Testing of drinks at airport gates not expansion of security, TSA says

The Transportation Security Administration is pooh-poohing reports that it’s expanding security screening at airports to random checks of liquids at airport gates, and not just at the security checkpoint.

It started, apparently, with a report from a Colorado TV station.

“The water or or the juices or anything you buy here in the airport, TSA is going to come over and look and check and test it? That’s just ridiculous,” traveler Thomas Burgard told the station.

On a slow news day, that led to some copycat stories, suggesting the measure is an expansion of airport security.

It’s not, the TSA Blog, Bob Burns says it’s been going on for years

As far as the testing of liquids at the gate, this is just one of the many options we have to choose from when deciding what additional tactics to use each day. We started using test strips back in the summer of 2007 and continue to do so. The test involves a test strip and a dropper containing a nontoxic solution. In case you’re wondering, our officers don’t place the test strips in your beverages/liquids. They simply have the passenger remove the cap/lid and they hold the strip over the opening of the container. Procedures call for moving the test strip to the side and applying the solution from the dropper to test the strip. If the test results are positive TSA will conduct additional testing to make a final assessment.

Did he say “test strips?” It’s not what you probably think.

  • What will the TSA do if I just chug my drink and then hand them the empty container to throw away for me? I’m not letting those lowlifes anywhere near my drink and I certainly wouldn’t drink any more after their got their grubby hands on it. We need to stand up to these thugs and say NO to any more of their pointless bullying and security theater.

  • Bill Fisher

    Now even drinks bought in the “sterile” area can be confiscated and sampled. Is this because their security is so porous that they don’t trust it? Or it is because they allow airport workers to access the area without background checks?

    Will they pay the passenger for destroying these overpriced drinks? If they suspect smuggling confiscate the drinks from the vendor for sampling, not the poor citizen already burdened paying for this stupidity.

    TSA seems to be deliberately trying to make a farce of their security theater and campaigning to be the most hated government agency in history. TSA needs to be replaced by a reasonable and intelligent agency that actually understands security and doesn’t waste everyone’s time and money making up senseless rules and harassing people.

  • Stephen Spencer

    “Bagdad Bob” is in his usual form at TSA.

    So, do we care about freedom any more? Or it it just to hard for us?

    History shows that there is one overarching danger: the national level government from which there is no appeal and even escape is difficult for one reason or several. Yet, I do not see many Americans concerned that it is the FEDERAL government that is (for example) determining the specifications of your toilet and shower head…even if you live in a swamp and in the land of a thousand lakes.

  • Bea


  • Gary Thaden

    Security theater.

  • kennedy

    Sure, it’s as much about appearances as about security. If you don’t like it, you are free to take the train.

  • Chip

    Wait a minute… I thought we couldn’t bring beverages or snow-globes through security because there was no way to test them.

    But now there is a test strip to test my beverage?

    The TSA wants it both ways, because after all…. Do you want to fly today?