October 29, 2012

How to make TSA love you

Anyone that has flown in the past 10 or so years has probably complained about the TSA - a lot.  Sure, going through the security checkpoint is a gargantuan pain in the ass.   The lines are long, the family in front of you can’t find half their IDs and their children are screaming, and dad is somehow shocked that he has to take off his shoes, coat, AND belt.  A flight crew of 6 people comes up and cuts in front of you, and the TSA agents operating the checkpoint look like they’d rather shotgun a can of battery acid than look at one more x-ray image.  Then, there are stories of TSA agents that somehow think it’s a good idea to do stuff like this.  

But have you ever thought about what it’s like to be a TSA agent?  They constantly deal with irate, ignorant, and belligerent people all while trying to carefully match IDs to boarding passes and meticulously check x-ray images of people and bags for potential issues.  After telling people over and over again that yes, they have to take off their belts and take their laptops out of their bags, I’d lose my mind.  The TSA agents have to do this every day in a polite (well, polite enough) manner all while ensuring that our nation’s skies are safe.  Quite frankly, I don’t want that responsibility on my shoulders.  Also, I don’t deal well with stupid people.

All of us that ever pass through a security checkpoint can make our own experience less frustrating if we put forth a little effort to make things easier on the TSA agents.  The biggest thing that we can do is simply know what to expect at the checkpoint.  If you don’t know that you need to have your carry-on liquids limited to 3.4oz containers, that you need to halfway strip at the checkpoint, and that you really do have to take those pennies out of your pocket, then please drive to your destination instead.  Or take a boat.  Whatever.  

But there is one more thing that we can do that I just discovered today.  At the ID check, I presented the agent with my driver’s license and held my phone up to the scanner so that it could read my mobile boarding pass.

TSA agent: “I wish everyone had those.”
Me, slightly confused: “What... the mobile boarding passes?”
TSA agent:  “Yeah.  Makes my life a whole lot easier.”

Mobile boarding passes aren’t an option at all airports, but they’re supported at most larger airports in the US.  I like using them whenever I can because it’s one less thing for me to keep up with.  Also, my printer sucks (I like to have my passes in hand before I get to the airport).  So there you go - another, less obvious option to make the screening process easier for us all. Go mobile and make some TSA agent’s day.


  1. This is a great idea, and I'll have to check if SLC has the mobile scanners next time I fly. So lame having to carry around a paper boarding pass, and I'm always afraid I'll lose it. And yes, I would love to make the TSA agents' day a little smoother, too.

    1. I bet SLC has them - that's a big airport. I always have the fear of losing my boarding pass, too, although I've never actually lost one!

    2. This TSA agent thanks you Cuz....FYI...If you lose your boarding pass, after security, the gate agent can print you another...No worries..

    3. This TSA officer thanks you Cuz..FYI if you lose your boarding pass after security, the gate agent can print you another!!! no worries..