November 24 is National Opt-Out Day

As the full body scanners show up at more and more airports, it seems that some are planning a national opt-out day on November 24 — a day where it’s suggested that people refuse to go through the full body scanner and instead ask for a pat down.

While I refuse to go through the fully body scanner, I don’t see the point of a national opt-out day. I opt-out every time I fly. And if anything, doing this on one of the busiest travel days of the year is going to hurt travelers, and not the TSA. The TSA couldn’t care less whether you make your flight or not. And undoubtedly this will lead to even longer security lines and in turn more missed flights.

So while it sounds nice in theory, I’m not how practical this is.

Speaking of the full body scanners, I had a fun incident at TPA just a couple of days ago. As usual I was selected for the full body scanner, and I requested a pat down. In a nice enough way the agent asked me why I was refusing, so I was happy to answer — “I’m concerned about the radiation levels, I go through checkpoints 200 times a year,” I said. She responded with “well they might tell you that, but it’s not true, the radiation isn’t bad for you.” I smirked and couldn’t help but say “I didn’t know you guys were trained medical professionals.” She said “we actually get quite a bit of training in this stuff.”

Oy vey…

Filed Under: Security/TSA
  1. I’m with you on the opt-out.

    I had a pat down this morning at STL. Quick, and nice about it, rather than the attitude that I’m inconveniencing them buy exercising my right to avoid AIT.

    TSA trained medical pros? LOL. Some are better than others, but as a whole, these people are a joke. From watching the metal detector screen with the glassy-eyed stare, to making up rules on the fly, I just try to do my best to avoid any interaction beyond the bare minimum.

  2. Awesome, my next flight is on Nov 24. Up until now I hadn’t decided yet which of the two options to pick. Anyone know if SFO International G terminal has the scanners yet?

    Maybe we should all add a big-ass vibrator to our carry-ons that day, since my collection of gadgets and cables often gets extra attention.

  3. hey lucky-
    not related to this post, but just wondering if you knew anything about this – a few weeks ago i took a continental flight, and, as usual, they ran out of overhead space and were making people check in their luggage at the gate. BUT they announced they would be charging the fee for checked luggage! ive never seen that before – if your carryon follows the guidelines, it’s not your fault it doesn’t fit in the overhead bin. i boarded early enough that i didn’t have that problem, but i presume others did. do you know anything about this policy – is it only continental’s?-, or is this an ad hoc thing? was very surprised.

  4. I receive screening everytime I fly because of a knee replacement. I recently had the ‘enhanced’ body pat down at two separate airports. At the first, my local regional, the TSA woman was very clear in her new explanation of what she was doing (almost apologetically so – but definitely scripted) and the pat down was not that much more intrusive than usual. Two days later in Phoenix, I must have hit the Magilla Gorilla of female TSA personnel. She, too, explained what she was doing, however, without the least bit of humanity in her voice. She literally man-handled me and I felt as though I were being groped by a 16 year old over-zealous teen-aged boy. I felt so uncomfortable, humiliated, and close to tears by the time the ordeal was over. Needless to say, on my next pass through Phoenix, I opted for the scanner. This new enhanced pat-down was undoubtedly one of the most disgusting, invasive things that has been done to me in a public place. I can only imagine the humiliation that older (than me) individuals must feel. What about all those little ‘grannies’ out there?
    I would gladly pay whatever – $200, $300 – whatever if I could purchase a Known Traveler Biometric Identity card to use instead of the choices I have now. Basically, I have no choice. I think we can take a lesson from the Israeli’s – profiling works for me.

  5. I would have asked if that was her professional medical opinion. If she responded yes, I would have filed charges against her for impersonating a medical professional.

  6. @Oliver: Yes, SFO Int’l. G has the Millimeter Wave machines. They’re not at every lane, and it’s hard to know which lanes will be open or which you’ll end up in. I was recently in an MMW lane there behind a really slow elderly couple, and the agent assisting them prepare for the MMW allowed me to go through the adjacent WTMD lane when I asked. Last time, same place, I had to opt-out to avoid the MMW and enjoyed my massage. šŸ™‚ But the all-WTMD AA/AC checkpoint at the far end of Terminal 3 is looking better and better all the time given the MMWs at G and the unpredictability of the UA checkpoints.

    Incidentally, I’m done flying for this month (knock on wood). I really look forward to Amtraking for the holidays this season.

  7. Stupid me, I have ONE flight Monday morning, then I’ll be done for the month. Amazing how easy it is to forget these things!

  8. Flying on the 23rd and 25th, but not the 24th! My opt-out response is: “Look with your hands, not your eyes!”

  9. I’ve been trying to prepare my mom for her flight on the 24th. Since she has a hip replacement and always alarms the WTMD she always receives the additional screening. She is really not looking forward to the new enhanced patdown and I know she would prefer not to fly at all.

  10. I agree they need to do medical testing to MAKE SURE that the AIT (advanced Imaging technology) devices do not affect our health, but a national opt-out day will not change things, it will only hurt your fellow passengers. There are also rumors that the pilots will do a day “opting-out” of flying all together and that will REALLY hurt their passengers who will miss weddings, funerals, important meetings, and special family gatherings. It will NOT change anything. This issue already has national attention. They don’t have to do this to get more attention. They should spend their energy and resources:
    *To contact medical experts to do more research on how harmful these devices can be.
    *To develop and incorporate new technologies for bio-identification for crew-members.
    * By contacting their senators in the hopes of changing the laws/rules to find alternate ways
    to keep us safe.

    The Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, & Security are holding a Transportation Security Administration Oversight Hearing tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov. 17th). There are obviously better ways to address this issue and the concerns surrounding it than causing disruptions to all those around you.

  11. To all non-Muslims please remember to wear your headscarves and turban like the Muslims men and women to avoid being patted down on your genitals. Let’s make a bigger impact. Please pass this message around.

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