My trip back to San Francisco began at the Savannah airport. All was going smoothly until I was about to exit the TSA security line. One of the agents pulled my backpack and said they needed to run additional tests on it. He asked me not to touch it until he was done. As I was standing there, a woman grabbed her shoes and purse from the conveyor belt (after they had been scanned) and started running towards a gate. She may have had good reason to do so, but the Savannah TSA agents did not like it. They liked it even less when they directed her to stop and she kept running.
Guess what happens in a situation like this?
Total lockdown. An extra six or seven agents appeared out of nowhere. They stopped everything. No conveyor belts moved, no one was allowed to enter or exit the TSA area. I felt as though I were in travel purgatory. A couple of agents found the woman and brought her back to the security area. They then re-scanned her shoes, belt, and purse, bomb-tested several items in her purse, and gave her a pat-down. For about 15 minutes she was the center of attention of all of the TSA agents.
As I watched this, I wondered, “Is this really necessary?” When brought back, the woman apologized over and over. It sounded as though she had gotten separated from her daughter and was running to the gate to find her. Her items had already gone through the scanner when she took them off the conveyor belt. The only difference between her and the other travelers was the speed with which she exited the security area.
My takeaway – no sudden movements when surrounded by TSA agents.