The truth about TSAs lines — and lies

PR disasters are nothing new to America’s least-loved federal agency. But after a particularly bad week, it’s worth paying attention to how the agency reacts when things go horribly wrong.

What it says isn’t just a clue to how the agency feels about itself and air travelers — it can also offer insights into the future of these federal screeners.
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Who’s responsible for my missed connection?

Jeff Emerson missed his flight from Minneapolis to Washington last month. He didn’t make his connection to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and didn’t arrive as scheduled in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, where he was supposed to start work as a summer volunteer.

The story of Emerson’s delay is fascinating — maybe a little infuriating, too — for anyone who’s flying this summer, particularly internationally. It raises an important question about who takes responsibility for delays that are beyond a passenger’s control.
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The Insider: Read this before your next TSA screening

Editor’s Note: This is part three of the Insider series on managing the TSA when you travel. Here’s part one and part two. As always, please any suggestions on topics or content I may have overlooked.

Want to get through the TSA screening process as quickly and painlessly as possible? Sure you do.
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TSA Watch: They never warned us about the octogenarian jihadists

The 91-year-old woman was blind and in a wheelchair, but that didn’t stop the TSA agents in Seattle from giving her a thorough screening. A very thorough screening.

“They made her get out of the wheelchair,” her daughter told me. “They made her walk to the body scanner, stand and then walk through. They absolutely would not let her have just a pat-down. Then they proceeded to take everything from her carry-on and wipe it down for explosives. I was furious, but feared saying anything because all I wanted to do was get her home.”
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TSA Watch: Did they really sexually assault his mother?

Another day, another TSA screening video.

This one came to us earlier this week from Ryan Miklus, who was flying from Phoenix to Reno with his parents for the Memorial Day weekend. The woman at the start of the clip is his mother, Carol.

Miklus claims she was groped by a TSA agent, and when she asked for a police officer, she was escorted from the screening area and missed her flight. She was screened the next day in Phoenix and traveled without incident.

The TSA has already weighed in on this dust-up with its usual statement.

I spoke with Miklus by phone yesterday to get his side of the story. I was particularly interested in the moments before he began filming.
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