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LaJoy to the World: Meet the new boss – same as the old boss?

Parashoot-flames

The TSA re-organization and former Head of Security, Kelly Hoggan’s new assignment

There’ll be 1000 screen agents standing around.
1000 screen agents, standing around
and if one screen agent should accidentally fall be pushed.
there’ll be 999 screen agents, standing around.

And so it is then that we bid farewell to head of security for TSA, Kelly Hoggan who has been removed from his position after the fiasco in excessive pre-security lines. He has been replaced by Darby LaJoye, who is currently deputy assistant administrator. LaJoye was previously federal security director of and LAX and JFK.

LAX and JFK – that sounds really impressive doesn’t it? Except for some small details. In a poll by ‘Travel and Leisure‘, LAX was voted #2 worst airport (ranked 21st for check-in and security process) and JFK was slightly better in #4 worst airport (“Ease of getting a taxi may be the best thing to be said about JFK. You will wait—and wait—in check-in and security lines..”).

The TSA (Thousands Standing Around) is You and Me

I’ve got admit I didn’t pay attention too much to the headlines about why we should expect long lines at airports this summer. Then I saw this youtube video taken at O’Hare airport.

The videographer started his video at the beginning of the security line and filmed himself walking to the start of it. The duration just to walk to the back of the line was 2:16. Incredible.

The New York Times is saying that if you are planning on flying, you should allocate HOURS to get through the security lines where the TSA has allocated fewer resources to screening this summer. That’s right – FEWER.

At Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, about 600 passengers missed their flights on March 25 because an inadequate number of screeners led to waits exceeding three hours, airport officials said. Brent D. Cagle, the airport’s interim director of aviation, complained to the T.S.A., calling the episode a “fiasco.” “This situation could have been avoided, had the T.S.A. had the proper staffing (or overtime budget necessary) to meet customer demand,” Mr. Cagle wrote in a letter to the security agency. (T.S.A. officials denied that the wait had ever been that long, telling local reporters that it had been 75 minutes for a short time.)

This was far from an isolated incident. Airports in Atlanta, Miami, New York, Seattle, Denver and Chicago, among others, have all experienced similar problems in recent months. Denver @tsa is always horrendous… 6:07 PM ­ 20 Apr 2016 · Colorado, USA, United States 3 www dot CharlotteFor dot me TSA checkpoints backed up at Charlotte airport during Spring Break.

Last month, Denver Airport advised travelers to get to the airport as much as three hours before their flights. Still, people waited for more than an hour and a half to clear security.

The TSA claims the reason for the long lines are there are more travelers.

They are also understaffed due to employee turnover but they are also inspecting more after a Security audit showed the TSA had missed weapons and explosives in undercover tests.

The Chicago Tribune adds some more details on the TSA numbers where they cut their budget by 10% based on expected uptick on TSA Precheck. It didn’t happen. As the consequence to all this is that people are missing their flights.

Friday morning, American Airlines held at least five flights at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport because of passengers stuck at security lines, according to airline spokesman Ross Feinstein.

On the 7:20 a.m. flight to Las Vegas, 52 of the 160 passengers were not onboard 10 minutes before departure. American held the plane an extra 13 minutes. That allowed 23 passengers to hop onboard, but 29 still missed the jet and arrived on later flights.

At another American hub, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, security lines peaked at one hour and 45 minutes on Thursday.

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian told The Associated Press Thursday that “the longer lines get the more passengers are going to miss flights and there’s not much you can do about that.”

The biggest help to ease lines is to have more fliers enroll in the PreCheck program.

A bit about the TSA Precheck is that it is $85 and valid for 5 years but even some Precheck passengers, had to queue for about 1 hour.

Anne Marie Harrison, a wine saleswoman who has signed up for PreCheck and who flies out of Newark Liberty International Airport about twice a month, said she nearly missed her flight after waiting more than an hour recently. 

That day, the security line started downstairs, in the baggage check­in area. That was odd, she said, especially for a Sunday morning when the airport was usually empty

But the pathetic part to all this is the attempt at positive spin by TSA’s administrator, Peter V. Neffenger. “It’s really a good­ news story. The economy is doing well, Americans are traveling more, and this equates with record numbers at our checkpoints”. 

What a dick head.

Since I plan to be traveling this summer, I’m seriously looking at the PreCheck now if this will help bypass some of these lines.

TSA Stockholm syndrome

While coming back through Detroit airport, I got to experience the fun of the TSA at their finest.

I am not sure if they have new equipment of what, but in the line I went through they required you NOT to remove anything from your backpacks. Nor did they want you to remove your belt. Shoes were to stay on.

This confused a lot of passengers including me.

The response to puzzled looks and questions about this procedure, got the same old bored tone response “Do NOT to remove laptops from your bags. LEAVE shoes on. LEAVE your belts on. HOLD you keys or coins in your hands.  I SAID DO NOT REMOVE anything from bags”.

Going through Hobby airport today, the TSA is the old style TSA. I heard the refreshing bored orders of “REMOVE your laptops from your bags. TAKE your shoes off. TAKE your belts off. Coins in the bins”.

Oh, back to normality. Treat me like the filthy naughty passenger I am. Screen me. Wand me. It is for my own benefit.

Talking the TSA Walk.

I am at IAH on my way to Europe and it is pleasantly quiet being off season and mid week.

After going through document matching checks, I had the choice of two empty security lines to go through. I picked the right one where there were eight TSA staffing it. Two TSA were either side of the conveyor belt, talking.

After unpacking everything – shoes, belt, laptop, metals out of pockets etc – and loading it into 3 boxes I push them up the rollers and on to the conveyor. After a while wondering why nothing is happening, a supervisor shouts the line is closed and I am dumbfounded. There are 8 TSA people there looking as if they should be working ! The two at the front stop talking, look at me and go back to talking.

A TSA worker from the left lane saw what had gone on and without saying anything came across and picked up all my boxes to load them into his line. Thanks, I think.

As I walk through, I am standing in the  ‘Hands up, lets look at your bits’ equipment now waiting for the “ok, now proceed”. And I wait. Thinking they must be admiring my genitalia (I can’t blame them if they did) but alas no, the screener is instead talking to a TSA collegue and eventually stops talking to “ok me to come on”.

Finally, I am stopped for a pat down of my leg cuffs and yet another TSA person gestures to me to wait. Wait for important security screening equipment to come ? Nope, to wait for him to finish his conversation with another TSA talker.

Raising the temperature

Dahlings:  In a link to the Ebola outbreak, NPR article “Some Airports Have A New Security Routine: Taking Your Temperature” reviews different methods of screening people running temperatures. Those who have flown through Asia are familiar with such remote checks for Bird  or Swine Flu.

The NPR postscript should leave you very scared.

There is one way of checking temperature that is far more reliable than the rest.

“The most accurate temperature is achieved with a rectal thermometer,” says Pompeii. “But I don’t think airlines can do that.”

..but the TSA can.

Quick think of a happy place.

Ciao for now, Cleo.

 

 

Guilty as not charged : TSA may require phones to be powered on as a part of screening.

Flat battery can mean your phone doesn't fly

This sign can mean your phone doesn’t fly

Hitting the news channels was the story that the TSA announced that on certain US bound flight, customers will have to power on their mobile devices to prove they are not a security risk. From the Washington post:

The Transportation Security Administration announced Sunday that on certain overseas flights to the United States, it will not permit “powerless devices” — cellphones and computers that cannot be turned on. Airport security officers may ask passengers to power-on devices during security screening, which could mean slower security lines for travelers. Passengers could also be taken out of line for questioning, TSA said.

TSA already sometimes asks travelers to turn on laptops, presumably to determine if they are real rather than filled with explosives.

It is unclear how TSA plans to deal with passengers without chargers whose devices are dead. The announcement doesn’t say what will happen to a phone that can’t be turned on, or how the owner will retrieve it if confiscated by airport security.

I lived in Germany until 1998, where the airport security would weigh laptops to see if they were within specification. If you added a daughter card it could take it out of specification of if your model of laptop wasn’t in their file, then they’d take it for further inspection. I had a bit of schadenfreude at the airport when I saw a particularly loathsome manager from my company get pulled aside because he had added a fax card to his laptop. He missed his flight and was furious about it.

It is good to see the German security jettisoned the weighing requirement as their list got obsolete very quickly but for a long while, they required you boot it a laptop to get to the window screen. After living through the German screening experience, the phone power up is  not that big a deal in the scheme of things as most phones boot quickly or you just leave it on. However, one my current iphone, the on/off button no longer works after about 1 year of ownership. A simple internet search shows this is a common problem – thanks Apple – and I have to do a funky works around to have it lock the screen to save power. I’ll need to watch this more closely now.

What we found amusing here is the unsurprising reaction from our favorite scaremongering rag, Britain’s Daily Mail. While other news outlets calmly report it,  witness their headline “Airports face chaos after America bans UNCHARGED mobiles or laptops from US-bound flights over bomb fears – with iPhones and Galaxies top of the hit list”. From the Mail’s version of the same story:

The US has declared that it will not allow mobile phones – especially iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxy – onto US bound planes from some airports in Europe, the Middle East and Africa if the devices are not charged.

The new measure, which is bound to cause chaotic scenes at airports around the globe, is part of the US Transportation Security Administration’s effort to boost surveillance amid concerns that terrorists are plotting to blow up an airliner.

As part of the increased scrutiny at certain airports, security agents may ask travelers to turn on their electronic devices at checkpoints and if they do not have power, the devices will not be allowed on planes, the TSA said.

No doubt the new measures have the potential to create frantic searches for chargers at airports and one US source familiar with the matter said laptop computers are also among the devices security screeners may also require passengers to turn on.

Chaos ? Frantic searches ? Oh the humanity. Somehow I don’t think so but this is the Daily Mail at it’s sensationalist best.

Trajan.