Bad Attitude – A Security Risk?

September 25th, 2012 by Andrea Bennett

A TSA agent keeps a woman off a plane for her attitude. Fair or foul?

Brought to you by Liberty Mutual's
The Responsibility Project

A woman is accusing the TSA of keeping her off a flight in Houston, not because she was a security risk, but because an agent thought she had a bad attitude. Now travelers and travel watchdogs are asking: Is this possible (or allowed)?

The woman posted a video of the experience on YouTube, insisting that she was not allowed to board her plane because she drank her water instead of letting the security agent test it. According to her, “The TSA agent finally admitted that it wasn't because they thought I was a security risk-it was because the TSA agent[...]was mad at me!”

Earlier this month, Infowars ran a story about the policy of testing travelers’ water for explosives, which the TSA has reminded the public it has been doing for some time. After this most recent video hit YouTube, Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson wrote, “The fact that the TSA screener admits the woman is being punished for her attitude confirms the premise that many of the TSA’s security procedures actually have nothing to do with safety and are more a form of obedience training for the general public.” 

Traveler ire has been rising with TSA policies, notably since the 2010 introduction of the pat-down technique it instituted for passengers who opt out of the full-body scanning machine

Still, there are plenty of people who would argue that the woman taking the video of her experience was baiting the TSA agent. As a frequent traveler myself, I often notice travelers who hold up long lines in security because they don’t like policies over which the agents themselves have no control. As one commenter, “Gramercypolice,” said on a Gawker post about the video, there are a lot of “amateur fliers who slow everything down because they decide to get righteously indignant.”

Do you think it is fair for TSA agents to keep passengers from their flights for causing a ruckus during security screenings? And do you think there’s a larger problem at work than a “retaliatory” agent and a combative passenger? Weigh in.