5 Annoying Things About Airport Security

Airport security and TSA are something that everyone deals with when flying. Sometimes it’s a big hassle, sometimes less and sometimes it’s a complete nightmare. However, the common thread is there are always a few things that truly baffle and annoy you to no end.

I fly more than most people and I’m pretty sure I’ve been to every non-regional airport in the country. That said, there are 5 things about TSA that make me scratch my head. There are 5 things make me just stand there, grin and bear it because it’s pointless to argue or question. These are the five most annoying things about airport security.

1. Placing Your Laptop in a Bin All by Itself

The security bins at the airport are generally a pretty good size and my laptop is quite small. Therefore, why does the laptop have to be in a bin all by itself? Why can I not put my blackberry or even my chapstick in the bin too? It isn’t touching the laptop. It isn’t on top of it. It doesn’t obscure the view of the x-ray in any way shape or form. So why is it? I don’t know, it is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard and there is no rational explanation.

Thankfully, we are beyond the even more irrational days or having to turn it on for the delightful TSA agent who would gleefully inspect the laptop as if he knew what he was looking for.

I firmly believe that the x-ray machine is more than capable of finding some explosive device or whatever it is that they are looking for in my laptop with the amazing x-ray technology that TSA has-even if my chapstick is sitting next to it. This would save space, time and aggravation for those behind me as it would move the line much faster and there would be less bin traffic and clutter at the bottom of the conveyor belt.

2. Taking off Your Flip-Flops but Leaving on Socks

I often fly in flip-flops (thongs for Aussies) as many people do. It is more comfortable and it just makes my life easier. However, at the airport when going through security you must take off your flip-flops and walk along the disgusting floor that thousands of people trample on per day barefoot. That has to be unsanitary.

Now, if someone is wearing shoes, any kind of shoes, including flip-flops and women’s walking shoes, they must take them off. However, for the regular shoe wearing public, they are allowed to leave on their socks as they walk through the metal detectors.

Now I am no bomb expert by any means, but isn’t it possible for some enterprising terrorist to figure out some way to get some sort of explosive or whatever jammed under his feet or inside his socks. I don’t know but if a guy can stick a bomb in his underwear, I am sure there is a way to get it in your socks.

It is just as easy for someone to stick an explosive in socks if not easier than in flip-flops. So why am I punished and forced to endure unsanitary floor conditions on my bare feet, when normal shoe wearers are allowed to keep on potentially dangerous socks? Food for thought? I think yes.

3. The TSA Agent Who Checks My ID and Ticket

Not to pick on the poor guy who has this job but it is kind of a joke to me. Let’s examine what this person does, aside from slowing everyone down immensely.

First, he generally hates your guts before you even walk up there. That is fine because I would hate everyone if that were my job too. That aside, he grabs your ticket and ID and eyes you down like a hawk eyeing his prey. Then he flips your license around and back a few times for no particular reason. He then proceeds to shine the black light to check for the hologram, OK I get that. But then it comes…the ticket check.

This fine employee will put a little slash check mark next to every single item on your ticket. There’ll be a check mark next to your name, flight number, date, gate, airline, terminal, group number and anything else possible. He will then write some ‘who knows what it is’ number and sign it as the last blessing before you are allowed to proceed to security for more hassle.

While I am sure this is a sought after position at TSA, it is useless. All these checkmarks on electronically printed out tickets that are always right. The only possibility of him finding anything is if the person has a ticket for a different date. However, I’d give 5-1 odds that he wouldn’t notice anyway because he’s not really looking; he’s just going through the motions.

4. The TSA Agent Who Directs You Where to Go and How to do Things

This particular agent may be my most hated person or usually it’s persons. These people basically mockingly scream at the top of their lungs for you to move here, move there and what to take off at the security machines.

These people will say things like, “one behind the other, one behind the other, just like in kindergarten” repeatedly and loudly. It is so obnoxious. Again I understand they hate their job and do the same thing day after day, hour after hour and probably think the traveling public are a bunch of idiots. In many cases they are right. However, for the rest of us, a little respect is in order. We know how to line up and wait just like everyone else and we don’t need this person screaming and mocking us. It’s quite annoying.

Often this agent or one just like him or her is working the security machines as well and condescendingly tells you what to take off and place on the security belt and all other things as if we were morons. Again, I would argue that many non-frequent travelers are, but again, a little respect. Security is irritating enough and everyone is just trying to get through without being hassled. We don’t need to be mocked or talked down to by TSA agents for no reason.

If people forget to take off their shoes, if they leave their coat on, OK I get it. If people are stupid enough to not realize you take your laptops out then OK. But otherwise, give us a break. The airport security experience is miserable enough, don’t make it worse.

5. The Random Search, Pat Down and Security Check

I swear to god, I must be a random search magnet because it happens to me all the time. It drives me crazy but what can you do? So you grin and bear it as they go through all your stuff you neatly packed and some TSA agent puts his hand up your crotch.

And what the hell is that little piece of cloth they run over your bags and zippers before placing in that machine? Will that tell them if there is gunpowder or radioactive materials in your bag?

I don’t why I always get pulled aside, but I can take it and I don’t really care and have nothing to hide. What I don’t get is how they randomly select people and not others.

On my last flight from Phoenix to New York, I watched a 90-year-old lady with a cane being searched as if a SWAT team had just busted into her house on a drug raid or something. This poor woman was wanded and frisked up and down as if she was transporting a nuclear weapon on her person.

I understand the random search is supposed to be a deterrent for people who may commit crimes. That’s fine but let’s be serious here and focus on the people who may actually commit crimes. Leave the old ladies alone; they go through the metal detectors too. Not for nothing and not to say I support profiling of any kind, although I sort of do, but let’s be serious, little old ladies don’t blow stuff up, transport drugs, weapons or whatever. Young men (and women) do. If they want to pull me aside every time, OK, so be it. But at least pull me aside and not great grandma.

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  1. How about the fact that they are simply the rudest people ever?! They hate you for absolutely no reason and try to intimidate you…I hate TSA!

  2. LOL!!!! Everything about TSA annoys me! Great post, made me laugh and at the same time get irritated!

  3. Haha, great post Lee…I never understood the flip flop thing either. Makes no sense. I often wear wedges and always think the same thing, how the hell can I get a bomb in here, so why do I have to take them off and walk this nasty floor barefoot!

    • Couldn’t agree more, grosses me out every time I am forced to do it…makes no sense…I also have to say, I don’t know what wedges are but I assume they’re girl shoes. High heels are just as unlikely for a bomb or whatever as flops!

  4. I love the pictures

  5. I hate everything and I mean everything about flying because of TSA and the ridiculously invasive security procedures. The new scanners piss me off the most…I feel so violated every time I have to be subjected to that crap while some pervert is probably on the other side getting off!

    • Haha, ya that’s one way of looking at it I suppose. I really don’t mind the new screeners if it makes things go faster but it doesn’t seem to be working and just holds things up more…I don’t know but yes it’s all annoying!

  6. It is much easier in security in Colombia!

    • Yes it is but I do recall having my toiletry bag sifted through in Bogota and the guy actually tasted some powder from my bag…thinking it was something “other” than baby powder. Haha…

  7. Rachel K says

    What I don’t understand is why they are so rude. There is no reason for it. As you said, they do the same thing every hour, every day but still…the government needs to invest in some customer relations training. It is really bad.

  8. Cute cartoon!

  9. This makes me laugh, good story. I hate the security on America. In Mexico, you can do what you at airports like and we have no problems with the planes. The drugs dealers are a different story.

    • Hahaha, yes they are…I lived in Monterrey for a few months and there was a huge drug shooting right by where we lived

  10. Schuyler says

    hahahahaha…awesome man!

  11. Lee, good stuff buddy….made me laugh

  12. Laura Hilliard says

    Great article Lee, I love your site, I just came across it on Facebook.

  13. Nicholas says

    AIrport security is a complete nightmare but seems like you have a good outlook on it…fun story to read, thanks.

  14. The laptop in the bin alone drives me insane, love that that was your top pet peeve…mine too!

  15. ahahahahaha that was a good laugh Lee, thanks needed that!!

  16. Funny stuff but sadly so true and the government really thinks this makes us feel safer…truthfully it just pisses me off and makes me feel violated to no end

  17. Mali John says

    I think being pat down is embarrassing. I hope I fart when patted down.

  18. Security is definitely annoying. The reasons behind each regulation is in response to threats and events that have happened. People use fake IDs all the time, maybe not every 5 people at an airport but it happens. People loose their IDs, how could you know if they got on the plane with someone else’s boarding pass? They have to verify you are who your ticket says you are. The majority of the public isn’t a criminal or a terrorist but the sad fact is that TSA was created and still exists because of the threat there is to our aviation systems. Plotted attacks and thwarted attacks likely won’t be on the news if it can be avoided so people don’t panic – but it doesn’t mean that because we don’t hear about them that they don’t happen. I doubt the frisking and pat downs are an exciting part of TSA.Its just as uncomfortable to pat someone down as it is being patted down. Just awkward and strange. But its a part of the changes to airport security to do the best they can to stop another 9/11. There are always busses and trains…we know what we’re in for at the airport. Without security how many people would just get on a plane? Not me!

  19. travelerie says

    This again makes me so glad I live in Europe and mostly travel outside of North America. (Or both Americas for that matter). I´m yet to have remove my shoes and be yelled at and place my laptop in separate bin just because my phone lies next to it.

  20. coolio

  21. well, it is AMERICA, so, WHAT more do you expect. “Common Sense”? I Remember in the 80’s, the American, Mildenhall air force base, being on “RED ALERT”. What a FARCE. Drove through the open gates to the CO office. He went SPARE! Security? NON existent! Hahaha. A Yankee reporter, questioned me during the same time when I took her on a Tour of the London sites: WHY are we not liked in the UK? When I showed her the American Embassy, I remarked they had the WRONG bird emblem on the Embassy. She questioned me WHY? I I responded: It should be a CHICKEN, as ALL you Yanks are running back to FORTRESS AMERICA, which is just what your enemies want!

  22. I’m an airport Security Agent in Europe and I could also name you all the reasons behind the 5 main points that bother potential passengers

    It’s all about security, scanning laptops separately from all other things is quite obvious once you work the first time on a screen showing 20 different colors, each color shows the material, and you’d be shocked if I tell you that some creative guys have build up a pen with a shooting bullet option, or that a terrorist can dissimulate explosive mixtures in his flip flops and shoes or that a Category 5 weapon can be easily turned into a regular belt….etc etc

    As a security agent you’re not only present to represent Security but you’re also the one that every confused passenger go to and bombard you with silly questions the whole day even every information they need is written in a dozen of languages every 10 yard on huge Panels

    You’re also the one passengers get angry at because they’re about to miss their flight instead of waking up 20 minutes sooner, and once you let one pass, other passengers waiting since 10 tiny minutes all get mad at you so after a while you just begin to be a bit more strict and stop making favors all the time

    All passengers running into one control lane even 20 others are open and faster to get to but no, you have to repeat about 200 times a day the same thing : the next lanes are free

    Keep smiling and professional when a passenger tries to tell you how to do your job, sneaking down the safety lines to not have to walk while other passengers understand and walk 20 yards more to get physically controlled

    Business men thinking they’re something special cause they wear a suit and a tie and travel 3 times a week, arrogant, unfriendly and very greedy when it’s about having to wait like any other passengers that a place at the security check gets free

    Once you had a bunch of them, you slowly start to loose your manners and be as unfriendly as they are

    When we tell a passenger where to go, it has of course a reason, we try to make the job easier for the other colleagues who have different tasks and dispatch the passengers in an equal amount, nevertheless, co workers sometimes go too far I’ll give you that and I’m not the first and not the last one who often asked them to be more friendly and professional instead of acting like tyrants

    I could write a novel about it and I guess you wanted to make your point and speak in the favor of thousands of people who feel in the same situation as you are but no one can understand unless they’ve been working in an airport

    Peace from Europe

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