Don’t Let The TSA Ruin Your Family Vacation This Summer

As summer vacation time approaches, many families will by flying to their destinations.

Since September 11th, the TSA has been scrutinized and come under fire for negligence in their security checks to prevent violence and terrorism.

But in many cases, TSA agents have taken it to the other extreme, senselessly targeting those who don’t fit the “profile”, including ordinary families.

In recent years, horror stories have emerged of everyday Americans being targeted for searches while trying to catch a flight at their local airport.

Young women, children, and the elderly have all been the subject of unprovoked targeting by TSA officials.

TSA officers, like other law enforcement, do have quotas and do not need to give a legitimate reason for a search.

At Dallas/Fort Worth Airport recently, a video emerged and went viral showing a Transportation Security Administration officer patting down a teenage boy during a security check — for the simple reason that his laptop alarm went off during screening.

The video was widely circulated after the boy’s family told of the horrifying pat-down the young boy endured, especially since he is special needs and has sensory integration issues.

And Huffington Post reported on the targeting of “attractive” female passengers by male TSA agents:

Even though the TSA and other organizations that handle transportation-related security claim they don’t engage in profiling, they are known to single out certain passengers, a vast majority of which pose zero security threat.

One of their favorite targets are women — attractive women.

The most famous incident happened in April 2011, when former Miss USA Suzie Castillo was subjected to what she described as an invasive pat-down by TSA agents that reduced the beauty queen to tears

“It’s so odd,” she says. “I don’t fit the profile.”

Or does she?

These alarming stories could involve anyone, including our own children or teenage daughters.

Travelers United reported of purposeful targeting by agents when travelers demand their rights be respected.

However, when meeting with privacy officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and TSA later that month, I was told unofficially that there were two standards of pat-downs. One for the normal situation where passengers are going through metal detectors and a different pat-down for those who refuse to go through the whole-body scanners.

With this latest announcement, TSA admits that it has been clandestinely punishing passengers for refusing to go through the invasive whole-body scans with an even more intrusive aggressive pat-down and that soon those more invasive pat-down will creep from airport to airport.

Traveling with children or the elderly can add extra stresses and time delays, but there are precautions your family can take to avoid any potential issues at the airport — or undue emotional trauma to our children.

Travelers United lists some tips to avoid TSA targeting and protect your family during travel:

  1. TSA is only permitted to do “administrative searches” of passengers and their belongings, looking for prohibited items to ensure passengers’ safety.

  2. Under a new TSA regulation, air travelers no longer have the absolute right to refuse going through TSA’s full-body scanners and instead be screened with an enhanced pat-down.

  3. Travelers have the right to request that the pat-down be conducted by a TSO of their gender.

  4. Travelers have the right to request a private screening.

  5. Passengers have the right to have TSOs change their gloves prior to their screening. It’s also essential to prevent contamination of an explosives test. Nitrate-based explosives are particularly sticky. If the TSO’s gloves touched nitrate residue when worn before your test, you will test positive for explosives due to the glove’s contamination, resulting in a potentially lengthy delay.

  6. If a private screening is offered by TSA, passengers are permitted to refuse the offer and require TSA conduct the screening in public.

  7. Travelers may ask for reasonable accommodation during screening, including wheel chairs, crutches, canes, etc.

  8. Passengers have the right not to remove or lift any article of clothing to reveal a sensitive body area. This rule extends to the removal or lifting of items of religious clothing.

American families do have rights while traveling and need to demand those rights be respected.

By following a few simple tips while flying this summer, you can prevent any potential issues from ruining your family vacation.