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Steven Frischling
Live: HVN
Work: JFK-SFO-CDG-HKG
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Steven Frischling, aka: Fish, is globe hopping professional photographer, airline emerging media consultant working with large global airlines and founder of The Travel Strategist. Fish has racked up more than 1,000,000 miles since he started to track his mileage in 2005.

Fish's travel tends to be less than leisurely, including flying from New York to Basrah, Iraq, for six hours; Hong Kong for eight hours, Kuwait City for two hours and traveling around the world in 3.5 days to shoot a series of photo assignments in 4 cities and 4 countries on 3 separate continents.

Fish grew up at the end of New York's JFK International Airport's Runway 4R/22L, which probably explains his enjoyment of watching planes, fly overhead. When not shooting photos or traveling Fish designs camera bags, hones is expertise on airline security and spends his time at home cheering for the Red Sox with his 3 kids 102 yards from the ocean.

Hey Alec Baldwin, The TSA Never Touched Your Kid This Morning

This morning actor Alec Baldwin sent out a curious tweet to his more than one-million Twitter followers that read, Flying from Nassau, Bahamas 2 NY. TSA “random selects” my 5 month old daughter 4 a pat down. I am not kidding. #travelinginUSAisadisgrace

 

Ignoring the actor’s history of issues with the airline industry, there are a number of issues with this tweet.  Sure people tweet about the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) wronging them everyday. Some days the TSA has wronged them, some days they are maligning the TSA … but when a passenger’s tweet about the TSA wronging their five month old hits more than a million people and is picked up by the New York Daily News and other media outlets it is amazing how quickly journalism fact checking succumbs to a pack mentality.

 

There are two glaring issues with Mr. Baldwin’s tweet this morning.

 

The first is Mr. Baldwin’s accusation that the TSA randomly selected his five month old daughter for a pat down prior to departing Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport, in the Bahamas.   The TSA has no security operations in the Bahamas and no authority in the Bahamas.

 

Yes, the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has a PreClearance agreement for The Bahamas, with operations in Nassau and Freeport, allowing flights departing these airports to arrive in the United States as “domestic” flights.  Customs and Border Protection has Officers in Nassau, but passenger screening operations is overseen by the Nassau Airport Authority.

 

The second glaring issue with Mr. Baldwin’s tweet is his choice of hashtag, #travelinginUSAisadisgrace.   I am not sure if Mr. Baldwin is aware, but The Bahamas are an independent nation, under The Commonwealth of Nations, with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as their official head of state.  The Bahamas have never been part of the United States in any way, shape or form

 

… so how exactly was this experience with a foreign nation’s airport security related to traveling in the United States or a disgrace for the U.S.?

 

There are many inconsistencies with the TSA and its front line screeners. There are many ways the agency can improve its passenger experience and in fulfilling its core mission of transportation security, but to trash the agency to such a wide audience and have the media pick it up when they cannot have possibly been involved is no way to bring light to the true issues at hand.

 

Mr. Baldwin, if you want to complain, please make sure you are addressing the right people, otherwise you’re just screaming into the wind.

 

Happy Flying!

 

@flyingwithfish

 

Baldwin

14 Responses

  1. If there is a pre clearance there, they follow TSA dictates for sceurity screening. While you are so happy to shoot holes, the hashtag is correct and if they were not such a mistake, the aggravation with any airport security wouldn’t immediately be pointed at TSA

  2. GA,

    The TSA dictates security policy, however the selection of who is patted down is up to to the screeners at the airport and their overseeing agency, which is the Airport Authority.

    Have you been through PreClearance in Canada? Those screeners are not TSA either, they are under the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.

    So … my point, the TSA has no screeners at the NAS. The TSA has no authority at NAS. Nassau, The Bahamas, is in no way the United States.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  3. Alec Baldwin #Anotheridiotactor

  4. I was there a couple of months ago, in the USA terminal, and it was well indicated that it was the TSA that was taking care of the security screening.

  5. DHS/TSA does result in SSSSelection for US-bound infants and toddlers on US airline metal. I’ve seen this happen repeatedly to people flying DL, for example, from Canada to the US.

  6. The US TSA actually has some screening authority over US-bound flights on US metal. HaraSSSSment selection when flying US airlines is part of that.

  7. And part of the US DHS/TSA demands for hara[b]SSSS[/b]ment selection and screening of US airlines’ flights to the US from airports may include patdowns of even lapchild infants because haraSSSSment selection and patdowns is what the US/TSA insisted upon, say, for example, when flying DL out of Canadian airports with or without CBP PreClearance. My family’s natural-born US citizen infants and toddlers haven’t all been spared the DHS/TSA haraSSSSment nonsense when flying US airlines to the US.

  8. Philippe,

    That is incorrect.

    The Dept of Homeland Security has U.S. Customs & Border Protection personnel in Nassau handling Passport Control and Customs, as well as Dept of Agriculture for Customs, however there is no TSA personnel in Nassau either in a screening capacity or in an advisory role.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  9. GUWonder

    I have received SSSS in ICN, SVO, HKG and CDG, none of these flights were to the US. SSSS was for ICN-NRT, SVO-CDG, HKG-PEK, CDG-AMS. The TSA has no personnel in these airports either, with the exception of a TSA Office of Global Strategies in Tokyo in an advisory role, in the Embassy.

    SSSS is used by aviation security agencies around the world now, and has been for some time.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  10. Including what others have said above (TSA has no jurisdiction for International flights), it’s against TSAs’ policy to “Pat Down” children 12 and under. This rule went into effect over a year ago. If a child 12 and under “needs” additional screening, they NEED approval from their Federal Security Director. The ignorance of the American people still baffles me. TSA still has issues, but it has streamlined it has policies with more logical policies.

  11. ByTheBook,

    The TSA as a general rule no longer performs enhanced pat downs on travelers under 12, but will if they alarm or other factors are in place. There is no need for an FSD to become involved for a pat down if the child alarms at TSA checkpoint.

    That said, the fact remains, the TSA did not pat down Alec Baldwin’s daughter yesterday. She was screened, as are all passengers, and may have been patted … no idea … but it was not by the TSA.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  12. I’ve seen lapchild infants get haraSSSSment selection on DL metal when flying from the Canada to the US within the past two years repeatedly and it was a result of DHS/TSA. And the screening for US haraSSSSment selectees on US-bound flights on US metal is set up as the TSA wanted and approved it.

  13. GUWonder

    I have not seen that in years. The last three cases I looked into about this, where I could see the security footage, where not what the parents reported either.

    Happy Flying!

    -Fish

  14. I’ve seen the security footage and also even been a live witness along with other people who are considered reliable legal expert witnesses, and it was exactly as I mentioned: haraSSSSment selection of the lap child infants when flying US metal to the US, with the SSSS hitting because of DHS/TSA, with the lapchild infants patted down as a result of the haraSSSSment screening process the TSA wanted and approved for those returning US flights’ passengers. Even natural-born US citizens who may happen to be lapchild infants don’t get exempted from what the TSA wants and approves for US metal flights back to the US. It happens with seasonal regularity with the DL YYG-JFK flights, for example. Go interview those with a history of working there as screeners; more than one knows how it takes place exactly as some parents have noted.

    Do you have any doubt that DHS/TSA is responsible for some haraSSSSment indicators on US airline boarding passes still?

    Do you have any doubt that TSA is involved in wanting and approving some of the SSSS flags?

    Do you have any doubt that the TSA is involved in wanting and approving the way some screening of passengers is conducted when a US-operated airline is flying from abroad back to the US?

    Do you have any doubt that TSA is involved in wanting and approving procedures in how passengers with an SSSS flag are handled when flying into the US on US airlines?

    Do you have any doubt that TSA is involved in wanting and approving pat-downs of a sort for passengers with an SSSS flag when those passengers are flying into the US on US airlines?

    Do you have any doubt that the TSA flags down some lap-child infants with haraSSSSment selection?

    Do you have any doubt that the TSA has sometimes wanted to patdown lap-child infants even when the parents and child don’t alarm the WTMD?

    Do you have any doubt that haraSSSSment selection of a lap-child infat at least sometimes involved a pat-down?

    Just because you haven’t seen XYZ and may have only effectively checked out unreliable witnesses to XYZ doesn’t mean that XYZ is non-existent and has no reliable witnesses.

    I’m not saying that Alec Baldwin was correct in his assertion that the TSA caused the young child to be patted down, but I’m open to the possibility that the TSA may have been involved (given that which I’ve witnessed personally, including having witnessed with those who have been judges in courts). That’s about all I’m going to tell you about that. If you care to do so, I’m sure you can try to fish for more about how the TSA is still involved in haraSSSSment selection for in-bound US flights by US airlines and what the TSA has wanted in response to a passenger being selected in that way.

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