TSA Screener Tosses Hot Coffee on American Airlines Pilot


The New York Post reports that in a rare departure from the professionalism and decorum we’ve come to expect from TSA Security Officers, a TSA screener at New York JFK lost her temper and tossed a cup of hot coffee at an AA pilot after he spoke up and asked her to mute “a profanity-laced conversation in a terminal”.

American Airlines pilot, Steven Trivett, was off duty at JFK and leaving T-8 when he overheard the conversation between TSA screener, Lateisha El, and her colleagues.  According to the NY Post article by Phillip Messing, the pilot told the screeners that they should “conduct themselves more professionally in uniform and not use profanity or the n-word”.

The screeners told the pilot to mind his own business and after he identified himself as a TSA officer and tried to grab El’s badge, she tossed a cup of hot coffee on him.

The pilot wasn’t injured.  Officer El was given a harassment ticket and faces misdemeanor assault charges.

What do you think?

Was the pilot right to ask the TSA screeners to tone down their language?

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Credit: Stockicide on Flickr



  1. I do hate how unprofessionally many of the TSA agents act. Which is not to say they are all bad, as many are truly exceptional public servants. But too many times, they disgrace themselves, and earn the mistrust of the public.

    The pilot had every right to encourage the agents to act professionally, especially since it becomes a reflection on the airline in the eyes of many of the customers.

    That being said, and I don’t know all of the details, pilots sometimes get the “doctor” or “god” complex and rather than communicate effectively to reach a common goal, they communicate condescendingly and provocatively.

    I think both sides overreacted. Intentions on both sides were likely innocent, but results are what matter. An unfortunate situation for the TSA, AA, and public decency.

  2. I feel the same way.

    I go to JFK’s T8 at 8:30pm to catch AA955 at 9:35pm and around this time all of the AAgent’s are getting ready to leave and are disrespectful in this readiness to “clock-out”.

    There are always groups of AAgents hamming it up and not bothering to help passengers trying to check-in or print boarding passes for their flights.

    This was even true for Platinum, EXPLat and First Class cabin check-in counters.

    It is not a professional Terminal.

  3. Noah…you think the intentions of Ms. El were likely innocent? Really? Telling someone to mind their own business when someone has the guts to call her out on her disrespectful, obscenity laced conversation taking place in public (which is bad enough) and in uniform. Her intention were she could do whatever she wanted and no one was going to tell her otherwise. Sorry Ms. El, the world doesn’t work like that. She needs to have some respect, not only for the people around her, but for herself, as she clearly lacks both.

  4. It’s New York! I expects lots of profanity! Just Kidding. If they are TSA screeners and have no degree of professionalism it make me really worried on how competent they truly are at there jobs. If they are that lax in public and would think it would carry over to when they are actually working.

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