8 Things Your TSA Agent Won't Tell You

Posted on Sun, Jul 16, 2017

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A record 234.1 million passengers are expected to fly on U.S.-based carriers this summer, apparently not dissuaded by a series of customer-relations blowups in recent weeks.  Reports Hugo Martin in an article in the Los Angeles Times, May 18, 2017.

Airlines for America, which represents the airline industry, attributes the projected 4% increase in summer travel to improving economic conditions, higher household net worth and lower airfares.  To accommodate the increase of about 100,000 more fliers a day, airlines plan to add 123,000 extra seats a day, according to the trade group.

When it comes to the Transportation Security Administration and their officers, most people aren’t exactly fans. The process of getting through airport security is long, and many find it to be unnecessarily invasive — especially when it comes to how much of a person’s body is shown when going through body scanners and how people feel about pat-downs. People have such strong feelings toward the TSA that some officers find it easier to fib about the true nature of their job than just state that they’re a TSA agent at an airport.

Our friends at Reader's Digest compiled a list of 15 things the TSA won't tell you.  We have listed 8 of the items we found most interesting or amazing here.  For the complete article click here

Security isn’t all that secure

Despite all the metal detectors, body scanners, and pat-downs, it turns out an awful lot of items can still get through security.  In 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (which oversees the TSA) sent undercover agents into some of the busiest airports in America with banned waspons and fake explosives in their bags and on their person.  Care to guess how many of the items made it through:

Ninety-five percent. In fact, TSA agents failed to detect the items in 67 out of the 70 tests conducted.

The Agency cashes in on your pocket change

The TSA makes an awful lot of money on pocket change that passengers leave behind —$765,759 in 2015, to be exact. According to the agency, “receipts of unclaimed money are deposited into a Special Fund account so that the resources can be tracked easily and subsequently expended.” So, keep track of this change, lest the TSA cash in on your forgetfulness.

Agents aren’t always delicate

Though checked baggage will sometimes reach its destination accompanied by a paper notification stating that the bag was searched by TSA agents (about 5 percent of bags are searched in this manner), the contents are generally still in good order. However, not all TSA staffers are as delicate as they should be. Sometimes clothes and other personal items arrive in disarray, fragile objects are broken, bottles are spilled, and — all too often — wrapped presents are torn apart.

They’re not cops

Extra airport security is often blamed on the TSA, which can make some travelers fearful — especially ones who may have packed a small pocket knife or other contraband and worry they’ll be unexpectedly arrested. Though it’s true that the agents may try to hold you until police arrive, the agency itself operates on consent (expressed or implied), meaning you’re generally free to leave the airport if security doesn’t want to let you through. They can’t personally arrest you.

You’ll stand out if you opt out

The TSA isn’t a fan of people who choose not to go through the full-body scanner. Given, of course some people can’t because of medical reasons, but others who just refuse are adding more time to the security screening process, and it’s cumbersome for the staff (as well as the antsy passengers waiting behind you).

 Agents lie about their jobs

Since the TSA always seems to be dealing with negative press, most people look at them unfavorably (as just mentioned). With that said, many officers aren’t completely truthful about their job title when asked what they do, saying they work for the Department of Homeland Security — which isn’t wrong, but it’s also not the complete truth.

Your food is the bomb

Ever wonder why your TSA agent spends so much time scrutinizing food packed in luggage? It’s because many of these edible items actually look like explosives. In an X-ray machine, a wheel of cheese is indistinguishable from C4. Meats result in a similar situation, as all of these foods appear orange on the display — just like bombs.

Your stuff might get sold

Ever wonder what happens to the items discarded by passengers when the TSA won’t let them through? They’re not simply thrown in a landfill, but instead collected and later sold for a profit. Items such as knives, spears, heavy rolling pins, and even nunchucks are collected each day by TSA screeners, shipped to states that are looking to make a buck, and then sold via local government surplus stores or online at GovDeals.com.

Dean and Draper

We wish you safe and fun travels this summer.  When you have questions about your insurance coverage, we invite you to contact us.  As always, we are here to provide you with good, solid answers to your insurance questions.

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Topics: TSA and Summer Travel