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View Full Version : Security at JFK still doesn't get it.....



steve1840
01-27-2013, 10:41 AM
Myself and Mark were enjoying a cold, yet beautiful morning atop of the T5 garage at JFK on Saturday. We had been on the garage for a little less than an hour and had gotten the birds we had gone up there to get. We had already seen security pass by us once and just drive off about 20 mins earlier. No biggie. We were standing beside Mark's vehicle talking and pointing out various things in the distance (i believe we were talking about locations off airport) when security made a second pass. The security vehicle passed us as were talking (cameras were in Mark's vehicle) and stopped and honked the horn (good 2-3 second honk) at us. We continued to talk since we wouldn't think for a second the security officer would be trying to get our attention in that fashion. As we continued to talk for about 15 more seconds, they backed up and rolled down their window.

The guard was a female and she asked us, "you're not taking pictures, are you?" With no cameras in our hands me and Mark looked at each other and then at her and said "no, we're just up here talking and hanging out". She proceeded to say that taking photos was against policy and that the security has it in their contract with PA to look out for people taking photos. She then proceeded to tell us that we cannot be hanging out on the roof of the parking garage talking and "surveying the airport". She said that she observed one of us (pointing to Mark) pointing to various things around the property.

She informed us that she could call PA and that it would turn into a problem. She never came out and said we had to leave however, since she more than likely knew that she was in the wrong and had no leg to stand on. Regardless, me and Mark had gotten what we wanted, and just decided instead of being hasseled again, to just head to Costco. Never did we get snotty or raise our voices to her, or let it get out of hand.

Mark, maybe you can remember a few of the details better than I since you were doing most of the interaction with her.

Zee71
01-27-2013, 11:29 AM
Oh yeah .... I was using my hands to point out things to Steve and that appeared to a concern of some sort for her. She kind of thought (an assumption on my part) that Steve and were surveying the field. She said that I couldn't do that with my hands (pointing). As which point I said "this is America" and for some reason I added I like to talk with my hands as well. I hope I get to see her again and ask to see the actual agreement (or policy) they have with the PANYNJ. Also maybe next time just to blow her mind if she inquires about taking pictures (and I am standing cameraless) I may no, but I got a photographic memory just to see her reaction! This is crazy......a few month from now some of us will be walking or running on the runway at JFK with cameras taking photos (go figure) which will be okay. I will be sure to be pointing that day as well (hoping that she sees me and I can give a couple of pointers!

I am not discouraged and will be up there again.

PhilDernerJr
01-27-2013, 11:34 AM
Just as an update, PANYNJ has a draft in their legal department now on their policy of photography being legal. Going slow but soon it will all be out there and we will have something to show people that we are good to go.

steve1840
01-27-2013, 11:44 AM
Just as an update, PANYNJ has a draft in their legal department now on their policy of photography being legal. Going slow but soon it will all be out there and we will have something to show people that we are good to go.

That's great news Phil! It's great to see that what you've (and everyone) been working towards and putting in countless hours for is getting somewhere. Can't wait to see a copy of that policy.

Aviation.High.Guy
01-27-2013, 11:45 AM
Here's a thought- I have not seen any "No Photos" signs up at T5, or any other parking lot at Kennedy for that matter. So, if photography is against the law, why isn't it posted? (Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I hope things come to this.) When swimming isn't allowed, there are "No Swimming" signs, hunting not allowed? "No Hunting" signs- and so on. So, if it is not within a citizen's rights to take a photograph, why are the rules not posted? Maybe because there is no such rule...?
In Europe, where they've been living in a "post-911" kind of world long before us, such signs are indeed posted at many airports- I've seen them. Isn't a citizen entitled to be warned when an activity is not acceptable, especially when it's something that's thought to be widely acceptable- umm, like taking pictures? Just sayin'...

gonzalu
01-27-2013, 11:53 AM
Steve, and Mark.. I AM ON YOUR SIDE... but let's take some things into consideration... I believe we should not outright lie about what we are doing. If you'd like to challenge, that's your right, but, when she asked you if you were taking pictures and you said no, that was not true and that could be really bad for you... meaning if they do see you taking pics later on, they could say you were lying and in front of a judge (if you are eventually arrested on suspicion of terrorist acts) you will have a really hard time telling him/her WHY you lied. I KNOW our intentions are good, BUT keep in mind, someone else does NOT know that.

Again, keep in mind I am on YOUR SIDE, I want to do this as well :-) Take pictures of planes.

Also, when she says you're not suposed to be canvassing and surveying the airport, again, I say let's try to be careful and not make it as if we are giving them reason to be suspicious. I am alo sick and tired of beign harrassed and would love a program that allows us to be up there (such as what IAH has where you call ahead and tell them you're there) but until that happens, life could just be made worse for you and the rest of us. Imagine if you are that security officer ... what would you do? How would you perform your job? How do they know you're NOT up to NO GOOD? They are supposed to be aware and point out anything wrong. We have got to do our part too.

I agree she should have approached the situation differently, perhaps in a more polite manner. But ultimately we are at the mercy of the facility and the owner of such. Until we have more support from them, what do we do?

I believe we should approach this location with caution and with care until we have a more cooperative atmosphere in which to carry out our hobby.

Love you guys and simply want the best for us. I do not want to hear one of us got kicked out, harassed or worse, arrested on suspicion... that would certainly put a negative spin on things.

What do you think? Let's talk about this more in person next time. I think we could strike a happy medium between the hobby and our rights (whatever they really are) :wink:

Dabbey
01-27-2013, 12:47 PM
Phil, even if the PA Has a policy re: photography, will privately-operated terminals or garages be able to continue to make their own rules re:photography? This has always been a source if confusion to me? I hate the murkiness of it all.

gonzalu
01-27-2013, 12:51 PM
David, when you read the PANYNJ WebSite, the TERMINALS are owned and operated by the individual airlines. So goes for their parking garages (although the PAYMENT is through PANYNJ it seems) so I believe all this will do is allow us to say that the PHOTOGRAPHY is NOT illegal when they claim to us we aren't supposed to. Then they will likely stick to, no loitering or hanging out on the garages :( Just my feeling ... hope I am wrong :-)

steve1840
01-27-2013, 12:52 PM
Manny, I agree with you 100%. In part, the statement of "no, we're not taking pictures", was in my part was primarily said to hopefully end the conversation quickly. Figuring she would just say "ok, you're just hanging out, no problem" and she'd be on her way. Never had a thought in my mind she would start hasseling us about hanging out up there.

So, you are 100% correct, and next time I will take a more direct and hoenst approach and say, "yes, but I do not see anything that says I cannot". Granted, I know that cannot work if I run into that guard again, since I"m sure she would remember either myself or my truck with all the brightly colored racing numbers on the back window..

The last thing I want is to get kicked out of T5 or get it ruined for everyone. So next time I think that (and we should have done it this time, especially being so cold) I will stay in my truck with the heat on and talk through the windows and stay out of the radar.

steve1840
01-27-2013, 12:55 PM
David, when you read the PANYNJ WebSite, the TERMINALS are owned and operated by the individual airlines. So goes for their parking garages (although the PAYMENT is through PANYNJ it seems) so I believe all this will do is allow us to say that the PHOTOGRAPHY is NOT illegal when they claim to us we aren't supposed to. Then they will likely stick to, no loitering or hanging out on the garages :( Just my feeling ... hope I am wrong :-)


The security officer specifically said that they have a contract with PANYNJ, so I'm guessign that eventhough the garage is owned by the airline (T5 being jetBlue), it seems as though PANYNJ has rule over them or at least gives security the rules to go by...

gonzalu
01-27-2013, 12:56 PM
Steve remind me to tell you about 9-11-2011 at T5 :tongue:

gonzalu
01-27-2013, 12:59 PM
The security officer specifically said that they have a contract with PANYNJ, so I'm guessign that eventhough the garage is owned by the airline (T5 being jetBlue), it seems as though PANYNJ has rule over them or at least gives security the rules to go by...

Good to know...

Zee71
01-27-2013, 01:02 PM
Thank you Manny .... As far as lying, I don't think Steve and I were lying. Yes we were taking pictures but at that moment in time when she asked us we were not! I know I am playing the devils advocate but trying to honest here as well. She could have approached us differently instead of the first words out of her mouth "you're not taking pictures, are you"? A hello would have been nice, and some sort of exchange informing us that photography isn't allowed because of yadda yadda yadda. People skills would go a long way as opposed to being threatening and hostile.

Phil and others whom have worked tireless for the passion of aviation photography ...... Thank You!

steve1840
01-27-2013, 01:04 PM
Steve remind me to tell you about 9-11-2011 at T5 :tongue:

Oh boy! I can't wait to hear about this.....

Zee71
01-27-2013, 01:21 PM
Bottom line .... Not serious happened and Steve and I had a great day with the others spotting.

PhilDernerJr
01-27-2013, 01:21 PM
If Port clearly states that photography IS ALLOWED, then I think that leaves no room for terminals on their property to override that. I could be wrong. Whereas if they leave is open to interpretation, those terminals may be able to make up their own rules.

Delta777LR
01-27-2013, 01:51 PM
Yea thats the one thing i wouldnt do is lie about taking pictures. It dont take much to see that they probably saw u taking pictures or etc and they were to come back later. That happened to me last friday eve while i was at the T2-T3 garage when an FJC vehicle pulled up to me and asked if i was taking pictures and i replied that i am taking pictures of the planes and that its just my hobby and he told me that i wasnt suppose to that its illegal and i can get a fine. I did say to him thats not true and i told him that the only place youre not suppose to take pictures at is at the checkpoints, however he said that i was taking pictures with the termac in sight and that i was not suppose to do that so i said ok thats fine and i just left and he left. See i will tell them that im taking pictures and that im trying to enjoy my hobby.


In fact ill say something else, one time i got stopped by NCPD when firestone was still there and he was a nice officer he asking if i was taking pictures of airplanes and i said yes, and asked for my ID and checked me out and he told me that im ok to shoot from there and told told him that i appoligize for the calls, and also said that i rather enjoy my hobby taking pictures of planes then to be in the streets getting into trouble and that im not that kind of person for that kind of thing and he said i got a good point then we shook hands and he told me to enjoy my day and enjoy your photography. Thats the things i would soon like to see at T5 or etc

NIKV69
01-27-2013, 04:43 PM
The security officer specifically said that they have a contract with PANYNJ, so I'm guessign that eventhough the garage is owned by the airline (T5 being jetBlue), it seems as though PANYNJ has rule over them or at least gives security the rules to go by...

JetBlue doesn't own anything. The whole airport property is owned by the state of NY which leases it to the Port. JetBlue leases only the terminal from Port and has no say on the parking garage that is Port's call. Who has this security company in place. Now the official Port regulation is photography is allowed in that area. Why isn't this security company made aware of this? This letter Phil speaks of will only be effective if the higher ups in Port make everyone including their officers and security officers of it. Otherwise the encounters will just continue.

Where then Mark's approach would be effective like last UN week. "Show me your policy!" It worked quite well. Port never showed and the security guard left with his tail between his legs.

gonzalu
01-27-2013, 05:56 PM
My point, Mark, was that say she then spots you (pun intended) taking pictures... she calls PANYPD and says to them...

"...these fellows have been out here for a while and were surveying the airport, pointing out various features. I asked them if they were taking pictures and they said now. Now I observed them taking pictures... I think they may be up to something. Can you come and check it out?... "

And then your day is made less than great. I will say again, I am on your side. You know this... I just think that if confronted such as you guys were, I would have told her, yes, I have taken some pictures and would like to take some more, of the airplanes landing and taxiing. This way she is left to actually come up with something that is likely, according to everyone, not correct such as this is not allowed or this is allowed etc. But you have stated already you are doing something which isn't illegal. That was my main point. Don't get yourself into a situation where you have to backpedal if pressed against a corner.

How much trouble you think can be made against a person accused of suspicious activity around an airport? No matter how you clear your name, you can still have a hard time if they wanted you to have a hard time.

Sorry if I came across as a contrarian or as if I was your mother, guys :smile: It was not my intention. I truly was concerned for your well being and the well being of us all. I was up there later after you guys, for over 5 hours and had no incident... however say we were observed taking pictures, the current security officer could say to us, hey, report states you were not taking pictures when indeed you were... and there goes the kitchen, cause you know I would FIGHT!! :tongue: seriously, mark, I know how frustrated you have gotten lately at this silly game we play of cat and mouse.. and so am I.

gonzalu
01-27-2013, 06:05 PM
And while we are at it, guys... we all want to be treated cordially and professionally. Let us have a policy of absolute professionalism at all costs... That means:

--We respect the person on the other end of the discussion. They are working, whether we like it or not, they have a job. Even if THEY may be doing it wrong or are not doing their best to be professional themselves, we must hold our standards high and treat them with professionalism. That means we do not refer to them with derogatory terms or call them guards etc. I think it goes a long way if we always refer to them as Security Officers. I believe this will elevate us to a higher level and not just kids with a silly hobby.

--No need to raise our voices or to curse or to demean the other person.

--Always carry ID. (Nick, this does NOT mean you can start an argument with me again on the subject :tongue:)

--Be a diplomat for the hobby. Mark is the poster child for this and I try to imitate him as much as possible.

--Engage and communicate. This will show the security folks we are not hiding anything. Even if we lose a battle or two, it will help win the war...

Add anything else you think can help us have a better chance at winning over the seemingly confusing rules and regulations.

NIKV69
01-27-2013, 06:11 PM
(Nick, this does NOT mean you can start an argument with me again on the subject :tongue:)



Not sure what you mean other than trying to bait me into another useless back and forth. I always carry my ID and show it when asked. Otherwise this is a non-issue.

Mateo
01-27-2013, 06:42 PM
JetBlue doesn't own anything. The whole airport property is owned by the state of NY which leases it to the Port. JetBlue leases only the terminal from Port and has no say on the parking garage that is Port's call. Who has this security company in place

The relationship is known as a "master leaseholder," where the Port owns it, then one entity becomes the master leaseholder and controls the terminal as they see fit within the Port's guidelines. This, for example, is why the airlines are the driving forces behind terminal expansions and not the Port themselves. The master leaseholder doesn't even need to be an airline - think of the IAT Group at T4, who are themselves subsidiaries, I think, of one of the large European airport operators (BAA? Schiphol?). Each terminal is free to use the security company of their choice, although I want to say all 6 terminal operators now use FJC.

I didn't think the State has anything to do with JFK. JFK opened well after the Port Authority was established, and as we're all painfully aware, the Port is a Congressionally-chartered bi-state agency accountable to no one.

NIKV69
01-27-2013, 07:26 PM
I didn't think the State has anything to do with JFK. JFK opened well after the Port Authority was established, and as we're all painfully aware, the Port is a Congressionally-chartered bi-state agency accountable to no one.

Actually the land is owned by the City of NY and leased to the PA and they are accountable to the Governors of the states of NJ and NY and the legislature.

Zee71
01-27-2013, 08:41 PM
Me a poster child! Excellent........I'm looking forward to have my face on milk cartons that span the globe as a spotting diplomat. One day (it may be a dream), I hope to be sitting in my camping chair at T5 with the 500mm on a tripod and enjoying the day with friends, and security telling us......the pizza delivery guy is downstairs......I'll give you a ride down so you can pick it up :smile:. Now wouldn't that be awesome!!!!!

eric8669
01-27-2013, 08:46 PM
Me a poster child! Excellent........I'm looking forward to have my face on milk cartons that span the globe as a spotting diplomat. One day (it may be a dream), I hope to be sitting in my camping chair at T5 with the 500mm on a tripod and enjoying the day with friends, and security telling us......the pizza delivery guy is downstairs......I'll give you a ride down so you can pick it up :smile:. Now wouldn't that be awesome!!!!!

That sounds like the Garage spotting locations at FLL and PHX

gonzalu
01-27-2013, 08:46 PM
One day (it may be a dream), I hope to be sitting in my camping chair at T5 with the 500mm on a tripod and enjoying the day with friends, and security telling us......the pizza delivery guy is downstairs......I'll give you a ride down so you can pick it up :smile:. Now wouldn't that be awesome!!!!!

NOW we're talking!!

NIKV69
01-27-2013, 09:36 PM
That sounds like the Garage spotting locations at FLL and PHX

LAS too. What a dream to spot there. Right next to the elevator. Bathroom. Wifi. Security and police know the planes as much as you do and are friendly. WIN! Now if only they used the 1s more.

Speedbird1
01-29-2013, 10:05 AM
On my last visit to try to enter the old PanAm Worldport before possible demolition, I was denied entry as I had no boarding pass. I was more than willing to go through their security but I didn't even get that far. Is that policy still in effect or will I again be denied entry? I was also told that AAL T8/9 as well as the BA/UAL T7 will also deny entry to the departure (2nd) level w/o a boarding pass. Is this still in effect? Hopefully not.

ANITIX87
01-29-2013, 10:23 AM
On my last visit to try to enter the old PanAm Worldport before possible demolition, I was denied entry as I had no boarding pass. I was more than willing to go through their security but I didn't even get that far. Is that policy still in effect or will I again be denied entry? I was also told that AAL T8/9 as well as the BA/UAL T7 will also deny entry to the departure (2nd) level w/o a boarding pass. Is this still in effect? Hopefully not.
There isn't an airport in the world that will let you past security without a boarding pass...

However, it's quite easy to get around it. Go to a check-in counter, tell them you're picking up an unaccompanied minor, and they'll issue a "Not For Travel" boarding pass that will get you through security.

TIS

yankees368
01-29-2013, 10:31 AM
On my last visit to try to enter the old PanAm Worldport before possible demolition, I was denied entry as I had no boarding pass. I was more than willing to go through their security but I didn't even get that far. Is that policy still in effect or will I again be denied entry? I was also told that AAL T8/9 as well as the BA/UAL T7 will also deny entry to the departure (2nd) level w/o a boarding pass. Is this still in effect? Hopefully not.

Really, dude? This has been the policy world-wide pretty much since 9/11. Where have you been?

megatop412
01-29-2013, 11:06 AM
There isn't an airport in the world that will let you past security without a boarding pass...

However, it's quite easy to get around it. Go to a check-in counter, tell them you're picking up an unaccompanied minor, and they'll issue a "Not For Travel" boarding pass that will get you through security.

TIS

That won't work- you have to have a child's name and a flight #, then give them your ID. Can't just say "I'm here to pick up an unaccompanied minor". I have done this many times here at PHL when I was married and picking up my stepson. Further, I think I even remember there being a time where I was told I had to wait outside security and he was brought to me, on one of those little golf cart things.

Speedbird- When I get the flux capacitor fixed on my Delorean we can go back to the 70's and 80's and get all the shots we want. Until then, I think you'll be limited to exterior shots of the Worldport until it's taken down, unless you book a Delta flight out of JFK.

ANITIX87
01-29-2013, 12:16 PM
[QUOTE=megatop412;481193]That won't work[QUOTE]
Maybe some airports are different, but I did it in MIA several times when my girlfriend (she's 23) came to visit. Didn't need a name, or a flight number, or anything like that. I went through security and waiting be her gate for the plane to arrive.

TIS

NIKV69
01-29-2013, 12:28 PM
Speedbird- When I get the flux capacitor fixed on my Delorean we can go back to the 70's and 80's and get all the shots we want. Until then, I think you'll be limited to exterior shots of the Worldport until it's taken down, unless you book a Delta flight out of JFK.

LOL I walk past a Delorean a lot out here. They guy who built this town has a huge classic car collection in his casino and he has a cherry Delorean near the north entrance on display.

I have placed a call to Doc for you guys.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLRk4xG-JCI

Vidiot
02-01-2013, 01:49 AM
That won't work- you have to have a child's name and a flight #, then give them your ID. Can't just say "I'm here to pick up an unaccompanied minor". I have done this many times here at PHL when I was married and picking up my stepson. Further, I think I even remember there being a time where I was told I had to wait outside security and he was brought to me, on one of those little golf cart things.

I've never tried this, but apparently you can ask ticket agents for a "gate pass", which will get you through Security. I hear, from various posts on FlyerTalk, that ticket agents are far less likely to actually give them to you than just a few years ago, apparently.

Also -- and I've never tried this either -- you could join the Delta Sky Room or whatever their club is called. You might be able to visit it without a flight that day. Or you could book a conference room or other meeting space in the club. Just some ideas.

Aviation.High.Guy
02-01-2013, 09:46 AM
I've never tried this, but apparently you can ask ticket agents for a "gate pass", which will get you through Security. I hear, from various posts on FlyerTalk, that ticket agents are far less likely to actually give them to you than just a few years ago, apparently.

Before xmas I went down to T5 just to do some shopping (JB aircraft desk models). I even called JB ahead of time to confirm that it would be possible
to clear security without a ticket. The agent said "sure, just tell security you want to go to the shops". Well, I made the trip
to JFK for nothing. Security told me it's never permitted without a ticket. Then another officer told me I could get a gate pass if they could
track down a supervisor. I waited 20 minutes, he showed up and said flat out "no way" end of story.

It would appear that authorities understand the rules about gate passes just as well as they know the rules about whether or not taking pictures
of planes is legal. The bureaucracy around all this makes a day at the DMV actually sound appealing.

steve1840
02-01-2013, 10:58 AM
Before xmas I went down to T5 just to do some shopping (JB aircraft desk models). I even called JB ahead of time to confirm that it would be possible
to clear security without a ticket. The agent said "sure, just tell security you want to go to the shops". Well, I made the trip
to JFK for nothing. Security told me it's never permitted without a ticket. Then another officer told me I could get a gate pass if they could
track down a supervisor. I waited 20 minutes, he showed up and said flat out "no way" end of story.

It would appear that authorities understand the rules about gate passes just as well as they know the rules about whether or not taking pictures
of planes is legal. The bureaucracy around all this makes a day at the DMV actually sound appealing.


Not to get off topic, but there is a store in the T5 shops that sells jetBlue merchandise such as models and stuff like that? I looked for something along those lines when I flew out of JFK back in November. Couldn't find anything. Guess I didn't look hard enough. Where exactly is it?

Aviation.High.Guy
02-01-2013, 11:36 AM
Not to get off topic, but there is a store in the T5 shops that sells jetBlue merchandise such as models and stuff like that? I looked for something along those lines when I flew out of JFK back in November. Couldn't find anything. Guess I didn't look hard enough. Where exactly is it?

Steve,
There used to be a JB merch kiosk out in the open area by food court. Not sure if it's there anymore,
but I heard that a couple of the shops sell JB merch. Who knows, I may have been on a wild goose chase had I gotten in.
I'm gonna check it out next time I fly out, which should be soon.