Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by RB, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. rockon

    rockon Original Member

    Only twice in almost a decade.

    Looks like it's going to be a lot more frequent in the future. :td:

    I've been asked questions in European airports too, but there were a couple significant differences.

    I didn't feel threatened (in fact, I've joked with a couple of them, particularly one fine fellow in AMS).

    I didn't feel that they approached me as 'guilty until proven otherwise'.

    They were screening me, not looking to trap me.

    I'm sure it's all part of the technique, but I lost track of how many times the BDO who followed me to the bathroom kept repeating the same questions. But because it was a BDO and I felt threatened, I didn't say what I would have said to any other person (family included) who repeated the same question: "I already told you that. Why do you keep asking me over and over?")
    KrazyKat likes this.
  2. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    rockon, please tell us as much as you can remember of what the BDO was saying to you, asking you.
  3. rockon

    rockon Original Member

    There were a lot of repeats.

    Where are you travelling today?
    Check any bags?
    Travelling for business or pleasure?
    What kind of business? (see below)
    Have you been there before?
    Do you know anyone there?
    Do you go there often?
    How often?
    Where are you staying?
    How long will you be there?
    Is it your final destination?

    I unwittingly botched up the first time I was asked 'business or pleasure'? I'm headed to a hospital bed, hoping I get there in time, hoping for a miracle (OT: we got one, thank you, Lord). So I stupidly answered "It sure isn't pleasure". Well, a few questions later, I get asked what kind of business I said I was in. So then I had to explain that no, I wasn't travelling on business, it was unhappy personal.

    Probably the only time I showed any spine (not intentionally, I was scared sh**less I'd miss my flight). When I said I was traveling for sad personal reasons, Ol' Stall-stalker asked if I'd care to elaborate. I said 'no' pretty firmly.

    Also some 'trick' questions. Example:

    BDO: Do you know anyone there? Anyone meeting you when you arrive?
    me: Yes, I know people in the area and someone will be picking me up.
    ... (more questions)
    BDO: So you said it's your first visit to XXX?
    me: ?????

    The parking garage incident was a couple years ago. I never park at the airport, but my ride broke down, so I had to drive myself at the last minute. I have no idea how often the parking garages are/were patrolled. I haven't been back since. Maybe it was a 'test' initiative'.

    Park the car, lock it, check that I have everything, check that yes, I locked the car, OK, gotta go. I turn around and he's right there - I yelped, I was so startled. BDO starts walking alongside me to the terminal. That was longer ago and shorter in duration.

    So, where you headed today?
    Checking that bag? (nods to rollaboard)
    What time's your flight?
    How long will you be gone?
    Been there before?

    I was walking as fast as I could. I almost always use the escalators to the terminal because the elevators are so slow. However, they were closer, so I just picked up my pace and went into one that had several people in it already. The BDO followed me in, but it was pretty crowded and I started making chat with a gal next to me (pointedly looking in the opposite direction from the BDO).

    Dumbest thing was, I needed an elevator that was going up, but in my haste I got on one that was going down, grrr. Finally 'lost' the BDO when I got off the elevator.

    AngryMiller likes this.
  4. mikemey

    mikemey Original Member

    I posted a couple of PANYNJ's SOPs regarding photography, both in JFK and in the PATH. Makes the MdTA and BWI look like amateurs. :td:
    rockon likes this.
  5. rockon

    rockon Original Member

    Cookies? :D
  6. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Can you post this link, please?

    As for the questions the BDO was throwing at you -- and the parking garage incident a few years ago -- these people turn my stomach. It's just harassment, pure and simple. And every time they do it, and every time passengers comply, it makes it easier for them to do it the next time, and the next, and the next. I wish I saw some light at the end of the tunnel. But I don't.
  7. mikemey

    mikemey Original Member
    Edit: Changed link
  8. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Thugs. Thugs.
    barbell likes this.
  9. RB

    RB Founding Member

    I think I would be concerned for my safety if someone unknown to me approached in a parking area and I would likely call 911 and report a stalker or such. I don't care if they have a uniform or not. Seems the proper occasion for "See Something, Say Something".
  10. rockon

    rockon Original Member

    The real problem is that the first time something like this happens, it's so preposterous that it's difficult to take it in. It just all happens so fast, you don't even see it coming. You're still trying to catch your mental breath and figure out what happened a minute ago while it's still going on.

    As this ramps up, if it looks like we're going to be seeing numbers of BDOs roaming the sterile area (including bathrooms), I may (sigh) dig deep and spring for a lounge membership.

    I have read accounts of TSOs going into a couple lounges and wandering around and even trying to get something to drink, so I suppose there's no guarantee that lounges would be off-limits to roving BDOs.
    Lisa Simeone, barbell and AngryMiller like this.
  11. AngryMiller

    AngryMiller Original Member

    When dealing with TSOs who want to strike up a conversation it is either no information (i.e. when asked how are you a fast 'it is a travel day' for response) or an information dump that makes them want to walk away. BDO wants a drink in lounge? Buy him one and catch it on camera. Drinking on duty probably isn't allowed and when his picture hits the web with a drink in his hand it won't be pleasant. Either that or call the cops and tell them a drunk is harrassing you.
    barbell likes this.
  12. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    IIRC, it was a ticket agent who reported him to the TSA as acting in a very strange manner.
  13. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

  14. mikemey

    mikemey Original Member

    Adjusted same, I didn't have this link prior.
  15. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    Oh, good heavens, I thought I'd replied to this:

    IIRC, it was a ticketing agent that alerted the TSA to this guy.
  16. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    By the way, I posted this in a new thread in the "What's On Your Mind?" forum, but not sure how many eyeballs that gets. I don't think this bodes well for the hope that more people are waking up to TSA abuse:
    BWI airport posts record first half, 12 months
    CEO says airport's on track for 22.5 million passengers this year
  17. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Lisa the more people who are exposed to the TSA BS the better. The AFS crowd needs to learn first hand what happens at a TSA checkpoint and it might take more than one trip to really appreciate the experience. I say the more the merrier!
    barbell and Doober like this.
  18. cardiomd

    cardiomd Original Member

    Wow, that is pretty crazy. Definitely a time to get out the cameraphone (when in the stall), and explain the situation to the camera, then open the door for proof. Rodney King was just the beginning, and video is a very good defense against this kind of ridiculousness.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  19. MaximumSisu

    MaximumSisu Requiescat in Pace

    Long ago we were taught that a bathroom was the ideal place to take/disable a single opponent, and I know some muggers who use this technique as well. BDO best stay out of the bathroom.
    AngryMiller likes this.
  20. N965VJ

    N965VJ Original Member

    Nobody should feel compelled to speak to a TSA employee. The can huff and puff, call a supervisor, and do a retaliatory secondary. Once someone and their belongings are screened for weapons, explosives and incendiaries, they will be allowed into the sterile area.
    Lisa Simeone and AngryMiller like this.

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