Pocketknife found on plane causes major security drama at Dallas airport

The discovery of a pocket knife on an American Eagle plane at Dallas Fort Worth airport triggered an aircraft evacuation, passenger rescreening and a two hour delay.

The knife was found by a passenger between two seats, and while common sense tells us that someone probably found it in their pocket after simply forgetting to remove it, the TSA treats these incidents as a major breach of security.

Of course, the stupid knife should never have made it through the checkpoint in the first place, but items making it past the checkpoint is barely news any longer.

I fully understand asking the TSA to come pick up the knife, but to force everyone off the plane is just stupid – and reinforces the idea that they are not doing their job correctly. If the TSA had faith in what it does to protect us, they should have taken the knife, apologized to all the passengers, and let the plane depart on time.

TSA fails to detect gun at Montana airport – may be replaced by private firm

Stories of poor TSA security screenings are not new – several days ago we wrote about a man who passed through a Milwaukee checkpoint with shotgun shells. In this “TSA screw-up of the day”, we head to Gallatin Field, serving Bozeman, Montana.

This may be a fairly small airport, but that should not be an excuse for the TSA to miss a firearm in a carry-on bag. The gun belonged to an “unidentified man”, who was honest enough to notify the cabin crew when he noticed his error. As is normally the case, the plane returned to the gate, and was delayed for over an hour while the TSA did their job (again).

Now, I understand how our constant “TSA bashing” be be getting a little boring, but this story suddenly gets really interesting. Airport director Brian Sprenger is so fed up with the government screeners, that he is seriously considering replacing them with an outside security firm.

Of course, a local union leader is “strongly opposed”, claiming for-profit security firms are a bad idea, because they’ll need to make a profit, while working with the same budget offered to the TSA. But to be honest, I don’t see how a private firm could be any worse than the government workers in place right now.

Failing to detect a gun is the kind of mistake that could cost the lives of everyone on the plane. Too much emphasis is placed on items like water bottles and false no-fly list passengers, that you sometimes get the feeling they forget to keep a close eye on the most obvious issues.

There are no immediate plans to replace the TSA at Bozeman just yet – but the airport is in the exploratory phase, which on its own should set off some alarm bells within government.

Check out these other stories from the airport checkpoint!

Man forgets ammo in carry-on bag — turns himself in

It is becoming obvious that the TSA isn’t asking for new technology because of smart terrorists — they need all these new machines because they are incapable of doing their job.

A passenger boarded a plane at Milwaukee General Mitchell airport, but realized he had left some shotgun shells in his bag. Being a good citizen, he reported this to the flight attendant, who informed the pilot.

The plane then returned to the gate so the passenger could turn the ammo into the local police. The man was re-screened, and allowed back on the plane.

After the failed terror attempt on Christmas day, one would expect TSA agents to be extra vigilant. The agency has been asking for more money to invest in full body scanners, and other detection equipment. But at the end of the day, even the most impressive piece of equipment in the world becomes another useless gadget when staffed by idiots.

Check out these other stories from the airport checkpoint!

DOH! – TSA takes Play-Doh from child at airport checkpoint

We live in a very scary world – a world where anything and everything could be a bomb. At least in the eyes of the folks manning the airport security checkpoint.

When young Josh and Nathan Pitney tried to take their Christmas gift of Play-Doh past the checkpoint., an overzealous agent confiscated it. Of course, as is often the case with the TSA, Play-Doh is not on the list of prohibited items, though agents can use “their own discretion”.

Never mind that we taxpayers invested millions on explosive detection equipment, this agent was too damn lazy to test the compound, and decided it would be easier to annoy two young children. Running Play-Doh through the explosives detector would have taken under a minute.

TSA to extend and expand random security measures

The “special security directives” put in place by the TSA after the attempted bombing of a Northwest Flight last week expired last night (yes, the same directives that got several bloggers in hot water with the feds).

To keep our skies safe, the TSA extended the directives into Wednesday, and will be issuing new directives later this evening.

What this means to us travelers is that we are in for a new batch of random security measures, and that we’ll once again be left in the dark as to what those measures are (unless someone has the balls to leak them again).

The measures are put in place to allow airlines to implement rules and regulations that may prevent terrorists from trying to assemble or ignite another bomb. The first batch of measures was downright pathetic – some airlines turned off the inflight entertainment system, as a way to prevent terrorists from knowing where the plane was heading. This obviously only works if terrorists have not yet discovered the wonders of the wrist watch. Other parts of the directive allow for the full pat down of all passengers boarding planes bound for the United States.

It will probably take several weeks till everyone settles down, and the TSA tweaks the new rules enough that they find the right balance between real security, and the illusion of security. Until then, get to the airport on time, and be prepared for new security measures to pop up.