I work at an airport and going through screening everyday can just be “delightful”….sarcasm intented.
For the past four years I’ve been lucky to not have to be subject to extra screening via the scanners. As an airport employee, TSA always had me continue on through the medal detector although the “random” extra screening buzzer went off.
That all changed a few weeks ago in the wake of the attacks in Paris. Now EVERYONE has to go through the scanner….airport employee or not….when the “random” buzzer goes off.
I had to go through the scanner for the first time in four years two weeks ago. Okay, make that three times having to go through the scanner during one random check. That’s how many times it took TSA to figure out the barret in my hair, my (cross) necklace, laynard with airport badge/ID, my watch, my belt and my tube of chapstick were not a security threat. While TSA had me contiously go back through the scanner, they called a female officer to assist me. All she did was took my wrist and turned it over so she could see the watch band. Then she had me lower my head and shake it back and forth. What did they think, I was smuggling something through in my watch band and have something hidden in my hair???? All the while TSA made me feel like I was the one doing something wrong. All I was doing was trying to get to work. It was humilating and degrading how they treated me. They finally let me on my way……after making me late for work by that point.
Fast forward to last week. I was once again subjected to a “random” extra screening. This time I was prepared. I took off my belt and sent it through the xray while I went through the scanner. I was stopped again in order for a female officer to “assist” me. I forgot about the necklace I was wearing and she patted my collar bone area to confirm it was “just” a necklace. Then she let me go to work.
I had four days off from work for the holiday. When I came back to work yesterday. once again, I was subjected to a “random” extra screening. Same scenorio….too off my belt, placed my neclace behind my back. Once again a female officer had to look at my watch band.
Today, for the third time in a row, I had to go through the scanner again for a “random” extra screening. I purposly didn’t wear my belt today in so I was ready to go through. I got stopped again…..this time because of my shoes and my ankles were suspicious. While one TSA officer sent my shoes (that I have ALWAYS worn through screening without a problem) through the xray, a female officer patted down my ankles. She even joked about how suspicious my ankles looked, making light of the situation, which helped elivate some of my frustration. Out of ALL the TSA officers I’ve delt with during all my “random” searches, she was the ONLY officer who treated me with dignity and respect.
As an airport employee, I get that I am subjected to random searches at any time. That isn’t my problem. What my problem is why is it turning out to be an every day thing after not being subjected to it for four years? My other problem is the lack of respect and undignified manner in which the TSA officers treat people during the “random” extra screenings. It’s uncalled for.
The TSA is a completely useless operation that stems from fear of what “might” happen. It has not caught a single terrorist and I doubt it ever well. The sooner that program is banished from existence, the happier airline customers and employees alike can breath a sigh of relief.