A National Opt-Out day has been organized for fliers tired of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) security measures infringing on their rights. National Opt-Out Day is scheduled for Nov. 24. Supporters of National Opt-Out Day are asked to veto passing through a full-body scanner and instead choose to receive the new and equally controversial enhanced pat down. Organizers hope, according to optoutday.com, that fliers will experience the enhanced pat down, and “If they do not like the current procedures when they go through it, they should voice their opinion to the airlines and their Members of Congress.”
My last flight was in June of 2009, when I traveled from my home in northwestern Illinois to northeastern Louisiana. I left the Moline, IL, airport on a typical weekday afternoon with a few dozen other people destined for Memphis. Of the 10 to 20 people passing through airport security with me, I was the lucky recipient of a random pat down.
To this day, I’m unsure if it was my white, short-sleeve blazer that caught the screener’s eye, or the fact that I was a five-foot woman smiling entirely too much at the prospect of seeing her family for the first time in three years. Whatever the reason, I found the pat-down annoying, considering I had done nothing to set off the existing metal detectors and had thoroughly cross-checked TSA guidelines before traveling and met every last one. I even ditched my favorite underwire bra for the metal detectors, just in case!
With these new measures, I am unsure I would fly even if an emergency need for travel arose. I was planning on flying to Louisiana again in early 2011, but now will likely choose otherwise. Renting a car for several days ends up at a relatively even cost comparison with round-trip airfare, and I would rather deal with 10 extra hours on the road instead of two hands patting me up my thighs until they meet bone resistance.
If you’re not my husband or a medical professional with a good reason, you don’t touch my pubic bone. Call me modest, but I have a line! It is crossed when I have a completely clear criminal record, no traffic tickets, and no library fines, yet can still be treated like a blurred-out face on “COPS.” When the only options for flying are a full-body scan or an enhanced pat-down, an “If not this, then that” choice is unacceptable.
Opting out of body scans at the airports and voicing our opinions on new security procedures is to take a step toward reestablishing a standard of decency that law-abiding American citizens expect to be treated with, both in the air and on the ground.
Carl Unger. “Group Plans National Opt-Out Day to Protest Airport Security.” Smarter Travel.
Linda Loyd. “New TSA pat-downs rile pilots, unnerve passengers.” St. Augustine.com.