Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Going through security at the airport

I traveled to Indianapolis this past week. Prior to leaving, I determined how I would approach the TSA scanners and pat-downs.

Leaving Denver last Monday morning, I could see which line would run me through the so-called "naked body scanners" (actually, back-scatter X-ray imaging devices). I determined to avoid those lines and go through the usual/old-style scanners.

I made it. No problem.

Coming back from Indianapolis, however, was a different story.

There was only one line.

Now, no one in front of me was sent through the big scanner. Everyone was going through the old-style scanner.

Until me.

The TSA woman motioned for me to step into the back-scatter imager.

I said, "I'd prefer to be patted down."

She calmly and quietly spoke into the radio microphone she had hanging from her shoulder: "We have an opt-out."

She then asked me to step aside and wait for a person who could pat me down.

Very interesting what happened thereafter.

I had to wait about seven or ten minutes "extra" for the guy to come and be able to pat me down. And the pat-down itself took about a minute and a half or two minutes.

I was the only one whom he patted down in all that time.

But, it seemed, all of a sudden, that everyone else in line after me "had to" go through the full-body back-scatter scanner.

So I got to observe several--many--people going through the scanner.

And then--it blew me away--every one of them was then greeted by a TSA agent on "the other side" who proceeded to pat them down as well!

. . . I thought: "What good is the back-scatter imager if it has to be followed by a full pat-down as well? Why subject yourself to the extra radiation if you're also going to be frisked?"

I was happy I was only frisked.
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