Delta Security Lax Is Nothing New

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One evening when I was having car trouble the customs supervisor
offered to drive me home he told me that he had been the one to order the agents to look for me when I didn't have the IS-he said he did it because he was "sick of Delta's total disregard for security".

[Letter To The Editor: On Airport Security]

Re: "Delta Fires Employee Who Exposed JFK Security Breach," January 7, 2010

I was hired by Delta Airlines May 8th, 1997. 

After completion of the new hire training I was assigned to the Federal Inspections Area at JFK. The lead supervisors were Mavis Thomas, Joseline Lucas, Alix Laincy and Danny Cronin: Mr. Cronin was my assigned supervisor. 

I was not signed up for the Port Authority security class and therefore was forced to work in FIS without the proper Port ID pass. This was a violation of Federal Law. I was told to turn my building access swipe card around and to wear it lengthwise behind my Delta ID so that it would "look" as if I had a port ID. 

One day I was told by a Customs Officer that they been told to find me on the floor with out the proper ID in order to fine Delta. I had to sit for the rest of that shift in the arrival control office. I then took it upon myself to find a certified instructor to finally get the proper ID. I finally got the ID after 6 months of working in secure areas without the proper  clearance. 

One evening when I was having car trouble the customs supervisor offered to drive me home he told me that he had been the one to order the agents to look for me when I didn't have the IS-he said he did it because he was "sick of Delta's total disregard for security".

Before 2003 the U.S. Government would allow foreigners to transit in the U.S. without a Visa- as long as the U.S. was only used transit spot to go to a different country. This was called the TROV or ICI program.The rules stated that the Flight Attendants on the inbound aircraft would turn the passengers documentation (tickets & passport)over to the Delta agent and after immigration & customs cleared the passenger the airline was to call a security agency and the passenger was to be escorted by "Armed Guard" to their connecting flight. 

Then the guard was to stay with them until the docs were handed over to the flight attendant and not leave the gate area until the flight was "wheels up". Not long after I started at Delta, Mavis Thomas declared that she and other supervisors were able to "profile" TROV's and decide if a guard was "called for". 

And not only would they send DL reps to escort TROV's but even just letting the passenger go by themselves to their connecting flight.  Thereby saving DL the cost of the armed guard. One night I was told to escort over 100 TROV's off DL278 from Mexico City out of Terminal 3 and take them to Al Italia. I told the supervisor on duty, Paul Gallo, that I was extremely uncomfortable with the amount of passengers- several of whom were in wheelchairs. 

There was no way for me to maintain control when I would have to allow the handicap passengers to separate from the group to use the elevators. 

I requested that DL at the very least allow me to request a few guards so that I could divide up the group. I was told no-that they were "just a bunch of Mexicans going to see the Pope".  And that I was risking disciplinary action if I did not do as I was told. I was a single mother at the time and did not have the courage to risk my job. 
As for the case you are covering- this is not news to me.  When passengers come in from overseas they are usually under the impression that they do not have to claim their bags. 

What is supposed to happen is- the Delta rep was supposed to bring the bag to a customs officer - then after inspecting it- we were then allowed to place it on the connecting belt this usually resulted in a missed bag.  But if a supervisor didn't want to deal with passenger complaints they would sneak the bag out of the east side of the building which was usually not staffed by customs and then the bag would be hand carried to the pier. 

In 1999 I was very aware that the supervisors were targeting me for dismissal because I was complaining about lax security. I had very good relationships with all of the airlines Delta was code-shared with.

I even received a cash award from Swissair for my extraordinary efforts after the loss of Swissair111 in 1998. Separately, the FinnAir manager called me "The Queen of Rebooking" and always requested that I handle any issues with his passengers. 

And Virgin Atlantic reps had always tried to convince me to work for them. I finally decided it was time to leave Delta and accepted Virgin's offer.  

I would be willing to give a deposition.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Employees of Delta or any other airline with stories about similar breaches or transgressions please call (212) 481-7745 or send us an e-mail message in the strictest confidence

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