TSA Pat-Downs Going To Become Even More Invasive

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Things are about to get a little more touchy feely when it comes to airport security thanks to the TSA developing a new standardize more invasive pat-down procedure for those requiring additional security or opting out go the general screening.

TSA Security

Per Bloomberg,

While few have noticed, U.S. airport security workers long had the option of using five different types of physical pat-downs at the screening line. Now those options have been eliminated and replaced with a single universal approach. This time, you will notice.

The new physical touching—for those selected to have a pat-down—will be be what the federal agency officially describes as a more “comprehensive” physical screening, according to a Transportation Security Administration spokesman.

The TSA screens about 2 million people daily at U.S. airports. The agency doesn’t track how many passengers are subject to pat-down searches after they pass through an imaging scanner. People who decline to use this screening technology are automatically subject to physical searches.

While passengers may find the process more intrusive, the new screening procedure isn’t expected to increase overall airport security delays. However, “for the person who gets the pat down, it will slow them down,” Anderson said. TSA officials didn’t immediately address whether the new universal pat-down protocol will mandate touching of passenger genitals.

Bottom Line

How can you avoid this? You can’t, but there are things you can do to make yourself less likely to be targeted for an invasive pat-down. First, enroll in Global Entry or Precheck, to ensure you are eligible to use the Precheck security lines. The TSA used to have a managed inclusion list who got Precheck for free, but that has since ended.

In addition, if you thought of opting out in the past for the full body scanners, you may want to think twice now knowing that you could be subject to an invasive pat-down.

Feel free to share your thoughts or experiences if you’re had an invasive pat-down from the TSA in the comments below.

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  1. Not only you should get GlobalEntry (and in turns, qualify you for Pre-Check), you *should* put that Known Traveler ID number in *all* of your frequent flyer profiles and ensure that the ‘TSA PRE-CHECK’ designation appears on your boarding pass 24 hours before your departure. (if not, call the airline and make sure they see it, and ask them to re-issue your online boarding pass).

    My wife had the unpleasant experience (as a Pre-Check member) when her admin assistant forgot to book her Southwest flights using her Rapid Rewards number, and as a result, “TSA PRE-CHECK’ did not appear on her outbound boarding pass. She said it was very invasive (in Oakland) and this was back in November of last year. Upon calling Southwest (before flying back), she got the designation back in the boarding pass.

    Lessons learned..

  2. I’ve gotten the pat-down the last three times I’ve flown (all in the last two months). I don’t have Global Entry/Pre-Check yet (I will get it when I can get the Sapphire Reserve, in about another month. 5/24 sucks!), but can’t wait to get it. I’ve been going all over the world since birth, and am quite adept at packing; never take anything even remotely questionable in my carry-on. I’ve no idea why I keep being singled out, but the ‘pat-downs’ I’ve had are very invasive already (they put their hands inside your clothing); I can’t imagine how much worse they’ll get.

  3. I got that pat down last month when I and the person behind me were randomly tagged for extra screening, even though we were both precheck. I also have the Global Entry / Nexus. I would rather take the pat down over the electronic screening.

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