Traveler Forced to Expose Sports Bra by TSA

April 21, 2013

in Airport Stories

During Thanksgiving weekend 2009 I was flying back to my home after a visit with family in Midland, Texas. Going through security, I removed my jewelry and shoes and put them in bins and then put my purse in another bin. I was wearing a velour jogging suit with a sports bra underneath. I was told by the TSA agent that I had to remove my jacket and put it in a bin. I said what jacket, this is my top not a jacket. She said it was considered a jacket because it zipped up the front. I said it does not have a hood and I have only my sports bra on underneath. She informed me that was my problem and I could either take it off and place it on the belt or go wait over “yonder” until someone had the time to mess with me, because she did not! Yes, she actually said it just like that!

I looked up and saw two male TSA agents beginning to approach, then I looked behind me and saw all the angry and disapproving faces behind me in line. So fearing that I would miss my flight waiting for someone to have the time to “mess” with me, I reached up and unzipped the top and put it in a bin to be sent down the line. I am a very large busted woman, so there were a few giggles and a couple of gasps from the angry line. The TSA agent shook her head and snickered. The two male TSA agents now standing behind her looked shocked and started biting their lips to keep from laughing. They scanned everything slowly while I stood there in my sports bra waiting. I passed through, put my top back on hastily and retrieved my other belongings.

When I got past, I was stopped by another TSA agent and pulled to the side. She said my purse had to be manually checked. So she takes me over to a table and starts pulling everything out of my purse and all is well until she comes upon my rescue inhaler. She said, “What is this?” So I told her I had asthma and it was my rescue inhaler and pointed out the prescription sticker on the side. She said, “What is it for?” I said I have asthma and I carry it with me everywhere I go in the event that I might have an attack. She then asked me, “What kind of attack?” Now I am starting to get really mad. I am thinking, what an idiot! She then proceeded to tell me that I could not take it on the plane. So I asked for a supervisor and one finally came after about 10 minutes. The supervisor looked at my inhaler and said it was fine and to let me have it back. I had to put the scattered contents of my purse back inside of it myself as I was told that TSA would not do that.

So after all that I finally made my way to the gate and boarded my plane with only a couple of minutes to spare. Boarding the plane I saw two men already seated and when one saw me he nudged the other, pointed to me and whispered in his companion’s ear and they both laughed. I figured he had seen me in my bra in line earlier. I just gave them a knowing smile and headed to my seat. Hey, sometimes a girl just gotta do what a girl gotta do!

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Belafonte La Pootera April 21, 2013 at 4:55 pm

This didn't happen- at least, not in 2009, because I haven't seen a velour jogging suit since 2004.


sports bra lady April 23, 2013 at 2:06 pm

2004 is probably about the time I bought the velour jogging suit. I still have 4 in my closet right now! I still wear them! Hey, I never said I was fashionable!


Maggie April 26, 2013 at 3:26 am

Velour jogging suits are back. The ones worn by middle-aged women with Juicy Couture in sequins across the butt are particular stand-outs.


Belafonte La Pootera April 26, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Nope, they're not.


sports bra lady April 26, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Come on Poot! Give an old gal a break.


James April 27, 2013 at 10:09 am
sports bra lady April 29, 2013 at 12:06 am

Thanks for the link James, Ima get my dog one !


sports bra lady April 26, 2013 at 5:07 pm

I resemble that remark! I am middle aged but no sequins, please! maybe a little satin piping around the seams. But a woman my age should never, ever, ever wear any article of clothing with the word "Juicy" on it. It is false advertising!


Ken Williams April 22, 2013 at 8:18 am

So in a case like this if a woman was not wearing a bra (just going braless), would they still have expected her to remove her top/jacket?

It sounds like this TSA rep would have insisted on it. I have to imagine in such a case that the passenger would have to be led to a more private location to be searched by a female TSA rep.


Reader April 22, 2013 at 11:58 am

I call foul — if the passenger knew enough to ask for a supervisor when possession of her inhaler was challenged, she knew enough to call a supervisor when the agent demanded the passenger remove her jacket.


sports bra lady April 23, 2013 at 2:11 pm

I knew being seen in my sports bra wasn't going to kill me, just make me feel stupid. However, going into a full blown asthma attack without an inhaler might kill me! I couldn't run that risk.


paul April 22, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Pictures I want to see pictures!


Adrian April 22, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Me too!


BusinessMinded44 April 23, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Gone are the days of dressing in a professional manner. Sadly, this type of dress is all to common. What is wrong with wearing actual clothes to an airport? It used to be that it was expected people would wear a suit to fly. Back then, people were gracious and appreciative – now, people like this feel that flying is an entitlement. No sympathy here. You chose those clothes. You could've worn a t-shirt/tank top under your "velour outfit" – deal with it.
I fly several times a month – I always dress in a professional manner. I've rarely been stopped by TSA. Concidence?


sports bra lady April 23, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Wow, I guess you really told me, didn't you? What on earth was I thinking dressing in such a slovenly manner? The next time I take my entitled behind to the airport I will certainly follow your example! Thank you, sir, for teaching me an important life lesson.


Kevin Zeese May 27, 2014 at 3:48 pm

I can't believe people are criticizing you! They should be criticizing the TSA officials. Even the low level folks need to use some common sense and be reasonable. I'm amazed you were so calm. I'm not sure I would have held my templer.


paul April 23, 2013 at 10:10 pm

Yes the days of dressing up are over.
I always dress for comfort and if that means track pants and runners. so be it.
Todays world of flight ,you are crammed in their like sardines so I do anything to make my flight a more enjoyable experience


paul April 23, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Oh yeah………. have never been flagged by TSA or any other GVMT agency


sports bra lady April 23, 2013 at 10:58 pm

The TSA can flag ANY of us as it deems. It doesn't matter what you are wearing. If I have to wear a business suit and shiny shoes to fly when all around me are travelers in shorts, jeans, and what have you, to fly then what the heck? Even terrorists can dress to blend in as witnessed by the recent bombings in Boston .So my casual outfit made me a target? Look around! I am soon making a transatlantic flight to Spain and do not plan to wear business attire on that 10 hour flight.


Talashea February 4, 2014 at 7:21 pm

You go girl. Ignore the ignorant remarks above. I dress for comfort on planes not style! That went out in the 70's. I think you handled this magnificently.


Kevin Zeese May 27, 2014 at 3:50 pm

I'm sure you'll get your opportunity! Your time will come. Everyone's does. The TSA is abusive – the behave unAmerican. The whole search process is an abuse. It is unbelieveable Americans tolerate it — and people like you making fun of those abused — sick.


sports bra lady April 23, 2013 at 10:46 pm

Entitled to fly? What does that even mean? It is a modern mode of transportation available to all! If you pay the price of the ticket you are entitled to fly on the plane. There are no fashion police installed at the gate to judge your clothing. Unless it is ultra revealing you should be good to go! BusinessMinded44 needs to loosen his tie and unbutton one of those buttons on his Sans a Belt slacks and relax a little!


sports bra lady April 23, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Never asked for sympathy, just related a story I felt was humorous.


Gregg April 24, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Great story; thanks for sharing it!


James April 24, 2013 at 7:34 am

Dress in a professional manner? With TSA?

"Please remove your cufflinks, they are metal."

"Please remove your tieclip, it is metal.'

"Take off your suit jacket and put it through the scanner"

"Vest, too."

Oh yes, definitely.


Trixi April 24, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I find that I get upgraded more often the better I dress. But, I just enjoy dressing up when I travel–it's fun to get to a new city looking and feeling fine!


sports bra lady April 26, 2013 at 1:36 am

I was flying Southwest Airlines, no upgrades to be had there. "Cattle Car". My outfit was clean, not worn, or tattered, or stained. I had clean hair, styled, make-up on, nice jewelry, and an expensive handbag. I smelled good too! Nothing about me was unkempt or dirty.


Trixi May 8, 2013 at 3:12 pm

I do not doubt that for a minute, OP!


Substantial April 27, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Sheesh, it's public transport not a Michelin restaurant, as long as the clothes are clean and the hairy bits are covered then it's ok. Good for you and your "dressing in a professional manner" and propensity for lecturing other passengers on how to dress. You are the epitome of DYKWIA.


RsT April 29, 2013 at 11:21 am


If you truly fly that often then you should also know that flying is not just for business people or the wealthy. Further we are all stuff in that aluminum tube in narrow seats. I travel as much as you indicate. If I have the option I dress for comfort, not to impress some self important gentleman in a suit. This woman does not seem to have dressed sloppily so get over your self.


Rachel July 15, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Exactly. I make 15 hour flights between the US and the PRC all the time. I wouldn't be caught dead on the street what I wear in those flights–sweatpants and layered shirts, mostly.


Lucy May 27, 2013 at 6:51 pm

I do believe you are a pompous backend…. Who elected you clothes police?


kongo1950 May 3, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Methinks the lady doth protest too much


the-distance May 15, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Personally, I think sports bras are extremely sexy! Good for you OP!


Flyguy May 29, 2013 at 10:42 am

I'm glad this lady has the humour to deal with the commenters chastising her. Thanks for posting!


vince June 10, 2013 at 4:11 pm

you are all touched


Rachel July 15, 2013 at 9:31 pm

You would think that an agency that has had half the scandals that TSA has would double its efforts to hire bright people, and train them well. You would be wrong.

TSA agents tend to be stupid assholes. Judging from the current state of the economy, and the fact that the position does pay well for what is requires, I've decided that TSA hiring managers pick these buffoons up as some kind of sick joke.


Michael Cochrane February 5, 2014 at 10:57 am

so Rachel, why exactly are you coming down on the TSA agents in this story? It can't be because THEY WERE DOING THEIR JOB can it?
1) if the rules state jackets should go through the x-ray then they go through the x-ray. It wasn't the TSA agent's responsibility because the OP wasn't dressed appropriately.
2) Or maybe it is because they felt the OP might need a little extra scrutiny so they searched her purse. Not out of the ordinary at all. I've seen it done hundreds of times…even getting into NIGHT CLUBS…..
3) Or maybe it was because they questioned her on the inhaler. So, someone is taking a metal canister onto a plane and you think it's wrong that she would be questioned on it? You see, it would be rather easy to substitute the contents to something more lethal and since when people lie, they have "tells" I think it is appropriate that they ask about the item.

Sorry, I applaud the TSA agents in this case for DOING THEIR JOB!!!

BTW: I have to agree with buddy up there who stated that if the OP had been dressed appropriately she probably would have sailed through the screening process. I can't believe what people wear out in public these days. I shake my head at the people going out in their fricken PYJAMAS!!!!


DrWhosiwhatsit May 28, 2014 at 12:11 am

You seem to be especially dense to the security theatre that the TSA perform in every single day. Or are you actually a TSA employee, which is why you're a naked apologist for their awful behavior and thoroughly rude behavior?

1) What exactly constitutes a jacket? I'd stipulate that a jacket is worn over street clothes, and that a top–even one that zips up the front–if worn over a sports bra is not a jacket. Common sense seems to say that as well. Do you lack common sense?

2) She clearly received a more thorough search of her purse because she didn't back down to the 'authority' of a TSA agent. A TSA agent who apparently wasn't smart enough to recognize an asthma inhaler w/a prescription label attached to it, or one who had the ability to reason through the 'Oh, it's not a jacket if she's only got a bra on.' Obviously a rather stupid agent. Once you show that the security theatre doesn't phase you, they're annoyed and subject you to more invasive searches.

3) Why would you remotely question an asthma inhaler? I honestly think that you need to be especially stupid in this case; it's a rescue inhaler w/a prescription sticker and all the medical information *printed right on the case.*

Sorry, I have to call you on your 'applause,' because being a TSA shill is *not* a good thing to be. It makes all those involved look ridiculous. Look, even those who work for the TSA understand that their job is silly–when you jump up and down and exclaim your acclaim for their work, you make yourself look like an idiot.

BTW: OP *was* dressed appropriately. She had a shirt, pants and shoes on. And comfortable ones at that. When you're going to fly, it's recommended that you wear comfortable, non-restrictive clothing to lessen the probability of developing blood clots. Or was that skipped over in your TSA introductory classes?


@RhovanionGirl February 5, 2014 at 1:40 pm

I've heard a few stories like this so now when I fly, if I'm wearing a top that buttons up or zips up I always wear a tank-top underneath.


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