US Airways Adopts TSA Ethos, Treats Customer Like Terrorist

More evidence that TSA thinking spreads like--and causes problems similar to--pink eye: 

A Miami photographer was escorted off a US Airways plane and deemed a “security risk” after she snapped a photo of an employee’s nametag at Philadelphia International Airport Friday.

Sandy DeWitt said the employee, whose name was Tonialla G., was being rude to several passengers in the boarding area of the flight to Miami.

So DeWitt snapped a photo of her nametag with her iPhone because she planned to complain about her in a letter to US Airways. But the photo didn’t come out because it was too dark.

However, once DeWitt was settled in her seat, preparing for take-off, Tonialla G. entered the plane and confronted her.

“She told me to delete the photo,” DeWitt said in an interview with Photography is Not a CrimeSaturday morning.

DeWitt, who already had her phone turned off in preparation for take-off, turned the phone back on to show her that it didn’t come out, but deleted the photo anyway.

“I complied with her wishes but it’s not something I would normally do,” she said. “It just wasn’t usable.”

But Tonialla G. wouldn’t let the issue go. She then walked into the cockpit to inform the pilot that DeWitt was a “security risk.”

Previously: Nine Muslim passengers removed from flight; two imams pulled from plane bound for North Carolina.

Via Carlos Miller.

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  • PIRS||

    "because she planned to complain about her in a letter to US Airways."

    I would say they are adopting the ethos of many local police departments. They don't want you to photograph them or take videos of them because they don't want to be held responsible for their own behavior.

  • Warty||

    At least it's an ethos.

  • GILMORE||

    "Say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude..."

  • WTF||

    Holy shit, now even ticket agents demand "Respect my authoritah!"

  • ||

    More evidence that TSA thinking spreads like--and causes problems similar to--pink eye

    The TSA has farted repeatedly on the pillow of America.

  • ||

    Nice Blackadderism.

  • Wilfred||

    Now joy-farts, those are the best.

  • ||

    Fly With US! (or you're against US.)

  • ||

    But Tonialla G. wouldn’t let the issue go. She then walked into the cockpit to inform the pilot that DeWitt was a “security risk.”

    It's a good thing the TSA exists.

    I don't think Miz "G" could make it as a shopping cart wrangler for Walmart.

  • Clerks||

    This would be a great job... if it weren't for the customers.

  • Joe M||

    Just to be clear, Tonialla G. is a US Airways employee.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Who could probably become a shift supervisor if she applied to the TSA.

    She's got authoritah. Respect it.

  •  ||

    But she has nothing to do with the TSA. Shitty, sleazy reporting, Riggs.

  • Tony||

    What are you guys bitching about?

  • Joe M||

    You might be right, technically. Since this was a private company making a decision about who can fly on their planes, we can't really bitch about something needing to be done about it. We can bitch in a general sense, however. Read the article, and you'll see she ended up getting a flight with Southwest, and praised them for "[stepping] up to the plate". Free market in action. US Airways lost business for their decision, I guarantee you that.

  • GroundTruth||

    Joe M, I was about to point out the same thing. The passenger did have other airline options which is rather different from the monopoly that the TSA holds (de facto if not de jura) over getting to the boarding gate.

  • Fluffy||

    He's not right, really.

    The TSA has imposed a security regime on the airlines where low-level employees get to act this way and the airlines can't really stop them.

    If I wanted to start an airline that would compete on the basis of letting customers treat all staff like shit with no repercussions, the TSA wouldn't let me.

  • Joe M||

    All of this occurred beyond the TSA's arena of activity, within the actual boarding area and on the plane itself, not in the main concourse. US Airways was stupid to let one of their employees throw their weight around like this, but that doesn't mean US Airways isn't allowed to be stupid. Unless you're suggesting that US Airways is legally compelled to expel anyone that anybody else accuses of being a "security risk". That, I could see as problematic, but since no actual government or TSA employees were ever involved, I don't know that that was the case.

  • Fluffy||

    The legal regime surrounding air travel substantially empowers low-level airline employees with the ability to retaliate against customers. In addition, the FAA only allows flight crew it certifies to man aircraft. In this case, the rogue employee enlisted the assistance of a member of the flight crew, who had the legal authority to force the person from the plane whether the airline agreed with them or not.

  • ||

    I have a strong feeling that "Tamelia G" is going to suffer quite a bit more than if she'd just ignored the passenger taking her picture. A letter to US Airways that may or may not ever have been written, and probably would have been ignored even if it was, is a lot less damaging than an Associated Press story.

  • ||

    And of course the pilot has been able to throw individual passengers off the plane for a long time before the TSA came into existence. There was a Seinfeld episode centered around this, for instance, and that show ended three years before 9/11.

  • CAPS GUY||

    DO NOT LET FACTS GET IN THE WAY OF PROPAGANDA!

  • adam||

    Umm, the passenger bought a ticket where US airways agreed to transport her from one place to another by plane. us air doesn't have some unilateral right to just undo the contract because some flight attendent got offended.

  • fish||

    They can bitch all they want! They're not asking for legislation, tax money or imprisonment for anyone involved. Shit Tony I guess in your world you need a permission slip to discuss.

  • Phlogistan||

    After one great big tyrannical shit clogs the works, petty tyrannies are sure to spread.

  • ||

    Just wait 'til the Morning Joe gang gets aholt of this story. Palpable outrage and stentorian clucking will resonate throughout the land.

    "That poor woman was just trying to protect the lives of the traveling public! Flying is a privilege, and if you don't want to be treated like a convicted felon, don't fly!"

  • cynical||

    No, they can call her out -- she isn't protected by the sanctification of government employment.

  • ||

    A similar thing happened to my wife and I on a trip to Sodom-on-the-Potomac. A paid security guard at the American Indian museum told my wife she could not take a picture from the security station. Further, said Federal Employee refused to let her take a picture of him.

    His reasoning? His picture would put him at risk of being singled out by terrorists AND the security station could be compromised.

    So we went up to the second floor open walkway and took pictures of both. Seems the walkway has a clear view of the entire lobby including the security station and attendant Federal Employees.

  • Phlogistan||

    Well of course pictures would be disallowed at such a place!

    You might have captured images of federalists massacring the indigenous peoples!

  • OO||

    sounds like a good story to tell ur fellow sodomites

  • JD the Elder||

    His reasoning? His picture would put him at risk of being singled out by terrorists AND the security station could be compromised.

    I do love the "logic" of security apparatchiks. "As-salaamu aleikum, brothers! Allah has granted us this day a great victory - we now possess the image of the infidel Robert G. Schmecklenburg, Senior Security Guard at the Museum of the American Indian - excuse me, I meant 'Museum of the Great Satan Indian' - and armed with this knowledge we shall make the west entrance guard station pay for its crimes!"

  • Hank||

    I LOLed

  • Anonymous Coward||

    His reasoning? His picture would put him at risk of being singled out by terrorists AND the security station could be compromised.

    Maybe he should wear a black bakalava. And a black uniform. Perhaps with some cool lightning bolt and skull imagery. And some stylish, hard-soled boots to complete the ensemble.

    Hugo Boss still sells all of that stuff, right?

  • ||

    So we went up to the second floor open walkway and took pictures

    Post them on targetsofjihad.com.

  • Barack Obama||

    I like the cut of Tonialla's jib.

  • Appalachian Australian||

    I switched from being a regular US Airways customer to a United customer last year. Of course, a private business is free to ban photography, although I suspect the employee in question's supervisor may be very interested to hear she was trying to prevent a customer from ascertaining her name.

    The free market works really well at defeating businesses which adopt a customer-hostile attitude.

    With the TSA, we get no choice; there used to be the opt-out programme, but after it was working really well at podunk little airports like San Francisco, Pistole banned any new airports from opting out in the future.

  • ||

    ascertaining her name...that was attached to her uniform via HER FUCKING NAME TAG no less.

  • Otto||

    Some like to complain about those who ascertain things.

  • ||

    Tonialla G. is a US Airways employee.

    Correction duly noted.

    Without the paranoid idiocy of the TSA, would this happen?

  • Phlogistan||

    I suspect she would behave in such manner anywhere she can stretch her authority.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Without the paranoid idiocy of the TSA, would this happen?

    She's a witch security risk!! Get her!!

    Unjustified paranoia is easy to abuse if you know how. And Tonialla G. knows how.

  • ||

    Yes. Employees have been retaliating against complaining customers since the Hittite Empire.

  • ||

    My own theory is that Toenaillia G. is one of those lost stone age people who think that photos capture your soul, and therefore anyone who uses "soul capture" is unfit to fly in the belly of the great silver birds.
    And those pictures of me are not of nose picking, but of cerebral massage...

  • Fat Crack Ho||

    " . . . anyone who uses 'soul capture' is unfit to fly . . . "

    That should be an app.

  • ||

    "soul capture" comes included with all apple products...

  • JSinAZ||

    I resent having to check the EULA box in blood.

  • Mainer||

    Soul Capture
    Unfit to Fly
    Cerebral Massage

    Three great band names in one post

  • ||

    Tonialla

  • ||

    That got messed up - note to self, be careful with various characters

    Tonialla is an anagram for anal toil

  • ||

    Maybe she's Amish.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    No. The Amish are cool with pix, so long as your camera is running on batteries.

  • ||

    I eagerly anticipate hearing more about former USAirways employee, Tonialla G.

    ...waiting....eagerly...

  • ||

    Since this was a private company making a decision about who can fly on their planes, we can't really bitch about something needing to be done about it.

    Sure we can. There is no nothing in the Libertarian Ethos that prohibits bitching, vitriolically and at length, about something a private company does.

  • Joe M||

    Since this was a private company making a decision about who can fly on their planes, we can't really bitch about something needing to be done about it. We can bitch in a general sense, however.

    Hey now, I put my caveat in there! I meant "something must done" in the legal sense. I'm all for bitching about this petty woman and her little power trip.

  • Zeb||

    In fact, I would say that bitching about stupid things that private companies do is a very important part of a well functioning free market. The point of libertarianism isn't that private companies should do whatever they want to and no one should complain.

  • ||

    Actually, we can bitch because US Airways unilaterally voided a contract.

    You can't get a refund of your airfare because you decide the pilot is incompetent 15 minutes before takeoff. So I don't see why the airline can boot you on a whim at that time either.

  • Joe M||

    That brings up an interesting question: did she get her money back after being kicked off the plane?

  • ||

    Sounds like a good way to get out of those nonrefundable tickets.

  • ||

    There is no nothing in the Libertarian Ethos that prohibits bitching, vitriolically and at length, about something a private company does.

    Particularly when that "bitching" publicizes bad behavior worthy of punishment to a wide audience.

  • ||

    It would be nice if Ms. "G" (if that's her real name) got asked by a lot of passengers if she is really the person who got a passenger thrown off a flight for no good reason, what was she thinking, etc. etc.

  • jack||

    Fire her nappy a$$

  • ||

    Glad to hear US Airways doesn't need the money. The Government needs to keep that in mind when US Airlines asks for a bailout.

  • ||

    Far be it from me to defend TSA, but in the Muslim clerics case they were actually the good guys. It was the bigoted redneck passengers who were causing trouble.

  • ||

    Wow. Someone should print this out and distribute it to fliers in the US Airways concourse in Miami and encourage ALL the passengers who see Tonialla G to take her pictures. Wouldn't it be funny if an entire plane full of people were kicked off? Bet US. Airways would be asking what's wrong with Tonialla G. then.... ESPECIALLY if those passengers can all come together and find some kind of grounds for a class action lawsuit!

  • ||

    After some thought, it appears that Tonialla G. must have felt that her job security was at risk because of the possibility of a passenger complaining to upper management about her disrespectful behavior.

    Most people have a difficult time when others treat them disrespectfully, and some will complain to those who have the authority to make a difference, as was the case with the photographer and her intent to speak with US management, which, it appears, made no difference to the local management.

    I'll be sure to avoid booking any flights with US Airways or American whenever I need to fly anywhere. If there's no other option, I'll probably drive.

  • ||

    Anyone have pictures, address, etc of Tonialla G? Post it online and we have people who can deal with her.

  • christian louboutins||

    of Tonialla G? Post it online and we have people who can deal with her.

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