Family security?


My family and I flew out of Philadelphia International Airport recently to visit Grandmom in Milwaukee. In these five years since 9-11 it continues to amaze me that the Transportation Security Administration still can’t make it easier for families traveling with small children to get through security. I see they have an article on their website that lets families know what to expect. But jeez, it’s enough to make you cancel your trip. It asks an awful lot of parents.

It does recommend requesting independent screening if you are traveling with more than one child.
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But I have a better idea. Why not have a TSA worker on hand to assist parents? I know fellow travelers without children would likely applaud any attempt to expedite those moms juggling toddlers, infants, strollers, coats and shoes. Perhaps the TSA worker could spot families in line and move them to another line reserved for the smaller group of travelers that need more time to dress and undress children and coax them through the detector? At the very least, there could be an area just after you pass through the detector in your stocking feet that you and your children could move to in order to reshod everyone and reopen the stroller. A TSA worker could spot families in line and explain to them what needs to be removed from whom before they get to the front of the line. On an earlier trip, I had removed everyone’s coats, shoes, bags, special blankets, important toys and had gotten everyone to the detector, my son in front of me, my infant in my arms and my son balks. He’s become so spooked by the process he refuses to walk under the detector. I figured at that point it was up to the TSA worker to coax him through. I had done enough. On this recent trip we were behind a young family who didn’t seem to understand English very well. The TSA worker wanted the young mother to remove part of her clothing. It appeared that she was wearing a light zip-up jacket over a red shirt. However, it’s quite possible that the top was all one piece. The language barrier was causing the mom much distress. It sounded like the worker wanted her to remove her shirt. She had a 2-year-old in a stroller who needed to have his jacket and shoes removed. Her husband was with her and they all made it through the detector decently dressed. But when their baby things came tumbling down the conveyor belt, a container of rice and peas spilled all over the floor. My crew was right behind them and we made an equally inelegant pass through. When you are traveling with children it certainly helps to be well-versed in the rules of engagement for traveling in the 21st century. But even then, children will throw you for a loop. A little extra help from the TSA workers could make the move through security much smoother for families and would reduce distractions that could cause them to miss real dangers.