Hands Up, Don’t Shoot! American Airlines Passengers After TSA Fails to Screen Dentist’s Carry On

Earlier this week concourses at Miami’s airport were shut down, and 50 flights were delayed, because the TSA wanted a better look inside a dentist’s carry on.

“In the process of transitioning other passengers to an adjacent screening lane, standard procedures were not adhered to and the passenger was allowed to depart the checkpoint and proceed into the terminal,” said TSA regional spokesman Mark Howell.

Howell said TSA ordered the gates to lock down until the passenger was located.

They tracked down the passenger to an American Airlines flight to Barbados that had boarded — and armed police in riot gear were sent onto the aircraft. Video shows passengers ordered to place hands on their heads, and ordered off the plane.

The gestapoLaw enforcement had a look at the dentist’s bag, which contained dental supplies like fillings. Eventually he and the rest of the passengers on the 6pm flight to Barbados wound up on a redeye instead.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary – While the reaction of local law enforcement to TSA’s screw-up was over the top in my opinion, throwing around the word “gestapo” as a comparison makes you look ridiculous.

    At worst, local law enforcement made a mistake coming onto the plane in such a heavy handed way. Given what just happened in Paris, this mistake is almost understandable (a mistake, but understandable) Comparing them to an organization that systematically tortured, terrorized, and killed people as a part of its policies was wrong, diminishes the horrible acts that the gestapo committed, and makes it harder for organizations like the police to learn from this type of error.

    You should do better than your half-assed ironic crossing out of the word. Especially as your blog is usually great.

  2. Just WOW, now everything can be justified. Every police, state action is justified.
    And we have neither safety nor freedom.

  3. I’m not sure why you chose to title your post “Hands up, don’t shoot,” but I think it was a pretty tasteless move.

  4. Gary,
    I agree with the gestapo moniker for these militarized, brain-dead, swat teams. Anyone who still thinks that the USA is “the land of the free and the home of the brave” is kidding themselves. We are no longer free nor brave.

  5. Wow, the very first comment cited Paris. Now I realize why these events have happened every 3 to 6 months to remind us why we need a police state in every once-free western country in the world.

    My question to the Gestapo apologists: with all the freedom crushing “security enhancements” that have taken place over the last 15 years, how did a bunch of ragtag Isis rebels pull off seven coordinated attacks without anybody knowing anything about it or doing a damn thing to stop it until it was basically already over? If you’re going to take away all freedoms for law-abiding citizens and request multibillion-dollar budgets, at least do your damn job.

    To paraphrase a great man, Benjamin Franklin, “when you give away your freedom in exchange for security, you deserve neither.”

  6. We need to secure our borders not mistreat law abiding citizens… Just look at Japan. Look who demographically commits crimes, I’m sure it’s not the dentist…

    Gestapo is a fair comparison here, I don’t know what commentator #1 is talking about.

  7. Yet another total over reaction by law enforcement. TSA messes up and police in riot gear get called in? How many terrorists do these people really stop? A simple pair of uniformed officers could have quietly boarded the plane and checked the bag. No commonsense anymore. This comes from the same people who think putting cops with full tactical gear and automatic weapons on street corners actually does anything to make us safer. .

  8. Not only was the reaction over the top, it was senseless. Assuming there had been something in the bag that might have justified that response, what reason did they have to believe it would still be in the bag, rather than handed off to someone else on a different flight in the meantime. Either take everyone off of every plane, and empty the entire terminal, until everything has been totally searched, or forget about it. As far as I can tell there was no reason to assume that the bag contained anything other than dental equipment.

    I do however agree that putting the “Black Lives Matter” (sic) blatant lie of “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” from the the Ferguson thug’s attack on a police officer was not only tasteless, but totally out of any reasonable context for this story.

  9. “Ferguson thug’s attack on a police officer”? Wonder where he gets his news? Maybe Fox? In any event, the TSA proves every day that common sense has fled this country. And it’s not only the TSA, it’s every branch of law enforcement and security. We pay billions to these agencies and get nothing in return. I expect these people couldn’t get laid in a brothel waving hundred dollar bills. What happened in France shows us that nobody is safe anywhere. It’s a compelling argument for population control, but that ship seems to have sailed.

  10. Has the TSA officer who “overlooked” the contents of a dentist’s bag been fired yet? I agree with the thoughts of a previous post. If you are going to impinge on my freedoms, you’d better be damned good at your job.

  11. @Brian if you want police in riot gear to be part of your everyday life there are plenty of other autocratic countries you can choose to live in. We don’t need the gestapo here.

  12. Why not just call the guy off the plane? Can’t think of a scenario that puts all the other passengers in jeopardy that would possibly justify this. To the poster objecting to the word gestapo, I would really like his opinion next time he is on a plane with his family and/or kids and this happens to him.

  13. @Laura in fairness if you believe tsa screening matters at all then once they get onto a plane they could have hidden something on that plane. then again, they could have hidden it in the terminal. so better search the whole terminal…

  14. I’m glad Gary is posting all this TSA crap that’s wasting tax and taxpayers’ time.
    To all the sheeples, if you don’t know what’s going on, just bury your head in the sand and shut up.

  15. Once again, civil liberties being trampled as everyone onboard is forced to prove their innocence as they risk being shot by police in riot gear. Riot gear!? Why the over reaction? How about invading the home of the Miami TSA head to see why they FAILED to perform the duties the traveling public is paying for, security screening?

  16. the gestapo comment seems apropriate. i dont know any other country where you get insulted if you dont salute the flag, dont honour the soldies and so on… perhaps north korea?

  17. TSA is useless…it could never prevent a terrorist attack from taking place, it’s employees are rude and have bad attitudes. It’s time to rethink what good if any they serve.

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