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Posts Tagged ‘tsa’

Happy Thanksgiving From the TSA

November 22nd, 2013 Comments off
Image via Passport

Image via Passport

Thinking about taking Great Grandma Edna’s Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce with you aboard your flight this Thanksgiving? Think again. The TSA has released their list of holiday items to put in your checked bag, to leave at home, or to ship ahead. And number-one on that list… cranberry sauce.

Other prohibited items include:

• Creamy dips and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.)
• Gift baskets with food items (salsa, jams, and salad dressings)
• Gravy
• Jams
• Jellies
• Maple Syrup
• Oils and vinegars
• Salad dressing
• Salsa
• Sauces
• Snow globes (those less than 3.4 oz, about the size of a tennis ball are allowed)
• Soups
• Wine, liquor, and beer

Note: You can bring pies and cakes through the security checkpoint, but please be advised that they are subject to additional screening. By additional screening they mean Uncle John’s Pumpkin Cheesecake is going to be break food for airport employees. [TSA]

Categories: holidays Tags: ,

Air Safety Erodes Due to Government Shutdown

October 3rd, 2013 Comments off
Image via Passport

Image via Passport

The government shutdown is certainly putting a damper on travel plans. Not only has the shutdown forced the temporary closure of several National Park Service-run landmarks and national museums, but it has rendered air travel unsafe, as nearly one-third of the Federal Aviation Administration employees have been furloughed as a result of the political standoff. This mass furlough includes nearly 3,000 aviation safety inspectors responsible for ensuring that airlines maintain safely functioning planes and adhere to federal regulations. “There is no one doing this job now,” Kori Blalock Keller, a spokesperson for Professional Aviation Safety Specialists union, told Forbes. “A lot of times, our inspectors catch little things and correct them before that plane takes off again,” he added. In the meantime, airlines will be policing their own operations.

While FAA officials note that there should be little notable change in Transportation Security Administration and air traffic control operations, many of these employees are working without pay and several air traffic control trainers and other vital support staff specialists have been furloughed. “This is akin to a surgeon performing an operation without any staff to prep the room, clean the equipment or provide support during the surgery,” Paul Rinaldi, President of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association said in a statement.

“Safety is our top priority,” the FAA announced in a recent statement, “If the furlough extends longer than a few days, we will incrementally begin to recall specific employees back to work to meet continuing safety needs.” That awaits to be seen. In the meantime, airline passengers lives are at risk.

TSA Misconduct Up 26% in the Last Three Years as Government Calls for Reform

July 31st, 2013 Comments off
Image via Carolina K. Smith MD.

Image via Carolina K. Smith MD.

While we may not always agree with the practices of the TSA, we have come to rely on them to ensure that when we fly, we’re safe. A new government report, though, shows that misconduct by the Transportation Security Administration has increased by a dramatic 26% in just the past three years. What does misconduct entail? Sleeping on the job, letting friends and family through security without a screening, leaving work, and even stealing. In the past three years 9,000 cases of misconduct have been reported and 1,900 of those incidences are deemed significant enough to pose security threats. “There’s not even a way to properly report some of the offenses, so this may be just the tip of the iceberg of some of the offenses,” said Rep. John Mica, a Florida Republican. “Why are there so many cases and, then, what is TSA doing about that?” he asks. “The report says they can’t really get a handle on it. That raises a lot of issues.” The government is calling on the TSA to find a better way to monitor allegations of misconduct. [CNN]

 

‘Airport Flasher’ Settles Lawsuit Sending TSA Back to Civil Liberties School

July 22nd, 2013 Comments off
Image via TSA Newsblog

Image via TSA Newsblog

 “[I]t is crystal clear,” the court wrote, “that the First Amendment protects peaceful nondisruptive speech in an airport, and that such speech cannot be suppressed solely because the government disagrees with it”

A college student who was arrested after he stripped down at airport security to reveal the Fourth Amendment written on his chest and stomach in 2010 has finally settled a lawsuit against airport security. Known as the “Airport Flasher,” the then-21-year-old Aaron Tobey became a face of the anti-increased invasive searches. While the TSA and the airport dropped their lawsuit against Tobey, the college student filed his own lawsuit against the two parties. After a year-and-a-half struggle, the parties have finally settled. Check out what was agreed upon: “Richmond International Airport officials announced this week that their security officers underwent a special two-hour training course on the First and Fourth Amendment rights of passengers as a part of a settlement with Mr. Tobey,” according to WSJ.

TSA Postpones Allowing Knives and Other ‘Weapons’ on Planes

April 23rd, 2013 Comments off
Image via TSA.

Image via TSA.

The Transportation Security Administration has finally come to their senses regarding their much-criticized easing of restrictions that would have allowed small knives on planes. The revamped Prohibited Items List, which was originally scheduled to go into effect in two days, is now being postponed in order for the TSA to get further input from the Aviation Security Advisory Committee. When TSA Administrator John Pistole made the announcement that passengers would soon be allowed to bring previously banned items like longer knives, souvenir bats, golf clubs, and  corkscrews onto planes, it not only sparked outrage from passengers, but also from flight attendants, pilots, federal air marshals, and even insurance companies. [CBS]

We’ll keep you updated if the TSA decides to lift the ban again.

Air Marshals and Flight Attendants Speak Out to Ban Weapons at 32,000 Feet

March 7th, 2013 Comments off
Image via TSA.

Image via TSA.

After yesterday’s ridiculous announcement that the TSA will be lifting the ban on small knives, corkscrews, and other potentially lethal objects, groups that represent federal air marshals and flight attendants are up in arms over the mile-high fiasco. Most importantly, the groups are angry that the TSA has seemed to forget about what lead to the 9/11 attacks in the first place. “It’s as if we didn’t learn anything from 9/11,” said George Randall Taylor, head of the air marshal unit of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA). “Flight attendants are going to be sitting ducks.”

Of course the most vulnerable group to an attack with the newly allowed weapons is flight attendants. A union representing 90,000 have called the measure “a poor and short-sighted decision by the TSA.” And added: “Continued prohibition of these items is an integral layer in making our aviation system secure and must remain in place,” the Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions said in a statement.

TSA Changes Rules to Allow Knives & Other “Weapons” on Planes

March 6th, 2013 Comments off
Image via Passport.

Image via Passport.

While back in January we were praising the TSA for finally getting rid of  some controversial and potentially dangerous body scanners, their latest change in security procedures must not be implemented. The TSA, with little or no consultation with the airlines or flight attendants, announced its new policy which allows passengers to bring on the plane, among other things, small knives. You think that’s absurd? Get this. Passengers can also bring on golf clubs, hockey sticks, small baseball bats, and even corkscrews. Though, box cutters—the blade used in the 9/11 attacks—remain banned, not because of their threat level, but because, according to the TSA, of sentimental reasons. Who’s in charge over there!? Tell the TSA to reverse their decision to allow these potential “weapons” from being allowed on planes. There’s no reason these things can’t be checked.

Here is a link to their website and email address

You can read the entire TSA announcement concerning the new rules by clicking here.

US Government Discontinues Use of Full-Body Scanners

January 18th, 2013 Comments off

article-2264568-1705224B000005DC-745_634x356

After over two years of controversy, the federal government has discontinued using the invasive airport body scanners. After public outcry, the TSA was hoping to revamp the software to be less revealing, but the machines’ developer, OSA Systems Inc., failed to create the necessary software by a Congressional deadline. Thus, the TSA will end its contract with the company and has already begun removing some 200 machines from US airports. [DM]

Read more at: www.dailymail.co.uk

TSA Seeks to Fire Largest Group of Security Agents Ever

October 22nd, 2012 Comments off

Image via Passport.

In our post-9/11 world, we as travelers expect the US Department of Homeland Security would be held to the highest standards. When we board a plane, we shouldn’t have to worry that someone checked something in their bag that could threaten our safety. Unfortunately, it seems that some at the TSA haven’t been taking their job too seriously and thankfully the TSA is doing something about it. On Friday, the agency said it was in the process of firing 25 agents and suspending 19—making this the largest group ever to be fired by the department. According to CNN:

The 44 employees all worked in a checked-baggage screening room in Terminal B of Newark’s Liberty International Airport, TSA spokesman David Castelveter told CNN in a written statement. In November and December of 2011, they were caught on surveillance cameras not following proper screening protocols, an agency internal investigation revealed. After passengers check their bags, TSA screeners are supposed to search the luggage with electronic scanners and open some bags by hand. In this case, the employees allegedly didn’t follow procedures on about 250 bags during the two months, the agency said. All bags did receive some screening, however.

 

Categories: Gay Travel Tags: , , ,

Customs Stop Man at LAX With Smoke Grenade, Knives, and Other Weapons

October 10th, 2012 Comments off

Image via Passport.

A Boston man, flying from Japan en route to Boston was stopped at a layover in LAX by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials after they discovered he had a smoke grenade, knives, body bags, a hatchet, a collapsible baton, a biohazard suit, a gas mask, billy clubs, handcuffs, leg irons, and a device to repel dogs in his checked bag, authorities said. Twenty-eight-year-old Yongda Huang Harris was initially stopped when TSA officers noticed he was wearing a bullet-proof vest under his jacket, and they later found out that he was also wearing flame-resistant pants. He has reportedly not been cooperating with law enforcement who are desperate to figure out why the man was carrying these items. As of now, Harris can only be charged with one count of transporting hazardous materials, which has a maximum penalty of five years. Even more troubling, many of the items being carried weren’t illegal to transport. According to WaPo:

Find out more after the jump…
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