Thursday, April 29, 2010

TSA response

So here's the response that I got from the TSA to my email - am I wrong in reading it to say that by having an ID that doesn't completely match your appearance you're going to get extra scrutiny? i sent them another email asking if there is any documentation that could be provided to ease the process:

Thank you for your e-mail regarding the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) policy for screening transgender travelers.

TSA develops requirements and policies for the security of the Nation’s transportation systems. The primary purpose of passenger screening is to prevent or deter the introduction of deadly or dangerous items into an airport secured area or onboard an aircraft. TSA policies and procedures focus on ensuring that all passengers are treated with respect and courtesy and every Federal screener receives training on professional conduct. In addition, TSA’s Office of Civil Rights and Liberties ensures that TSA screens all traveling persons equally, without regard to a person’s race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, or gender.

Passengers may be directed for additional screening if the information on their identification (ID) does not match their appearance; if the name on their boarding pass does not match a valid, Government-issued ID; if their clothing is loose fitting or large enough to hide prohibited items; or if the Transportation Security Officer (TSO) cannot reasonably determine that clothing is free of any detectable threats. Passenger may also be chosen for additional screening on a random basis.

Passengers may wear whatever clothing they choose when approaching the screening checkpoint, but enhanced security measures require that all passengers remove outer coats and jackets for x-ray before proceeding through metal detectors. Passengers that alarm the metal detector will be required to undergo additional screening. Passengers directed for additional screening may undergo hand-wand screening and/or pat-down inspections. Passengers may request the screening be performed in a private screening area at anytime. TSOs are instructed to honor a passenger’s request.

If additional screening is merited, the transgender passenger will receive screening by a TSO of the same gender as what the passenger presents himself or herself to be. If a passenger chooses to have additional screening done in a private screening area, a traveling companion is permitted to accompany the passenger during the private screening. If the passenger refuses additional screening, they will be denied access to the secured area.

For more information on the screening process, we recommend that you visit our “For Travelers” section located on our website at This information is updated periodically.

Thank you for contacting us.

TSA Contact Center

1 comment:

The Other Richard said...

Just FYI, the right third or so of the TSA response seems to be cut off on the main page. (I'm looking at it in Internet Explorer.)

I clicked on "Show Original Post" in the comments section and was able to read it then. I would say your interpretation is correct.

(Although if wearing loose-fitting clothing is a reason for the TSA to pull someone aside at least 80% of the people I saw the last time I was at BWI should have been searched. Perhaps I'll wear a Spandex unitard the next time I fly, just so the TSA agents won't have to worry.)