Have you ever just felt totally violated when coming from the airport?? I have had 2 occurrences. On a return trip from Detroit I once had to walk through the scanner, THEN get a full body scan in the fancy new machine, THEN I got a pat down too!!! This earned me the “Baggage Handler” badge on Foursquare!

Recently on a trip back to Chicago, my checked bag was searched by TSA. I was waiting for my bag at the carousel and I noticed that it came from around the carousel instead of down with the new bags. At first I figured that I just must not have been paying attention and missed it go by the first time. But, it was still fishy.

When I got home, I opened up my suitcase and I had a lovely note from TSA saying that they had searched my bag. Ironically this is the ONLY time that I had not locked my suitcase because I could not find my lock in the rush to pack that morning. I just made sure that there was not anything valuable inside before checking it in. I know exactly why they checked my bag. During my trip we did an awesome Thai food cooking class and I brought home some supplies. There was a huge bottle of fish sauce, a block of tamarind paste, an a can of curry paste in my checked bag. I’m sure those looked quite suspicious on the scanner. 🙂 So, I was not mad at them for searching. I could get over the fact that someone was going all through my undies, until…

I noticed something in my bag that did not belong to me! There was a small drawstring bag that at first I was afraid to open. But, I opened it and it was an iPhone charger, a Motorola cell charger, and a business card case. What the hell? How could they search my bag and put someone else’s stuff in it!! I opened the business card case thinking I would be able to quickly find the owner and call them, but it was empty. I immediately called the TSA number on the insert and left a message. It was late on a Friday night, so I did not expect a call back until Monday. I started to wonder (and I still do) if maybe something of mine was missing and I just had not noticed yet.

When I did finally get a call back the TSA rep explained that he thinks that after TSA searched my bag and it was in the waiting area, that some unknown person (passenger, passersby, employee) also went through my bag looking for valuables. In their rush to put stuff back, they accidentally threw items from another bag that they were going through into mine. Really?? Seems like quite a coincidence to me that the same day TSA goes through my bag so does some thief. Possible, but seems unlikely.

Anyway, I know that the owner of the chargers I have are pissed! Who knows if they were headed back home, or if they were coming here on vacation. In either case, that first night they could not charge their phones!

The moral of the story? Lock your suitcase. Keep all valuables and necessary electronics in your carry-on. And hide your undies!!