Ah, Newark. The same airport that brought us a multi-hour shutdown due to a couple in love has once again allowed a civilian to walk right past TSA.
This past President’s Day, a passenger had his bag scanned and the agent reportedly saw some bottles of wine and referred him to secondary screening. However, rather than getting screened, the passenger walked off. The airport was then shut down for an hour as TSA searched for this walker-awayer. They never found him, he never came forward and he presumably boarded his plane and — shocker — he did not use to wine bottles to harm anyone.
First of all, I wonder what kind of person the perpetrator was — perhaps he didn’t speak English very well. I do speak English, regularly, and almost every time I’ve been asked to have my bag secondarily screened, I’ve been confused. “Me?” TSA is generally a messy kerfuffle, and I’ve nearly walked off myself. If the person didn’t speak English very well and wasn’t accustomed to airport procedure (which he probably wasn’t, considering he had wine bottles in his carry-on), I have no trouble believing that this was an honest mistake.
Secondly, I feel really let down by the TSA. How many times have we all reached our destinations and realized we had pocket knives, wine keys with knives, bottles of lotion and what-have-you with us in our carry-ons? We tend to feel a sort of thrill as we realize that we totally pulled a fast one on TSA, but really, we should be angry. Their need to inspect us for every little thing has become an epic, world-wide pain in the hindquarters … how dare they do it so poorly? Is there no one keeping score? If you think about the odds, it’s virtually impossible that a passenger walking away hasn’t happened before — but the agents probably shrugged and let him or her go. Why shut the part of the airport down this time?