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Our friends, the TSA

Apparently the TSA has new X Ray machines in some airports and the procedure for going through the line has changed. This just happened to me in Seattle.

Normally, there is a pile of plastic trays and you just offload everything you own into one or two trays and then reassemble afterwards. However in this case, when you emptied your pockets, you weren't supposed to put the stuff in a bin but INSIDE the carryon they are X Raying. Which means all your stuff will be loose and clattering about in your carryon.

Yet another reason I always have a few ziploc bags in my carryon to keep my loose stuff from getting loose. I believe they claim this helps speed up the process and increases safety, because we know that is Job 1 for them.

Posted by
15573 posts

I have a small pouch ready to hold all my pocket stuff so it stays in one place and can easily be transferred back to my pockets afterwards.

Posted by
272 posts

I always put whatever I would normally have in my pockets or on my person into my carry-on before going to the TSA line.

I wear a pin watch.

Was never a problem. One time the agent doing the full-body screen thing told me to take it off and just hold it in my hand.

The next time, I forgot about it and wore it through the screening like always.

The agent pulled me aside and said, "Something's been detected in this area" waving her hand over my watch. "Could it be my watch?", I asked. "Please Ma'am, keep your hands away. We need to hand-wand you." Beep-beep-beep when the wand passed over the watch. "Ma'am we need to do a pat-down." "COULD IT BE THIS WATCH?" Pat-down anyway.

Since then the watch gets pinned to the lining of my purse which goes inside the carry-on tote.

Then I put it back on along with knee braces, etc. after screening.

I appreciate that they are trying to keep us safe, but sometimes if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck.

Posted by
2267 posts

I've always done this—while in line tuck my phone, wallet, watch, belt, whatever into a small outer pocket of my carry-on. I usually don't dig it all out until I've left the chaotic energy of the security area and found a quiet place to wait.

I certainly do not want to be the person holding up the line by while fumbling with that all in front of the machines.

Posted by
20334 posts

Ditto. Still have not figured out how to keep my pants from falling down when they say "Hold your hands over your head."

Posted by
89 posts

I have my husband put all the items in his pockets, i.e., such as wallet, keys, loose change , watch as well as passport
in my purse .

Posted by
11398 posts

Still have not figured out how to keep my pants from falling down when they say "Hold your hands over your head."

Belt with a plastic buckle

Posted by
8597 posts

This is why I said, in another current thread, that I like to use my travel vest for all the important stuff. Usually laid across my carryon.

I"m assuming that they figured out that fussing with those darn bins was creating too much work and delays in the screening. I know they never looked happy corralling all the empty bins that people would just leave at the end.

Posted by
6364 posts

joe32F, when the TSA agents are demanding "Take off you belt," I don't know that explaining the buckle is plastic would settle the issue. Maybe, though, but I would never advise arguing with the TSA.

But I do appreciate the advice from phred and Frank II to put pocket items into a small bag before hitting the line. I always have spare baggies with me, but it never occurred to me to empty my pockets into them.

Thanks, guys!

Posted by
531 posts

The first time I traveled to Europe as an adult I left my money belt on, not remembering that I had credit cards in RFID sleeves in there (RFID sleeves contain metal). I was taking everything off and couldn't figure out why I was still setting off the alarm. Finally, I took my money belt off, and sure enough, I was able to go through without setting off the alarm. Now I just throw everything into my day bag and throw it, and my backpack, onto the conveyor belt. Easy peasy.

That same trip, I forgot to take my keys out of my pocket and put them in one of those plastic containers, I completely forgot it. Thankfully I remembered when I got to an airport restaurant and was able to go back and get them. I had prepared for that trip so well but felt like such a ding dong at the airport!

Net net, I'm a fan of this new process!

Posted by
11398 posts

I have never had them question it, so not ever had to argue, and kept it on.

My nephew is a pilot and his wife made a belt for all the guys in the family when she made his so he wouldn't have to take it off going through security.

Some of my zip off leg pants have a 'built in' belt ( with a plastic buckle) and its the zippers on the legs that get attention

Posted by
14580 posts

I would rather not use the tray to hold my "pocket stuff" when going through TSA. Much better to empty all that "pocket stuff" into the carry-on.

Posted by
5648 posts

A friend of mine had her wallet stolen from a plastic bin after she was pulled aside to be patted down. You would think that there would have been security cameras in that area, but there were not. This was shortly after 9/11, so perhaps they have better surveillance now. Since she had no ID after this theft, she had to be escorted to the gate and also had to go through some special procedures (involving showing the theft report, special arrangements with the airline, etc) when she flew back a couple days later.

Since that time, I have always put my loose items inside my daypack or purse. I think this is safer with regard to both theft and loss.

Posted by
18566 posts

At home, before I leave for the airport, everything, including watch and keys and wallet and passport, and Climate Disaster Survival Kit goes in a very small cross body bag. At security, the strap goes through the handle of my carryon, and both go through the scanner. My belt buckle is plastic, and noone has stopped me for that in years. After security, stuff goes in pockets.

Posted by
229 posts

when the TSA agents are demanding "Take off you belt," I don't know that explaining the buckle is plastic would settle the issue. Maybe, though, but I would never advise arguing with the TSA.

I have a belt with plastic buckle that was specifically advertised for travel (won’t set off scanner). While standing in line TSA agent asked if I had a belt on. I responded that it was plastic, and he said take it off. So I agree no use explaining or trying to argue.

The next time I flew nobody asked if I was wearing a belt and I didn’t take it off. As advertised, it didn’t set off the scanner.

Additionally, it’s also random whether or not you have to remove your shoes. I always do it, but others don’t, and often nothing is said to them. Or sometimes the TSA people are telling everyone to keep shoes on.

I’ve always been leery of putting my pocket valuables in those trays (phone, passport.
etc). Seems like a good time for theft because the whole process can be disorienting and you’re distracted at the body scanner.

Posted by
531 posts

Laura, you bring up a good point. And by consolidating all of our stuff into one or two bags, it's easier to keep an eye on everything. But even then, I'm still paranoid that someone's going to walk off with my stuff.

I have TSA PreCheck but often get randomly picked for pat downs...but they won't let me choose who does it! 😝

Posted by
6364 posts

Thanks, joe32F; I'll pass that information on to my husband.

And I always get patted down, at least here in the States. One TSA agent said it's my hair; I have long hair that I wear in a single braid that goes down my back to my waist. Evidently the magic scanner machine shows that area as suspiciously warm, and I get pulled over.

And Stan almost always gets pulled out to show what's in his bag. It happened to him three times this past February! I got pulled over once because I had my bluetooth keyboard in my backpack; I hadn't put it in the tray with my tablet and phone.

Now, of course, I will.

Posted by
6849 posts

A friend of mine had her wallet stolen from a plastic bin after she was pulled aside to be patted down. You would think that there would have been security cameras in that area, but there were not. This was shortly after 9/11, so perhaps they have better surveillance now.

I think they do. I thought I left my purse at the TSA check point about 5 years ago, and they checked the surveillance cameras but didn't see anything (it turns out I left it at home - thank goodness for Apple Wallet).

Posted by
2158 posts

I have TSAPre and Clear, but still take off my watch as the TSA agents are so random as to whether they want it on or off. I just toss it in my purse. I never have anything in my pockets.

Last fall my brother and I suddenly had to start taking care of mom in another state. We made weekly trips for months. My brother is the least organized person. We fly to OAK to see mom, and that is a tiny airport that is super easy to go through. I skate on through with Pre, and then there is my brother. I remember one trip where he flew on Frontier and would not pay to even have a carryon, so he had a tiny backpack. You should have seen him emptying every pocket he had. I just stood there in amazement, but also a bit embarrassed. He didn't care at all, lol. I am sure the people in line behind him were not happy. Most trips with him are similar. At 60, he isn't going to change.