Security is taken very seriously at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, to the tune of $100 million to make sure the state-of-the-art system keeps unwanted intruders out. But all it took was one man on a jet ski in Jamaica Bay seeking dry land to throw a major kink into that elaborate set-up.
Maybe we just hear all the worst things about the Transportation Security Administration, rendering us dubious, but for most Americans the agency seems to be doing a pretty good job running airport security. That’s according to a new survey that found 54% of the country feel the TSA’s work is either good or excellent, and about 30% grading it as just fair.
When you’re sleepy and/or drunk enough, any large flat surface can seem like a pretty nice place to take a nap. In an airport, though, there are some places that you should avoid. Like the raised platform with the conveyor belt on it that says “BAGGAGE CLAIM” above it. Comfy as it may seem, this is not an optimal napping spot. Because it might start moving after you’ve fallen asleep. And take you under an X ray machine. That’s what happened to a Norwegian tourist at Rome’s Fiumicino airport, who took a nap and went for an exciting ride.
Just last month we reported on a petition from Jim Cato of the Harper Institute, urging the White House to put the heat on the Transportation Security Administration for its delay in holding hearings on nude body scanners, and now it seems the courts have listened.
Ticket? One 11-year-old didn’t need no stinking ticket, or even a passport for that matter, to fly from Manchester, U.K. to Rome recently. He simply pulled a Home Alone 2 by boarding the flight with another family. Five staff members of Jet2.com who work at the airport have reportedly been suspended as a result of the snafu.
A woman with a 4″ feeding tube surgically implanted in her abdomen says she makes frequent trips between her home in Texas and the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. And while the tube always draws some extra attention at airport security checkpoints, TSA screeners at Dallas Love Field recently went too far in investigating the issue.
Jonah Falcon of New York City is an actor and hosts a public-access show about the Yankees, but he isn’t famous for that. He’s famous for a quirk of nature: he has the largest recorded penis in the world. He’s appeared on lots of talk shows and even in a documentary, but evidently his fame hasn’t reached the TSA workers at San Francisco International Airport. There, the large bulge in his pants caught the notice of a guard, who presumed it was some kind of weapon. He was subjected to a (brisk and professional) extra patdown and tested for explosive residue.
Almost exactly a year ago, a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the Transportation Security Administration had, in its rush to roll out full-body scanners at airports, broken its own rules by not publishing the policy in the Federal Register and allowing the public to comment on it before putting it into action. At the time, the court expected the TSA to “act promptly” and seek public comment. It hasn’t done so, and now a new petition seeks to have the White House require the TSA to do so.
Pop quiz: What’s the best way to pass a proficiency test when you work for a highly scrutinized federal agency already under fire for ineptitude? If you answered “pay $200 to the instructor,” then maybe you are among those TSA agents getting the boot from Philadelphia International Airport.
Perhaps the Dept. of Homeland Security is actually listening to all the people who aren’t exactly thrilled with the possibility of being touched by TSA airport screeners. The department is hoping someone out there can come up with a hand-held device that would take the place of the controversial pat-downs.
Even though it could result in a life sentence and millions of dollars in fines, airline and airport staff continue to think that smuggling drugs is a good way to earn a few extra bucks on the side.
The week of little children posing a threat to the travelers of the world concludes with this story about how officials evacuated and temporarily shut down an entire terminal at Newark International Airport because a baby didn’t receive a second screening.
While the TSA dare not let a hug-friendly 4-year-old go by without a pat-down, the agency is apparently just fine with allowing airports to hire new employees who haven’t gone through a complete background check yet.
While the TSA blog loves to brag about all the weapons the agency’s screeners have taken off travelers, this news probably won’t be posted with pride on the kitchenette bulletin board at TSA HQ.
The tiny (potential) terrorists of the world continue to wreak havoc at airport security checkpoints. We already brought you the story of the 4-year-old who dared to hug her grandmother in view of TSA screeners, and now comes the tale of a 7-year-old girl with cerebral palsy whose crutches and leg braces reportedly confounded security personnel at JFK Airport.
Kids today. They say and do the darndest things, even under the watchful eye of the Transportation Security Administration. So who knows what happens when your 4-year-old daughter gives grandma a hug at the airport security checkpoint. In addition to that peck on the cheek, a deadly weapon may have been exchanged.
Perhaps the man who stripped naked at the Portland International Airport security checkpoint last night just figured he was saving the TSA the step of having to pat him down for concealed items?
We’ve written before about the Transportation Security Administration’s Precheck program, which is intended to allow prescreened travelers to get through airport screening checkpoints in a flash without having to kick off their shoes or wait in the snaking lines of sighing passengers. But membership in the program doesn’t guarantee that you’ll always zip through with a high-five from a TSA agent.