New PR Push from TSA: Checkpoint Hotties

This winter, you’ll find something new between the super cute kitties and inspiring nature photos that fill the calendar racks at your local bookstore. Sources say the TSA is hard at work on “Checkpoint Hotties: 12 Reasons to Opt Out in 2013,” a calendar featuring their most attractive screeners.

There’s no gender discrimination here. Two versions of the calendar will be released, one featuring men, the other featuring woman. Participants were recruited during a vigorous screening process that included a backscatter image. “We wanted to make sure that those bulges were all original equipment,” said Lorenzo Hermosilla-Schmidt, the stylist for both editions of the calendar.

A TSA PR representative (who asked not to be named) revealed the thinking behind this new project. “We’re constantly accused of invasive procedures at screening checkpoints. Since the TSA has no intention of altering the process, we thought, why not do something fun? Why not make the pat-down something to look forward to?”

The TSA was overwhelmed with internal support for the project. “I was just a part-time office temp in Odessa before I got my checkpoint screening gig at Houston International,” said one pin-up. “Now I’m Mr. November!”

“My night shift schedule is hard on my family,” said Miss July. “I’m also hoping that the additional recognition will earn me a position where every person I meet doesn’t hate me. And a day shift would help.”

Hermosilla-Schmidt says the calendar promises to be racy but not X-rated. The example he was willing to share? Mr. August. He’s wearing boots, a highly abbreviated TSA uniform, and those signature blue latex gloves. Along with the suggestive wink, there’s a caption that says, “I’m just going to use the backs of my hands, okay?”

With that kind of incentive, who wouldn’t want to opt out? The calendar is projected to be in bookstores in November, just in time for pre-Christmas sales.

Amtrak police chief to TSA: Stay off our property

Our colleagues over at AOL Travel reported on a really troubling story last week involving the TSA and an involuntary security check at an Amtrak station in Savannah, Georgia.

All passengers getting off a train at that station were forced to have their belongings checked, and some (including kids) underwent a pat-down.

The whole thing stinks – and the TSA of course issued their usual (non) apology. But now someone with some real authority has weighed in – the chief of Amtrak Police has told Trains Magazine that he is outraged.

Police Chief John O’Connor first thought the reports of the TSA checkpoint were a joke – but once he discovered that this “VIPR” (Visible Intermodal Protection and Response) team was performing a real search of all Amtrak passengers, he banned the TSA from all Amtrak property until a formal agreement is drawn up.

Of all the stupid things the TSA has done in the past (and there are a lot of them), stopping and forcing train passengers to undergo a forced checkpoint really is the worst.

[Via: The Wandering Aramean]

Ten crazy videos and photos from the airport security checkpoint

To most people, the airport checkpoint is where we line up, get partially undressed, and attempt to get through as quickly as possible, without incident or drama.

To others, the checkpoint is an opportunity to make a point, show off or get in trouble. We’ve collected ten funny photos and videos from the security checkpoint that’ll make you want to get through it even faster next time you fly.

From a half naked lady with a poodle to a man who picks the X-ray machine instead of the metal detector, these are some of the funniest clips we could find!

Not entirely sure what the context of this video is, but it appears to be genuine. In the video, a young girl seems to be setting off the metal detector, and decides that walking through it in her underwear is the only way to stop it beeping.

This is someone who wants to make a point – she clearly doesn’t appreciate the lack of privacy at the checkpoint, so walks through in her bikini.

This was a huge viral hit last year, and shows 52 year old Tammy Banovac passing through the checkpoint in her underwear with her poodle on her lap. She did this because she had experienced a nasty search in the past and had “nothing to hide”.

This one showed up in Twitter earlier this year when a local TV station tweeted the photo asking for more information on the man in his underpants.

Another speedo guy walking through the checkpoint. Yeah – not everyone can get away with this.

Check out this guy at a Las Vegas security checkpoint getting the full pat-down. The Marvin Gaye music only makes it better. If this were a movie, the TSA would have made it a PG13.

Partially naked Germans protest invasive security scanners. I think they could have made their point without getting naked, but that probably would not have made it on to YouTube.

“Crazy man in X-Ray machine” – clearly not happy with setting off the metal detector, this guy pops himself right inside the X-ray machine…

And what it actually looks like when you go through the X-ray machine…

And finally, here is a golden oldie from Australia – a TV commercial for mens underwear.

Ask Gadling: Where do all our TSA checkpoint confiscated knives and corkscrews end up?

A reader asked an interesting question on our Facebook pagewhat does the TSA do with all our knives, tools and corkscrews after they confiscate them at the checkpoint? We did a bit of homework and found out that the final destination is different for each state.

View more Ask Gadling: Travel Advice from an Expert or send your question to ask [at] gadling [dot] com.

In Illinois for example, the TSA delivers all their loot to the state surplus facility, where it is put it up for sale on their auction site. Think Ebay, but with bigger stuff and fewer silly fees for sellers. Small items like knives, kitchenware and tools are sold in bulk, which means you can’t go online to buy a single Swiss Army Knife – you need to settle for 90lbs of them, or 80lbs of assorted corkscrews.

In some other states with lower amounts of confiscated items, the knives are destroyed. In all states, guns are given to local police agencies.

So, unless you want your $100 Swiss Army Knife to end up at the bottom of a bulk lot of knives being sold for $50, leave it at home or keep it in your checked luggage.

Remember, the TSA checkpoint does not provide mailing envelopes for sending items home, so once they find a restricted item, you’ll need to surrender it or leave the checkpoint and find a way to get it sent home. Also, if you show up with an illegal item, you will lose it and will most likely need to answer to an airport police officer.

A list of all state and federal surplus sites can be found here: USA Government sales


Five tips on how to travel with “pleasure products” from Jimmyjane

Yeah – you can stop giggling. We already know that 42% of you don’t mind traveling with your favorite sex toy, and who are we to judge?

“Design centric brand” Jimmyjane knows a thing or two about sex toys – so they used their experience with the products to put together a list of tips on how to carry them through the airport checkpoint.

Some of them are no-brainers (remove the batteries), others are things I would not have known (buy a toy with a lock button). Of course, the list does point out several Jimmyjane products you may want to check out, but this is a classy brand – their toys are even on sale at select W Hotels, The Delano hotel in Miami and The Metropolitan in London.

And yes – a quick Google search does show that people travel with their toys, and that plenty of them have had “issues” at the checkpoint. At least those people can travel with the knowledge that they helped brighten the day of the security screener.