TSA collecting more than just banned items

OK…maybe the TSA folks are responsible and maybe they aren’t, but that’s actually part of the problem more than anything else. When the TSA came in to existence they banned locks on luggage. Then they started allowing special locks they can open with a master key, but those seem to disappear from the luggage more often than they should.

Anyways, during the past three years, while the TSA has been responsible for securing everything associated with air travel – including the contents of checked luggage – more than $31 Million dollars worth of stuff has been pilfered. That’s on top of the huge amount of personal items confiscated for no good reason from carry-on luggage in the form of liquids and gels. Shampoo may not cost as much as the digital cameras being stolen from checked luggage (yes, it is stupid to check you camera), but it all adds up in the totality of the economic hit that the TSA has taken on the American economy. Companies that make toiletries may be benefiting, but the American people certainly aren’t.

Also important to note is that a reasonable amount of the blame for missing items rests on the baggage handlers – airline employees or contractors – and not the TSA. Still, if they are there to make sure nothing bad is getting onto airplanes (which is their mission, but not what they actually do), shouldn’t they actually exercise control over the luggage? Otherwise how can they reasonably assert that the baggage is safe after they scan it but before it is loaded onto an airplane? Considering that a huge number of airport employees (like the baggage handlers) aren’t being screened with any detail on a daily basis, and that many of them aren’t subject to the full background check that they should be when they are hired, this is certainly something that the TSA should actually be held accountable for. They won’t be, but they should.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.