My Summer Grope n Fly Adventure

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This past weekend I flew to Ohio to spend the weekend with my family and enjoy some relaxation. Though my mom and I drove back to Tennessee on Monday, I had to fly to get there. Which meant that I got my second go-round with the TSA folks inNashville’s airport. Let’s just say that this Grope ‘n Fly experience wasn’t quite as painless as the first.

I got to the airport about 2 hours before my flight on a Thursday evening. I thought that would mean a short wait (if there was a wait at all) in the security line. I was wrong. The gentleman who was comparing boarding passes and our ID’s never once said a word of greeting or anything. And he didn’t ignore just me. He did that with everyone within earshot in front of me. He also seemed to be moving at a snail’s pace. Since I was way early, I didn’t really mind but I did wonder why they didn’t have someone who was actually looking at the passengers to make sure they matched the name on the pass.

After that it was off to the line and removing things from my person and bag to be stuffed into bins and sent through the scanner. Off came the shoes and extra shirt. Out came the camera, laptop and small bag of liquids. I ended up with 3 bins and my backpack, like usual. I guarded my stuff carefully, watching as the folks in front of me were sent through the metal detector. Then as I came up the TSA agent (who looked at least 10 years younger than me) stopped me and pointed toward the infamous “naked scanner”. I immediately stopped, smiled and held up my hands and said “I’d like to opt out please”. My tone was calm and I was friendly.

For the record, this time I was wearing my favorite travel shirt: my “Have Towel Will Travel” shirt rather than the “Yes, they’re real” one. I thought a slightly baggier shirt might make a difference.

Apparently not.

The guy called for a female agent and then told me to stand there. At that point I noticed my stuff coming out of the scanner…far out of my reach but well within the reach of every other passenger that was being sent through the metal detector. I asked if I couldn’t stand by my stuff could they keep an eye on it. The agent who had tried to wave me through said that it was my responsibility. Now I was starting to be unable to see my bins. He reluctantly (at least, that’s how he sounded) told me I could stand next to the metal detector next to the baggage scanner. I moved over and without thinking I put my hands on the little barrier, trying to get a better view of my stuff.

The agent at that point snapped at me to get my hands off the barrier. I did and continued to try to watch my stuff. This was getting harder to do as it kept getting pushed down the belt, away from me.

Enter the rather bulky male TSA agent who decided to make my life difficult. He looked right at me and then planted his girth directly in front of me, completely blocking my view of my things.

Now I started to get worried. After all, that’s a laptop and camera bag in plain view for anyone to grab and two bags for anyone to put something in. And I couldn’t see them. I began to stand on tiptoe and tried to peer around the bulky agent who seemed to be enjoying keeping me from seeing my things. Cue the agent who seemed to have taken a dislike to me after I opted out saying into his little radio “She’s looking very agitated.”

Yeah, I couldn’t stop myself at that point. I actually snapped back “Hey, I’ve got a laptop and stuff that I can’t see anymore!”

Needless to say that only made him say into his radio “She’s acting very agitated about her things.”

No more remarks from me. Just rolling of eyes and me planning to write a blog about this particular event.

Eventually a female agent showed up and she carried my things over and did the pat down. She was very nice and seemed tired. I was obviously much calmer once my things were in my sight again. I doubt they noticed that.

I did notice one thing of great interest while I was unable to see my stuff, while I was getting my patdown and while I was packing my stuff back up…

Not a single person was sent through the scanner or to the patdown area. Everyone went through the metal detector.

I can draw a couple of conclusions from this. One of which I can’t actually say but I’ll let you guess instead.

Oh…and I’m obviously a very agitated person.

I think that flying is rapidly becoming “not worth it”.

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~ by rumielf on August 16, 2011.

12 Responses to “My Summer Grope n Fly Adventure”

  1. The last time I flew (which was how I found out the hard way about the shoe ban) and was forced to walk barefoot across the filthy, germ-laden floor, was when I figured out that flying was “not worth it.”

    With the hundreds of “TSA abusing the public” stories that have surfaced since November 2010, I don’t understand why anyone even chooses to submit to this form of tyranny by purchasing a plane ticket. Now, because no one spoke up in protest, they’re expanding to all forms of mass transit, malls, schools, events and even the highways. We soon won’t be able to step out our or own front doors without a scope ‘n grope pervert standing there to welcome us.

    • For some reason Ive always been asked to remove my shoes, even long before 9/11. I’m not sure why. Maybe people like my sock feet. 🙂 So that’s never really bothered me.

      I do tend to avoid flying whenever possible these days….especially since the introduction of those damn scanners

      • I guess I must be older than you. My very first flight, back in the mid 70’s was pure heaven.

        I arrived about 20 minutes before my flight, checked in at the counter, handed over my luggage for loading, checked in at the loading gate, and then simply boarded my plane. About half an hour after buckling myself in and the plane was in the air, I was served a steak and potatoes meal with a real steak knife, and then I stretched my legs out and relaxed back in my seat.

        Not once was I ever forced to pose for an irradiating naked photo shoot, take my shoes off, submit to a public groping, or submit to an interrogation disguised as a SPOT program. I will never use any public or mass transit that employs these tyrannical measures, and when they start them on highways near me I will find alternate routes.

      • My mom told me that even when I was younger they asked me to take off my shoes. Not sure why. Maybe my feet look dangerous.

        I miss the days of being able to wait with your family at the gate. Heck, I remember being painted green and in a tiny gold costume and greeting my mom at the gate as she arrived home once. (I had just come from a Star Trek convention dressed as an Orion Slave Girl)

  2. I’m so sorry that our country has lost its way and begun abusing its citizens in this unacceptable way. Thank you for opting out and registering your protest against the tyrannical and pointless harassment that TSA dishes out to innocent travelers. You don’t deserve their grief! And by the way, blocking someone’s path is textbook sexual harassment. These thugs just don’t get it, they don’t get a single thing about how decent and moral human beings treat each other.

  3. Wow. I haven’t flown since 9/11. The world is becoming one of those silly 80’s scifi movies that show ridiculously depraved futuristic societies.

    This is straight up tyranny. I love my country, but this is beyond absurd. I’m afraid we’ve gone Plaid.

    And of course their actual security is less of a concern to them than being pricks. They aren’t there for security. They are there so the government and the airlines can point and go, “See?! We’re doing stuff!”

    @Sommer Gentry Blockiing someone’s path isn’t necessarily sexual harassment. It is just straight up harassment though.

    • No kidding! Every time I fly it seems to get crazier! While on the plane the folks in the seat next to me noticed me knitting and asked me if I was really allowed to bring knitting needles on the plane. I told them that not only could I bring knitting needles but I could also bring scissors provided they were with my knitting things. But I couldn’t bring a bottle of water through security.

      Go figure.

      And the bulky agent didn’t block my path. He just deliberately blocked my only view of my items on their conveyor belt.

      • Wait. You could bring knitting needles??? My parents are flying to Belize this weekend and my mom was leaving her knitting at home. She figured they would never let her knitting needles on board.

        You might hit someone over the head with the bottled water.

        My husband has fun giving you a list of things that they *should* look out for, but don’t.

        And some people get a tiny bit of power and feel the need to lord it over others. Grrr.

      • Yep. When I first started knitting I had to look that up (cause I bought my first needles in OH and had to fly back to TN). Sure enough you can take needles, scissors and things you need to work on needlepoint, knitting, crochet and stuff (just not the yarn cutter pendants) in your carryon. Crazy, eh?

      • My parents left for Belize yesterday. Da texted me about watching them make some little old lady in a wheelchair stand up so they could frisk her.

      • Stuff like that really irks me. *shakes head*

      • I told him even bully boys need to earn a paycheck.
        I think I need to go brew some earl grey now.
        I need to acquire a tardis mug. I didn’t know there was such a thing.

        We were warning my mom about her photography equipment and stuff. The best ways to keep it safe from the airport goons.

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