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Old 08-01-2017, 02:27 PM   #5
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KevinM's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 2,175

If you travel frequently, you may already be on the TSA Precheck list even if you've never formally signed up or paid for the program. I'm not formally in the TSA Precheck program, but I fly (on airlines) 6-8 trips per year, which these days represents 24-32 actual flights. I can't remember when was the last time my boarding pass didn't say "TSA PRE" on it. Perhaps TSA has finally figured out that I'm no threat to airplanes. I have been flying them myself for 36 years and have yet to scratch one.

Unfortunately, being in TSA PRE does not guarantee that you won't still get hassled. On several occasions, I have been singled out for enhanced screening, which they claim is either totally random, or because they saw something odd in your bag on x-ray. In those situations, I was no better off in TSA PRE than I would have been in a regular line, particularly if they decided to rummage through my bag....which is how they do it. Some agents aren't particularly careful. Often, the wait to have your bag rummaged can be pretty long.

My ultimate in TSA hassle stories occurred about a dozen years back. A friend of mine and I are members of a 501 C 3 organization and were selected to travel to the Cessna Plant in Kansas to pick up a brand new airplane and fly it to its new home in New England. At our departure airport, a TSA Agent noticed that two apparently unrelated guys were traveling together on one-way tickets and carrying lots of what appeared to be flight gear. We also had military-style uniforms in our bags. Needless to say, we were taken to a private room and very thoroughly searched, right down to the individual contents of our survival kits. Fortunately, I had taken all of the knives, etc. out of mine. We were finally allowed to get on the airplane. Our flight connection was in Kansas City, which was (and still is) an airport right out of the 1960s. Unlike most airports at the time, to connect with another flight at MKC, you had to go BACK through screening. As my buddy and I stood there in the screening line, I spied two TSA Agents coming down the hall, still some distance away. I turned to my buddy and said "Skip, they're coming for us." He laughed....but they were. They called us by name and off we went for another private session in a back room nearby. I would have thought that with all of the food items I had squirreled away in my gear that they would have figured out that I wasn't planning on killing myself anytime soon, but apparently, they weren't thinking that deeply.

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