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Tire pressure gauges and airport security

It’s a slow day and thought this might be of interest. Don’t read if it’s not. Coming back from Germany last week we went through Amsterdam and I got singled out to have my duffle/carryon searched at the last checkpoint at the gate. My duffle is my go bag and is with me all the time with everything I need to survive. I have my nook, -3 degree jacket, tooth brush, flashlight, batteries, shaver, magnifying glass, umbrella, meds, bandaids. etc. Also I had a barrel tire pressure gauge. From time to time, you get a rental with a low tire. The guy looked at it, examined it with wonder. I told him it was a tire gauge, but he didn’t seem to know what that was. Thought it might be a weapon or something. He even took it by itself and ran it carefully through the Xray machine to examine it further. I just thought this was really strange and never even thought of it as a weapon before. Now my sharpened pencil is a weapon and my matches cleared just fine and he finally gave me my tire gauge back and let me board.

It was a church group of 35 of us on a Martin Luther trip with two pastors and a bishop even so not like we were a bunch of characters. Never turned my cell phone on, never looked at my flashlight or batteries or umbrella to see if it had been modified as a .22, but sure had a problem with my tire gauge. He also studied my magnifying glass pretty close but didn’t xray that. Ever try to read a map at night? Now I don’t mind security checks for the greater good, but to have a 30 plus year old guy who doesn’t know what a tire gauge is may not be the sharpest tack in the box. I’ll continue to keep it in my go bag, but I may put a label on it.

Are those barrel-type gauges common in Europe? Maybe they have only dial-type over there?

Back off brother, or I’ll maim you with my …
toe nail clippers !

He may not have a car. Amsterdam is not car-friendly. I never saw the barrel-type gauge for a bicycle. My guess is that he lives in Amsterdam and walks everywhere and rides the train to work.


I also have some airport stories to tell

One time I was stopped because the dog smelled something. I emptied my pockets and there were a few automotive fuses in my pocket. I told them what I do for a living, and they claimed I was being argumentative. They finally let me through, but kept my fuses.

Another time the guy looked at my green card and said it was expired. The card was issued by INS back in the 80s and does NOT have an expiration date. I have one of the old cards that are actually green. Some of the later ones weren’t

A few weeks earlier, I had even gone to an homeland security office to make sure that it was okay, because INS doesn’t exist anymore. They took one look at it, said “Those things don’t expire. You’re good to go. Take your trip.”

It gets even worse. The guy that said it was expired also said that I don’t resemble the guy in the picture. I pointed out the fact that it was issues over 20 years ago, and, naturally I look a little different. This was a young whipper snapper who had something to prove, I suppose. I looked at him and said, “Why don’t you just compare my thumbprint to the one that’s on the card?”

He even said the card looked like it was deformed. I said “It’s over 20 years old. What do you expect?”

He finally let me in, but told me I had to get an updated green card. He also told me I was being
. . . . fill in the blanks

I think he wanted to go to his boss and say “Hey boss, I got one.” But then he probably realized that any jerk trying to sneak in illegally would probably have a fake current style green card, versus the version which hasn’t been issued in literally decades.

And then there’s that set of 5 used bass guitar strings which I can guarantee you these TSA jerks have no clue.

( used…all the machine head ends have a curious curl to them. And, yes I save them , boil them to get out the gunk and re-oil them with a little Singer sewing machine oil…they sound as good as new. )

Boiling strings gets the gunk out, but does nothing to improve the fret dents. So, maybe not quite as good as new. This is less of a problem on bass than standard guitar.

Yes, musch less impact on a bass. ( just a cheapo / po-man’s / tight-wad’s ‘new’ string set )
Yet, I’ve found that when re-installing them, I tend to reorient them in relation to the frets. so the fret dents matter even less.
But try ‘splainin’ that to a TSA agent !
To them they’re just WIRES…for what ?
Even in the packages of the new ones…they look at the label and see…
GHS bass BOOMERS ! ! imagine a TSA agent seeing THAT !

Some years ago, after 9-11, I was behind an elderly German lady checking in. She must have been in her 80s. She was flying back to Germany after visiting relatives. She was planning to do some knitting on the way over. NO WAY! they told her the needles were weapons and needed to be checked separately. Her English was poor, so I helped translate. They brought a large cardboard box and put the needles and knitting in. I told her they were not confiscating them and she would be able to pick them up in Frankfurt.

She kept shaking her head while boarding. Apparently, plastic needles are now allowed and I saw lady with them on my way back from Houston recently…

Even if you don’t have any weapons, they’ll hand you a fork and knife with your dinner

My TSA story is I was traveling with a backpack as my carry-on. Nothing particularly exotic in it, or on me, yet they thoroughly toss my bag and select me for additional screening.

It wasn’t until I got to my hotel that night that I remembered that backpack was the one I kept all my black powder supplies in for years previous.

“Even if you don’t have any weapons, they’ll hand you a fork and knife with your dinner”

You misunderstand the intent of the rules. The weapon rules are to prevent hijacking the plane and, for instance, ramming it into a tall building. It is not to protect flight attendants or passengers that might be injured with a pen knife. I read
an interview with the head of TSA about a year ago, and that’s what he said. He also said that the reason they would not allow pen knives on the plane is that the public would not stand for it; otherwise he would allow it.

yeah, I seem to remember a year or two ago, I read a story where TSA was contemplating allowing small pen knives on board. Public reaction was visceral, and they immediately backpedaled.

They announced they would be allowing pool cues and backed off on that one, too. I get it, but pool players really hate to check cues. They’re easily damaged by careless handling and can be worth a lot of money. To replace my sticks and their case would be over a thousand, and I don’t have anything terribly exotic. Just good production cues, nothing custom.

While going through security at Heathrow Airport back in September, a woman was being held aside because she had knitting needles in her carry-on apparently while TSA allows them the UK rules were different.

Several years ago, my brother was flying back from Hawaii with his new fiance and was informed that his drivers licence was expired (and he flew to Hawaii without anyone noticing it then) as well as his backpack which he used in a previous job to carry dynamite for snow control tested positive for explosives residue. Lots of fun at airport security for him.

I do IT for a living. Recently I took a trip across the country to deal with some problems at a new facility our company has. I have made 3 of these trips so far this year. Until last time I had no problem with my luggage. Coming back this time however, the TSA searched my suitcase. Fair enough I suppose, as I had a couple of tool sets, hard drives, lots of wires and cables, power supplies, and a “parts” laptop, along with a large flat metal sign that I picked up while I was down there as a birthday gift for someone. However, I’d love to know why TSA had to get my shampoo bottle out of the plastic bag I put it in, leave it out lying loose, and knock it around enough that it seeped all over the contents of my luggage. However, ironically they didn’t even make me go through the body scanner on the return trip, though in the little burg I flew from on the outgoing trip the guy scrutinized my ID for about 30 seconds, as though he thought I’d hand carved it from soapstone or something.

A friend recently was on vacation in Mexico. Going back through customs, the agents confiscated a bottle of hot sauce that she picked up for me, even though she purchased it in the duty-free store in the airport about 20 yards away, it was sealed, and wrapped for shipment. The rationale was that it was over 3 oz. and should have been packed in luggage. This is despite it being purchased in the secure area after the scanners and her luggage had long since been checked in.

I know they have a difficult job, but I think a lot of these guys are just gorillas with only enough intelligence to be dangerous. Like pushing people around? Frustrated in life? This may be the job for you.

The travails of having to deal with TSA agents is not really anything new, and is just a worse version of shoddy treatment at the hands of US Customs Agents.

About 30 years ago, a friend of mine was returning from Scotland, and upon his return, a US Customs Agent seized upon a large jar of very expensive marmalade that my friend had bought overseas. The Customs Agent claimed that the marmalade was a prohibited item, as it was an agricultural product. In reality, while you can’t bring raw fruits & vegetables into the country, processed products like marmalade have always been allowed.

My friend, who was outraged at the attempt to steal his expensive marmalade told the agent, You have a choice. Either stop this ridiculous attempt at theft, or I will smash the jar on the floor and then you will be both deprived of it AND have to explain the incident after I make A LOT of noise and other personnel rush over to investigate.

The larcenous US Customs Agent suddenly “discovered” that this marmalade was permitted to be brought into the US.

You folks are really reminding me. Years ago before TSA and when metal screening was just getting started, our Army Reserve company were flying back home after training through Scranton. Everyone was in class A dress uniforms for travel with lots of brass. We had a heck of a time getting through the scanners and had to remove belts etc. I mean if you can’t trust the Army . . .

Going to LA from Minneapolis, my wife bought one of those cake knives shaped like a high heel as a gift. She bought it in the secure area of the MPLS airport. Coming back, the LA TSA confiscated it as a weapon. Of course we had the option of going back and putting it in the checked luggage and waiting in line again for an hour or two so we just dumped the $10 item. I suspect some of these folks rifle through the trash at the end of the day for take home stuff. Maybe profiling isn’t so bad after all.

bscar2 November 8 Even if you don’t have any weapons, they’ll hand you a fork and knife with your dinner - I was leaving Portugal on a Lufthansa flight, A young lady ahead of me was stopped by security. I could see the x-ray monitor and the tiny scissors with 3/8" blades in her carry-on. She had to leave them behind. Shortly after takeoff breakfast was served. Every passenger was given full size stainless steel knife, fork, and spoon. This was the first time I had seen these since 9/11. The knife had a pointed, serrated, four inch blade!

You misunderstand the intent of the rules. The weapon rules are to prevent hijacking the plane and, for instance, ramming it into a tall building. It is not to protect flight attendants or passengers that might be injured with a pen knife.

And they couldn’t hijack the plane using the supplied knife and fork from the stewardesses?