Tag: Airport Security

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After the NOLA Machete Attack, How Do You Feel About Arming TSA Agents?

March 26, 2015 at 1:20 PM | by | Comments (0)

Last Friday a lunatic - we think it's fair to call him a lunatic - walked into Louis Armstrong International in New Orleans and began trying to hack up the place with a machete.

He used anti-wasp spray to keep security officers at bay, and it would later be discovered that the bag he was carrying was filled with Molotov cocktails. The attacker managed to badly injure a TSA worker before finally being brought down by a sheriff who was in the area.

And therein lies the debate that started on Monday: what would have happened had the armed officer not been there? TSA personnel are trained to handle rampages, and this article describes some of the tactics they used (one guy blocked the machete with a piece of luggage while travelers fled the area). But the only thing that stops an attack like this in its tracks is a well-aimed shot, and TSA agents aren't armed.

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Another Example of How TSA is Ruining The PreCheck System for Everyone

March 23, 2015 at 3:35 PM | by | Comments (0)

Either the TSA is actively trolling the American people, or these guys actually are so incompetent they could screw up a one car parade.

You guys obviously know about PreCheck and PreCheck lines, and you've probably heard about how some airports send passengers randomly into the PreCheck line to speed things up. The idea is that if you randomly send every 10th or every 20th passenger through expedited screening, what are the odds that the person you randomly selected is actually a terrorist? Want to guess how this turns out?

A new report, published last week by Homeland Security, revealed that the system sent a notorious felon and terrorist through a PreCheck line. This guy was so famous that he was recognized by sight by the officers in the PreCheck line. They alerted their supervisor, who of course ordered the officer to let the terrorist continue on his way. Stellar work from start to finish from America's exquisitely staffed airport security agency.

The TSA's response, by the by, is that it "takes its responsibility for protecting the traveling public very seriously." Feel better?

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TGIF So We Can Talk About Another Crazy TSA Incident

February 6, 2015 at 4:41 PM | by | Comments (0)

You guys don't like to hear this, but most of your complaints about TSA are kind of bullsh*t. Sometimes the stories are true but silly: it took an extra 5 minutes to get through line, the TSA agent didn't smile enough, etc.

Other times the tales come from conspiracy theorists who are looking for a way to finally prove that airport security is part of a secret plot to domesticate the American sheeple in preparation for a takeover by black United Nations helicopters. Those descriptions all but universally turn out to be questionable.

Then there's the story that's currently making the rounds, which has now reached legitimate news outlets like the Associated Press. Roger Vanderklok is a runner in his late 50s who was going through security at PHL two years ago on his way to a Miami half-marathon.

Naturally he was carrying energy bars and a sports watch, which he had wrapped in a PVC pipe so they wouldn't get crushed. Something happened at the checkpoint, he didn't like it, he asked to file a complaint, and he ended up arrested and in a holding cell for around 20 hours without being allowed to contact the outside world (including his wife, who couldn't find him).

A judge eventually dismissed the case, and of course there's a lawsuit in play now. That's not the interesting part.

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The Craziest TSA Tale of 2014

December 31, 2014 at 3:49 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's that time of the year again, the time when the year just plain ends. Alas, we can't just let 2014 go that easily, especially since travelers spent it both up in the air and up in arms over a crazy range of topics. Now we take a brief look back at the best and worst of 2014 with the Jaunted Travel Awards,—or as we fondly refer to them—The Jauntys.

It's not exactly breaking news that the TSA has personnel problems. This is an agency that recruits employees by putting ads on the top of pizza boxes. And while it's true that everybody loves pizza, the tactic casts TSA's overall approach to finding and retaining talent in a less than fantastic -quality l. The situation is not helped by decisions made at the very top of the airport security organization, which include expanding programs that have zero effectiveness.

2014 saw something of a new low, however. First in February and then in July, stories started airing about how TSA agents were refusing to accept Washington DC drivers licenses as valid forms of ID. In at least the latter case, it kind of seemed like the agent didn't know what Washington DC was or, more specifically, that it was in the United States. The incidents were strange for a number of reasons. First, TSA is sometimes very lax about what acceptable IDs, to the point where the issue became a national scandal in the fall. Second of all, Washington DC is the capital of the United States.

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TSA Has Huge Loophole to Allow Profiling in Airports

December 18, 2014 at 2:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

Here's a feel-good story to ease you into the holidays.

The Obama administration is preparing to issue a new set of guidelines that will for the first time ban national security agencies from conducting profiling based on race, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation. There are already rules going back to 2003 banning racial profiling by most parts of the federal government, but those rules don't apply to national security agencies and don't encompass religion, national origin, or sexual orientation. These new guidelines are aimed at shoring up those oversights.

All well and good, unless you're the TSA, and part of your job is to apply extra scrutiny to people originating in places like Syria and Yemen just in case they're terrorists. In that case you'd be kind of screwed, unless you could get an exemption from the new restrictions. Want to guess how this story ends?

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Is the TSA Considering a Total Carry-On Luggage Ban for the Holidays?

December 5, 2014 at 10:13 AM | by | Comments (0)

You thought the TSA was going to lighten up for the holidays. You read on Jaunted that the agency was letting passengers bring ice skates and even pies on board planes. Elsewhere you may have heard that top TSA officials were looking to loosen existing restrictions on some liquids for some travelers. Overall it seemed as if limitations on carry-on baggage were moving in the right direction.

How about instead of that, the TSA just goes ahead and bans all carry-on luggage over the holiday season? No exceptions. How would that suit you?

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TSA Asks Holiday Travelers to Please Leave the Chainsaws at Home

November 20, 2014 at 5:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

The TSA is making its annual "please don't make holiday travel more miserable than it already is" push, in which the agency begs travelers not to bring obviously prohibited items into checkpoints for at least the next few months. TSA officials try something like this every year, and it usually more or less completely fails. The problem isn't with the airport security organization, for once. The kind of person who tries to bring chemical-soaked sparklers on board an airplane - real example - just isn't the sort of person who reads TSA-related press releases. Or any press releases, really.

And yet here we are. This year the agency tried to get attention by throwing together a press event at just a single airport, gathering reporters for a show-and-tell at JFK. That's not a terrible idea as far as PR goes, because local reporters always need stories and this way things are easy for them. You give them a press kit, you issue a statement, and everyone is done in time for happy hour. We're not sure it'll actually make a difference, in the sense that we're pretty sure it won't make a difference. But it was a mildly entertaining show, and so you might as well know it happened.

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Local News Panics After Discovering Old, Defunct TSA Program

November 13, 2014 at 2:11 PM | by | Comments (0)

Time for another edition of "People are Idiots, and That's Why We Can't Fix TSA." True story.

Many years ago DHS received a Congressional mandate to secure the nation's airports, which the department duly implemented by putting up TSA checkpoints everywhere. Critics of the agency almost immediately began to complain about its uselessness - "security theater" was a popular catchphrases - and some went so far as to accuse TSA of actively conspiring to destroy America.

After a while TSA responded with: "Listen, we can't just shut down inspections because Congress won't let us. How about instead we establish this new PreCheck system, where for only $85 you can pass a background check and breeze through security?"

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US Limits Potential Ebola Travel to Just Five Airports

October 23, 2014 at 4:40 PM | by | Comments (0)

We've made a sustained effort to calm you down over Ebola. As the Internet will be more than happy to explain, more Americans have been married to Kim Kardashian than have died of Ebola. So as we move forward in this post, let's keep eventhing in perspective.

Have you heard, though, that all of the TSA stations in Cleveland International had to be disinfected inch by inch because an Ebola patient passed through just one of them on the way to Texas? It was simply a precaution of course - the literal actual quote from the agency's spokesman was that "it's nothing official" but rather just "something that our folks wanted to do" - but it happened and it brings up a good point. Ebola is spreading beyond West Africa partly because of air travel, and even the suggestion of Ebola is enough to bring anything its associated with to a grinding halt. So isn't Ebola eventually going to grind air travel to a halt?

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US Airports Begin Extra Health Checks for Ebola

October 8, 2014 at 5:56 PM | by | Comments (0)

Whether you realize it or not, international airports are screening for health issues of incoming passengers. Typically it's just trained officials eyeballing the stream of arriving passengers, sometimes with the help of temperature sensors, looking for any telling signs of deteriorating health before an unwell person passes through customs and out into the public.

Owing to the recent threat of Ebola, however, those checks are about to become more obvious, and more specialized, at least temporarily.

According to the NYT, five US airports will begin screening passengers arriving from West Africa with new procedures, including a contactless thermometer to test for fever, and a questionnaire to determine a person's risk.

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Why Rapper Too $hort Snuck Out of Burbank Airport in His Socks

October 7, 2014 at 2:42 PM | by | Comments (0)

Last Wednesday TSA agents at Burbank detected a loaded gun in the carry-on of rapper Todd Anthony Shaw, known as Too Short or Too $hort depending on how stuffy you are. This kind of thing happens quite a lot. Almost always, the travelers are immediately cited, and often they're even allowed to proceed to the plane.

In this case Mr. Short walked slowly out of the airport in his socks, recovered his valet-parked car, and returned two days later with his lawyer. At that point he received a misdemeanor citation for possession of a loaded handgun in a public place. This entire incident, with all due respect, is batshit crazy.

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What's the Trick to Being Fastest Through Airport Security?

September 16, 2014 at 12:33 PM | by | Comments (2)

In the 2009 movie “Up in the Air,” George Clooney plays an ultra-frequent flyer experiencing a crisis of self as he nears the 10-million-mile mark. Towards the beginning, when his travels are still very much upbeat, there’s a memorable scene as he passes through airport security and leaves in his dust the discombobulated casual travelers around him. The key to that slickness is his polished routine of ultimate efficiency in the security line.

Shoes, belt, jacket, carry-on—not a hair is out of place on Clooney despite the best efforts of the TSA. He comes across as truly the master of frequent flying.

But does his routine actually work?

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