TSA’s Latest Obsession: Your Paper and Post-It Notes Have to Come Out in One Airport (Soon Maybe Nationwide)

You already have to show your papers in order to fly. Now the TSA is testing having to show all your papers.

In Kansas City the TSA is running a test to have passengers take all pieces of paper out of their bags for separate screening.

When Don Buteyn entered the security line at KCI early Monday morning, he was asked by security agents to remove all paper products from his bag— including books, loose sleeve paper, Post-It Notes, documents and more.

…“They said this is a pilot program that’s currently being tested at Kansas City and that they are rolling it out nationwide,” he said.

…Another passenger said security dug through her “entire bag to find two blocks of Post-It notes. They were even in a separate bag within my suitcase. They put them in a separate bin and put them back through security.”

TSA Agents in Charlotte Watch News of the TSA’s Failure to Detect Weapons and Bombs, Instead of Searching for Weapons and Bombs (HT: Tocqueville)

We already have an electronics ban on flights to the U.S. from several airports that contributes nothing to security but at least we can imagine a movie plot involving explosives hidden in small devices. Paper though is usually super thin and hard to use as a disguise for weapons.

In a statement TSA implies that this new silliness is the fault of the private contractor who runs security at Kansas City airport, but in fact private airport security follows TSA procedures. I wouldn’t be surprised if the purpose of testing this in Kansas City is precisely that employees work for a private company and not the government agency, imposing additional requirements there that slow down the screening process will make private security look less efficient than TSA.

By the way most money in the U.S. is paper so we should certainly be concerned to see this ‘test’ spread. You know what happens when you take money out and put it through a machine where it’s briefly outside your view but being tracked by TSA employees, right?

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. New meaning to “show me your papers”? Interesting observation that they are trying to handicapthe non federal employees with more security charades.

  2. This is a call to all fellow passengers at KCI: DO NOT COOPERATE! Show TSA that this pilot won’t work. Take extra time taking thise papers out your bags. Do it for our freedom!!!

  3. @JamesP You assume the TSA cares about how quickly it gets you through security….

    Just more false sense security, and to steal a couple bucks off passengers.

  4. KCI just went from being one of America’s most unpleasant airports to being THE most unpleasant.

  5. Funny I went through security on Tuesday morning at MCI and didn’t have this experience. Of course it was Precheck and not the regular line but I didn’t see this in that line either. One day test?

  6. At MCI on Sunday in the PreCheck lane (AA C-terminal) the guy asked if I had any large books…I asked how large? I just kept my book in bag and didn’t pay attention to his nonsense. Had never heard that question before. Made it through just fine. This story explains the questioning I guess.

  7. They are trying to slow down security screening on purpose to justify needing to build a new airport with faster security lines. This is a ploy by local KC politicians to get a new airport built that the majority of Kansas Citians don’t want. They recreating problems where none exist.

  8. Susie, KC desperately needs a new airport. Just stand at a gate (easy because you definitely won’t find a seat) and watch as a flight arrives and unloads passengers. Chaos as they try to figure out how to leave. The airport is a joke with it’s multiple security checkpoints and then closed off areas once you go thru security. The new airport under discussion will be paid for by fees on tickets, not tax money. Only ignorant people like it the way it is now because you can get dropped off and be thru security in 10 mins.

  9. “By the way most money in the U.S. is paper so we should certainly be concerned to see this ‘test’ spread.”

    Not true. Most “paper” money is made out of a combination of cotton and linen. Unless the TSA starts wanting to separately screen cotton products, our paper money is safe. And if the TSA starts wanting to separately screen cotton products we have a much much bigger problem than worrying about our money…

  10. I have a real problem with this. My business involves litigation against the United States, and many of my papers contain information that (under Court Order) the Government is not allowed to see.

  11. Kansas City’s airport is a hot steaming dump. Once passed security, you’re essentially held hostage in a third world gate area. Pre-security, there are few restaurants or shops, but there is lousy wifi. Going through security might be the most interesting part of your departure.

  12. “do it for your freedom!!!” – forgot to wrap it up with “make america great again”

    What an idiot – sure voted for trump

  13. Not saying this is bing implemented well or correctly, but paper/books can be dense and hard to scan. I travel with high school kids who often carry a thick math or science textbooks in their checked bags, which often leads to their being opened. My husband and I often have a fat stack of lps and 45s in our luggage when returning from the UK, and that pretty much always triggers inspection. It may be that the policy was intended to require removal of pads of paper and books that might obscure the ability to view other objects, rather than single sheets of paper and pocket litter, and that those implementing it are just not that bright.

  14. Mike, that’s good to hear. It’s possible the pilot program wasn’t approved, or just that the TSA is trying to restore its control over security…

  15. I hope Mike is correct. It’s gotten to the point that I’m reluctant to go to VTFW anymore, only to learn what today’s expansion of the security sta’s reach into some aspect of our lives. It’s discouraging to see. Keep up the good work.

  16. Are you sure this wasn’t a prelude to actually reading through and exmining the intellectual content of the papers, not the chemical content?

  17. Fill your bag with all manner of waste paper and dump it out for the TSA to paw through. And then laugh at their lunacy.

  18. I fly out of Kansas City (which was consistently voted best medium sized airport until 9/11 when the configuration of the airport couldn’t be well adapted to only having amenities past security) and they had me remove and screen separately ALL FOOD ITEMS.

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