Airport Security Morons

So my friend from Florida is visiting me in New York while I’m at home. It comes time for him to leave, so we take the train into NYC and hop in a cap to the airport. (I love taking subways, but we were carrying a lot of stuff (he packs like a woman, but I digress.)) So he’s flying delta. The cab takes us to the Delta terminal and I go in with him to help carry all his crap to the luggage check-in. Normally, they put the metal detectors at the entrance to the gate, but for some reason they had one right at the entrance to the airport today. He goes through. No problem. I go through. BEEEEEEP. I get a plastic tray shoves in my face. Keys, a fistful of change, and a pocket knife land in the tray. I walk through. No problem. I reach for my stuff, only to hear “Hold on a second.”

One of the other security people was inspecting my knife. Now this isn’t a little swiss-army knife, it’s slightly bigger; a three-inch lock-blade Buck knife. My techie knife. The knife that has helped me solve many problems. It has sentimental value.

“You can’t take this into the airport.”
“Why not?”
“It’s a dangerous weapon.”
“No, it’s a utility knife.”
“Well you’ll have to put it in your luggage.”
“I’m not traveling, I’m just helping my friend carry his luggage to the terminal.”
“Well, you’ll have to leave it here at the security desk.”

I say OK, and stand there, waiting for my receipt.

“You can go in now.”
“Uhhh, don’t I get something…a receipt or something?”

No, just come back to the security desk and pick it up.

“I don’t feel comfortable leaving it with you unless I have something in writing. It’s an expensive knife and has sentimental value.”
“Well, either you leave it with us, or it goes in your luggage.”

I eye my friend at this point and we telepathically decide to put it in his bag, and we will go to the terminal, and he’ll give it back to me before he checks his bag.

That’s the plan.

He puts the knife in.

but THEN

Security woman grabs the bag, informs us that she will “escort” us to the check-in, where she cuts the line, checks his bag for him, and I watch my prize buck knife begin its journey to Florida.

My friend mailed it back to me a week later.

Is it just me, or is this utterly rediculous? Was I right in demanding something in writing to leave something with security? And were they right about being so paranoid over a friggin three inch utility knife?

This is why I like trains.

It might sound officious, but I’m more than happy than airport security won’t allow knives to be carried onto planes. The pilot of a Japanese 747 was stabbed to death on a flight this year, IIRC.

Except I wasn’t carrying it onto the plane, as I wasn’t traveling, and if they’re not going to outlaw swiss army knives, I don’t see how they can outlaw this, which is only slightly bigger.

I also forgot part of the conversation, where it was suggested, FOUR TIMES, that I leave the knife in my car, and I explained, FOUR TIMES, that I did not have a car, I took a cab to the airport.


…and though I don’t agree with it, I would have been happy to leave the knife with them IF I had gotten something in writing. The fact that they refused to do this for me seemed very unprofessional.

I know they were hard on you, but without checking that you were not booked on any flights, they couldn’t be sure you weren’t flying, could they?

Yes they could, because there was ANOTHER metal detector at the gate. Again, my main beef is not that they didn’t want me to take the knife inside. I can sorta understand that. My problem is they didn’t have any sort of professional system for checking “dangerous” items at the door. “Give it to us and pick it up when you leave” does not sit right with me. Even when you check your bag at a store they give you a number.

It just seems rediculous.

I agree with you on that point, certainly.

I once sent my purse through the x-ray machine with a cap gun in it. Whoops. The security woman start to completely bug out when she saw what looked just like a pistol on her screen. I realized very quickly why she had that expression on her face that flashed in big neon writing “I’ve been trained for this”, and said - “The cap-gun, it’s a cap-gun”. I got a stern lecture (fair enough) was asked to leave the toy at the security desk as well. Which I did - no receipt- and you can bet they remembered me on the way out.

I suppose I’m lucky I just got crusty looks from security and that I wasn’t detained or something. It was just a cap-gun for crying out loud.

friedo – okay, I can understand that you carry a knife. I can also understand that you wanted to make sure you got it back… my question is, “why carry it to the airport?”

“It just seems rediculous.”


And it may seem that way to you but it doesn’t to me. A knife, even a three inch one, is a weapon. It can hurt folks and at times, can hold an entire plane at bay. I, myself, have a plethora of knives that I carry when I’m running the river; you MUST have a knife when running the river. It’s required gear. Like a life-jacket. It’s just part of your gear. But I would never take it into the airport. Why did you?

And I also find it unbelievable that security wanted to “confiscate” it from you without giving you a receipt of some sort. I guess, if they wouldn’t, this would still fall to you for bringing it in in the first place.

Yes, yes, I think if they want to “take” it for a time they SHOULD give you a receipt so you can get it back. But again, my question is why did you bring it in in the first place?

It’s an airport, man! Paranoia runs rampant! What were you THINKING?

I’m a knife carrier by trade and by hobby but I would NEVER take one into an airport! Even if I was just seeing someone off.

I really want to know where YOUR head was at, not theirs, since I really think they were just doing their job.

Because I ALWAYS carry it; I never really thought about it. Some people have their swiss-army knives attached to their keychain. Same thing for me.

But yes, I have learned my lesson. I won’t be taking it to any more airports. Also, I didn’t think I would even be subjected to a metal detector at all, as I wasn’t planning on going all the way to the gate.

Exact same thing happened to me, I left my knife at the security desk and picked it up on my way out, no problem. In answer to the question of why would I bring a knife to the airport, what the fuck is wrong with you? Don’t you know that you are about ten times more likely to be victimized in an airport than in your average city street. Airport security is a fucking joke and the thieves know this, all the guards do is run the metal detectors. Thieves work the airports looking for wealthy tourists but anybody will do in a pinch. They steal luggage, 20/20 did a report on how thieves steal laptop computers as they come out of the metal detectors. (If you didn’t catch that episode, they see a person with a laptop, wait for them to put it on the conveyor belt at the metal detector, and then they have one crook step in front of the victim so they have to wait before they can step through the detector. A second crook is waiting on the other side of the scanner to walk away with YOUR laptop. They do this right under the FUCKING noses of the security guards.) Another common rip-off is to be in the stall in the restroom and have somebody reach under the stall door, pull you off the toilet by your ankles, and take your wallet right out of your pants. You have to zip up before you can give chase, giving them time to escape. If this happens to you, notice what color sleeves the thief has and if he is wearing a watch, it’s the only information you can use to pick them out of the crowd.
My point is this, IF you are victimized in an airport and decide to chase after the thief and confront them, then you had better be prepared to fight because airport security is useless, they won’t help you at all. Security will stay at their posts while you get beaten to death. I bought a folding knife with a 3" blade just so that I could carry it with me into airports and even on to airplanes (3" is the largest knife the FAA allows for passengers).

friedo – yeah, that’s a lesson learned. You can carry it so far… but not all the way in. I guess we agree that it IS a good thing you can’t take it in that far.

SarumanRex – I hate to say you are over reaction poster… but… you are. Yes, this does happen. But only if you are a clueless moron. I don’t know if you’re like me but I know I am. I never let my luggage go through the security check unless I know I’m clear to “catch” it. And I don’t pee with my pants or purse or anything else hanging down where someone else can grab it.

I watched that same 20/20 thing or was it PrimeTime live… whatever! Don’t be an ass! Sage, and OBVIOUS advice! But still, you say that you have a 3 inch blade to “protect” yourself. I’m so sorry to giggle my ass off but I could kick that blade out of your hand, take your wallet and still piss in your face as I waltzed away with the knife in my pocket.

A knife blade is shit. I can do more with my fist, feet and body than you could even hope to do with the knife. And nine times out of ten, your little “knife” will be taken away and be used against you. Be a “smart” traveler.

Don’t travel with a laptop. If you do, make sure as it goes through security as you are there to grab it. Don’t be an ass that has to wear ALL of their jewelry. If you must than just put a big sign on your head saying, “Rob me!”. Don’t advertise that you have money in any way shape or form. WTF? Are you really so silly that you think a 3" blade is going to help?!

Funny, they never try to take my knife. It is a tinkerer Deluxe Swiss army knife. I carry it everywhere, even into the federal building in downtown Chicago. sometimes i leave it in my purse, some times i plop it into thr trays as i step through. Sometimes I have it tucked into my bra.

The only time i had something that concerned Air Port Security was when i brought home a can of Maple syrup. I think they thought it was a flammable liquid until one of the gurards suddenly twigged and asked if i had bought anything here and i said syrup and candy, but it was marked for export.
My big problem with airport security idiots is the fools have tried to give away my purse and boarding pass while i was delayed either by demonstrating my hone was not a bomb or once while i was phyically restrained. The felching ass hole in front of me in line had a dog and the dog was loose and running and jumping and shedding like mad and i started to have an asthma attack. Security was very slow with them and as my breathing became more noisy they had my step back and then one of them put my purse, my laptop, my carry on and takes my boarding pass. I tried to follow but they physically restrained me. i saw one of the fools waving my boarding pass and asking if anyone had left a bording pass to Chicago at security. I can’t talk well and finally wheeze out loudly MINE!! and break loose from the bitch holding my arm. One of the bastards realized what was so upsetting me as the ass tried to hand my laptop to a stranger. “Yo, fool, you are giving away this lady’s stuff.” and the other guard bonks the guy in the back of the head. I was finally reunited with my belongings and allowed to continue.

Up until a few years ago, Hoffritz, the knife specialists, had a big shop right by the entrance to the gates in LaGuardia Airport.

My wife made the fat mistake of buying her mom a gift before getting on a plane…a pair of kitchen scissors. Twenty-yard walk from the cashier to the security post, where they took it away from her.

“Look OUT!!! That woman…she has PINKING SHEARS!!!”

Byzantine sez:

Um, could I have a cite on that? :rolleyes:

I’ve used a cigarette I was smoking as a weapon before when a guy tried to mug me, and quite effectively.

Yes friedo you should have been able to get a reciept. There happy. fine.

I fly fairly often, maybe a dozen times a year. As a recovering computer hardware tech, not to mention a gadget freak, I carry my Leatherman with me 'most everywhere. I pop it out of its holster and drop it in the tray with my keys and have only once had a problem with it. The security guard asked me to open the tool to make sure it wasn’t a foldin gun or something. Oddly, the Leatherman Supertool has two knofe blades, 2.5 inches long, and a bone saw. AND, the big no-no, the blades lock. But I’ve never had trouble with it, even in some of the big airports (SLC, DFW, Atlanta, etc.).

I know knives can be dangerous weapons, and I’m all in favor of restricting “handle knives” and daggers. But I agree that dropping shit on a folding pocketknife is WAY overboard.


Byz… I love your attitude towards this. We seem to share a similar philosophy towards those who would attempt to inflict harm on us. Having a “fuck with me and die” attitude works really well if you can follow through.

I used to travel extensively and there is no way I would carry a wallet in my pants due to the aforementioned bathroom scenario and the number of pickpockets. If you wanted my cash you would have to lay me out and strip me to get to the money belt which oftentimes had up to $10,000 in Tcheques it. No… I am not a drug dealer but used to work as a trustees agent. I sometimes had to carry fairly large sums of money with me. The best point is to not advertise yourself as having anything of value, when I was travelling I often looked like a bum with a bad attitude…

In this day and age I can see why the airport guys would be leary of letting anyone with a knife into an airport, they don’t know you and have no idea whether your explanation is true or if you are on your way to take someone out.

I used to be a bouncer and you wouldn’t belive the dumbfucks who would come through the door with sheathed knives at their belt. I would sometimes comment on what a nice knife they had and ask if I could look at it. Once they handed it over it was mine until they left the building. With others one had to be more direct, if you know what I mean…

I always carry my Buck with a 2" blade, quit useful, and never questioned at the security point. I have almost 1 million miles on Delta, travelling as a customer support eng. I would always carry my toolbox, because without it, if it were ‘misplaced’, I couldn’t work. I had screwdrivers, razor knives, wire, and assorted other tools that were more dangerous than what they always complained about. A 4 oz. ballpeen hammer! I never used the damn thing, so after 3-4 trips with the same arguement and searches, I just left it out, no problem from then on.

later, Tom

Mildly related:

I get a little nervous when I get the opposite reactions from airport security.

When we were flying back from Quebec, we had a stop in Toronto. Our bags got checked thru on an earlier flight, for which we were on standby, but didn’t make.

We landed in Toronto and went to pick up our bags to take them through customs. Not sure of where to find them, we asked someone who pointed us in the general direction of a particular conveyor belt. Sure enough, there was a pile of luggage sitting there, with a disinterested looking security guard nearby.

We walked up and quickly found our luggage and pulled it out of the stack. The guard snapped out of his daze and approached us.

“Are those yours?”
“Oh, okay.”

And he walked away. No checking luggage tags. No asking for ID. No even asking what flight we were on, or where we were coming from.

Were we citizens of Toronto and of a criminal mind, we could have backed a van up to the loading doors and taken off with plenty of other people’s luggage! No problem!

I’m just glad our shit was still there when we arrived.