TSA to pax: "Do you find opting-out easier?"

Discussion in 'Travel Security' started by traveltoomuch, Feb 4, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

    During an opt-out pat down, a TSA screener asked "do you find this easier?" I presume he meant the "enhanced" pat-down given to those opting-out v. just acquiescing to the AIT scanner.

    I just wish I had turned the tables, asking "do you find doing these enhanced pat-downs easier than letting passengers just go through the WTMD?" So, for the benefit any TSA agents reading, I remind you: you have the option of which machine to send people through or even letting us pick for ourselves. I'm betting it's easier to let us self-select into our choice rather than doing enhanced pat-downs on cranky passengers.
    Scottrick and Casey Friday like this.
  2. HaveMilesWillTravel
    • Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    I don't think I have ever seen another passenger opt out. :(
  3. FlyingBear
    • Original Member

    FlyingBear Silver Member

    I just recently figured out that I can opt-out (mostly because I actually didn't have to go through the machines) and it angers me every time I see TSA agents randomly guide people one way or another, with no rhyme or a reason.
    traveltoomuch and Gargoyle like this.
  4. Pizzaman
    • Original Member

    Pizzaman Co-founder

    Meh, I've never really understood the concern over this.

    If this level of radiation is going to kill me, I'm sure the alcohol will get me first.

    For those that have met me, it's not like I make a striking image of beauty for the screeners to view. If they REALLY want to look at me naked, have at it.

    DISCLAIMER: I'm not saying you should use it. Freedom being what it is, I support your right to opt out 100%. I just want to get through security faster. If given the choice between some guy fondling my jewels (as opposed to my wife) or some faceless person looking at me naked while zapping my brain with radiation, I'll take the latter.
  5. FlyingBear
    • Original Member

    FlyingBear Silver Member

    I don't care about "nakedness" nearly as much as about lack of any proper research into what these machines output and how it affects health. Coming from a family with a history of cancer on top of currently living in a state that provides for plenty of opportunities for getting skin cancer as it is, I see absolutely no reason why I should risk my health for zero safety benefit.
  6. HaveMilesWillTravel
    • Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Exactly. On top of that, the one time I chose not to opt out (as a scientific experiment) I ended up getting fondled anyway due to a false positive result. Nothing gained other than an unknown amount of radiation. I am generally not running late when I get to the airport, and the amount of time I wait in the security line is usually an order of magnitude greater than the time it takes for the full-body massage.
  7. Captain Oveur
    • Original Member

    Captain Oveur Gold Member

    For me, it's partially the health concerns, but it's primarily the principle.

    I'm sick of the double-standard that's at every TSA checkpoint. We MUST look at you in the nude because there's still this infinitesimally small chance you could be packing a ceramic knife taped to the small of your back (or some other small possibility of something else like that).

    Yet, when it comes to the TSA screeners themselves, if they miss something in the x-ray....say a gun or some other weapon, the screener get "remedial training." Does that sound right? If a pilot makes an error that jeopardizes the lives of passengers, do you think a pilot would get "remedial training?"

    Take the aggravation angle out of it for a moment, and reflect on why we have to remove laptops, liquids and shoes at the checkpoints. It's because the TSA doesn't have the equipment to properly screen such items. They have been around for 10 years now with four changes to their uniforms and no changes to the x-ray machines they use at checkpoints.

    Yet, there are plenty of signs at the checkpoints that say "Your Safety Is Our Priority." Really?

    In general. I'm just sick and tired of this dog and pony show that has little to do with actual safety and fueled by politics and playing to the fears of people.
    akcae, N965VJ, mrredskin and 6 others like this.
  8. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

    I've been in at least one line where about 3-4 passengers in a row opted out (including me). I blame traveling with others who travel too much. The delay as the TSA found enough screeners for us all was somewhat comical.
    HaveMilesWillTravel likes this.
  9. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

    So drink less. :p While the environmental radiation exposure from flying is probably more than from these machines, I prefer to not take the chance. And thanks for supporting our right to choose.

    You're cute enough. :)
  10. Pizzaman
    • Original Member

    Pizzaman Co-founder

    Drink less? That's almost like a curse word in my family. I was drinking watered down wine at age 5. :)

    I absolutely support someone's right not to go through the nude-a-scope. I can only recall one experience where I got tagged for additional screening. So, for me, it's been a time saver. I'm okay with that trade-off.

    I assume you meant "cute" above. If so, I think my wife is the only one that's ever found me cute. And, I'm still not sure why she's with me.
    storyteller likes this.
  11. zphelj

    zphelj Silver Member

    I opt out because I don't want to sanction the security theatre and hope sanity will prevail in the long term. There was a time when we needed theatre to restore confidence but that's long past.
    • Original Member

    TAHKUCT Gold Member

    The reason is he/she wants to keep equal lines :)
    YULtide and Gargoyle like this.
  13. jrp2

    jrp2 Gold Member

    I always opt-out because I believe that having to be seen nude to fly is too far on the government's part. Also, just because the government says it's safe, doesn't leave me all warm and fuzzy. How many things have they said is safe only to turn around and reverse themselves after the damage has been done.

    On a lighter note...

    Come on Ed, don't be so modest, we know you got that Ed Norton look alike going on.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  14. goalie
    • Original Member

    goalie Gold Member

    You should have been at BOS yesterday (UA Terminal C) as everyone over the age of 12 was being sent thru the image machines and the woman in front of me, the woman in front of her, me, and 3 folks behind me all opted out ;)
  15. mikeef
    • Original Member

    mikeef Silver Member

    "Easier? No, I just like the tingly feeling I get from being patted down."

    mrredskin, YULtide and jrp2 like this.
  16. HaveMilesWillTravel
    • Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    goalie likes this.
  17. Pizzaman
    • Original Member

    Pizzaman Co-founder

    He has more zeros than me. :(

    Looks like another inch or two of hairline as well.

    Other than that, we're twins.
    mrredskin and jrp2 like this.
  18. ella
    • Original Member

    ella Silver Member

    I usually opt out. When I have gone through AITs, every time I get patted from the waist down. I've discussed with TSAs who question why I chose to opt out, and they're unable to explain why the additional pat down.
    mrredskin and YULtide like this.
  19. secretsea18
    • Original Member

    secretsea18 Gold Member

    It is all about the "opt-out" for me. I refuse to go into the scanner, and can not understand why they do not need to wear dosimeters. As I work at a hospital, we all flee whenever we are having an xray made.

    There is no safe level of radiation exposure, particularly when there is no benefit to be gained.
    curtis1120 and Casey Friday like this.
  20. HaveMilesWillTravel
    • Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    That's how I see it. If I have to get an xray done for medical reasons, there is typically a benefit for me. It's a "cost" / benefit tradeoff. With the TSA scanners there is just cost, zero benefit. Division by zero error. Crashes the program :)
    jrp2 likes this.
  21. mowogo
    • Original Member

    mowogo Gold Member

    We had a nice opt out line at SEA when some of us were redirected to a regular checkpoint for the owmd
    goalie and Scottrick like this.
  22. Scottrick
    • Original Member

    Scottrick Gold Member

    SEA TSA staff are incredibly nice in general, not just during special events.

    I've had a few minor "altercations" when I opt out. Twice the TSA was rude, but I just put up with it and didn't respond. Another time a guy really wanted to know why I opted out and kept asking tons of questions. Whatever I was telling him didn't seem to sink in. My best experience was at BWI when the guy, who seemed friendly enough, started chatting with me while we waited for the assist. I told him it was the best $2.50 massage I ever got, and he seemed to really enjoy that line.
  23. YULtide

    YULtide Gold Member

    I'm with the opt-out crowd. While I understand the health concerns, it's not my primary issue. For me it's about modesty, dignity, and resisting the security theatre. I don't strip for anyone but my doctor and my wife. And I believe that people should have the right to maintain whatever level of modesty they choose.

    As to the security, as Have Miles Will Travel put it, it's all cost and no benefit.
    mikeef likes this.
  24. autolycus

    autolycus Gold Member

    Wow. Just wow. That is completely ignorant and based on an entirely emotional response to that ignorance. There absolutely ARE safe levels of radiation exposure. If there weren't, humans wouldn't exist. There are major sources of radiation exposure in the natural world. The sun and the earth's surface itself come to mind.

    There is absolutely no need to wear a dosimeter when being exposed to a known quantity of a known type of radiation. Many forms of radiation pose about the same threat to your health as a glass of water, or a banana. Sometime you should go read about banana dosage. It will enlighten you as to how silly some of the health concerns over radiation really are. The public's understanding of safe levels of radiation exposure have led to some really awful public policy decisions. Let's try to not mess up some good policies--like allowing nuclear power plants--just so we can scare people away from invasive scanners based on bad science. Why don't we stick to the other problems with the scanners and security policy in general rather than propagate bad science?
  25. HaveMilesWillTravel
    • Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    This report talks about 6-100 cancer cases per year in the US due to these scanners.


    I prefer not to be one of them and choose to exercise my right to opt out, especially if the chances increase based on the number of exposures (ie frequent travelers are more likely to become a case). You're welcome to march right through it, of course. And I fully recognize that despite our choices you might end up living a healthy life til age 100 while I die of some form of cancer at age 50.

    If the FAA knew of and ignored a technical problem that would cause a regional jet per year to crash and kill or severely injure 6-100 people in the US, would we think that's acceptable?

    (oh, and I hate bananas)

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