Thank you to Lindsay Tigar for including me in her Reader’s Digest article: “13 Things to Never Say to TSA Agents.”
“Are you looking for a bomb in there?”
Jet-setter and travel blogger Lisa Niver reminds travelers that a TSA agent’s number one priority is safety. It’s a job that most people take seriously and definitely one that should be respected. So while it’s annoying when your bag is searched, remember why it’s being done—and never joke about anything that could put others in danger, like insinuating you have a bomb or a gun. Niver explains that TSA agents have to take every comment into consideration, and since they don’t know you, your “joking” comment may prompt them to investigate to make sure you’re not actually a terrorist.
“Will a twenty help me get through this line faster?”
When you have only ten minutes to board your flight and the next one isn’t until tomorrow morning, thanks to augmented schedules during the pandemic, you may feel desperate to make it. But winking at a TSA agent and slipping him or her a twenty? Niver says that tactic won’t be effective—and it could land you in mega trouble. Much like police officers, TSA agents can’t take any cash in exchange for leniency, and they raise an eyebrow at those who think they could be so easily persuaded. In fact, if you try to bribe them, you could end up getting arrested!
The curse word of your choice
No matter how many laps around the sun we take, it’s important to remember the golden rule our parents taught us from the start: Treat others as you want to be treated. All too often, frustrated or exhausted passengers will curse at TSA agents when the line is moving too slowly, which is obviously disrespectful. Niver says any type of aggression, even verbal, can send you packing and cause you to miss your flight—or even be put in a holding room for questioning.
“This is ridiculous!”
What would you do if someone told you that your job was ridiculous? You’d probably be offended, right? And if you ever suggest that you could outsmart a TSA agent, they won’t take it well. That’s why Niver urges passengers to put themselves in the agent’s shoes and to try to have patience during the screening process. “They are paid to make sure that you are safe, that they are safe, and that all the passengers in the terminal or on the plane are safe,” she says. “And that may take longer than we would like.” Your outbursts won’t help the situation—and could delay things even further.