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Readers Respond: Have You Opted Out of Airport Body Scanners and Had a TSA Patdown?

Responses: 35

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We think the indignity of TSA backscatter machines (the full body imaging scanners, or full body xray machines) at airports is probably the worst DHS fumble yet, but it's possible that the TSA patdown is the biggest eyeroller and, certainly, most controversial. Have you opted out of an airport's full body scanner and had a TSA patdown? What was the TSA patdown like? Would you have the TSA patdown again? (If you want to give your opinion on the scanners, you can do that on this TSA scanner opinions page.) Tell others about your TSA patdown below: no need to (really) register or log in...

felt like cattle being herded

I HATE the entire process. I refused the scanner at Houston IAB airport May '12. 1st, the taking off of the shoes & jewelry, just plain nasty & what if someone decides to steal your watch out of your "little gray trey"? Hundreds of people have to step in each others sweat/germs on the floor and then put your nasty feet back in your shoes! ugh... I am no germaphobe, but that is just freaking nasty and makes me feel like we are cattle. They yelled out loud, "I got a opt out". They make me stand to the side and treated me like I might run away or something, give me a break! She did explain the process to me and asked if I wanted a private area. I said no because I wanted everyone to see. I kept a smirking smile on my face the whole time. I think that made her nervous, because she hurried. My boyfriend went through the scanner, because he wanted no issues. I'm no prude, but that is not the point. It is a privacy & health issue. Americans, we are losing our freedom little by little.
—Guest Cornelia

Stop flying

I will never fly again out of the US or within the US . If I fly I fly out of Mexico.
—Guest Steve

Choice = Democracy

When I choose a pat down, I am making a political statement: I demand having a choice in this democracy and I refuse to support the evolution of technology's restriction of my rights and privacy. I will exercise a choice when I am give one, in the name of activists, soldiers, political leaders and the nation's founders who have worked tireless for me to have choices. If we do not exercise choices when they are given or seriously contemplate the consequences of choices, we are saying that we don't want to have the opportunity to make decisions for ourselves. Think for us, oh government. Perhaps choices will slowly be taken away from us until we are forced to do what is against our will. It sounds dramatic, but remember the road to hell is paved with good intentions. By using these machines we are complicit in the invasion of technology in our lives. I do not accept a world where we are increasingly dependent on electronic technology. If we submit to these electronic forms of "securi
—Guest Exercising my Rights

Pat down makes me very uncomfortable

I really can't wait for this to stop. It's such a violation of my personal liberty.
—Guest Chris

Unproductive Assault

Manhandling people to punish them for not going thru the backscatter machine is unproductive. If we want to catch terrorists, are they really going to find them in the backsides and private areas of old people, woman and children. Shouldn't we, just for the sake of not wasting money use our screeners more wisely. If anyone but the TSA was doing this it would be assault. What are we demonstrating to our children? Is this what our young men fought and died for? and why are women in veils offered the option to pat themselves down?
—Guest virgal speaks

TSA Pat Down to Gaby

If you slap them...the TSA...they will have you cuffed and in a police car quicker than you can bat and eye. Stand there and take it or you will be in jail.
—Guest Beth

Make It Fast

I have to say they should really ask you if you're even interested in listening to what they plan on doing. I really don't care because they are going to do it anyway so may as well speed up the process. If I could lift my shirt up and pull my pants down (well in private) to make it faster I would. I flew this week and refused to go thru the millimeter wave machine. They had to call a female for the pat down and it was time consuming. I had tight pants and a tight thin short-sleeved shirt on, which made it near impossible to hide anything and the search is not exactly efficient because in the places where I could hide something they aren't checking anyways so why waste my time?! The bikini idea sounded rather good at the moment. And in regards to a frequent flyer that mentioned background checks or something of the sort to make it faster doesn't necessarily alleviate the threat and its precisely why they often recruit random people w/no record to help out.
—Guest Bambi

Make It Fast

I have to say they should really ask you if you're even interested in listening to what they plan on doing. I really don't care because they are going to do it anyway so may as well speed up the process. If I could lift my shirt up and pull my pants down (well in private) to make it faster I would. I flew this week and refused to go thru the millimeter wave machine. They had to call a female for the pat down and it was time consuming. I had tight pants and a tight thin short-sleeved shirt on, which made it near impossible to hide anything and the search is not exactly efficient because in the places where I could hide something they aren't checking anyways so why waste my time?! The bikini idea sounded rather good at the moment. And in regards to a frequent flyer that mentioned background checks or something of the sort to make it faster doesn't necessarily alleviate the threat and its precisely why they often recruit random people w/no record to help out.
—Guest Bambi

Is this really necessary???

I fly infrequently maybe 1-2 yearly. As a younger female I will not go through Body Scanners. Today I had a full body "Pat down" at DFW. I was not ready for how invasive this one was. I got angry during the invasive process. In normal circumstances a person doing such an action could be arrested & have a complaint filed against them. Seemed a bit odd that other passing passengers avoided eye contact with me. ...I was appalled at how unnecessarily mean & cold the TSA female was. I felt humiliated and was upset for the remainder of the day.
—Guest DFG

ICD's and TSA patdowns

I have had several of the patdowns. I have an ICD, I show my card to the person when my stuff goes through the scan, and they just have me go to the glass door and wait for associate. It's always a female and I've never had a problem. I'm not taking any chances by going through the scanners.
—Guest Deb

Secret Scanners at the Mall

There are Secret Scanners at the Mall and in Public places, where people walk through without being informed! This is unbelievable yet true. There are Truck Drivers getting x-rayed as they drive through certain truck stops. All this is happening in secret without notification.
—Guest Cancer and Thyroid Risk Taker

Surprise!!!

He put his hand down my pants and I jumped, because I really wasn't expecting that. It was supposed to be a Pat Down.
—Guest Shocked Passenger

It's Not Just Airports Anymore

The DHS wants to expand its "security" to cover all modes of transportation. In Tennessee, the TSA has started groping people at bus stations and weigh stations. Search for "Tennessee VIPR" for more information. How long will it be before they start molesting people on the sidewalks? The DHS should be abolished.
—Guest TSA Expanding

designed abuse

I tried opting out the first time i went through security with scanners at SFO and was really surprised at the overkill and attitude of the agents My career has required me to be in over 2000 surgeries that use a significant amount of Xray and I frankly think I've had enough for my lifetime. I'm a fifty year old male have to admit I'm not squeamish at all about the concept of a pat down but i was truly amazed at how uncomfortable they made the process. Their goal seemed to be to teach you a lesson for not behaving like everyone else. The next bunch of lights i took either did not have scanners or i was entering security too late to risk any further delay with a pat down Last week and opted out again Once again the TSA proved they are bullies who did everything possible to make the experience It took twenty minutes required two separate pat downs because they claimed to find a suspicious substance on my pants. They were rude condescending and seemed to enjoy it
—Guest frequent traveler

TSA

They need to get off people's grill. i'm flying to mexico in december and i don't know if they do the body scanners or patdowns to fly to mexico, but if they try to lay a hand on me i'll slap them in the face. i'm only a 17 year old girl and i'm obviously not working for indian terrorists. i've never even been out of america. so if they touch me for no reason, ill sue them for molestation.
—Guest gaby
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