Terri Brisbin


Terri Brisbin

I’ve been doing a lot of traveling over the last couple of years and especially during the April-May months. I travel for writing conferences and for my dental hygiene licensing boards (I’m in Pittsburgh writing this blog at the moment!).  So, a couple of years ago I also decided (for many reasons) to avoid all the newfangled scanning machines that they make you go through at airport security checkpoints, choosing instead the more personal attentions of TSA agents. . . .


I traveled through many airports, some big and some small, from the East Coast to the Midwest and out to the West Coast, spending many minutes, hours?, being legally groped from my head to my toes. by a number of different TSA agents. I tried to be positive about this process, especially since I’d made the choice to do them and so I decided to share my experiences and evaluation of the various airports and screeners.

LOL – I even told them I was going to blog about them!

So. . . what did I learn in undergoing lots of up-close-and-personal-attention?

The first thing I learned is that TSA agents must have undergone more training in late 2011-early 2012 because I found a big change in their whole attitudes in how they took the news that someone was ‘opting-out’. Before that, they seemed ready to argue and tell you why you were being stupid. After that, they seemed to be more zen about it — nodding politely, mentioning only that it would mean a ‘thorough pat-down using their hands to search your body’.

And, their approach–calm, soothing voices, polite instructions–became nicer, too. I had some very interesting conversations as the agent would be skimming her hands over my body parts, using the back of her hands in the ‘sensitive areas like the breasts and groin’. LOL!

Looking back at all the screenings, at all the airports, I would say that the Midwest screeners were just a tiny bit nicer in carrying out their duties. They generally had a nice sense of humor and seemed to try to put me at ease during the sometimes embarassing situation. The screeners at the Grand Rapids airport receive my award for best patdown at an airport!

The worst? Well, I hesitate to say this but I have terrible travel karma at the Orlando airport – yes, the gateway to my favorite place on earth is the airport I’ve had the most trouble traveling through! Clearly, they need some Disney magic or Tinkerbell’s pixie dust applied there!

How about you? Have you experienced the up-close-and-personal screening? Do your travels go smoothly or are you travel-challenged?

Highlanders_final  Terri is busy working on her next MacLerie story even while she awaits the release of HIGHLANDERS, an HQN anthology in June. Visit her website or friend her on Facebook to keep in touch with her.



6 thoughts on “Up Close and Personal with the TSA. . .

  1. Terri, how you get your thrills is your business! 😉 I’ve always found the TSA agents to be lovely, and I truly do appreciate their work. Never had a rude person. But I avoid Disneyworld. : )

  2. Mia Marlowe Mia Marlowe says:

    The TSA agents at Springfield, MO get my vote for most friendly, yet professional. My worst experience was probably the screeners at Frankfurt, Germany where I was groped without warning years ago (shortly after 911). At the time, we were all too freaked out about security to raise a fuss.

  3. Shana Shana says:

    I always go through the machine. So glad to hear Grand Rapids TSA people were nice. That’s where I’m from. Represent!

  4. Like Shana, I go through the machine, too. I don’t think I’ve ever had a pat down (I would remember that, right?). But they did go over me with a “wand” once. Must have been the rivets on my jeans…
    Frankly, I don’t mind the extra security. I think I would be more bothered by an uninterested, lax TSA!

  5. Kathleen OD says:

    I have not done a lot of traveling in the past 5yrs.. And most of that has been driving across the border from Canada to the US.. But have really had no problems.. Now airports I am sure will be another thing…

  6. catslady says:

    Welcome to Pittsburgh. I hope you had time to visit the City. We really haven’t traveled lately. We did all our traveling in the beginning of our marriage and then 15 yrs. later we had kids. We did a few trips by plane with the kids but that has been a while now. I still remember the days when you didn’t have to pay for your luggage, get patted down and they fed you lol.

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