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What do you do when TSA instructions result in losing visual contact with property?

What do you do when TSA instructions result in losing visual contact with property?

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Old May 6, 12, 8:30 pm
  #1  
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What do you do when TSA instructions result in losing visual contact with property?

My main reason (we all have our own) for opting out of WBI is that I can't maintain visual contact with my property while in the nude-o-scope.

However, when I opt out, I find that ~80% of the time, I am instructed to stand somewhere where I can't maintain visual contact with my property when it rolls out of the x-ray. To me, this is an unacceptable situation.

As a result, I am constantly going through a scene at the checkpoint wherein:
  1. I object to my positioning, pointing out that I can't see my things
  2. I'm simply told to wait, with no solution offered
  3. I object to the inconsistency of the instructions ("stand here" and separately "do not leave your property unattended")
  4. I'm not offered a solution
  5. I just ignore and assertively position myself where I can see my things, oftentimes having to walk through a scanner to get there
  6. With this action, I have unintentionally created a scene, as agents get all bent out of shape, start summoning one another, raising their voices to me, etc.
  7. Other passengers' curiosity is piqued, and I have a bit of a stage wherein I loudly explain the inconsistency, and that I won't compromise on maintaining visual contact with my property given theft and loss rates
  8. They eventually relent and offer some sort of resolution that is acceptable to me
  9. I engage in heated conversations with the supervisor (notable exception in BDL where the supe was very well trained in calming pax emotions rather than elevating them as most do with their confrontational style)
  10. Today, I even got the "Do you want to fly today?" from a 3-striper at OMA
  11. Occasionally I have asked for an LEO who is never summoned
  12. Finally, I leave and submit an online complaint
  13. Invariably, I receive a reply to my complaint confirming that I am right to insist on visual contact with my property, but that many checkpoints simply are not set up to enable this.
  14. The response usually indicates that the staff at that station will be trained to deal with such issues
  15. The response usually ignores my point that sheep going through the WBI can't keep an eye on their property

Generally, the exchange is effective in highlighting to other pax (onlookers) the issue I've outlined.

Anyone have a better way of dealing with this issue? I would be happy if I could achieve my aims without inviting confrontation. However, I will disobey orders and stand where I can see my things if no acceptable alternative is offered.

Last edited by essxjay; Sep 12, 12 at 12:00 pm Reason: personally identifying info removed
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Old May 6, 12, 9:12 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
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Usually something like this:

T: Stand here.
J: I can't see my stuff. (Start moving to a position where I can see my stuff.)
T: Stop - you need to stand here.
J: I'm required to keep my belongings in sight. (Continue moving to the closest spot that complies with their directions but allows me to watch the exit of the X-ray machine.)

They can't physically detain you, and they can't prevent you from complying with the TSA directive to keep your belongings in sight. If nothing else, it seems to get the pat-down officer over to me even quicker, because I am standing in an 'inconvenient' place or else they need a supervisor to deal with a non-compliant passenger.

Honestly, it's never gone further than me insisting that I'm required to keep my belongings in sight and moving so that I can see them. If you are trying to 'highlight' the issue to onlookers, it doesn't surprise me that antagonizes the TSOs and creates more conflict that if you were quiet but firm. There are benefits to both approaches, but one will carry a higher cost.

If nothing else, and this is a repeated issue for you, contact the airport you plan to fly through and ask whether you will be allowed to keep your belongings in sight at all times if you opt out (or go through WBI). If the answer is Yes, then ask who at the airport you should contact if there is an issue during your screening. If they say No, get them to put it in writing and escalate the issue. (FSD, OIG, etc.)
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Old May 7, 12, 4:41 am
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I do not ask. I inform.

"I am opting out and I will move to a place where I can see my belongings."

Then I do. If it becomes and issue for them I demand a supervisor and ask that an LEO be called as theft at the CP is a problem, but I still position myself where I can see. I do not go to a place where I have contact with my things, just where I can see. I am adamant and firm. I save the attitude for only when it is needed.

My personal opt out preference is BSX always, MMW if non-Avatar. I have surrendered to the ATR equipped MMW as keeping sight of my belongings is very important. I travel with expensive electronics that were stolen on a trip to Dallas (not at CP) and I am very sensitive to remaining in visual contact with them.
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Old May 7, 12, 8:45 am
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It's not happened to me yet (and it's unlikely it would, I'm rarely traveling alone. Our usual procedure is she goes through first and I only send the stuff through once she's on the other side.) but if it did I would move so as to keep my stuff in sight. I would tell them what I'm doing but that's it.
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Old May 7, 12, 9:10 am
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Stand where you want to stand and don't move!

I do my best to choose a lane that I will be able to see my stuff on the other side. I also stand where I want to stand so that I can see my property. When possible I stand in a place that will block the sheeple entering the NoS.

I simply ignore the clerks when they tell me where to stand. Once a clerk got in my face because I wouldn't move out of the way. I loudly told him to step back and mind his own business. The look on his face was priceless. I also called for a supervisor when a clerk was bugging me because I wouldn't stand to the side unable to see my property. My groper arrived quickly thereafter and I cancelled the supe.
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Old May 7, 12, 9:14 am
  #6  
 
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Originally Posted by andymo99 View Post
Today, I even got the "Do you want to fly today?" from a 3-striper at OMA
I think if I get "Do you want to fly today?" from a screener when trying to keep my belongings in sight I will respond with, "Why are you blocking my view of my possessions? Do you want to steal today?"

Last edited by essxjay; Sep 12, 12 at 12:00 pm Reason: edited quote
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Old May 7, 12, 9:20 am
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Originally Posted by InkUnderNails View Post
I do not ask. I inform.
if more people did this, the world (or at least the airport) would be a much better place.
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Old May 7, 12, 10:42 am
  #8  
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Thanks for the feedback.

By the way, if I am moving to a place where they don't want me, are the clerks allowed to physically impede my progress? Are they able to touch me to hold me back?

I got a reply from TSA today from my email complaint. This one is disconcerting as it has one difference from all prior responses (emphasis added):

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) policy requires Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) to reasonably ensure that carry-on items, including disability-related devices and aids, are kept within a passengerís line-of-sight when a passenger is required to undergo additional screening. When passengers cannot maintain line-of-sight with their property during a patdown or private screening, TSOs have been trained to maintain control and sight of the passengerís items and to ensure that the passenger is reunited with his or her property once it clears x-ray screening.
So now they are saying that the TSOs are required to "reasonably" ensure that my item's are within sight. What is meant by "reasonably?" Also, for the first time, there is this language added about the TSOs somehow maintaining control and sight of my items when I can't do so. WHAT!? So now I am to trust that the TSO:
  • Is trustworthy and won't be part of a theft herself; AND
  • Has the ability to know what items belong to whom

Based on history, I am entirely unwilling to believe either premise.
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Old May 7, 12, 11:44 am
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A screener at MDW told me I never should have put my bags through the x-ray machine if I intended to opt out...then kept me standing there for 5 minutes while (quietly) calling for a female assist. I can only imagine what the passengers behind me would have thought if I'd left my items at the front of the line to be x-rayed, holding them all up, too. Instead I made a huge fuss until they let me move to a spot where I could see my belongings. Very annoying!
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Old May 7, 12, 12:05 pm
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Join Date: Nov 2004
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I basically do what the OP does and use it as an opportunity to loudly and aggressively assert myself. The blueshirts hate it, but so what.

The only difference is that I don't bother with the comment cards anymore, I just write down names and send a letter to the local congressman of whatever district the airport happens to be in.
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Old May 7, 12, 2:04 pm
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I only ask for the complaint cards (I don't call them "comment" cards) so that the agent/supe knows I'll be submitting. Before I leave, I confirm their names with them as I write them on my card. I later toss the card after using the info.
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Old May 7, 12, 2:12 pm
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Originally Posted by andymo99 View Post
I only ask for the complaint cards (I don't call them "comment" cards) so that the agent/supe knows I'll be submitting. Before I leave, I confirm their names with them as I write them on my card. I later toss the card after using the info.
Excellent point.
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Old May 7, 12, 4:43 pm
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Like others I move to a place where I can see my personal belongings. All the whining and eye-rolling is ineffective on me.
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Old May 7, 12, 5:04 pm
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Join Date: Nov 2007
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It's always an issue for me. I try to approach it as gently as possible, but they really work hard to test your patience and push you to the limit.

Worst experience witnessed was at CAK with an STSO doing the groping. Supervisor took it upon himself to physically block a passenger that insisted viewing their bags. Then proceeded to give the opt out a slow, drawn out grope-by-grope play-by-play of each move, up until meeting resistance.

Since seeing this I've added to my printed out laminates and now carry one from the agency website that articulates and highlights how those receiving pat downs must ALWAYS watch your belongings as they advance through the x-ray equipment at the security checkpoints - for secondary screening, INSIST that your belongings be brought to you.


http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/custome...s/protect.shtm
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Old May 8, 12, 10:04 am
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Thanks. I am going to add this one to the "acceptable IDs" which I've printed out and carry around.
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