TSA - Thousands Standing Around


I am generally supportive of TSA and airport security procedures and rarely have a complaint, but every now and then the agents earn their less than stellar reputation. 

Today was one such day.

Early morning flight, not a lot of airport activity. I checked my bag and proceeded to the TSA line, four queued lines with not one person in line but two TSA agents standing at the check in desk leading to the scanning equipment. They were having a personal conversation and not really paying attention to anything else.

The queue lines were all roped/ribboned off...without anyone in line...requiring travelers to walk forty feet, turn 180 degrees, walk another forty feet, and repeat two more times before arriving at the checkin desk. It is like a cattle chute.

The actual distance from the entrance to the queue line to the checkin desk is probably fifteen feet. Walking the entire queue is roughly 160 feet. The spooled ribbon separation equipment that directs pedestrian traffic are portable and easily slipped in and out of position so when there is not much traffic, and being the nonconformist that I am, I many times will simply slip off the ribbon end and move directly toward the desk for checkin, replacing the ribbon behind me, rather than winding my way through empty lanes. Not a problem, right? 

Well, occasionally there is a Barney Fife type on duty who really likes rules and likes to "nip things in the bud" to show his/her authority to lowly air travelers.

Today, I approached the queue line and, seeing no one in line and the two TSA agents, standing around and just yucking it up, I slipped off the ribbon and stepped right up to the desk, rather than winding my way through an empty maze.

As I stepped up, Barney and his buddy looked startled as I apparently inconveniently broke up their non work related conversation. He then proceeded to berate me a bit for not walking all the way through the back and forth queue line. 


Apparently there was a gentleman I had not noticed who had entered the line just before me and was still winding his way through the empty maze. Barney commented that the other gentleman probably didn't appreciate me breaking in front of him...the two of us comprising the entirety of the "line". He made several comments for his TSA buddies to hear that he didn't know they had "authorized" moving the ribbon, trying to make a big deal about it. Most of the agents standing around recognized me as a very frequent customer and know me to be very cooperative and friendly so they basically ignored Barney's comments.

Barney backed down when he realized the absurdity of his concern and sometimes common sense and convenience can trump rules, but for a moment I thought, hmmm this could get interesting. Fortunately he backed down and then made a joke of it when I didn't respond to his passive ad hominems.

I proceeded and went on my way.

Come on TSA, you are serving the public, try using a bit of common sense when on duty. When you really are just standing around waiting for business, try being a little more cooperative and customer oriented rather than authoritarian. It would go a long way.

We are all in this together. 


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