Home / Flights / Touch that! Don’t touch that! The TSA’s inconsistencies

Touch that! Don’t touch that! The TSA’s inconsistencies

As a frequent traveler, I frequently get yelled at by the TSA.  And I’m frequently doing whatever they yelled at me to do the last time.

I used to opt out when I had to go through the scanning machines.  Now that I have pre-check, I’m not constantly going through those machines–so when I have to use it, I don’t opt out.

Which made me realize a knot I have in a muscle sometimes shows up as me having something on my person.

So I get pat down anyway.

And I’ve noticed an inconsistency of what happens to my stuff afterwards.

Sometimes they’ll immediately scoop it up.  Sometimes they’ll leave it on the belt.  And sometimes they’ll bark at someone in my party to take it.

The first time I went through, my husband went to grab my purse off the belt.  The TSA agent screamed at him that he can’t touch my stuff, or else he’ll be secondarily scanned too.

The next time we went through, my purse was sitting on the belt.  The agent pointed at my husband and asked, “Isn’t that your husband?  Why is he just letting your purse sit there?”

My husband double-checked whether or not he actually was allowed to touch it.  The agent exclaimed, Of course!

Guess what happened the next time.

One of the times my father was getting checked out because of the knee implant I wrote about earlier, the small bin with his wallet and cell phone got pushed to the end of the belt and went flying.

They wouldn’t let his friends pick up his cell phone and wallet for him, even though it was in the path of the people walking.  So they basically just kept audibly warning people and watching his stuff.

I don’t think they’ve ever stopped me from gathering Keri’s stuff.

What rules have they enforced on you in regards to touching other people’s stuff?  Have you been allowed to touch your spouse’s?

tsa security

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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6 comments

  1. Spouses vs spouse’s.

  2. When I travel I always have my everyday bag with all my usuals: umbrella, sunglasses, mini-screwdriver set, some CDs, and the occasional network tester, plus whatever odds & ends I have for the trip itself.

    These days I’m almost always flying in & out of Boston. Once last year however I took a regional out of Ogdensburg, NY. TSA at Logan waves me through every time. Ogdensburg TSA practically shut the place down and took every single item, down to every scrap of paper, out of my bag.

  3. Gotta keep things inconsistent to confuse all those terrorists they’re capturing…

  4. For my individual travels, I always use eye contact and a hand motion to silently ask and get reasonable direction – when there is no eye contact, I pick up the bag.

    For my family travels, I am carrying all the bags onto the belt and off the belt, so regardless it was my item. Since I haven’t been singled out since I’ve strategically made a business-casual travel wardrobe that never alarms.

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