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Airport security line issue: Traveling pets and the TSA canine teams

Two flights ago, I was progressing through the security line with Chloe in her carrier over my shoulder, and a TSA screening dog came up from behind us with his or her handler. The dog stopped briefly, clearly (to me) having noticed Chloe’s presence, and the handler (also briefly, thank goodness) tensed up. I waggled my shoulder with the carrier in the handler’s direction and said something like “there’s a pup in here,” and the team continued down the line. That was interesting enough to tell you about, so you’d be prepared for a similar encounter, but for once procrastination was my friend: On our most recent flight, there was someone posted at the security line calling out for folks traveling with pets to leave the line altogether, and walk to the other security line (not currently being reviewed by a canine team).

I departed the first security line so promptly that I couldn't get a picture of one of these signs in action on a post; here's an example, though, from a pile waiting for future use. So far, I've only seen them at Seattle's airport.

I departed the first security line so promptly that I couldn’t get a picture of one of these signs in action on a post; here’s an example, though, from a pile waiting for future use. So far, I’ve only seen them at Seattle’s airport.

Apparently it’s not just a momentary distraction for a TSA canine to encounter a pet; or perhaps the TSA just wants to reduce the number of times its teams alert unnecessarily. Whatever the reason, and to preserve your own adrenaline glands from wear and tear, keep an eye out for TSA canine teams and give them as much advance notice as you can of your pet’s presence.

2 comments

  • Dachshund Nola

    Thanks for the tip! Nola and I are flying for the first time this coming Wednesday, and while I doubt the tiny airport here would be a problem, we’ll be in Houston and Phoenix airports as well. I’ll keep an eye out!

  • Araya Frohne

    Several years ago I was flying with my small Jack Russell terrier, a medical alert service dog. On our first layover, we passed a couple TSA teams working together searching a gate. As my dog and I passed by in the middle of the main walkway, a good 75-100 feet away from them, those great big, presumably well trained german shepherds started pulling their handlers all over, straining on their leashes trying to get to my dog. I can’t remember, but it seems like they mught have been barking as well. My dog just kept on walking, completely ignoring them. As I walked past I heard one officer say incredulously to the other, “that little dog is better than ours!!!” It made my day, but also worries me. Pets traveling are in crates, but service dogs are out in the open, there’s no barrier between the TSA dog and mine. What will happen to my dog if unintentionally run into one someday?Are they aggressive, or unsocialized? I don’t know, but I think I’ll keep my distance.

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