On Being Hearing Impaired and Watching Ones Belongings

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by INK, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. INK

    INK Original Member

    I have a real problem at the checkpoint and I do not know how to resolve it.

    First, I am moderately hearing impaired and the noisy environment of the checkpoint requires that I be looking at the speaker to understand what, or even if, something is being said.

    Second, I need to be able to watch my belongings.

    The problem is obvious: I can not both watch my belongings and communicate.

    I had a near escalation during my last opt out. I told the screener that I was hearing impaired and I could not hear his instructions unless I was looking at him. I also, stated that I needed to be where I could see my belongings. So I stood where I could see my stuff and awaited my frisker.

    Well, it seems I was standing in the wrong place. The screener was telling me to move, I was watching my belongings, and nothing was happening. He angrily gets in my face and says "I told you to move." I said, firmly but apologetically, "I'm sorry, were you speaking to me, because I am hearing impaired and I can not understand you unless I am looking at you? I can not see my belongings and you a the same time."

    Cognitive dissonance set in. He was required to do two conflicting things simultaneously and the resolution, it is easy actually, was not in his data base of training remembrances, if it ever was there.

    Here is the easy solution. For people with handicaps, let them be with their stuff while not being allowed to touch it, which I understand. If they can scream "Opt out!" they can scream "Special Assist!" or "Short Bus" or any other insulting thing (I do not care as long as my stuff is where I can see it) to bring over a personal assist for those of us with difficulties.

    Once I got past Mr. Conundrum, all was good. My Frisker was understanding and spoke to me looking me in the eye, and the guy that screened my bag made sure I understood all instructions. It was really not his fault, although his attitude could have been better. He may have been just as frustrated as I was.

    They even said they would start my frisk after I watched the bag check. I pointed to an open screening area from which I could see my bag and said that we could do it there as I could see my bag while he was doing the pat down. He readily agreed.

    There was one odd thing though. My bag screening was observed by a second TSO, three striper I think, and a non-uniform with a TSA badge. I commented to my frisker that my bag was getting a lot of attention and was there a problem. The suit guy and his pup soon left. No problem, at least I do not think so.
  2. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Ink, I'm sorry for your experience. It highlights the further abuse, above and beyond the standard abuse, that people are forced to endure at the airport. There are certainly thousands of people like you whose stories don't get told in public forums such as this.

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