Orange shirts in PHL are out of control

Old Jun 13, 16, 2:39 pm
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Orange shirts in PHL are out of control

Today was the second time I had a distinct unpleasantness of encountering an extremely rude and aggressive employee of McGuin contract company that American hires to police the entrance to the security lines.

This time a group of them were standing downstairs by the escalator going up to the security line at concourse B. This is where PreCheck is usually open in PHL. An female with thuggish behavior stopped me and asked to measure my bag, which fit effortlessly into the sizer. She then proceeded to tell me I can't go upstairs because it doesn't fit. I replied by pointing out she just placed it in the sizer herself and it fit fine. She repeated I can't go upstairs and need to check it.

I realized that individual is not going to make any sense and proceeded to concourse C where the orange shirt colleagues of hers were harassing other random travelers.i got through with no issues there but didn't have PreCheck as it wasn't staffed.

This experience is exactly what had there a month ago, except now these thugs moved downstairs and not allowing passengers to use the escalator which I believe is also illegal since the airport is a public property and the usage of escalators there is not exclusively for security lines, I could take it to go to the train or parking facility without having to cross the street.

I tweeted about this nonsense to American before and nothing changed. Today I tweted to them again and raised it with the station manager for AA at the lounge who promised to bring it up to McGuin manager. I doubt anything would change, but besides being a total waste of money for American it actually alienates customers and makes for a stressful and unpleasant experience due to the antics employed by these aggressively rude contractors.
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Old Jun 13, 16, 2:46 pm
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I've seen these people recently at PHL. Thus far, they haven't tried to stop me from going up the escalator. However, if they did, since they have absolutely zero authority, I'd probably just walk up the escalator and ignore them. I'm willing to bet they aren't willing to try and tackle me to prevent me from going up the escalator in a public building.
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Old Jun 13, 16, 3:01 pm
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Old Jun 13, 16, 3:02 pm
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Originally Posted by GNRMatt View Post
I've seen these people recently at PHL. Thus far, they haven't tried to stop me from going up the escalator. However, if they did, since they have absolutely zero authority, I'd probably just walk up the escalator and ignore them. I'm willing to bet they aren't willing to try and tackle me to prevent me from going up the escalator in a public building.
I thought about it but they have walked talkies on which they would radio their fellow goons upstairs to prevent passengers from entering the security Lanes by further harassing them. Running close to the flight time chose the path of least resistance and walked to another concourse.

The point is none of this should be happening and these orange shirt thugs should not be harassing passengers or be anywhere near humans in a service delivery environment like an airport.

There is no doubt these people get off on their power trips as that's probably the only aspect of their lives they exercise any type of authority.
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Old Jun 13, 16, 3:14 pm
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For the people upstairs, I can only think of the people who check if you have TSA Pre-Check or not that you would run into before TSA....who would they contact via a walkie-talkie that could prevent you from getting into one of the TSA lines?

The airlines have a right to stop me from getting on a plane if my luggage doesn't meet requirements...they don't have a right to stop me from walking around an airport with that luggage.

Also, in your situation, you pointed out that it did fit in the sizer...if it fits, and they still insist that you check it, to me, it's best just to politely ignore them and go up the escalator through TSA and not indulge them. A complaint to AA and the PHL airport would also be appropriate to me.
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Old Jun 13, 16, 3:30 pm
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Originally Posted by GNRMatt View Post
For the people upstairs, I can only think of the people who check if you have TSA Pre-Check or not that you would run into before TSA....who would they contact via a walkie-talkie that could prevent you from getting into one of the TSA lines?

The airlines have a right to stop me from getting on a plane if my luggage doesn't meet requirements...they don't have a right to stop me from walking around an airport with that luggage.

Also, in your situation, you pointed out that it did fit in the sizer...if it fits, and they still insist that you check it, to me, it's best just to politely ignore them and go up the escalator through TSA and not indulge them. A complaint to AA and the PHL airport would also be appropriate to me.
Actually when it happened a month ago they were standing upstairs and doing the same harassment technique, more preoccupied with bags than policing PreCheck lane. A female physically blocked me from proceeding to PreCheck Lane and since I wasn't about to push her I walked to the C concourse.

I don't think I could politely ignore them as they physically blocked the entrance both to the PreCheck Lane before and this time to the escalator.

Complaints filed but I doubt they will produce any change.
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Old Jun 13, 16, 3:32 pm
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Hmm...I wonder if they can legally block those TSA lanes, especially with no cause. If the bag fits, assuming you have the time to spare, I wonder what a request to speak to a supervisor would result in. I also wonder if TSA has any authority to stop someone like them from blocking passengers from entering a TSA checkpoint. Just thinking out loud here...
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Old Jun 13, 16, 3:46 pm
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Originally Posted by GNRMatt View Post
Hmm...I wonder if they can legally block those TSA lanes, especially with no cause. If the bag fits, assuming you have the time to spare, I wonder what a request to speak to a supervisor would result in. I also wonder if TSA has any authority to stop someone like them from blocking passengers from entering a TSA checkpoint. Just thinking out loud here...
All good questions. I would have waited for a supervisor but both times was running close. Doubt a supervisor would side with a passenger, they have a tendency to protect their own. TSA seems to want to stay away from this as I heard people today complaining about orange shirts to TSA and they kept saying it's not them and it's airlines who hire these people.
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Old Jun 13, 16, 5:52 pm
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Same experience here, PHL is a nightmare for carry on bags (and many other things, but since this post is about carry ons..).

The thing that kills me is when you encounter these crazy agents, apparently someone knows how to get through, because, without fail, there's always a ton of people at the gate with oversized bags.

This is doubly frustrating because I have an "old" Tumi bag that does not fit in the sizer. When I see them checking, I try another terminal; if that doesn't work, I'll give up the bag and hump my laptop bag alone (which weighs about as much as a small black hole; it's a nightmare when I lose the wheel bag to put it on) through the terminal. To get to the gate and find that, not at all surprisingly, about 1/2 the FC cabin has the EXACT same bag that I just had to give up. Unfortunately, they are getting better and better at seeing that my bag is 2" over and I guess I'm going to have to break down; spend another 1000 bucks or so and get the bag that's identical but 2" less wide.

The thing that truly pisses me off about this (even more than the fact that 1/2 the FC cabin has the same damn bag) is that the Tumi carry on is sized perfectly for the overheads on the 737 and 321 that fly most AA and US domestic routes. Fits in wheels out without a problem. Then you see people carrying on this crazy shaped stuff (that I supposed they crammed into the sizer somehow) that has to go in sideways and takes up a ton of space compared to my bag.

Sorry, just had to get this off my chest, my home airport is great with bags, so I never have this problem on the outbound, only on return. But hey, at least it's not British Air, they are even more bag crazy than the PHL airport; they tried to take away my laptop bag AND my Tumi carry on during a recent flight.

The funny thing; when they are really good at getting the bags, you get on the plane and the darn overheads are near empty (because so few bags really fit in that sizer). It's like job security for the "throwers" to make sure they get more bags to handle. I suppose AA gains something by forcing me to check a bag (which is free for me) but I fail to see what it is.
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Old Jun 13, 16, 6:21 pm
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While the specific incident seems factually unwarranted (bag fit the sizer), the radios are so that the contractors AA hired to help keep the lines moving can radio ahead and have you booted if you do ignore them.

The process is to stand there blocking the lane and have them radio for a supervisor.
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Old Jun 13, 16, 9:27 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
While the specific incident seems factually unwarranted (bag fit the sizer), the radios are so that the contractors AA hired to help keep the lines moving can radio ahead and have you booted if you do ignore them.

The process is to stand there blocking the lane and have them radio for a supervisor.
Thus inconveniencing everyone behind you.

Aren't the radios so that they can communicate with each other to redirect passengers if one checkpoint gets too full?
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Old Jun 13, 16, 10:01 pm
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Originally Posted by ThreeJulietTango View Post
Thus inconveniencing everyone behind you.

Aren't the radios so that they can communicate with each other to redirect passengers if one checkpoint gets too full?
Yes and yes.
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Old Jun 13, 16, 10:46 pm
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Originally Posted by mjfink View Post
Same experience here, PHL is a nightmare for carry on bags (and many other things, but since this post is about carry ons..).

Unfortunately, they are getting better and better at seeing that my bag is 2" over and I guess I'm going to have to break down; spend another 1000 bucks or so and get the bag that's identical but 2" less wide.
Slightly off topic, but you can find new/slightly used Tumi carry-on luggage on eBay for about $250
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Old Jun 14, 16, 2:06 am
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Originally Posted by Gino Troian View Post
Slightly off topic, but you can find new/slightly used Tumi carry-on luggage on eBay for about $250
Actually, it's on sale at Tumi right now for $285 if you can stomach a hard case that gets dinged . Or you can do some cashback shopping combined with your other favorite tumi retailer.

Just make sure you get the international size....but as always, YMMV.
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Old Jun 14, 16, 8:10 am
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I wonder what position airport police are taking on these thugs? Shouldn't they be dealing with unauthorized individuals blocking terminal passageways? Is it really any different then when the homeless used to harass pax in the baggage claim area and prevent access to bathroom?

I think we would get a better response from airport management than AA.
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