TSA detains, harasses another disabled woman

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by TSA News Blog, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. TSA News Blog

    TSA News Blog News Feed

    Following is an account from a reader who has experience with TSA Pre-Check — as you’ll see, she confirms what we’ve been telling you for over a year now — that it’s a boondoggle and an extortion racket — and who also has experience with being abused by the TSA. She was temporarily disabled when she flew. The TSA first bullied her, then went against their own procedures and forced her to remove her leg cast. Still that wasn’t enough. They then bullied her some more and almost caused her to miss her flight. Read on:
    Saw the video from the Cato Institute on which you posed a question about TSA and mentioned your organization. I think I’ve been looking for your TSA News Blog for half a decade!​
    I’m a very frequent flier, have my Global Entry Bathroom Pass, etc. By the by, as you’ve heard, that whole Global Entry thing is good only for using the kiosk when returning from foreign travel. Forget the promise made during the GE interview stuff that I’d now have PreCheck for all my flights. 26 flights later and I still have never had PreCheck permitted.
    So, in January this year, I tore a couple of ligaments in my left knee two days before I was due to fly from Chicago to Dallas. I called the carrier with which I’d made reservations and requested a wheelchair. The ickies started with TSA.​
    First, I was wheeled up to the body scanner and told to walk through without my crutches. Right. That’s why my left leg was encased in a very visible bright royal blue external brace from my thigh to my lower calf. Well, I tried to get out of the wheelchair and nearly fell on my face. TSA agents stood silently until one of them said: “hurry up, you’re holding up other passengers.”
    Another said: “never mind, do a manual.” What that amounted to was a 25-minute wait for a female to come over (although there were 3 female TSA agents just standing around).
    In front of all other travelers, the young lady had me unstrap the leg brace (awkward and painful to do), stand up unassisted (nearly fell again), put her hands down my blouse and bra, and put her hands down both the front and back of my pants and around my waistband.
    This was in addition to having my crotch thoroughly groped in public. I’m a 62-year-old woman, born of US citizens, born in the USA.​
    But this wasn’t the end. I had a birthday gift for my grandson in my carry-on. I hadn’t wrapped it in the event that someone would want to see what was in the small box (a bisque china puppy figurine). When asked about the object, I said it was a gift for my grandson. But the questions kept coming: where did you purchase this item?, how much did you pay for this item?, is this item hollow or solid?, what was the name of the person who sold it to you? etc.
    I didn’t know the street address for the Hallmark gift shop, but was able to give the suburb where it is located. Evidently, not having that specific address caused the tsunami of interrogation questions.​
    I was also asked about two hard candy mints I had in my purse. You know: the red and white striped hard mints wrapped in clear cellophane. Mint candies? Really? I always have some kind of hard candies in case I finish off my airport purchased overpriced bottle of water and have dry mouth. But I think I screwed up when I said: “please don’t take my mints; those are also treats for my horse.”
    Ask anyone who owns a horse and they will verify that horses love those Starlite mints. But my mints were taken “for testing.”All of this Broadway production ate up the entire two hours I’d allowed for arriving at the airport before my scheduled departure. I barely made the flight.
    Does TSA do this to anyone who is handicapped? I’ve had a healthy life for the most part, and don’t travel if I have one of those rare injuries — usually horse-sport-related, so this was a first for me. I’d called Southwest Airlines customer service when I arrived in Dallas from this flight. The phone agent told me they don’t handle TSA complaints and didn’t know where I could file one. I called in at the Global Entry office in Chicago’s ORD, and they said exactly the same things.​
    Do I have a legitimate complaint? If so, where in the name of heaven do I file one? Will this cause me further grief when I’m heading out to Dubai or when I’m coming back in?​
    In my global travels, I’ve never encountered anything like our US TSA, and I’ve been in some hot spots on the planet.​
    I teach business seminars for the Institute for International Research in Dubai. I’m dreading what I will face when I have to travel next month.​
    I don’t blame her for dreading it. The TSA has turned travel in/from this country to one big dread.
    As for filing a complaint, good luck. I’ll give you info, but don’t expect to get any satisfaction. The TSA’s standard line, even when they physically assault people, is “proper procedures were followed.”
    Since the TSA is part of the DHS — Department of Homeland Security — you go through DHS. From their website:
    Good luck, Rita.
  2. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Wish we had the video!

    No matter how many fluff pieces TSA's propaganda machine sends out, nothing really changes.
  3. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    I wish that were true. It does change. It gets worse.
  4. I can't get past the part about the mints in this story. I don't even know where to begin. I'm sure Rugape will be right along to shut me down with some intel about how dangerous explosives have been disguised as tiny candies, but until then, the testing of the peppermints is for me emblematic of the TSA's purpose in our country.
    KrazyKat likes this.
  5. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    ^^More frightening than a cupcake in a jar--a peppermint candy! Protection for only $8B/yr...
    Fisher1949 likes this.
  6. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    He's also said that braces don't need to be removed at the checkpoint, so it's already clear what his words and opinions might be worth.
  7. Fisher1949

    Fisher1949 Original Member Coach

    It's only a matter of time before their incorrect screening of a disabled person ends up in a trip to the hospital or morgue for a poor passenger.
  8. There was that lawsuit where a guy in a wheelchair was made to stand up, and then told to sit back down, but the wheelchair had been pulled back so he fell on the floor. Remember that? I don't remember enough details to search it. I do believe it sent him to the hospital.
  9. Fisher1949

    Fisher1949 Original Member Coach

    I recall hearing about it but don't have the link. It has probably happened since but we never hear about them.
  10. Frank

    Frank Original Member

    And there won't be too many of those before the family of one of those passengers decide to take matters into their own hands.
  11. FaustsAccountant

    FaustsAccountant Original Member

    Hey, remember that to the best of his recollection, his "airport" it's a magical place where no one ever misbehaves, no one ever violates a single rule nor regulation, ever. It is also stocked with super mega experts of every flavor, field, discipline and major and study you can imagine and a few no one will ever imagine either. Every screener is perfect and every passenger is always happy.

    <insert photo of ostrich head + sand>
  12. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    If it is regular starlite peppermints, I have no idea why they tested them, they are usually fairly easy to clear witha visual and xray.

    I never said we were perfect, just that I am lucky to work with some good people and we have few problems. We do have some folks that are pretty brainy and are sorely underutilized here, but most of them are content to be where they are, and there is something to be said for being content at work.

    TSA.gov states clearly that braces and medical assistive devices do not have to be removed for screening. If things happened as mentioned above, then the TSOs were in the wrong making her remove the brace. If the passenger removes it of their own volition, then there is no problem and it was a choice made by the passenger. I do not recommend it to people, as a matter of fact, I tend to discourage people that are obviously having difficulty from getting removing a device or getting out of a wheelchair - we have protocols that can clear the individual in the chair/with the device(s) on.
  13. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Anyone who is "content" to "work" for the TSA is not a "good person," unless your criteria for "good" include a total lack of anything resembling honor or ethics.
  14. jackonferry

    jackonferry Original Member

    Problem: I'd guess the vast majority of travelers don't know their rights and TSA does not handle these cases in any kind of consistent manner. As a result, it is easy to intimidate travelers into complying with TSA demands that puts the traveler's health at risk.
    FaustsAccountant likes this.
  15. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    I dunno. They consistently treat people like criminals and terrorists for simply wanting to travel. Consistency isn't always a good thing.
  16. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    I can't dispute those statements. Any time someone intimidates a passenger it is not proper, and I comment on it any time that I see it. I would love to see that become the norm everywhere, but I am limited in my ability to foster that change on a grand scale. The SOP makes allowances for folks that have disabilities, and we should always follow those parts of the SOP to the letter, we should always be professional and courteous to the passengers - always, regardless of disabilities or not. Sadly, according to press and stories I have seen, that is not always the case.

    I have said before, passengers are simply people trying to get from point A to point B, and they should be treated as we would want to be treated in the same situation. Not all passengers know the process, with folks like that, we should take some extra time to help them, especially if they are someone with special needs. The easiest way to help someone with a disability is to ask them what they need (if anything) and explain what they can expect if they are not used to the process. We are obviously not doing this everytime, otherwise there would be a lot less press about bad passenger experiences. I will continue to forward info up the chain, and to work within my sphere of influence to make certain that it happens here everytime. Sadly, I can not do much more than that in my current position.
  17. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    You could. But you won't.
  18. DeafBlonde

    DeafBlonde Original Member

    We all know that the requirement to take off the leg brace is not SOP per the (perpetually out-of-date) TSA web site. BUT ... tell me the truth, Rugape, how much (if any) of this procedure is part of the Super Sekeret SOP?
    Oh...never mind! You can't tell us, can you?
  19. Monica47

    Monica47 Original Member

    I don't think the TSA is any different than what I found working for a big corporation. There are SOP's set up by the corporation and then there are the SOP's that basically are "how we do it here". You go through training and are told how to do things and then you begin working and find out that's not the way everyone else is doing things. As a new hire what do you do? Do you "go along to get along" or go to a supervisor and rat out the people you have to work with every day? We've talked about the "sheeple" mentality of passengers - there's also the "sheeple" mentality in the TSA. And for the most part supervisors/managers don't really care HOW you get the job done - just get it done. The TSA keeps regurgitating the same standard statement whenever a passenger claims to have been mistreated which is to repeat the SOP - doesn't matter what the employees decided was the SOP at their airport.
    DeafBlonde likes this.
  20. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Large corporations don't generally have sovereign immunity for performing actions that people who are not morally defunct find distasteful.

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