TSA workers have a group to complain about people, here are some of their vents


When us mere mortals get a sneak peek into the world of secret societies, it’s a moment worth remembering. If you’ve ever been through airport security, then here you can discover the dark rants of TSA employees.

It’s not the same everywhere

One TSA employee vented off about how some people dislike the way things are done. Sometimes it’s difficult for passengers to stomach how some airports will allow certain things while others are less than enthusiastic.

This situation is clearly something this person has had more than a few times, and they are sick of hearing it. It’s an easy excuse that people like to use as if it’s going to let them get away with it this time. Naturally, this doesn’t help at all, and just delays things

Someone page the DMV

Some people can’t bear to see their children grow up. Not to mention, it can be tough knowing exactly when something should stop, like removing the stroller and getting your kid to walk wherever they need to go.

This employee noticed the kid in the stroller and was horrified to see how old she looked. You never know, she could be exceptionally young, just a bit more advanced where her height is concerned… at which point, it’s probably time to ditch the stroller anyway.

Can’t out-petty the TSA

As a passenger, it’s a little unnerving knowing that someone can go through, rummage, and touch your items, especially since they’re so personal. However, leaving a note can put someone in an awkward position when it’s their job to check your stuff.

It might seem petty, but this TSA employee was told by her boss to touch everything. Why? Because a note isn’t going to stop them, that’s why. If anything, it spurs them on. Now we know not to ask anything of a trusty TSA employee.

Horton hears a what?

It seems that TSA employees hear this all too often. Passengers are always trying to smuggle items they want to bring with them on-board. The problem is, did another airline really let them fly with it, or is it just a bad excuse? Our money’s on option B.

At any rate, different airlines have different rules, so it’s always important to check them before flying. This TSA employee obviously doesn’t have a lot of faith in people, though, assuming their pants are pretty much on fire all the time.

Big boss perks

It looks like one TSA employee has noticed a few problems with management. Working in 100-degree heat is not easy at all, but these employees have to as they don’t have the money for fans or proper plugs.

However, they later found out that management was allowed to spend $3k on new chairs for the manager’s office along with other high-priced items. It does seem somewhat awkward and unfair, and where else to share that than social media? Maybe someone will take notice.

Warming up

On the subject of management, it seems TSA employees have to warm up using the toaster in the break room. Perhaps this is another nod to how management might not always prioritize things that would make their staff more comfortable.

This guy seems to be taking that well, or maybe he’s the only one who gets cold while in the break room, which is why his coworker thinks it’s so funny. Apparently, many people could relate to this post, though, so they’re probably not the only one.

Asking the hard-hitting questions

One TSA worker got particularly irritated one day and decided to let it all out on the secret social media group. If you’ve never been to an airport before, then you’re not likely to know all the ins and outs of what you’re supposed to do.

However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a patron or two who do make you wonder. Once you’ve been somewhere for long enough, it can wear you down. However, another employee explains that after even longer, you just stop caring. So… silver lining, right?

The light is fading

We’d wager this happens a lot in a number of industries. Still… We’re not sure anyone would ever wilfully admit to enjoying watching the happiness fade out of someone’s eyes. One TSA employee asked whether or not anyone else enjoyed watching the happiness fade from new hires’ eyes.

We’re guessing it’s because they have been there themselves. They had been a new hire and had the light fade from their own eyes. Someone has even recalled watching it happen to them.

Starting the day right

You know, there are more jobs than you realize that seem to be some kind of snark magnet to the public. It’s different for many people, but sometimes you really are just representing the body you work for, whether you agree with its rules and regulations or not.

However, that doesn’t make having someone swear at you any easier. When one person was on their first break of the day, they had someone do just that. They didn’t seem too phased by it, which makes us wonder how often this happens.

Losing staff in droves

One person wondered whether or not other airports were losing staff faster than they could employ them. It’s interesting as it might reflect on whether or not the TSA is looking after their staff properly, or if one airport had a particularly high turnover.

Of course, messages like these always encourage a large amount of conversation. One person has even suggested that the TSA doesn’t treat their staff like human beings. Not a great start, but maybe someone will see this thread and change things up.

Making fun of lonely passengers

Most of us dread having to go through rigorous pat-down checks at airports, but according to this TSA employee, there are some people who don’t mind it at all – they actually might quite like it.

The TSA agent made a joke about lonely passengers, suggesting that while it is common to see the pat-downs as an inconvenient or irritating invasion of privacy, this can actually make the day brighter for certain passengers who lead isolated lives.

The assumption of bad news

It seems kind of sad when someone assumes that if they’re being called in, it’s probably bad news. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case at all, and things ended up going pretty well in the end. They even got a promotion!

Still, that’s not what they were expecting at all. At least something positive has come from this secret group rather than just upset people and rants. Everything has to have a silver lining somewhere, even if it is coated in disciplinary anxiety.

Here we go again

You can tell what these guys have to deal with more often than other things. This particular employee has compared it to other scenarios in life, which kind of makes it seem sensible. However, that won’t ever stop people from comparing them.

Perhaps this suggests that there ought to be some rules that go across the board, saving this conversation and any further confusion. One person points out it can even be done by interpretation sometimes, after some people relax over the years.

The extra ticket code

Sometimes, after a week of awkward and angry customers, you can feel like things are getting on top of you. This situation might call for some job-specific banter, which this person is doing perfectly.

They want to add an extra boarding pass code – one which might suggest that the person traveling isn’t perhaps as bright as they seem. We all need a little extra help sometimes, but some customers really do seem to push the boat out when it comes down to it.

Management is watching

There’s something exceptionally unnerving about CCTV. In most cases, it really is there to keep people from stealing or doing something they shouldn’t, as a preventative measure. However, one employee has gone as far as asking for a written explanation for what CCTV is meant to be used for.

It can be pretty tough trying to do anything when someone is scrutinizing you. So, not only is it invading people’s personal space, it’s also potentially making people do their job a lot worse than they might otherwise be.

The pet scanner incident

It also stands to reason that TSA employees would have more than a few crazy stories. After all, where would these rants come from? One man reportedly attempted to get his cat through the X-ray machine at the LA Airport.

The cat was in a bag, not a pet carrying case. So the man opened the bag to let the animal out, and tried putting it through the machine. This was horrifying for TSA workers, and it created a whole hullabaloo. People shouldn’t put their pets through the X-ray machine!

What happens in the IO room

The image operator rooms are where TSA workers will screen a full body scan. This is to check if someone has anything suspicious on their person. One TSA agent opened up about how he gets to see what people look like without their clothes on.

The images can’t be stored, but the room could be used for secret, somewhat illicit meetings between co-workers, where they could stand and watch what people look like beneath their clothing.

Initiating the pat-down

While we have heard that TSA agents like to out-petty their customers, there are more than a few ways they try to do this. One of them is using code words to send a message to other coworkers about a particular passenger.

If a passenger had been rude at all, then they would give them a pat-down, claiming it was a “random search.” In order to cue this pat-down, they would just speak the codeword “39” to make it all happen.

Cats are a nightmare

Dealing with cats can be seriously problematic. It turns out that a cat can shut down a terminal all by itself. Since they’re so agitated coming out of their carriers, patting down a cat for weapons can be a real nightmare.

Sometimes, a cat can even make a break for it, getting out of their carrier and running through a terminal. Unfortunately, this is considered a breach, and that’s when a terminal can be shut down. This is because if they’re carrying weapons, they’re now loose.

Dogs are awesome, though

Whether you’re a dog or a cat person, patting down a dog is way easier than patting down a cat. This is according to TSA agents themselves. Most dogs who need to be patted down consider it as getting lots of positive attention and cuddles.

So, despite most cats being smaller than the majority of dogs, dogs are way easier to deal with in comparison. We’re pretty sure most people wouldn’t have minded anyway, so can we have dogs to pet for our job, please?

People with big hairdos

It can be a real problem when someone comes through with an elaborate hairdo. It doesn’t matter if it’s fashion or if it’s for a special occasion, that large hairstyle is apparently the bane of TSA agents’ lives. This is because people could hide weapons or items in their hair that they shouldn’t.

This means that if anyone does come through with a larger-than-life hairstyle, then they’re going to have a much more rigorous inspection. Anything from braids to a scrunchie can set it off and start a problem.

TSA agents don’t like morning people

According to one TSA agent, the people they like the least are those who travel in the morning. For some reason, the people they like the most are the late-night travelers, as they seem to be more co-operative.

This is because people in the morning, according to this agent, can actually be a lot meaner than their evening-flying counterparts. Not to mention, apparently anyone traveling business will happily tell TSA workers where to go and what they can do with themselves.

TSA agents don’t feel they can open up

Believe it or not, TSA agents get a lot of public criticism. One employee took to social media to share their feelings and check whether or not other employees do the same thing. Apparently, this was something many people shared.

A load of people supported this anonymous poster, claiming they also don’t like to tell people what it is they do for a living. Most of the time, it’s because they fear some kind of personal backlash if they do.

Cheese looks explosive

This might sound a little strange, but if you’re the kind of person who likes to bring cheese on your travels, then you’re probably going to be stopped. The reason for this is because sometimes, it can look like a C4 explosive – it’s almost indistinguishable.

In fact, TSA agents get rather annoyed with anyone who likes traveling with meats or orange-toned organic products. It makes their job a lot harder, as they have to make sure someone isn’t trying to do something horrible.

No settling in

TSA agents don’t get to settle down at their stations for the day like most other people do. Instead, they could be made to do something new every half an hour. Apparently, they will get assigned to different stations each day and be moved around every 30 minutes.

This is so that they avoid making any errors. Apparently, after half an hour of doing a task, you may start missing things. So, they can’t get comfortable and have to be on their toes all day.

People who opt-out slow it down

Some agents have a code name for people who would opt out of the full-body scan. They were called “Tulips” and they’re people TSA agents would get particularly annoyed about. Since 2013, they no longer use the x-ray scanners and use radio waves instead.

This means it is nowhere near as invasive as it used to be. The reason they used to get annoyed is because this would slow everything down, causing pile-ups, and they’re not sure the passenger even understood why.

TSA agents get genuinely scared

Many of us in regular day-to-day jobs don’t have to worry about being threatened in any way. However, TSA agents do live the reality that there are credible threats to their careers and their lives. One TSA agent opened up about having to go through assailant training three times.

Not only this, but they were also told they could not wear their uniform to and from work as that could result in an active threat against the airport. Not what you want to hear when you’re just getting into work.

Take it off

One of the biggest, most irritating things that TSA agents have to deal with is having to change their gloves. It sounds petty, but they are often faced with customers who demand they change their gloves just because they didn’t see them change them already.

This usually occurs before a pat-down, and is something they can’t really get out of. TSA agents change their gloves all the time, but are still required to change them in front of a customer if they demand it.

Job security like no other

With everything else that has been said about the TSA, it seems kind of strange that employees would compare them to the mafia. Don’t worry, it’s nothing too crazy. Once TSA officers pass their probationary period, it’s apparently exceptionally tough to lose that job.

They call it “being made,” which is a term the mafia uses. Apparently, after this, you effectively can’t lose your job unless you commit a crime. Talk about incredible job security, right?

No perks of the job

While knowing you get to keep your job no matter what seems like a major perk, TSA employees don’t get any others. They’re not allowed to accept any airport perks, and accepting a gift could actually be cause for termination. Is that committing a crime?

However, there is a loophole they have worked out. If you befriend a pilot or have a close, personal relationship with an employee, then you may accept it. Pilots can offer you free miles on an airplane.

You can’t bring that here

Sometimes, people only need to try to bring something awkward to give a TSA agent a lousy day. Believe it or not, the military is not exempt from going through security. It makes sense when you think about it. However, they can bring back some pretty strange stuff.

One TSA worker explained how a bunch of times, they have had to confiscate weapons from armed forces because they’re bringing them through security. They’re around it every day, so it seems reasonable to them, but not for airport staff.

Bringing in a pet for emotional support

Most of us would love to have an emotional support pet, but we’re just not allowed to, or we don’t really need one. However, some people struggle to get by without them at all. Despite this, people still try and smuggle in their pet duck, claiming it’s their emotional support animal.

Sometimes, these situations can be exceptionally difficult to handle. After all, who’s to say that a squirrel isn’t emotionally supporting its human? Except, it’s a bit strange to have a squirrel on a flight.

Mannequin transportation

TSA workers have to be on the lookout for all kinds of weird things. Most of the time, they want to make sure people aren’t transporting illegal substances across countries. One guy was stopped from going on a plane because he had a suitcase filled with female mannequin parts.

They believed he could have been smuggling substances in there. Once they searched absolutely everything, it turned out the guy really did just have the mannequin. Still, a bit strange.

Bringing on a crazy magnet

TSA agents have endless stories about the weird things people bring with them on board. Someone decided to bring in a massively powerful magnet. It was so powerful that, while it was in the bag, it was ripping rollers on the conveyor. Three men had to get it off.

It only needed to be within 1.5 feet of a metal object to fly at it. One airport worker had braces on, and a coworker had to stop him from getting near it.

The case of empty egg cartons

It makes TSA workers’ jobs harder when people won’t answer their questions. One person came through with two suitcases completely filled with egg cartons. They had nothing in them – it was just a whole load of empty egg cartons.

Naturally, when anything looks stranger than it should, the person gets pulled in for questioning. However, when they got pulled in for questioning, they simply refused to answer, claiming they weren’t doing anything illegal. The person was let go, but to this day, no one knows why they had all those cartons.

Having to trifle through awkward material

TSA workers have seen a lot. One explained that they figured out a common tactic that people use as a deterrent for baggage searches: adult magazines. Adult magazines tend to make people feel uncomfortable, so people put them in their bags in hopes that the agents will be less thorough in their search.

One worker had a guy who had filled an old laptop with newspaper to stop his knife inside it from moving. He also had a bunch of adult mags at the top of his bag. Thankfully, he didn’t get away with it.

A strange way of doing it

One officer who worked at a terminal in Australia has witnessed some passengers trying to come through in the strangest of ways. He told the story of one guy who tried coming through wearing nothing on his upper half.

He was also carrying a 10-foot long tree branch. His shirt was hanging off the end of the branch, and he was carrying a bunch of items he intended on taking with him. He didn’t get particularly far before security explained he couldn’t go through.

Take the batteries out

TSA workers have to report baggage to the police if anything is vibrating inside of it. Literally, if anything that comes through is vibrating, then the police has to be called. Most of the time, the TSA worker explains that it is probably an electric razor.

However, it doesn’t matter how mundane the item is, it’s got to be taken seriously. Sometimes, it can be a number of other, more intimate items. In essence, it’s probably best that you just take the batteries out.

The case of the missing spiders

One TSA worker had to deal with a really bizarre situation with a guy. For some reason, this person decided it would be a good idea to go to an airport with a glass filled with tarantulas. Unfortunately, the creatures weren’t alive anymore, but were still being smuggled.

People try smuggling all kinds of animals, so they can sell them once they reach their destination. That’s what this guy in question probably wanted to do. Sometimes, there is no easy explanation for people’s behavior.

Snakes on a plane

If you feel you have to hide something in your luggage, then you obviously know that it doesn’t belong on a plane. However, that didn’t stop one passenger from trying to conceal a ball python in an external hard drive back in 2018.

The person was looking to catch a plane to Barbados when they were rumbled by TSA. Naturally, the official wasn’t about to let the creature board the plane, and they were instead taken away by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The eel deal

People really do love to try and bring their animals with them on vacation, whether they’re allowed to or not. TSA agents are used to dealing with cats and dogs, but eels aren’t something they come across often.

However, one official encountered some eels – a whole bag of them – at the Miami International Airport in 2012. It appears the passenger tried and failed to hide the animals in a checked bag, along with more than 160 marine tropical fish and 22 invertebrates. That was quite a haul they had there.

Cut from the flight

Weapons are a massive no-no on flights, and TSA agents work tirelessly to ensure that not a single one ever make their way into one. Of course, most people wouldn’t consider a pair of scissors to be a danger, which is why they’re allowed in carry-on luggage.

However, scissors aren’t usually larger than a person’s torso. This item was found and confiscated at Nashville International Airport after the blades were deemed longer than four inches. That’s apparently where the cut-off point is between being a useful tool and a dangerous weapon.

A free vacation

TSA agents have encountered a surprising number of people who have intentionally tried to conceal animals in their luggage. However, it appears there was one incident at Laguardia Airport where the pet was never meant to be in the suitcase.

A passenger’s chihuahua apparently managed to sneak into their owner’s bags completely undetected while they were busy packing. It wasn’t until baggage check that the animal was found hidden away, much to everyone’s surprise. Clearly, the pooch wanted a free vacation, and who could blame them?

Not following instructions

When TSA agents say not to have anything in your pockets or bags that won’t pass through the scanner, they mean it! There are so many times when people don’t follow instructions and think the machines won’t detect everything.

Leaving your belt on because it wasn’t detected last time just holds up the line for everyone else. It’s harder for TSA workers to do their jobs when they’re busy confiscating items that could have been easily removed by the traveler.

Walk through after your child

Traveling with children is hard as it is, but parents can make it more difficult when it’s time to go through the body scanner. When a parent is traveling with their child, the child needs to go through the scanner first.

Even if it’s only for a few seconds, the responsibility is on the TSA agent to watch the child until he/she goes through. Yes, traveling is anxiety inducing but you need to have your eye on your child at all times.

Buying and selling teeth

This definitely goes down in the books as one of the creepiest things a TSA agent has seen. This agent was called to do a private screening, which usually means there’s something weird in the bag. The couple opened up the heavy bag to reveal pieces of gold in large quantities, mix metals, and two bags of human teeth.

Apparently the couple bought teeth from a crematorium, melted the fillings, and was planning to sell the metal that they had melted. While it may not be illegal, it smelled horribly.

Turtles in his pocket

Who forgets that their child is carrying turtles in his pocket? Or maybe the parents didn’t know. According to one TSA worker, a family was traveling from South America. The parents’ 12 year old child went through the body scanner with six turtles in his cargo pants.

Border security was alerted and the turtles were taken to be tested for diseases. Meanwhile, his parents were charged $2,000. Anyone flying with kids, double check to make sure they aren’t smuggling animals!

A smelly surprise

There is no shortage of weird and smelly things that get stopped at security. A TSA worker in Alaska once reported a weird smell coming from someone’s bag. The person was flying out of Juneau, and tried to leave with pounds of moose feces on the plane!

It turns out, TSA doesn’t technically forbid you from flying with animal feces. However, you do need to check with the airline as to what their rules are about boarding with smelly items.

An elk pelvis bone

Ever wondered if you’re allowed to have animal bones in your luggage? Apparently a passenger reached out to the AskTSA team, a service that TSA provides to travelers, if a bone is allowed in checked luggage— specifically an elk pelvis bone.

Good news for that traveler, because animal bones are actually allowed to be packed in both checked luggage and in a carry-on. While it’s a very weird question to ask, it would save a lot of trouble if more people asked these types of questions before getting to the airport.

Arguing with the TSA

Many people find TSA agents extremely annoying. While you may think they are all out to get you, most of the time TSA agents are just trying to do their jobs. And workers find nothing more irritating than travelers arguing with them.

Flying can be stressful and everyone wants the process to go as smoothly as possible. Arguing with an agent will get you nowhere. TSA abides by strict rules and when you waste time fighting, it holds up the line for everyone else.

Waiting until the last minute

One of the many things that drive TSA workers crazy, is that travelers tend to do things right at the last minute. If a TSA agent says to have specific things ready to be checked, travelers never follow the instructions at the right time.

One worker complained that when she tells people to take their laptops out while they’re waiting on line, the laptops are never removed even when it’s time to remove them at security.

This man went too far

While you can put bottles of liquid in your checked luggage, those same liquids cannot exceed 3.4 ounces in your carry-on or personal bag. When TSA agents spot a bottle of water at security, they either say to throw it out or finish it quickly.

Once when a TSA agent told a man he can’t bring his strong adult beverage on the plane, the man took the words finish it quickly quite literally. He downed one fifth of the bottle for ten minutes and then proceeded to have a heart attack!

Not everyone knows the rules

Turns out, you may actually know a rule that a TSA agent doesn’t know! While that’s not usually the case, the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is over a hundred pages long. Because of this, many TSA workers don’t actually read the whole manual. They usually make decisions by their own common sense or by word of mouth.

It can happen that an agent won’t let an item of yours go through when you know the item is permitted. If this happens, ask for a supervisor and have them look through the SOP.

Your items may get sold

What happens to all the items that are confiscated by TSA agents? Do they just get thrown out in the trash and taken to a landfill? Nope, they are collected and sold. All of the weird and not so weird stuff that are worth selling, are sold online or at government surplus stores.

So the next time your nail scissors that you forgot to put in your checked bag is confiscated, it may not just end up in the trash. How crazy is that!

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