The pat downs have been ongoing for a long period of time, and as I travel between America and England on a regular basis, this has happened to me on more than one occasion.
We used to walk through those old type of screening machines, but at the end of September, my husband Len, and I traveled to Boston. It was the first time I had seen a full body machine at Tampa International Airport.
I put my computer, my shoes, my jacket, my phone, my pedometer, purse, and hand luggage onto the conveyor belt, and then I had a gentleman beckon me to come forward. He then stopped me and told me to cross my arms/hands over my head. He told me to bring them in a little more. I then had to stand like that.
From here I had to walk past him, but stay by the side of him until he got the all clear, for me to continue. This took a few seconds.
When I got to the conveyor belt at the other side to pick up my belongings, my husband who had been behind me, was putting his belt and shoes on. I asked him how he had managed to get in front of me. A gentleman had told him to walk through, meaning the side of the machine. So I had been submitted to a full body scan, and he didn’t even get a pat down. It made me feel as if I was a criminal, or just looked the part. Yes, this old lady in her 60’s.
Returning from Boston to Tampa 4 days later the full body scanners were waiting for us. Both Len and myself went through them and were given the all clear.
Going back to pat downs, one year when I was traveling again through Tampa International Airport to England, I walked through the old type of screen and set it off. I was asked to step over to the side. A woman from the Transport Security Administration (TPA) had rubber gloves on, and proceeded to feel my body. She felt both of my breasts before finding out that the buttons on my blouse had metal in them. Fortunately I didn’t have the bottom half of my body searched. I did feel uncomfortable about this. Yes it was a woman, but women are sometimes lesbians, and you never know who might be getting a thrill from giving you a pat down. I do realize it is a job and it has to be done, but no one says that I have to be happy about it.
Another time in Gatwick, England, I had gone through security and walked to the gate. These gates are secure and once you are in, you can only get out by taking everything with you, and producing you passport and boarding pass again.
I had gone through this and was called over by a lady, and asked if I would mind being searched. I personally think that if I had refused it would have been done anyway, and possibly a more thorough one. They picked out every 10 to 12th person. Not only did she go through my carry on luggage, but she gave me a pat down too. This one was less invasive than the buttons on the blouse one. She checked areas of my body but used the side of her hands to check between my breasts.
I had thought this type of pat down to be okay, but the hands on the boobs type of pat down just doesn’t feel right to me.
Having lived in England when Ireland was at war, and having bombs go off in our town, and the town that my brother lived in, I do realize that we have to take security seriously. However, we have to find a way of doing it without giving the TSA permission to invade our privacy.