Saturday, December 11, 2010

The TSA, Baby Bjorns and Stupidity

I travel for living. I haven been thru several different TSA checkpoints. As a pilot some TSA stations allow flight crews to by pass security entirely. At other airports flight crews have dedicated lanes. At most airports flight crews go through the same lines as regular folks.

At some airports I can wear my ID which has keys attached through the metal detector without it going off. At other airports my keys go off. Some airports I can leave my laptop in my bag. At other airports I am directed to take the laptop out of the bag (exact same bag and laptop). Point...the TSA is very inconsistent.

Natali had flown on 5 flights before yesterday. Kelli and I have a system. We breezed thru in the past. No issues.

Yesterday was our first time using the Baby Bjorn. I searched online about taking Natali thru security with the Baby Bjorn. Not a lot of information. No big deal.

When we arrived at the airport, I asked the first TSA agent who was checking our ID's if we could take Natali thru the Xray IN the Baby Bjorn. The agent said it was no problem and that they could both go thru. Fine. Kelli and I prepped for it.

I put all the bags on the belt and went through the X-ray. When Kelli approached the agent said she would have to take Natali out of the Baby Bjorn. Stop!

Politely I stated that 10 feet away the TSA agent who checked our ID stated we could go through the Xray with our baby in the Baby Bjorn.

The agent at the Xray stated that, "Due to new pat down procedures, if the baby goes through in the holder, both the mother and baby would be patted down."

There was no way the TSA was patting down my wife much less my 4 month old daughter.

I questioned the agent why this policy changed in 10 feet. He directed me to his supervisor.

I questioned the supervisor why her agent instructed us that we could take our child thru the Xray in the holder without a problem, but the second agent stated otherwise.

The supervisor stated the first agent isn't a screener and doesn't know the current procedures. I stated that's no acceptable that an agency in charge of screening the public not know what procedures are in effect.

At this point the supervisor walked away toward the first screener. I calmly walked back over and help Kelli take Natali out. We took our time, everything at the checkpoint stopped. Several people were watching, not in anger at us, but at the ridiculousness of the TSA.

I would have been fine if the first agent stated that Natali had to be taken out. At least the rule would have been consistent.

Once clear a passenger came up to us and told us how poorly the TSA handled our situation.

After I brought them thru security I went to park the car. When I came thru later I had Natali's new car seat. It is too large to go through the Xray machine. A TSA agent hand inspected it. I watched. They should really be trained better, totally ineffective inspection.

Rant done.

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