Gate searches on Southwest?

Old Mar 18, 09, 10:15 pm
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Gate searches on Southwest?

In the Travel Safety/Security forum there's a discussion of security checks at the gate having resumed (on a random basis), and it's a front page story in USA TODAY. I didn't read all the posts, but there was a question whether anyone had experienced them on Southwest, and I didn't see a reply. I experienced one under the 2006 absolute liquid ban and the previous boarding system.

So if anyone has seen it on Southwest, how do they handle it under the current boarding system? Complete it all while people are lined up, and boarding starts when the search is done? (And maybe someone who prefers to join the back of their group as it boards wouldn't have to put up with it?) Or do they pull people out of line as they board, so one can imagine how someone who got a front position due to their fare/status/clock management would feel seeing people pass by them?
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Old Mar 18, 09, 11:31 pm
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I've seen TSA conduct the random searches down by the door to the a/c during boarding and I've also seen TSA select people in the gate area prior to the commencement of boarding.
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Old Mar 18, 09, 11:42 pm
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I didn't experience it first hand, however my seat mate on my ABQ-BWI last week got on grumbling about the "utter sh**" that the TSA was doing.

She said that "several" TSA people were there, but only two or three were doing the searching while everyone was taking notes. They went through the line before boarding looking at everyone's BP/ID, frisking some people and looking in other people's bags. I saw the TSA jokers pushing their gate search cart around BWI and staring at the display boards, but they didn't come to our RDU flight.

Judging by how my seat mate described the process at ABQ, they go through the line before boarding. Not sure if they do the other groups, but it sounds like they pick on you if you're lined up in the A group. So, my thought is to go back to the old rules of looking straight ahead and don't be the first to board, plus not lining up until they start boarding, then you should have less problems. Of course, this means if you're an A lister/BS'er, you're more likely to be picked on than if you're B32.

In any event, I don't plan to stop for the TSA goons doing the gate searches. I'll wear ear phones and pretend like I don't hear them.
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Old Mar 19, 09, 7:31 am
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Originally Posted by tusphotog View Post

In any event, I don't plan to stop for the TSA goons doing the gate searches. I'll wear ear phones and pretend like I don't hear them.
This tactic could delay you even further than a brief search at the gate.
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Old Mar 19, 09, 7:43 am
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My understanding was the re-implemented these a while ago, but maybe they're stepping it up even more. They were doing these in MCO on a flight I was on last month.
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Old Mar 19, 09, 8:51 am
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And what is the purpose of these gate searches?

They're admitting that they do a crappy job at the scanners?

I just feel so safe.
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Old Mar 19, 09, 9:17 am
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The USA Today article that I read says that they claim airport employees are not screened and could bring in contraband and pass it on to a passenger. Horse#%*$ as far as I am concerned.
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Old Mar 19, 09, 9:42 am
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it'd make sense that they'd "randomly" pick early in the boarding process so they can finish one passenger and still have time to screen another. I wonder if WN would consider saving a seat for the detained individual - that is, allow them to ask for window, asile, or middle and if one is availible in then one of the FAs onboard places a reserved sign on it.

On legacies these screeings are just annoying since you still have your seat. On WN it means you may be forced to ride middle for a 4 hour flight. WN could try to make it more accomodating or BS/A-list passengers may flee to other carriers if the gate screenings get out of hand.
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Old Mar 19, 09, 11:22 am
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Originally Posted by medic-again View Post
On legacies these screeings are just annoying since you still have your seat. On WN it means you may be forced to ride middle for a 4 hour flight.
I'm sure Southwest can come up with creative solutions, e.g., marking a few seats as reserved for screenees when this occurs.
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Old Mar 19, 09, 12:06 pm
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Originally Posted by tusphotog View Post
I saw the TSA jokers pushing their gate search cart around BWI and staring at the display boards...
Nice intelligence gathering technique. Were they throwing darts to determine which flights to search?

Originally Posted by tusphotog View Post
...but it sounds like they pick on you if you're lined up in the A group.
Well, if they focused on A31-60, I won't have a problem with that.

Originally Posted by medic-again View Post
it'd make sense that they'd "randomly" pick early in the boarding process...
It will make more sense if they used their extra manpower to screen cargo instead.
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Old Mar 19, 09, 12:48 pm
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I've seen these at LAS and TUS Southwest flights, and I have seen A1-15 folks seems to be easy targets for this at the gate search.

Rasheed
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Old Mar 19, 09, 12:58 pm
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Originally Posted by rasheed View Post
I've seen these at LAS and TUS Southwest flights, and I have seen A1-15 folks seems to be easy targets for this at the gate search.
If it looks like BS gets hit the most, it'll really make me think twice about booking a BS ticket.

I haven't seen the TSA goons in TUS doing gate searches yet, but who knows. Last week when I flew out of there, they looked through my book, of all things.
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Old Mar 19, 09, 2:57 pm
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These enhanced gate screenings hurt SWA pax vs other airlines with assigned seats.

When TSA was doing these a few years ago, I noticed the following at AUS:

1. There was an attempt to screen the selectees before general boarding.

2. The ops agent would delay sending the second group down the jetway until those screened could board.

Some of this is dependent on how caring the ops agent is and the relationship that SWA has with TSA at a particular airport.
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Old Mar 19, 09, 3:18 pm
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Originally Posted by kerflumexed View Post
1. There was an attempt to screen the selectees before general boarding.
Hmmm...screening pre-boarders and BS pax may actually benefit a certain SJC-ONT regular who's been averaging an A18 BP lately. ^

Originally Posted by kerflumexed View Post
2. The ops agent would delay sending the second group down the jetway until those screened could board.
This would be a good thing to do as it might meter the traffic and alleviate the inevitable jetway bottleneck.

Originally Posted by kerflumexed View Post
Some of this is dependent on how caring the ops agent is and the relationship that SWA has with TSA at a particular airport.
A perfect relationship and a much better WN-related use of the TSA is for the blue shirts to check the BP's of the people in line prior to boarding. Any line jumper can then be pulled aside for additional screening.
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Old Mar 19, 09, 4:09 pm
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Seen this at SFO where they focused on the B group. I was in the A group and they bypassed us altogether .
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