Saturday, November 20, 2010

Delta brushes off Glenn Jacobs

Glenn Jacobs wrote the following message to Delta regarding his travel plans, and got the standard response (scroll down to see their response):
I am writing to express my concern over the TSA's body
scanners and new pat down protocols. Since the creation of the TSA, I
have avoided flying whenever possible. Unfortunately, due to the nature
of my business, this is not often possible. However, the TSA has now
gone beyond the pale. While I must still fly for business, I will not
allow my family to be subjected to this sort of treatment, so flying for
pleasure is out. In addition, I am actively encouraging everyone I know
to avoid flying as much as possible. Delta runs a great business, and I
have always felt like a valued customer when on flying on it. However,
there are many frequent travelers who feel the same way that I do. The
TSA has not only failed to make us safer, it has become the bane of our
traveling experience.
Delta's response:

US Air, will you protect your pregnant customers?

Elliott McElroy wrote to US Air earlier this week about her upcoming Thanksgiving travel. She has not heard from them, yet, and has asked me to post her letter here:

November 15, 2010
US Airways
ATTN: Customer Relations
4000 E Sky Harbor Blvd
Phoenix, AZ 85034
Dear Sir or Madam:
I’m writing to express my concerns about the newly implemented security procedures at airports around the country, and how my family intends to respond to them.
I recently purchased roundtrip airplane tickets for myself and my husband to travel between Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and Philadelphia International Airport before and after the Thanksgiving holiday. My online check-in number is XXXXXX and the tickets were purchased through At the time of purchasing the tickets, I was not made aware that PHL would be using AIT scanners. 
My husband and I object to submitting ourselves through the scanning technology. I am not convinced of its safety, nor am I convinced that our privacy will be respected. Simply because the TSA website reports that the scanning technology will pose no threat to my health does not mean that I will blindly believe the information presented, especially in light of the fact that I will be 18 weeks pregnant at the time of planned travel.

Goodbye delicious peanuts

K Moon Howe writes to Southwest (and preempts their cookie-cutter response, so this will be interesting):

Dear Southwest,

I, along with my entire family, have been loyal customers for the past 20 years.  I have enjoyed my passenger experiences and appreciated your efficiency, accessibility, and customer service.

It is with regret that I must say goodbye, unless and until the checkpoint procedures are greatly revised and improved.  I am well aware that Southwest does not determine procedure; TSA does.  Please do not direct me to the TSA website, as I have already gone through that channel.  My purpose in sending this note to you is to let you know I valued your company and the service you provided.  I am disappointed that I cannot continue to offer you my patronage, as  I cannot in good conscience let my minor child bee seen virtual-reality nude, and if an adult traumatizes her via inappropriate touching I will be broke anyway after the legal penalties that will be the result of me beating the crap out of them.
Please use your position as a customer service-oriented, successful carrier to stand up for your loyal customers.

Oh yeah, thanks for all the peanuts and Coca-Cola too.

K Moon Howe
see Rapid Rewards # above

Hawaiian Airlines responds

Ryan Marshall writes: "Finally got a response from Hawaiian Airlines. Your basic cookie-cutter response... disappointing."
November 18, 2010

Mr. Ryan Marshall
RE:     Contact Ref. #1011297668

Dear Mr. Marshall:

This is in response to your email received by our office on November 12,

We understand you are disappointed with the new security measures by the
Transportation Security Administration (TSA).  Although we understand your
concern, regretfully, any issues dealing with security at the airports are
referred directly to TSA.  Please visit their website at
<> to file your complaint directly with them.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A political route

Allan Sanford, a reader of Stop TSA Scanners, is putting together a petition. You can sign it here.

"Pull the Plug NOW" Petition

Honorable Members of the Senate of the United States of America
We, the undersigned people of the United States, demand that you exercise your oversight powers to immediately stop the use of full body scanners and pat-down techniques currently being employed at airports across the country by the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA), under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security, for the following reasons:
  • Such scans and pat-downs directly violate the Fourth Amendment guarding against unnecessary search and seizure

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"I won't be home for Christmas"

From this website:

So what is I Won’t Be Home For Christmas?

It’s a simple act that you, an American, can do to send the message, loud and clear to the government, that we will no longer tolerate this vile foolishness. This is a peaceful protest that can crush a tyrannical bureaucracy.
During the second half of December, from midnight December 15, 2010 to the countdown on New Year’s Eve, don’t fly anywhere. Drive, take a bus or a train, do anything but fly to your destination. Or better yet, just stay home if you can.
Continue reading here

Pistole before the storm

This interview with the new head of TSA is from about a month ago. Note that obscuring information from the public is intentional (for "national security"). When asked whether scanners should completely replace metal detectors, he says:
What I don't want to see happen is terrorists going on a website and seeing where there is AIT and where there's walk-through metal detectors and using, like on Christmas Day, a non-metallic explosive device through one of those airports that does not have AIT. So that's my concern.
And when asked about privacy concerns, the fact that this is illegal, Unconstitutional, immoral, and wrong (take your pick) is not on his radar:
Well, trying to reassure the public that first, it's optional. They don't have to go through it. Of course they will receive a thorough patdown. The person seeing the image never sees the person. We don't retain the image. I think that addresses most of the privacy concerns.
Here's the point: This is not about what is best for you, or even what is best for the public. If it were, there would be some more sensitivity and an acknowledgment that there should be transparency on what and where the scanners are.

I am not surprised by this, but I just want to make sure that you understand that his is about power and money for the few in charge over the many who fund this operation against our will. Don't fall for the national security, the terrorists are under every bed, rhetoric. Cui bono?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What part of "Goodbye" didn't you understand, Jet Blue?

Marilyn Masiker received her form-letter response from Jet Blue, reprinted below. Keep scrolling to read her affirmation of her rights, and what she expects Jet Blue to do about it.
Hello Marilyn,

Thank you for contacting JetBlue Airways. We appreciate you taking the time to write in to
us and understand your concerns with changes to the TSA security process in airports. Your
comments will be passed along to our Leadership.

The Transportation Security Administration is responsible for all facets of security. The TSA
organization is government run and is responsible for ensuring that no dangerous items are
brought into the main airport waiting area, or onboard the aircraft. JetBlue does not employ any
persons that work for the TSA.

Don't ignore us, Southwest!

Emily wrote to Southwest telling them "that I have been a loyal customer and been happy with their service, but have canceled my scheduled flight out of BWI airport and will no longer be flying with them until TSA's full body imaging scanners are removed and enhanced pat-downs stop.  I requested that they lobby the government for changes."

Here's Southwest's underwhelming reply:

Dear Emily,
Thank you for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate the opportunity to address your concern regarding one of the screening processes used by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

It's important to explain that the implementation of imaging technology was determined solely by the TSA and not by the airlines. The TSA has a responsibility to ensure the security of the traveling public. However, they also recognize that there is a delicate balance between privacy and security; therefore, imaging technology is optional for all passengers. Please visit the TSA’s web site for more information regarding this screening method.

Delta keeps trying to wash their hands, ...

... but Steven St.Jean calls Delta out. See yesterday's posts where I support abolition of the TSA and, as a route to get there, airports kicking the TSA out. Steven's message to Delta is right on point - they keep kicking the can, but it is their right and duty to protect their own property.
Dear Ms. Sanders,

This is simply not true:

> These procedures are conducted by the Transportation Security
> Administration (TSA) and are required by federal law.

The law that created the TSA gave airports the right to opt out of the TSA program altogether.  That's right, the airports which Delta supports can legally overthrow the hated TSA.  I draw your attention to this news report:

If Delta cares for the safety, the dignity, and the rights of its passengers, it will urge airports to exercise this right and throw the perverts out.

Steven St.Jean
SkyMiles #6230137876
Delta's response to Steven's first letter is here.

(Regarding the Washington Examiner article, I do not at all endorse the "GOP plan" of contractors on the federal payroll. Like the choice between scanners and pat-downs, the choice between a socialist TSA or a fascist TSA is no choice at all.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Political action

Many (all?) airports are owned and "operated" by state or municipal governments. I like the idea of using federalism to kick the TSA out of these airports. Here's a petition along those lines that you can sign. (I'd like it to me more bold, but it's a start.)

H/T to Brian R.

The solution

Art Carden says it all: abolish the TSA.

Security Theater

This is an older story about the security theater. The take-home point is that the TSA is always closing yesterday's loopholes and trying to catch the stupid terrorist, at substantial costs financially and to freedom. It is notable that the no-fly-cross-check vulnerability - the one that was exploited by the underbomber and has since been "closed" - is in this article, pre-underbomber.

Airport AIT information

In reference to my post about the TSA website, I'd like to pass on a list being updated by an energetic soul over at FlyerTalk forums of the status of airports and scanners. Please note that airports that are listed without scanners are still not guaranteed to be safe, but that all of the airports listed with scanners are accurate.

If you have any first-hand info about airports, please contact the maintainer of that thread, or put a comment here and I'll contact the maintainer.

I'm reprinting the current list here:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Why am I doing this?

I got the following email and, since it is civilly written, I wanted to answer it. Because others may have similar questions (there are some questions along these lines in the comments section on this blog), I'm including the original email and my response in [brackets].

As a frequent flyer, it is with great interest that I read your recent post and open letter to US Airways regarding the body scanners, your ticket change and your rental car expense. As a fellow blogger, I wanted to share some of my own thoughts with you.

Firstly, I am definitely on your side in that I despise the scanners. I have absolute privacy concerns, but I also have safety concerns, as millimeter waves (as you probably know) have not yet been proven to be completely safe. I avoid them whenever possible. This means that if I am in a situation where I have to choose, I go for the pat-down. It's not fun, and for a child, it's certainly a Hobson's choice.
 [This goes beyond "not fun" for me. It is absolutely wrong. Could be because I'm a woman that this bothers me more than you, although I realize that not all women agree with me.]

TSA website is not forthcoming

When I first read John Tyner's story, I thought he must have missed something on the TSA site, because I knew that there were scanners at SAN. However, I just checked the TSA website and John is correct - San Diego is not on the list of airports with scanners. In retrospect, I knew of SAN's scanners because a friend of mine just flew out of there and told me they had them.

So - be careful! Before you make flight arrangements, check with the TSA and the airport you are flying out of and get some confirmation on the scanner situation. I just emailed Norfolk's airport the following:

I plan on flying out of your airport in December. You are not listed on the TSA website as having AIT scanners, nor are you on the list to get the scanners soon. However, I understand that their website may not be up-to-date. Can you please confirm the status of Norfolk with respect to the installation of these scanners?


Kathryn Muratore

Anonymous police officer to take a stand

An anonymous commenter wrote on another website:
I’m a police officer in Arizona planning to take my wife and son to Austria where my wife is from next month.

I will not identify myself as a cop as we opt out of the body scan. I will tell the TSA screeners not to touch mine or my family’s private parts.

If it happens I will make the felony sexual abuse arrest and that TSA worker will be registering as a sex offender for life after their prison time is over.
H/T Glen Litsinger

Sexual Assault in Dayton

A blogger named Erin writes about being sexually assaulted in Dayton this weekend. Note that Dayton does not have scanners, and it is unclear why Erin was frisked. An excerpt:
She patted my left arm, my right arm, my upper back and my lower back. She then said, “I need to reach in and feel along the inside of your waistband.”

She felt along my waistline, moved behind me, then proceeded to feel both of my buttocks. She reached from behind in the middle of my buttocks towards my vagina area.

She did not tell me that she was going to touch my buttocks, or reach forward to my vagina area.

She then moved in front of my and touched the top and underneath portions of both of my breasts.

She did not tell me that she was going to touch my breasts.

She then felt around my waist. She then moved to the bottoms of my legs.

She then felt my inner thighs and my vagina area, touching both of my labia.

She did not tell me that she was going to touch my vagina area or my labia.

She then told me that I could put my shoes on and I asked if I could pick up the baby, she replied Yes.
Erin's contention is that this is sexual assault because she was not informed of the procedures and because the TSO did not follow standard operating procedure.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

From a frequent flyer

Mr. Richards writes to say: "I have been a frequent flyer using exclusively Delta. I recently sent them the following..."
Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to inform you that I will not be flying again  because I no longer am comfortable with flying.
Given the fact that I would be treated as a criminal instead of a customer by the TSA and DHS for merely traveling using a common mode of transportation makes me very upset. To move about in ones own country is a fundamental right of anyone in a free society. And to be free from unreasonable search as per the 4th Amendment is another

Dear American, Southwest and United...

Jim Stacey sent the following note to American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines:
Good Morning,

I am traveling to Denver, CO from Dallas, TX in December to attend my son’s graduation from the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO.

I will not be flying.  I refuse to be subjected to the gross violation of privacy that is currently occurring during passenger screening.  I will not submit to either a trip in the scanner nor will I submit to a groping by the TSA.

The ticket price for this trip was $338 including taxes and fees.

I would much rather drive that be subjected to the humiliation of the current rules for passenger screening.

I know that Southwest Airlines doesn’t make the rules for screening, but I don’t care.  You deserve to lose customers and business for allowing the TSA to fondle your customers.

Best Regards,

Delta: You have some explaining to do

Logan Hertz submitted the following on Delta's website:
I was planning to fly from Atlanta (ATL) to Dulles (IAD) to visit my family for Thanksgiving; however, since both Dulles and Atlanta airports now have porno-scanners installed, I will be making the 10-hour drive instead.  Why is Delta allowing TSA (Total Sexual Assault) agents to strip-search, violate, humiliate, and sexually assault its passengers?  Delta airlines leadership should have the courage and strength to stand up to the TSA molestors and protect their passengers' dignity.  With all the outrage directed against the TSA, Delta Airlines could stand to gain significant customer loyalty by being the first to publicly stand up to the TSA.  I personally pledge to fly only Delta from now on if Delta airlines will be the first airline to at least protest these measures (if not actively resist them or simply shut down until they are changed).

In your response, please explain how Delta will act to protect the dignity, privacy, and personal property of its customers from the criminal TSA agents.

To the St. Louis journalists

I lover this letter from Roland Walkenhorst to his local TV stations (KMOV, KSDK and KTVI). He says: "Following is the text of the email I sent to the three major St. Louis TV news departments. I suppose I should have kept it shorter, but I am furious about this and usually for me, furious = long!"
Why aren’t you investigating the disgusting violations of human rights and decency that are occurring daily at Lambert-St. Louis Airport? I am referring to the Transportation Security Administration’s full-body scanners that were rolled out last month.
Next time my 16-year-old daughter wants to visit Grandma and Grandpa in Orlando, these are my choices:
1.      Allow her to be herded through the Chertoff porn-scanner, with her naked image  transmitted to TSA goons hiding in a remote room
2.      Subject her to a humiliating public molestation
3.      Tell her she has to stay home
Which do you recommend?

Kill them with humor

Stephan Kinsella and Mike Rozeff urge the use of humor in battling the TSA. Here's a great example: a traveler who was fed up with emptying his pockets now just takes off his pants and puts them through the scanner. Underneath, he's got underwear with a sarcastic message ("I <heart> TSA").

For those of you who plan to opt-out next time, here's my twist on it. When the TSO starts the "We've got an opt-out" echo, start stripping. You can have a bathing suit on so that there's no way you'll get an indecency citation. Or maybe get a message printed on your undies. The "I <heart> TSA" is great because it can't possibly be construed as offensive. Other possibilities are "Frisk me for freedom" or "I love a good pat-down." Please share your ideas in the comments.

I won't fly Delta

Steven St. Jean wrote Delta to say:
Just writing to let you know I won't be flying with Delta again until the TSA drops its current policy of porno-scanning, irradiating and/or groping passengers. I will drive rather than tolerate that army of perverts.
And Delta responds (this is getting a little repetitive, Delta!):

Goodbye, Jet Blue

Marilyn Masiker shares her open letter to Jet Blue's CEO and CFO (which she also submitted using their online comment form):
An Open Letter to David Barger and Ed Barnes (CEO and CFO of Jet BLUE Airlines)

Dear David Barger and Ed Barnes:

November 12, 2010

I have recently read that TSA is implementing their Enhanced Imaging or the alternative "opt-out" sexually invasive pat down option in both the Buffalo International Airport and in Boston Logan Airport. And those passengers who wish to board an airplane from those locations on November 19, 2010 may have to face that choice.

First, I would like to say that I have flown Jet blue almost exclusively since I first got on one of your flights. My sisters told me to try your airline over 9 years ago. Everything about flying Jet blue has always been comfortable, professional, and first rate. The people who work with your airline are great.