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Sun Aug 4, 2013, 03:43 PM

Has this ever happened to you? Is it a TSA thing?

My family member checked a run-of-the-mill black suitcase through, from Tucson to Dallas, non-stop. When he checked it in at the airport ticket counter, nothing was attached to the bag that would distinguish it, in any way. It was secured with a TSA-approved lock.

When he arrived at Dallas and got to the luggage area, he watched a suitcase like his, but with a red bandanna tied to it, circle the carousel four times before he realized that it had to be his. And it was, in fact, his suitcase. I don't know if it's relevant but his bag arrived right next to a bag of the exact same make, model, and color but one size smaller. The smaller bag was not similarly festooned with a bandanna. He asked a baggage area employee to remove the bandanna from his suitcase. I'm not sure why he felt this was necessary--maybe, because it creeped him out.

Anyway, nothing seems to be missing from his suitcase (he did a brief inspection before putting it in his rental car) but who would have tied a bandanna to his luggage and why???

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Arrow 38 replies Author Time Post
Reply Has this ever happened to you? Is it a TSA thing? (Original post)
Fridays Child Aug 2013 OP
NYC_SKP Aug 2013 #1
Fridays Child Aug 2013 #4
cherokeeprogressive Aug 2013 #7
Fridays Child Aug 2013 #11
petronius Aug 2013 #21
cherokeeprogressive Aug 2013 #22
petronius Aug 2013 #23
justice1 Aug 2013 #36
kestrel91316 Aug 2013 #2
Fridays Child Aug 2013 #3
Jenoch Aug 2013 #9
Fridays Child Aug 2013 #15
NYC_SKP Aug 2013 #5
treestar Aug 2013 #27
Nay Aug 2013 #29
cherokeeprogressive Aug 2013 #6
Logical Aug 2013 #12
cherokeeprogressive Aug 2013 #13
frazzled Aug 2013 #8
Fridays Child Aug 2013 #19
Pholus Aug 2013 #10
Fridays Child Aug 2013 #16
Pholus Aug 2013 #17
Warren DeMontague Aug 2013 #14
Fridays Child Aug 2013 #18
Warren DeMontague Aug 2013 #26
hunter Aug 2013 #20
HipChick Aug 2013 #24
Fridays Child Aug 2013 #25
treestar Aug 2013 #28
HipChick Aug 2013 #30
Fridays Child Aug 2013 #33
spin Aug 2013 #31
GiaGiovanni Aug 2013 #32
Fridays Child Aug 2013 #34
Dyedinthewoolliberal Aug 2013 #35
progressoid Aug 2013 #37
Fridays Child Aug 2013 #38

Response to Fridays Child (Original post)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 03:45 PM

1. Nothing like this has ever happened to my luggage.

And if it was legit, I think it should and would have been some official looking tag, not a bandana.

Creepy!

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #1)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 04:11 PM

4. I know. It makes me wonder if someone was watching to see who picked up the bag.

It makes sense that he asked airport personnel to remove it.

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Response to Fridays Child (Reply #4)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 04:23 PM

7. I have an idea about the handkerchief.

You said his bag was next to a similar but smaller bag. My Wife and I have black nylon Samsonite luggage and ALL our bags have bright yellow bandanas tied to the handles so they stand out.

If the bags were checked outside by a SkyCaptain and left on a cart, could it be possible that the owner of the smaller bag mistook the larger one for his own and tied the kerchief on it for the same reason I have bandanas on mine?

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Response to cherokeeprogressive (Reply #7)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 06:08 PM

11. hmm. good question.

i'll ask if he checked it at the curb or the counter.

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Response to cherokeeprogressive (Reply #7)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 07:12 PM

21. That makes sense - or maybe the bandanna slipped off of another bag, and

a handler tied it back to the wrong one...

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Response to petronius (Reply #21)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 07:14 PM

22. That could be the case as well. It seems like the TSA would use something other than a

handkerchief or bandana to mark a bag with. Something issued rather than pulled out of a pocket, ya know?

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Response to cherokeeprogressive (Reply #22)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 07:39 PM

23. I certainly would expect something a little more formal than a snot-rag, anyway



I've found the little paper slips inside my luggage before, but I can't recall ever finding anything on the outside...

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Response to petronius (Reply #21)

Mon Aug 5, 2013, 03:26 AM

36. That is what most likely happened.

Having worked for the airlines doing baggage, the bandana probably fell off and the person working put it on the wrong one. TSA and passengers don't always zip bags completely shut, and when you are working quickly, items fly out and I wasn't always sure what bag they came out of. I tried putting the items back in what I thought was the right bag.

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Response to Fridays Child (Original post)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 03:48 PM

2. Locks on luggage are a no-no these days. They WILL cut it off

and make a mess of your contents just for spite. He's lucky the suitcase itself wasn't damaged beyond repair.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 04:09 PM

3. TSA has master keys to TSA-approved locks.

Still, the bandanna is strange, don't you think?

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Response to Fridays Child (Reply #3)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 04:37 PM

9. I think cherokeeprogressive

has the most likely scenario. My parents used to put bumper stickers on their luggage back in their hard side Samsonite days. Then they put red/green straps on them. After the whole TSA thing started, I put a couple of pieces of gray duct tape on my black suitcase to differentiate it from all the other similar looking black suitcases.

My parents had a funny time at a carousel one time. They were returning from Florida many years ago. My father bought a bunch of grapefruit and packed them in a gunny sack, tied it shut, and tagged it as checked luggage. I went to the airport to pick them up. Grapefruit started to come down the chute. The gunnysack apparently came untied and the grapefruit were coming down one by one. We grabbed the luggage and left the grapefruit.

When I first saw the grapefruit I wondered aloud "what idiot would ship grapefruit in checked luggage not properly secured?"

My mother responded with,"Your father did."

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Response to Jenoch (Reply #9)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 06:42 PM

15. that's hilarious!

and, you're right--cherokeeprogressive may be on to something.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 04:15 PM

5. I use TSA locks. They don't cut them, but they do open them.

I've known when they've been in my bags, too!

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #5)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 10:35 PM

27. They did look into my bags on my last trip

I opened the suitcase (I was now in another country) and there was a note from agent Mike saying my suitcase had been picked randomly for search and that they had searched it.

Maybe I am such an authoritarian because I didn't find that particularly spooky. It was even funny. That must have been a boring search for Agent Mike. Then again, I was very happy/excited to be visiting the country I was in!

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Response to treestar (Reply #27)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 10:57 PM

29. Yeah, I get a letter when they go through my luggage. I also have boring luggage.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #2)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 04:19 PM

6. ALL my luggage has TSA approved combination locks that are also key operated and TSA has the key.

Never been a problem for me.

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Response to cherokeeprogressive (Reply #6)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 06:09 PM

12. Wouldn't there be like 10,000 copies of the key available by now? n-t

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Response to Logical (Reply #12)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 06:14 PM

13. I suppose there could be. You can buy them at any luggage store though.

We travel several times a year and I've never noticed anything in my bag having been disturbed and neither has my Wife.

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Response to Fridays Child (Original post)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 04:32 PM

8. They randomly open and check luggage ... but usually put a special tag on it.

Probably what happened is either that the similar but smaller suitcase got checked, and the bandana got put back on the lookalike bag, inadvertently.

I've once or twice had my bag come with a ticket in it saying it had been searched. I hope they liked my panties. I only travel with the nice ones, in case.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #8)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 06:59 PM

19. note to self...

...fly with good panties only!

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Response to Fridays Child (Original post)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 06:07 PM

10. Baggage handler note?

Something like "last bag?"

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Response to Pholus (Reply #10)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 06:44 PM

16. like some informal system used by baggage personnel?

i had to laugh but you could be right. who knows?

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Response to Fridays Child (Reply #16)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 06:55 PM

17. That's what I was thinking -- the last bag up gets the bandana or something?

The possibilities are endless!

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Response to Fridays Child (Original post)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 06:18 PM

14. Is he a man with long hair, perchance?



I've noticed that the TSA gets EXTREEEEEEEEEEEMELY interested in poking around in the belongings of men with long hair, because they might get lucky and find some WEEEED oooh ooooh yay of being selected for a "completely random search"

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #14)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 06:56 PM

18. no, he is quite conservative-looking, actually.

when another family member flew overseas, recently, TSA confiscated her Brita water bottle filters and all of her sealed packets of Emergen-C. they left her some sort of generic note saying her bag had been searched and some items were removed. it seems that they have wide latitude to make arbitrary decisions. i wonder where they put all of the stuff that they essentially steal from travelers. maybe it would make for an interesting investigation.

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Response to Fridays Child (Reply #18)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 10:31 PM

26. Back in the day, when I looked like a hippie, I'd ALWAYS get hassled on the East Coast.

And this was before 9-11, even. Swear to God, every damn time I'd fly through JFK or Newark or some shit, wouldn't matter if I was 5 seconds from missing my flight "sorry sir, you've been selected for a random bag search drool drool wherez teh pot droool droooool"

Boy, were they disappointed when they didn't find anything. Oh well.

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Response to Fridays Child (Original post)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 07:07 PM

20. Does not the TSA put "courtesy notices" in your luggage anymore?

In all my post 9-11 travels I end up with little TSA inspection notices in my luggage.

But maybe that's a consequence of my biker dude brother's "Hey! Don't Touch My Junk!" outburst after a TSA agent got uncomfortably frisky patting him down. (After a certain age balls do tend to hang low... ouch!)

I'm probably on some "Does not respect authority" list.

Or maybe it's my hot glue and duct tape laptop computer... look, see it boots fine, commie Linux I know, but you're detecting no explosives residue right???

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Response to Fridays Child (Original post)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 07:46 PM

24. End of luggage run tag

I used to fly every week and have seen these on bags, that were the end of one baggage delivery..and before the start of another...
Nothing too nefarious....I was mad though that I once tied a Union Jack belt on my luggage, and TSA not only removed me, but never put it back...thiefs!

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Response to HipChick (Reply #24)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 10:14 PM

25. That's a relief.

I guess it's not something that occasional air travelers would necessarily see. Sorry about your belt, though. That sucks. Like I said up-thread, it'd be "interesting" to find out what happens to all the stuff TSA agents filch.

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Response to HipChick (Reply #24)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 10:37 PM

28. Yep, I lost one of those brightly colored

ID tags you can put on to make it easier to spot the bag on the carousel.

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Response to treestar (Reply #28)

Sun Aug 4, 2013, 11:54 PM

30. U too? I thought they snatched it because of the Union Jack..

I was flying on July 4th and though someone took offense...

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Response to HipChick (Reply #30)

Mon Aug 5, 2013, 12:17 AM

33. A culture of indifference allows corrupt TSA agents to prey on passengers.

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/convicted-tsa-officer-reveals-secrets-thefts-airports/story?id=17339513

What a great job for kleptomaniacs, right? I wonder how well applicants are screened. At the very least, full criminal background checks along with some sort of psychological testing should be conducted. Seriously, considering the intrusive level of arbitrary data collection we put up with, I think it's reasonable to expect HR over at the TSA to filter out thieves.

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Response to treestar (Reply #28)

Mon Aug 5, 2013, 12:05 AM

31. I just make a small X with two pieces of masking tape on the bag. Sticks out like a sore thumnb...

on a carousel.

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Response to Fridays Child (Original post)

Mon Aug 5, 2013, 12:11 AM

32. Isn't it terrible that we now have to wonder about these things?

 

Fourteen years ago, we would have assumed that the bandana fell off of someone else's luggage and a nice flight attendant replaced it on the wrong bag.

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Response to GiaGiovanni (Reply #32)

Mon Aug 5, 2013, 12:21 AM

34. Exactly.

It's a different world.

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Response to Fridays Child (Original post)

Mon Aug 5, 2013, 01:36 AM

35. I got home from a trip once

and there was a TSA flyer in my bag telling me they had opened it and looked at the contents. Then it wished me a nice day!

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Response to Fridays Child (Original post)

Mon Aug 5, 2013, 12:58 PM

37. Maybe a TSA agent was marking it for later...

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Response to progressoid (Reply #37)

Tue Aug 6, 2013, 01:31 AM

38. HipChick, Pholus, and cherokeeprogressive...

...suggested that some baggage handlers may "tag" the last item in a baggage run. If TSA were marking or tracking a suitcase, they'd probably use something more official-looking than a bandanna, don't you think? Besides, the family member this happened to is about as subversive as a character in a Norman Rockwell painting.

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