Monday, July 07, 2014

Le sigh...

"Just a note to let you know that we coonfingered your gats. Love, TSA."
There's nothing like knowing you'll be dealing with the Thousands Standing Around before lunch to get your day started off on the right foot.

TSA procedures at a lot of smaller airports I've flown out of (IND, MHT, ABQ, RDM) differed from their publicly posted procedures in that rather than having a place where you do the perp walk with your gun case to a waiting TSA agent who does the swab routine there in front of you, they instead ask you to loiter somewhere around the security area while they decide if they need your luggage keys or not. If they do, they come fetch your key and inspect the bag out of your sight.

This differed with the policy previously on their webpage, and apparently enough people were willing to miss their flights and argue about it that the TSA fixed the discrepancy by changing the published policy.

For some reason, my gun case has been opened every. single. time. I've flown out of IND*. Never anywhere else. Well, they did it at RDM, too, after the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun last year, but that little airport probably ran out of explosives swabs that day with all the range bags and Pelicans getting checked through.


*Not that anybody at Indy has ever made a big deal out of it, except to wish me luck at the 3 Gun match or tell me that they had a gun just like mine and did I like that orange front sight? How much did it cost? Where'd you get it?

30 comments:

Joseph said...

Better get out the No9 & CPL and clean off all the Cheetos dust and KFC grease.

staghounds said...

Went through TSA myself this morning. Again found it probative that PR trumps security- under 12 and over 75 keep their shoes on.

Joe in PNG said...

Funny how Australia, Singapore, and the UK allows everyone to keep their shoes on.

Tam said...

"Funny how Australia, Singapore, and the UK allows everyone to keep their shoes on."

Do they make you unload your mags, or are loaded ones good if they're in holders?


;)

Sport Pilot said...

Yeah. Legacy of the "Shoe Bomber" is leech like. Odd that they don't make you take off your underwear though after that idiots stunt isn't it?

Old NFO said...

Don't come to Dulles... Royal PITA there, perp walk and all, and about an hour wasted every time.

Robert said...

Now they want you to power up your electronics before you can get on the plane if you are flying from some out of country locations to the US. Battery dead? Tough cookies, it doesn't get on the plane then.

Richard_R said...

FWIW, IND is the only airport I've been thru that didn't allow my heavy pen (http://countycomm.com/stainlesspen.html) to be carried on. They did allow me to pack it and mail it home (took 3+ weeks to get here, though)

Anonymous said...

When I flew out of Philadelphia in ~2010 or 2011 (right before pornoscan/grope became mandatory) the TSA agent inspected the guns right in front of me.

When If flew out of Las Vegas this May, they played the "wait by the flag and we'll come for your key(s) if we need to" game.


It seems to be more of a shift in general policy than a large airport vs small airport thing.

-HSR47

DaveFla said...

Thanks for sharing, Tam. Next month, I will fly for the first time since 2001 and I've been certain that I'd need to be pickled before entering the security check. If you can do it a few times per year while transporting firearms, then I can surely walk through with a simple carry on. While biting my tongue, that is.

armedlaughing said...

How sad this is all being discussed as NORMAL?
Did they grope you inappropriately and ask where you got your blouse? Or tell you how nice your shoes were as you slipped them off?
MOST IMPORTANTLY, did they show you the properly-executed warrant before the search?
I'm guessing not.
Just sad.

gfa

B.S. philosopher said...

I think it's the Pelican cases in general that are irresistible to them. I use one for checked baggage. No guns, no ammo, nothing exciting inside except for a couple of flashlights and multitools. Every time, I get a "we handled your junk" card, complete with rumpled clothing and broken or missing TSA locks. They haven't stolen anything yet that I'm aware of though.

Anonymous said...

Cheap advice from a frequent traveler: run a lock through the bores of the guns - cable or otherwise - and you might see the case stay closed more often.

I had the same problem but after tossing in bore locks they stopped opening the cases. This is through multiple airports mostly on the east coast.

My suspicion is they are looking for rounds accidentally left in the gun. It's common enough at gun shops/stores/etc. that they don't need one going all boom in the hold of an airplane.

With a real obvious bore lock (cables seem least likely to get opened) that shows them what they need via x-ray, I think they can "prove" safety and still leave the cases closed.

As always, YMMV.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Personally, I do my part to put TSA and the airlines out of business by flying only a couple of times a year, when I absolutely have no other way to get where I'm going in a timely manner. If it's anything under 600 to 800 miles round trip, I'll drive it.

Trips to Florida from Indy, however, defeat me; I don't have enough vacation time for that trip without flying.

Mike_C said...

>How sad this is all being discussed as NORMAL?

Watch people (including me) patting down their pockets checking for forgotten items before getting into the scanner. We've been trained into frisking ourselves.

>PR trumps security
A few flights ago they were advertising the wonders of the TSAprecheck program by (pseudo?)randomly selecting people to be treated as if they had already been cleared precheck. Perhaps against better judgement a few of us asked how they could justify the risk of passing random folks through with less screening if the "normal" screening were so critical to safety. I suppose we were lucky to get "Just step over there and have a nice day, sir" through clenched teeth (Google translate tells me this means "fuck you, smartass" in officialese) instead of being taken off for more intensive scrutiny.

Discobobby said...

Glad to see I'm not the only guy holding on to boxes of the old style Ranger-T packaging. When you stack deep, you miss all the new marketing.

Robin said...

Strangely my nephew flew out to visit me with a case full of boomstick goodness, and it was his first time trying to fly w/ firearms; and yet - with a lot of coaching from me via phone - he got through two airports of poor reputation without a problem.

Part of it is that I think Frontier has competent clerks.

tailwind said...

I wonder if anyone has outfitted their gun case with a hidden video camera to record just exactly what it is TSA does when they open and "inspect" the contents without the owner present.

D.W. Drang said...

Asked a TSA guy at SEA why there's so much variance with some procedures, like screening guns in checked baggage. He said it depends a lot on how much space the airport gives TSA to do the job, @SEA they have room in the lobby at one end, and an actual room at the other.

What happens if we re-word that lament?: How sad that passengers get to keep their shoes on when they're getting on planes in foreign airports that have been known points of origin for terrorists aimed at the USA ...

Geodkyt said...

I thought TSA was required to open the cases in yur presence if you insisted? Or is that something you can only invoke by using a non-TSA lock and refusing to let the keys out of your sight?

Mike Gallo said...

I'm confused as to how they got access to your case; the law (rule, whatever) is clear in that you must be present for any inspection and the case cannot be locked in a manner in which anyone other than you can access it. If you are locking your case with a TSA lock you should not be.

I have never had trouble with this in several airports, and it got me through security faster at one airport where they walked me right back to the screening area, took care of the carry-on at the same time, and walked me to the concourse.

My sister (prior to getting federal creds that allow her to carry on planes) actually had a plane held while she had to walk back to the inspection station to open her case for TSA. I was worried about this once at Mitchell Intn'l. in Milwaukee as the screening station is right there, but they just throw it on a conveyor through a machine and the desk clerk says "if you see it go through the wall then you can go, it won't need to be opened."

Mr. Engineering Johnson said...

I'll second O NFO on avoiding Dulles. The bag smashers at the scanner try to make me leave even though I know there is more screening. The agent with the swabs takes the case (which you unlock) behind the screen where you can't see. I have alway insisted that I must verify the contents before re locking, but I can tell it catches them off guard. Being polite but firm (and volunteering to "step back" while the case is open) usually works without calling over a manager.

Lergnom said...

I've made 3 round trips by air from 1995 to now. The sharp contrast from pre- to post-9/11 travel agg caused me to drive from the east coast to New Mexico(wait, there's a NEW Mexico?)and back. Christmas vacation this year is Auto train to Florida and drive back to Pennsylvania. Deus volent and the crick don't rise, I won't set foot in a TSA-controlled waiting room until this nonsense is brought back under control. Since that doesn't look likely within my lifetime, cest levi.

stay safe

PA State Cop said...

Won't let them crack the case or bag without me. Show them my Creds and tell them they will be on the end of an Initial crime report before I leave the facility if they do it without permission.

TSA Locks, Phaah. Master Padlocks and I have the key.

Tam said...

Lergnom,

I didn't set foot on a plane between '94 and '10, Mr. Van Winkle.

Kristophr said...

I've found that if I fly with a boring boring firearm, the TSA leaves it the fuck alone. Doesn't help for three gun matches, I guess.

PA State Cop:

I keep two sets of extra locks in the bottom of the gun case: A TSA set when some tard who doesn't know their own regs insists they go on instead, and a second set of master locks, in case they declare an emergency, and cut the first set off. If you don't have back up locks when the first set gets maliciously destroyed, you can't fly.

staghounds said...

Back up locks are a good idea.

When I've flown with guns, I've disassembled them before packing.

Never had a case opened yet.

Netpackrat said...

The TSA here in Anchorage tried that crap with my brother once. He refused to give them his keys, and eventually they decided to obey the law and inspect his case in his presence, and let him and it through without further incident.

Must be his luck because he's had things like that happen more than once, and I've never had any trouble with the TSA over checked firearms. Usually here in Anchorage they don't want to even open the case; they just swab the exterior.

My "gun case" for travel is a Pelican 1560 with the foam taken out. They say you have to use a lockable, hard sided case, but they don't say you can't put anything else in it, and that's how I keep the rest of my stuff from being rifled through out of my sight. Might as well make their stupid rules work in your favor.

Lergnom said...

Tam; different world, for sure.

Geodkyt said...

Netpackrat --

That's a trick I ran across from a professional photographer.

See, even starter pistols count as "guns" for FAA/TSA regs. So he advocated tossing a cheap starter pistol in every bag containing camera gear.

As he said, he went from his accountant having a *line*item* loss representing "Shit the baggage handlers stole" to not losing ANY gear in transit.