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‘Furious’ TSA Screeners Complain About Smelly Passengers

November 23, 2010

The media have lent a sympathetic ear to the tribulations of air passengers facing invasive screenings at the nation’s airports, but how do TSA employees feel about their new job responsibilities? 

According to the Daily Mail, “furious” security staff “hate” dealing with “obese passengers and people with personal hygiene issues.”

One travel blog reached out to TSA employees and received 17 testimonials from disgruntled employees upset over the policy put in place last month. Not surprisingly, one of the most detested parts of their job is carrying out individual body searches, one even claiming the experience was worse for him than for the passenger.

“It is not comfortable to come to work knowing full well that my hands will be feeling another man’s private parts, their butt, their inner thigh,” one told the BoardingArea blog.  “Even worse is having to try and feel inside the flab rolls of obese passengers and we seem to get a lot of obese passengers!”

Another said he had a huge problem dealing with a “large number of passengers… daily that have a problem understanding what personal hygiene is.”

In addition, the TSA staffers said they were uncomfortable with passengers’ negative responses to the policy.  Many complained that air travelers are unloading their angry backlashes on the screeners who say they’re just following orders and do their jobs.

“Being a TSO [Transportation Security Officer] means often being verbally abused, you let the comments roll off and check the next person,” one said.

“However, when a woman refuses the scanner then comes to me and tells me that she feels like I am molesting her, that is beyond verbal abuse.  I asked the woman if she thought I like touching other women all day and she told me that I probably did or I wouldn’t be with the TSA.  I just want to tell these people that s, but I cannot because I am a professional.”

The American Federation of Government Employees, the union representing the officers, says the agency must take action before the Thanksgiving rush “to ensure that TSOs are not being left to fend for themselves.”

The new screenings are creating bottlenecks at many security checkpoints and holiday travelers should expect delays as up to an estimated two million people per day are expected to fly this week for Thanksgiving.

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