The TSA really should have its own tv show. I have to assume that if they showed 99.9% of the crazy stuff that happened at checkpoints, it could fill multiple hours of programming.
There was a huge uproar last week about the poor, innocent woman who was forced to empty her child’s sippy cup to prove the water inside wasn’t dangerous. Then she accidentally spilled the water out when she was opening it, she was forced to clean it up, and she eventually missed her flight. Oh, the horror. As you can imagine, there was plenty of outrage about the liquid ban, how horrible life is, etc.
But now we have an alternate version of the story. The TSA was so compelled to defend itself that it put up a page on the TSA site called MythBusters to shed some more light for us.
The TSA version (you can find a link to the official report on the site), says that the officer told her she’d have to empty the sippy cup, she became angry, flashed a badge, said she was secret service, and announced she was exempt from the liquid ban. Then they pulled her aside and when asked to show the contents of the sippy cup, she poured it out all over the floor. That of course resulted in hysterics. She eventually did clean up the contents, but not the debriefing caused her to miss her flight.
So who is right? Well I haven’t seen any proof of a flashed badge, but after watching the video on the TSA site, I think it’s safe to say that the initial story is a lie. I’ve embedded the video found on the TSA site below (they also uploaded it to YouTube). If you can’t see the player, you can find the video here.
At about the :53 second mark, the woman and her son are escorted into the picture by a TSA agent. Not 5 seconds later, you can see her emptying the sippy cup. If it really was an accident, I highly doubt we’d see her shaking the cup to make sure she got it all out like we see in this video. If you stick around long enough, you can see her first clean-up attempt at 5:35, but it’s pretty boring. All the action happens up front.
So is there anything to take away from this? Yes, don’t be dumb. Just like antagonizing a cop on duty is a bad idea, so is messing with a TSA officer. The people you see on the front line are not the ones creating the policy, they’re just enforcing it. I agree with everyone who thinks that the liquid ban is unnecessary if not downright ridiculous, but I’m not going to challenge a TSA agent when I fly because it’s not going to do anything other than make me miss my flight.
This woman tried the alternate approach and all it did was make her catch a later flight than she planned. Her initial attempts to garner sympathy have now resulted in backlash against her. Nice work.