We recently flew from SEA to SLC. The following day we flew from SLC to SEA. On the first flight I was identified for TSA pre-check, but my husband was not. I just went with him in the regular line. When the TSA agent saw my boarding pass he told me I could leave my shoes on. I was not required to remove my lap top. I was not subjected to a pat down nor did I walk through the screening machine. Just before I picked up my luggage a TSA agent swabbed my hands and ran the swab through a machine and then let me go. This is the exact same experience I have had with TSA Pre-check since we started to fly with this designation. I was somewhat surprised when I received the same considerations even though I was not in the TSA Pre-check line. I invariably have a bottle of water tucked away, and I often forget to empty it before walking through security. In Seattle the TSA agent took the water in his hand and asked me why I had it. I explained that I often choke so I always carry water. He then smiled and said "Medical" and put the water back in my carry-on.
Next day we are both cleared for TSA Pre-Check. We get in line, and no TSA agent seems happy to see us or anyone else. When I reached the metal detector I explained that i would set it off because of artificial hips and knees. They had no scanning machine in that line. They told me to walk through the machine. It alarmed and they immediately grabbed me like I was attempting to leave the scene of a crime.
I was then required to go back with my suitcase, open it and remove my laptop. Then I was required to remove my shoes. Then I was subjected to the "TSA Pat Down", which I believe is a form of sexual attack that I would report to the police if I were not in the airport. I do not understand why anyone needs to stick their hands down the underwear of a 70 year old woman.
One of the agents started to paw through my carry-on looking for a "small knife" that he saw on the X-ray machine. This agent finally dumped the entire contents of both my purse and my carry-on into the bin and went through every item one-by-one. Then he felt the lining of the bags and put them back through the X-Ray machine. After about 35 minutes of him playing with my bag, he tossed the empty purse and carry-on to me, and let me put my belongings back in my bags.
I know one should never complain to a TSA agent, but when it took me ten minutes to locate my shoes following the pat-down, I mentioned that I had been through TSA Pre-Check line many times in the last 12 months, and had never experienced anything like this scrutiny. In fact, I have never experienced this level of scrutiny in years. He said that as soon as I set off the metal detector, I lost my TSA Pre-Check status, so I had to submit to the regular checks.
He also said that I would not be eligible for TSA Pre-Check in the future because I have metal knees and ceramic hips, and he acted as if I had committed a federal crime. Oddly, I have passed through SLC TSA Pre-Check at least five other times in the last 12 months, and my TSA Pre-Check has been exactly like it was in Seattle, except no one has ever let me keep my water.
So I am wondering if the staff on the Pre-Check line were just having a bad day, or if I will never be able to use the Pre-Check line again? I am not happy, and I my prescription sun glasses that were in my purse disappeared during the dumping and handling process and could not be located again. They also cut off the TSA approved lock on my checked luggage.
I just thought that the process was becoming more civilized and now I am back in this mess again.