To be fair, TSA probably doesn’t call them “detention pods.”

The TSA Wants to Remind You That You Are A Captive

“We need to be vigilant and maintain high security protocol at all times. These portals were designed and approved by TSA which is important,” said Syracuse Airport Commissioner Christina Callahan.


About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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11 Responses to To be fair, TSA probably doesn’t call them “detention pods.”

  1. Anonymous says:

    They are called “man traps.” The TSA did not invent them.

  2. What total fucking bullshit…

  3. Robert says:

    “Man trap” was my immediate thought also; it is obviously an easy way to isolate our subject from the crowd and would help contain an explosion. I personally would demand TSA escort me out via a less claustrophobic route. My least-favorite work-related man trap had metal bars and required a passcode and handprint scanner to get through; I didn’t like it…

  4. Bear says:

    I’m morbidly anticipating the first good terminal fire, and the resulting stampede/traffic jam-induced trampling fatalities.*

    *As opposed to the fire and smoke-inhalation fatalities among those who couldn’t make it through the default-locked powered doors.

  5. Buck. says:

    ^^^^^^ that!

  6. MJR says:

    I have seen man traps like this before and, while they look bad, they are no big deal. It could be worse for example in one establishment that I know of the system is set up so that you enter a restricted area with a pass card then all the doors lock and you place your palm on a palm reader while being weighed all under the watchful CCTV eye. If the print doesn’t match or you are 50 pounds heavier then you should be (every 2 months personnel who work in restricted area have their weight taken) then the doors don’t unlock and security is summoned. The only way to unlock the doors is for a fire alarm to go off and only the door leading out will unlock. The folks inside get out via emergency exits into a safe confined yard to be quickly counted and marshaled into a safe area. It is a very high security place.

    @Bear… I suspect that should there be a fire alarm the doors would automatically unlock to let folks out but not in and the fire department would have overrides. :^)

  7. Bear says:

    MJR, the doors should unlock in case of fire, but…

    (based on my own experience with government contracting and systems maintenance)

    1. I wouldn’t bet on anyone at TSA (this is a TSA-approved design) thinking to include that in the RFP specs.
    2. If they did remember, I wouldn’t bet on it being tested and working.
    3. If the fire alarm interlock does work, I see terminal personnel overriding the locks when traffic backs up (and forgetting to restore later).

    But assuming that everything works as it should (this from the Security Theater Administration), you’ve still got a gated choke-point through which panicked masses will fight to get through first, in the event of a fire, bomb threat, disgruntled hunter of TSA goons, etc. It won’t be pretty.

    I’d love to get the pay-per-view rights.

  8. MJR says:

    @ Bear… With the pay-per-view rights I think you would make a mint from residuals. :^) You reminded me that people in government contract things to be built from the lowest bidder standpoint.

    The point about TSA employees overriding the locks to speed up the flow and forgetting to restore them later is an excellent one. When this happens, and it will, it will happen only once and when the gaff is discovered the employee who forgot will get slapped i.e. some minor disciplinary action. The resulting ripples of decent in the union ranks will cause it to be game on with union verses management and it will be a long time before any overriding of locks happens again. The result will be longer lines and more complaints plus a pat on the back for TSA for doing a good job with access control. A long time ago I learned that when government is involved the object of the game for management is to cause problems so as to be seen solving the problems and it does not matter if the problems are internal or external.

    As for me I don’t fly in the United States, I choose not to have to endure all the security feel good theater because it is just that, theater.

  9. The first question I had was, who gets the contract to fit them for Zyklon-B pumps?

  10. Bear says:

    @MJR, an even better point about remote-controlling the locks: Imagine a bored TSO locking down the pods just for the halibut. I recall a couple of officers who didn’t that on a fairly regular basis, trapping fellow officers simply because they thought it was funny. I’m sure it will be hilarious to lock down the pods when a multiply-delayed transoceanic flight finally arrives chock full of near-homicidal passengers and cabin crew.

  11. Eric Wilner says:

    At the local fairgrounds, there are big metal revolving doors that let people out at any time, but never in, with no need for electricity, special instructions, or any of that stuff. Push one way, and it turns. Push the other way, and it doesn’t. Interdigitated tines filter out anyone attempting to pass through the return side. But, that’s not high-tech. And it, quite intentionally, doesn’t allow locking people in.

To the stake with the heretic!