Wow! This apparently happened earlier in the week, and I’m not quite sure how I missed it. A Barbados-bound American Airlines flight was charged by armed police and evacuated after the TSA made a mistake screening one of the passenger’s bags.
Via ABC News:
The Transportation Security Administration says that “standard procedures were not adhered to” during when dental equipment set off a bag scare at Miami International Airport Monday, closing two security checkpoints and delaying 50 flights before it was determined the items weren’t a threat.
The FBI in Miami said a passenger — a dentist — went through security just before 5 p.m. and “it was later determined that items in his carry-on bag looked suspicious.”
A transportation security officer had stopped the X-ray machine at a checkpoint to conduct further screening of the carry-on bag, but “in the process of transitioning other passengers to an adjacent screening lane, standard procedures were not adhered to and the passenger was allowed to depart the checkpoint and proceed into the terminal,” said TSA spokesman Mike England.
Transportation security officers and law enforcement officers “promptly discovered the oversight,” England said, “and out of an abundance of caution, worked with airport operators to direct gate operations to cease while the passenger was located.”
Then everyone had to get off the plane with their hands on their heads, and the guy who did nothing wrong was humiliated and taken off the plane in cuffs.
You can see more news coverage of the incident here.
Fortunately this won’t happen again:
The TSA is conducting a full after-action review of the response, England said, adding that the TSA will “retrain employees as necessary to ensure compliance with standard operating procedures.”
Good thing they’re doing a full review and retraining employees to ensure compliance with standard operating procedures. Procedures which somehow allow 95% of explosives and weapons to get through the checkpoint…
While airport security is extremely important (in particular following the Metrojet crash, attacks in Paris, etc.), the reality is that the TSA hasn’t been doing security properly for years. It’s sort of embarrassing that they screwed up screening one passenger, and that caused dozens of flights to be delayed, a huge evacuation, and a man to be humiliated.
Unless they had further motive, I don’t know why they couldn’t have just had passengers deplane and screened his bag without so much production.
If planes were evacuated every time the TSA didn’t do their job properly, I don’t think we’d have any flights…
(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)