Making your way through airport security can be frustrating and time consuming even if you don’t have prosthesis. With a prosthesis it can be downright maddening. But there are steps you can take to make the process move more smoothly and get you to your plane on time.
Communicate with your officer. Be up front and tell your TSA officer about your prosthesis in specific terms. If you know your device will set off a metal detector, you can receive screening from an imaging machine or pat down instead. If you have problems walking or standing, make your officer aware of this so that accommodations can be made.
If you want a more discrete screening, you can present a TSA notification card to your officer. The form can be downloaded from the TSA website (www.tsa.gov) and asks about your special needs and medical conditions. You will still have to go through screening, but this will tell them you prefer a more private setting. In your private screening, you can request that a companion, assistant or family member be present and assist you.
An officer may ask to see or touch your prosthesis but should not require that you remove it.
TSA can help. To make airport security easier to navigate for passengers with special needs, the TSA has set up the helpline TSA Cares (855/787-2227). Contacting them will help you understand what your screening procedures will be and how to prepare to make the process as smooth as possible. They recommend that you or a family member/companion contact them at least 72 hours before your flight.
At the airport, you can request from your TSA officer or supervisor, the help of a Passenger Support Specialist, who should be able to assist you with any special needs you have.
Children Are Special
There are special TSA procedures for children. You should make yourself aware of these differences, and remember that you have a right to stay with your child throughout the screening procedure and that the screening be done in private.
You’re Not Powerless
If you feel your treatment has been improper, you have options. You can request to speak to a supervisor. And if this is not resolved to your satisfaction, you can then ask to speak to a TSA Customer Service Manager to help you resolve your issue.
All Other Rules Apply
Of course, all other considerations apply. Never joke about anything regarding security. They won’t think it’s funny no matter how good your delivery is. Pay attention to the rules for liquids, and be aware that certain liquids, such as medications, are allowed in larger quantities. Know what’s in your carry on luggage. It’s easy to forget you have a pocketknife but it’s a bit embarrassing to have a TSA officer remind you of that fact.
And remember the TSA is just doing their job and sometimes it’s going to take longer than seems necessary. Patience is a virtue, after all.