DENVER (CBS4)– A Littleton woman claims she missed her flight home to Denver International Airport because of her gender.
Jennifer Winning was trying to fly home from Rock Springs, Wyo. when she was denied attempts to board because she couldn’t go through proper pre-flight security.
Winning said the Transportation Security Administration told her that because there was no female agent to screen her that she couldn’t get on her flight.
“I said if I was a man and I wanted to board would I be able to go through security they said, ‘Yes’ but because there were no female TSA agents I couldn’t,” said Winning.
Winning said she went outside the airport for a little while after her flight was delayed and that’s when she missed the announcement for the final boarding call for her flight. That’s when the last female TSA agent left work.
“If I needed additional security and needed a pat down it has to be by a female agent and I asked him what if I didn’t need additional security and I just go through normally and I don’t need a pat down, and they said, ‘It doesn’t matter’ they needed a female TSA agent there to go through at all,” said Winning.
The TSA said Winning had plenty of warning to get through the security checkpoint.
Winning said she watched her flight leave and figured out another way to get home.
“I rented a car, a one-way car, from Rock Springs to Denver, 6-hour drive, $165, and I drove home,” said Winning.
TSA said in a written statement, “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 the both the flight and checkpoint were closed a female passenger requested screening.”
Rock Springs/Sweetwater County Airport is a category 4 airport, that’s the smallest size commercial operation.
A United Airlines spokesman said passengers at small airports need to plan on being all the way through security at least 30 minutes before the scheduled departure because they’re trying to keep all flights on time.