How do Air Marshals get on planes without setting off the security?

Currently Air Marshals get on the plane with the other passengers instead of before the rest. Assuming they go through secuirty like everyone else how do they get on the planes with their weapon?

I would assume they don’t go through the same metal detectors that normal passengers go through. The metal detectors are well before the gates where you board the planes.

They either ID themselves to the TSA, or go through the employye entrance, after IDing themselves there.


Although they make us take our shoes off and will confiscate our toothpaste and bottled water, the data suggests that the TSA screeners are largely unable to detect things like guns and bombs being carried by passengers.

That’s if they even bother to man the checkpoints at all.

My WAG is that they really would like their methods to remain known only to themselves and TSA.

Why would you assume that they go thru security like everyone else? Since they basically are a major part of security after all. Perhaps the reason they board along with everyone else is so that they do not draw extra attention to themselves.

I flew a commercial aircraft immediately prior to the start of the Iraqi war with about a dozen fully armed federal officers. Each identified themselves at the ticket counter where each was escorted to one of those no name doors at the airport. They later were all in the public concourse and boarded just like everyone else. It was the most secure flight I’ve ever flown.

Of course, if the national threat rating had changed to the highest level mid-flight, we would have diverted from our scheduled destination to someplace else. I’m betting all the regular passengers would never know why. But that’s another story.

Well, I flew ON a few thousand commercial aircraft and just from personal observations (only a few, but…), Duckster has it correct.

They do not go thru the security screening we do, they bypass it.

(…although back then, it was kinda a giveaway when we elite and first class pax boarded the aircraft “first” and found some “passengers” already seated…uh, Duh!!!)

I read an article about the ease of identifying marshalls early on because they were all required to wear the usual two-piece suit, white shirt and necktie, with shined leather shoes.

Yeah they look just like about 1/3 of the first class cabin on a Monday morning / Friday afternoon flight.

I think the rules are varied from place to place. For instance I know you are supposed to keep gels in 3 ounce or smaller containers in a zip lock bag. You are supposed to take the bag out and put it seperately on the security belt. I used to do this but don’t bother anymore. Now I just leave the zip lock bag in my carry on.

I was asked to take it out in Atlanta, but I fly a lot and that was the first time in six months anyone asked me to take the zip lock bag out of my carry on and place it seperately on the belt.

Atlanta also wouldn’t let me take my peanut butter cups through security



OMG, I grew up to look like a cop! :eek:

Federal Agents “must dress professionally” (outside of being undercover). It could be a suit- it could be dress slacks, sport coat and blue shirt. In other words, they look pretty much like any other businessman.

According to the article, agents themselves complained about it.

Some TSA agent was hungry…