TSA and passenger battle over sippy cup

  1. Neiman Marcus Gift Card Event Earn up to a $500 gift card with regular-price purchase with code NMSHOP - Click or tap to check it out!
    Dismiss Notice
  1. Sun Jun 17, 6:11 AM ET

    ARLINGTON, Va. - The Transportation Security Administration is denying allegations that an airport screener seized a toddler's sippy cup and mistreated his mother, taking the unusual step of posting security camera footage on its Web site.
    The TSA said in a statement that the incident and the videotape demonstrate that its "officers display professionalism and concern for all passengers."
    At issue is whether Monica Emmerson, a former Secret Service officer, was improperly detained June 11 after she spilled water out of her child's sippy cup at Washington's Reagan National Airport.
    TSA has banned most fluids at airport security checkpoints for nearly a year because of concern about possible liquid explosives.
    "I was distraught. I opened my son's sippy cup. I twisted off the top. I wanted to drink the water. It spilled out," Emmerson said Saturday.
    Emmerson said an officer threatened to arrest her after the water spilled, telling her she was "endangering the public." She said there was no place to dump the water near the security area, and that she was worried when her son started wandering away from her.
    The story quickly spread on the Internet this week after blogger Bill Adler, a Washington author, saw a note Emmerson wrote on a Web site for city parents. Adler interviewed Emmerson and relayed her account.
    He wrote that a TSA screener seized her 19-month-old's cup after asking if there was water in it, causing Emmerson's son to cry. Emmerson was told she would have to leave the security checkpoint and dump out the water if she wanted to keep the cup.
    Emmerson said she accidentally spilled the water because she was nervous and traveling alone with a toddler.
    TSA, however, said Emmerson dumped, not spilled, the water on the floor.
    A TSA report said Emmerson told an officer that she was a Secret Service agent, flashed her credentials and said she was exempt from the "stupid" policy restricting liquids on planes.
    But Emmerson denied that she flashed her badge, saying the video footage shows her digging in her luggage for identification.
    "That's a gross lie," she said.
    The video that TSA posted on its Web site Friday shows Emmerson being escorted from the security checkpoint as she appears to take the top off the sippy cup and shake it upside down.
    It shows that after she was confronted by several officers, she used paper towels fetched by the TSA to clean up the spot as other passengers stream by her.
    "The allegation here that we were out of control is absolutely false," said Earl Morris, deputy assistant administrator for security operations with the TSA. "If you look at the report and the video itself, it shows she's the only one who was out of control."


    The TSA videos, plus the incident report can be found here:

  2. Looking at the video, I didn't see the woman intentionally dump anything. I saw her with the cup and then I saw her with paper towels.

    Even though the rules at the airport are a big inconvenience, they're there and the airport security were only doing their jobs.

    I think if the security people would have been calm then the woman would have been calm. The woman was clearly flustered. It didn't seem the security officers were flustered, but it's possible to have a relaxed demeanor but a harsh tone.

    If she had audibly said the rules were stupid, then she was wrong. You can think (or mutter in private) how stupid the rules are, but don't say that to an airport security officer. It's disrespectful.
  3. So the security officer yanked the sippy cup from the toddler?
  4. They said if she wanted to board the plane, she could either surrender the sippy cup or remove the contents. The woman had the cup for a while, then the security officer and then the mother again.

    Watching the video, I did not see the officer yanking the cup away from the child.
  5. The bottom line is, TSA had made the rules, so follow them. I agree that some of them are a little extreme and/or silly but travelling is much easier if you just do what they say. It's clearly posted--at least in the airports I've been to recently--that travellers are NOT to carry ANY fluids throught the security chekpoint. What's so difficult to understand about that?

    As I was waiting to go through a checkpoint recently I realised I had a cigarette lighter in my purse. So I chucked it in the trashcan that was right there for people to use to dispose of "forbidded" items. I thought about leaving it in my bag and just seeing if I could sneak it through but decided it wouldn't be worth the potential hassle.

    These peole who think the rules don't apply to them just cause delays and problems for others. It's very inconsiderate IMO.

  6. I agree 100%. Look-the rules apply to EVERYONE! They're very simple to follow and no one is allowed to bring liquids past security! NO ONE! It's her own fault for thinking she's above the rule. She easily could have refilled the water bottle at one of the water fountains at the gate or bought a bottle of water to refill it at one of the concession stands.

    I don't feel sympathy for her-if I had been in that line behind her, I'd be pissed off for the delay!
  7. ^ what she said!
  8. TSA is doing their job....BUT...I think some lines are crossed, and sometimes over use their "power".

    My little 3 yr old was pat down. One TSA employee said to the one doing this to my son..." you are not supposed to do that to a child of that age" and he just kept on "feeling" him up. Ignoring the other TSA employee.

    When he was done...it looked like he was upset he didn't find anything.

    It was my sons first airplane ride...from LA to Phoenix. I thought it would be a fun short trip.
    I am going to think twice before flying again with my lil one...
  9. One thing I've noticed about some parents of small children, is that they think they're entitled to bend rules just because it's something concerning their children.

    This no liquids rule has been so well publicized for almost a year now that I don't see anyone being able to make any excuses about not being able to comply.

    It doesn't matter if it's your damn child's sippy cup. If liquids are in the sippy cup, it's got to go. Liquids are liquids, whether they're in a baby bottle or a beer bottle.
  10. As a parent of little children, I don't expect them to allow "rule bending" but, accomodation for these little creatures is a must. Just going out with an infant or toddler is a hassle, imagine travelling! An infant can't wait when they are hungry and a toddler can't wait...

    Knowing the rules, we should abide by them and make arrangments. So, YES...empty sippy cups, empty bottles, buy water after checkout...etc.

    BUT!!! What about those carrying breast milk, infant juice (can't find that at Starbuck's near the gate), ready made formula.. SOme infants or todlers can't have bottled water or are used to boiled water, or water a certain temprature..

    After the liquid rules, the fact is you can declare any infant formula, breast milk, baby water etc. at the security point. It is considered just as necessary as medicine (which is allowed).

    Travelling with babies or toddlers is tough especially if you are alone. We do the best we can to make everyone happy (our kids and TSA), but it is not fair to say we think we are above the rules just because we have children. The people who make these rules have to consider the well-bieng of these children. If we didn't need "extra attention and care" because of the children we wouldn't get priority boarding on planes, right?
  11. I think the woman thought she could bend the rules because she was secret service, not because of her child. You could just tell by her body language how huffy she was with the TSA agents. What a b*tch. If her child was upset, it was because of HER behavior.
  12. looks to me that she deliberately dumped the liquid out. they should have tossed her out of the airport.
  13. :roflmfao: - sorry but this one had me laughing - i have seen people wanting to bend rules regardless of kids or not (how about wanting to bring animals in bags, switching on mobile phones, trying to take food - all of that without children - dont get me started on every day life..) oh, and you are right. a baby and a beer bottle are totally the same.....

    actually I never asked for the rules to be bend, little one or not. here baby bottles are perfectly fine with liquids, and you could always get water on the plane. also, it would be a secret service agent trying to bend the rules, because not all mums have badges to flash to get water on a plane :rolleyes:. if she dumped the water, she was out of line.
  14. She should have known water was not allowed, but formula/or breast milk is allowed.

    Granted crying or not she did not need to take her toddler out of the stroller, and she really did seem in a pissy mood about all of this.

    I'm not sure my exact thoughts- but she should have just dumped the water in a trash can. It is not allowed. The end.