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Author: NYC Man

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Is that your Flashlight or are you Happy to see me?

Last month while going through security at JFK, I was "randomly selected" to undergo the full treatment. While annoying, it was no biggie other than the waiting for them to go through all the bags. It took 2 TSA officers 15 minutes to do a thorough work up on my two bags. Of course all was clear and I was allowed to go on my merry way.

Next was my layover in Tampa (TPA) where I made the mistake of leaving the "secured" area for a quick smoke. When attempting to get back in, they had a problem with my Maglite flashlight. The TPA officers deemed it "against regulations". I should mention that this is the large variety. You know the industrial 18" metal types with 4D batteries in it. I will admit that if I had been a terrorist (LOL), I could do some serious damage with this flashlight. My problem wasn't so much with them having a beef with the flash light but with the options that were given to me which were: (1) to check it as luggage, (2) to mail it to myself or (3) 'voluntarily relinquish' it, i.e. give it to him.

Option number one, How the hell do you check a flash light as luggage? Yes, it is pretty big but, not that big. I did have a checked bag and it's not like I could have them pull the bag off the plane to stash the flashlight. I am also not paying $20 for "checked luggage" on a flashlight either. Option number two, how the heck do I mail it to myself? Do airports have post offices? Maybe, they do but again not spending $20 to check in a $20 flashlight. Option number three, Sorry but im not giving you my beloved Maglite flashlight for Christ's sakes. So I ended up checking my entire backpack which made me unhappy since I had stuff in there which I did not want in the bottom of the plan.

This is what I find so frustrating about the TSA. Is there anything saying a flashlight is against regulations? If so, why was it allowed at JFK, where one would think security would be at its highest, but not at TPA?


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