Going through security at airports

I just came home from Thanksgiving at my son and his wife’s home in Virginia. I have an 11 month old granddaughter there. it was good, just too many people and nowhere to hide when I needed to. I have a guide dog due to the results of the AVM, but he could not come with me. The dog makes everyone nervous (my family are not dog lovers), and I guess they believe since I have only had him 3 years, I can see enough to go to an airport and come back home. I see half the world.

On the return trip I went through security, and it was awful. I was patted down twice, had my carry on emptied, they went through my hair which was braided, and I almost missed the plane. I was crying a little as I have done since the AVM, but no one cared. I told them I had a new knee replacement and old vascular brain clips, went through the screener, and it alarmed. That was when they made a big deal of it all. I have two broken arms still healing, but they made me take off the shoes. it hurts to put shoes on with broken arms. I put them on the wrong feet, also something I do now and then like wearing a shirt inside out, and I managed to get to the plane that way with the shoes all wrong. The indignity of feeling like a criminal and not having Jim the guide dog with me was bad. It is over, but I am thinking no more will I go anywhere without Jim.


I wish you could have a human companion accompany you, beansy, as Jim can't talk back to the airport personnel. I am sorry it was an ordeal, and I am glad you are back home safe. Have the family come visit in Florida next time!

I'm so sorry you had to endure that Beansy. How frustrating and humiliating that must have been for you. And not to have Jim with you? Come on... maybe its just me but a guide dog is a little different from a standard pet and maybe your family can be a bit more understanding about this. But I'm sure there are reasons that add to their behavior.

Bottom line... traveling through an airport should not have been such an ordeal for you and maybe your experience can bring to light the need for a different process or at least awareness (sensitivity) from security personnel. I understand the need for added security but there is also a need for more sensitivity given the added security. Do I have an answer? Not really. But at least your experience can start or add to the discussion. Thanks for posting this and wishing you (and Jim) the very best. :)

Beansy, so sorry to hear about your ordeal at the airport. I just wished that these people are more sensitive to people like us. One thing that helped me was wearing a slip on sandals or shoes so that I won't have difficult time putting them back on. Also, asking for help at the check-in encounter for someone to help you go through the gates. If you have a disability, I'm pretty sure they will help. I hope that this incident won't hinder you from visiting your loved ones again. Take care.

I’m so sorry - this sounds like a total nightmare. I have a mobility service dog who also does some medical alert. He also really helps me with flooding/overload because I can focus on him and that helps me filter what I used to be able to filter automatically before all of this started. I have a tendency to pass out from headaches due to overload and he lets me know when he thinks I’m getting in trouble and is big enough to catch me and keep me from hitting the floor if I do pass out. Some of my friends don’t like him or are afraid of him (he’s a large German shepherd). After a couple of really bad experiences without him, I realized that those friends really didn’t get what he does for me and they also didn’t get how seriously he keeps me out of trouble. I’ve lost a few dog-hating friends over this but as painful as that was, I feel that I can’t cope with people who are that unsupportive and careless with my safety and comfort.

Being part of a service dog team is an important social cue that there’s something really wrong with you, even if you look ok, as many of us with brain injury do. Even though my dog can’t speak for me, his presence and obvious training to some extent speaks for both of us. I haven’t travelled out of town by myself with my dog yet, but I have friends with service dogs who have. It may not have made a difference with that particular TSA officer but I wonder if you had had your dog and his help if they would have been more sensitive. I’m so sorry your family feels this way. Maybe next time you have to visit bring a friend who can drive and stay in a motel or B&B?

I too am sorry you had to be treated that way. I hope you have a better week and treat yourself with the care and dignity you so much deserve. All the best..... Chin up

Hey Beansy. Try this link…http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/travelers-filing-complaint
It sounds like they need more training in handling passengers with special needs. I hope the Flight Attendants were nice to you!

I'm so sorry you had to go through that. I'm glad you made your flight and returned home safely.

That would be a horrible thing to go through on your own. I agree. No more trips without my dog. Wouldn't care what they thought!

I'm glad you got to see your grandbaby, but I'm so sorry you had to go through this ordeal!

My husband's doctor wrote him a note on hospital stationery explaining that he has a brain injury, he has seizures, he may need extra time, etc. Maybe your doctor would write something like this for you? Then you can show it to officials like the TSA screeners.

I agree with Barbara that you can do others a good turn by filing a complaint with the TSA! They need to know, so they can be ready to treat the next passengers with more dignity and accommodation.

Thanks for all your responses. You guys are great. I will file the complaint.


Great advise, Barbara!

This response is from Ninibeth, beansy:

What a horrible experience. :(. You should make a complain if you haven't already.

I had a very horrible experience once. A year after my brain surgery I had to go back at Hopkins for a cheque up. I had a letter were my neurosurgeon explain that I could travel. That information we're suppose to have it on the computer system. I had no problem going from PR to Baltimore but when I was coming back they didn't let me get into the airplane. We told them to check on the system and they didn't wanted. we were treated very badly like we were crap.. My mom and I had to stay and my sister go back alone. Then just a few seconds my sister found the papers and the stewardess didn't let her go back to give the documents. When she get to Puerto Rico the first thing that she did was to make a complain and ask for the manager and then the Director that was at that time. They helped her and were very embarrassed for what we had gone through.

My mom and I had to go back to the hospital so my neurosurgeon gave me another document. The temperature were very very cold ( 15 degree more or less) with out A coat be cause we already send it to the airplane. The other day when my mom and I went back to airport they found very fast the documents on the system ( this time I didn't had to give them the Drs document). The director of the airline in Puerto Rico make the arrangement to my mom and i be on first class. Then we make a letter and send it to the most important people of the earline and told them we were going to sue for the bad experience. They send us back a letter apologizing and offering 3 free tickets and fist class if we sign documents that we were not going to sue and we did.

Hopefully the next time you don't have to go through a bad experience like you did.

Oh Ninibeth....what an awful experience for you, your Mom and your Sister. I'm so sorry you were treated this way.

Hi Ninibeth, I agree with Louisa's message and I think it's very supportive of you to post this experience to beansy.

So sorry beansy. It sounds just awful! I do hope you file a complaint. Also, I can't understand a family who won't allow your service dog to be with you. You obviously need him and they should welcome anything that makes your life easier.

OMG, Beansy,
I sure don't understand how they think they can put a handicapped person thru all that BS! Doesn't anyone have any dignity?
Sure wish those dang bad guys didn't make it so awful for the rest of us!!!