View Full Version : New rules? Maybe

2009-05-13, 11:03 AM
I have two recent experiences to report. They were dealt with in two very different ways with different results.

The similarities are – I was confronted by non law enforcement, security persons; the initial approach was somewhat aggressive and both claimed that it was against the law/rules to be using binoculars.

The first incident was at JFK at the connector to Terminal 2/3 on May 7th 2009. A Redcoat appeared over my shoulder and said “What are you doing, you can’t be using binoculars, it’s not allowed”. I explained what I was doing and that I was doing nothing wrong by using binoculars. He kept pressing the point and I informed him that his only recourse was to call the police as he had no authority in the matter. I waited and a PA Police office came. I offered my ID and he said “I knew it was nothing and that you were plane spotting/noting tail numbers. Have a good day”

I used to call PA Police at JFK and inform them that I was there but they must have got fed up with me bothering them as they told me last year that “ I could watch the planes, You don’t need to call” This is relevant information – see below.

The second incident was at LGA at the west connector to the parking garage on May11th 2009. I don’t go to LGA very often but every visit over last 3 years has been hassle free at that and all locations at the airport. A female airport employee again approached me. “ You can’t be here using binoculars”. I explained what I was doing. Anyway, she called the police. It’s worth noting that on my last visit I was at the east connector using my binoculars with a PA police officer stand right next to me.

First an officer (#1), who the employee had physically gone to get from, I think, traffic control, came up. When I explained he didn’t seem too bothered but the airport employee had returned and was talking to the officer in an agitated manner. Then two more officers came and I relate the following as a cautionary tale.

Officer #2 was very aggressive and made the familiar claims of what was not allowed. He ended up in possession of my ID, passport, logbook. Interestingly he was calling and recalling someone on his cell phone (who he could not connect to) instead of using the radio. Then officer #3 offered up that he knew what I was doing and that many other spotters came to and around the airport and he explained the notes in my logbook to officer #2. He then asked to look through my binoculars (which he appreciated) and then got officer #2 to note the make and model of them. He then told me I was doing nothing unlawful. I had to that moment said nothing much but I couldn’t resist saying “I know that, I’ve been through this many times”. He then told me“This will probably end here”. My documents and book were returned to me but I was asked to leave as the airport employee was ‘upset’. I had the familiar “We have to follow up on reports etc”.

Anyway, sorry to be so wordy but I’m wondering if officer #3 was sticking it to officer #2 as he is the one who will have to do the pages of resulting paperwork that the officers referred to.

Finally, the officers informed me that “If I want to come to the airport I need to ALWAYS call to inform the PA at LGA that I am there.

So here’s the telephone number of the police desk at LGA :- 718-533-3900

For the record the police desk at JFK:- 718 244-4111 EWR:- 800-882-5474

2009-05-20, 08:23 PM
Really good info! Thanks!