No female TSA agents means no flight for Denver woman

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DENVER -- A Denver woman claims she couldn’t board a flight from Wyoming to Denver because of her gender. Jennifer Winning makes the flight from the small airport of Rock Springs, WY to Denver often, but on January 29th it was different.

“They wouldn`t let me get on the plane because I`m female,” Winning said.

She said she checked in and arrived at security about 35 minutes before the scheduled departure of her United flight.

“They asked if I was on the flight to Denver, I said yes, they said that they couldn`t screen me because they sent all the female TSA agents home,” Winning said.

A female agent was necessary because of those new pat-downs.

“I said, `Would you be willing to let me sign a waiver and I would approve for a man to pat me down if necessary?` and they said no,” she said.

Winning missed her flight and wound up renting a car for $165 and driving the roughly 350 miles back to Denver. She said she’s getting over her anger, but thinks the policies need to be clearer.

“If you can’t clear it without a female, why would you send them home?” she said.

FOX31 Denver received this statement from the TSA regarding this incident:

“In small airports, TSA works closely with the airlines and airport to keep the security checkpoints open to ensure that all passengers are screened appropriately.

Once TSA is informed by the airline that our screening services are no longer needed, the security checkpoint is closed. In this instance, SkyWest made final boarding announcements and notified TSA that no additional passengers would be accepted.

In addition, a TSA officer also made two public announcements asking any remaining passengers to report to the security checkpoint for screening.

After both the flight and checkpoint were closed, a female passenger requested screening. While there were no female officers present at the time, ultimately the passenger was not screened by TSA because the airline was no longer accepting passengers for the flight.”