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Old Jun 11, 09, 7:30 am   #1
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Orthopedics and TSA screening

Here's my query on what appears to be a slightly odd policy that I've now experienced at three airports.

Due to recurring bursitis problems, my doctor has instructed me to always wear a compression sleeve on my elbow (particularly, one of these). This isn't really an orthopedic device (really, it's just like a thick sock with some padding), and isn't a medical necessity, but it does bring up some interesting issues:

I've learned that wearing the sleeve visibly through checkpoints is pretty much guaranteed to get me wanded and patted down (MHT, SLC, and MSP being the most recent data points), even if I remove the sleeve and hand it to them. So for the past six months my general policy has been to remove the sleeve before the checkpoint and put it in my carryon.

But then I had the following incidents recently in situations where I didn't even wear the sleeve going through the detector portal:

1. At MHT, the TSO saw me remove the sleeve as I was approaching the checkpoint, and informed me that having the elbow sleeve required a pat-down and wanding, even if I had removed it before coming to the checkpoint. So apparently I have to remove the sleeve before I come into sight of the checkpoint...
2. At MSP earlier this month, upon seeing the elbow sleeve during a hand-check of my carryon, they then informed me that the had to do a pat-down and wanding.
3. Yesterday at SLC, I had a repeat of the MHT incident.

I'm suspecting that there's a recent procedural change that some TSOs and supervisors are incorrectly interpreting.

What strikes me as most odd about this is that if I simple wear long sleeve shirts, it's never a problem.

There are plenty of people out there with more substantial bandages and braces than a simple compression sleeve... does this happen to anyone else?
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Old Jun 11, 09, 7:46 am   #2
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Originally Posted by kaszeta View Post
Here's my query on what appears to be a slightly odd policy that I've now experienced at three airports.

Due to recurring bursitis problems, my doctor has instructed me to always wear a compression sleeve on my elbow (particularly, one of these). This isn't really an orthopedic device (really, it's just like a thick sock with some padding), and isn't a medical necessity, but it does bring up some interesting issues:

I've learned that wearing the sleeve visibly through checkpoints is pretty much guaranteed to get me wanded and patted down (MHT, SLC, and MSP being the most recent data points), even if I remove the sleeve and hand it to them. So for the past six months my general policy has been to remove the sleeve before the checkpoint and put it in my carryon.

But then I had the following incidents recently in situations where I didn't even wear the sleeve going through the detector portal:

1. At MHT, the TSO saw me remove the sleeve as I was approaching the checkpoint, and informed me that having the elbow sleeve required a pat-down and wanding, even if I had removed it before coming to the checkpoint. So apparently I have to remove the sleeve before I come into sight of the checkpoint...
2. At MSP earlier this month, upon seeing the elbow sleeve during a hand-check of my carryon, they then informed me that the had to do a pat-down and wanding.
3. Yesterday at SLC, I had a repeat of the MHT incident.

I'm suspecting that there's a recent procedural change that some TSOs and supervisors are incorrectly interpreting.

What strikes me as most odd about this is that if I simple wear long sleeve shirts, it's never a problem.

There are plenty of people out there with more substantial bandages and braces than a simple compression sleeve... does this happen to anyone else?
"Stupid is as stupid does" Forest Gump
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Old Jun 11, 09, 7:51 am   #3
  
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Originally Posted by kaszeta View Post
I'm suspecting that there's a recent procedural change that some TSOs and supervisors are incorrectly interpreting.

What strikes me as most odd about this is that if I simple wear long sleeve shirts, it's never a problem.

There are plenty of people out there with more substantial bandages and braces than a simple compression sleeve... does this happen to anyone else?
Sorry that they are doing this to you. Suggest asking for the FSD and file a complaint with your representatives and senator as well. They've got to learn to properly deal with people.

They attempted to remove a translucent surgical dressing (12 inch long fresh incision) from me because it alarmed with a hand wand at the gate. No problems with the WTMD. Complain and complain often.
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Old Jun 11, 09, 7:56 am   #4
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"Stupid is as stupid does" Forest Gump
Yes, that's my basic explanation. I was mostly curious about whether there was a recent policy changed that spurred on this particular stupidity...
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Old Jun 11, 09, 9:52 am   #5
  
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"Stupid is as stupid does" Forest Gump
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Old Jun 11, 09, 11:54 am   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaszeta View Post
Here's my query on what appears to be a slightly odd policy that I've now experienced at three airports.

Due to recurring bursitis problems, my doctor has instructed me to always wear a compression sleeve on my elbow (particularly, one of these). This isn't really an orthopedic device (really, it's just like a thick sock with some padding), and isn't a medical necessity, but it does bring up some interesting issues:

I've learned that wearing the sleeve visibly through checkpoints is pretty much guaranteed to get me wanded and patted down (MHT, SLC, and MSP being the most recent data points), even if I remove the sleeve and hand it to them. So for the past six months my general policy has been to remove the sleeve before the checkpoint and put it in my carryon.

But then I had the following incidents recently in situations where I didn't even wear the sleeve going through the detector portal:

1. At MHT, the TSO saw me remove the sleeve as I was approaching the checkpoint, and informed me that having the elbow sleeve required a pat-down and wanding, even if I had removed it before coming to the checkpoint. So apparently I have to remove the sleeve before I come into sight of the checkpoint...
2. At MSP earlier this month, upon seeing the elbow sleeve during a hand-check of my carryon, they then informed me that the had to do a pat-down and wanding.
3. Yesterday at SLC, I had a repeat of the MHT incident.

I'm suspecting that there's a recent procedural change that some TSOs and supervisors are incorrectly interpreting.

What strikes me as most odd about this is that if I simple wear long sleeve shirts, it's never a problem.

There are plenty of people out there with more substantial bandages and braces than a simple compression sleeve... does this happen to anyone else?
total B/S

whether the tso sees you take off the sleeve has nothing to do with a full secondary otherwise i'd be screwed for all the times i've taken my watch and cell phone off and put them in my jacket pocket before going thru the wtmd. keep the sleeve on and simply tell the tso when they ask you to remove it that you have bursitis and the doctor gave you the sleeve. that's it and say nothing more

if you go thru with the sleeve, the sop is to edt the sleeve and perhaps give you a pat down but that's it-period. if they "decide to screen your bags" ask why and request a supervisor present. do not take "continuous screening" as an answer as there was nothing in your bags that deemed a search-i had exactly that situation where the wtmd rolled her eyes at me when i told her i was wearing orthopedic shoes and barked "male assist continuous" and i refused to move nor have them remove my bags from the belt until she clarified it with male assist no alarm shoes only"
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Old Jun 11, 09, 12:19 pm   #7
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Yes, that's my basic explanation. I was mostly curious about whether there was a recent policy changed that spurred on this particular stupidity...
No one here can answer your question with certainy.

A FOI request to TSA will probably take over a year to get an answer if they answer at all and by then the policy will likely have changed making the information worthless.

Try calling your Senators office, tell them what happened and see if they will query DHS on your behalf to get an answer. Won't hurt and may get some surprising results.
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Old Jun 11, 09, 1:05 pm   #8
  
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They are morons.

It reminds me of the times that they have asked me to take off my baby's shoes, even though the shoes are just tiny slippers. I usually just put the shoes into my pocket before I carry my baby through.

May be easier for you if you are wearing a long-sleeved shirt.
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Old Jun 11, 09, 4:33 pm   #9
  
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Is the sleeve noticeable under a long sleeved shirt? If it doesn't have any metal and doesn't alarm, what's the problem?
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Old Jun 11, 09, 6:18 pm   #10
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Is the sleeve noticeable under a long sleeved shirt? If it doesn't have any metal and doesn't alarm, what's the problem?
If they get him in one of the new "Strip Search" machines the sleeve would show and he would still get pat down.
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Old Jun 11, 09, 7:07 pm   #11
  
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By that logic, removing your wallet and cellphone - placing them in your carryon - would earn you a pat-down, wanding, and manual check of the wallet.

If it's in your carry-on, there should be no wanding. Period.
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Old Jun 12, 09, 4:45 am   #12
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Is the sleeve noticeable under a long sleeved shirt?
It's not, and that's my usual solution. However, having the TSA dictate a dress code isn't the answer...
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