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Mrs Weekly flyer had TSA security nightmare flying from Kansas City, MO yesterday. She opted out of the x-ray machine as she always does and that is where things went south. I barely missed Mrs Weekly Flyer before she left for the trip, but I was right there when she returned to hear the full story.
The agent explained that she would be subject to an “enhanced” pat-down. The agent said “we will go up your thigh until we meet resistance.” This was to be expected since she opted-out.
During the bag screening, this new mother’s bags were pulled aside because she was transporting partially frozen breastmilk for Baby Weekly Flyer. The female screener asked Mrs Weekly Flyer to come to the screening area without her baggage. Mrs Weekly flyer quickly refused and asked to stay within eyes reach of her items.
So, the screener let her stay within eyes sight of her bags while a male agent took out the bags of breastmilk and placed an entire bag of 5 oz breast milk into some type of machine. It didn’t pass the test since it was over 3 oz, was about 4-5 oz. The supervisor was then called in for further inspection.
Hold on a minute. The TSA’s own website states that breast milk will be treated the same as liquid medication and can be transported in amounts OVER 3 oz.
When carrying breast milk through security checkpoints it is treated in the same manner as liquid medication. Parents flying with, and without, their child(ren) are permitted to bring breast milk in quantities greater than three ounces as long as it is presented for inspection at the security checkpoint. Additionally, empty bottles and ice packs are permitted under these conditions.
Furthermore the TSA’s website states:
Although formula, breast milk, and juice is inspected at the checkpoint, you, your infant or toddler will not be asked to test or taste the breast milk, formula, or juice. Our Security Officers may test liquid exemptions (exempt items more than 3 ounces) items for explosives. Officers may also ask you to open the container during the screening process.
When traveling with your infant or toddler, please keep these important tips in mind:
- Separate these items from the liquids, gels, and aerosols in your quart-size and zip-top bag.
- Let Officers at the security checkpoint know you have these items.
- Present these items for additional inspection once reaching the X-ray.
You are encouraged to travel with only as much formula, breast milk, or juice in your carry-on needed to reach your destination.
Then, a supervisor wanted to OPEN the milk and test it. Mrs Weekly Flyer refused. She told the screener that since this was sterile food for our infant and would prefer that it not be opened exposing it to contamination. After another minute or two, they were still handling the breast milk bag and Mrs Weekly flyer asked them to politely stop handling it so much. The more that the screener handled it, the less frozen it was going to get.
The supervisor finally agreed that if she passed the pat down, and all other screening of her bags, the screener wouldn’t open the breast milk. It took another 15 minutes for a very thorough pat-down where Mrs Weekly Flyer was again duly patted down. Then, all her bags were openned and tested. Overall, this was a nightmare for Mrs Weekly Flyer. It was at a small airport. The airport doesn’t have TSA Pre-Check which Mrs Weekly Flyer could have gone through if they did.
What do you think, did the screeners and TSA policy go over board asking to open the breast milk and test it? The TSA technically has the “open” clause in the verbiage on their website. But Mrs Weekly Flyer didn’t set off any alarms. I guess the inspection request to open the breast milk is completely random or based on gut feel that Mrs Weekly Flyer’s 4-5 oz of breast milk posed a threat.
This situation reminded me of when the TSA asked a mother to actually drink her breast milk on the spot. Have any other family’s out there had trouble transporting baby breast milk, formula or foods?
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