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Are new security screenings affecting your decision to fly?

November 12, 2010

Stepped-up security screening at airports in the wake of foiled terrorism plots has provoked an outcry from airline pilots and travelers, including parents of children who say they are too intrusive.

Industry officials, travelers and pilots have complained bitterly to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about new full-body scanners and more rigorous patdown checks begun recent weeks.

Security officials have defended the measures as necessary after foiled plots by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has tried to hide bombs in clothing and parcels that have made it aboard a U.S. passenger airliner and two cargo planes.

With the busiest holiday travel season nearing, fliers face long security lines and new rigorous patdown checks aimed at discovering hidden explosives. As a result, some travelers are questioning whether to fly at all.

Are you less likely to fly because of stepped-up security procedures such as full-body scans and patdowns?

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The terrorists hated America’s freedoms, so our idiotic American leaders are taking all of our freedoms away, one by one, so as not to offend the terrorists!

Posted by TemplarX | Report as abusive

It does not make many folks feel any safer to be felt up, or remove their shoes for, or be scanned by some high school graduate (maybe) that got his job opportunity when he ordered a pizza and his job application was plastered all over the damn box lid! Good grief…..Are these folks REALLY qualified to be security agents after perhaps a 2 day course on “How to feel pretty girls, handsome fellows, and old women for fun and profit” It is time to get serious about profiling and stop this ridiculous charade!

Posted by Potzlady | Report as abusive

Article 4 of the United States Constitution protects the citizens of this country from unlawful search and seizure. Unless there is reason to suspect you have committed a crime, you may not be searched. Stand on your rights while you still have some.

Posted by csm | Report as abusive

I never thought I would prefer road trips to airlines with my motion sickness, but after being treated like a criminal at the El Paso International Airport, I will stock up on Dramamine and take the extra day or so to drive wherever we decide to travel. Everyone had to go through the scanners, with 3 TSA agents per scanner, each trying to stare you down before they grunted and pointed directing you where to stand, as well as additional TSA members posted at the baggage x-ray machines shouting out the various rules and regulations. I’m no terrorist, but it was enough to make me want to punch out the first person who told me to take off my belt.

Posted by jaciscully | Report as abusive

I am going to drive 2,000 miles round-trip from El Paso, Tx to Weldon, California because I REFUSE to be “searched” when attempting to board an aircraft. It makes no sense to me to pay to have to expose myself to either radiation or the touch of some rubber-gloved stranger! Let me know just how many potential bombers you stop with this method in the next couple of years. Oh, by the way, what about the women in burkas? Do you pat them down or make them stand in front of a body exposing screen? The inmates are now running the asylum!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What if someone invents an explosive powder that can be sprinkled on your hair and will explode when triggered by a bobby pin or some such nonsense? Will we all have to shave our heads? I feel like the world has gone mad while I was sleeping. This has to be a dream.

Posted by SmilingErin | Report as abusive

My father called me over the weekend, said airfare was cheap and that he wanted to fly the grandkids down to Orlando to take them to Disneyworld. Between the families that’s 6 grandkids. I told him about the TSA mess created by Janet Napolitano and President Obama, the genital grabbing of children or the dangerous x-ray machines and said there was no way in the world my kids were going anywhere near that.

Posted by TURTLEY_ENOUGH | Report as abusive

my family is driving this holiday instead of flying, and we have looked into taking the train. we can have a private room for the price of 1 airline ticket. we could fly to and from regional airports but that is only a temporary solution. this is much bigger than just flying, this is big brother out of control.this is the line in the sand,”you shall not pass”

Posted by wyotaz | Report as abusive

Hard to do when you live in Hawaii…but once back on the mainland I will not fly in the continental US…Canada…and won’t even go to Mexico.

Posted by travlnTexan | Report as abusive

“Are you kidding? I have reordered my life to avoid flying altogether. Obama and company have transformed Amerika into a communist, totalitarian state which makes the former Soviet Union look like a Utopian wet dream. Obama stands shoulder to shoulder with foreign leaders to condemn and then sue US border states which choose to defend their borders rather than be overrun by armed political insurgents while you and I are subjected to the most extraordinary physical searches on the planet. What’s wrong with this picture?”

Are people like you still ranting like this? This has been in motion since the great GWB was in office and even before. Wake up and look around. It’s not ideology…it’s corruption of power. It’s the dark side of humanity. Of what fell Rome, etc.

Posted by Baltar | Report as abusive

The terrorists have won. Our overreactive government is now the institutional terrorist. Why can’t our leaders see this? If the terrorists actually do something it would only affect a few hundred. But the TSA is terrorizing MILLIONS. This is insanity.

Posted by AGuyInLA | Report as abusive

I try never to fly at all anymore. Ever since 9/11 it’s become such a hassle, the lines too long, have to show up too early, the planes to crowded. I traveled for my job for years, and flying was fun in those days. NOT ANYMORE. So if I can’t drive to where I am going, I triple think going at all.

Posted by RachelC | Report as abusive

I flew this past week and had my first experience with the new body scan. I went into it with an open mind, but I am done with flying unless I just can’t find an alternative. The TSA agent demanded that I put my wallet (I’m a guy) on the conveyor. I refused, as I would be on the scanner and out of sight of my wallet. They then told me that I could hold it in my hand during the scan. Okay, I figured. Well, when the scan was finished the TSA agent demanded my wallet and then proceeded to look through every nook and cranny in it, as if they latest terrorist tactic is wallet bombs. Naked scans, I don’t see so they don’t bother me. Some clown going through my wallet….that bugged the hell out of me. This government is WAY out of line.

Posted by funksoul6 | Report as abusive

could not imagine getting stuck in a plane waiting for hours to take off… now getting felt up or having one of the kids subject to a groin check… no way. When did we hand over the right not to have our genitals fondled just go visit grandma?

Posted by cavindude | Report as abusive

uh, look around the country, and we are worried about some underwear bomber? Any building or public place at anytime could go boom at any second. We have more problems with GANGS any given day then terrorist.

Posted by cavindude | Report as abusive

Truth is I stopped flying (when not absolutely needed) after the increased security of 9/11. The fact is we are all being treated like crap because of political correctness. We all know who is likely to bomb, and what area of the world these bombers are likely to come from.

When Americans start bombing planes in significant numbers, I will succumb to the psychotic increase in security. Until then, the scenery is far more beautiful from a car window.

Posted by dabu | Report as abusive

I have not flown since 911 because I’ve been amazed at the ridiculous ‘security’ procedures and they keep getting worse. Honestly I’m a bit ashamed of myself for not flying. I should be flying or at least going into the security area then refusing to be searched like some of the brave people I’m seeing lately.

Posted by gphx | Report as abusive

It will cost more – but I will book open space on private jets before they will subject me to the radiation or the hand!

Posted by tiredofbo | Report as abusive

We’ve been given a false choice: submit to a strip search or a sexual assault, just to get on an airplane. I won’t be submitting to either, and plan to make it clear to TSA that I will file sexual assault charges if they grope me. This simply has to stop, especially because there are more effective and less invasive ways to keep air travel safe.

Tomorrow – Monday the 15th – we are organizing and calling Congressional representatives to put pressure on them to force a change. Not just any Rep or Senator, but the ones directly responsible for TSA oversight. The full details, including contact information for each Congressman, is here: congress-about-the-nude-o-scopes-monday- november-15/

Please call and make your voice heard!

Posted by savvytraveler | Report as abusive

I live in Washington state, and my family lives in Texas. My husband and I have already bought (non-refundable) tickets to visit in January, or we would never fly again–at least until these gestapo tactics stop. After that, we will drive or take the train/bus. It’s horribly inconvenient, but it’s better than being photographed naked and/or sexually assaulted by government thugs. Oh, and when we fly in January? If we’re herded to the scanners, we will opt out. It is inconceivable that we should have to be radiated, photographed naked and/or sexually assaulted in order to visit my elderly parents. We are not terrorists.

Posted by lorilizbeth | Report as abusive

maybe if we can put the TSA in the capital building and have them feel up all the dirty politicians who walk into our Capital building.

The TSA should be abolished and privatized to a Proven and reputable private company who will not feel people up. The cost will be cut by over 60% and terrorist will all be apprehended and perhaps dealt with appropriately before they can do harm.

Everything the federal government does or has done has been Destructive and Oppressive to the American citizens. The TSA is just another example of the federal government enslaving us and violating our constitutional rights over and over and over!

Destructive Poltics – the book

Posted by destructivepol | Report as abusive

I had an experience in Atlanta where TSA showed their incompetence! After embarrassing me, accusing me of having explosive residue on my bag, removing very small manicure scissors from my carry-on and then announcing that was the problem, I was cleared to continue! Since I was about to miss my flight, I did not question why they had no further concern about the supposed explosive residue that set off bells and whistles attracting the TSA supervisor to question me as to my ID, boarding credentials,etc. TSA is a joke! They can contact me for more details if they care to defend their idiots.

Posted by MaggieLyn | Report as abusive

I had an experience in Atlanta where TSA showed their incompetence! After embarrassing me, accusing me of having explosive residue on my bag, removing very small manicure scissors from my carry-on and then announcing that was the problem, I was cleared to continue! Since I was about to miss my flight, I did not question why they had no further concern about the supposed explosive residue that set off bells and whistles attracting the TSA supervisor to question me as to my ID, boarding credentials,etc. TSA is a joke! They can contact me for more details if they care to defend their idiots.

Posted by MaggieLyn | Report as abusive

Yes.. cause they don’t even let you have a smoke after..LOL.. seriously though I don’t like flying to begin with so they made the decision not to easier..this year we drove out to UT from Chicago.. 3 year ago on the last family reunion we drove to CO.. 2 years before we drove to SC.. 2 years before that we flew to AZ it was to much of a hassle then and it’s worse now.. and cost way to much.. to many restrictions on how much luggage so buying anything is to costly.. no driving is the way to go..

Posted by lcky9 | Report as abusive

If I have a choice to fly, I don’t don’t fly. Ever. Forget it. Won’t fly, never.

If flying is a requirement for my work, I’ll find a different employer. I’ve had enough.

And I won’t consider offering a flight to any family member to visit me. Flying is not a choice any more. I’m done with it.

Posted by spod | Report as abusive

Hello, My wife and I average 3-4 flying trips per year. But have decided to boycott US Airports and drive. We plan to drive up to Vancouver BC and fly from there if we are going overseas. This is ashame, bad government that creates enemies, eventually views everyone as an enemy out of the necessity to control.

Posted by DS2 | Report as abusive

I will never fly again. Already making plans for my 2900 mile trip (each way) to visit family by train.

Posted by aeiou | Report as abusive

The Israel airlines offered to teach our idiots had to conduct themselves in finding out who the “bad” guys are and the idiot in the W. House said “no thanks.”..He is so anti Semitic won’t even let them teach our idiots in the airports! El Al has had a safe airline and they do a thorough job. That Janet Neapolitano is beyond belief! She is so stupid there are no words to describe her ignorance. I fly only Southwest so far no problems with crouch searches or x-rays. You know they sit and watch them and get a laugh or two. Thes foreigners checking us and many can barely even walk and chew gum.

Posted by justncase | Report as abusive

We also bought a 42 foot RV for traveling for fun in the good weather months. Nomore crotch searches! No more dangerous x-rays! My husband was a pilot for 28 years with United and he has been x-rayed enough!

Posted by justncase | Report as abusive

I used to fly, before 9/11, when it was still civilized!

Our own American government has caved in to terrorists, and is taking the freedoms from us which the terrorists never could.

Posted by TemplarX | Report as abusive

I haven’t flown since before 9/11, and won’t ever fly again until these asinine “security” procedures are repealed.

Posted by badsponge | Report as abusive

I flew twice last month… I’m done with it until I start getting treated like I have rights again. I saw the scanners in Atlanta and was praying to myself they did not choose me. When we start feeling terrorized by our own government, it’s time to stop flying…. Especially when real terrorists can walk right by while 10yr old children are having their genitals groped. It’s a sad day for America. Go to hell TSA

Posted by overallofit | Report as abusive

The Terrorists have won.

It has long been said that we would lose our liberty with a whimper, not by the barrel of a gun.

We have lost our liberty.

Why were the pat downs that existed 6 months ago that deemed us “safe” not ok now? What happened to warrant an x-ray or an intrusive pat down as the only option?

Posted by flyover1 | Report as abusive

Remember the outcry from the left during the Bush administration about infringing on our privacy because Homeland Security was listening to cell phone conversations from overseas, etc.?

Where are those libs now? This is a blatant infringement of privacy, an illegal search and a flagrant violation of our Constitutional rights, but nothing is being done about it. Where’s the ACLU?

This admin has done more to violate our civil rights than any other in history, and yet nothing is being done about it.

Posted by catnip | Report as abusive

This would never be happening if Bush didn’t natinoalize airport security. The minute the government took over, it was only a matter of time before incompetence, political correctness and the typical us vs them attitude of unionized government stooges would lead to this situation. It will only get worse until the government is fired from this job and airport security is given back to private companies.

Posted by Pyronaught | Report as abusive

I’ve already made alternate plans. Driving 1800 miles to mom’s house. Taking the train 900 miles do sister’s house.

Posted by KeithCR | Report as abusive

I have had enough! Just canceled 4 roundtrip tickets with Airtran. Canceled 7 nights of hotel w/ 2 rooms. Cancelled over $1000 worth of Disney tickets, and the car rental too. That is a lot of dollars lost by a lot of different businesses for one little vacation cancelation. If they keep this up, the travel industry will start to speak up. We have decided to spend the money we were going to use for this vacation on anything BUT hotels, car rentals, resturants, theme parks or ANYTHING else outside of our local community. Way to go TSA!! Orlando and other tourist destinations must be really loving you bout’ now…. idiots!!!!

Posted by whatsinaname | Report as abusive

Think…Smugglers and convicts have been using a convenient hiding place for years.
How will the get-along-go-along-for-”security” crowd feel about the body cavity searches, after the first terrorist attack, involving explosives that are smuggled right past the body scanners and groin gropers, jammed up someone’s butt?

Posted by 9009 | Report as abusive

I’m an American living abroad in Japan and I chose not to go back home during the holiday season because it is such a hassle. Why go to America when you can meet your family and friends in Europe or Asian?

Posted by cteavin | Report as abusive

Starve the beast!

Drive, probably cheaper and quicker for less than 300 miles. Rail, takes longer but much more comfortable. Business, tele-conference, fast and cheap, a lot of advancements have been made, check Skype for entry level.

If these measures reduce business (victims) by any significant amount they WILL pay attention.

Posted by fantum | Report as abusive

I recently read a blog where a fellow who travels by air often keeps a copy of the Fourth Amendment handy, he said it was effective in dealing with airport bullies.

MOST IMPORTANT! If these goons are going to grope under-age children, the parents have the right and responsibllity to observe the process, just as they would if the police were to do the same.

If there is even a HINT of impropriety, call the cops, the REAL cops, NOT airport cops, and charge them with child molestation and RAPE, that’s what it is.

Posted by fantum | Report as abusive

The rest of the world laughs at us. Our government treats “We the people” like we’re terrorists, pushing us closer and closer to rising up. Actually, they want us to rise up so they can say “Told you so” and then crush us. We had a good run of democracy in the USA. Now it’s time for a dictatorship. Yes, it’s sad, but we’re basically a gutless, dumbed-down populace with its head in the sand. Just look at who we elected President. The mighty USA no longer has any moral standing in the eyes of the world. It’s over for us as a free nation. End of story.

Posted by billybob1 | Report as abusive

As a child I was grouped by a stranger. As an adult, I was advised that due to all the CT scans I had due to renal cancer that I should opt out. I don’t mind being screened and having pat downs, but if you touch my private parts I will press charges, sue and hit you. I do have PTSD. President OBAMA and his cabinant is way out of control. The former Arizona governor should just leave that position and resign. As to fine, i wont pay it. Just put me behind bars.

Posted by PhilipK02 | Report as abusive

You Americans are looking pretty silly from over here in Europe. Common sense seems to have left you.

Posted by nonecumenical | Report as abusive

I’ve read the comments post and are both fascinated and ired. Instead of people boycotting the airlines, effective change won’t occur unless the majority of continuing fliers object to the intrusive searches and refuse them. Now for those body scanners…I would certainly like to see the test reports from NIH & Johns Hopkins U. I have worked with terahertz waves for a bit more than ten years documenting the biological hazards with respect to human exposure. My background is cellular radiation effects with advanced studies in both physics and cellular biology, with emphasis on biomedical engineering. Based on my study’s findings, the human genome WILL be altered with multiple exposures (>25) using a concentration equal to that of the backscatter imagers. The risk of leukemia increases more than 700%. Please note that these are terahertz waves which to the general public is just a term but to the experts in the field, it represents a very small wavelength with a very high penetrating efficacy.

Posted by Terra-Hurtz | Report as abusive

I thought pornography and pedophilia was illegal…Why would any loving parent for any reason allow a stranger to take a naked photo of their child or let them be gropped? Is there no shame you would not let your children endure just so you can feel safe?

Our fear will be our undoing, and to the government goes the spoils.

As for me, a terrorist by any other name is still a terrorist and I am not fooled by the color of law…Anyone who touches my child will get his/her throat ripped out.

Posted by IraqVet | Report as abusive

The guys in Israel do the best job and they do not need all the expense hardware…but then they hire and train people who have some common sense.

Posted by wallace1303 | Report as abusive

I question if any of this security prevented anything what so ever. TSA did not prevent the Shoe, Christmas Day or the Underwear Bombers; the alert passengers did that. The TSA did not prevent the toner bombs from leaving the ground and most of all. The TSA fails to detect 50% of the guns, knives that used to test security at Airports.

Therefore, is TSA working or is it a big flop? I think it is a big flop and terrorist are not afraid of such a reactionary agency. Go back to the way it was (pre-9/11) and do not let the terrorist win.

Posted by Commander8080 | Report as abusive

Simple: DONT FLY! Let the airlines go broke and all the TSA agents lose their jobs! This country is off the charts!

Posted by JeffWashington | Report as abusive

MY WIFE & I CANCEELLING our trip to Florida now, because of the new airport “gestapo” abuse…. NO-BAMA has REALLY taken our country to the beginning of total control of ALL OUR LIVES..what is next, I dare even ask????

Posted by larryisright | Report as abusive

I would think people with say 50k frequent flyer miles would have established their security clearance. Has anyone been “patted down” while wearing a hard athletic supporter or a bullet proof vest for personal protection?

Posted by ICnow | Report as abusive

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