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View Full Version : Airport Security...It Baffles Me



scubasavvy
08-26-2007, 13:38
Hey guys,

I just came back from Germany a few weeks ago and I thought that this was the most appropriate place to bring this topic up. When I had left the United States through JFK, I was shocked at the lack of security. We walked through a metal detector once and just sent our bags through the scanning machine and that was the end of that story...but not really.

My mother is a hair dresser and our German relatives wanted haircuts (odd I know). She accidentally put her scissors into her carry on bag along with straight razors so she wouldn't forget them at our house. Her intentions were to put them in her check bag the morning we left. Needless to say, she got on the plane with them and realized it when we landed in Dusseldorf.

So lets figure this out now, say she just happened to be deranged: She's on the plane with scissors with about a 3 and 1/2 inch blade on them along with a straight razor. I'm guessing she could have caused some havoc. Aren't we trying to avoid this?

Personally, I would feel better if every time I got on a plane they would pull me to the side and check my reg bag with my dive computer in it. I mean, people are now making bombs out of tooth paste, right? An inconvenience? Yes, but I would feel much safer.

On the way back to the U.S. is another story. I was put through a metal detector, wanded twice and I had to pull everything out of my carry on bag so someone could inspect it.

What's up with the U.S. and their airport security? Does anyone feel similarly about this? Differently? Any comments would be appreciated...

thesmoothdome
08-26-2007, 13:52
That's pretty scary. I've been pleased with what I've seen from the TSA where I've flown. Lots of checking and rechecking of bags and people. Even so, I'm not surprised that they're missing stuff.

Charlotte Smith
08-26-2007, 13:58
I got a small bic lighter down in the lining of a leather jacket through a small hole and they put me through H@@$! I can't imagine getting a straight razor on...

gtjason2000
08-26-2007, 14:07
I was always suprised that I wasn't pulled aside for my reg but maybe people at the airport see it all the time especially in the carribbean. I finally got scrutinized in the Dominican Republic coming back to the states.

Travelnsj
08-26-2007, 14:09
I always carry on my reg, camera etc...most important stuff....If someone is not fimiliar with a reg....well they pull it out..****b that bomb sniffing paper all over it....then the good one is when I have to explain my Sony underwater camera housing.......but so far we are safe.

JugglingMonkeys
08-26-2007, 14:14
Security can vary considerably airport to airport.

a year or so ago, mistakenly i carried a pocketknife through 3-4 airports on flights in my carryon.

just had forgotten it was there.

finally, in sydney, i think, i was busted. They took it away.
but only after 3 or 4 had missed it.

scary!

chinacat46
08-26-2007, 15:06
I had a broken camera with me in Kosrae and the guy asked me to turn it on. I told him I wished I could but it was borken. He didn't know what to do. Finally just let me go. It was the first time I've ever been asked to turn a camera on.

Queen
08-26-2007, 15:18
Thank god she didn't have any nail clippers in her bag, those things are really dangerous.

:D

Black-Gorrilla
08-26-2007, 15:25
i've had cologne taken away from me... but not a pocket knife (4.5" blade)
go figure.

JugglingMonkeys
08-26-2007, 16:16
cologne?
they made the right call...

:smilie39:

just kidding, of course

greyzen
08-26-2007, 16:21
Yeah I flew into D.C. a few months ago and was given everything but a high colonic irrigation. They wanded/searched/inspected me and my carry-on/etc.

The whole time they were so busy apologizing for my inconvenience only one of them heard me thank them for keeping me safe. When I said it, she kinda looked at me waiting for the rest of the story.. and then kind of smiled.
I think I made her week.


It's kind of sad when people who are paid to keep me safe find it surprising when I thank them for doing so.

quarrydiver
08-26-2007, 17:27
Security is good when it keeps bad things away from bad people but flying out of Freeport I had a laughable security moment. After you check your bags at the counter you walk through security. After you walk through security, you pick up the bags you already checked in and walk through another checkpoint where they don't check your carry on luggage. So I check my bags and proceed to security where they confiscate a screwdriver that is in my carry on bag, then they send me to pick up my checked bags! So why do they take the screwdriver from one bag only to let me go pick up my 2 checked bags that have knives in them?

WV Diver
08-26-2007, 17:52
The biggest problem I see is lack of uniformity. It baffles us because there is no sound reasoning, logic or basis for some of this security nonsense and the antics of airport security.

They just jump from one OMG to the next in a state of constant paranoia without making focused, sound decisions. It's the american way of doing things. Everyone is in such a state all the time that no one uses common sense anymore.

Even if they do something right they aren't communicating it and the right hand doesn;t have any idea what the left hand is doing. What is good or bad at this gate is wrong or ok at the next. Go figure. It's lack of organization.

Black-Gorrilla
08-26-2007, 17:56
cologne?
they made the right call...

:smilie39:

just kidding, of course

damn right... Faragamo (i think) it's so nice and expensive too.

Black-Gorrilla
08-26-2007, 18:01
****** Delete ******

namabiru
08-26-2007, 18:19
The biggest problem I see is lack of uniformity. It baffles us because there is no sound reasoning, logic or basis for some of this security nonsense and the antics of airport security.

They just jump from one OMG to the next in a state of constant paranoia without making focused, sound decisions. It's the american way of doing things. Everyone is in such a state all the time that no one uses common sense anymore.

Even if they do something right they aren't communicating it and the right hand doesn;t have any idea what the left hand is doing. What is good or bad at this gate is wrong or ok at the next. Go figure. It's lack of organization.

I will agree with you on this. A lot of the trouble is caused, I believe, by the media. The media fuels this image that the United States is right on the brink of being completely annihilated, and at any minute we are going to be sent into oblivion. This could connect to that other thread about the world map. There are people who read something and immediately accept it as sacred gospel.

It's not the fact that terrorism exists. It's how terrorism is dealt with that makes a difference. That's where the 'lack of common sense', or cognitive process, comes in.

Lack of universal training also makes a difference. Some people are fine, and say please and thank you to you, and you know they mean it. Others don't report to work until they've gotten 3 candy bars, a pot of coffee, and 2 ounces of crack in their system. Others have the intelligence allotted to a rock, and make up for it with their vocal cords.

Buoyant1
08-26-2007, 18:26
One one trip, I had a small pair of mustache scissors (maybe a 3 inch item from tip to tip) in with my shaving stuff, and there was a BIG deal made about it, and I just told them to just throw it away I forgot about them being there ...yadda yadda yadda, and the guy read me the riot act about checking my stuff etc....meanwhile, my wife had the exact same pair of scissors in HER carry on, and no one noticed!! Talk about inconsistent!

I've never had any difficulty with my scuba gear...usually the bags get a second look or two from the screener, then I get everything no questions asked...it usually gives me time to put my friggin' shoes back on! :smilie39:

greyzen
08-26-2007, 18:39
So I went to clown college...which was the funniest vacation ever btw.

SO on the way back, I'm going through security with like 20(ish) people who like myself are fresh out of clownschool. Half of them are weekenders/etc. and have bags full of new and fun toys they bought while at school.

Security didn't even search my bag... at all. I walked right through along with another guy who was carrying enough metal to set of a compass, much less a metal detector.

Psychology strikes again!

georoc01
08-26-2007, 19:18
My dive gear gets inspected all the time here in Denver, not exactly the biggest destination place for divers. However, getting ski gear through is a piece of cake :)

On my last trip, we were bring school supplies to Mexico, and I had two package of white glue which was immediately confiscated.

Liv7301
08-26-2007, 21:22
The biggest problem I see is lack of uniformity. It baffles us because there is no sound reasoning, logic or basis for some of this security nonsense and the antics of airport security.

They just jump from one OMG to the next in a state of constant paranoia without making focused, sound decisions. It's the american way of doing things. Everyone is in such a state all the time that no one uses common sense anymore.

Even if they do something right they aren't communicating it and the right hand doesn;t have any idea what the left hand is doing. What is good or bad at this gate is wrong or ok at the next. Go figure. It's lack of organization.

This is my issue. There is such a striking lack of consistency. In DFW you drop your luggage off and trapse on your merry way. This makes sense due to luggage volume. In Rochester NY where my parents live, every single suitcase gets opened with you standing near it, and rubbed down with the bomb residue wipes.

WV Diver
08-26-2007, 21:28
I feel your pain. Your sig lines reads like mine.
me+wife+cat+cat+cat+cat+hedgehog+Madagasgar hissing cochroaches+horse+Kid+kid.........etc

Jaymeany
08-26-2007, 21:35
Funny story pre- 911:

My friend had gone to mexico. We,as many teenage boys, had running jokes about the male anatomy. He's sees an onyx "phallic" pencil holder. Odd I know but it was some street vendor. He buys said pencil holder. 3 days later his family packs to leave. My friend asks his mom if he can put a few things in her bag. of course she says yes. They get their bags searched in customs. The agent starts laughing and his mother realizes what has happened. So in defense she says "That...That's not mine, it's my son's"!

:smilie39:

namabiru
08-26-2007, 22:07
I feel your pain. Your sig lines reads like mine.
me+wife+cat+cat+cat+cat+hedgehog+Madagasgar hissing cochroaches+horse+Kid+kid.........etc

Ai yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! You and Liv could open a zoo, and use your profits to buy more dive gear.

Or pets. :smiley2:

skippy11
08-26-2007, 22:08
I think the worst security we have went through was in Cozumel. They search our bags before we got on the plane...even though we had already made it through security check points. They made me throw my lip gloss away, but missed the nail file in the same pocket.

Security....gotta love um....

ScubaGir1
08-26-2007, 22:22
I got a small bic lighter down in the lining of a leather jacket through a small hole and they put me through H@@$! I can't imagine getting a straight razor on...
Wow! Imagine if that had been your dive knife :smiley5:

I brought a first aid kit to Cozumel with me, but had it in my carry on bag. I had no idea that i had these tiny little scissors. They had me empty out the whole thing and then 3 guys inspected my seriously tiny scissors and told me they had to throw them. So in the trash they went :smiley29:

Osprey
08-26-2007, 22:39
my mom had gotten a cheap pack of lighters in florida since we lose them all the time on vacation, they were in her purse. security searched the bag and found one, then let her go

except the 3 others they somehow missed...

Flatliner
08-26-2007, 22:42
Two years ago, I was Platinum on Northworst. (That means I fly WAY to much for all you non-business travelers)

What several of you have noted about the lack of consistency is very true. I have carried my dive knife in a carry on and got away with it and I have nearly gotten arrested for having a small can of static spray (the stuff that keeps your pants from sticking to your legs in the winter) that I carred to the same airport in the same carry on almost 100 times.

Best advice I can give anyone is be up front with the TSA people, they have a very underpaid and under appreciated job.

On a funny note, I went to Lima Peru in the early 90s. For security, they had everyone id their own bag and then get on the plane. I guess they figured nobody but a complete moron would get on a plane if there was a bomb in their own bag...While I still agree with the basic premise...

cgvmer
08-26-2007, 22:50
My son had a party in school early the day my family and I were flying out of Newark. He brought in a 16 inch cooking and a large steel pizza cutter into school to cut the cookie. Of course when he came home he left the cutter in his backpack which he was carrying on. He got on the plane with it. I image if you wanted to some serious damage could be done with a steel handled pizza cutter with a 4 inch stainless wheel.

thesmoothdome
08-26-2007, 22:53
On my last trip, we were bring school supplies to Mexico, and I had two package of white glue which was immediately confiscated.


Was this in carry on or checked baggage? We were told to bring school supplies for the children of PNG. Glue was one of my thoughts. No good?

scubasavvy
08-26-2007, 23:24
On my last trip, we were bring school supplies to Mexico, and I had two package of white glue which was immediately confiscated.


Was this in carry on or checked baggage? We were told to bring school supplies for the children of PNG. Glue was one of my thoughts. No good?

What really peeves me is that they could potentially resell everything that they confiscate. I know for a fact that the government takes all the booze, taxes it and has an auction with the larger package stores at our expense. What they do with the rest is beyond my knowledge. The last thing I need to see at the airport is some yutz of a bag checker taking home my Christian Dior perfume to sell it on Ebay...somebody would be passing away...

loudgonzo
08-27-2007, 11:23
I do quite a bit of business traveling, and everything posted here is valid. Security is hit and miss and consistency is non-existent. I tried to google an article I read a few weeks ago but can't find it quick enough. Anyhow, it simply said air travel security is broke, the TSA is a joke, and no one is in a hurry to fix it. Billions of $ are wasted each year and at the end of the day, knives and other prohibited items make their way onto planes daily, whether unintentionally or purposely. Just last week they announced that lighters would be allowed to be carried on, these were banned a few years ago after the "shoe bomber" attempt. Lighters are now allowed, but shoes must still be removed.
I don't pretend to have a solution, but I do agree 100% with Flatliner, the screeners do have an underpaid, unappreciated, and boring job. They deal with thousands of people daily with different cultures, beliefs, attitudes, etc...So it's not really surprising that sometimes a prohibited item makes it through security, and it happens a lot more than you think, fortunately, most and if not all just happen to be careless travelers that don't know or just forgot to put it in checked baggage.
Again, like Flatliner said, best thing to do is cooperate with the screeners and be upfront with them if they question you about something or make you empty your bags.

JugglingMonkeys
08-27-2007, 23:30
Again, like Flatliner said, best thing to do is cooperate with the screeners and be upfront with them if they question you about something or make you empty your bags.

absolutely. always be cooperative. Otherwise you can find yourself delayed.
They do have the power!

RobT
08-28-2007, 05:13
The thing that gets me is that most of the screeners I have met have no idea of most of the rules they are supposed to follow. The small scissors mentioned earlier in this thread are fine to take aboard a plane. My wife takes some seriously pointed little scissors with her to cut the tie wraps with. I thought she was crazy, she showed me the regulation.

If you think you may be called on something, you should copy the reg that says it is ok. Too much ignorance of the rules of their own job to leave it to chance. Common sense would be a welcomed thing, too bad it is so hard to find. When I do find someone checking stuff through that uses common sense and is friendly I let them know it, and thank them for being good at their job.

Now if they could just figure out that any reputable computer system has a twin backup system involved it would be nice. One glitch on their system and everyone is held up for hours. No serious business would ever operate this way.


Later, Rob.

porsche060
08-28-2007, 08:18
When I tried to bring rollerblades on the flight they told me they were a dangerous weapon. I could start hitting people in the head with them..

The screeners are nuts.

chinacat46
08-28-2007, 08:20
I could hit somebody in the head with my laptop to so I guess that is a dangerous weapon.

namabiru
08-28-2007, 10:47
If you think you may be called on something, you should copy the reg that says it is ok. Too much ignorance of the rules of their own job to leave it to chance. Common sense would be a welcomed thing, too bad it is so hard to find. When I do find someone checking stuff through that uses common sense and is friendly I let them know it, and thank them for being good at their job.


And that's kind of my issue too. Call me snotty, but I guess I've just lived abroad for so long that I kind of expect words like 'please' and 'excuse me' to naturally occur in conversation. Particularly in service situations.

I also came back here from a society where people are naturally trusted, not suspected. Errors are just that--errors. If you forgot there were nail clippers in your bag, and you said 'oh excuse me' in Japanese, it was taken at that. There was no reason to interrogate you further, or to assume you were a terrorist, or to bark at you. Common sense. So you forgot. No big deal. You 'sumimasen' and go on your way.

Some here are like that, some aren't. I saw a guy freak out on one lady ahead of me in line because she had nail clippers. She's trying to excuse herself, and the guy's freaking out, being all kinds of absolutely rude to her. I guess he was a blowhard hero who wanted to make an example of her to the other people in line, so he would get his letter of commendation which had GW's signature stamped on it. A German couple behind me were astonished. So was I.

Now, you may argue that the folk are busy, and they have a lot to worry about, and don't have time to coddle passengers. However, I will tell you that I react a lot better in daily life when someone uses politer English to me. Especially if I have used it first, and have given no reason for the person to be rude.

Not "Open your bag" (in a barking tone), but "Would you open your bag, please?", or "Would you remove your regulator from your bag, please?", or even "Could you place that in a separate bin?"

So the friendly and polite, yet businesslike and common-sense, are very much appreciated by me too. The last time I flew, the woman checking the ticket said "Can I see your boarding pass, please?" I was so taken back. I told her this, and I, too, expressed my sincere appreciation for her use of the word 'please'. She, too, was surprised that someone would notice that she said 'please'. The rest of the security in Missoula was also quite polite. I look forward to going there again in a few weeks.

greyzen
08-28-2007, 11:49
And that's kind of my issue too. Call me snotty, but I guess I've just lived abroad for so long that I kind of expect words like 'please' and 'excuse me' to naturally occur in conversation. Particularly in service situations.

I also came back here from a society where people are naturally trusted, not suspected. Errors are just that--errors. If you forgot there were nail clippers in your bag, and you said 'oh excuse me' in Japanese, it was taken at that. There was no reason to interrogate you further, or to assume you were a terrorist, or to bark at you. Common sense. So you forgot. No big deal. You 'sumimasen' and go on your way.

Some here are like that, some aren't. I saw a guy freak out on one lady ahead of me in line because she had nail clippers. She's trying to excuse herself, and the guy's freaking out, being all kinds of absolutely rude to her. I guess he was a blowhard hero who wanted to make an example of her to the other people in line, so he would get his letter of commendation which had GW's signature stamped on it. A German couple behind me were astonished. So was I.

Now, you may argue that the folk are busy, and they have a lot to worry about, and don't have time to coddle passengers. However, I will tell you that I react a lot better in daily life when someone uses politer English to me. Especially if I have used it first, and have given no reason for the person to be rude.

Not "Open your bag" (in a barking tone), but "Would you open your bag, please?", or "Would you remove your regulator from your bag, please?", or even "Could you place that in a separate bin?"

So the friendly and polite, yet businesslike and common-sense, are very much appreciated by me too. The last time I flew, the woman checking the ticket said "Can I see your boarding pass, please?" I was so taken back. I told her this, and I, too, expressed my sincere appreciation for her use of the word 'please'. She, too, was surprised that someone would notice that she said 'please'. The rest of the security in Missoula was also quite polite. I look forward to going there again in a few weeks.


I whole-heartedly agree with this entire post. People have forgotten how to talk to one another. In modern society there is little re-enforcement to polite conversation, back in the day if you were a jerk you might get punched out or at least frowned on. Now, unless you are actively stabbing someone or have become a major success, you can be an absolute jerk-off and no one cares.

Tell ya what, fire that customer service agent that doesn't treat people with respect and watch your cust. sat scores rise as everyone else is afraid they will be fired too.

Real life example:

Women I worked with told me that the day she was hired to manage a group of customer service reps she walks into the team meeting to introduce herself/etc. As she was walking in she overheard a conversation one of the reps was sharing with his co-workers about a call he had just gotten off of.

This rep was dealing with an angry customer who said she was going to go to the competition. The service rep knew that the competitions phone number had recently been changed into a pornography number (sometimes when companies change or merge they switch their main switchboard number. The porn companies buy these phone numbers as soon as possible hoping for residual traffic for marketing, for example misspell yahoo.com and see what you get.)

He KNEW that this number was no longer valid, and he gave it to the women anyhow and then went on to celebrate his lie to the customer to his fellow co-workers. Needless to say, my friend walked into the room, told him to pack his belongings and security would meet him at the door. She had the best running team for almost a year after that, never had to fire another soul.