The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) is responsible for administering security checks as airline passengers pass through security check points, submit to body searches, scans and pat-downs. What is the best way to handle TSA security checks and pat-downs?
Submit to Security Checks
Overreacting to security checks and pat-downs will not get you through security and onto your plane any quicker. If you are a seasoned flyer, you know that security checks are in place to help guard your safety and the safety of other passengers. Keep this in mind as you pass through TSA check points and submit to the security checks.
Some passengers are randomly asked to step aside and submit to an AIT body scan, which detects greater detail than a metallic scan. AIT scans take just a few seconds to perform. Even if you are not randomly selected for a body scan, you could end up facing a pat-down if you are carrying something that sets off the metal detectors.
How to Opt Out
Airline passengers who prefer not to submit to a full body scan have the right to request a pat-down instead from TSA security staff. However, if you opt out of a body scan and choose a pat-down instead, you should be prepared for longer delays and some invasive touching. Pat-downs are performed by same-gender agents to help lessen feelings of discomfort, but it is important to bear in mind that if you opt for a pat-down, the search will be done in full view of other airline passengers. Passengers can opt out of a body scan by requesting a pat-down.
But, if you refuse a pat-down as well, you risk being refused boarding and escorted out of the airport by the police. Screening is necessary for all airline passengers passing through security. There are no exceptions.
Allow Plenty of Time
Navigating airport security is stressful enough at the best of times without the worry that you will miss your flight due to delays going through security. Always allow plenty of time and plan for unexpected delays, especially during holiday travel and other popular times of the year to travel.
The best way to handle TSA checks and pat-downs is to follow the rules and regulations as you queue up and submit to security checks. Airline passengers can opt out of a full body scan. However, if you do so, you will still need to submit to a pat-down, which can delay your journey. Always allow plenty of time and remember that TSA staff is under a lot of pressure. It pays to be courteous.
Yahoo! Finance, How to Navigate Body Scans and Pat-Downs, by Rick Newman.