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Thread: Kinder, gentler TSA - Pilot program at Dulles (IAD)?

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    Kinder, gentler TSA - Pilot program at Dulles (IAD)?

    On our recent trip, we flew through our normal airport (Dulles) and I was surprised that they were splitting the incoming passengers into 2 different areas. 1 area was the normal body scan, shoes off, liquids out, etc. The other area was shoes on, liquids in bag, random chemical testing of hands (I got picked, they just swiped my hands with a cloth and put it into the testing machine). A metal detector was used instead of the body scan. This area was also separate from the TSA precheck area.

    Has anyone else seen this at other airports? Is this a sign of times to come?
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    Registered User binje's Avatar
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    I had this happen on the first of four recent flights. Unfortunately, they didn't tell me I didn't have to go through the usual song and dance until after I already had shoes off, liquids out. My travel partner had to go through the regular line. I've since heard (possibly on this forum) that TSA agents now have some discretion to route people based on flight history, gut feel, yadda yadda. Of course, it hasn't happened to me since. I was surprised that my travel partner had to go through the regular line when we presented our tickets together. The only reason we came up with that seemed plausible was that he wasn't born in the US even though he was born a US citizen. Oh, and I wasn't allowed to go through the regular line with him. I thought I might as well since I was already prepared for it, but they were having none of that so I just had to wait for him on the other side.

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    Registered User Ilkyway's Avatar
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    I (in Hamburg - Germany) had an isolated Klean Kanteen with me. It was of course empty. They called someone who took me and my Kanteen in a separated room and did a chemical test with my Kanteen. I was a little freaked out at first but he explained that they had the order to check any isolated container like this at this week.
    Weard isn't it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilkyway View Post
    I (in Hamburg - Germany) had an isolated Klean Kanteen with me.
    So it was considered isolated because....? It was in your hand? Or not close to anything else that would be food- and drink-related? Just trying to understand how they determined that it was a threat. All our water bottles are Klean Kanteens!

    (I realize that their reasons for identifying suspicious items may or may not be revealed to the public, assuming that they are even codified somewhere...)

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    Registered User Ilkyway's Avatar
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    Sorry I meant insulated as in keeps hot hot and cold cold. Stupid typos sorry.
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    Quote Originally Posted by binje View Post
    I had this happen on the first of four recent flights. Unfortunately, they didn't tell me I didn't have to go through the usual song and dance until after I already had shoes off, liquids out. My travel partner had to go through the regular line. I've since heard (possibly on this forum) that TSA agents now have some discretion to route people based on flight history, gut feel, yadda yadda. Of course, it hasn't happened to me since. I was surprised that my travel partner had to go through the regular line when we presented our tickets together. The only reason we came up with that seemed plausible was that he wasn't born in the US even though he was born a US citizen. Oh, and I wasn't allowed to go through the regular line with him. I thought I might as well since I was already prepared for it, but they were having none of that so I just had to wait for him on the other side.
    I should've clarified in saying that this was as you are entering the security area and they were basically doing every other 'group' right or left without looking at your tickets. So my husband and I went to the right and didn't have to take our shoes/liquids out. The group in front of us and in back of us both went to the body scanner/liquids out/shoes off section.

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    Registered User binje's Avatar
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    Interesting. I bet the people in front of/behind you were wishing they could trade places with you!

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    I flew out of IAD Tuesday night and was met with the body scanner at security. As usual, I opted out and for the pat down.

    The security officer handling me was unusually pushy with the patting down. If I was a little old man, he would have knocked me down!

    I didn't appreciate that my sandals, which were still a little wet from the rain, were placed on top of my Soft Shell, as he grabbed my stuff.

    I'm planning on flying United out of IAD later this year, and look forward to the TSA-Pre security checkpoint, where you can leave your shoes on, etc.
    Last edited by maverick; 05-15-2014 at 05:06 PM.
    -m

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    They had this in PHL a few weeks ago when I was there. It seemed random as I saw a TSA agent holding an iPad that had a screen on it that randomly said either 1 or 2 on it. When it was your turn, if it said 1 then you went through the easy screening check and if it said 2 you had to go through the normal screening. I'm hoping that they make the easy screening permanent! It'd make things go much faster... probably even faster than TSA Pre, at least in Chicago where I live... the TSA pre line is regularly wrapped around the check in area during peak hours at the United terminal whereas the regular TSA line is empty.

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    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    The 1-2 business is used by Mexican immigration upon entering the country.
    The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.

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    UK security seems to be pleasantly relaxed in some respects and oddly rigid in others. When I flew Stansted-Glasgow (i.e. internal UK flight) last month, we didn't have to take our shoes off if the soles were sufficiently thin, but liquids had to be in a simple 20cm x 20cm ziplock, absolutely no similarly-sized alternatives allowed (I had to decant everything from my TB clear cube). Go figure...

    I'm flying into the US from London next month - will report back on any interesting differences!
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    I've heard that London is really difficult! Not in terms of efficiency, but in the inflexibility of their rules.

    There was a news article recently about their scanners. Apparently, people are directed through them only occasionally, but if you are, there is no option to opt out. You would be escorted from the airport if you try to do so. As a person who has always opted out of the U.S. scanners, despite the extra time and the humiliating pat-down, until I finally got TSA-Pre status, it made me glad I hadn't had the U.K. as a transfer point. Apparently they are relaxing this rule and allowing opt-outs sometime this fall.

    And many European airports seem to allow only their clear bag. In some places I have been, they were handing them out to everyone. That' s a lot of wasted plastic! But at least this is only a minor inconvenience.
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    This irks me. Here I go through the hassle of getting vetted for the Trusted Traveler program only to find longer lines at TSA Pre-check. Yet, now, regular travelers, none of whom have been checked, get to go through a line similar to Pre-check but faster to get through. And who knows how they actually choose people. Is it really random or is it tied into your boarding pass?
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    Quote Originally Posted by bchaplin View Post
    I've heard that London is really difficult! Not in terms of efficiency, but in the inflexibility of their rules.
    This is very true. The inflexibility caused a lot of hold-ups on my last trip, as people who had perhaps travelled here from elsewhere had to transfer their liquids to a new bag.

    Quote Originally Posted by bchaplin View Post
    And many European airports seem to allow only their clear bag. In some places I have been, they were handing them out to everyone. That' s a lot of wasted plastic! But at least this is only a minor inconvenience.
    I hung onto the bag I got at Stansted, and will use it at Heathrow in July (stashed in a stuff sack, to avoid accidental spillage). But you're right, it's a lot of pointless waste
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    Quote Originally Posted by bchaplin View Post
    I've heard that London is really difficult! Not in terms of efficiency, but in the inflexibility of their rules.


    And many European airports seem to allow only their clear bag. In some places I have been, they were handing them out to everyone. That' s a lot of wasted plastic! But at least this is only a minor inconvenience.
    That was exactly my experience in Edinburgh this last year. I had to empty the contents of my little Tom Bihn 3/1/1 bag into their bag. Funny enough, my entire Tom Bohn bag with all the contents could have fit in it, but no, I had to remove the items from the clear bag to place in their clear bag. I thought it quite odd.

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