SEA TSA Problems at CBP South Concourse

Old Mar 26, 16, 10:41 pm
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SEA TSA Problems at CBP South Concourse

I recently flew DL 166 into Seattle, an Airbus A330-200 from Tokyo-Narita. FWIW, I started the day in BKK. Despite not speaking Thai or Japanese, I was treated with utmost respect and processed efficiently by security at both BKK and NRT. In fact, it's always a pleasure going through transit security at NRT.

I arrive into Seattle. DL 166 is the only arrival using the south concourse CBP facility. CBP is polite, professional, and smooth sailing.

After US Customs, you're given two choices - exit to Seattle or connecting flights. With a cart and two large checked bags, I proceed to connections where I drop my bags.

From this point, the TSA security checkpoint line took well over an hour. TSA was only dealing with one flight, an A332 from NRT and half the pax exited to Seattle.

As I approach the front of the queue it's chaos. TSA is barking instructions and with many pax not speaking English, TSA would just yell louder

Only one lane was open which appeared overstaffed but was extremely slow moving. It was obvious the TSAers weren't happy with the foreign guests who aren't used to USA security procedures.

A young, non-english speaking, female (a guest to the United States) made the mistake of leaving her cell phone in her pocket at the NoS. TSA escorted her out in front of the NoS, facing all pax, to make an example of her for leaving her cell phone in her pocket in front of everyone. She was publicly shamed in front of everyone and had a look of horror on her face.

I also witnessed a foreign family with a father in a wheelchair publicly berated because the young kids and wife followed the wheelchair to the front of the queue. The mom and young kids were yelled at, told to go to the end of the queue and only the father could jump the line being in the wheelchair. They didn't understand English and were yelled at more, even told they'd be certain to miss their connection if they didn't follow instructions.

Knowing the drill, I didn't have any problems getting through when it was my turn. I then had a TSAer thank me while mocking the foreign passengers joking that a lot of them would be missing their flights. As much as I wanted to say something, I was running late for my connection and bit my tongue.

I'm disgusted with what I experienced in Seattle. Wonder if Delta/Alaska know just how badly their connecting international pax are being treated?

SDF
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Old Mar 27, 16, 7:22 am
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No TSA "training academy" will ever fix behaviors such as the above comment outlines, no matter what Neffenger believes.
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Old Mar 27, 16, 8:34 pm
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Originally Posted by petaluma1 View Post
No TSA "training academy" will ever fix behaviors such as the above comment outlines, no matter what Neffenger believes.
It totally would. The training just has to be the right kind of training. For example, if they showed a film of the clerk who tried to embarrass the passenger being drummed out of the TSA, with the aggrieved passenger ripping off his fake badge and grinding it underneath her heel, that would fix a lot of problems, really fast.
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Old Mar 28, 16, 9:27 am
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It is always a pleasure to pass through any airport in Asia thru both immigration and security. Coming back to the states is embarrassing and stressful. What is this need to yell and bully people? I don't understand Thai or Chinese but I'm processed quickly, efficiently and with politeness. When I pass thru the TSA checkpoints, it's nothing but yelling, incompetency, and bullying. And of course the made-up rules and stupidity. And what is it with the shaved heads, tattoos on the neck (Chicago), and stupid uniforms? My days of going to the US are coming to an end I hate to say.
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Old Mar 28, 16, 11:10 am
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Originally Posted by Carl Johnson View Post
It totally would. The training just has to be the right kind of training. For example, if they showed a film of the clerk who tried to embarrass the passenger being drummed out of the TSA, with the aggrieved passenger ripping off his fake badge and grinding it underneath her heel, that would fix a lot of problems, really fast.
No, the problem is bigger than that.

When this happened, other TSOs stood by and did nothing. Any LTSOs and STSOs in the area who weren't too distracted by their cellphones and personal conversations to observe what they are paid to observe are equally guilty of endorsing this TSOs behavior.

In short, this is clearly considered acceptable TSA behavior at SEA.

We know that TSA monitors this forum. If anyone at TSA thought this behavior was not acceptable, it would be easy enough to review the camera footage and hold the offending TSO accountable - along with every TSO, LTSO and STSO in the area who witnessed the behavior and did nothing.

Last edited by chollie; Mar 28, 16 at 12:07 pm
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Old Mar 29, 16, 12:25 am
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Originally Posted by SDF_Traveler View Post
...Despite not speaking Thai or Japanese, I was treated with utmost respect and processed efficiently by security at both BKK and NRT. ...

It was obvious the TSAers weren't happy with the foreign guests who aren't used to USA security procedures. ...
Seems like just last week I was mentioning the same thing: non-US airports where most people in line don't speak the local language and yet security is respectful and efficient, vs US airports where TSA seems completely off-guard that there would be non-English speakers in an international airport. I was assured by our resident TSA apologist, however, that my observations were faulty - everywhere in the world "language barriers" are a huge problem at airport security, and the US is no worse than anywhere else.

( )
Originally Posted by chollie View Post
Originally Posted by Carl Johnson View Post
It totally would.
No, the problem is bigger than that.
Agree with Chollie; it's not just a few "bad apples", it's all the rest who stand by and do nothing.

No training is going to help unless it is immediately and consistently reinforced by management practices at the actual checkpoint, and we know that's not going to happen. It's one thing to show a "training film" of someone being fired for such rudeness, it's another to see it actually (and consistently) happen in real life.
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Old Mar 29, 16, 8:19 am
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Originally Posted by RadioGirl View Post
Seems like just last week I was mentioning the same thing: non-US airports where most people in line don't speak the local language and yet security is respectful and efficient, vs US airports where TSA seems completely off-guard that there would be non-English speakers in an international airport. I was assured by our resident TSA apologist, however, that my observations were faulty - everywhere in the world "language barriers" are a huge problem at airport security, and the US is no worse than anywhere else.

( )

Agree with Chollie; it's not just a few "bad apples", it's all the rest who stand by and do nothing.

No training is going to help unless it is immediately and consistently reinforced by management practices at the actual checkpoint, and we know that's not going to happen. It's one thing to show a "training film" of someone being fired for such rudeness, it's another to see it actually (and consistently) happen in real life.
Both of you are missing my point. My training would involve firing (drumming out - in my idea, with real drums) the offending clerks referred to in the original post in a ceremony vindicating the offending passenger, and using this as training video to emphasize that this is what happens to clerks who abuse passengers. Other ideas along these lines would be reading a letter from jail, written by the clerks in the Stacey Amato case.
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Old Mar 29, 16, 8:23 am
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Originally Posted by Carl Johnson View Post
Both of you are missing my point. My training would involve firing (drumming out - in my idea, with real drums) the offending clerks referred to in the original post in a ceremony vindicating the offending passenger, and using this as training video to emphasize that this is what happens to clerks who abuse passengers. Other ideas along these lines would be reading a letter from jail, written by the clerks in the Stacey Amato case.
That's assuming they were even punished.
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Old Mar 29, 16, 9:11 am
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Originally Posted by petaluma1 View Post
That's assuming they were even punished.
I'm sure they weren't, but my scenario is a counterfactual. The training would work if the TSA reacted properly to passenger abuse and the training discussed such reactions - firing clerks who don't know what a NEXUS card is, having clerks who assault passengers arrested, making clerks pay for ruining insulin pumps, etc.
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Old Mar 29, 16, 9:23 am
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Originally Posted by Carl Johnson View Post
I'm sure they weren't, but my scenario is a counterfactual. The training would work if the TSA reacted properly to passenger abuse and the training discussed such reactions - firing clerks who don't know what a NEXUS card is, having clerks who assault passengers arrested, making clerks pay for ruining insulin pumps, etc.
TSA didn't pursue criminal charges against the Denver screeners involved in sexual assault and TSA had an eyewitness to what was going on.

You think TSA will take legal action against lesser crimes?

If TSA fired screeners for the kinds of things you mention then there would be very few screeners remaining.
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Old Mar 29, 16, 9:49 am
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Originally Posted by RadioGirl View Post

Agree with Chollie; it's not just a few "bad apples", it's all the rest who stand by and do nothing.
Spot on. The undeniable facts are:
  1. This sort of behavior goes on all the time, at many airports, witnessed by other TSA underlings and management.
  2. The offenders are never challenged by any TSA person.
  3. The victims of harassment and abuse never receive sincere apologies.

The reality is that there are not "a few bad apples" at TSA. The whole barrel is rotten with only a few exceptions. And those exceptions are content with the status quo.
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Old Mar 29, 16, 9:57 am
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To return to the OP's comment that the line was an hour long. Was it not possible to follow the exit signs, with or without rechecking the bags in thus area, and go through TSA security in the lines for departing passengers? This would especially be likely to save time if the OP has elite status or PreCheck on the boarding pass.
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Old Mar 29, 16, 10:09 am
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
To return to the OP's comment that the line was an hour long. Was it not possible to follow the exit signs, with or without rechecking the bags in thus area, and go through TSA security in the lines for departing passengers? This would especially be likely to save time if the OP has elite status or PreCheck on the boarding pass.
The OP isn't focusing mainly on his own problems, it doesn't look like to me. He was concerned about the poor performance of the TSA, and how it affected passengers generally, especially passengers not familiar with the airport. Yeah, it's easy to just go out, and then you have your choice of four checkpoints (if they're all open). All of them have ‹bermenschen lanes too. But that doesn't help somebody coming into the USA from Japan for the first time, not if they don't know how to navigate the airport. The only thing that can help people like that is for us to continue to try to start an uproar against laziness, slovenliness, and abuse of passengers.
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Old Mar 29, 16, 10:37 am
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Originally Posted by Boggie Dog View Post
TSA didn't pursue criminal charges against the Denver screeners involved in sexual assault and TSA had an eyewitness to what was going on.

You think TSA will take legal action against lesser crimes?

If TSA fired screeners for the kinds of things you mention then there would be very few screeners remaining.
What prosecution authority does TSA have?

And the local prosecutor did not press charges either because there were not any victims who came forward?
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Old Mar 29, 16, 11:08 am
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Originally Posted by Boggie Dog View Post
If TSA fired screeners for the kinds of things you mention then there would be very few screeners remaining.
They would still have too many, but the size of the workforce would be much more nearly aligned with the agency's actual needs.
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