TSA Millimeter Wave Scanners are Awful

Old Aug 25, 16, 11:28 pm
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TSA Millimeter Wave Scanners are Awful

Went through three different airports yesterday, MCO, DFW, and MCI. When I went through the MCO MWS, it picked up something in my upper leg area, had to get a patdown/explosives swab, nothing there of course. Went through the DFW MWS, picked up nothing, went on my merry way. Went through the MCI MWS, picked up something in my shoulder region, had to get a patdown, nothing there of course. What's with the lack of consistency? Thank goodness I literally just got Pre-Check and don't have to use these stupid machines on the regular anymore.
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Old Aug 26, 16, 6:56 am
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Try being 6'8" where you head is out of the scan area and alerts 100% of the time.
It is a crap shoot what a TSO will do from waving me on, to asking to look at the top of my head, to asking to touch my head and finally being sent for additional screening.

OK, depending on my mood when the TSO asks to touch my head I've been known to ask them to reglove before touching my head. One time this was considered as a refusal and I was told I needed the full pat down.
I still insisted on new gloves if they were going to touch my head.

The best was at EWR once the TSO was barely 5 feet and had to get a step stool.

Now don't get me started about when I raise my hands and touch the top of the machine with my forearm and the reactions I get from TSO's about that.

I'm waiting for my GOES interview in October but I still for work have to go thru full security as I am not employed at the airport. A KTN won't help me with that.
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Old Aug 26, 16, 7:44 am
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Yeah I have problems with them as well, I'm fairly large and my pants are not always skin tight.. any area they hang off my skin tends to highlight.

Most recently got a full pat down including hands inside pants and the whole bit at FRA (not from the TSA!)
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Old Aug 26, 16, 7:51 am
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My bare neck alarms on most occasions for some reason. Nothing there but visible skin, nothing else.

Bottom line is that the Whole Body Imager as used by TSA is not suitable for security screening. Two many false alarms.
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Old Aug 26, 16, 9:25 am
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Originally Posted by airplanegod View Post
What's with the lack of consistency?
Could be for any number of reasons. Yer talking about the TSA here. But my first guess if every machine was calibrated exactly the same (which they are not) is that it had to do with your clothing layering or body perspiration.
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Old Aug 26, 16, 9:43 am
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If the machine is not properly calibrated, then we have no way of knowing how many failures to detect 'contraband' are due to loosely calibrated machines.

Poor calibration does not only result in unnecessary gropes and strokes of bare skin to resolve 'anomalies'; it is just as likely to allow contraband through because the machine is too loosely calibrated to be accurate.
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Old Aug 26, 16, 12:14 pm
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TSA shoulder syndrome is your friend here. Eliminates you having to go through these machines.
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Old Aug 26, 16, 9:48 pm
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Originally Posted by bchandler02 View Post
TSA shoulder syndrome is your friend here. Eliminates you having to go through these machines.
Doesn't even need to be "TSA syndrome". My shoulders hurt to the point of not being able to lift my arms after a typical day at work or depending how I slept.
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Old Aug 29, 16, 8:34 am
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Originally Posted by lathiat View Post
Yeah I have problems with them as well, I'm fairly large and my pants are not always skin tight.. any area they hang off my skin tends to highlight.
Been there done (to me) that...
TSO insisted I was wearing a belt with my shirt completely tucked in. Pulled my shirt up and asked him to identify the belt... Now I'm not skinny and have a few pounds there but my got does not overhang my waist...
That was the day I had two yellow blocks, head and waist UGH...
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Old Aug 29, 16, 4:49 pm
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Pre check no great solution

Not to thread hijack here,
But I went through MCO yesterday, had 2, yes two laptops in my backpack.
Pre-check line bellower; "Take nothing out of your bags, leave it all in..."
Other side clerk: "You got 2 laptops in here? I need to rerun this with one laptop removed"
When I ask how that squares with "Leave everything in your bag", I'm told with great seriousness, "Pre-check instructions say no need to remove laptop not laptops, so you should have recognized the need to remove one to comply." Of course the TSA's own web-site says for Pre-check "You don't need to remove laptops"...
I guess I can see an occasional need for a custom security approach for an unusual situation, but the erroneous while condescending attitude to the people who pay their salaries just frosts me.
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Old Aug 29, 16, 5:34 pm
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Originally Posted by NY-FLA View Post
Not to thread hijack here,
But I went through MCO yesterday, had 2, yes two laptops in my backpack.
Pre-check line bellower; "Take nothing out of your bags, leave it all in..."
Other side clerk: "You got 2 laptops in here? I need to rerun this with one laptop removed"
When I ask how that squares with "Leave everything in your bag", I'm told with great seriousness, "Pre-check instructions say no need to remove laptop not laptops, so you should have recognized the need to remove one to comply." Of course the TSA's own web-site says for Pre-check "You don't need to remove laptops"...
I guess I can see an occasional need for a custom security approach for an unusual situation, but the erroneous while condescending attitude to the people who pay their salaries just frosts me.
That topic is already discussed here:
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Old Aug 31, 16, 8:39 am
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Originally Posted by airplanegod View Post
Went through three different airports yesterday, MCO, DFW, and MCI. When I went through the MCO MWS, it picked up something in my upper leg area, had to get a patdown/explosives swab, nothing there of course. Went through the DFW MWS, picked up nothing, went on my merry way. Went through the MCI MWS, picked up something in my shoulder region, had to get a patdown, nothing there of course. What's with the lack of consistency? Thank goodness I literally just got Pre-Check and don't have to use these stupid machines on the regular anymore.
I average 5-30 'alarms' per body scan I consent to. They are all in inconsistent places. I'm surprised to hear you went through a scan with zero alarms once...I've never seen that happen.

They do detect moisture, so if you're sweating a lot or just been outside in the rain, expect lots of squares.
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