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Beware: TSA agents can be real jerks

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by KRenee, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. KatieSue

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    We haven't had any TSA issues. Once they pulled her aside for pad down and the two TSA ladies were just fascinated with her pump as they'd never seen one before and asked all kinds of questions on how it worked.

    I got pulled for a half a tube of kiddie toothpaste once. Totally forgot it was in there. They made this huge hairy deal goodness just toss it and be done with it.

    I also set it off with a brass model train. That turned into a whole massive deal taking the whole carryon apart etc. And of course on a day when I was already running late.

    I'm sorry that she had to deal with that. I do think sometimes people like to bully people when they think they can get away with it.
     
  2. Beach bum

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    Yes, my husband travels all the time and he sees this all the time. Just take it and toss it. I laugh about the train. We were coming back from Universal and had Harry Potter wands. We did carry on down, but I figured it would have opened up a can of worms having those wands go through x-ray! They were weird shape and I can only imagine what they looked like.

    As for the bullying, I so agree. Give some people an inch of power and they feel they can rule the world.
     
  3. Joretta

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  4. virgo39

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    We have not had any major problems with TSA. One of the first times we flew after dx, however, I did complain because an agent told me it was "customary" for insulin to go through the X-ray machine after I requested a hand inspection (we no longer do that) and was, in my view somewhat disrespectful...

    I got a response, including an apology and was advised that there would be additional training given to those on duty at that time.

    I am sorry that your daughter had a hard time. I am sympathetic to a 16 year old traveling alone. Could there have been some misunderstanding?
     
  5. skimom

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    Our endocrinologist gives us a travel letter with specific instructions for what should be allowed during security inspection ( ie food ,medication ,ice packs , needles etc) as well as supplies and the pump. We also carry the document that is on the Animas website about how pumps should go through security. We were told by a supervisor in the airport that these documents should always accompany my daughter and would prevent any issues-she is right!
    Not sure if it makes a difference that we are in Canada (ie is there a difference in training here?) but we have NEVER had a problem-we inform the first security agent we see that she needs a pat down and they are ready for us by the time we reach the front.My daughter has flown solo with the travel letters and no problems. they seem quite familiar with how to handle medical devices and have been very easy to work with. One officer did try to tell us that lots of people go through with pumps and we were being too cautious -she really tried to get her way-to which I told her of the cost of a pump and that shut her up somewhat( I also requested her supervisor and asked him to speak with her to clarify what was official policy vs what was her "opinion " about insulin pumps -which he did right on the spot)
    I have only had one issue where an officer told my daughter that she didn't think we needed 4 juice boxes and tried to take them away -I reminded the woman that we never knew how my daughter might respond to any Given low and we will carry what WE feel is necessary-supervisor backed ME when I called one over.
    The agent sounds like a bully-I would file a complaint - no one -adult or child-should have to put up with that crap.
     
  6. Beach bum

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    Same here. We carry a letter from both, I just pop it in with all our prescription copies.
    Never had a big issue, except in LA where the agent didn't realize (even though we told her) that the alternative to the scan is walking through the metal detector and then getting a screen of the pump. In Ft. Meyers the agent did a jump and fist pump when our pump didn't set off the alarm:D

    I have a feeling the training is the same across the board, it's jut how one chooses to handle themselves when given the power. Professional or bully.
     
  7. maciasfamily

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    We just flew last week and I really think it depends too on which airport. DFW (Dallas) was great, they didn't even pat him down. Told him to touch his pump through his shirt and then tested his hands. No question at all of all his supplies with about 6 juice boxes in them.

    On the way home, leaving IAD (Dulles/DC) airport was not so good. The TSA agents weren't rude, but we had to wait over 15 mins for a supervisor to come. No one else could check him. So my hubby and girls had to wait on the other side and wait for us. Then made him open one of the juice boxes and tested it (thankfully I had brought extra).
    After waiting, the supervisor then had one of the other agents do a modified pat down. He got to his thigh, which is where his pod was, and said he needs to take out what is in his pocket. I said that's his pump and it can't come off. He seemed a little stumped, but kept going on with his search.
    One of the TSA workers said just take his stuff off of him, while waiting for the supervisor. I said I can't, it's attached to him.

    There lack of knowledge was pretty surprising considering what a big airport this was and how many diabetics must travel through here.

    I am really sorry what happened to your daughter, and definitely agree you need to speak up for all the other kiddos who travel. Not acceptable at all!
     
  8. Beach bum

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    We have found that it's not necessarily the facility, but the person. And it's not just limited to insulin pumps. My friends sister was asked to remove the metal from her pants, she told them that was impossible as it was her leg! This was after she had said "I have a hip and knee replacement." My grandfather was given a hard time due to his pacemaker.

    I think the training needs to be revised and brought up to date and in addition, employees need to be reminded of sensitivity. I have recently read that several airports want to move away from TSA and bring back private security due to all the bureaucracy.
     
  9. KRenee

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    My dd had a very detailed letter from the endo that we got last month. The TSA agent WOULD NOT look at it so it didn't help in this situation.

    I would suppose that once they get a positive glove test, they have to be very thorough but it should never have gotten to that point. A person with diabetes who asks for a pat down is not supposed to be subjected to excessive screening, which I think this was.
     
  10. Beach bum

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    Nor should a 16 year old girl traveling alone! Was it a male or female who was giving her such a hard time?
     
  11. deafmack

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    First of all, I am sorry that your daughter had to be subjected to this excessive and rud screening. I have had it happen not with my diabetes supplies but because I am Deaf. And they did it to my portable TTY.
    I would definitely file a complaint. Your daughter did not deserve that kind of treatment and those agents should be called on the carpet for it.
     
  12. KRenee

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    It was a female - I believe that is a rule to have same sex pat-downs.
     
  13. 3kidlets

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    We travel frequently thru DFW as my husband's family lives there. They are always pleasant. My kids are always shocked at how happy and nice the TSA is there. We are from NJ and fly out of Newark. Though we've never had an issue with D supplies in security, the difference in the workers between the two airports is shocking. Th Newark workers are nasty, mean and self important. My kids are stunned when we go thru DFW and the agents engage them in conversation, smile and are friendly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  14. Traci

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    Dfw has always been great for us, too! They do a good job without being jerks.

    San Diego was horrible! They refused to allow ds to disconnect and then told me they were taking my 6/7 yr old son to a secure room by himself for a thorough search! I told them they weren't taking my child anywhere without me! Police were called, long story short, they patted ds's arms and legs (he had on shorts and a sleeveless shirt) and sent us through. No one even looked at his pump after all the drama and "security". What a joke. It could have been a gun and no one even checked. It was all for show.

    We haven't flown since...and I don't want to because of how utterly scarring that experience was.
     
  15. Beach bum

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    Well, at least the followed one rule.:rolleyes:

    Regardless, the behavior was unacceptable.
     
  16. Lulabell

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    ALL airports have WTMDs in addition to x-ray scanners.

    You may also want to use this form to file a complaint:

    http://www.oig.dhs.gov/hotline/hotline.php

    Your statement that I highlighted is oh-so true.
     
  17. Lulabell

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    When you go through backscatter with your pump, are you pulled aside for a pat-down, either whole body or focused on the area of the pump only?
     
  18. Lulabell

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    You are correct in your feeling.
     
  19. Lulabell

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    Most screeners will refuse to accept a letter. The standard line is that it could be a fraud.
     
  20. Lulabell

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    Good for you for standing up for yourself and your child!

    Please be aware that anytime the TSA wants to take a passenger to a private room, they should be advising that passenger that he/she may have a witness of his/her own choosing in the room. Sadly, in 99% of cases that never happens.

    And because passengers don't know that they can have a witness, they have been known to be told to strip off some piece of clothing and they are violated with a palm-of-the-hand search of the genital area. Having a witness will forestall the request to strip and might make the genital assault a bit less violative.

    If any of you have children who travel alone, please accompany that child through the screening procedure and make certain to tell that child to NEVER go into a private room with TSA screeners.
     

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