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Old 07-03-2017, 03:54 PM
Location: Near L.A.
4,114 posts, read 9,238,906 times
Reputation: 3352


I mean, when you are about to depart from an American airport, you, of course, have to present your driver's license, resident card or passport, then take your shoes off (in many instances), go through security, go through the body scanner... That's what I'm talking about, and not returning to American soil and having to go through immigration.

For me, I have found that smaller or otherwise less-traveled airports in the heartland of the country have generally friendly and personable TSA staff; meaning; staff and I aren't looking to become best friends, but we can be amicable, civil and just human with one another. Some, however, are still on the coasts. Examples in my experience:
  • Cincinnati, OH/Northern Kentucky: A world-class airport by many measures, including service and keeping security moving generally efficiently
  • Louisville, KY: Not a fan of the city, but the airport makes for a great last impression of the city and state
  • Lexington, KY: Charming small airport, easily one of my top 10 internationally, in large part because of the security
  • Denver, CO: For a hub with long lines and a lot of activity, the staff keep the people moving and relatively unstressed
  • Sacramento, CA: An oversized airport for a city its size, but the staff and overall "feel" are generally, coincidentally amicable
  • Raleigh-Durham, NC: Not the best airport in the world, but all those NY/NJ transplants to the area haven't killed off its Southern hospitality yet
  • San Diego: Not a fan of the city, but they run this relatively small airport like a well-oiled machine, and that includes having TSA staff that generally don't act like they want to kill you.

Even so, there are some small airports where I've found TSA staff to be unfriendly and irritable. My examples:
  • Orange County, CA: Some are cheery, many are just grumpy with attitudes from hell--enough to earn a placement on this list
  • San Luis Obispo, CA: A Mississippi good ol' boy mentality in the midst of Central Coast foothills
  • Evansville, IN: They must hate the fact that they're ignored by their own state and share a boundary with Kentucky
  • Albuquerque, NM: Security are generally antithetical to the much friendlier locals to be found outside the airport

As expected, truly large airports are usually the pits for customer service by TSA--again, unfriendly and irritable. My examples:
  • Los Angeles, CA: Find a friendly TSA agent here is truly like trying to find a needle in a haystack
  • San Francisco, CA: For the best service, arrive before 6:00am or after 9:00pm, or otherwise expect long lines and surly staff
  • Chicago, IL (O'Hare): Maybe they'll cheer up after Illinois no longer has its junk bond rating...
  • Dallas/Fort Worth, TX: Good ol' "Dallitude"
  • Seattle: My guess is, they want you to take a little bit of the "Seattle Freeze" home with you
  • Ft. Lauderdale: Nothing like having an old guy in some thick Northeastern accent yell at you 15 times to have your driver's license ready...

What have been your experiences?

Last edited by EclecticEars; 07-03-2017 at 04:11 PM..
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Old 07-03-2017, 04:22 PM
2,553 posts, read 1,648,555 times
Reputation: 2038
I find Reno Tahoe airport TSA is very friendly. The airport is not crowded so the line is fast.
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Old 07-03-2017, 08:00 PM
9,433 posts, read 7,115,858 times
Reputation: 12208
I haven't had any real bad experiences with TSA. Not a whole lot of interaction with them.. Vegas, Atlanta, Charlotte, Kansas City have been the main ones.. I thought Kansas City was really good.. Of course, this was in 2010 or so right after they had a big blowup over something... The TSA agent was checking my nephew who was about 10 at the time, and took extra time to explain what he was doing to both him and me before he did it.
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Old 07-03-2017, 08:17 PM
Location: San Antonio/Houston/Tricity
38,121 posts, read 55,898,625 times
Reputation: 89973
My last name starts with **, but very much Polish/Russian with the classic ending. I don't have any problems with it anywhere outside the US, but here I am always singled out: searched, patted down, scanned, my hands and the luggage handles checked for explosive residue. Every single time. US customs only. And when asked why - I was told that my last name triggered that.
I just wish they would learn the difference between an Eastern European and Arabic names...
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Last edited by elnina; 07-06-2017 at 06:49 PM..
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Old 07-03-2017, 08:31 PM
Location: rain city
2,958 posts, read 11,364,279 times
Reputation: 4909
JFK is the #1 worst! The TSA there must have taken their training from ex-Stasi recruits. I refuse to fly through JFK at all, ever, for any reason. Don't do it.

I also hate Bush Intl in Houston. The combined IQ points of all the TSA staff in the entire airport can't possibly be even 100. Illiterate is giving them more credit than they deserve. Because of that, I have also nixed IAH off of my airport list. Won't go there. At all. Nope.
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Old 07-03-2017, 08:39 PM
13,177 posts, read 20,823,128 times
Reputation: 35508
I can honestly say I've never had a bad TSA experience, including recent trips to San Francisco and Ft Lauderdale. I find it interesting that you don't mention Atlanta. I wouldn't either, unless it was in the thumb's up column. With the amount of traffic that goes through the checkpoints there on a daily basis, I could forgive the TSA agents for being grumpy. But the vast majority are pleasant and polite.
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Old 07-03-2017, 09:16 PM
9,840 posts, read 5,044,678 times
Reputation: 34021
Frequent flyer here, and I honestly can't remember a bad TSA experience.
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Old 07-03-2017, 09:41 PM
Location: Tucson Arizona
3,919 posts, read 1,666,902 times
Reputation: 10296
Hilo, HI is great and FAST
Once, I got there 15 minutes before my flight (I mixed up the time). I got my boarding pass, went through TSA, stopped at the bathroom, and still made my flight. I've never spent more than 10 minutes in line there, usually less than 5.

Honolulu is awful. The lines wend through the lobby and out the door, and I get "randomly" pulled out for extra attention every freaking time, even when I have pre-check.
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Old 07-03-2017, 09:50 PM
14,267 posts, read 24,025,211 times
Reputation: 20106
NEVER had any problems with TSA at any airport. Period.

I treat them with respect and I get treated with respect.

If you are consistently having problems with TSA, it might be your attitude.
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Old 07-03-2017, 10:12 PM
Location: On the road
5,981 posts, read 2,909,823 times
Reputation: 11435
Originally Posted by jlawrence01 View Post
NEVER had any problems with TSA at any airport. Period.
Same. I've encountered different levels of friendliness/indifference but I find the people who scream about them being mean or molesting passengers to be first class drama queens.

Are there examples out there of them stealing, behaving badly, or failing to their job? Yep, as one would expect with any group consisting of thousands of people. But at a whole given they have a pretty repetitive **** job dealing with lots of frustrated people in a hurry, I've got no problems with 'em.
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