The U.S. Transportation Security Administration will update its pat-down methods at 450 U.S. airports on Friday to allow more aggressive touching, with inspectors instructed to touch travelers' personal do-not-fly zones if they refuse scanners. Who's ready for a road trip?
The current TSA first date pat-down keeps the touching mostly to the sides of your body and down your legs, with the screeners using the back of their hands. While the TSA has declined to specify all the details of the new pat-down guidelines, the Boston Herald reported earlier this week that the techniques include "over-the-clothes searches of passengers' breast and genital areas."
The difference between the old regime and the new - which in typical TSA fashion will be sprung on unsuspecting travelers without notice - was described by an ACLU official who had the procedure during a test at Boston's Logan Airport two months ago:
Two (female) TSA officers stepped over to me, and gave me the new procedure, which included touching my face and hair, and in between and directly under my breasts. Much like a medical appointment, they explained the motions they would make before actually touching me, and both women were professional and polite about the screening - even apologetic about it - but I couldn't help but think this was overly invasive overkill.
Of course, travelers can avoid the new form of civil unions by accepting the full-body scans that led one ExpressJet pilot to walk off the job last week. At the other end of the business, the chairman of British Airways has also criticized the growing load of U.S. safety rules, saying several are "completely redundant."