Green Room

Vibrator in passenger’s luggage gets thumbs up from TSA

posted at 9:44 am on October 26, 2011 by

The Transportation Security Administration is apparently tasked not only with keeping airline passengers safe from terrorism but with awarding style points on the contents of their luggage. That would be as good a reading as any of the note passenger Jill Filipovic found inside her suitcase when her flight from Newark Airport landed in Dublin last Sunday.

The message scrawled on a TSA notice read “Get your freak on girl.”

FOX News reports that upon discovering the note Filipovic uploaded a snapshot of it to Twitter with the comment:

Just unpacked my suitcase and found this note from TSA. Guess they discovered a ‘personal item’ in my bag. Wow.

The “personal item” in question was a vibrator—or more specifically, as Filipovic told New York Magazine:

It was a $15 bullet vibe from Babeland, about the most basic sex toy you can imagine. It has now been officially retired, since I have no idea if the TSA agents manhandled it.

She subsequently wrote about the incident on her blog, Feministe, calling the note “wildly inappropriate” but adding that she “died laughing” when she first happened upon it in her hotel room.

But, as FOX News writes, Filipovic stated in an email received late Monday that her amusement is giving way to perturbation:

[W]hoever left the note felt comfortable doing so (I also suspect that they believed most women would be embarrassed to be ‘caught’ with personal items and wouldn’t file a complaint). That is certainly cause for concern.

The TSA is claiming that there is no evidence to indicate that one of its agents was behind the note. No, of course not. It could have been any of the countless airport personnel with unfettered access to passengers’ personal belongings—perhaps a checkpoint gnome. (If the direction of the flight had been reversed and had originated in Ireland, the TSA could blame it on a leprechaun.)

Filipovic has stated her intention to file a formal complaint with the TSA when she returns to the U.S. Of course, she will have to get in line if she is expecting satisfaction. Although the number of complaints received by the TSA is not made public, the American Civil Liberties Union reports reports receiving more than 900 complaints from travelers during the month of November, 2010 alone. In one, a female passenger wrote:

The TSA agent used her hands to feel under and between my breasts. She then rammed her hand up into my crotch until it jammed into my pubic bone.

If I didn’t know better, I would say that agent was getting her freak on.

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I’d rather risk a shoe or underwear bomber.

rbj on October 26, 2011 at 10:01 AM

W]hoever left the note felt comfortable doing so … That is certainly cause for concern.

That is certainly a big part of the problem. They do these things because they can, with little to no repercussions.

It’s enough of a violation to have one’s bag searched, but in this day and age it’s something that we’ve come to accept (whether we should or not is another matter). It’s another to have the searcher editorialize on the contents of our bag, particularly such an intimate one.

I hope she does file that complaint, but it’s likely to do little good.

DrAllecon on October 26, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Hey, you’ll be glad to know they are moving this show on the ROAD. Tenn to allow TSA at all Weight Stations.

I CANNOT WAIT, until they start halting traffic on the Interstate Hiways to ‘search’ for stuff.

orbitalair on October 26, 2011 at 3:01 PM

So much for the Fight Club rule about using the indefinite article – or professionalism.

sethstorm on October 27, 2011 at 9:48 AM

I read that someone from TSA was fired… Good!!

Khun Joe on October 27, 2011 at 10:52 AM

…she will have to get in line if she is expecting satisfaction.

THAT made me giggle.

Laura in Maryland on October 27, 2011 at 11:42 AM