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(Daily Mail)   First the Airline overcharges you for a bad seat, then you get groped by the TSA, now your luggage comes back a little lighter from the baggage handlers. It almost makes you want to take Amtrak   (dailymail.co.uk) divider line 53
    More: Asinine, TSA, El Al, final farewell, airport authorities, chief security officer, luggage, baggage handlers  
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5583 clicks; posted to Main » on 17 Dec 2013 at 10:59 PM (17 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-12-17 11:03:37 PM
My line leaving SeaTac was weirdly not bad yesterday. They let me leave on my shoes and my belt, and I was able to leave my laptop in the bag. They just took my bag, sent it through, and sent me through the metal detector. Did I fall through a wormhole in 1999, or are they piloting some new procedures?
 
2013-12-17 11:05:47 PM
safer
 
2013-12-17 11:06:53 PM

Mad_Radhu: My line leaving SeaTac was weirdly not bad yesterday. They let me leave on my shoes and my belt, and I was able to leave my laptop in the bag. They just took my bag, sent it through, and sent me through the metal detector. Did I fall through a wormhole in 1999, or are they piloting some new procedures?


They did that to me in Anchorage last week. I was very confused.
 
2013-12-17 11:07:01 PM
I've lost a ridiculous amount of amaretto tequila that way...
 
2013-12-17 11:07:05 PM
If Amtrak wasn't so expensive and didn't take so long, it would be rail, hands down.

No TSA, the Quiet Car is beyond kickass (watching people get booted for being on their cellphones is awesome), and I can get up and properly stretch my legs.
 
2013-12-17 11:08:57 PM

Mad_Radhu: My line leaving SeaTac was weirdly not bad yesterday. They let me leave on my shoes and my belt, and I was able to leave my laptop in the bag. They just took my bag, sent it through, and sent me through the metal detector. Did I fall through a wormhole in 1999, or are they piloting some new procedures?


I had this same thing happen in Boston back in August. They had some kind of arrow system going on where you stood on a mat, and a green arrow pointed either left or right. One direction you just got the metal detector (and got to leave shoes on and things in your bag). The other lead to the full gaterape experience.

Families with kids were also being shepherded into the metal detector line.
 
2013-12-17 11:17:45 PM
Thats why I put all my valuables in my carry-on. Also this is JFK, I live near there, trust me, most of those guys handling you luggage have spent more time staying in government facilities than working in one.
 
2013-12-17 11:20:15 PM
I'm not a lawyer, but an article a while back gave some good advice on how to ensure that baggage handlers don't rummage through your bag.  You need a hard shell bag with a TSA approved lock on it that you will use as a checked bag to put all your valuables in.  You then need to purchase a cheap starter pistol which you will also pack in the bag, unloaded.  When you check the bag, you then need to declare to the TSA that you are checking a bag containing an unloaded firearm.  This is allowed under the TSA rules, however the TSA will restrict access to your bag during transit, making it much most difficult for a baggage handler to get a chance to be alone with it to rummage through.  The one caveat, though, is that some destinations, such as NYC, have strict gun regulations on even starter pistols.  The general gist of the article, though, was that for most domestic destinations within the US you would be able to legally arrive with a bag containing an unloaded starter pistol.  It would probably be something worth looking into if you routinely fly domestically and check a lot of valuable, easily stolen goods or equipment.
 
2013-12-17 11:21:01 PM
It used to be that you could padlock your luggage but NO. Now you have to keep your luggage totally unlocked and accessible at all times for the TSA goons to help themselves to your stuff.
 
2013-12-17 11:26:14 PM

positronica: if you routinely fly domestically and check a lot of valuable, easily stolen goods or equipment.


I travel and usually have $5,000-$50,000 worth of lenses and bodies with me. I'd never even think about checking my camera bag for a second. If for whatever reason I couldn't take my carryon (camera bag) and personal item (backpack with 2 changes of clothes and toiletries) I'd leave the backpack behind.

If it came down to it, I'd skip the flight and drive. Absolutely no way I'm letting that bag out of sight.
 
2013-12-17 11:29:03 PM
You know, if airline security is such a big deal, then anyone tampering with luggage should be prosecuted for terrorism offenses. That'll stop this problem real quick.
 
2013-12-17 11:30:41 PM

I have to fly a lot, and I don't think I've been groped in a few years.  I lit the scanner up recently, the agent even laughed.  I got the wand thing but it took four seconds and I was on my way.


Come to think of it, security lines in general seem to have gotten better.  Or maybe I'm just better at flying at the right times.

/I say as I prepare to drive twenty hours home in a couple days instead of flying
//but I do get to see friends in Memphis
///and a bowl game in Nashville on the way back.

 
2013-12-17 11:35:38 PM
Trains are sooo much better anymore.
 
2013-12-17 11:36:40 PM
Anyone who puts valuables into checked in luggage still doesn't deserve to have their stuff stolen, but they should really know better. My luggage could get lost and it wouldn't matter as far as valuables or important documents go. That's all in my carry on. The thing I'd be upset about losing is the luggage itself. A nice thing I bought at eBags, and it's red so it's easy to spot on the luggage carousel.
 
2013-12-17 11:37:07 PM
In a way, I'm glad I never need to fly. I'll take a few days off unpaid for driving, if needed.

Who am I kidding, I'm self employed. Lots of days are 'unpaid'.
 
2013-12-17 11:38:43 PM
Hence why I have become a ninja at packing a week's worth into a messenger bag and small tote. Plus you can just walk out of the airport without the luggage carousel lungebot gauntlet.
 
2013-12-17 11:39:14 PM

Terrible Old Man: Trains are sooo much better anymore.


Except for the TSA VIPR teams.
 
2013-12-17 11:42:27 PM

megarian: I've lost a ridiculous amount of amaretto tequila that way...


By a funny coincidence, I've recently found a ridiculous amount of amarette tequila. Care to come over to my place and enjoy it?

/and no hard feelings, right?
 
2013-12-17 11:46:09 PM

ImpendingCynic: You know, if airline security is such a big deal, then anyone tampering with luggage should be prosecuted for terrorism offenses. That'll stop this problem real quick.


That's an excellent point actually. Doubt it would happen though.
 
2013-12-17 11:46:39 PM

Znuh: If Amtrak wasn't so expensive and didn't take so long, it would be rail, hands down.

No TSA, the Quiet Car is beyond kickass (watching people get booted for being on their cellphones is awesome), and I can get up and properly stretch my legs.


I'm almost ok with the expense but slower than driving? Pass.

/Tempted to try the Bolt Bus.
 
2013-12-18 12:04:37 AM

positronica: I'm not a lawyer, but an article a while back gave some good advice on how to ensure that baggage handlers don't rummage through your bag.  You need a hard shell bag with a TSA approved lock on it that you will use as a checked bag to put all your valuables in.  You then need to purchase a cheap starter pistol which you will also pack in the bag, unloaded.  When you check the bag, you then need to declare to the TSA that you are checking a bag containing an unloaded firearm.  This is allowed under the TSA rules, however the TSA will restrict access to your bag during transit, making it much most difficult for a baggage handler to get a chance to be alone with it to rummage through.  The one caveat, though, is that some destinations, such as NYC, have strict gun regulations on even starter pistols.  The general gist of the article, though, was that for most domestic destinations within the US you would be able to legally arrive with a bag containing an unloaded starter pistol.  It would probably be something worth looking into if you routinely fly domestically and check a lot of valuable, easily stolen goods or equipment.


I have a bridge to sell you if you believe even a word of this. It's complete and utter nonsense. Your "special" bag is treated exactly the same as any other, and doesn't have restricted access in any way.
 
2013-12-18 12:07:32 AM

pyrotek85: ImpendingCynic: You know, if airline security is such a big deal, then anyone tampering with luggage should be prosecuted for terrorism offenses. That'll stop this problem real quick.

That's an excellent point actually. Doubt it would happen though.


The Lockerbie bombing incident happend a few hours after someone broke into the baggage handling area. They don't know that someone broke in and placed a device, but it's one of the loose ends that may lead to how a piece of checked luggage made it aboard the plane with a device.
 
2013-12-18 12:13:26 AM

balisane: Hence why I have become a ninja at packing a week's worth into a messenger bag and small tote. Plus you can just walk out of the airport without the luggage carousel lungebot gauntlet.


Yeah, I can make do with a reasonable backpack & a reasonable duffel bag (i.e. not the giant ass backbreaker pack & the oversized duffel bullshiat that some people bring).

/On the other hand, there's the people who absolutely MUST have a giant ass oversized rollerbag that they can't even lift without two grown men helping them cram their shiat into the overhead bins. fark you assholes. You get status on an airplane, and you still pack like a dumbass?
 
2013-12-18 12:15:44 AM

Znuh: If Amtrak wasn't so expensive and didn't take so long, it would be rail, hands down.

No TSA, the Quiet Car is beyond kickass (watching people get booted for being on their cellphones is awesome), and I can get up and properly stretch my legs.


Price and time are far from the worst problems. The worst problem is that the coverage is *appalling*. My nearest station is 186 miles away by the shortest, almost four-hour drive. (And 194 miles by the quickest, 3.5 hour drive.)

I live in the nation's 64th-largest metropolitan statistical area, incidentally, with a population of 848,000+ people in an area of 1,932 square miles. I'm not exactly in Bumfark, Egypt.

There are huge swathes of the country with no stations, as you can see here:

www.trainwacko.com

There's nothing at all in Wyoming or South Dakota, and Idaho, Tennessee, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Maine are barely touched. Few states have more than 5 stations or so in total. Can you imagine if the same were true of airports?
 
2013-12-18 12:20:06 AM
I take Amtrak whenever possible, I even plan vacations around where the stops are.  Hate flying almost as much as I hate driving.*

*unless that driving is in a video game and thus less physical threat to me
 
2013-12-18 12:20:32 AM

Pelvic Splanchnic Ganglion: Terrible Old Man: Trains are sooo much better anymore.

Except for the TSA VIPR teams.


Amtrak has their own police and kicked out the ts f-ing A
 
2013-12-18 12:35:49 AM
Flying to a wedding in September I lost a Braun travel razor worth maybe $25 new and I thought nobody is going to touch a used razor anymore than a used toothbrush. Well I was right about the toothbrush but I didn't even notice it was gone until after a couple of days. I hope it detonates and takes out the carotid artery of whatever dirtbag that took it.
  I can just see the El Al people going "Oy vey, I knew it was the schwarzes."
 
2013-12-18 12:38:09 AM
i looked into taking amtrak but gave up when i saw that it would take four times as long as driving and would cost as much as flying (for an upcoming trip, st louis to des moines---and that's not a good route to fly, since plane or train it will require going to chicago)
 
2013-12-18 12:43:22 AM
Interesting to note the large number of pawn shops around major airports.
 
2013-12-18 12:44:44 AM
This has been happening for as long as I can remember and I can remember when there were stewardesses on the planes instead of flight attendants.

I also remember luggage tags being checked when you exit baggage claim.
 
2013-12-18 12:48:15 AM

ImpendingCynic: You know, if airline security is such a big deal, then anyone tampering with luggage should be prosecuted for terrorism offenses. That'll stop this problem real quick.


This, please. Felony attempted terroristic acts by way of luggage tampering.
 
2013-12-18 01:10:22 AM
I had the TSA blatantly steal a black parachute rigger belt(the type of thing they would wear on duty) from the outer compartment of my checked bag. It was the only thing in there. They did leave a note stating it had been searched, but didn't even have the sense to zip the compartment shut. I have ex-military OCD about unzipped/buttoned etc. and I know there's no way in hell I'd leave with that compartment open.
 
2013-12-18 01:17:00 AM

ImpendingCynic: You know, if airline security is such a big deal, then anyone tampering with luggage should be prosecuted for terrorism offenses. That'll stop this problem real quick.


Shhh....stop bringing common sense into this. The NSA will be at your door any second now!
 
2013-12-18 02:06:57 AM

CruJones: I have to fly a lot, and I don't think I've been groped in a few years.  I lit the scanner up recently, the agent even laughed.  I got the wand thing but it took four seconds and I was on my way.
Come to think of it, security lines in general seem to have gotten better.  Or maybe I'm just better at flying at the right times.

/I say as I prepare to drive twenty hours home in a couple days instead of flying
//but I do get to see friends in Memphis
///and a bowl game in Nashville on the way back.


Except the TSA stopped using hand wands about four years ago, when the scanners came in.
 
2013-12-18 02:47:38 AM
gfid:

I also remember luggage tags being checked when you exit baggage claim.

So I am not the only one.   When I do remember it; Moissant Field now Louis Armstrong Airport in NOLA was the ONLY one consistently doing it; each time.
 
2013-12-18 04:00:14 AM
TFA: "The footage was released by Port Authority in New York after Israel's El Al Airlines last summer received complaints from passengers that belongings were disappearing from luggage."


This was the part that caught my eye. I'm OK with the risk of stuff getting stolen - I don't check anything I'm not prepared to lose. But...El Al?? Those guys are supposed to have their shiat together.  Anyone who gets close enough to take something out of a bag that's going on one of their planes is close enough to put something in it. These aren't El Al employees...letting anyone outside of their direct hiring control on or near their planes without watching them more closely than this is a HUGE security lapse.
 
2013-12-18 04:07:36 AM
I do take Amtrak.  I even have a Guest Rewards card.

/Real PITA coming to/from Tulsa, that transfer from OKC is a biatch.
//Still better than the airlines.
 
2013-12-18 04:12:44 AM
Don't use TSA locks.

Use a normal padlock and zip ties.  that way if the TSA legitimately needs to get in your bag, they will cut the zip ties and leave you a note.  If the zip tie is cut you know the bag was compromised illegitimately and can complain.  Basically no petty thief will cut the zip tie as it will then be traceable.
 
2013-12-18 04:29:04 AM
aeropak.hr
 
2013-12-18 04:48:59 AM

lindseyp: Don't use TSA locks.

Use a normal padlock and zip ties.  that way if the TSA legitimately needs to get in your bag, they will cut the zip ties and leave you a note.  If the zip tie is cut you know the bag was compromised illegitimately and can complain.  Basically no petty thief will cut the zip tie as it will then be traceable.


Again, rubbish. They will happily ransack your bag, safe in the knowledge that even if you throw a fit about your missing zip tie, it is almost certain not to be traced back to them, because they're smart enough not to operate in front of a camera and will get the property off site before you even know it's gone.

(In fact, if anything the zip tie is a sign that says "Valuable stuff inside, open me!")
 
2013-12-18 06:30:21 AM
Oh look.

/color me shocked
 
2013-12-18 08:39:29 AM

ImpendingCynic: You know, if airline security is such a big deal, then anyone tampering with luggage should be prosecuted for terrorism offenses. That'll stop this problem real quick.


^^^^^^^^^
This a a farking billion times over.
 
2013-12-18 10:08:17 AM
Man, I really wish trains were an option at all a lot of the time. Had to go a fairly short distance, and by chance the only Amtrak line in my state happens to have stops in both my home and destination cities and was only something like $11/person. Convinced everyone going with me it was a good idea, including (after a bit of grumbling) a rather paranoid person who hasn't flown since the tightened airport security started 12 years ago. I picked up all of the tickets a couple days before and all I had to do was give my name. No ID or anything. The day of, we lined up to get on the train behind a sign that said 'have ID ready'... but all they did was take our tickets. No searching of bags, no pat-downs, no metal detectors at all (one person in our group had accidentally left his pocket knife on his keys, which were attached to his belt loop and very visible. No one batted an eye). The train conductor did have an armed police officer with him and there were some cameras, but that was it as far as security that I could see.

It took slightly less time than it would have to drive, too. The only annoyance was that we ended up having to take a bus all the way back as the Sunday train returns are ridiculously early. So not as comfortable a return trip and it took *as* much time as it would have to drive.

Also: Tons of leg room, free wifi, free wandering about the train, phone signal most of the trip, and interesting 'America's backyard' scenery.

My favorite bit though, was the huge Amish family on the train with us.
 
2013-12-18 11:27:23 AM

safeforwork: the huge Amish family on the train with us.


They  aren't big on deodorant.
 
2013-12-18 11:58:02 AM

vudukungfu: safeforwork: the huge Amish family on the train with us.

They  aren't big on deodorant.


Given that you're an Eagle Scout (and I'm assuming not a paper Eagle but the overenthusiastic kind that rack up half a year or more camping out before they turn 18), I'm legitimately surprised that's your takeaway from the experience.
 
2013-12-18 01:13:57 PM

vudukungfu: safeforwork: the huge Amish family on the train with us.

They  aren't big on deodorant.



Oh, aye. But since we had a whole train car, we weren't stuck next to them. Unlike on an airplane, where you can't escape the stench of the person next to you, who by all rights SHOULD be wearing deodorant or at least have showered in the last week or so...

/or that time I was stuck between the snuggly Indian couple who insisted on keeping their assigned seats rather than switching with me. Not stinky, but very awkward. 8 hours of them chatting and attempting to hold hands and snuggle over my head.
 
2013-12-18 01:48:05 PM

Baloo Uriza: vudukungfu: safeforwork: the huge Amish family on the train with us.

They  aren't big on deodorant.

Given that you're an Eagle Scout (and I'm assuming not a paper Eagle but the overenthusiastic kind that rack up half a year or more camping out before they turn 18), I'm legitimately surprised that's your takeaway from the experience.

0
3 to 4 months a year is more the norm, my cubs (6 to 11 years old) and we go out 5 to six weekends a year just for scouts.
 
2013-12-18 03:06:47 PM

gweilo8888: positronica: I'm not a lawyer, but an article a while back gave some good advice on how to ensure that baggage handlers don't rummage through your bag.  You need a hard shell bag with a TSA approved lock on it that you will use as a checked bag to put all your valuables in.  You then need to purchase a cheap starter pistol which you will also pack in the bag, unloaded.  When you check the bag, you then need to declare to the TSA that you are checking a bag containing an unloaded firearm.  This is allowed under the TSA rules, however the TSA will restrict access to your bag during transit, making it much most difficult for a baggage handler to get a chance to be alone with it to rummage through.  The one caveat, though, is that some destinations, such as NYC, have strict gun regulations on even starter pistols.  The general gist of the article, though, was that for most domestic destinations within the US you would be able to legally arrive with a bag containing an unloaded starter pistol.  It would probably be something worth looking into if you routinely fly domestically and check a lot of valuable, easily stolen goods or equipment.

I have a bridge to sell you if you believe even a word of this. It's complete and utter nonsense. Your "special" bag is treated exactly the same as any other, and doesn't have restricted access in any way.


I messed up one thing in the paragraph above, but the restricted access is that the TSA will require that a bag carrying a gun have a non-TSA approved lock on it.  The TSA has you open this lock when you check the bag, and then it's relocked using your key.  The advantage is that after the bag has been checked, no one will be able to open it unless they break the lock or successfully pick it.  They won't be able to use a TSA lock tool to open it and then clandestinely close it again.  Plus, since you're not limited to only TSA-approved locks, you can pick a hard-case and heavy-duty lock that can't be forced easily.  And finally, if a theif does still manage to force your lock somehow, the TSA is more likely to launch an investigation over a violated bag that contained a firearm than they are over a bag that just contained some consumer electronics.  There's also several blogs claiming that when you check a firearm bag with the TSA, you have to go to special counter, and after visual inspection, with you present, the bag bypasses some of the normal baggage handling that the other checked bags go through, again potentially limiting the number of hands that get to touch it.
 
2013-12-18 03:19:38 PM

positronica: I messed up one thing in the paragraph above, but the restricted access is that the TSA will require that a bag carrying a gun have a non-TSA approved lock on it.  The TSA has you open this lock when you check the bag, and then it's relocked using your key.  The advantage is that after the bag has been checked, no one will be able to open it unless they break the lock or successfully pick it.  They won't be able to use a TSA lock tool to open it and then clandestinely close it again.  Plus, since you're not limited to only TSA-approved locks, you can pick a hard-case and heavy-duty lock that can't be forced easily.  And ...


It takes all of two seconds to cut most locks, and even if they can't, the thief doesn't have to force your lock. All they have to do is break the case open, and they've got the duration of your flight(s) to do it in a quiet corner somewhere out of the way. Popping it at the hinge is probably the easiest method. (You're also required to provide a case which can't easily be pulled open, which rules out many typical cases, so good luck finding a case you can even use for the gun *and* other possessions.)

Again, I repeat, all of the above is nonsense. Packing a starter's pistol in your case gives it no extra safety, it just makes life less convenient for you.

Want safety? Pack your valuables in your carry-on, don't fly on planes that require a gate check for carry-on, and don't let the bag out of your sight.

That is the ONLY real answer.
 
2013-12-18 03:28:02 PM
Getting felt up by the TSA is the only reason I fly anymore.
 
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