November 26, 2008 - As we all head home to family and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday, we need to keep in mind that the troubling situation for turbaned travelers is not nearly resolved. Air passengers will all meet Transportation Security Adminstration (TSA) security and our idenitity may be called into question. The Coalition calls on all Sikhs to report their TSA experiences this weekend.
Just last month, the Sikh Coalition reported a rise in problem airports around the country for Sikh travelers. The newest hot spots include Seattle, Chicago, San Antonio, Sacramento, Oakland and Boston airports. At the same time, thanks to Sikhs who reported their experiences at San Francisco International Airport, we were able to break the cycle of 100% screenings at that location.
The TSA's new search policy for Sikh turbans has been in place for over a year. But we need to stay vigilant and ensure that it is being implemented in a fair and unbiased manner. To do that, the Sikh Coalition needs to hear from you, the Sikh traveling public, about your experiences in America's airports.
The TSA implemented a new policy for checking turbans on October 27, 2007. Under the current procedure, Sikhs can pat-down our own turbans instead of allowing someone else to touch our turbans when clearing security in U.S. airports. Since the new policy went into effect in October last year, we've heard mixed things about its implementation around the country. In some airports,
Sikhs reported being pulled aside for a second search nearly 100% of the time
. Sometimes Sikhs are given the option of the self pat-down, sometimes they have to ask for it, and sometimes they aren't subjected to secondary screenings at all. To continue our fight for Sikh rights, we need you to document your story for us
Help us give the TSA an accurate picture of where they need to improve and where things are going well. Tell us about your screening experiences over the Thanksgiving weekend - good or bad - especially if you fly through Seattle, Chicago, San Antonio, Sacramento, Oakland or Boston Airports.
Practice your faith fearlessly. Click here to access our reporting form.
Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh!