With only a few weeks left to leave your comments about the TSA’s controversial passenger screening methods, here’s a question worth asking: Is anyone listening?
If you said, “not really,” then maybe you know Theresa Putkey, a consultant from Vancouver. She had a run-in with a TSA agent recently after trying to opt out of a full-body scan, and sent a complaint letter to the agency assigned to protect America’s transportation systems.
Here’s the form response from the TSA:
Thank you for your e-mail regarding the rude behavior you experienced from a Transportation Security Officer (TSO).
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regrets any unprofessional treatment you may have experienced.
TSA seeks to provide a high level of security and customer service to all passengers who pass through our screening checkpoints. Every person and item must be screened before entering the secured area, and the way the screening is conducted is important.
Our policies and procedures focus on ensuring that all passengers are treated with dignity, respect, and courtesy.
Please be advised that a passenger can always request to speak with the Supervisory Transportation Security Officer at the checkpoint to address any complaint regarding screening procedures.
Because your complaint concerns an incident that occurred at a specific airport, we have forwarded a copy of your letter to the appropriate Customer Service Manager.
We hope this information is helpful.
TSA Contact Center
Actually, it wasn’t. The form response failed to acknowledge her complaint, and she hasn’t heard anything from the agency since then.
Now, don’t get me wrong: Form letters can be a helpful way for a company or agency to send the same information to many people with the identical question. But Putkey had a specific complaint, and she was hoping for a specific response — if not an apology, then a promise to investigate.
“I’m still waiting, ” she says.
“I’m writing my congressman”
If you think contacting your member of Congress will get better results, then talk to Craig Szwed, a photographer based in Hartford, Conn. He recently complained to his representative about the constitutional violations committed by TSA screeners and received the following boilerplate response:
Thank you for contacting me regarding Transportation Security Administration (TSA). I appreciate your comments and having the benefit of your views. As a frequent flyer myself, I understand your frustration with the security screening process.
After the tragic events of September 11, 2001, our nation began a much needed overhaul of the security procedures involved in air travel. Included among these necessary reforms were increased screening of passengers, cargo and aircraft personnel. Additionally, precautions including the securing of the cockpit were undertaken to further ensure the safety of the aircraft and those on board. In order to ensure the safety and security of both passengers, crew and others, the US Congress passed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (PL 107-71), which was signed into law by President George W. Bush. Among the provisions in this legislation was the creation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) within the Department of Transportation. Oversight of the TSA was then transferred to the Department of Homeland Security in March 2003 after the Passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (PL 107-296).