Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Another open letter to the TSA

This time with less swearing.

Dan (from the comments on the previous entry) was right. Instead of just ranting about it here, I should tell the TSA directly about my experience. So I did.

Here it is, in all of its semi-polite glory:

- - - - -

I went on a trip to NYC on 3/19/09 with my family which includes 1 husband, 1 7.5 year old and a pair (2) 18 month old b/g twins. Since the changes to security, we were required to check any luggage that had liquids in it (e.g. contact lens solution) or buy wasteful miniature versions of same (because of a FAILED attempt at a chemical bomb). We also have to carry on 2 children, 1 booster seat, 3 carry-on bags, jackets for all of the above, 2 blankies, 2 umbrella strollers and ourselves. This makes for a LOT of gear to have to cart through the airport.

This is us, a family of 5, traveling light.

To be stopped during the screening process and have to remove our SHOES because of a SINGLE (failed) instance (of a bomb in shoes), seems ridiculous. Having to remove the shoes of my 18 month old twins is even MORE ridiculous. On top of THAT, having to take away their comforting blankets AND jackets so that those can also be scanned as I carried my shoeless, screaming twins through the metal detector was infuriating.

To make it THIS HARD to get through security puts a chilling effect in place for families that may want to travel. Making it as stressful as it was has ensured that I will NOT be flying and taking my family anywhere again, until such time as either a family member dies or these rules - put in place during a different administration for feel good measures ONLY - are removed.

I feel certain that I am not the only mother that feels this way, either. Considering that the economy of many of our states depends on tourist dollars, making travel harder for no appreciable increase in security is a waste of US taxpayer dollars and time.

I would really love to see these useless measures be removed from the security screening taking place in US airports. Replace it with something that actually WILL increase security.

Oh and you might as well get rid of all of the National Security signs that detail the current colorful state of our threat level. No one pays any attention to those signs anymore. It has become so much background noise. I shudder to think what it costs, nationwide, to pay people to go around and update all of those signs/monitors/etc.

Thank you for your time.

- - - - -

Do I think anything will come of it?


However, should you happen to have something to tell the TSA about your own experience, rather than bottling it up inside (Stress is bad for you, you know. Let it out!), you should let them know directly. Perhaps if we all said something about the ridiculous security measures currently in place, perhaps then something would change.

Here's the link to their Contact page. Thanks again Dan!


elisava said...

dear tsa - why not just require everyone getting on a plane to be given a sleeping drug prior to take -off? or just lower the cabin pressure so we all just pass out? security problems SOLVED!

screamish said...

oh oh oh how am i going to get to australia with a can of formula for the THIRTY FIVE HOUR journey????

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Screamish: as far I as remember, baby food is exempt. So long as you're not flying through the States, you're probably good to go, right?

Elisava: Mmmmm! Mickeys for everyone! That would sold the "crying baby" syndrome.

Drama Queen Jenner said...

I liked the first one better, but I suppose this will get your point taken more seriously.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Ranting can be an awful lot of fun, can't it?

Anonymous said...

IDO Security develops a solution called the MagShoe for shoes-on weapons metal detection – filling a critical void in the market by extending security screening to the lower body and feet. So you or your family don't have to take your shoes off at all. (OTCBB: IDOI) http://www.idosecurityinc.com

Anonymous said...

didn't they put all the passengers to sleep on the flight to Phloston Paradise in the Fifth Element? And everyone had their own little bunk with closing door to climb into. One moment Bruce Willis was awake - stewardess pressed a button and he was knocked out.

Ed said...

Dawn: Yes, but the freaky priest was wide awake for the whole thing :)

Tracy: The exceptions boggle the mind. Baby food is exempt. So is liquid in a prescription bottle, any quantity. So is saline solution (again in any quantity), but only if the bottle says it's for contact lenses. KY jelly is another unlimited item, but desitin or Vaseline is verboten. Diabetics can even bring needles on the plane.

Now, you may ask how the TSA knows that it's saline in the bottle (or KY for that matter)? There's a very good answer: The label says so! If your label falls off, you're borked. As long as the label says it's [saline | KY | other stuff they like] then it must be good. Even if one bottle is glycerin, and the other bottle is a nitrating agent. They're not the brightest of people.

Ed said...

Oh, another thing....

Don't bring Peanut Butter in your carry on. The TSA doesn't tell you this, but if they have bomb sniffers, they get tripped up by peanut butter. They can't tell the difference between that or C4.


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