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.
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.
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.