Story: Aggressive TSA Employee

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Jan 11, 2019
Hi everyone,

I stumbled across lots of TSA articles here, so I thought I'd share an interesting story that recently happened with TSA and what I did to advocate for myself.

A few days ago at DFW Terminal D, I entered screening via the Pre-Check line (I have Global Entry). Just a bit of background, I'm a frequent traveller and know the drill. I've never had an issue besides somewhat curt TSA employees.

As I approached the roller area for the x-ray, there was a single TSA employee manning that area and one passenger unloading his items. I noticed right from the start the employee seemed agitated. She watched over this poor guy as he got flustered whilst she talked down to him in a raised voice. To be clear, she was not speaking "authoritatively." Rather, as if the passenger was a misbehaving child. She finally yelled "What are you DOING?! Uggghhhh!" and the passenger looked as if he was about to fire back, but decided against it and moved on. She wanders off.

In the meantime, while watching this unfold, I put my coat and backpack in the bin and place it on the back roller to go into the x-ray (it was a new one like this). I put my carry-on into a second bin and try to push the first bin down the rollers so I can load the second bin on the belt. She comes flying back and starts yelling at me, "What are you DOING? STOP PUSHING!" (How else will the bins move?) She also curses at me.

I immediately fired back and told her she was rude and unprofessional. I asked for her name as I followed her and my bins along into the machine. She aggressively responds, "My name is NO PAYCHECK!" and walks off as I remark, "Wow, so rude." before going through the detector.

I gathered my belongings and talked to two TSA employees, including the 3-stripe supervisor. He said he would "talk to her," but didn't record any information. I submitted an online complaint to TSA about 10 minutes later. Received a form reply a few hours later apologizing for the unprofessional behaviour and that it's forwarded to the "Customer Service Manager" at the airport.

I'm so disappointed and frankly angry this person behaved this way. I've never enjoyed my experience with TSA, but I've started to appreciate how smooth and quick the process is in Pre-Check as of late, and how relaxed TSOs working Pre-Check seem to be - indeed, a welcome change. Now, it feels as if the goodwill I've finally built with them is back out the window and I need to mentally prepare to advocate for myself before every screening.

For those of you with experience in the matter, do these complaints actually end up doing anything? To what extent are TSOs held accountable for their behaviour from passenger complaints? Are there ways to follow-up and put pressure on the relevant parties to actually act?

Dwayne Coward

Staff Member
Apr 13, 2016
St. Louis
This has been discussed many times on this forum and others. Due to past postings on this subject only seeming to provide everyone's opinion and not a real solution other than to use our contacts or write your government representative, I'm closing this thread.
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Likes: Neil Maley
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