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Body Scanners at Airports

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 
I don't want to turn this into a debate about the body scanners, but I am trying to figure out what to do about this when we fly to Boston in April. DS will be 2.5 then. I really don't like the idea of doing the scan for myself, and I REALLY don't like the idea of it being done to DS. You are allowed to opt out, but then must complete an "enhanced" pat down. What are my options for DS? Will he have to have a pat down as well? How will that even work? If anyone has flown recently can give me some details that would be great.
post #2 of 81
I just flew out of Atlanta and LAX, neither used those....just plain old detectors. Are you sure it is even available at your airport, or that they are even using it if they have it?

"Passengers can refuse screening by the machines and receive a pat-down search by a security officer, screening by a metal detector, or both, the TSA says."

http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/2...ans13_ST_N.htm
post #3 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2cutiekitties View Post
I just flew out of Atlanta and LAX, neither used those....just plain old detectors. Are you sure it is even available at your airport, or that they are even using it if they have it?

"Passengers can refuse screening by the machines and receive a pat-down search by a security officer, screening by a metal detector, or both, the TSA says."

http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/2...ans13_ST_N.htm
I'm in San Diego and I know we have them, they did a big news story about them when they first put them in. I guess I'm not sure which is worse, and I really don't like the idea of having to subject my child to either one.
post #4 of 81
please can anyone provide me tips to keep my family healthy and safe.
post #5 of 81
I will double check with my FIL who was a screener for the TSA until recently, but several years ago I lost my license while on a trip out of state, so I had to fly home without any ID. In order to do that, I told the airline at check-in and they flagged my ticket for "special screening". In practice that meant I was pulled aside and they passed the wand over me, patted my clothes to check for anything suspicious and if I had brought a bag (we had my husband carry my bag, since he had ID) they would have gone through it. It honestly did not feel very invasive. I don't know if this is the same as the "enhanced" patdown, but I would guess it is.
post #6 of 81
I won't go through the screener nor will I allow my children. While it has been deemed that he overall amount of radiation is safe, from what I'm reading there are questions as to whether that amount of radiation is safe on the skin, since that is what is primarily exposed (the skin).

At least for now, there are both the regular and the enhanced scanners at most airports, so you have an option unless they pick you out for enhanced screening. In that case I will go for the enhanced pat down, provided it is with a TSA agent of the same gender.

Aside from the radiation, the other reason I won't do the screening is for modesty purposes. You really can see everything on the screen, and since they cannot guarantee that the screener is female it is against my personal moral beliefs to allow another male to see that much of my body, even if he can't ID who I am. So there is no way I will do it.

And I figure I have a high chance of being called otu for "enhanced screening" unfortuantely. Last time we flew out of our local airport I was pulled aside for pat down because I was wearing a long skirt. I typically wear long skirts, especially when traveling (they are way more comfy IMO), so I wouldn't be surprised.
post #7 of 81
Boston-Logan airport has them. I flew through an airport with them this summer when I was pregnant and opted out of the scanner. The pat down consisted of a female agent running her gloved hands palm-down over all non-awkward surfaces and the backs of her hands over areas like my bra and butt. It was quick and not that bad. I have no idea what their policy is for children. Maybe you can call the airport and ask?

You may want to read this article about TSA's new enhanced pat down procedures being used in Boston: http://www.bostonherald.com/business...icleid=1276131.

Edited to add: Oops, I just noticed that article was archived. If you do a search for "enhanced pat down tsa" you should find more information.
post #8 of 81
I avoid them, I just was confronted with this decision last week out of Denver, they now have one (at least at the side of security I went through). I instead switched over to the line with the old detectors, no big deal. (I'm pregnant and never would allow that scanner! It is xray after all!)

In the future, if they start using body scanners only (if!), I will opt for a pat-down for my children and me. It's quick and easy from what I read. I had a WAY worse pat-down in 2006 in Frankfurt. All flights to the US had special screening status, which included normal metal detector and then pat-down by a female officer though, and she stuck her hands in funny places (I remember thinking, is she trying to get fluid samples or what!)... I'd still opt for Mrs.-Touchy's pat-down over xrays and the potential issue of a strange MAN seeing my naked body or even worse, my children's bodies!. Nope, not cool.
post #9 of 81
I just found this article on yahoo when I went to check my mail....

I know this doesn't relieve you at all, but perhaps having a young child in tow would make them a little less "rough" about the whole thing?

I know my two year old would freak if he had to go through something like this. Surely they have different procedures when children are involved, right? I mean, that's common sense to me!

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Opt-Ou...11705.html?x=0
post #10 of 81
I would prefer a body scan for my ds vs. him being touched all over by a stranger.

He runs around naked at the beach sometimes, so seeing an all blue image of his body for 3 seconds is not a big deal at all to me. Having someone touch him all over is far more creepy to me.

I fly a ton, at all different airports and so far, all have had regular metal detectors at least as an option, so we have only done those. I would just look for a metal detector line and go there instead of the body scan.

ETA: ds has never ever had any kind of x-ray, so an exposure once in a rare while isnt going to hurt him.
post #11 of 81
so are you guys sure that everyone has a viable option to say no to the full body scanners? I find those things very scary- and now that I have a baby- the thought of dealing with that might be enough for me to opt out of a trip! But if I knew I could refuse it that would be better.
post #12 of 81
You certainly do have a right to say no and opt for the pat down. However, it seems to vary by airport as to how you will be treated for opting out. That article I posted seemed to treat that guy negatively. My dad flies a few times a week for business, and he opts out. He said he has never once been treated any different or thought people were being too rough or anything. He said he's never had a problem.

It seems like it varies by location, and the mood of the TSA people
post #13 of 81
I would agree it depends on location and mood... Some personnel are really nice to families. In Detroit and Frankfurt they smiled and made faces for DS, in Denver they are all business and in Chicago they were horrible. Overall I have heard the worst stories for TSA and immigration from Chicago O'Hare.
post #14 of 81
I ended up in the full body scan line at the Atlanta airport. It's not fully implemented - just in one small part. I refused and it was kind of a pain in the butt. I had to wait several minutes while they tracked down someone to do it and she was fairly surly. The pat down I got was probably the most thorough one I've ever received...I kind of wanted a shower afterwards

Despite that, I'll still opt out every time. I think naked xrays are creepy and I don't feel that I need to expose myself to any extra radiation despite the fact that they claim it's completely safe, even for pregnant people. I don't see any long term studies published on safety and since I'm personally not a threat, I think it's silly for me to go through the machine, particularly when it's only partially implemented (perhaps 1/8 of the people going through ATL go through the machine).
post #15 of 81
Is there a list of what airports have these scanners? I'm pregnant also and we're going on a trip soon and I have no idea if those scanners are safe or not.
post #16 of 81
I have to play Devil's Advocate here. I had two coworkers who died when someone got a bomb on their flight. It was in baggage, and why baggage is not "matched" with passengers so it can't happen that way again. Both were engaged to be married (not sure if one knew, supposedly he had bought the ring and was going to propose). Two young, beautiful women who had a lot to look forward to in their lives, except both were cut short...

So needless to say, anything they want to do to keep bombs off planes is okay with me! But I appreciate the creepy aspect a lot of you are feeling. It does feel weird but I doubt it can do much damage. We may not know but we are sure the damage a bomb on an airplane does!

I've had the pat-down more times than I can count. Sometimes they pick out airline people on purpose to make an example of us. Chop! chop! Felt like a piece of meat, but in the other sense lol! To their credit, they really tried to keep it professional and not at all sexual (and yes, it was a woman each time). I'm terribly ticklish and told the woman in Amsterdam. She was so good, doing it as solidly as possible so I wouldn't erupt in giggles. I was about to thank her when BING! she stabbed me in both sides. Then we were all laughing!

Security people too have a sense of humor (although I will admit that I think she wouldn't have done that to a passenger!)

Now I'm curious just to see what it's like. I wonder when I'll next run into one. We're flying international trips in December, April and next summer, with an additional one possibly in the spring. Hopefully on one of those!

I will say that it does annoy me that someone would refuse a body scanner pregnant and then go to the mall and get one of those creepy 3D scans. That has to be more. Talk about unnecessary radiation! But that's just my little old opinion and we have the freedom to choose.
post #17 of 81
We travel a lot with our little one (just turned one) and are going to be opting out of the body scan on our upcoming Thanksgiving trip.

First, I don't believe that security theater makes us safer, and I think this scan violates my right to bodily privacy. (So does a pat-down, but at least that person has to look me in the eye.)

Second, I am increasingly skeptical of the assurances that the amount of radiation you're exposed to by the machines is safe. Especially when operated by poorly-trained TSA people.

Third, I flat-out don't believe the claims that images will never be saved - the TSA has already gone back on that one. Now they can be saved for "training purposes and analysis".

Finally, we pretty much already do the patdown thing, and it's not THAT bad. We don't own a stroller, so our kid gets carried in wraps and slings, etc. Every time I travel (every. time.) I offer to take him out of the carrier, put the carrier through the X-ray machine, and just walk through the metal detector holding him in arms.

Every. Time. the TSA agent says no, they're going to have to:

*wand us both
*pat down my baby
*swab my hands for explosive residue

It's silly (my son, noted baby terrorist) and irritating, but I will absolutely still choose that over the untested, record-creating, privacy-violating nonsense of the bodyscan.
post #18 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post
I will say that it does annoy me that someone would refuse a body scanner pregnant and then go to the mall and get one of those creepy 3D scans. That has to be more. Talk about unnecessary radiation! But that's just my little old opinion and we have the freedom to choose.
The things at the mall use ultra-sound, not x-rays. Not that I recommend them, but it is completely different technology. The mall things are basically the same technology as the ultra-sound at the OB/Gyns office, but longer and more intense and being operated by lord only knows who.
post #19 of 81
We're getting ready to fly over Thanksgiving, and I have a moral objection to anyone but my husband or mother seeing me in that condition. I also object to anyone but my husband touching me in the way that the 'enhanced' pat down requires. I've seen what it looks like. They pat around and between your breasts (mine are large, so they'll basically have to squeeze between the flesh- ick!). And they pat your crotch and buttocks. I don't care that a woman does it. I'm no more comfortable with a woman than a man.

Are there any alternatives for women with modesty concerns?
post #20 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclipsepearl View Post
It was in baggage, and why baggage is not "matched" with passengers so it can't happen that way again.
Except baggage flies separately from its owners all the time - lost baggage, baggage that doesn't make a connection, etc. The airlines send unaccompanied baggage regularly, bombs or no bombs.
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