TSA Timeline for Jolley Family
On way to Grand Cayman, April 1, 2018
1. When we checked in at the Chicago O’Hare Airport American Airlines desk for our boarding passes we noted that we had the designation “SSSS” in the lower left and upper right corners of the passes for all 4 of us. I had gotten this before when travelling a few years ago and I informed everyone that we were going to be invasively searched physically and scanned multiple times through the electronic scanners. In order to prepare my children for the unpleasant experience I explained exactly what was going to happen:
a. We will be required to remove: belts, shoes, stuff from pockets
b. Have our cell phones possibly disassembled (removed from Otter type boxes)
c. We will have to walk through the “Walk Through” electronic scanner TWICE
d. We will have to go into the controversial full body scanner
e. Have our carry-on bags completely disassembled and exhaustively searched
f. Explained that they will tell you they are going to pat you down
2. We then went to the gate to board and TSA was checking all boarding passes against your ID. When we got onto the gangway to board the plane TSA was also there and I was singled out for another “Pat Down”. We all then boarded the plane and departed to DFW.
3. At DFW, when we were answering our boarding call, TSA members that were there said we had not been security scanned. We informed them that we were intensively scanned in Chicago and had not left the airport secure area (11 hour layover in Dallas from Chicago). TSA said we needed to be rescanned. When they took us to the Checkpoint I asked if this was going to be long because our plane was boarding and they said they were going to scan each one of us “One at a time” instead of together concurrently.
4. My wife asked TSA personnel why we weren’t told that we needed to be checked again, as we didn’t know. (We were all frazzled as they had been handling and treating us as if we were terrorists). He rudely told her “we don’t have to tell you anything.” There was a delay at the gate and boarding was halted and we had a chance to make the flight. When TSA completed and we were getting dressed, the boarding process re-commenced, while we listened to the final boarding call, we were taking our boarding passes as a TSA agent declared he needed to go through my son’s bag.
a. He went slowly through each item
b. He squeezed and fondled each item
c. He laid each item and pressed his hands against each item
d. He threw each completed item into a pile
e. He took a total of 20 minutes
5. After slowly taking out and unpacking Dominic’s bag the TSA guy said we could leave. “Don’t you have to put the stuff back in the bag?” my son asked the guy. The guy said “NO”. He didn’t and all of my son’s stuff was spread out in three bins. We had no time to put everything back in the bag. I asked the TSA personnel if we could just take the bins and have the guys at the gate bring them back. They told us no and we were forced to all carry Dominic’s stuff and our shoes in our arms and run to our plane.
6. We ran down the gate and were screamed at by a TSA lady with a bomb dog to not run next to the dog (They were standing right in the middle of the walkway). The doors were about to close but we made it just in time and the doors closed behind us. We carried random items of clothes in our arms, embarrassed as people sitting in their seats watch us find our own seats.
On way home (Grand Cayman airport)
1. We are checking in at the American Airlines desk to get our boarding passes the agent had difficulty checking us in. We had to wait 45 minutes while airport personnel guy had to call American Airlines to approve our flight.
2. Our boarding passes were scanned and my daughter and I were pulled out of line (My wife and son had no trouble at first). Cayman Security said to me and Hannah “Were you told about Homeland Securities issue with you guys?” (we were not aware). All four of us were taken out of line to detectors that were not being used. We all received full body pat downs and bag checks. It was a lot faster and smoother than in the U.S. with TSA.
3. As we were finding a spot to wait in the terminal for our flight, my daughter’s name was called over the PA. They wanted to check our checked bag (the reason they called her was because the bag was in her name). They took me into a room that had two other travelers and Cayman Security with our bag. They made my daughter, wife and son wait outside.
4. Nothing was wrong and we could wait for our flight to board. Our flight made it to our first connection in DFW.
In DFW: (Real nightmare begins)
1. After we landed in DFW the pilot announced that another plane was in our gate so we could not park and get off the plane. We had limited time to get to our connecting flight to Chicago.
a. As the people on our plane stood up to get their bags, our last name was called over the plane’s PA. They wanted my family to get off the plane first. We were happy because we thought they knew somehow that we needed to make our flight and were letting us leave ahead to make it on time.
b. As we were making our way out of the door of the plane, two armed Customs and Immigration personnel were waiting for us. They asked us to follow them.
i. We were escorted through a maze of corridors, around what seemed the whole airport, taking us to an office they said to check our passports.
ii. The armed guards took us through to a person to check our boarding pass.
iii. The armed guards took us to customs office and made us wait.
c. I was called into a private room and was courteously asked by the official: “why he had to get me?” I told him I didn’t know.
d. We chatted for about 20 minutes and he let us go.
e. We missed our connecting flight to Chicago. (First missed flight)
2. One armed guard escorted us to baggage claim and put our luggage into a scanner. He asked us if there were pots and pans in it. There were not.
3. We got our bag and were allowed to go to American Airlines help desk (without armed guard) to get a new flight.
Long story short, TSA made us miss our flights 6 times, kicked us out of the airport in the dead of night, and serially searched, groped, scanned and harassed us for a total of near 48 hours.
By: Gary Jolley