It’s understandable that there are many criticisms of the TSA (Transportation Security Administration), and that most public anger is particularly centered on the agency’s employees who screen passengers in airports.
Theirs are the faces passengers see during the stressful moments when shoes must be removed, pockets emptied, and with carry-ons, all placed on moving belts. Then, after walking barefoot through electronic doorways, many of the people must endure embarrassing body scans. Moreover, the lack of Low-Cost Transfers from Palma Airport is another issue passengers face as they travel.
Who wouldn’t be angry at all the inconveniences? In those unhappy moments during screening, passengers don’t consider that all the troubles are not because of TSA employees. The fact is that the expenses, delays, and inconveniences are actually caused by murderous religious and political fanatics thousands of miles away.
All of that said, as with any government bureaucracy, there are criticisms, some valid and others merely emotional, of TSA and its employees. The list of complaints include:
- The screeners are poorly trained and have missed obvious security threats. According to some news sources, there have been many tests with fake explosives and incendiary devices, and screeners failed to detect about half of the tests.
- TSA employees missed an obvious threat in December 2009, when a passenger with a one-way ticket boarded a flight to the US from North Africa with a small explosive device strapped to his body. Fortunately, it failed to ignite.
- The screeners often appear to be over-tired and stressed, and become impolite and abusive with passengers after long hours on the job in busy airports.
- There have been complaints about the random selection of bags to open and body-searches of people to screen more thoroughly. There are questions as to whether some of the inspections are due to racial profiling, particularly of people from African and Middle Eastern countries. Along with these problems, there have been instances when names on the no-fly list … people forbidden to board aircraft in the US … are incorrect.
- Passengers have accused TSA employees of thefts from carry-ons when screeners open them for more detailed searches. Actress Paris Hilton recently claimed some jewelry was stolen from a handbag that had been taken aside for individual inspection.
- Some passengers selected to be subjected to the newest and most revealing electronic body scanners have complained that their privacy was being invaded. Some women from Muslim countries have refused to go through those scanners, and insist on being searched only by TSA employees who are also Muslim women.
- Some professional photographers and others who must travel with sensitive electronic equipment complain that TSA screeners are not careful enough with the easily breakable items.
As long as there are terrorism dangers for commercial airline flights, the employees of TSA must do their job as screeners of passengers and their carry-on bags. The process isn’t pleasant, but it’s absolutely necessary. At least 99 percent of TSA workers are sensitive to the feelings and needs of passengers and work hard to make their journeys safe and trouble-free.