I've been TSA'd (rantish)

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Kyle Thornley, Jun 7, 2005.

  1. Kyle Thornley

    Kyle Thornley Pre-Flight

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    I had to fly to Albany last week for work, and due to our company policy requiring flight reservations be made 14 days in advance, the possibility of flying myself was non-existant as the reliability of 14 day weather guesses are not in my favor, therefore I had to go commercial.

    After a beautiful flight there (figures) and a fine week in upstate NY and an equally perfect flying day home (boy I wish I had flown myself), I arrived at the house and spent a lovely weekend with the family and in true procrastination form left my bag sitting by the front door. Come Monday I had to go back to the grind and that included unpacking the bag. Inside I found a lovely note from the TSA.

    It seems that to protect me and my fellow passengers they had to check my bag. During this process, some bags need to be opened and physically inspected and mine was among those selected for just such an inspection. I'm not particularly happy about this, and I really don't see the point, as I think most of what they do is window dressing, however that is not my call and those are the rules, so I am at their mercy.

    The thing that got me was at the end of the note they say "If the TSA screener was unable to open your bag for inspection because it was locked, the screener may have been forced to break the locks on your bag. TSA sincerely regrets having to do this, however TSA is not liable for damage to your locks resulting from this necessary security precaution."

    I didn't have locks on my bag, as there was nothing of any real value in there, but I do go on dive trips quite often, and I have had a dive watch stolen from my bag, so when I go on these trips I do use locks. If the TSA breaks my locks, which they are not responsible for, and my Mares Ruby regulator gets lifted are they responsible for that? I know, its a rhetorical question, it just burns me that they can do whatever they want and I have to accept it. AAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHH! Thanks for letting me vent.
     
  2. astanley

    astanley En-Route

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    Kyle,

    I have purchased a few TSA-friendly locks, from Samsonite. I am personally a little uncomfortable with the situation of a shared-secret master unlocking mechanism, but by the same token, it stops passive theft. No luggage lock is going to stop active theft.

    Cheers,

    -Andrew
     
  3. Keith Lane

    Keith Lane Pattern Altitude

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    I always fly with cases holding testing equipment usually worth many 1000's of $. EVERY time I fly the good citizens at TSA see to it that I geet one of those lovenotes. I get one in my personal bag > 50% of the time.

    :(
    BTW they AIN'T responsible fer nuthin' missin' from no bags.....
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2005
  4. Kyle Thornley

    Kyle Thornley Pre-Flight

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    Oh I'm with you on that, for the dive trips we actually just use nylon wire ties. Really the idea with them is to keep the honest man honest. Since TSA can bust them open a truly determined thief can as well, the ties are cheap and we never lose the key, the problem is if TSA cuts them, they aren't there keeping the casual thief out. My real heartburn was the feeling of violation and their attitude of we can do what we want and you can't hold us responsible, plus there's nothing you can do about it so there!
     
  5. Anthony

    Anthony Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well, you can do something about it. Minimize use of the airlines. That's one reason why we fly airplanes.
     
  6. Dave Krall CFII

    Dave Krall CFII Final Approach

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    Tape some unlocked locks next to the locked ones & write note to relock with new locks after inspection and destruction of original locks ?

     
  7. judypilot

    judypilot Line Up and Wait

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    Oh yeah, I've gotten those love notes a lot. I just don't pack anything of real value. The note also says that if you think something has been stolen you can report it. I don't know if it will do any good, but you can do it. Has anyone had something stolen that they've reported?

    Judy
     
  8. Brian Austin

    Brian Austin En-Route

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    I use plastic zipties. It tends to keep wandering hands out of the bags but still allows fast access. If they are gone, I know someone has been in it. It's not unusual to have TSA folks replace them for me.
     
  9. MSmith

    MSmith Line Up and Wait

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    Some travel companies (Travelsmith comes to mind) sell travel locks (not functional if somebody wants to break in, but comparable to what comes with a suitcase) that the TSA has special keys to open.

    If you are upset about them going inside in the first place, it won't do anything for you, but it can save you the cost of a lock.
     
  10. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    My dad once bought some cuban cigars on a trip he was on, and smuggled them into America in his suitcase. Imagine the size of his eyes, when he found the TSA note on top of the baggie holding the cigars.

    He never heard anything about it.
     
  11. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Do like I do and put your regs and computer in your carry on, they are allowed so don't make the obvious comment or the wrong people may figure it out. It makes my head spin as well and I completely agree with the "Window Dressing" POV. You can also declare any high value objects when you check in and then they have responsability. American Airlines had to buy me $8,000 of Snap On diagnostic tools once and ship them to me in Panama. Notice, they only deny liability for the locks, not the contents.
     
  12. T Bone

    T Bone Pre-takeoff checklist

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    For those of you who use the plastic zip tie method, I have a question. What do you use to open those ties? Nail clippers? (Are those still allowed in carry ons?):D
     
  13. Brian Austin

    Brian Austin En-Route

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    I keep a pair of small scissors in an outside pocket without securing it.

    I did forget one time, though. One of my keys ended up doing the job, although it took a while! ;)
     
  14. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's why smoking sometimes comes in handy. I routinely take off zip ties with a lighter. Just hold it there until the plastic starts to melt, and pull.

    Works everytime.
     
  15. sere

    sere Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I also hate flying commerical today. One way to keep them out of your bag is to carry a firearm in one. Once you identify you have one in there they inspect it, mark it and then it must be locked. LOL TSA is only window dressing and not much of that to those who know better.
     
  16. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If you can't afford to lose it, take it in your carry on. I've had minor items stolen from checked bags. I don't trust those TSA folks anymore than I trust the airline baggage handlers.
     
  17. RobertGerace

    RobertGerace Guest

    I carry on anything I can, and what I can't I ship via FedEx. There isn't any perfect answer, because even flying myself, I can only take so much weight. Either it gets left behind or it goes FedEx.

    I refuse to check anything. Between having things stolen and having those notes in my bags every time I have sworn off checking bags.

    I just had a video crew fly in to do a commercial for my company. Some of their most valuable equipment was 'lost' for several hours when they got to Atlanta. I offered to ship it back for them and they jumped at the chance. ;)
     
  18. PoAdeleted5

    PoAdeleted5 Deleted by User Request

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    Yup, I got one of those nice little notes from the TSA in my bags on a direct flight from SJC to IAH.

    Of course, my digital camera was missing. But I got the nice note in its place.

    Then I found out the airlines are "not responsible for electronic goods". But I had a receipt for the leather case and Continental compensated me for that.

    What a effing joke. If the cameras and valuables can exit the secure areas of the airport, then so can the dope and so can the explosives and radioactive materials get in.
     
  19. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The TSA black-hole complaint line is useless. That's where you have to go to ask for recompense.

    The CEO of my former company's London division was told by the TSA screeners at LGA that his laptop PC had to be put in checked baggage. They threatened him with arrest when he complained. He ended up complying... you can guess what happened....

    I think they later caught some TSA screeners in cahoots with thieving baggage agents downstairs, many thousands of dollars of stolen stuff later.

    New York. Nothing like it.
     
  20. woodstock

    woodstock Final Approach

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    you know, a lot of times there isn't a way for them to KNOW. they can't PROVE it - the bands are typically left off. unless they have specific pictures of each type of Cuban made. just don't bring back Cohibas.
     
  21. woodstock

    woodstock Final Approach

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    oooooh, never pack a camera in checked luggage, ever. in the past I've had to do so (older camera, no more room in carryon) and invariable they &(^% up the lens.
     
  22. Everskyward

    Everskyward Experimenter

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    I've never had anything taken by the TSA except for the book of matches which they replaced with a note. However, I've had a bag miss the flight while they were busy searching it. Ha! I thought the bag was supposed to travel on the same airplane as you for security reasons. :dunno:
     
  23. sierra

    sierra Pre-takeoff checklist

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    yuppers, we used to hold certain bags until a radio call from the gate attendant that the person was on board. If they didn't get on board, we'd take the gate back to our bay, where it could explode and take out the ramp rats instead . :confused::confused:
     
  24. Bonanza

    Bonanza Pre-takeoff checklist

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  25. bbchien

    bbchien Touchdown! Greaser!

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    United? Weren't they a legacy carrier that ceased operations in the early 2000's crushed by their own weight and pesky passengers?
    (Sorry Greg, it's the reality, though). Sigh.
     
  26. DeeG

    DeeG Cleared for Takeoff

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    I just LOVE flying commercially. Last trip I took was to Vegas for my daughters 21st B-Day. Every time I've flown in the past two years I've gotten love notes both going and coming home. So this last time, i decided to have some fun. I am so sick of them poking through my stuff, even though i have absolutely nothing of value or anything to hide, but none the less..... On my way to my #2 daughters house (she lives in Vegas) I passed by a place called the Love Nest. basically an adult toy store. So, the morning I was going to leave, I went there and purchased a 'toy'. I put it in clear view on the top of all my clothing just under them straps that hold everything in place. usually you can tell that the clothing has been gone through. this time NOTHING was touched. There was a note, but nothing was rifled through. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I can just imagine the look one someones face as it went through the xray and then when they opened it up. I think that every time I fly, I will unearth 'it' from the back of the bathroom closet and stick it in the suitcase. I will never meet these people , so who cares? hehehehahahahahasnickersnickersnickerhehehehehegawdIcrackmyselfupsometimes......
     
  27. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Dee, sometime you have got to come over to OLM or my wife and I are going to have to fly over and meet you. Your sense of humor is just too wicked to not get to know you better. I'm going to have to find some male equivalent and have some fun with the TSA. :D
     
  28. SJP

    SJP Guest

    On our recent trip to the UK, I was chatting to an immigration guy in Heathrow as they checked my wifes paperwork (wife is american, I'm a brit).

    He said the customs guys chuckle when they stop anyone coming in from the US these days, because they have to ask "Has anyone had access to your luggage", the individuals invariably say "No", and then the customs guys give them the TSA note...

    I would wonder how much of a defense you could mount on any smuggling charges these days - Unlocked cases, out of your control for hours, opened by unknown individuals and "searched" - surely thats grounds for reasonable doubt !!
     
  29. grattonja

    grattonja Line Up and Wait

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    Naughty, naughty. No scissors on planes now. Except the teeny tiny folding sewing scissors. Naughty naughty to the next poster also. No lighters any more on commercial either.

    Kyle, if you aren't IR, I highly recommend it. Then boink 'em, fly. Unless it is winter over Albany. Then you need known icing equipment. But ALB has good approaches and is not a problem to get into during summer. Then the TSA can go do what we all want them to do when we are standing around in places like DEN with our shoes off, scuffing around in the dust.

    Jim G
     
  30. poadeleted3

    poadeleted3 Pattern Altitude

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    Apparently so, since a ring of thieves was recently busted at an airport. No prizes for correctly guessing the culprits :mad:
     
  31. grattonja

    grattonja Line Up and Wait

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    I like that. You are directly telling security what you would like them to do. Even providing an aid for their assistance. ;)

    Jim G
     
  32. Kyle Thornley

    Kyle Thornley Pre-Flight

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    Jim
    Yes I have the IR, not much use flying in the Great Lakes reigion without it if you want to go anywhere. The problem is I have to make the call of fly myself or go airline at least 14 days in advance to get the lowest ticket price (corporate requirement) and of course those tickets are non-refundable. If I have a window for arrival time I'd fly myself, but when it comes to a decision of needing to be there at a set time and date, I can't take the chance that a bunch of imbedded T-storms might get in my way. I don't want a healthy dose of get-there-itis involved in my preflight planning. So far I've been able to reduce my airline travel by half, but that's because I put lots of time margin in my travel plans, this time it was too tight due to other commitments.
     
  33. grattonja

    grattonja Line Up and Wait

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    I hear ya. I fly from PA to Colorado to see the In-Laws about once per year. My wife, also a pilot, won't hear of a skyhawk trip with a 6 year old that far, due to the time. And every time I deal with PHL, DEN etc I threaten to rent the 'hawk next time. It would cost more and be way worth it.

    I take it there was no reasonable way you could plan to arrive and build in time ahead of the meeting for that. Darn shame. I feel the same way you do about having my bags searched. And I don't like to carry-on electronics now, with all the increased gate security measures being implimented. I may, based on some posts above, be placing a very large and obnoxious sex toy in the packing next time though. Let 'em search the bag then. I got my "evens" up front.

    I am starting to think that fex-exing that stuff ahead makes sense. But, for a travelling businessman, that is probably a problem too. :(

    Jim G
     
  34. mdreger

    mdreger Pre-takeoff checklist

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    What's a TSA friendly lock? Last time I asked TSA if they still had keys for the standard issue Samsonite/American Tourister/etc. suitcases (since one key opens every one of their suitcases) the reply was:"We used to, but someone stole the keys."
     
  35. DeeG

    DeeG Cleared for Takeoff

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    Well, I thought I was being original and funny, but I guess not...
    The husband of one of my co-workers is TSA at Pangborn (KEAT), and I asked her yesterday what kinds of things he finds in luggage. Apparently, "it" pales in comparison with what he's seen. She says lots and lots of 'pumps' and video tapes and much more interesting 'toys' than what I had. -sigh- I guess I'll have to give 'it' to one of the neighborhood dogs to use as a chew toy.
     
  36. gismo

    gismo Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I suppose it's would be a good training tool for the dog of some (male) neighbor you're not too fond of.
     
  37. judypilot

    judypilot Line Up and Wait

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    Ooh, Lance. Now THAT is wicked!

    Judy
     
  38. mgkdrgn

    mgkdrgn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Ahhh yes, I remember the first time they went through my bags. All the warning and guidelines about NOT locking your bags, and NOT using wire zips. So, I "sealed" mine with twist ties.

    So, when I get to my hotel room, what do I spy, my bags, all "sealed" with WIRE ZIPS. And zipped down so tight that I would have to cut them off.

    BUT WITH WHAT??!! MY NAIL CLIPPERS WERE ZIPPED INSIDE THE D*NM BAG NOW!

    Went to the front desk ... no clippers or knife there. Best they could do was a (rather dull) pair of sicsors. Of course, they slipped, cut a big gash in my hand, bled all over the lobby, my bag, my clothes ... etc, etc. NEVER checked another bag after that.

    Lovely TSA love note inside ... morons.
     
  39. rfbdorf

    rfbdorf Pre-Flight

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    Friend of mine bought one of those TSA-approved locks that they're supposed to be able to open for inspection. When he got his luggage back, it had been opened by the TSA all right, with a bolt cutter through the lock.
    - Richard
     
  40. woodstock

    woodstock Final Approach

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    wonder if you said "please don't re-lock, nothing of value inside" would prevent them from not only doing that, but maybe no one would even bother with your bags anyway? or at min you wouldn't lose anything.

    kinda like in NYC they used to have signs on the cars - No Radio