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Thread: I think that my rights were violated at the Denver Airport tonight

  1. #1

    I think that my rights were violated at the Denver Airport tonight

    On my way back home tonight from Denver, I entered the security area- the same as I have done for probably the 30 or 40 times I have done so since being in a chair. This time however, was different.

    -A young TSA official began going through the procedure, but about half way through another older official began watching very suspiciously. He asked me if I was sure I removed everything from my pockets. I said yes. He closely watched as the young officer searched me.

    -After the normal procedure, the older officer asked me to lean over so he could search under the seat cushion of my wheelchair. I leaned over as far as I could, but he wasn’t able to get where he wanted. He told the younger officer to go get a supervisor.

    -I asked “is there a problem?” and he said “there will be if we can’t get under your seat”.

    -They tried again, with the same result. They said I would have to go to a private screening area.

    -They brought me into a room and closed the door. There were four other officers in the room with me. They asked me to lean over again, but it wasn’t far enough.

    -The supervisor said I’ll need to get out of my chair. I said I cannot do that. I said the only way would be for people to lift me out of my chair onto another seat. They began to get into position and I told them to stop, and showed them the proper way to do it. He said no, they cannot lift me like that, and said something about workers comp.

    -He said if I can’t get on the seat, they cannot give me clearance- and they would allow me to exit the security area and rebook my flight.

    -We figured out a way to get me on the chair. I put down my sweatshirt to avoid damage to my skin. After they scanned my cushion, I was asked to lean over again, so they could check underneath me again, which they had already done in the main security area.

    -They made me lean all the way over on a narrow and unsteady chair to check me again.

    -After they checked, I got back into my wheelchair the same way I got out. I asked how they would check someone who is completely paralyzed, that cannot get out of their chair that might be dependent on a vent or breathing machine. He said it’s a “case by case basis” and they may need to turn people away.

    I couldn't believe what had happened. We got the name of the guy in charge, and said we would be filing a complaint. I wish I had known at the time, but sure enough right off the TSA website:

    You should not be required to transfer from your wheelchair to another chair or be lifted out of your chair during the inspection process.

    Of course I had the whole flight to think about what I could have said to them. I wish I didn't let them get off as easy. If I wasn't catching the last flight out of Denver home, I might've made a bigger fuss.

    What actions can I take now? This should absolutely not happen to anyone else.
    -------7-23-04----------
    C5/6- Workin' on Recovery
    www.darrentempleton.com
    www.pushtowalknj.org

  2. #2
    unf. you prob can't do anything. i think they may be getting a clue, tg, that someone could get thru in a w/c. i've been saying this for yrs. unfortunate, but doesn't take a genius to figure this out.

    sorry for your troubles.

  3. #3
    Nobody knows this is a problem - or might consider it to be one - unless you tell them by filing some kind of a complaint. According to what you found, they were not following their own rules. They need to find some other way of doing their security check.

  4. #4
    Here is a excerpt from 14 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 382 (found at http://airconsumer.dot.gov/rules/382short.pdf):

    § 382.49 Security screening of passengers.
    (a) Qualified individuals with a disability shall undergo security screening in the same manner, and be subject to the same security requirements, as other passengers. Possession by a qualified individual with a disability of an aid used for independent travel shall not subject the person or the aid to special screening procedures if the person using the aid clears the security system without activating it. Provided, That this paragraph shall not prohibit security personnel from examining a mobility aid or assistive device which, in their judgment, may conceal a weapon or other prohibited item. Security searches of qualified individuals with a disability whose aids activate the security system shall be conducted in the same manner as for other passengers. Private security screenings shall not be required for qualified individuals with a disability to a greater extent, or for any different reason, than for other passengers.
    (b) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, if a qualified individual with a disability requests a private screening in a timely manner, the carrier shall provide it in time for the passenger to enplane.
    (c) If a carrier employs technology that can conduct an appropriate screening of a passenger with a disability without necessitating a physical search of the person, the carrier is not required to provide a private screening.

  5. #5
    Senior Member MarkPals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ac6qj View Post
    Here is a excerpt from 14 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 382 (found at http://airconsumer.dot.gov/rules/382short.pdf):

    § 382.49 Security screening of passengers.
    (a) Qualified individuals with a disability shall undergo security screening in the same manner, and be subject to the same security requirements, as other passengers. Possession by a qualified individual with a disability of an aid used for independent travel shall not subject the person or the aid to special screening procedures if the person using the aid clears the security system without activating it. Provided, That this paragraph shall not prohibit security personnel from examining a mobility aid or assistive device which, in their judgment, may conceal a weapon or other prohibited item. Security searches of qualified individuals with a disability whose aids activate the security system shall be conducted in the same manner as for other passengers. Private security screenings shall not be required for qualified individuals with a disability to a greater extent, or for any different reason, than for other passengers.
    (b) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, if a qualified individual with a disability requests a private screening in a timely manner, the carrier shall provide it in time for the passenger to enplane.
    (c) If a carrier employs technology that can conduct an appropriate screening of a passenger with a disability without necessitating a physical search of the person, the carrier is not required to provide a private screening.

    Can anyone translate this to English?
    Veni.Vidi,Velcro...I came, I saw, I stuck around.

    Vidi, Vici, et Veni, et Veni, et Veni...

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkPals View Post
    Can anyone translate this to English?
    it's intentionally vague to leave lots of wiggle room...

  7. #7
    Call and write you Senators and Member of Congress. You need to establish a trail of paper work documenting your problem and responses. The ADA has many ways to ensure we have equal rights. You have become an advocate, not every situation is covered in the law, but if you do not want this to happen to you again, or to someone else, it is your turn to get involved.
    T6 complete

  8. #8
    Senior Member brucec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by divin'darren View Post
    On my way back home tonight from Denver, I entered the security area- the same as I have done for probably the 30 or 40 times I have done so since being in a chair. This time however, was different.

    -A young TSA official began going through the procedure, but about half way through another older official began watching very suspiciously. He asked me if I was sure I removed everything from my pockets. I said yes. He closely watched as the young officer searched me.

    -After the normal procedure, the older officer asked me to lean over so he could search under the seat cushion of my wheelchair. I leaned over as far as I could, but he wasn’t able to get where he wanted. He told the younger officer to go get a supervisor.

    -I asked “is there a problem?” and he said “there will be if we can’t get under your seat”.

    -They tried again, with the same result. They said I would have to go to a private screening area.

    -They brought me into a room and closed the door. There were four other officers in the room with me. They asked me to lean over again, but it wasn’t far enough.

    -The supervisor said I’ll need to get out of my chair. I said I cannot do that. I said the only way would be for people to lift me out of my chair onto another seat. They began to get into position and I told them to stop, and showed them the proper way to do it. He said no, they cannot lift me like that, and said something about workers comp.

    -He said if I can’t get on the seat, they cannot give me clearance- and they would allow me to exit the security area and rebook my flight.

    -We figured out a way to get me on the chair. I put down my sweatshirt to avoid damage to my skin. After they scanned my cushion, I was asked to lean over again, so they could check underneath me again, which they had already done in the main security area.

    -They made me lean all the way over on a narrow and unsteady chair to check me again.

    -After they checked, I got back into my wheelchair the same way I got out. I asked how they would check someone who is completely paralyzed, that cannot get out of their chair that might be dependent on a vent or breathing machine. He said it’s a “case by case basis” and they may need to turn people away.

    I couldn't believe what had happened. We got the name of the guy in charge, and said we would be filing a complaint. I wish I had known at the time, but sure enough right off the TSA website:

    You should not be required to transfer from your wheelchair to another chair or be lifted out of your chair during the inspection process.

    Of course I had the whole flight to think about what I could have said to them. I wish I didn't let them get off as easy. If I wasn't catching the last flight out of Denver home, I might've made a bigger fuss.

    What actions can I take now? This should absolutely not happen to anyone else.
    put it behind you and get on with your life, if they allowed all wheelchair people to fly thru, then evil people would start using chairs
    Last edited by brucec; 03-21-2010 at 02:03 PM. Reason: spelling
    We must reject the idea that every time a law's broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.
    Ronald Reagan

  9. #9
    For the future: Each and every airlines is required to have an ADA personnel on site at the airport. If this were to occur again, request that individual to come to the TSA screening area.

    You can also ask the head of the airport TSA to come to your location. The law says clearly, you many be offered a private screening but you do NOT have to accept it. I always have my screening in the open, it has minimized issues. Additionally, I have someone from airport disability services assist me in moving thru TSA.

    You do NOT have to remove AFO, get out of your chair, etc. My seat cushion has been checked from below and screeners have run their hands under me as I have leaned from side to side.

    Yes security is getting tighter but if it is case by case, what made him focus on you? I would have asked that question.

    Be sure to arrive early and always identify yourself with the airlines as a person with a disability needing assistance and early boarding/aisle chair. TSA can look up you accomondations with the airlines.

    Last thing, keep TSA guidelines printed and on your lap---they won't take paper from you. When in doubt, refer to the guidelines.

    I would file the complaint. The guidelines are in place to keep people from getting injured while being transferred, etc. I saw a lady be forced to remove an AFO and then no one assisted her in getting it back on, she couldn't do it herself. Same with an elderly man, they took his shoes off and he couldn't get them back on--they would not allow his family to assist----TSA was supposed to help him--they didn't.
    Every day I wake up is a good one

  10. #10
    OMG, I've fought the afo issue for years. My son says it must be b/c is looks like it has a detonator. They always make me remove it, and my shoes. I don't want their help putting them back on, my feet hurt enough already!

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