Dear Fellow Cruisers,
I just have to get this off my chest and hear from others on the topic. During the security
check point before boarding the airplane, I was harrassed. I was wearing a jean skirt,
which is more comfortable for flying. The security officer taking our carry-ons, jackets,
purses bent down under the table to see what I was wearing. Sure enough I was singled
out to be frisked. I stood for 20 minutes while I had to remove my shoes, outer sweater,
and belt. Then they made me show one foot at a time. I had on hose and you could plainly
see my feet. Then with my arms stretched out I had to stand with one foot 2 feet in front
of the other while they ran a wand over the front and back of my skirt. I had to switch feet
4 different times. The back of my bra was patted down and the wand ran over my chest
more than once. This is clearly too much!!! From now on I will travel in pants. I will
be contacting my congress person about this.
Anybody else out there have this trouble..............???
More than likely it was not that you were singled out, rather you just had one of the ticket numbers that was randomly selected for search. We found this out after a flight in SLC, one of us in our group of tickets that had been purchased together was one of the random ticket number - all of us had to be screened like that.
Yes, it is a pain in the rear, but I will have no complaints about it - it is for my protection as well as everyone elses.
I am sorry that you felt it was out of line, but I feel that in this day in age, we should just understand that society and the world has changed and we have to take much more drastic measures for protection.
BTW - we all had on pants and/or shorts.
I am not trying to find fault in your feelings about this - just pointing out that you were probably not single out because you had a jean skirt on.
I can see both sides of the issue.
When we all travel my daughter who is (sorry but have to brag) a beautiful blonde, and low and behold every airport we all go to she is the one singled out. We sometimes think its because she wears jewelry but last trip she did not wear much and she got stopped again. It does not bother her, we all just stand there and laugh.
Also in our group is a young man who is lebonese and very dark skinned, guess what he usually gets stopped also. So I do think there is racial motives to the searches also. When we all get ready to go thru secruity, we take bets who will get stopped in our group!
But hey its ok, we all know its for our own protection.
My wife's 96 year old mother was singled out to have her luggage specially searched on both ends of a flight from Florida to Texas last year. Either it was random, or she looked really, really dangerous.
TSA won't reveal the formula for choosing them, but there's no doubt that a certain number of people are selected for more elaborate searches. You can tell in advance if it's going to happen to you because there's usually the code SSSS on your boarding pass.
Two factors that probably always trigger the SSSS are one-way tickets and cash payment for tickets. But they're not the only things that do it, and I believe that a certain number of people are selected totally at random. That accounts for little old ladies, and probably for you, Cruisingbear. It's happened to me a number of times for no particular reason that I could see.
Doesn't matter what airport it was, because it's happening everywhere.
You just grin and bear it. Don't bother your Congressman about it; it's part of the drill.
On the "Get Lei'd" trip last year, I was singled out at every airport. I had issues at O'Hare where I started. My flight to MPLS was cancelled so I had to detour to Detroit, to get on a flight for Seattle, to transfer for a flight Honolulu.
I had to take my shoes off at O'Hare, Detroit and was singled out major in Seattle. My carry-on was literally dumped out three times. I always wear a 3 piece outfit as I'm usually cold on planes. I always have to take my jacket off, doesn't matter if it is a denim shirt, blazer or just a blouse over a shell.
I take it in stride, and I always get singled out to take my shoes off and have a major search of my carry-on! Happened again when I left Orlando for Milwaukee on Midwest Express! I'm pretty low key, I think, but it really doesn't bother me at all. I look at it as the luck of the draw.
What a pain in the tail! I've never been singled out, but I wonder about all of this after hearing about a woman who was not only "wanded," but was threatened about having to strip. The reason? The underwire in her bra.
What gets me is even if you wear a soft-cup bra, it will still have mental hooks in it. I always wear elastic waisted pants in a soft stetchy material for comfort, and there's no metal zipper. I dunno, I think it's all out of control. They should profile better.
On a similar subject, I read on the Virgin Atlantic web page that they do not agree with the TSE's policy of mandatory unlocked baggage. The airline thinks that all bags should be locked. I don't know where that puts me next month when I fly out of LAX. Will have to call Virgin Atlantic, I guess.
Agree that is probably random. I have a knee and hip replacement so carry a card that says I will surely set off alarms due to the titanium. Even before my new "parts", I was singled out in several places - have worn the exact same flying outfit for about 5 years - sometimes I'm searched, sometimes not.
I understand your irritation, but don't think there's much that can be done about it. I just look at it and hope that they do it to the person who is out to hurt us.
It was done because your ticket was picked at random in all likelihood. How or why they peick certain people I cannot tell you. I too am always searched every time, without fail and it is a complete search. Every time I pick up my tickets I see that dreaded SSSS stamped on it and know what's coming. Understand that I sometimes fly VIP as well as ecomomy and one of the first things through the scanner is my police ID including badge and ID card. It doesn't matter, I still get a complete search.
My boyfriend (who is a United employee) always gets search when we travels, probably because of his last name. He has gotten used to it.
I've never noticed them picking a specific type to search. Women sometimes run into trouble in the chest area by wearing bras with metal. This is the normal reason they have to go over the chest more than once. Women in the know avoid underwire bras while traveling by air for this very reason. Metal claps can also set the machines off. Some jeans have these type buttons. It's embarassing when they have to run the wand over your crotch, but necessary for them to find out if that is what is causing the devise to go off.
When I travel I try to wear clothes with elastic waists and no zippers. I just makes getting through security that much easier.
Thanks for all your comments. This is the third time I have been searched while wearing
a skirt. I guess from now on I will travel in pants, a bra without wires/hooks, sandals,
and I will check my ticket for the SSSSS. I realize all of the extra security is for a very
important reason. This country will never forget 9/11/2002, but my husband and I
felt this was way over the top.
Thanks for letting me vent.!!
Think about this from the terrorist's point of view: what would be the easiest way to get "something" on board the plane, ship, etc...? Have the most unlikely looking person take it for them. The 911 hijackers took great pains to appear harmless, including smiling and acting friendly, helpful,considerate, even shaving off their (religiously-required) facial hair. If I absolutely needed to get something past security, I'd have a 97-year -old lady carry it on for me in her prosthesis. (but security knows this, thus explaining why you were searched.... they wouldn't be doing their job if they didn't check THE LEAST OBVIOUS).
Just 1 month to go until the "Cruise Cynic Mystery Cruise" ... January 2008
I don't understand why you're in such an uproar. 9 times out of 10 that I pass through an airport I am searched, and yes, I travel frequently and widely. I never give it a second thought when I am required to have my bags inspected and the wand run over me.
And, personally for me the day I will never forget is September 11, 2001 as opposed to 2002 as you noted above.
Are you really that annoyed that the nation is doing what it believes is in the best interest of our safety at this time?
Write your congressman?? Whatever.
And, if you think 'traveling in pants' will solve all your objections to the current 'process', have at it but you're just fooling yourself.
As you read my thoughts just remember that in the first sentence of your original post you stated 'and hear from others on the topic'.
I'm sorry I got the date wrong, my typing it's always correct. 9/11/2001 is the correct date.
I too have been searched before, almost everytime I fly, however this was Way over the
I did ask for your opinions and appreciate the responses.
There is no question that they DO NOT pick and choose by someones race or nationality. Sorry if it is politically incorrect but I think they should. When was the last time a 40 yr old midwest housewife with her child blew up a plane? Sorry but it does show that these suicide bombers are almost all of middle-eastern decent and between the ages of 18-29 and male with now females also becoming involved. I know they don;t profile as while I was being completely searched, (as always), at a gate I observed three middle-eastern males in their 20's and wearing robes and Muslem headgear walk right through security with out a glance at them. I just think common sense should be allowed to be used.
vent away its very healing! I have learned a couple of things traveling post 911
1. Don't wear Rockport brand shoes - they all have steel shanks in them
2. Ladies don't wear underwire bras
3. Wear elastic waist pants
4. Read the signs while you are standing in the security line. - take off your outer jacket,
put your purse in the bin - put your carry-on on the conveyour belt.
5. Don't have any change in your pockets
6. Be pleasant - make eye contact and smile - they are just doing their jobs.
By your description they did perhaps go a little overboard on the number of times they ran the wand over you but that could be just because of the person doing the security check which now days can be a necessary thing.
They usually do chaeck randomly however some people do get checked everytime. My wife must walk with a leg brace so she always sets off the sensors and is always checked from head to toe. She always has to take off her leg brace as well as shoes which is no small task with the type of brace she has. This is one reason we are always real early to check in at any airport because we know my wife will get a complete check over several times when we go to an airport.
I just traveled to Florida and was pulled aside and searched for all the reasons mentioned above... shoes, bra, etc. My purse and carry-on were put through the metal detectors a few times. And to be honest, I would've let them do it all day. It made me feel safe and comfortable getting on that airplane!
Last year on my trip to Florida as I was waiting to get on the plane, I noticed that I had a Swiss Army card in my wallet (it's credit card sized with a metal nail file, scissors, pen... ) and this is AFTER going through security. I am normally afraid getting on a plane, but that didn't sit with me well. Just thinking if I could get that through security, what else is getting through. BUT this year, they saw it and took it (I just forget it's even in there). It made me feel at ease!
Just found a new security measure in Miami - we had to open our cell phones. I have no problem with it. I prefer to be safe. We always remove our coats. BTW, you sometimes have to remove sandals. Sneakers or athletic shoes seem to make it okay if you do not want to remove shoes. Now, I really wish they would check more thoroughly. One of my daughters has a dark complexion, could pass for a number of different ethnic backgrounds, and has a kind of bohemian look about her. She is always stopped. She has no problem with it. However, she usually has a camera bag in her backpack. Do you know that no one has ever opened her camera bag even though they have emptied out her backpack? Personally, I find that part scary. I say let them do what they need to in order to keep us safe. But I also understand your need to vent. Nice to have a place like this where you can.
We just got back from a cruise on Sat. ...the whole family, myself, husband, and 3 children, and my oldest daughter was searched in a similar fashion. ...and yes she did have to take items off and it took about 20 minutes...but keeping a sense of humor about the whole thing made it easier for everyone concerned. Don't know if it was random or if she was wearing an underwire bra. I'd rather security be thorough rather than let something pass that could endanger anyone.