Tuesday, October 07, 2008

My TSA Encounter

Voodoo Medicine Man had a recent run-in with the brain trust known as TSA. During the Summer of 2006, I had my own run-ins with them.
In June of that year, I flew to Kansas City to see Flyin' Flo , my sister of the heart. And in August, I flew to Little Rock to visit another friend.

During the June trip, the employees of Southwest Airlines AND the TSA used me for a teaching case. I wanted to take a pistol with me, so I put the unloaded pistol and magazine in a hard shell case, prepared to lock it and went to the airline check in desk. At the check in desk, I declared the pistol in my luggage and completed the required paperwork. At that point, the Airline clerk calls over reinforcements. There were no fewer than FIVE Southwest and TSA employees watching me show the clerk that my pistol was indeed unloaded, the slide was locked back, the magazine was unloaded and the ammunition was secured in a box inside the [soon to be] locked hardshell case.
You'd have thunk those people had NEVER seen a firearm before. They were like teenage boys lookin' at their first Playboy, all eyes poppin' out and shocked. After they were reassured my weapon was in proper flying order, the case was locked and inside my suitcase, the TSA agent put it on the belt with the other checked luggage with a BIG tag on it stating a firearm was inside. WAY ta Go fellas....let's make sure MY suitcase gets stolen if there's a dishonest baggage handler.

I foolishly checked my C-PAP that trip. When I arrived in KC, my luggage had arrived intact, un-tampered with. My C-PAP was not so lucky. Some genius at TSA opened the bag and took off the filter housing. That's the only removable part on the machine. However, Einstein wasn't smart enough to figure out HOW to put the housing back on!
I KNOW it was the TSA because they left a note inside tellin' me they had searched the carry bag for the C-PAP. Maroons.

When it came time for my trip to Little Rock, I decided to keep my C-PAP with ME in the cabin. That was allowed. I was prepared for the luggage circus and wasn't disappointed. I drew a crowd of SEVEN that time. What I wasn't prepared for was the “wanding of the body” I was subjected to.
I had torn a ligament in my ankle and was wearing a walking boot, you know the blue leg and black braces with the thick black sole. I offered to take it off, limp through the detector and then immediately put it back on. No, NO, NO. That wasn't good enough for TSA. I had to get “wanded.”

THAT was an experience I'll never forget. First, a female TSA agent had to be summoned from another area of the airport. Then she and I went behind a screen. Being as detached and professional as she could [I'll give her that, she was slightly embarrassed when I offered to remove the boot so she could inspect it.] she patted me down. She touched parts of my body my high school dates only dreamed of touching. Then came the sweep over the entire body with the wand. She went over all the same places she had just patted, including between my legs! Maybe if I'd been wearing pants it wouldn't have felt so invasive. But I was wearing a skirt that day. Just felt weird having to widen my stance so she could sweep the inside of both thighs. [Shudder]
When my underwire set off the wand's alarm, she tried again and then felt the wires to make sure that was what had caused to alarm. At least I didn't have to take it off!

I'm just glad I hadn't stepped or touched any of the cleaning swabs the Dearly Beloved had used to clean pistols the night before I left. I'm sure either the lead or powder residue on the patches would have sent someone into hysterics if detected by the chemical doo dad. I really don't ever want to undergo a cavity search!

So, VMM, let's not ever go to the airport together, huh?


cbl said...

Poor baby! That's awful!

Try not to fly again anytime soon.

g bro said...

Sounds the worst case I have heard of yet.
I did once have:
1. A hand search of my checked luggage
2. X-ray of my checked luggage
3. A hand search of my carry-on
4. X-ray of my checked carry-on
5. Metal detector
6. A request to drink some herbal extract found in my shaving kit
7. Wanding at the gate before boarding.

No one reported a hernia or prostate problem.

Zdogk9 said...

And now you know what people who are not smart enough to flip burgers at McDonald's do for a living.

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