Friday, February 16, 2007

Communal ziplock bags at airports?

I flew out of Indianapolis on Wednesday evening. The airport was in a complete state of chaos, due to the number of cancelled flights that day and the day before.

While in standing in line to get to the TSA checkpoint, I saw a scary, yet amazing thing:

TSA agent David: Remember, any liquid greater than 3.4 oz must be discarded. All liquids in small bottles must be placed in a ziplock bag.
Concerned female passenger: What about this item? *holds up some kind of liquid in a small bottle*
TSA agent David: It's small enough, but you still need a ziplock bag. Do you have one?
Concerned female passenger: No. *thinks quickly* Can I put it in someone else's bag?
TSA agent David: Sure, just as long as they all fit in a 1 quart ziplock bag.

The concerned female passenger then approached a random stranger standing in the line (who had her ziplock bag out in her hands already), and asked her if it would be ok to put her bottle of liquid in said random passenger's bag..

Not only did this person agree to taking a complete stranger's item through a TSA checkpoint - but the TSA agent, David, watched while it happened and didn't say a word.

Utter insanity!

The TSA checkpoint was pretty crazy once I got through the line. It seems that every passenger who is bumped from one airline to another is automatically given the SSSS treatment. Since US air had cancelled my flight, and had instead put me on a flight run by another airline, I was stuck in the back of the SSSS line that was about 10 people deep - including at least 4 passengers under the age of 7.

While killing the time, I looked over to my left, and saw a man in a blazer and suit pants helping out at the checkpoint. I peered at his badge, and made out the name: David Kane. The federal security director, the guy who signed the letter notifying me of my investigation, was actually helping out on the floor. Things were so crazy there it seems, that the suits from the office were drafted to come and help out.

When I got to the puffer machine - as usual, I declined to go through. I often get told in Indianapolis that I must go through the machine. I had them ask Mr Kane - who after coming over to verify my request, confirmed that I indeed have the right to go through security without submitting to the puffer machine.

Now if only I could get that in writing....

1 comment:

Sid Stamm said...

WOW. "Hey random stranger, can I put this stuff (who knows what it is) in your baggie?"

"Sure, no problem. Then when they sniff it and think it is explosive, you won't be blamed!"

Utter insanity.