Boston's Logan Airport

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by JanetG, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. JanetG

    JanetG Member

    Recently, I had a horrendous experience at Boston's Logan Airport. I wear leg braces and use 2 canes. I am well aware that the braces set off airport metal detectors and wear shorts to facilitate the security check.

    Long pauses at the Logan's security checkpoint's x-ray machine initially made me aware that there was some kind of problem. The operator would stare at the x-ray for a long period of time and then send the item back. People's belonging were scattered throughout the line--some made it through, some didn't.

    At 4:00PM, I finally got to the front of the line and as expected my knee braces set off the metal detector. I stood and waited to be patted down longer than I've waited at other airports. I was swabbed and the guard looked confused as she fiddled with the substance tester. I was forced to continue standing. It was clear that she did not know how to operate the machine. She finally said she received an alert and called for another person to deal with it.

    My belongings had been separated from me. Due to send backs at the x-ray machine, they had also been scattered throughout the line. I was made to stand and wait until the alert person finally showed up. I was taken to a separate room and received another pat down. A substance test was done on a second tester. It was negative this time. I was told that all my belongings had to be tested because of the first test failure.
    I was forced to stand while my belongings were tested with the second tester. The first machine was testing people positive and I was repeatedly bumped so they and their belongings could be retested on the second machine. The first tester was eventually declared broken. They did a lot of fiddling with the second tester.

    The security people disappeared for long periods of time. When they were there, they did very little testing of my belongings and a lot of provoking and taunting. The guard testing my belongings babbled incessantly. The supervisor told the person who was testing my belongings to quit bumping me, and the guard actually bumped me right in front of him. The supervisor of the supervisor showed up and the guard finally quit babbling and started testing my belongings. My canes were not substance tested even though I offered them to the guard. I left the security checkpoint at 5:10 PM.

    I had a long time to observe the security people at "work". I grew very concerned for the security at Logan Airport. Either the x-ray and substance tester were not working right or security didn't know how to operate them properly. Instead of making our airports safe, this security checkpoint had become a place for bullies to taunt and provoke a person with obvious medical issues. They did this with ease which leads me to believe that they do it a lot. I was picked because I was an easy target. It was an appalling abuse of authority.

    I was in excruciating pain by the time I boarded the plane and could not walk the next day. Boston needs a secure airport staffed by competent professionals.
  2. DeafBlonde

    DeafBlonde Original Member

    I am so sorry you had to endure this torture (and that is the most appropriate word that comes to mind) from an agency of the United States government. Next time, I would suggest that you request a wheelchair and an assistant to escort you through the checkpoint. I know you probably don't normally need one, but you never know when the Thousands Shaking-down Americans are going to mess up to this extent. Better to be "safe" than in pain and unable to walk the next day.

    Just curious: In the Private Room Search, did they touch you inappropriately (i.e., genital grope or bare-skin touching)?
  3. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Sadly if your looking for competent professionals TSA isn't the place you're likely to find them.

    Sorry for your experience, next time call for the airlines GSA or the TSA TSM.
  4. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Why can't they just provide people with a CHAIR on request and let them SIT DOWN?

    Even without leg braces, you can't assess how physically capable someone is just by looking at them. I was flying within a month after I was out of the hospital 2.5 years ago, but if I had been forced into this kind of situation, I probably would have collapsed. At that time I had barely reached the point where I felt I could go most places without my walker (memory's a bit fuzzy now but I think I even took it w/ me on that first trip just in case).

    The root problem here is 60K idiots with two-digit IQ's and extremely limited understanding of situations other than their own.
  5. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Mike why are you being so generous thinking TSA Clerks have IQ's up in the two digits?
  6. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    The two-digit range includes borderline deficiency (70-80), moron (50-69), imbecile (20-49) and idiot (0 - 19), so I think that's a fair assessment.
  7. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    SHHHHHHHHHHHHH NO NO NO NO NO what are you doing???

    Every time we talk about "the absolute lowest" that TSA can go, they manage to prove us wrong in ways we never anticipated.

    So now, instead of going into negative integers, they're going to introduce clerks whose IQs are divided by zero. And then the universe will explode.

    I don't want the universe to explode.
  8. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    Janet, welcome to TUG but I'm sorry that you had to find us and even more sorry for what you were put through by the TSA.

    Please write to your congresspeople telling them exactly what you told us. Copy and paste what you wrote above if need be. Although they probably won't do anything in your specific case, every complaint received adds to the TSA complaints file in their offices. We have heard from congresspeople that they are getting scores of complaints about the TSA. One day, they will have to take notice and do something.
  9. JanetG

    JanetG Member

    If you can walk with ease, there's probably no way you can understand how I feel about wheelchairs. I was a very physical person. After this TSA incident, I may try to overcome my wheelchair aversion. There are never any chairs in the checkpoint area. Taking my shoes off is difficult as I can't stand on one leg. I wear special shoes so slip ons are not an option.
  10. JanetG

    JanetG Member

    Thanks for the suggestion. I initially complained to Boston TSA and was pretty much blown off. I've emailed my representatives and anyone else I can find in the government that deals with TSA.
  11. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Don't forget to contact the ACLU. TSA is clearly in violation of many aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  12. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    Janet, you do not have to remove your shoes. Tell the screeners that you wear orthpedic shoes (even if they aren't truly "orthopedic") that you cannot remove. They might give you grief, but stick to your guns.

    "Security Officers should not be asking you to remove your orthopedic shoes, appliances, or medical device (insulin pump, feeding tube, ostomy or urine bag, or exterior component of cochlear implant) at any time during the screening process."

    That should get you a chair to sit in. However, it might trigger the full-on grope, but you're going to get that any way.
  13. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    E-mail is o.k., but I would suggest a follow-up snail mail as well as phone calls to DC and local offices.
  14. MaximumSisu

    MaximumSisu Requiescat in Pace

    I believe in the negative integer concept for IQ, and have seen it in action. An individual walks into a room and doesn't just lower the average IQ, but appears to depress the collective IQ.

    I think we all know someone like that.
  15. DeafBlonde

    DeafBlonde Original Member

    Kip Hawley? ;)
  16. JanetG

    JanetG Member

    I've called, sent letters, and emailed senators, congressmen, homeland security, transportation department, all levels of TSA, and more. I've been totally blown off by everyone. I've also tried to get a copy of the footage from the security checkpoint cameras. On July 29, the security checkpoint camera footage is supposed to be scrubbed. No investigation was done. I don't think there is any kind of oversight for TSA. I believe the TSA people can do anything they want.
  17. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    Do you have a lawyer who would ask for the footage before it's deleted? Did you submit an FOIA request for that footage?
  18. JanetG

    JanetG Member

    I can't afford a lawyer. I submitted a request to FOIA, but they said they can only get the video if the airport saves it. FOIA told me about the 30 day scrubbing policy on camera footage. All TSA has to do is stall 30 days and the evidence is gone. Everyone I've contacted has deferred me to Boston TSA and Boston TSA has blown it off. There is no oversight.
  19. RB

    RB Founding Member

    You are clearly pushing rope when trying to get answers from TSA. About the only thing you can do is go here and complain.
  20. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    All due respect to RB, here's a direct link to the DHS OIG's complaint form:

    Complete and submit on line. You have to give your personal information if you want confirmation of their receipt and a "case" number.

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