Monday, June 9, 2008

TSA Has Failed Us

I am still in shock, and absolutely horrified by what I saw today. First, let me explain the situation and then I will paste the letter which I sent to the TSA directly... maybe they'll respond.

1:05 PM Central Daylight Time: I arrive at O'Hare Int'l Airport, and go through security check (I only have my 2 carry-ons so no need to check anything). I am hassled in the security checkpoint because I have a 1 oz. bottle of hand sanitizer, and they immediately throw it away, without asking if I would like to put it in the quart-sized bag that is in the other bin I have, with my suitcase... no matter, it was cheap. I am reprimanded by someone from TSA (I will keep the name out of it, as it's of no relevance) who impolitely reminds me that these "safety measures" have been in effect for quite some time and that they are for my safety (more on this in a minute). I then watch a very old wheelchair-bound woman being made to walk through the security screen, then patted down, searched, as if she was spouting Jihad... unreal.

... my flight takes off 40 minutes late (weather delays, you know) and we land in Lexington, KY airport and everyone starts to deplane. It is then that I discover, much to my horror - a lighter sitting on the floor under row 6, seat C. My eyes about popped out of my head, and my heart sank to my stomach. I can't believe that in this day of ultra paranoid TSA personnel (poorly trained as they are) I'm still able to find this lighter, a combustible object unlike my hand sanitizer... on the plane. UNREAL you say? I mean, it must have been that 90+ year old lady who wasn't throughly cavity-searched enough, right? I'm absolutely befuddled, baffled and dumbfounded.

Now - ask yourself... do you feel any safer today than before 911? I certainly don't.

Here is the email I sent directly from the TSA website (, with a
Security Issues (Choose One)*
Urgent/Time Sensitive

designation... Let's see what the TSA folks have to say for themselves. Who wants to bet that I get some standard answer about "no one being perfect" and some crap about how "they're always improving"... waste of my taxpayers money, if you ask me...

To the TSA
This afternoon I was on United Flight 5802 from Chicago, IL [ORD] to Lexington, Kentucky [LEX] at 2:19pm CDT. As we were de-planing in Lexington, and in utter horror I passed seat 6C I saw a green BIC lighter on the floor. If I can't bring a hand sanitizer on board, how is it that someone walks onto this plane with a (potentially) EXPLOSIVE device? We are being told that our privacy is being violated in the name of safety - I demandto know how this could possibly happen, and who will be held accountable.
Thank You.

Date and Time of message: 6/9/2008 8:54:57 PM


Tom Los said...

That's just the tip of the iceberg. When I was traveling, out of Midway, my colleague had a bottle of bug spray.. (very flammable).. in the side pocket of a duffle bag... Went right through security and no one said a word, we didn't realize it until after we landed!

Anonymous said...

You're not alone ...

Anonymous said...

I think that last year, the rule was changed again, and lighters are now permitted, provided they are see-through.

Anonymous said...

Unless it is a torch lighter it is not banned anymore.

I invite you and your readers to visit the TSA blog.

Rafal Los said...

OK - so I've seen some people quick to point out that lighters, as of Aug 2007, have been allowed now. I'm not entirely sure I understand the idiotic logic here. Work with me on this one...
1) My "hand sanitizer", 1oz. was thrown away
2) The lighter was "ok"
Therefore... sanitizers are out but explosive devices are OK? I can set a fire, or create an explosive (presumably using 1qt or less of some fluids)

Please. Explain the logic here.