yeah, suddenly, all was well and I was allowed to board. Really?!? A frequent flyer card?

 

Another time, I was randomly selected to test my luggage for explosives. The first test was positive so they re-ran it a couple times. It was still positive so they asked for my ID and wrote my information down. Then, I was allowed to continue on. The weird part is that they never opened my bag! Why bother testing for explosives if you aren't going to search a positive bag?!?

 

My last story was when I had to travel with co-workers and haul along my breast pump. It was in a discrete boxy black bag. However, when it went through security, they pulled me aside and asked to look through my "camera bag." I had to explain what it was and open all the compartments for them to take a quick look. They were professional and polite but I was still embarrassed with my male co-workers standing just a few steps away.

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