TSA Detains Passenger 20 Hours After He Tries To Make Complaint

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Yikes! You might want to be careful asking the TSA to make a complaint after reading this story. According to WPXI News, after a man asked to make a TSA complaint, he was held for 20 hours in a holding cell. He has now filed suit against the TSA, “seeking unspecified damages for what he considers a retaliatory arrest.”

TSA Detains Passenger 20 Hours After He Tries To Make Complaint

According to the story, Vanderklok was flying to a half-marathon in Miami when he was detained “after a search of energy bars and a sports watch in his carry-on bag. Vanderklok said he was arrested after asking TSA workers how to file a complaint. He said he spent nearly a day in a holding cell without being questioned by police or given the chance to call his wife, who was frantic.”

Apparently, the TSA was interested in checking out his carry-on which turned out to have a PVC pipe with power bars and a watch wrapped inside for protection.

Bottom Line

This definitely seems to be a he said/he said situation but, regardless it doesn’t seem like being detained for 20 hours in a holding cell was warranted for this passenger. What do you think? Is this another case of a passenger acting out or the TSA over-exerting their power?

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way. Feel free to reach me at theweeklyflyer@gmail.com

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  1. if they didn’t give him a chance to call his wife or his lawyer and just left him there for 20 hours, then he is right to sue.

  2. The passenger went to court and the judge quickly dismissed the charges after hearing the testimony from the TSA employee, which, according to other sources, contradicted the security footage and the original police report. The passenger was not confrontational, the opposite of what was said on the stand by the TSA employee.

    So this is an example of TSA over-exerting their power and even the possiby of the TSA employee perjuring himself.

  3. definitely not a he said/he said…

    “Malone doesn’t challenge the TSA’s effort to investigate the items in the carry-on but says airport security footage contradicts Kieser’s testimony. Kieser testified an agitated Vanderklok raised his hands and repeatedly pointed a finger at his face. ‘The passenger made a bomb threat to me,’ Kieser testified, according to a transcript. ‘(He said) I’ll bring a bomb through here any day that I want … and you’ll never find it.’ ………The security video shows him standing calmly with his arms in front of him holding a laptop, his lawsuit says.”

    the tsa committed perjury, and should be punished for his actions trying to imprison an innocent flyer

  4. Agree with Steve, definitely not a he said/she said situation. The article clearly states the video proof for the traveler and the perjury committed by the TSA supervisor.

    I am definitely not a litigious person, but I hope Mr. Vanderklok’s lawsuits succeed.

  5. At first I was disappointed with The Weekly Flyer’s take on the story, but clicking through the link, I see that I read a more in-depth story posted elsewhere. Not sure if I can link it, but here is the link for the news/opinion piece–http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150204_TSA_jails_innocent_traveler_when_he_asks_to_file_a_complaint.html

  6. The civilian TSA agents have no powers of arrest/detention. It should be pointed out he was arrested by Philadelphia police. An ethics complaint should be filed, followed by a lawsuit against both agencies for Federal Civil Rights violations. The officers should be reprimanded, at a minimum, and the civilian agent terminated for cause – lying in federal court in uniform.

  7. Clearly the officers supervisor should have taken over at some point and this probably could have all been avoided. Or unless the supervisor is just as inept as the officer?

    Thankfully I haven’t ever had anything like this happen to me or in front of me. (Pull out the phone to record it too).


  8. They are supposed to turn him to the local police if he had made any threats. But that did not happen. Instead, the video contradicts the TSA supervisor’s testimony about his demeanor during the said exchange.

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