Friday, 19 September 2014

This time I really did go to America!!!

Hello everyone!  I have been away on holiday with hubby, and this time we really did go to America, not just to the American Museum!!  That is why I haven't been commenting on your blogs for the last couple of weeks, but I have been reading your posts, but it is so hard to comment using the kindle that I decided just to read and not comment. 

You have all been a very busy bunch of people, so Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, Congratulations to those having good times.  To those having not so good times, my thoughts are and have been with you.  I hope that things improve for you soon. 

Thank you so very much for all the lovely comments on my posts over the last couple of weeks.  You have been so lovely to keep on reading and stopping by.  I had a whole bunch of photos stacked up waiting to be posted, so I thought that it would be a good idea to deal with them and turn them into posts for you to read while I was away.  Of course having been away I am behind again, but not as behind as I was!!

So, where did we go, where are the photos I hear you ask.  Well, I haven't even looked at my pictures yet, so no photos, but you just know that they will be following don't you!

We went to Boston - as in Boston Massachusetts in America, not Boston Lincolnshire in England as some people that I told I was going to Boston thought.  Then we went to a town called Exeter in New Hampshire, again the one in America, not the Exeter in Devon England!!  These place names can cause a lot of confusion it seems.  I was also been told with great certainty that I was going to see the "fall" in America which is a special season between Summer and Autumn that only America has.  It is so easy to get things mixed up isn't it.

We also had a brief - 3 days!!! - interlude of drag racing in the middle.  I have been holding out on you about the cars thing that we have going on around here, but I will share and explain more in the coming days.

It was a great holiday, I have never been to New England before and it lived up to all my hopes and more.  What follows didn't spoil the holiday in any way - as I was determined not to let it - and we had a wonderful time.

You might want to skip the rest of this as it might be upsetting.  I apologise if it does upset you as that is not my intention, I just want to share as it upset me and I wondered what you thought as I would like some advice about what to do next.

As you will all be well aware and may also have experienced yourselves, the security at airports has, and continues, to increase dramatically.  I totally understand and support that and those doing that work, although I wish that it wasn't needed, I agree that it is far more important to be safe and secure than not.  However, I really didn't expect to have a pat down at the airport leaving the UK that involved the security guard groping me and putting their hands inside my clothes and underwear.  It was a female guard, but surely that is not what they are supposed to do, and I have to say that I felt totally violated and still feel like that writing this down here.  This was done at the security checkpoint and I was very public and embarrassing and even more so considering the things that they did which I consider to be totally inappropriate.  When I tried to complain a huge male guard appeared from somewhere and told me off and to shut up and was pretty threatening.  There are signs up saying that you are not allowed to threaten and abuse the staff, but it seems that groping and putting your hands inside the clothes of passengers is allowed and they have to accept it.

So, the advice I need.  Do I make a complaint, or do I leave it and let it go.  Hubby says to let it go, but frankly I am pretty sure that he would let anything go as he does anything for an easy and laid back life and would never complain about anything.  Me, I don't complain at the slightest thing, but I will query and question things and don't feel that you should just accept anything just because.  I will also make a complaint where necessary.

However, I don't have the name of the guard or any details and I don't think that I could remember what they looked like as I was in such shock and so taken aback by it all - that is an understatement actually.  So if I make a complaint there cannot really be any sort of investigation or action or apology as they don't know who did this.  Therefore am I better to leave it and try and move on and hope that it never happens again, or do I put in a complaint and at least hope that it means that no one else ever has to suffer this again.

Sorry to leave things on this note.  I will be back with happier things, but I do need some advice as if I am going to complain I need to do it sooner rather than later.  If you would prefer to e-mail with your thoughts the address can be found on the About Love Made My Home page, the link is at the top of the sidebar to the right of this post.

Thank you all again for your lovely comments on my recent posts and thank you in advance for any thoughts that you may have about this issue.

Amy

40 comments:

  1. I am not a complainer by nature, but under these circumstances I would definitely complain sooner rather than later. At a bare minimum I would ask what guidelines there are for searching individuals. I hope that helps, such an awful thing to have happened. Making a complaint might help you to get over it so that you are not a victim.

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  2. Amy what you experienced doesn't sound right, if you don't make a complaint it will play on your mind so get writing. Whilst they have procedures to follow it sounds like someone overstepped the mark! I'm sure they could locate who was on duty at that time from your flight time/number & if need be they can investigate. That aside it sounds like you had a lovely trip. I've always wanted to visit New England in the fall but until the youngest goes to uni it will have to wait. School holidays don't cover such time.

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  3. Oh my god, that's awful and so upsetting! I don't know the law on this, they are probably within their rights searching you, but I would have thought any searches should be done in private. I would have thought you have a valid complaint if this option was not offered. Also telling you to shut up! It sounds like the power has gone to his head. I fully understand the need for security, but people still have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. I would complain, but that is me. I would also write to my local M.P.

    Looking forward to hearing about your trip and seeing some photo's xx

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  4. I'm glad that you enjoyed your holiday and didn't let your airport experience spoil it for you. I haven't travelled abroad since 2008 as we've taken holidays in England since then, but I do know how airport security as been tightened, a good thing in my opinion. However, I'm sure it's not procedure for staff to grope inside peoples clothes, that can't be right. I would send a letter voicing your concerns giving dates and times. They may not be able to locate the actual staff member but they will be able to give you guidelines about what is and what isn't acceptable, and in my experience, it's better get get things off your chest rather than letting them stew.

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  5. Definitely I would write a letter to TSA at the airport. The airline has no control over the TSA, I don't think. You should provide the time you went through security (maybe a bit of time before your flight?) and give a good description of your experience as you have done in your post, emphasizing the fact that you felt violated. I'd also mention that you would have been more than willing to cooperate if the search was done more privately. Also be sure to mention the second person. No one should be treated like this at the airport. I might even write to the airline to express your feelings....they might get on the TSA about it.

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  6. I'm not a complainer either, but I would certainly find out what is considered appropriate and I would let them know what happened to you. They might not be able to do a proper investigation, but they would know what happened. Plus, I think you need to say something for your own sake.
    I'm glad you had a good trip after that.

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  7. I'm so sorry this happened to you. It is degrading and humiliating. I also think the security guard was not allowed to do what they did. That should be your starting point - find out what they have the authority to do. If, indeed, they did go beyond what they are allowed to do, definitely file a complaint. If nothing else it will help you move past the incident. Sadly, we now live in a world governed by fear and very little common sense. And no place is this more evident than when going through airport security.

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  8. I'd complain, in writing to everyone I could think of giving date, time and location. We travel a lot and I've never heard of a pat down like that. How scary and embarrassing that must have been for you.

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  9. Oh, I'm so sorry that happened. That hasn't ever happened to me.
    I wish you would have come to Denver!

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  10. Amy. You need to get closure on this. It will be difficult to write in an objective way but that is what you need to do. Write the letter, get it out of your system, so to speak, get someone you trust to read it to ensure it is not too emotional but gets the point across. Give them positive feedback in how to do this in an alternative manner. Then leave it for a day. If after a day you need to actually post it. Then post it. Sometimes just the writing of the letter helps. Hope I have been helpful. Feel for you. It was not right what they did. It could have been handled differently. Sending hugs x

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  11. Nice to see you back, just sorry that your holiday didn't start out very well. I think you should complain and then if you feel it is going nowhere you might later feel like letting it go but if you are always wondering you won't be able to put it to bed later. Looking forward to your photos though because we went skiing in Vermont and spent 3 days in Boston so I would like a little flashback.

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  12. Hi Amy
    Firstly, I'm so sorry you had such an unpleasant experience. Check out the details first before you make a complaint and my advice would be not to get emotional in your complaint-just explain the facts. The Americans are hot on security and very bullish at it too, there's no Mr or Mrs nice guy, so I'm not surprised to hear of your treatment...they do not take kindly to anyone stepping out of line (as they see it, even if you didn't think you did). I think reading the info below, you had an enhanced pat down-not nice-but if you had known, you could have requested privacy during the search. Perhaps your complaint could be based on the fact that you were not offered this and you didn't know it was going to be an enhanced search.
    I found this info from www.independenttraveller.com
    Airport Security Screening
    "The TSA has recently made major changes to its airport security screening process with the introduction of new full body scanners and "enhanced" pat-downs. While traditional metal detectors are still in use in many security lines, some travelers will now find themselves in line for a full body scanner, which uses millimeter wave or backscatter technology to create an image of a person's body (similar to an X-ray). You may opt out of the machine and submit instead to a pat-down from a same-gender security officer. Pat-downs are done with the fronts of the officer's hands and include all parts of the body, including the chest and groin areas. You may request that your pat-down be carried out in private".

    In truth it wouldn't have bothered me Amy, but I'm different to you and maybe there are a lot of other people this type of treatment has upset, so you should complain.
    Hope this is helpful info Amy. But what a great holiday you had ...oh and drag racing...you kept that quiet!

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    1. Just to be clear, this was not something that happened in America, upon leaving the UK....

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  13. Please complain. Also tell them IN NO UNCERTAIN terms how you felt. Le them know that you were so upset and shocked that you blanked and were unable to get the person's name.
    They may already have had complaints about this person,they may already have suspicions.
    Lodging a complaint may prevent another woman from going through this...and for that,we ALL thank you.
    Jane x

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  14. I think you should complain, they always ask for feedback so they should certainly act on negative feedback especially when they have been so aggressive about what is actually quite a personal act. Glad the rest of the holiday was lovely, looking forward to pics :) xx

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  15. I'm glad you enjoyed the trip but what an awful experience at the airport. I don't know whether you should complain or not really! I'm the kind of person who always complains if I'm not happy about something but even I would be inclined to just let this one go - simply because you don't have any of the details and in this instance, I would expect the 'bigger company' to win with arguments about security etc. That said, mos commenters think you should complain and I would probably feel differently if it had happened to me. I think you have to decide what will be best for you - complaining means dragging it out a bit and waiting on replies etc so I guess it depends if you feel strongly enough to want that or if you'd rather write it off as bad experience and forget about it, focusing on the happy memories of your holiday. I think only you can decide what it the best course of action for you.

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  16. I have never experienced anything like that in the USA Amy, so do think that it was an abuse of their powers. I have had a full pat down but no one has ever put their hands inside my underwear.
    You know the date that you arrived and also the time of your arrival so at least that must pin down those that were on duty. I would complain, it will make you feel better even if it does not yield the answer or satisfaction that you hope.
    I have just re read your post and realise now that it was not in the USA but in the UK so I am even more shocked.
    I am pleased that it did not affect the rest of your holiday and that you had a lovely time.

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  17. Although I have been patted down frequently, it has never been inside my clothing. I always get the giggles, as I am very tickly - I worry that they will think that is a sign of being guilty about something! As to whether you should complain ..... my inclination would be to let it go, as some timme has ppassed. But you will be much more aware next time you travel, to take note should it happen again.

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  18. You have a balanced view, you understand the need for security checks, however if you feel violated in anyway then I think you need to voice your concerns Amy, you might not get any feedback from this but you will have had your say :) xxx

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  19. That pisses me off... How dare they take it to that point and how dare someone talk to you like that. Sorry the Italian is about to come out in me as I am very protective of my friends. So I am taking a breath. First off to go under the clothes is something I have never even seen or heard of. You need to complain for the simple fact that they were disrespectful and that is crap. Second you deserve for someone in management to explain this procedure to you. I am so sorry Amy. Seriously no words right now. I am glad that you were able to go on holiday and hopefully see some pretty things that made up for this not so pretty situation. Sending you a big hug. Do what your gut tells you to do. Love Nicole xoxo

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  20. What the guard did sounds excessive. If she felt she needed to do that, then it should have been in private. I have been rubbed down by the same female security guard twice. She seemed to zone in on me while I was queuing to leave the UK. The following year she did the same thing. It wasn't too invasive. But there were male security guards watching and almost leering. If I were you, I would complain. It would probably be on cctv if evidence was needed.

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  21. Put in a complaint here is an extract of what a pat down is suppose to be like
    " The new pat-down procedure allows TSA officers to use fingers and palms to feel around genitals, including the groin and breasts, over a passenger’s clothing. You can request that a pat-down be conducted in private and to have a travel partner be with you during the screening."

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  22. I know we need the extra security but this just sounds wrong! I would write to the airport (Head of Security?) explaining what happened and asking if this was normal practice.You'll know roughly when you went through the security so they should have the rosters to see who was on duty at that time.

    I'm glad you had a wonderful holiday. :o)

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  23. I don't think British people complain enough. As I get older I tend not to settle for bad treatment. You wouldn't need a name, just a date and approximate time. They'd know who was working at that time. Presumably this practice will carry on and happen to others unless enough people complain. Hope that with time you feel a little less shaken up by it, poor you. J x

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  24. Oh Amy, how utterly humiliating for you to experience this. I don't know what the rules and guidelines are for that type of security search but it seems very overdone to me. I think I'd make a query regarding the guidelines for security to do a 'pat down' search and see what the rules are then make a general complaint. I would be just sick if this happened to me and would not have enjoyed my vacation one bit. I sure wouldn't want other unsuspecting women to endure this. I'll look forward to your photos and stories of your trip. Hugs Pam

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  25. Yikes, it definitely sounds like something you should report. I hope nothing like that happens again. I'm glad you've been enjoying your trip. :)

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  26. How horrible, I would be seething. It's definitely worth complaining, I would, especially as they didn't follow the guidelines. I'm glad you otherwise had a good trip though. CJ xx

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  27. Amy, 1. So glad you had a good time in America. Just to clarify about "fall": No, we don't have an extra season here or an extra period of time between the four seasons; "fall" is simply another name for autumn. And in everday speech most Americans say "fall" most of the time. I think it's origin is likely that it's the time of year when the leaves fall from the trees. 2. I would definitely write a letter about your improper and unauthorized treatment at the airport, a letter to TSA with copies to the airline and the airport. I wouldn't get all caught up in waiting for replies, but simply write the letter then work on putting it out of my mind.

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  28. Complain. I would - even though my other half, like yours, would probably suggest I let it go.
    If it made you feel this way you have every right to make a complaint. The least they should have done is explain themselves and offer to do the whole thing somewhere else, not in front of everyone.
    S x

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  29. Thanks for visiting my blog. Sorry to hear about your experience at the airport. I think it should be reported and I agree, the sooner you do it the better. I'm glad that you enjoyed your holiday despite that experience.

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  30. Hi Amy, so sorry for your horrible security situation! So glad that you took a lovely trip to America. Fall is a great time to travel. Take care and have a lovely weekend.
    Julie

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  31. Amy, I was horrified to read of your awful airport experience. We are all aware of the need for increase security but that bordered on abuse. I think I would be tempted to write a letter of complaint just to get it off my chest and put the incident behind me. So pleased you had a good holiday though - we used to live in Boston Mass many years ago. Beautiful city!

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  32. Bless your heart Amy, I have never heard of a guard behaving in this fashion, you must have been horrified. I feel that type of security measures, especially in public is not war rented. I think I would write to the airport security and state what happened plain and simple and that you thought the touching was inappropriate and that you were not allowed to even voice your concerns. Have your say and then maybe you can let it go. Certainly you are not the only one this has happened to, and they need to be aware if their security guards are going too far.

    Sending you a huge hug my friend,
    Meredith

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  33. Oops I forgot, her in the US Fall and Autumn are considered the same season.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  34. Hi Amy! Very sorry to hear about what happened at the airport. I think it would help to complain, you know the time of your flight and when you would have been going through security, so I am sure they would know who was on duty at that time. Make a formal complaint in writing and ask them what steps will be taken that something like this won't happen again.
    Glad to hear you had a nice holiday otherwise and looking forward to reading more about it when you get back into the swing of things!
    Enjoy your sunday! (here it is raining for the first time after our recent heatwave!)
    Ingrid xx
    http://myfunkycrochet.blogspot.be

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  35. I think you should complain. They will probably do nothing to the person who did it, but I suspect you will feel better if you don't let it go. It may give you some sort of closure????? The worst I have experienced was coming home from Greece and had a close encounter with a female guard and my boobs - I certainly would not have be happy with someone inside my clothes - and am pretty sure that they can't do this in a public place. This could be seen as assault. It's also wrong that you can't complain at the time - by all means you can't be abusive (which I'm guessing you weren't) but you shouldn't have to happy when you feel violated.

    I have had some run ins with American security as I stand too close to my disabled husband - maybe next time I'll let him fall and then sue....... sadly in this day and age we are all so afraid of the horrors that invisible people do that sometimes we go too far but the alternative does not bear thinking about.

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  36. Amy, I have solid silver bangles on my wrist that I have worn for 30 years and which don't come off and so when we travel I am always pulled to one side, both in the UK and in other countries. I was patted down on all my flights when we went to Hawaii, although that was in 2008. Yes, they did check me thoroughly, by that I mean a hand pressed firmly to the top of my leg and then down, swiped firmly around each bust, but NEVER inside my clothing.
    When we went to Sicily in May again I was patted down at Manchester but the lady who did it was professional but thorough. Again she did not put her hands inside my clothing. I had to stand and be body-scanned but I know that's the price I pay for the bloody bangles!
    I wasn't wearing any heavy clothing on any of the occasions and I would suspect that since 2008 security has increased but that does seem extreme.
    Should you complain? I don't know, if it helps you move on then yes, otherwise I would just try to find the guidelines for this type of search so you know whether someone has really crossed a line.
    Hope this helps

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  37. sorry you had such a bad experience in security xxx

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  38. Amy, I have missed you, Friend! I am so glad that you had a good time in America, but I am also so very sorry for your airport experience. :( I would seriously consider complaining. It might help you to move forward. Sending you hugs and love, Dear Amy!

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  39. Glad to hear you had a great time in Boston. I was there years and years and years ago as a child, but never as an adult. The worst airport experience I had was in Germany a couple of years ago. It was all about a bottle of water that I had just bought about 15 feet from security. For them to not let it through is ridiculous. So I walked the 5 feet back through security check to drink the water, not throw it. And when I passed back through again, a lady security officer decided I needed to be rechecked, even though I had been checked the first time. She decides this time, that she found something on me, in my crotch to be exact, and she wanted to do a more thorough search. I was livid. Thankfully, a male security guard told her I was fine and they let me go. I really wanted to smack the woman as she was just being difficult because I was questioning their rules. Safety is one thing. Overbearing bullies is another. Venting to others helps sort it out. It likely won't happen again. Some people just use their position to do things they shouldn't. Best wishes, Tammy

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