The TSA… Is anyone in charge there at all??

So, I travel a lot, as many of you do…

The TSA folks aren’t my favorite people, obviously, but I do understand they are merely the object of my ire and not the cause if it; and they have a job to do, that I sincerely hope they do well.

But seriously… look at this picture. It’s a sign posted at the Elite check-in line at Houston’s Intercontinental airport. If you are having trouble reading it, here’s what it says:

Thank you for your patience as we carry out security procedures designed for your safety and required by law.

Our Transportation Security Officers also have rights. To protect their safety, threats, verbal abuse, or violence of any kind will not be tolerated.

Please give our officers the respect they deserve.

Your safety is our priority.


Are you kidding me?? Nowhere (I looked) was there a sign about respecting travelers, or that travelers had any rights at all. Do we? Why would you put something like this on display in such a prominent location, with no context at all?

I mentioned the sign to the agent at the I.D. desk, she said “well, some people aren’t very nice.”

Really?? Not nice? The horrors of it all…

I travel frequently (much to my dismay). I see a real “jerk” traveler emerge maybe once every third trip or so. That’s it. Hardly common, clearly an exception to the norm.

This has application in your organization. If you have problem employees, pain-in-the-ass people that annoy everyone, do only the minimum to get by, and/or are simply disruptive… Deal with them. Swiftly, mercilessly, and definitively.

Don’t create some over-arching “policy,” thereby penalizing all for the transgressions of a simple few.

I still can’t believe that sign.

But that’s just me…


Kevin Berchelmann


  1. says

    Bo, I agree w/you 100%. The TSA reps that have my disdain are a product of their leadership (or lack thereof).

    That they are unempowered is not an individual responsibility but one of a lack of leadership wherewithal.

    But that's just me…


  2. says

    I had to chuckle at this post as I have wondered myself why the TSA needs signs like that when I am quite confident by what I see in my travels there is no policy for TSA employees that says "remember that those people you are pissing off with your obvious lack of compassion are the ones that fund your paychecks."

    Every, and I mean every, situation that I have seen involving TSA personnel could have turned out differently had the employees been empowered to think and empathize with the traveler. Even if they could do nothing to accomodate the traveler, just the act of saying "I'm sorry" and meaning it can make a difference.

    That is what all employees need to know! The world might be an amazing place if more organizations empowered (expected) their employees to do that!

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