A routine TSA story, or the makings of a scandal?

The TSA selected a passenger for secondary screening prior to departure in Baltimore. He didn’t wait for them to finish. He took his carryon and left, boarded his flight, and took off for Pittsburgh.

The TSA did a “reverse screening” of all of the deplaning passengers in Pittsburgh. 100 passengers were delayed for two hours.

They checked each person leaving the plane, ostensibly because the passenger might have passed whatever they thought he may have had off to somebody else. (Of course, it could have been passed to anyone else in the terminal boarding any other flight — shouldn’t they have evacuated the whole Baltimore airport?)

The curious thing is that the TSA procedures permitted the passenger to walk away. But they knew which flight he was on. But they didn’t send anyone to that flight’s gate, and they didn’t stop the flight!

Actually, I think there are several other very important questions here. Isn’t requiring a screening of every deplaning passenger a form of false arrest? What authority does the TSA have to screen passengers who have already flown?

(Prior to screening, you can refuse and choose not to fly. Presumably you can’t refuse to be screened after the fact by choosing not to have flown.)

Furthermore, why force everyone to be re-screened? 20% of the passengers on the flight were not making connections. Shouldn’t they have just been escorted out of the secure area?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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