TSA eases rules for wounded warriors at airport checkpoints

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has expanded the services it offers to wounded military service members at airport security checkpoints nationwide.

Starting Wednesday, March 27, 2013 injured troops and veterans will no longer be required to remove their shoes, jackets or hats at airport security checkpoints as long as they call ahead to arrange for the expedited service.

“We’ve had a wounded warrior program in place for some time to assist injured members of the military through the checkpoint process,” said TSA spokesperson Nico Melendez.

“Starting now, in airports with or without TSA PreCheck lanes, these heroes will be escorted to and through the checkpoints and will not have to remove hats, caps, light jackets or shoes.”

The expedited checkpoint rules for wounded warriors are now much the same as those the TSA offers for travelers over 75 and under 12 years of age, but in order to receive this new service, a wounded warrior or a travel companion must contact the Military Severely Injured Joint Services Operations Center via email or by phone (888.262.2396) at least 24 hours ahead of travel to be assured of the special service.

“Anything that can be done to make is easier for wounded warriors to go through airport checkpoints is a good thing,” said Garry Augustine, national service director for the non-profit Disabled American Veterans.

He said amputees wearing prosthetic legs have reported difficult and uncomfortable experiences at airport checkpoints when asked to remove their shoes, so being able to leave shoes on “is definitely going to be an advantage.”

The new expedited program for wounded warriors is being added to the existing program that offers expedited screening to U.S. service personnel in uniform who, with proper identification, and whether traveling on official orders or not, are currently not required to remove their shoes or boots unless their footwear sets off alarms in the checkpoint security equipment.

In addition to the new expedited procedures for wounded warriors, the TSA recently announced that, beginning April 25, small knives and a variety of previously prohibited items — such as ski poles, pool cues and golf clubs (two per passenger) — will be allowed as carry-on items.

(My story TSA extends expedited security to wounded warriors first appeared on NBCNews.com Travel)

 

One thought on “TSA eases rules for wounded warriors at airport checkpoints

  1. Heather G. says:

    “GOOD LUCK, VETS”.

    The TSA forces my travel-wheelchair-using husband to stand and walk through machines several times a trip. (True, he lets them make him get out of the chair, but that’s his problem. Theirs is scanning the AIRPORT-OWNED wheelchair.) The TSA emptied the contents of a man’s ostomy bag all over him a year or three ago, despite being shown an “I HAVE AN OSTOMY BAG” card. Etc.

    Yes, I know my husband; no, I don’t know the second man, but he lives an hour or so from us so it made our local news long before it made national and then international news. Personally, I just don’t trust the scanning machines, let alone the scanners, so insist on being patted down when I fly. Still would rather they profile the travelers, the way I am told is done in other countries.

    Have I ever been treated disrespectfully? Not yet. Do I think every TSA staffer gets out of bed in the morning determined to give me a hard time? Yes. (Some would say that’s their job; to them I would direct items such as the I-PAD STOLEN BY TSA STAFFER story I saw recently.) Does this make me have a bad attitude? Yes. Do I treat them disrespectfully? No. I just have a terrible attitude about travel, now. It used to be fun. Now it’s a necessary evil.

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