An Open Letter to the TSA Supervisor at Reagan Airport

Letter to TSA

Dear TSA Supervisor at Reagan Airport:

Let’s get one thing straight. There are two terminal buildings at DCA. One building houses U.S. Air and Delta and other overpriced but fairly competent airlines, the other houses Air Tran, Spirit and other Ford Fiesta level airlines (hereafter know as the Short Bus terminal). I am talking to the TSA supervisor who handles the Short Bus terminal. To the other guy, thank you for making flying a pleasant experience.

So you Mr. Short Bus, must have flunked a major portion of your TSA security exam or slept with the boss’ wife to get stuck out in that outpost running a security checkpoint that is as organized as the Rodney King riots. For starters a security line should, in fact, be a “line”, not a mob of punks in basketball jerseys and snot nosed kids heading to Disney World in the off-season trying to mow down the few respectable travelers like myself. I would suggest at least installing a premier line for seasoned travelers, although I am pretty sure I was the only person in that mad-house that had ever, ever flown before. I point to the lady travelling with a gallon of milk and the gentlemen who was utilizing a Hefty bag as a carry-on as evidence.

Second, there needs to be significantly more monitoring of the passengers as they approach security. Then you could have gently reminded the 45 year old lady with the Cyndi Lauper hairdo and Winnie the Pooh sweatshirt to take off all three of her Swatch watches before she set off the monitor and had to go back through 18 times. In fact, just make it a policy to tell adults with Winnie the Pooh garb on that they aren’t allowed to fly. I don’t mean to stereotype, but they are the sorts that try to carry on eight (only 2 are allowed!) floral patterned bags and talk loudly on their phone to their cat sitter until take off.

This brings us to the bag monitor and, of course, Stuart. Once my bag was on the belt and I was, praise Jesus, miraculously through the line, your Sherlock Holmes bag monitor believed he saw a secret weapon in my carry-on, in the shape of a compact mirror. He then flagged down his trusty co-worker Stuart, whose asinine behavior prompted me to write this letter. In case you have more than one Stuart working for you under your big-top, this Stuart is about 5’8”, 110 pounds dripping wet, and appears to have gone through puberty last Wednesday. If you are handing out Christmas goodies around the water cooler this year, I suggest some Stridex pads for Stuart.

Anyway, Stuart retrieves my bag off the belt and swings it around wildly looking for the owner. I step up and claim the bag as I scramble about, trying to pick up the various pens and other items that Stuart is dropping as he waves my bag around like he is in the color guard and it’s half-time. I follow him to the bag check table and, after dropping even more of my items on the floor, he finds the evil, Taliban-issued compact mirror. After discerning the secret weapon must be on the inside, he tries to open the compact and, wait for it……he can’t figure out how to push the button to make it open. I offer to open it for him, but he just stared me down like I had just robbed a liquor store and he was Boss Hog. I tried to offer to open it again and again, but arguing with Stuart is akin to haggling over the price of a chicken in a New Deli flea market and instead he decided to BANG my compact repeatedly on the table until it crashed open and broke.

He then scooped up my bag and shattered compact, and, giving him points for consistency here, dropped even more of my stuff on the floor, and ran my bag back through the belt. This whole process took about 45 minutes, at which point I had missed my flight. Bless their Ford Fiesta hearts, Air Tran only runs one flight to Key West a day, so I had to pay $433 for another flight on another airline. That’s right, STUART COST ME $433, which is 10 times the costs of one of the little video games I am certain he plays in his basement by himself because he has no friends and if he does have friends, they wear Winnie the Pooh sweatshirts.

You may ask why I know Stuarts name, Mr. Supervisor. Well, as I was passing back by that hot mess you call a security check point, I stopped a senior TSA member and briefly explained my plight. She pointed a finger right at the aforementioned offender and said, “Oh, I bet that was him. His name is Stuart. Young guy? Drops stuff? He is always causing problems.”

In conclusion, Mr. TSA supervisor, please send Stuart back to the airport kiosk that sells $10 pashminas and fake Gucci sunglasses, or back to his bussing job at the California Tortilla counter because he is not ready for the big leagues. Even better, tell Stuart to send me a check for $433.

Thank you for your time.


Disgruntled in the Tampa US Air lounge


By Shannon Wright

France, England, Scotland, Greece, India, Kenya, Botswana, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, Italy, Belgium, USSR (when it existed), Germany. The Cayman Islands, Virgin Gorda, Bonaire

Shannon takes really long vacations and dreams of the day when she can be a professional back-packer, book-reader, and hammock-swinger. She likes crossword puzzles, detective stories with quirky protagonists and is the proud mama of two gorgeous, brown rescue dogs.

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An Open Letter to the TSA Supervisor at Reagan Airport