5 Things You Must Know about Airport Security and Outrageous TSA Incidents

Airport Security and TSA Outrages

In April, 2011, a six year old child experiences a harrowing pat-down by a TSA screener. The latest outrage occurred in June when a 95 year old woman got singled out for special treatment and ultimately wound up having to take off her adult diaper. The elderly woman’s daughter agrees that the TSA did not order this, but they indicated to her that it had to be examined or they would not fly. To make matters even sadder, the 95 year old woman has cancer.

What can we do? For one thing, we can look at the facts. Some of them will surprise you.

Five Things You Must Know about Airport Security

Here are five things you must know about airport security; this list will help keep things in perspective next time you hear another outrage story, plus it may even help you have a quicker and easier security experience.

1. Airport Security Mistakes Happen.

TSA screeners are human; they will make mistakes. However, the vast majority of these men and women are simply following the rules they are bound by. If you don’t like the rules, and I for one think they could use a huge dose of common sense, take it out on the politicians, not the screeners.

2. Airport Security Mistakes are Few

Stories of outrage make news: when a former Miss USA described her pat-down as “molestation”, people paid attention. Still, in the United States alone, 2 million people get on planes every day; that’s almost three-quarters of a billion a year. The number of “outrages” is miniscule in comparison.

3. Know the Security Checkpoint Requirements

Passengers have security responsibilities too, and following them will speed your time in the line; know what you can and cannot bring through the security checkpoint. Forget arguing about it; you will not win.

4. Security Changes are Coming

By the end of 2011, the TSA hopes to have a “trusted traveler” program in place, or at least in testing-mode: participants who agree to background checks and interviews will supposedly breeze through security. According to the U.S. Travel Association, a majority of passengers say they’d pay for this service, up to $150 a year. Would you pay for quicker security?

5. Airport Security Will Never be Completely Hassle-Free

If you yearn for the good old days of zipping through the airport, forget it. We’ll never go back. The people behind 9/11 saw to that. All we can do is make the best of a difficult situation. Yes, report any outrages you see, but also do your part to make the security experience a smooth one for you and all the people in line behind you.

Watch my TSA patdown experience:


More from Rick Seaney:

The Year’s Worst Security Outrages: Time for a Little Common Sense?


Published: June 28, 2011