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TSA Begins Removing Backscatters From Major Airports!

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I will start by saying that I am all for getting the bad guys and safety while flying. However, the Weeklyflyer family is not a fan of the x-ray (backscatters) machines that TSA uses which take questionable pictures of the human form. We as a family refuse the scan and opt out almost every time we fly (I know not a great alternative.)

I am excited about the TSA’s decision to pull these machines in several large airports and hope that they will continue to revise the way they scan people for threats going forward.

Here’s The Background

The TSA has been removing its X-ray body scanners (backscatters) from some major airports over the last couple of weeks and putting in machines that are supposed to be less radiation for travelers. TSA says it made the decision to speed up checkpoints at some busier airports and not because of safety concerns due to radiation.

The good news

X-ray machines are leaving big airports.

The bad news

TSA plans to move the backscatters to smaller airports.

The X-ray machines were reportedly swapped out at Boston Logan International Airport, Chicago O’Hare, JFK, LAX and Orlando airport.

What are your thoughts on TSA backscatters? Am I the only one that doesn’t like to go through these machines?

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

About the Author

About the author: The Weekly Flyer is writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way. Feel free to reach me at theweeklyflyer@gmail.com

{ 10 comments… add one }

  • downhillcrasher October 22, 2012, 8:15 pm

    Always opt out.

  • Ryan October 22, 2012, 9:28 pm

    They should get rid of them all together and just keep the metal detectors.

  • Jenn October 22, 2012, 10:40 pm

    For someone who travels infrequently, it’s probably not a huge health concern. For business travelers (pilots etc) it makes sense to minimize the radiation and to opt for the metal detectors and a pat down. But in all fairness, people are exposed to similar types of radiation in much higher doses in their daily lives not to mention the increase in radiation exposure from flying itself, or the harm cell phone radiation is causing to brain cells and reproductive organs. So while it makes sense for frequent fliers and pilots etc to minimize this extra source of radiation, for everyone else it can be seen as one more thing to add to the list of things “ok in moderation”.

  • Deirdre October 22, 2012, 10:57 pm

    I always opt out.

  • Kris Ziel October 22, 2012, 11:03 pm

    I’ve only run into backscatters at PHX, I haven’t opted out either time. With millimeter wave ones at DEN, I end up in those often. In my experience, the MMW ones certainly won’t slow anything down. Even though the amount of radiation they emit is minimal, I think it’s a good thing to move BS ones to airports where they will be used less.

  • JSD October 23, 2012, 3:51 am

    With everything that is going on in this world of ours, this issue is quite low on my list of concerns. If the priority lane brings me to a backscatter, so be it, my bigger issue is getting through as fast as possible.

  • bsmsnr October 23, 2012, 4:26 am

    I always opt out. Until the machines are thoroughly tested, I will not use them. I am all for safety and protectin of the masses while flying. However, I don’t know why we needed a new government bureaucracy when new rules, enforced, would have sufficed.

  • HockeySTL October 23, 2012, 7:24 am

    The Smurfs do NOT send children, elderly, airport employees or flight crews through their radiation machines. Why? Because they KNOW they’re not safe. I guess 20 years from now when some of those Smurfs are glowing in the dark we’ll know why….though they’ll likely be so brainwashed they won’t realize why they’re all jacked up with cancer.

    ALWAYS Opt out. ALWAYS.

  • Amanda October 23, 2012, 7:59 am

    WHY send them to the small airports?! My home base is MSN, and we got these a year or two ago. They take so much longer for lines to go through than plain old metal detectors. Perhaps that’s why they’re sending them to small airports: to reduce congestion at big airports and to justify the ridiculous purchase price by sending them somewhere else instead of just tossing them in the junk pile where they belong.

  • CU October 23, 2012, 12:32 pm

    Crazy that they are sending them to small airports. I always opt out. Europe refuses to use these b/c of radiation concerns. TSA is trained to say — it’s safe, etc., but I guarantee you none of the TSA personnel saying that to you have read the studies. I have, and you will never find me in front of a backscatter.

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