Should Vehicles Be Searched By Valet Parking Attendants?

The curbside at Greater Rochester International Airport near where vehicle owners can leave their cars to be parked by valet parking attendants who will supposedly search your vehicle twice — whether or not you grant them permission to do so. Photograph by FlyerTalk member Short hair Francis. Click on the photograph for a trip report written by Short hair Francis.

Some rather disturbing recent news out of Rochester suggests that in an attempt to protect everyone at Greater Rochester International Airport, agents of the Transportation Security Administration now inspect cars which are valet parked at the airport — all in the name of safety and security — and without a warrant, which is an authorization issued by a government entity usually necessary in the United States to inspect private property without the permission of the owner of that property.
Did I say that agents of the Transportation Security Administration now inspect cars which are valet parked at the airport? That would be bad enough — but apparently the valet parking attendants are actually inspecting the vehicles they park under the “orders” of the Transportation Security Administration…
…and the cars are searched twice: once at the curb; and again before the vehicle is returned to the owner.
I have enough of an issue with trusting valet parking attendants as it is — and now we are actually having cars inspected by valet parking attendants who are not trained on safety and security protocols?!?
FlyerTalk members use words such as sickening, egregious and a crock, in a practice that they claim violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, which reads as follows:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

I certainly believe that in this particular case, the Transportation Security Administration is conducting unreasonable searches that I believe are outside of the scope of its core purpose, which is…um…er…
…what exactly is the core purpose of the Transportation Security Administration? Does anyone even know anymore?!?
Anyway, it is interesting to note that these searches are being conducted only in vehicles which are parked by valet parking attendants. If you park your car yourself in a parking lot at or near the airport, it will not be searched — at least, not now, anyway. The supposed reasoning behind this is that cars which are parked by valet attendants are at the curb near the terminal longer than other vehicles, therefore rendering the airport more vulnerable to a massive explosion as the result of a possible terrorist attack.
Frankly, this idea — apparently conjured by a joint decision between the Rochester Airport Administration and the local office of the Transportation Security Administration in Rochester — is a much bigger “bomb” than one which would be plotted by a terrorist, potentially fraught with significantly far-reaching ramifications and consequences which could contribute to further eroding the freedom that American citizens are supposed to enjoy as protected by the Constitution of the United States.
FlyerTalk members often quote the following statement attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States:

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Truer words could not be spoken.
I will discuss my thoughts on valet parking in a separate article here at The Gate. In the meantime, these unlawful searches of vehicles — without the permission of vehicle owners, save for a sign which implies consent — by untrained valet parking attendants who park these vehicles must stop immediately.

7 thoughts on “Should Vehicles Be Searched By Valet Parking Attendants?”

  1. Dubai Stu says:

    Meanwhile the parking company is no doubt disclaiming any responsibility for their light fingered valets even though they have created a climate that completely encourages this theft.

  2. LookingAhead says:

    Unbelievable. But wait, it’s the TSA, so it is believable……

  3. jvquarterback says:

    I don’t have a problem with a valet of a private company checking my car as long as they let me know beforehand they’ll be performing a search. If I find out I’ll just use a different company that doesn’t perform searches.
    I do have a problem with the TSA performing a search or forcing a valet to participate in searches.
    Isn’t it nuts that in the name of “security” we are no longer secure in our persons, houses, papers, and effects?

  4. fedup flyer says:

    Searches being performed on private vehicles by non-law enforcement.
    I see a lawsuit ensuing.

  5. Occupationalhazard says:

    If this is done at the behest of the TSA, then teh 4th Am (or what’s left of it) is back in play.
    Yet another piece of the Citizen Harassment Program….

  6. Orion says:

    I thought valet parking attendants were checking cars all along.

  7. harvyk says:

    I hate valet services at the best of times (handing your car keys over to a complete stranger does not sit well with me). But when I’ve used it because I’ve been forced to I have assumed that anything left in the car is up for grabs.
    As such I will never leave anything of value in the car, not that I do any way.
    As for searching valet cars because of the danger, are you serious? Apart from the very small subset of cars actually been searched under this proposal, I can think of many more lucrative targets than a mostly empty valet garage as a target.

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