TSA Will Allow Women With Nipple Piercings To Fly If They Flash Officials

Your nipple piercings are still a threat to national security, but the TSA will let you fly if you “allow a visual inspection of [your] piercings.” The announcement came after TSA officials in Texas forced Mandi Hamlin to remove her nipple piercings with a pair of pliers before allowing her to board her flight. The TSA stopped short of apologizing to Ms. Hamlin, instead saying: “TSA acknowledges that our procedures caused difficulty for the passenger involved and regrets the situation in which she found herself.”

TSA Responds to Nipple Ring Complaint [AP] (Thanks to Louis!)
PREVIOUSLY: TSA Forces Woman To Remove Nipple Piercings


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  1. lr0405 says:

    Too little, too late.

    Ms. Hamlin HAD suggested showing the piercings to a female agent:

    “Hamlin said she could not remove them and asked whether she could instead display her pierced breasts in private to the female agent. But several other male officers told her she could not board her flight until the jewelry was out, she said.” AP

    Since they didn’t change the rules until this woman was embarassed beyond belief, she unfortunately has to deal with the “situation in which she found herself.”

  2. LionelEHutz says:

    So does this mean the male TSA agents will now request a special room with a stagge, pole, and funky music for their private viewings?

  3. azgirl says:

    This is disgusting. It is as bad as having to let them grope you if you have an underwire one. Give me a break. No one messes with the twins unless they buy dinner. No peep shows, no copping a feel.
    I drive to vacation spots now.

  4. ribex says:

    What do people who have their genitals pierced do when confronted with the TSA? (Creeps me out, but to each their own.)

  5. CubFx says:

    Too bad they aren’t “taking it seriously”.

    I have a number of body piercings, including 8 in a “very sensitive” area, but have never had any trouble passing through security. Yes, the hand held detector always goes off over them, I always say “body jewelry”, and they say “OK”.

    I think this was a case of a small group of screeners who became overzealous in their work (and overinflated in their ego). The TSA, however, is not an agency that easily admits fault. Using a “bra bomb” example to justify the actions? for shame.

    I would really like to know what horrific events have been prevented by the TSA’s new and improved screening process.

    As for my piercings? It would take pliers and the assistance of a second person to get them all out.

  6. Very silly, and ribex, you know they’ll insist they remove a clit piercing until someone else complains like the nipple piercing girl. After that, they’ll allow a “flash” similar to this response.

  7. moore850 says:

    @ribex: Yeah, like who do I have to flash my “TSA sucks” prince albert piercing to in order to get through security? I notice they were quick to respond on the specific case of nipple piercings but a bit mum on the other piercings, any of which could set off the detector just the same.

  8. gitttrdone says:

    I fly 3-5 a week. I also travel with a companion whom has such body jewelry in these sensitive areas. She removes them and places in temporary plastic pieces until she gets to her location. What these screeners did was correct no matter how offended some of you may be. If you also read this ladys statements on multiple web sites you will see she demanded the pliers from those screeners to remove the piercings. As a person who does fly a lot she also stated that she just wanted to be patted down in nipple and breast area and would have preferred that. Well folks that is not an option for sensitive areas. She stated it was from what she read of a tsa web site. Well guess what those are only general suggestions and not their full protocols folks.
    Again, it’s to bad this lady was made to feel humiliated but again you are only hearing her limited side of the story fed through a publicity hound attorney. Remember not everything you read or hear is fact, Remember those WMD’s?

  9. molasses says:

    I really want to see a news report of what happens to somebody who refuses to be humiliated, berated or belittled in an incident with the TSA. Somebody who is traveling with family, or on business, and chooses to walk away and go back home rather than submit. Somebody who will lose business, or lose an entire family vacation rather than put up with this crap. And then I’d like to watch it go through the court system and see the TSA struggle to justify having rules that permit their goons to treat human beings like this. It will never happen, though. And of course, the problem is that 50% of the time, people are just trying to get HOME from that business trip or that vacation. And airplane travel is to expensive for most people to walk away from, to say “my dignity is worth more than this plane ticket.”

  10. forgottenpassword says:

    hmmmm…. I forsee male tsa agents pulling out every smoking hot chick for a wand scan in the hopes that they have nipple/snatch piercings just so they can get flashed.

  11. gitttrdone says:

    What some people like forgottenpassword don’t get is Males Don’t Wand nor View Females. They can only screen same gender. Not hard to tell people with no experience commenting on items they have clue about.

  12. jamar0303 says:

    “I drive to vacation spots now.”

    Unfortunately, not practical if you’re trying to go trans-Pacific. I don’t think there are passenger cruises that cross any of the major oceans either… or are there? It’d still take an eternity.

  13. courtarro says:

    This is the perfect solution, folks! Everyone knows that people who pierce their nipples are perfectly okay with public nudity, so it’ll just be like removing one’s shoes before going through the detector. “Please remove your shirt and bra before proceeding…”

  14. APFPilot says:

    @lr0405: What about the screener who doesn’t want to see someones saggy tits. It’s not fair to them. Thats why I have no problem with the remove them or don’t fly thing.

  15. gitttrdone says:

    Your quite right. Screeners don’t want to see your body parts anymore than you wish to show them. Frankly I can’t wait to see some poor female or guy screener sue a traveler for sexual harassment by flaunting their wares at them in a suggestive manner. The more I read about this matter and the more I see people who obviously don’t travel making comments about this issue just makes me laugh. Those of us who do travel extensively would be happy if the rest of you stayed home! It makes it easier for us to get where we need to go without you holding up the lines…..

  16. nospamsam says:

    Everyone should fly naked.
    It would solve everything.

  17. IMHO, bodily piercings that can set off metal detectors and you can’t easily remove at the screening point should fall under the category of “leave at home or pack in checked luggage when flying.” I don’t know first hand how hard they are to remove/re-insert, but nobody said flying and dealing with the TSA had to be easy.

  18. a says:

    So, you guys know they have special private rooms for this, and it’s always with a same-sex agent, right?

    And you know they’ve been doing this for years for people with pacemakers and heart monitors, right?

    I’m not saying it’s a great solution or that it couldn’t be exploited or taken advantage of. I’m just saying there’s no reason to get all huffy about it here and now. Private inspections have been going on for at least a decade. I dunno why this particular TSA agent felt the need to be the nipple police, because there is a protocol.

  19. thisisjacked says:

    great, now screeners have to look at boobies, etc. Thanks, I’m sure my friend who works for TSA will appreciate that.

  20. Nicholas_schaulsohn says:

    If you think that your Jewelry might set off an alarm, be ready to show it or take it off before hand.

    In todays ****ed up world, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If the TSA feels it’s necessary to leave no rock unturned, I’m all for it.

    If they start letting people through without inspection, any crazy terrorist **** can hide a knife in his/her crotch and say it’s “body jewelry”.

    I get that it’s cool to hate the system, but these precautions are ****ing necessary .

  21. sewrig01 says:

    Maybe we should just eliminate metal detectors. They seem to inconvenient for some of our pierced friends. Or separate flights for those who don’t want to be bothered by security?

    Yes I am joking. I’m just tired of people complaining that we will not make concessions to their lifestyle choice. If you want to have permanent piercings, good for you, but it seems like people who are complaining about having to take them out(which I understand can be damaging), are now complaining because it might be embarrassing to have to show them. Should TSA just take your word for it? I guess it would be faster.

  22. b612markt says:

    @sewrig01: Seriously?

  23. azntg says:

    @sewrig01: TSA simply shouldn’t exist in the first place. Other nations have better air security. Admittedly stricter, but they don’t go all apesh*t on you for all the wrong reasons.

  24. Trai_Dep says:

    So I’m assuming, in the name of equality and fairness, they’ll have a similar policy in regards my Prince Albert. While standing in line, drop trou?

  25. BlackestRose says:

    All person willing to fly must conform to established societal norms. They must fall into the prescribed race, nationality and economic class. They must not be deviant in an sexual or political manner. They absolutely must never engage in any conflict no matter what happens.

    Violators have no rights at all and threaten national security theater will be humiliated in every way possible, and possibly have their life threatened.

  26. Trai_Dep says:

    @BayStateDarren: ” I don’t know first hand how hard they are to remove/re-insert…”
    At this point, a little voice in your head should have yelled, “So I’ll shut the f*ck up and not comment about something that I’m ignorant about.”

  27. APFPilot says:

    @BlackestRose: I hate the TSA as much as the next guy, but in this case I actually agree with them. Any thing that sets off the metal detector has to be verified.

  28. gitttrdone says:

    @azntg: You state that TSA should not exist in the first place?
    Were you to travel through some of those other airports, Londons-Heathrow, Germany, or Especially Isreal you would be extremely surprised as how timid US Security really is in comparison.
    I keep reading and its as though posters are well worn international travelers.
    Well as a guy who makes his living moving through airport after aiport I would attest most of you haven’t the slightest clue about security and especially overseas security.
    London uses the full body scan technology that leaves NOTHING out! No curve, No imperfection but especially no weapons escape it. When this was introduced here the ACLU and all you whinny babies cried foul and the few that are in use here are so dumbed down it’s pathetic. How do I know, I have been in them, used them, and walked away knowing I was flying safely.
    Again to those who fear the public finding out what you have under your garments remember the old adage “Never wear in public what would embarras you in front of your mom or dad”

  29. edrebber says:

    “if an alarm goes off, until that is resolved, we’re not going to let them go through the checkpoint, no matter what they’re wearing or where they’re wearing it.”

    Obviously this is selective enforcement. What about people with metal plates in their head or shrapnel in their body?

    Given the popularity of body piercing and the obvious embarrassment, this policy should have been stated up front. The passenger was ambushed by the TSA dreaming up new policies on the spot.

  30. gitttrdone says:

    It’s not a new policy. Just like this woman and her glory hound attorney they took a posting on a web site and stated it is their full set of procedures. How clueless can people be?
    TSA is not going to post their real full procedures on any web site including their own for terrorists or wannabes to use to their advantage in dreaming up ways to subvert them. Get a CLUE People!

  31. Jaysyn was banned for: https://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @edrebber: Does titianium set off a metal detector too?

  32. WraithSama says:

    When they officially announced this, I imagined a resounding cheer coming from the male TSA goons.

  33. APFPilot says:

    @edrebber: They get a card signed by their doctor when they get those implants detailing what they are.

  34. BlackestRose says:


    Check, perhaps. Humiliate in public, no.

    Googling the “Bra Bomb”, allegedly the impetus for the invasive procedure, is not a thin piece of material covering skin. In the one known case in Sri Lanka, it bulky, large and filled with explosives. It does not contain a small piece of wire, but quite a bit of metal. There is no such thing as a tiny micro bomb contained in a nipple.

    The agents could have used common sense and human decency to guide their actions. Clearly they had other options of searching available to them. But they either had another motivations or were stupid enough not be able to conceive of any other way to look for danger.

    The logical conclusion of this type of security is that you will have to be a “approved” human to fly. Reading the comments, many people want to dismiss this woman because she is out of the norm. What happen when that norm narrows even further, so that less and less people are allowed to fly.

  35. thisisjacked says:

    Out of the norm? The situation is off, but I know more and more people (frightening!!!! /sic) with oddly-placed piercings.

  36. dubs29 says:

    You obviously have no clue concerning procedures. So many people are basing “Facts” off what is posted on a web site albeit tsa’s as the full procedures they use.
    Are you all that clueless? No government agency including TSA is going to post their real full procedures for every bin laden wannabe on their web site for these idiots to dream ways up to beat them. Get a clue folks.

    These screeners sure aren’t perfect but I would rather fly with them screening instead of the having nothing in place as some of you have stated.
    And to you Wraithsama, as has been posted multiple times men don’t screen women. This is all done in private as this lady stated. Nobody is in there with them while they remove stuff. They won’t till they say it is done.

  37. socritic says:

    I wonder what exactly is in a nipple ring that is dangerous. How many terrorists have nipple rings? has any suspect ever have a nipple ring? if the answer is yes to any, i would be shocked.

  38. APFPilot says:

    @BlackestRose: how else can you confirm why something in the breast area is causing the detector to go off?

  39. kittenfoo says:

    @BlackestRose: see, “common sense and human decency” there’s your problem. you’re still using a pre 9/11 mindset. we as a nation have blithely given up so many things we used to take for granted. my sweetie (who has a nipple piercing, btw) lives 700 miles away from me, a 12-hour drive, but i will gladly spend an entire day on the road in order to be able to pack bottles with more than 3 oz. in them, keep a soda in the cup holder, and most of all, miss all the crap you go through in security. it isn’t just the people way outside the mainstream that protest this kind of treatment. it’s also many, many so-called average people who really miss common sense and human decency and are willing and able to use alternatives to air travel.

  40. dubs29 says:

    Thank You, Now I can fly without one more person in my way holding up the line. Twelve hour drive, times gas prices and an entire day wasted, and all those fast food breaks in between. Thanks for supporting our economy, I for one appreciate your sacrifice.

  41. BlackestRose says:


    According to their own rules, the person in question can submit to a pat down, or visual search. Further less intrusive scrutiny might have included swabbing for explosives.

    However, the agents in question, chose the most humiliating and painful alternative, removal, with male agents close at hand to witness the entire affair.

  42. VikingP77 says:

    TSA shouldn’t have any right to look at your piercings. PERIOD! This is immoral and unethical. I don’t have any piercings but I’m not threatened by someone who does. This is great for perverted twisted TSA agents though.
    I always thought in all these years of travel perhaps we could look to EL AL the Israeli national airline. Somehow they don’t NEED to look at peoples private parts and they don’t have hijackers get on their planes.

  43. Rachacha says:

    @jamar0303: There are actually several that I found that cross the Atlantic, and I would have to assume some that cross the Pacific as well, but either way, departure ports and arrival ports are limited. You can however take a 107 day cruise around the world: [www.princess.com]

  44. VikingP77 says:

    @dubs29: By the way we flew all the way up to 9-11 without any of these dumb procedures! If GOVERNMENT security had been up to par we wouldn’t even be having this debate!

  45. APFPilot says:

    @BlackestRose: Their NEW rules, what if the agent didn’t want to look at her breasts?

  46. BlackestRose says:

    According to the TSA’s website:

    >>On its Web site, the TSA warns that passengers “may be additionally screened because of hidden items such as body piercings, which alarmed the metal detector.”

    “If you are selected for additional screening, you may ask to remove your body piercing in private as an alternative to a pat-down search,” the site says.<<

    She was never given the pat down alternative. As for the personal preference of the female agent “not wanting to look at breasts”, the female agent never got a chance to say one way or the other “…several other male officers told her she could not board her flight until the jewelry was out.” Anyway, the female agent supervised the removal procedure, so my guess is that she didn’t have a problem with looking at titties.

    As for the job requirement of breast peeping, I assume that female TSA agents have to be prepared to do strip searches in the most extreme cases of looking for …um… “contraband” when required.

  47. ironchef says:

    it might help recruit more TSA applicants. LOL.

  48. taylorb says:

    Pics or it didn’t happen!

    But seriously.. you would think this would have come up before. People didn’t start getting body piercings in 2007.

  49. the_wiggle says:

    @LionelEHutz: prob’ly

    @nospamsam: i used to think that, too. then i realized the real problem is narrow minded, petty, power tripping, asshats – those sorts will always find something to justify an extra heap of humiliation & pain for people outside their stunted version of normal

    @APFPilot: perhaps professional piercers need to issue similar cards. . . i know i’d carry one for my piercings

    @VikingP77: love to see how they train their true professionals to handle these matters & have the same training applied here. not that i expect any of the local PTB to actually do something rational.

    sad to say when fear forces people to lose their common sense, dignity & humanity – the terrorists have effectively won.

  50. banmojo says:

    @azgirl: I’m happy that you too are boycotting what has become a sick and twisted industry, i.e. airlines. kudos!

  51. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    I am trying to figure out what threat a small hoop of metal is…. My piercings don’t set off the metal detector.

  52. jeblis says:

    It’s good to be the king.

  53. bohemian says:

    @jamar0303: Yes there are! There are multiple Atlantic crossings done by Cunard still. The Queen Mary 2, QE2 and they have two more coming online in the next year or so. I have been looking into this as an option to flying to Europe. The cost for a one way ticket in the mid range was comparable to business class flying. The crossing does take 6 days but it is like a typical cruise with things to do. The stuck on the tarmac for hours with no food or bathroom and the stupidity of the TSA is a major turn off as far as flying. I don’t know if anyone does a regular pacific crossing though.

  54. Buckus says:

    I, for one, welcome our new TSA overlords.

  55. b-real says:


    The problem is that the TSA screener doesn’t know it’s just a “small hoop of metal” when it sets off the detector. I certainly wouldn’t want the agent simply to take the passenger’s word for what it is. Therefore, the need for a visual inspection arises.

  56. lettere says:

    Think body piercing get them riled up? Try going through a TSA line with an insulin pump.

  57. dubs29 says:

    According to your post: “By the way we flew all the way up to 9-11 without any of these dumb procedures! If GOVERNMENT security had been up to par we wouldn’t even be having this debate!”

    Again you have proven what I have been saying over and over. People complaining the most have no clue about security!
    VikingP77- The Government for whom you are blaming not being up to par -WAS NOT EVEN IN CHARGE THEN as TSA was not even begun until after 9-11! The ones who failed were contactors with their own guidelines and no real training procedures to say the least. So again to blame the government (AKA, TSA) is foolish and wrong and frankly shows your lack of knowledge in this matter.

  58. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Where is this woman’s significant other/brother/father?? If something like this happened to my sister or significant other, the fucktard TSA agent in charge would be spending some time off work in a big building with a bunch of sick people.

    When are people in thie country going to wake up and say That will be QUITE ENOUGH of this shit??

  59. VikingP77 says:

    Oh y@dubs29: We still had security screenings before our current administration took office they did fine up until our Government chose to ignore warnings from the FBI and CIA about possible terrorist hijacks. And I have a right to complain as the new “rulz”(stoopid rules) are not effective and unnecessary. Go post about something you have a clue about.

  60. VikingP77 says:

    @dubs29: Oh and by the way don’t call someone ignorant if you don’t know them. I have over twelve years in the TRAVEL industry with experience flying to FOREIGN countries before and after 9/11.

  61. dubs29 says:

    You are correct @VikingP77:

    We had security before this administration and they were piss poor lowest bidder guys whom as you have stated Failed miserably. Had they not, we would not be having this discussion. At the time the contractors were in charge they had rules about knives/box cutters such as those used in the hijackings. Again these same people you claim did a fine job failed to do theirs!

    You also state that this current administration failed to listen to the FBI and CIA and therefore failed us all.

    Again though is the blame fully Bush and his cronies? Heck the guy wasn’t even in office for the first 9 months as he was on vacation at his ranch or playing golf, hunting, or sucking up to his middle eastern buddies.
    Frankly everyone who voted for this retard and his moronic staff of clowns should also take a portion of the blame for failing the people of this nation.

    Lastly you think security is stupid and unnecessary!
    Would you say the same to the Israelis who fight for their existence daily. How about the Brits who have their country wired with cameras all over every inch of their lands.
    Tell ya what if you don’t want to fly and feel that this is all stupid than fine, you have your right to disagree and refuse to do so. Your objection won’t stand in my way of getting to see my family and I make it where ever we wish to go without you getting in our way and slowing up the line.

  62. dubs29 says:


    I have over 20 years flying routes between Singapore, Japan, Austrailia, Germany, Spain, UK, Israel, and the Middle East not to mention throughout the U.S.
    Again I have seen it first hand and frankly I would prefer a Mossad Style over our current ideal but the ACLU and other whinny babies in our country are to busy crying about how their piercings being checked are ruining this country with all the fascism in our government.
    Please people wake up to the real world we now live in.
    The fifties are gone, and will never be back. The Real world is a scary place and we have to find a way to live in it!

  63. VikingP77 says:

    @dubs29: We do live in a different world but you must think checking nipple piercings are good for security since you don’t have a problem with it.

  64. VikingP77 says:

    @VikingP77: Oh and it didn’t even read all your posts I’m sorry, it got boring.

  65. VikingP77 says:

    @dubs29: LOL oh that last one was for you dubs29. Whew what a ridiculous argument today!

  66. dubs29 says:

    If something alarms in that area should it not be verified?
    I for one would not accept someones word for it, would you?

    When I travel through London’s Heathrow I go thru their full body scan units. They don’t leave anything to the imagination as it shows all! It would be nice to see these used at every one of the airports in the US, but due again to the ACLU and the Whinny legal types the places it is in use had to dumb it down so much that it takes away alot of the good it was doing.
    I would really like them to be in use then that lady would not have had to go through what she did. Again though we are listening to just a few blurbs from her but mostly her hype happy attorney.
    I would like to hear both sides frankly. I bet there is alot of information this lady left out which might show her real colors.
    I hear claims and lies daily from passengers complaining that they missed their flights because they were refused to go through screening or other such issues. I have called for some friends of mine concerning these claims only to find out from my airline they checked in 10-20 minutes before their flight was to depart (yeah that will work at LAX or JFK or most any real airport). Again blame the screener’s because they were to stupid to show on time and take responsibility for their own actions. To say the least I informed my former friends not to ask me for anymore passes for free flights. Lie to me and make me look bad because you won’t take responsibility for your own actions, adios!

  67. dubs29 says:

    By reading most of your posts Viking it’s OK that you found it boring and did not read it all as it goes to show you have little knowledge or understanding in this area.
    That and such a short attention span shows you probably just book flights in a cubicle environment and by foreign travel probably mean Mexico / Bahamas / my Canada even…..

    Your right though this is a ridiculous argument as you have nothing of value to add.

  68. KarmakazeNZ says:

    I had to sign up just so I could respond to Dubs29, the most idiotic, childish commenter I have read on any post in a long time. For example:

    “Would you say the same to the Israelis who fight for their existence daily. How about the Brits who have their country wired with cameras all over every inch of their lands.”

    First of all, all that security did NOTHING to prevent terrorism. Take the UK for example. Millions if not Billions spent on the CCTV system, and what did the British people get? Well they got some pretty good footage of the 7/7 attacks, but the cameras did not save ONE life.

    Another absolutely idiotic statement:

    “Please people wake up to the real world we now live in.
    The fifties are gone, and will never be back. The Real world is a scary place and we have to find a way to live in it!”

    Seriously, what a load of pant-shitting cowardice. Dubs29, you fool, you personally are more likely to die of a fear induced heart attack than terrorism, and I sure as hell don’t see why I should have to suffer because YOU are a frightened little child with no sense of the REAL risks (I assume you spend far too much time listening to the bullshit your government puts out). In fact you are more likely to die in a car accident on the way to the airport than in any kind of terrorism related incident. In fact, you are more likely to be killed by overzealous “security” than terrorists. Just check out the number of people killed in airports by tasers etc for the truth. You and the other cowards like you are the REAL danger, not some cave-dwelling Afghan terrorist.

  69. jamar0303 says:

    @bohemian: That’s nice to know.

  70. dubs29 says:

    Lets see, UK hmm they actually found most of those terrorists and cells thanks to the CCTV coverage and the use of real intel. Your right 50 plus people killed and a another 600 plus wounded. That was buses right? Don’t recall any planes going down though. Maybe because they actually have security. Do you not think it can happen even easier here. If not then you are ignorant.

    Since you seem to know so much about me and my cowardice and surely you actually read my posts you see that as a coward pilot with no knowledge of the world everything I say is dribble right. Gee guess my time flying 141’s than on to 52’s also shows my cowardly ways for the Air Force before moving onto those little Airbus and Boeing birds.

    Your right I never risk anything. Since again you have read these posts you see where I stand on Bubba and his cronies, but that again assumes you actually read before spouting the BS your writing here.

    Tell ya what. Next time your flying “VA” from JFK to the UK or LAX to Singapore or Tokyo or Sydney, please make yourself known. I’ll have some of those guys you despise so much come and visit you. Please before I end for the evening Please Post those TASER numbers you like to quote. I’m sure it will give me a chuckle in the morning before I depart back to my cowardly job dealing with such worldly people like yourself.

  71. pshah says:

    @gitttrdone: @APFPilot: @dubs29:

    Please go back to the rock you crawled under from….

    We are the world leader in technology, you think they can’t distinguish between a piercing and a freaking knife or something just as threatening…?

    TSA: conform and submit else be humiliated… oh wait… you will be humiliated and treated like shit in either case :)

  72. LukeinDC says:

    My wife has a large metal plate in her head that always sets off the metal detector
    You are wrong. TSA does not accept doctor’s notes. My wife got a Notarized letter from her surgeon stating that she has a metal plate in her head from the bone cancer that was removed. If she parts her hair, you can see the scar. She still gets pulled into a private room and strip searched regularly. However, it is arbitrary. Leaving through Washington National Airport (DCA) or Baltimore Washington Airport (BWI), she doesn’t get the strip search. Usually she’ll say she has a metal plate, whip out her letter and they wave the wand over her skull and express sympathy. If she leaves out of Dulles Airport (IAD), she always gets strip searched. And when I say always, I mean always. 4 times in 3 months is always. My wife travels regularly for business (4 days out of the week) to different clients in cities all across the US. Dulles & Boston have been the only two airports to give her trouble. So say what you will about the TSA. The fact is they are inconsistent. If they were consistent in their practices around the country, people wouldn’t have a problem. Just like the shoe thing. I’ve been made to remove thin rubber flip flops and put them on the scanner in some airports and kept my inch thick sneakers on in others. Its that inconsistency that makes people frustrated about flying & crap like the piercings happen. I for one, totally sympathize with the woman. I had my nipple pierced for a while but had to remove it and taking it off was extremely painful. I can only imagine what she went through. TSA should have allowed a strip search. If the FBI & ATF have determined that the safe amount of liquid/solids to have is 3 oz, there is no way a nipple ring or body jewelry can contain that. And besides, you can buy ceramic knives that are sharp enough to cut inch thick free hanging sisal rope that will not set off any metal detectors. Look up a Boker Infinity Ceramic Blade on Google.

  73. VikingP77 says:

    @dubs29: I don’t need to list off the countries I’ve been to to impress you! To prove your points all you do is call others ignorant. Just because there is more so called “security” has never made this a safe world. You truly live in a dream world…must be nice!
    @luq07: I am truly sorry your wife is subjected to such intrusions. My mom has a metal rod in her back and has had similar experiences. You are right the whole point in this is there is NO consistency and the “rulz” don’t make sense.

  74. modenastradale says:


    Huh? Patting down sensitive areas isn’t an option?

    Would like to have known that the last time I flew out of O’Hare, and the security guard was groping my c*ck. (No piercings, but apparently Mavi uses metal-detective-triggering zipper metal.)

    Go figure.

  75. cookmefud says:

    this is such BS.

  76. flowerofhighrank says:

    have nipple and penis piercing…I would sue. if the x-ray showed there was more there, I can see a more extensive esam. this, however, is bullsh**, just a way to mess with people with mods.

  77. zarro says:

    It getting you to rip out piercings is not enough now they are banning holding hands in airports to identify drunk passengers!


  78. fuzzycuffs says:

    The TSA is trying to take the US Mint approach, where they must have clear handbags and everything must be transparent.

    If the TSA had it’s way, we’d all be flying nude with no luggage.

    Come to think of it, that’s not such a bad idea… ;)

  79. Madjia says:

    @dubs29: You go through the full body scan 3d X-ray machines every time you fly into Heathrow? Quite impressive since they’re only in testing in a part of terminal 1.

    Security might be stricter in a lot of parts in the world, but from my experiences also a lot more respectful and courteous compared to the US agents I’ve encountered on my trips there. Not a great welcome as a tourist/visitor to your country.

  80. Shevek says:

    @BlackestRose: I was entirely ready with an angry response to all of the people suggesting that we must give up all our rights in a “post-9/11 world” (if I could obliterate word’s from our language, I’d get rid of that damned buzzphrase), but yours is so much better. Kudos!

  81. MeOhMy says:

    @dubs29: Your insinuation that flying an airplane makes you a security expert is pretty dubious. In the security field some of us call it “False Authority Syndrome.” Can you imagine if one of the TSA screeners said “I work in an airport therefore I know how to fly a plane” ?

  82. AMetamorphosis says:

    If a person choose to pierce their body with piercing that’s their choice …

    as a fellow airline traveler I WANT the TSA to visually verify that your piercing(s) ARE tuley piercing(s).

    Why should I or anyone else traveling with you take your word for it?

    I do NOT agree with them making her take these out & I think she was very poorly treated.

    Perhaps her experience WILL facilitate change with how the TSA deals with this kind of thing in the future.

  83. MMD says:

    “She stated it was from what she read of a tsa web site.”

    So the TSA can post one thing but do another? The TSA shouldn’t post their full protocols as others have noted, but shouldn’t their postings at least resemble their protocols?

    This is not security, this is theatre.

  84. ManiacDan says:

    I still don’t see why everyone is making such a big fuss about this. Don’t wear metal through a metal detector! If you absolutely must have a piercing in an embarrassing place, put a plastic placeholder into the hole until you get to your destination. If your piercings have grafted to your body, that is bad bad bad and you should fix it no matter who is asking to see them.

    Metal detectors + security + metal on your body = “I need to see that.” End of story.

    By the way, I agree that the TSA didn’t treat her very well on the first part of the story, but from what I recall, you’re not allowed on the plane if you set off the metal detectors unless you have a certificate indicating that you have a metal implant. Since she didn’t have one of those, she wasn’t allowed on the plane until after she went through the metal detector and didn’t set it off. Now that people online have made such a big deal about it, they’ve changed the rules to allow for visual inspection. The TSA has actually done the right thing here, as much as I hate to say it.

  85. axiomatic says:

    Stop flying. Seriously, unless it’s required for business. What is the point anymore? The terrorists have won.

    Terrorists are NOT making bombs with nipple jewelry. They were never even making TATP.

  86. ManiacDan says:

    @axiomatic: The terrorists that caused the crashes on 9/11 didn’t use bombs, they used small razor blades in plastic housings. A small razor blade can be taped to your chest, right over your nipple.

    I do agree with your “stop flying” instructions, the less people that hold up the line, the quicker it will be for all of us that know not to set off the metal detectors at the airport.

  87. mduser says:

    My friends were asking me the other day if I ever had a problem with my prince albert going through security, and at this point I haven’t.

    However, if they were going to insist that they had to check me, I’d just drop trou right there, if only to prove how ridiculous they’re being.

  88. BlackestRose says:


    The problem is that you are, in fact, allowed metal if it’s not dangerous. You are allowed all kinds of things, earrings, and apparently belly rings as the one the woman wore was allowed through.

    The belly ring passed visual inspection, but somehow the male security agents wouldn’t allow it. Perhaps only male agents are trained to know the difference between a bomb and a nipple ring?

    No, this was not about safety, but about humiliation.

  89. ManiacDan says:

    @BlackestRose: The belly ring didn’t set of the metal detector probably because it was surgical steel, which is non magnetic. The problem with this woman was that she had magnetic metal in her nipples. The TSA can’t just trust that someone has nipple piercings, they have to make absolutely sure. If she had worn something non magnetic through the metal detector, this wouldn’t have been a problem. I agree that a lot of metals are allowed through for two reasons:
    1) They do not set off the metal detector (gold, silver, surgical steel, etc.)
    2) They are not dangerous (pens, keys, etc.)
    However, her piercings DID set off the metal detector, and they needed to be verified that they were not dangerous. The TSA agents refused to look at her breasts to save their own jobs. I would have been very easy for her to flash the agent, walk to the nearest payphone, and call CNN to say “The TSA just made me show my breasts to be allowed into the terminal!”
    Normally I’m not a fan of the TSA, but nothing will convince me that they didn’t act correctly in this instance. The fact that they laughed was certainly not professional, and it’s a shame that this woman ended up embarrassed by the actions of herself and others, but the fact remains that you’re not allowed on a plane if you set off a metal detector.

  90. pshah says:

    Umm… i think we have learnt from 9/11 and they are not stupid enough to try that again. We have more secure cockpit doors and m sure there are protocols in place… there have been multiple times where reporters have proved that the farce that TSA calls protecting Americans is just that.

  91. ManiacDan says:

    @pshah: All I’m saying is that they’re trying their best. For the first time in months, we see a story about how a TSA agent detected a strange piece of metal on a passenger and refused them entry based on that fact. They actually managed to do their jobs, for ONCE, and people won’t stop ripping into them. I hate the people that go around blaming the consumer for everything, but this girl was 100% in the wrong.

    Whether or not the TSA actually protects us from terrorism is irrelevant to this particular instance. She violated one of the only rules that actually makes sense: No metal. Whether or not the terrorists are likely to “try that again” whatever “that” is doesn’t matter.

  92. BlackestRose says:


    I just read the direct account of the incident as opposed to the news stories. To answer your questions:

    1) She did not in fact set off the original metal detector, but was “selected” for additional screening. No reason was given as to why. It was the hand held machine that found her piercings.

    2) The Belly ring did set off the detector, but only after they had her remove the upper jewelery did they give her a pass on the lower one upon visual inspection.

    3) According to their own rules, the TSA agents should have given her a choice for a pat-down, visual inspection or, in the case of last resort, had her remove them. They did not inform her this was even a choice even when, humiliated, she begged them to do so.

    4) The male inspectors continued to “gather” outside the curtain where she was being “inspected” snickering. Not one or two, but 5-10….snickering.

  93. BlackestRose says:


    “No Metal” (er no metal that sets off the metal detectors anyway) makes no sense. Insulated gold conducts electricity quite well, thank you very much, and ceramic knives are quite as sharp as steel. Both are readily available and not in any way regulated.

    This case was not about security, but about power, conformity and voyeurism. If the agents had followed their own rules and had shown some common sense, I would agree with you. However the behavior of the agents, gathering and snickering, the failure to allow female agents to advise, and the brutality of it, come far closer to bullying than protection.

    Bruce Schneier has an excellent blog on the security where he goes into the difference between security and security theatre ([www.schneier.com]).

  94. ELC says:

    @azgirl: I’d say what is disgusting are the stupid piercings people are getting today. Not too far in the future, the pierced and painted crew are going to look at themselves and say, “what the heck was I thinking” as their stretching, sagging bodies begin to look like crap. Then they will have crap bodies, with crap stuff painted and stuck all over them. gross!

    I already see enough fat chicks with their large rears half hanging out and their WIDE butterfiles or whatever sticking out of the top of their jeans. Soooo attractive – NOT!

  95. NJkitty says:

    Molasses – what they did was not right. FFS they stopped my Grandfather and gave him a hard time because he has a stent in his heart. Let me get some pliers and pull this bad boy out real quick – hell no! Some piercings are still healing and cannot be removed without risk of them closing or serious infection. “Inserts plastic jewelry” is just as disgusting. Acrylic releases toxins into your body. Yeah right – like I’ll do that to myself. A wanding or visual inspection is fine. And tell me why do they need to be removed? I can’t slit the pilots throat with a 9/16″ internally threaded barbell or blow up the plane with a CBR. Get your head out of your everlovin’ bum and embrace reality.

    And to the other closed minded fops – body piercing has been prevalent since civilization began. Open a book. Its not going to disappear and it is no more digusting or altering that a bad dye job, haircut, huge fake nails, fake breasts, or permanant makeup. Get with the program.

  96. NJkitty says:

    ANd also – implant grade body jewelry (not that crap from mall stores) should not cause an issue. I have 20 piercings and haven’t had a problem yet.