Not a lot of people are comfortable with the idea of airport scanners. However, as the use of such machines becomes more widespread, more people are expected to be okay with being scanned. And it seems that in future, the TSA will be paying special attention to those who opt out of the procedure.
Boing Boing points to a blog post by Christopher Elliott, a consumer advocate for MSNBC and self-proclaimed travel advocate, that tells the story of a reader who recently elected not to step into an airport scanner.
Andrew Burmeister had been searched using an airport scanner before and didn't like it at all. On a return trip from Charlotte, he was selected for another body scan screening and chose to opt out, as the sign said he was entitled to do. Burmeister said the screeners became rude and made him sit down, away from his belongings, which were now sitting unattended on the end of the conveyor belt. Eventually a team allowed him to collect his belongings and, after a turn through the metal detector, he was taken to a private area to be screened.
Mr. Burmeister says these screeners were much friendlier, but despite this, his story is still particularly unsettling. They patted him down and asked him lots of questions. They also swabbed his belongings, removing each one individually and scanning it for explosives. But that's not the unsettling part. While they were busy going through his belongings, they were chatting to him. One mentioned that he was 'lucky' that this was all that was happening because after October 31, the screening for passengers who opt out of a body scan would become a lot more "intimate."
Christopher Elliot contacted TSA to see if they would be changing the screening process for people who opt out of a body scan after the 31st of this month and the TSA said yes, but that right now it was only testing these 'enhanced pat-downs' in Las Vegas and Boston. The TSA official told him that it would not be a nationwide standard after October 31, but a phased-in, nationwide rollout would begin after October 31.
Given the choice would you rather get in a body scanner, or, as the TSA official in Charlotte described it, be subjected to a more "intimate" body search by TSA staff? Let us know in the comments below!