January 16, 2011

Holy Schmokes! Bombs Inside Our Baggages? Seriously TSA!

After being singled out by a TSA officer at Charlotte International Airport and profiled as a possible terrorist wearing a lounging pants {seriously} on our flight to California for the holidays, flying back home through a bigger airport like LAX didn't sound so appealing! I was more anxious than ever.
TSA Checkpoint at Gate A1 
little cubicle is where you're held until an officer is ready to pat you down

Arriving at LAX airport on the day of our departure immediately brought back memories from 5 years ago. That familiar long, winding, slow-moving lines were overflowing all the way out to the curb. An LAX "phenomena" due to what I call the "funnel" effect! All departing passengers are flushed through a single designated inspection point for ID's and plane tickets then dispersed to pre-selected TSA checkpoint gates.

I strongly advise: do not wear heels if you're flying from here. 
 Unless achy feet is your thing.

After checking-in our extra baggage, we marched towards the slow-moving line lugging along our heavy hand-carries and whatnots. After passing through the inspection point at the lobby and riding the escalator up towards the 2nd Floor, an officer pointed us to another level via stairs! Imagine this: we were lugging heavy baggages on wheelies and we have to carry it up the steps up! Not cool.

We were again directed to another inspection point where we presented our tickets and ID's. Here's something to note: my child not having her own ID was asked a personal question before letting her pass. I really thought that was an odd protocol. Didn't she look a lot like me? It's not like I've kidnapped someone else's child.
TSA agents pointing out another suspicious item inside one of our other luggages

We finally reached the TSA checkpoint. Gate 1a. No body scanner. What a relief! We did the usual drill. Though I decided to wear the same lounging pants out of curiosity. I wanted to see if I'll get the same reception. Nope. I passed without a hitch. BUT NOT our luggages! TSA agents found two suspicious items. One in my daughter's hand-carry bag filled with her toys and one in my hubby's luggage filled with food! And what were they? Look below!
The culprits
A battery-operated toy dog and a bar of mexican chocolate tablet

I went with the lady TSA officer so she can test the poor toy for bomb chemicals while hubby's stuff is being inspected. The guy who went through the metal detector before me sounded off the detector so they had to do the enhanced pat-down on him. The chemical testing machine is situated where the pat-down is done. I was seated facing the guy being patted down while the toy dog was being tested next to meI think I was more embarrassed than the guy being patted down seeing it up close!
Enclosure where the testing machine is and where enhanced pat-down is done, 
right where the two foot marks are.

Just when I thought we were done, they found another suspicious item inside my hubby's luggage! The bar of  chocolate tablet sat off their bomb detector! Unbelievable...The chocolate packaging was tested likewise. Both came up negative - of course! If you're saying ridiculous! Yes it was!

Our only consolation is that the TSA at LAX are friendlier than Charlotte. The lady handling us was even laughing along with us and was genuinely sweet with my daughter. We were totally confused why those two showed up as a possible bomb objects though. Not even they knew what sat off the alert. I guess we'll never know...

Toy dog and chocolate tablets ~ bombs? I'll say no more. I'm just happy to be home...

Related Stories:
TSA Experience in Charlotte Airport


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