Heads up, Thanksgiving travelers. You and your family could hit a rough patch in your flight to grandma’s house — even before your plane takes off. There’s talk of a revolt against the Transportation Security Administration on Wednesday, Nov. 24 — one of the busiest travel days of the year.
A group calling itself National Opt-Out Day are calling on air travelers all over the country to opt out of the TSA’s full-body scans and instead submit to the new enhanced pat downs. Even if you choose not to participate, expect delays and really grumpy agents.
So what’s this revolt against the TSA all about? Smart Travel’s Carl Ungar spoke to the movement’s head organizer, Brian Sodegren, who said the protest day is meant to send a message to lawmakers, who are allowing full-body scans in airports without a lot of public education or input.
A quote from the movement’s website:
“The goal of National Opt-Out Day is to send a message to our lawmakers that we demand change. No naked body scanners, no government-approved groping. We have a right to privacy and buying a plane ticket should not mean that we’re guilty until proven innocent.
“We hope the outrageous experience then propels people to write their Member of Congress and demand change.”
Even some pilots’ and flight attendants’ unions have joined in, saying they’re against the continuous radiation and images of them naked.
I have hated the idea of the full-body scans since I first heard my airport was getting them this summer. They’re unapologetically intrusive, and they don’t make me feel more secure in the airport or when I fly.
On the other hand, those enhanced pat downs strike me as even worse. And I wouldn’t even consent to one on behalf of my young kids. I can’t even imagine how frightening, confusing and overall icky that would be for them.
In fact, this summer when I was traveling alone with my three kids, I wondered what would happen if I was chosen to do the full-body scan — and especially what would happen if I opted out. Who would have looked out for my kids who are 9, 5, and 1? Do they stand to the side? Do we cross our fingers the 1 year old cooperated? Had I gotten the pat down, would they watch? Would they have been scanned and/or patted too?
And still, I can’t help but feel sympathy for families (especially one parent traveling alone with young kids) on the 24th, if this opt out day picks up steam. Delays in an airport or, worse, sitting on the plane, are just bad for everyone.
That said, I do love a good citizen action. Will you join the revolt? What do you think of the full-body scans and enhanced pat downs?
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