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Old Aug 27, 12, 1:17 pm   #2956
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Originally Posted by UshuaiaHammerfest View Post
Which airport is this?

They aren't following proper procedure. In the case of "ineligibility" or a medical reason that the person cannot assume the position, they are supposed to send them through the WTMD and pat them down *only* if there's an alarm. You're getting the grope because you didn't go through the WTMD. If you're told "you're an opt out" after saying "medical," a polite but firm "No, I never used that term. I said I am medically unable to lift and hold my arm" is the proper response. Calling an STSO usually does the trick as well.
Most recently, at PHX T2. I always get selected for the NoS if it's open. I explained once again that I can't assume and hold the position. This time (first), the TSO told me to demonstrate my physical limitation. I did. Then she said the same thing I always get: "You're an opt-out". I said "I'm not opting out, I can't get into the right position". A supervisor was standing right there; she stepped over, asked what was going on. I said I wasn't opting out, I just can't get in the position. She said "Then you are opting out. If you want to fly, you have to be screened. If you can't use the AIT, then you will bla-bla (full body grope, swab, bag search, bla-bla)".

I never get directed through the WTMD as an 'alternate'. I get told I'm an 'opt-out', I wait for an 'assist' (sometimes quick, sometimes not), and I always get a swab and bag search.

If the NoS is down or I luck out and manage a SDOO, I always clear the WTMD without any problems.

Because of the (sometimes) delays waiting for an 'assist', I usually just go to the NoS as directed. Once I'm in the NoS, when the TSO monitor tells me to assume the position, I explain that I can't. I get a shrug/eyeroll/asked why I didn't tell someone sooner, but I also get an immediate grope by the post-NoS TSO (since my entire body is an 'anomaly', I guess). Plus I have never gotten the swab and bag search when I approach it this way.

I don't doubt some folks who are unable to assume and hold the position and don't use the magic words 'opt-out' get sent through the WTMD, but unfortunately, it has never been my experience yet.
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Old Aug 27, 12, 1:23 pm   #2957
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Originally Posted by chollie View Post
Most recently, at PHX T2.
My apologies.

As a long-time resident and native, I'd like to tell you that we import the PHX TSA employees from elsewhere - but since I've known a couple of the current gropers at PHX for a very long time, that'd be a lie.
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Old Aug 27, 12, 2:57 pm   #2958
  
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Oddly I have never had an issue with PHX at either terminal.

Each time I explain that I am unable to comfortably raise my arm, the TSA employee asks me to demonstrate the height at which I can raise my arm too. (PHX is the only airport where they do ask me to show the height I can raise my arm too however)

After showing the employee the height I am capable of raising my arm too, they have always directed me to the metal detector. In fact, last time the TSA employee asked me where did I have the surgery done. I said Miami and he said that he had his done in the Phoenix area (apparently by the Ortho surgeon to the Phoenix Suns) and that it was also semi-successful.

He gave me a tip which helped him gain some more mobility and wished me a pleasant flight, so I am not sure if I am getting lucky or what, but chollie you are not experiencing what should be the procedure.

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Old Aug 27, 12, 3:01 pm   #2959
  
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Originally Posted by chollie View Post
This time (first), the TSO told me to demonstrate my physical limitation. I did. Then she said the same thing I always get: "You're an opt-out".
I wonder what would happen if you said "I can't at all without pain," or "I've been advised by my doctor to put as little stress on the injury as possible, and raising my arm to its limit would qualify as stress."

Either way, you might consider sending a letter to the FSD in PHX (or perhaps someone higher up) to ask what the proper procedure is in the case of a medical issue, then if you get a response that contradicts your experiences there, show the STSO the letter.
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Old Aug 27, 12, 3:13 pm   #2960
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Originally Posted by UshuaiaHammerfest View Post
I wonder what would happen if you said "I can't at all without pain," or "I've been advised by my doctor to put as little stress on the injury as possible, and raising my arm to its limit would qualify as stress."

Either way, you might consider sending a letter to the FSD in PHX (or perhaps someone higher up) to ask what the proper procedure is in the case of a medical issue, then if you get a response that contradicts your experiences there, show the STSO the letter.
Not a chance.

I have very limited mobility. I did not raise my arm high enough to cause pain, but I also can't raise it high enough to satisfy the NoS requirement. (Actually, I can't hold it up high enough for long enough to satisfy the gropers either, but I've seen gropers bark at a stroke victim, demanding that she lift or move a non-responsive leg or arm).

PHX is the airport that backed its TSOs' (and managers') behavior with Stacey Amato and Yukari Miyamae. In both instances, the harassment continued when the women passed through the airport checkpoints on subsequent occasions. That tells me everything I need to know about how a complaint would be addressed by whoever the FSD is at PHX - vindictively.

IIRC, on one subsequent occasion, Stacey Amato was accompanied to the checkpoint by some kind of TSA CSM. The same checkpoint she'd had problems at before, problems that had supposedly been addressed (via re-training, supposedly). A presumably re-educated TSO denied her request to have her breast milk handled acccording to policy again and refused to back down until the TSA CSM (or whatever she was) stepped forward, identified herself and corrected the errant TSO.

The only thing worse than risking getting my name in a TSA report (which already happened, thanks to a TSO who posts here - along with a copy of that TSO's PM to me) is risking becoming a target every time I transit a PHX checkpoint in the future. It's bad enough as it is.

Last edited by chollie; Aug 27, 12 at 3:20 pm
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Old Aug 27, 12, 6:57 pm   #2961
  
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Originally Posted by chollie View Post
The only thing worse than risking getting my name in a TSA report (which already happened, thanks to a TSO who posts here - along with a copy of that TSO's PM to me) is risking becoming a target every time I transit a PHX checkpoint in the future. It's bad enough as it is.
I can understand your reluctance to write a letter under the circumstances. I'm also bothered by the times I've wanted to make a complaint and an STSO has demanded my boarding pass (I always decline to provide it).

Slightly OT to this thread: Can you elaborate (or point me to the post) where you talked about the incident involving the PM from the TSO who posts here? You've mentioned it before but I don't think I ever saw the original story. It's purely idle curiosity on my part, but seemed worth a read.
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Old Aug 28, 12, 7:40 pm   #2962
  
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Originally Posted by UshuaiaHammerfest View Post
Which airport is this?

They aren't following proper procedure. In the case of "ineligibility" or a medical reason that the person cannot assume the position, they are supposed to send them through the WTMD and pat them down *only* if there's an alarm. You're getting the grope because you didn't go through the WTMD. If you're told "you're an opt out" after saying "medical," a polite but firm "No, I never used that term. I said I am medically unable to lift and hold my arm" is the proper response. Calling an STSO usually does the trick as well.
And how do you know this "proper procedure"? Through oral tradition handed down or have you actually seen something in writing?
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Old Aug 29, 12, 10:42 am   #2963
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Originally Posted by UshuaiaHammerfest View Post
I can understand your reluctance to write a letter under the circumstances. I'm also bothered by the times I've wanted to make a complaint and an STSO has demanded my boarding pass (I always decline to provide it).

Slightly OT to this thread: Can you elaborate (or point me to the post) where you talked about the incident involving the PM from the TSO who posts here? You've mentioned it before but I don't think I ever saw the original story. It's purely idle curiosity on my part, but seemed worth a read.
I am an involuntary medical opt-out - I'm physically incapable of assuming and holding the position. I posted that when I am directed to the NoS (and I seem to get chosen every single time!), I explain that I can't assume and hold the position. I always get told 'then you are an opt-out, wait for groper, might be a while, invasive grope, swab, bag search, bla-bla' - as though the TSO thinks that if he tells me this, my disability will magically be healed just because I want to avoid the hassle (this is, of course, exactly what he thinks - I wish it were so! I'm sick of being treated like a faker, and I'm sick of being harassed because I have physical limitations.)

This TSO PM'd me asking for details. I thought the PM was in good faith, and I answered in good faith. I never used the words 'opt out', because I'm not opting out. I'm physically incapable of assuming and holding the position. This TSO told me to explain this to the traffic director TSO - my limitations, that I am not 'opting out', I just can't hold the position necessary for a good scan.

Next two times, same results ("then you are opting out"). Third time, I asked for a supervisor (as suggested by the TSO). Well, it got very scary. I had a copy of the PM with me. Several people surrounding me, I'm getting lectured about 'testing the system' and 'pretending' someone from TSA had told me this, so I pull out the copy of the PM. Supervisor reads it, reminds me that just because someone self-identifies as a TSA employee doesn't make it so, 'testing the system', te**orist strategy, bla-bla. Then he takes my BP/ID, sends them off for copies, and announces he's keeping the PM and the BP/ID copies for their 'report' ('standard' in situations like these, he says).

This same TSO posted here for a long time. Although there has been at least one poster who self-identified as a TSO (and I questioned it), I do think this individual works for TSA. However, on a couple subsequent occasions, I think she posted something that she knew was wrong. She did not post that she was talking about her airport, she posted that it was TSA policy (and she was higher up than a frontline xray tech, presumably she would know).

I have often wondered what her point was. I can only guess that it was her idea of a sick joke. She's also the source that said baggie size didn't matter, as long as the contents were acceptable lgas and would fit in a quart size bag. This was not true, and I doubt if it was ever even true at her airport. Someone has told me that it she is also the individual responsible for saying that the recent initiative emphasizing 'baggies out' would result in pax being sent to the end of the line. The 'baggies out - we mean it' has been happening, and isn't surprising, but the back of the line threat seems to be more of her sense of humor (unless they are doing it at her airport only).

We do have TSOs who will post that something is done a certain way at their airport - that's fair. We all know about variation between airports, between checkpoints at an airport, even occasional spats between TSOs (in front of pax) about how something should be done. But when a TSO posts here that something is coming down from HQ, not just from a local FSD, it should show up on the web page.
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Old Aug 29, 12, 1:29 pm   #2964
  
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chollie, obviously I am not there and have no idea of your tone or way of of conveying your message.

From reading yours last few posts, it reads (at least to me) as you are frustrated and just want to be dealt with properly. I do not blame you in the slightest and I would be frustrated too.

Having said that, I have learned that (at least for me) the best way of dealing with TSA is to act like you have no idea what is going on and that you are just doing your thing. Essentially be as deferential to the TSA as possible, as they are nothing more than over empowered RENT-A-COPS who can have serious ego issues.

I will try and re-count my last time through PHX as I dealt with TSA and my inability to raise my arm comfortably.

dan1431: I put my bags on the belt and the TSA employee points me to the AIT machine. I ask him am I supposed to raise my arms like that? Pointing at the PAX using the machine at that minute.

TSA Employee: yep

dan1431: Oh, umm that might be an issue as I injured my shoulder and the surgery has only been somewhat successful, thus I can only raise my arm a little bit, will that be okay to use the machine?

TSA Employee: Oh, so you are an opt-out?

dan1431: What does that mean? Uh, I am just unable to raise my arm, I do not want to be any trouble.

TSA Employee: Let me get a Supervisor.

dan1431: Ok

TSA Supervisor: Wassup?

TSA Employee: He does not want to be screened by AIT.

TSA Supervisor: Than he is opting out, why are you (dan1431) opting out?

dan1431: What does opting out mean?

TSA Supervisor: That means that you are choosing not be screened by AIT.

dan1431: (Being as relaxed and friendly as possible) Oh, I do not care how I am screened, it is just that due to a shoulder injury I am unable to raise my arm comfortably to the height that the pax who just used the machine did and I wanted to know if everybody must raise their arms that high or is any level ok?

TSA Supervisor: How high can you raise your arm?

dan1431 I raise my arm to its most comfortable height.

TSA Supervisor to TSA Employee: That is not high enough to render AIT effective, he is medically ineligible and should be screened via the Metal Detector and if he hits a certain level (not sure what that means) he should be checked via ETD.

I was directed toward the metal detector and then allowed to collect my bags.

I never once mentioned any terms like medically ineligible or claimed to know TSA policy/procedures as I have found that route seems to always cause issues.

Again, chollie I am by no means accusing you of anything, just showing I handled the TSA at PHX.

Dan

Last edited by dan1431; Aug 29, 12 at 1:38 pm
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Old Aug 29, 12, 3:12 pm   #2965
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Having said that, I have learned that (at least for me) the best way of dealing with TSA is to act like you have no idea what is going on and that you are just doing your thing. Essentially be as deferential to the TSA as possible, as they are nothing more than over empowered RENT-A-COPS who can have serious ego issues.
I really don't know whether to be more dismayed at your assertion that one should show "proper" obeisance to the thugs, or that it actually works.
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Old Aug 29, 12, 3:22 pm   #2966
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chollie, obviously I am not there and have no idea of your tone or way of of conveying your message.
Dan
Let me say this again (I have posted it before). No one is more cringing and obsequious than me at a checkpoint. Yes Ma'am, yessir, yes officer....And before you suggest it, I said cringing and obsequious, I did not say condescending, mocking, theatrical. I do not want problems.

I am not about to challenge a TSO on rules, I am not about to even politely question a TSO about rules, even if I am sure he/she is wrong, because the rules are what any TSO standing in front of me says they are. Period. I asked for a supervisor once (almost on bended knee) on the 'advice' of a TSO and I posted above what happened. I will never do it again.

Your experience is great; however, I am sure you can find instances, not just on this forum, where supervisors (and LEOs) were summoned and they simply backed their TSOs up.

Like many people, you will assume that things work for you because of something you are doing. If it ever doesn't go well for you, then perhaps you will see things differently (although I honestly hope that day never comes for you or anyone you care about).
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Old Aug 29, 12, 5:18 pm   #2967
  
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I really don't know whether to be more dismayed at your assertion that one should show "proper" obeisance to the thugs, or that it actually works.
The sad part is this actually works (at least for me).

To borrow a saying from Deng Xiaoping, "No matter if it is a white cat or a black cat; as long as it can catch mice, it is a good cat."

Essentially it is my way of dealing with TSA, and if I made the assertion that one should show proper obedience to TSA, I apologize. What I do is not what anybody else should ever do (unless they want to).

Dan
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Old Aug 29, 12, 5:20 pm   #2968
  
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Let me say this again (I have posted it before). No one is more cringing and obsequious than me at a checkpoint. Yes Ma'am, yessir, yes officer....And before you suggest it, I said cringing and obsequious, I did not say condescending, mocking, theatrical. I do not want problems.

I am not about to challenge a TSO on rules, I am not about to even politely question a TSO about rules, even if I am sure he/she is wrong, because the rules are what any TSO standing in front of me says they are. Period. I asked for a supervisor once (almost on bended knee) on the 'advice' of a TSO and I posted above what happened. I will never do it again.

Your experience is great; however, I am sure you can find instances, not just on this forum, where supervisors (and LEOs) were summoned and they simply backed their TSOs up.

Like many people, you will assume that things work for you because of something you are doing. If it ever doesn't go well for you, then perhaps you will see things differently (although I honestly hope that day never comes for you or anyone you care about).
I would make no such suggestions, I have never met you and would have no way of knowing how you act.

Trust me, I hope to never have a serious run in with TSA and luckily to date I never have.

Dan
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Old Aug 31, 12, 6:44 am   #2969
  
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Opted out today (as usual!) at SFO.

The person in front of me on line at the ID check shared a name that was in a movie title. I didn't hear what it was. (Let's call him "Austin Powers") but the TSA spent nearly two minutes saying "Wow! Did your life change after the movie came out?" and similar chit-chat. (It reminded me of "Michael Bolton" in _Office Space_). The guy obliged saying "Yeah, I was 15 when it came out and it's never been the same since." I have NO IDEA how this 2-minute waste of my life makes my flight any safer. Maybe it was an advanced BDO technique!

They claimed there was no male assist available and asked me to remove my items from the belt. I balked. "Why don't you serve people in the order they arrive?" I asked. Then I asked for a supervisor. They told me to stand in the penalty box. I reminded them that 318 of them have been arrested for crimes against passengers in 2011 and I needed to see my belongings.

A male assist arrived before they were able to get my things off the belt.

On the other side, he asked which were my things, and then he took my laptop out of one bin and threw them on top of my brand-new Bruno Maglis! I told him "TAKE MY LAPTOP OFF MY BRUNO MAGLIS" and he did.

Fortunately, I had a pre-filled out comment card with the time and flight number (I fill them out before I go), so I just had to write in his name and my complaint and dropped in in the comment box. This saves me a lot of time.

And, even at 5:30 am, the shoeshine was open at SFO so I was able to undo the damage the TSA caused.

Last edited by reamworks; Aug 31, 12 at 6:50 am
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Old Aug 31, 12, 8:00 am   #2970
  
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Opted out today (as usual!) at SFO.

The person in front of me on line at the ID check shared a name that was in a movie title. I didn't hear what it was. (Let's call him "Austin Powers") but the TSA spent nearly two minutes saying "Wow! Did your life change after the movie came out?" and similar chit-chat. (It reminded me of "Michael Bolton" in _Office Space_). The guy obliged saying "Yeah, I was 15 when it came out and it's never been the same since." I have NO IDEA how this 2-minute waste of my life makes my flight any safer. Maybe it was an advanced BDO technique!

They claimed there was no male assist available and asked me to remove my items from the belt. I balked. "Why don't you serve people in the order they arrive?" I asked. Then I asked for a supervisor. They told me to stand in the penalty box. I reminded them that 318 of them have been arrested for crimes against passengers in 2011 and I needed to see my belongings.

A male assist arrived before they were able to get my things off the belt.

On the other side, he asked which were my things, and then he took my laptop out of one bin and threw them on top of my brand-new Bruno Maglis! I told him "TAKE MY LAPTOP OFF MY BRUNO MAGLIS" and he did.

Fortunately, I had a pre-filled out comment card with the time and flight number (I fill them out before I go), so I just had to write in his name and my complaint and dropped in in the comment box. This saves me a lot of time.

And, even at 5:30 am, the shoeshine was open at SFO so I was able to undo the damage the TSA caused.
I like the idea of the pre-filled out comment cards!

Dan
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