Huffington Post: Gay Couple Sues Airline For Removing Dildo From Their Luggage And Taping It ...

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Mike, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    The airline? Or TSA? Baggage normally isn't screened or opened on arrival, so this more likely happened on departure.

    Huffington Post: Gay Couple Sues Airline For Removing Dildo From Their Luggage And Taping It To Checked Bag

    A dream vacation turned into a nightmare for a Virginia-based gay couple after airport staff allegedly removed a dildo from their luggage, smeared foul-smelling lubricant on it and taped it to their top of one of their checked bags before placing it back on the baggage carousel.
     
  2. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Doesn't this have to be TSA? The airlines don't go rooting around through luggage, do they? I know the TSA does, but the airlines?
     
  3. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Since baggage is not secure before or after TSA inspection it could be anyone. How many unscreened airport workers (includes TSA) have access to baggage and the ability to place contraband in a bag? Checked baggage is not secure nor safe per TSA policy.
     
  4. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Perhaps, but such a "prank" would be more typical of TSA employees. Baggage handlers would be more likely to just steal stuff than to do this sort of thing.
     
  5. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    I think it's a serious crime. Perhaps it's on video somewhere.
     
    phoebepontiac likes this.
  6. I would think this was TSA. It would be much more likely for TSA to see a sex toy on the x-ray, then take it out and mess with it, than it would for a baggage handler to be randomly rooting around in bags and happen upon a sex toy, and be amused enough to do what they did with it. TSA likes looking at sex toys, and they like to do something to make it clear to the owner that they found the sex toy. I read a comment thread after the "get your freak on" incident, and there were several people with similar stories. One woman found her vibrator with the TSA love note wrapped around it.

    TSA has sexualized everything else about airport security. Of course they're all interested in people's sex toys.
     
  7. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    You're right there. They don't feel powerful when they're helping people. The TSA workers feel powerful when they're humiliating and degrading people. This fits right in with their SOP.
     
    phoebepontiac, Caradoc and barbell like this.
  8. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    Maybe it was TSA. Maybe it wasn't.

    What we have is a preponderance of evidence that TSA does just this sort of thing.

    Several of my former colleagues used to work The Ramp before moving into our department. From what I understand the baggage handlers don't have a whole lot of time to rifle through bags. The ones who rifle through bags looking for loot pick an easy target, open it quickly, look around, and take what looks valuable. That's why you aren't supposed to pack obviously valuable items in your checked luggage like pills, cash, jewelry, electronics. However, dudes on The Ramp are an especially proud group (at most locations), and they do not want the reputation of rifling through bags. They will use their unspoken honor code to quickly put a stop to this nonsense when they find one of their brothers committing such acts. There are, of course, always outliers. See MIA. See PHL. See NYC. See LAX.

    Now let's compare that attitude to TSA. In addition to Mrs. Conley's very excellent points, and phoebepontiac's excellent data, is TSA not very, very oh so proud of themselves for rifling through people's dirty underwear in the name of National Security? In fact, I imagine that sex toys show up as very dense objects on x-ray, and are often easily seen in the shape of guns, grenades, and other scary items, particularly when one's imagination is encouraged to run wild with such things.

    Is it really such a stretch to imagine that some TSA jerk would do this?

    The entire DHS is a sexualized mess. Why wouldn't one of their employees pull out a dildo, lube it up, and put it on display?

    This is precisely the flavor of childish behavior we see from these idiots every.single.day.
     
  9. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    I'm encouraged by this comment at the article, a HuffPo commenter gone negative on TSA. Imagine that!

    a) very salient point (bolded portion mine)
    b) TSA is getting more and more negative comments. And yet they seem to be "unaware" of ill will. Pity.
     
  10. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    Exactly what I was thinking.
     
    phoebepontiac likes this.
  11. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Oh, it probably happened in an area where the cameras either aren't working or they're "blurry."
     
  12. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    Well perhaps. I'm no lawyer, but I'm thinking that suing the airline was a strategy to bust up the cabal between the airlines and the TSA. The TSA, when faced with a legal challenge of any kind, seems to be able to convince judges that they're accountable to no one. The airline is an entirely different kettle of fish. They're going to have to defend themselves, probably by claiming the didn't do it. One way to prove their innocence is to finger someone else. Who else? How 'bout the TSA. The airline is in a better positon than anyone else to prove the TSA's guilt. Will that result in a payout? Perhaps not. Surely not immediately, but it may result in the vindication and justice this mortified couple is entitled to.
     
  13. It would seem to me like the airline has a certain amount of liability, too, for putting a bag down the baggage carousel in this state. I can't imagine them allowing a bag to be checked like this, so clearly it was tampered with, so some discretion would be in order when something comes through like this. Otherwise, it's public humiliation for the owners of the bag. Plus, what if somebody's kids were standing nearby and saw it? I'm of the opinion that some TSA jackhole probably did this, but it doesn't excuse the airline for not handling the situation better.
     
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  14. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    The victims in this case were so mortified that they did the natural thing and coped with the situation by calling their friends to help them deal with the mortifying incident. I cannot fault them for their reaction.

    If they had been a little less mortified, they might have called airport security to report suspected terrorism. Obviously the bag had been tampered with, and not in a "professional" manner one would associate with the TSA:rolleyes:. (Play along with me here.) Not knowing what was in the bag or smeared on the sex toy, the victims might have done well to expect the authorities to deal with the bag, which had clearly been maliciously tampered with, and its unknown contents. Did it contain a bomb? Was it covered with a dangerous biological or chemical weapon? Who knew? Out of an abundance of caution...:D
     
    phoebepontiac likes this.
  15. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

  16. RB

    RB Founding Member

    I would think the airline has 100% liability. When I check in and check a bag I give them to the airline representative, and in my case, usually incur a fee for the privilege of having my bags transported as checked baggage. It is the airline that I have made a bailment with, not TSA. It is the airlines responsibility to ensure my bag is safe while in their care, even if that calls for a stop at the TSA Thievery Booth. It is the airlines responsibility to make sure that TSA only inspects rather than thieve. It is the airlines responsibility that the baggage handlers and any others only do their assigned jobs.

    When I worked retail we had cameras mounted over the cash registers in such a way that every transaction was recorded. Why can't such a system be installed over screening tables that TSA uses?

    Seems accountability on the part of airports, airlines and TSA is the problem and the fix is easy.
     
  17. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    This would be a very desireable outcome. It makes complete and total sense to me.
     
  18. RB

    RB Founding Member

  19. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member


    Well maybe. I just don't think they can change human nature all that much. Certain types of people are going to be tempted by the whole baggage screening scenario. The knowledge screeners are held accountable would reduce the temptation for these personalities to act on their baser impulses.
     
  20. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Who do you propose the TSA should hire, then?

    Criminals and perverts (well, and complete knuckle-dragging idiots who believe the TSA is a worthwhile endeavor) are the only ones willing to accept a paycheck for violating their fellow citizens.

    If the TSA didn't hire criminals and perverts, all that's left are the idiots who simply shouldn't be trusted not to pee on the floor, let alone with "airside security."

    A better solution would be for the TSA not to exist at all, so they wouldn't need to hire anyone.
     

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