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Old Dec 23, 09, 11:05 am   #16
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Originally Posted by TSORon View Post
The idea behind the Elite or Black Diamond lane is to put the experienced travelers all in the same line as they are most likely to transit the checkpoint without problems and in the quickest manner possible. Sure, other lines may be shorter, but if you get in behind John Q. Public and his 6 kids you may be there a while.

My experience with the Elite lanes is that the folks who use them the most are not any more or less likely to have problems transiting the checkpoint than anyone else. I like the idea of the Elite lines, but the assumptions that were made in the initial run up to the programs just are not turning out to be all that valid.

Now, as for doing what the TSOís tell you, you take your chances that there is a TSO on that checkpoint that is just having one of those days, and is just irritated enough to push the point. Iím not saying its fair, or that its right, but it is a fact of life.
and if i was married with 2 kids in tow (n.b. if ), a 1k with united (top tier elite [which i am]), i am entitled to use the elite line with my family (and or guests if the situation warrants). the fact that i have children in tow does not mean that i am an inexperienced traveler at all and does give anyone the right to tell me that i cannot use the elite lane as that is a perk that i earned. if a tso on duty is having as you put it, "one of those days", that's not my problem and as PTravel notes:
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A TSO can't make you do anything. A TSO can only deny you entrance to the sterile area out of concern that you have weapons, explosives or incendiaries. For TSOs who are friendly, polite and efficient, I am friendly and polite in return. For those who think they are General Patton, I either ignore them, call for a supervisor, or call for a LEO.
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Old Dec 23, 09, 11:55 am   #17
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Originally Posted by FWAAA View Post
W
O
W

The OP said he made it thru the WTMD in about "a minute" and according to the OP, the family lane had "about 140,000 people" in it.

So the OP, IYO, was "impolite" for not getting behind a huge crowd of people?

Rolleyes wouldn't do this one justice.
"That said, and regardless of how fast you think you can get through the line with two infants compared to other pax, you're not going to be faster than the average frequent-flying business person with a rollaboard and a computer bag. The polite thing to do would have been to use the family line.

Just my opinion."

I've been behind too many people with infants.
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Old Dec 23, 09, 6:45 pm   #18
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Originally Posted by QUERY View Post
Last year, they had the Black Diamond scheme of lanes, experienced travelers in one lane, casual travelers and selectees in another lane or 2, and a lane for disabled people who traveled in wheelchairs or had walkers or canes and those with special needs and families. That has all gone from MKE, probably because there is not enough staff to make it workable. IMO, the reasoning behind Black Diamond was to try and make everyone happy. Experienced travelers wouldn't be slowed by those other categories which generally take longer to pull out their items and put them on the X-ray belt. No TSO can compel you to use a specific lane. No TSO should be yelling at you, period. So long as you remain calm and do not impede the screening process, there is nothing they can do.
Black Diamond lines is TSAs mistaken attempt to circumvent the premium lines at many airports ... they wanted one to replace the other. They don't like the premium lines because they its an airport/airline concept/control point. The big difference is someone actually vets the people using the line with the premium lines, and as you saw its a free for all with the black diamond and TSA lines.

TSOs cannot and should not demand you use one line or the other, they can direct, but you can ignore. At IAD, they use non-TSOs for the line monitors to direct people and I nod at them then ignore the direction and select whichever line I want. It's the same regardless of whoever is doing the pointing, unless you are specifically directed for purposes of special screening.
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Old Dec 24, 09, 1:02 am   #19
 
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Originally Posted by jkhuggins View Post
"Ahh, but there's the problem. The rule against "interfering with the screening process" is awfully vague. We've seen it used to attack passengers who did nothing more than standing around passively observing the checkpoint. I can easily imagine a scenario in which a bad TSO "orders" a passenger into a particular screening lane, the passenger chooses a different lane, and the TSO takes that disobedience as "interfering with the screening process" and escalates the situation into a full-blown conflict.

(Aside. I understand why the "interfering with the screening process" rule is in place, and I also understand why the definition of the rule is vague. I'm not arguing with that. But I've also seen here that the rule can be, and has been, abused.)"
OK, I'll bite. Let's say you are right and it does get escalated. They call the STSO and he/she ignores the fact that the pax is calm and not impeding the screening process and calls in LE. The LEO will respond and base his decision on what he/she is seeing and what both sides have to say. If the pax is still calm and tells the LEO that he/she just wanted to use that particular lane, do you really think the LEO is going to arrest that person? What would he/she charge the pax with? The judge would laugh this out of court. I think the OP handled this very well. Remember, there are bad TSOs but there are also good TSOs and the good outnumber the bad. If that wasn't the case, FT would be a lot bigger forum and we'd have many more horror stories to tell.
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Old Dec 24, 09, 1:23 am   #20
 
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Originally Posted by GoingAway View Post
"Black Diamond lines is TSAs mistaken attempt to circumvent the premium lines at many airports ... they wanted one to replace the other. They don't like the premium lines because they its an airport/airline concept/control point. The big difference is someone actually vets the people using the line with the premium lines, and as you saw its a free for all with the black diamond and TSA lines.

TSOs cannot and should not demand you use one line or the other, they can direct, but you can ignore. At IAD, they use non-TSOs for the line monitors to direct people and I nod at them then ignore the direction and select whichever line I want. It's the same regardless of whoever is doing the pointing, unless you are specifically directed for purposes of special screening."
Regarding paragraph 1, actually, it was to make the screening process more efficient yet not create anxiety by rushing people through faster than they were able to, as in the case of families with children, disabled persons, etc.. At no time since implementation have premium lines been taken away and currently still exist, at MKE at least. Link below for those who want to read it from TSA's site: http://www.tsa.gov/approach/black_diamond.shtm

Regarding 2nd paragraph, I believe I already stated that. I agree with you here. However, there could be infrequent situations where you would need to use a different lane, such as if the X-ray machine goes down or TSA finds something in a pax's bag that warrants a lane change or evacuation.
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Old Dec 24, 09, 4:46 am   #21
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I stopped listening to TSA PR bs a long time ago, it attempts to obscure what is really happening moe often than not. TSA has never liked premium lines, no idea of how MKE operates, but most places aren't overly thrilled to have TSA throwing their weight around as has been happening for quite awhile. At IAD for example, the airport/lines were under pressure to remove the priority screening line b/c look, we can take care of that for you . (note, I focused on the existence of the black diamond, not their other line designations - the family line separation was the anxiety reducer option and that can work for them as it separates them into a "slow" area)

ps no reason to bold everything you quote
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Old Dec 24, 09, 7:44 am   #22
 
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Originally Posted by QUERY View Post
OK, I'll bite. Let's say you are right and it does get escalated. They call the STSO and he/she ignores the fact that the pax is calm and not impeding the screening process and calls in LE. The LEO will respond and base his decision on what he/she is seeing and what both sides have to say. If the pax is still calm and tells the LEO that he/she just wanted to use that particular lane, do you really think the LEO is going to arrest that person? What would he/she charge the pax with?
Several problems with this scenario.
  • You're assuming that as this process escalates, the passenger --- who, remember, has an entire family in tow --- remains calm. Certainly it's possible to do ... but it requires a great deal of personal discipline. And especially if the TSO who escalates the process in the first place gets agitated, it requires even more discipline. I think it's far more likely that the passenger starts getting agitated right along with the TSO.
  • Keep in mind that you've now got a "he-said, she-said" scenario. Who has more credibility in that situation: an unknown passenger who appears to be in the "wrong lane", or a uniformed TSO and STSO?
  • And, again, I return to my original premise. Failure to obey the (misguided) order of the TSO, and then contesting that (misguided) order could be construed as "interfering with the screening process". Yes, it's a stretch. But so is claiming that an ill-timed request for orange juice is interference with the duties of a flight attendant.

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Originally Posted by QUERY View Post
The judge would laugh this out of court.
But by then, the passenger has already lost. Most likely, the passenger has been arrested (in front of his family, by the way), they've missed their original flight (probably by a day or more), and the passenger has had to spend time and money in preparing a defense. Meanwhile, the TSOs involved receive their full government salary while assisting the prosecutor in developing their "case".

Far better to keep this from even getting that far.

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Originally Posted by QUERY View Post
I think the OP handled this very well. Remember, there are bad TSOs but there are also good TSOs and the good outnumber the bad. If that wasn't the case, FT would be a lot bigger forum and we'd have many more horror stories to tell.
Agreed on all counts. But knowing that there are plenty of good TSOs out there doesn't help when you happen to draw a bad one.
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Old Dec 24, 09, 8:15 am   #23
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Originally Posted by PTravel View Post
"That said, and regardless of how fast you think you can get through the line with two infants compared to other pax, you're not going to be faster than the average frequent-flying business person with a rollaboard and a computer bag. The polite thing to do would have been to use the family line.

Just my opinion."

I've been behind too many people with infants.
I am familiar with your view on being stuck on planes next to screaming kids and since we agree on 99% of everything else, we're going to have to agree to disagree here. By the time we get to the front of the line, our shoes are off, the bags are ready to go and the strollers are folded. I'm just going to have to ask you to trust me that we are still way faster than the average traveler, even with infants in arms. Given the length of the family line and the fact that there was virtually no line at the other WTMDs, it made more sense for everyone to use the regular WTMD.

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Originally Posted by jkhuggins View Post
Several problems with this scenario.
  • You're assuming that as this process escalates, the passenger --- who, remember, has an entire family in tow --- remains calm. Certainly it's possible to do ... but it requires a great deal of personal discipline. And especially if the TSO who escalates the process in the first place gets agitated, it requires even more discipline. I think it's far more likely that the passenger starts getting agitated right along with the TSO.
  • Keep in mind that you've now got a "he-said, she-said" scenario. Who has more credibility in that situation: an unknown passenger who appears to be in the "wrong lane", or a uniformed TSO and STSO?
  • And, again, I return to my original premise. Failure to obey the (misguided) order of the TSO, and then contesting that (misguided) order could be construed as "interfering with the screening process". Yes, it's a stretch. But so is claiming that an ill-timed request for orange juice is interference with the duties of a flight attendant.



But by then, the passenger has already lost. Most likely, the passenger has been arrested (in front of his family, by the way), they've missed their original flight (probably by a day or more), and the passenger has had to spend time and money in preparing a defense. Meanwhile, the TSOs involved receive their full government salary while assisting the prosecutor in developing their "case".

Far better to keep this from even getting that far.



Agreed on all counts. But knowing that there are plenty of good TSOs out there doesn't help when you happen to draw a bad one.
You've pretty much hit it right on the nose. I have no interest in a confrontation. I completely understand the concept of winning the battle and losing the war. I just hate bullies.

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Old Dec 24, 09, 8:39 am   #24
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Originally Posted by PTravel View Post
"That said, and regardless of how fast you think you can get through the line with two infants compared to other pax, you're not going to be faster than the average frequent-flying business person with a rollaboard and a computer bag. The polite thing to do would have been to use the family line.

Just my opinion."

I've been behind too many people with infants.
And you'd have been behind me, too, cause I *always* took mine to the shorter line. Our time is just as valuable as anyone else's.
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Old Dec 24, 09, 8:40 am   #25
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Originally Posted by mikeef View Post
I am familiar with your view on being stuck on planes next to screaming kids and since we agree on 99% of everything else, we're going to have to agree to disagree here. By the time we get to the front of the line, our shoes are off, the bags are ready to go and the strollers are folded. I'm just going to have to ask you to trust me that we are still way faster than the average traveler, even with infants in arms. Given the length of the family line and the fact that there was virtually no line at the other WTMDs, it made more sense for everyone to use the regular WTMD.
Fair enough.

I still stand by my description of a TSO's authority to order you to do anything, i.e. he has none.
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Old Dec 24, 09, 8:42 am   #26
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And you'd have been behind me, too, cause I *always* took mine to the shorter line. Our time is just as valuable as anyone else's.
See -- that line is getting longer and longer.

As this discussion is more about TSA than about family lines I won't derail it any further and just join Mikeef and say we'll have to agree to disagree on this.

But my time is more valuable than yours. DYKWIA?
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Old Dec 24, 09, 8:54 am   #27
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Originally Posted by PTravel View Post
See -- that line is getting longer and longer.

As this discussion is more about TSA than about family lines I won't derail it any further and just join Mikeef and say we'll have to agree to disagree on this.

But my time is more valuable than yours. DYKWIA?
Of course! You're, you're, you're.....it's right on the tip of my tongue.

Actually, you are talking about the average parent and kids -- I have my daughter's stuff all ready, shoes off, coat in a tray, bags ready to go. The only "delay" is that there are two of us to go through the WTMD and that would happen with two adults, too.

(Although she likes to sit down right in the way to put her shoes on right after getting them back. I've fixed that by taking her shoes myself and making her follow.)

OnTopic: I think the family lines were a horrible idea. For the TSA to try to enforce by forcing people through specific lines, well, that's ludicrous.
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Old Dec 24, 09, 11:11 pm   #28
 
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Originally Posted by jkhuggins View Post
"Several problems with this scenario.
  • You're assuming that as this process escalates, the passenger --- who, remember, has an entire family in tow --- remains calm. Certainly it's possible to do ... but it requires a great deal of personal discipline. And especially if the TSO who escalates the process in the first place gets agitated, it requires even more discipline. I think it's far more likely that the passenger starts getting agitated right along with the TSO.
  • Keep in mind that you've now got a "he-said, she-said" scenario. Who has more credibility in that situation: an unknown passenger who appears to be in the "wrong lane", or a uniformed TSO and STSO?
  • And, again, I return to my original premise. Failure to obey the (misguided) order of the TSO, and then contesting that (misguided) order could be construed as "interfering with the screening process". Yes, it's a stretch. But so is claiming that an ill-timed request for orange juice is interference with the duties of a flight attendant.



But by then, the passenger has already lost. Most likely, the passenger has been arrested (in front of his family, by the way), they've missed their original flight (probably by a day or more), and the passenger has had to spend time and money in preparing a defense. Meanwhile, the TSOs involved receive their full government salary while assisting the prosecutor in developing their "case".

Far better to keep this from even getting that far.



Agreed on all counts. But knowing that there are plenty of good TSOs out there doesn't help when you happen to draw a bad one."
Regarding the 1st bullet, probably true. Most people have a hard time maintaining their composure when someone is yelling at them but here is what you don't want. TSO yells at pax and pax yells back and this goes back and forth and the STSO playing CYA calls the LEOs in. Now, they observe the pax yelling at a TSO. If they are good at their job, they would interview those involved to learn why this situation occurred. However, if the pax has lost the ability to talk calmly with the LEO, it certainly would be possible that the pax could be charged with disorderly conduct. That's why it is important for the pax not to take it personally and talk it out rationally with the STSO.

Regarding the 2nd bullet, testimony is not always fact. A good LEO is aware of this. If I tell a LEO I wanted to use lane 1, not lane 2 as told by a TSO, it will soon become evident, provided I am talking calmly to the LEO, that I have not broken any laws. The LEO might want to know why I selected lane 1 over lane 2 and I would give him the reason. Also, if you have eyewitness testimony from other paxs who were there, that would certainly help.

Regarding the 3rd bullet, construed is a legal term. The LEO would have to arrest you first and that's not going to happen if the LEO has no evidence a law was broken. If the LEO did, and the courts dismissed the charge, you could turn around and sue for wrongful arrest. The FA case you referred to was a lot more serious. That is an environment where the he said, she said, argument would apply. Thankfully, the other paxs came to the male pax's aid otherwise the outcome could have been very different.

Regarding the 4th and 5th paragraphs, you're describing a worst-case scenario. If you are calm, if you explain what happened to the LEOs, and if you listen to what they have to say and cooperate with any requests they make, there is nothing they can charge you with. Look at the case of the guy with the $4700. Listen to the half-hour conversation. While I'm sure he had a personal agenda, he handled himself extremely well. He was threatened by both a TSA STSO and a LEO but he prevailed, because he had not broken any laws. They had to release him.

Regarding the 6th paragraph, point taken. Timing is everything here and all too often, you roll snake eyes when you least have the temperament for it.
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Old Dec 25, 09, 6:40 am   #29
 
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Regarding the 1st bullet, [...] if the pax has lost the ability to talk calmly with the LEO, it certainly would be possible that the pax could be charged with disorderly conduct. That's why it is important for the pax not to take it personally and talk it out rationally with the STSO.
And that's why it's more important that the TSO doesn't provoke the passenger into that level of anger in the first place.

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Regarding the 2nd bullet, testimony is not always fact. A good LEO is aware of this.
And if the passenger happens to draw a bad LEO ... then what? Passenger is SOL again. Again, if the TSO hadn't provoked the situation, the LEO doesn't have to become involved at all. The LEO is a wild card.

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Originally Posted by QUERY View Post
Regarding the 3rd bullet, construed is a legal term. The LEO would have to arrest you first and that's not going to happen if the LEO has no evidence a law was broken. If the LEO did, and the courts dismissed the charge, you could turn around and sue for wrongful arrest.
Too little, too late. The passenger has already lost time, money, and dignity in the process of being arrested, all over something trivial.

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Originally Posted by QUERY View Post
Regarding the 4th and 5th paragraphs, you're describing a worst-case scenario. If you are calm, if you explain what happened to the LEOs, and if you listen to what they have to say and cooperate with any requests they make, there is nothing they can charge you with. Look at the case of the guy with the $4700. Listen to the half-hour conversation. While I'm sure he had a personal agenda, he handled himself extremely well. He was threatened by both a TSA STSO and a LEO but he prevailed, because he had not broken any laws. They had to release him.
In the meantime, he certainly was massively inconvenienced ... he almost certainly missed his flight, and had an uncomfortable experience while under pseudo-arrest in a private room. Meanwhile, it's unclear what, if anything, happened to the TSO in question. Hardly a "victory", in my opinion.
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Old Dec 25, 09, 6:55 am   #30
 
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Two notes..

To this day, TPA has lanes/signs/etc but chooses to ignore their existence and just puts pax where they want at any given time. You arrive at the checkpoint and whatever lane they want the current unloading group from the tram to use is open, the others are closed with the little adjustable stantions.

Over at SNA, I wandered into the black diamond or whatever lane, but as I walked around the outside of the mas of travelers and saw no one ahead of me, I thought I got lost and was going the wrong way - the TSA on duty at ID-check insisted I continue through the stantion maze all alone, "No changing lanes!"

Turns out I was the only person, and walked right ahead of about 100 people who were waiting.

This system really is terribly flawed.
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