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September 15, 2011


TSA security pat-downs

There’s a news ripple about the Transportation Security Administration changing their policy with regard to pat-downs on children.  Their website provides the policy guidance at:

It appears to me that parents should have the primary responsibility for resolving any alarms set off by a child going through a metal detector.  However, it would seem much more efficient to have a secondary level of screening for passengers who set off an alarm on their first pass, and not delay everybody else who is in line behind the offending party.  Clearly the secondary level of screening will take extra time, and this will quickly encourage people to make sure they have everything sorted out ahead of time – thus rewarding frequent and prepared passengers with an expedited screening process.  (A similar concept to how Customs operates for passengers arriving from overseas)  Irrespective of what layers of security are in place, pat-downs of children must be a last resort for when parental efforts fail to resolve an alarm during secondary screening.

I can’t remember the last time I set off an alarm at an airport, primarily because I start the process of moving metal items into my bag or coat as soon as I enter the line.  Thereafter, it’s simply a matter of dealing with my laptop, liquids (if I have any), shoes (if required), and coat.  When traveling with my family, I make sure they are similarly ready to scoot through the screening without undue alarm. 

I’m amazed at how many people are “surprised” to find that their pockets are littered with metal … but not until they’ve passed through the metal detector several times.  These people should be shunted off to a thorough secondary screening line the first time they fail to follow the clearly displayed guidelines – and everybody else will applaud the TSA for some common sense.

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  1. Sep 17 2011

    No matter how prepared I am, the alarm goes off..because of my replaced knee. An 8″ scar isn’t enough to satisfy. After all, this 75 year old woman could have a bomb sewed into her knee.


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