After reading a bunch of posts from a former TSA agent (Taking Sense Away, hosted at WordPress.com), I’m finally convinced to opt–out every time I fly. Why? If he and other TSA agents call people who opt–out “smart passengers”, that’s good enough for me.
Bob Hope Airport in Burbank obviously isn’t as busy as LAX, so it was a good opportunity to see how this would go.
I spoke with nice TSA screeners. I voiced my anxiety about my stuff going through the x-ray machine, then the screener — let’s call him “John” — who was about to pat me down eased my fears and we walked over to it to gather my things.
John explained the process thoroughly, and asked me if I wanted a private screening before proceeding. I politely declined while gazing forward at other passengers, noticing that nobody else opted out. All while a stranger felt around me with latex-covered hands.
I’m relieved John didn’t linger on any areas. He also asked about my right foot since I was limping, and hoped that I felt better soon.
The only awkwardness I can remember is John exhaling/grunting every few seconds during the pat down. His breathing was somewhat labored. (He was a bit heavyset, so I hope it’s nothing serious.) The entire process seemed to take about five more minutes than if I went through the millimeter wave scanner.
I’d like to think he earned his paycheck, and I’m glad to stop putting my health into technology that hasn’t been thoroughly tested.