Travelers React to Body Scanners at Airport
POSTED: Monday, July 19, 2010 - 5:50pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - 9:26pm
The lines seem to be getting longer at the airport. The summer travel season is one reason why, but the recently-installed full-body scanners could be another.
The Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, won't comment on whether the scanners are making lines at the airport longer - but the scanners are making waves.
We followed four travelers to see how they feel about the so-called "advanced imaging technology."
George Drake, from El Paso, is a frequent flier. He said going through security every time he wants to board a plane is a bit of a pain.
"I think taking shoes off and all that, I think it's all a little overkill," Drake said.
David Rasura, from New York City, is surprised at the slow pace.
"Theres two X-ray machines like usual, but there's only one body scanner," Rasura said. "So it feels like it'll take a little longer."
"I'm for anything that helps keep passengers safe," said Sue Ellen McIntire of El Paso. She doesn't travel often, but she's learned a lot from trips she's taken.
"In the long run, you just have to leave home a little sooner," McIntire said.
Caiti Steele, from Las Cruces, agrees that with these added security measures, if she's in a rush, she's in trouble.
"It was a bit annoying because at that time I was running a bit late," Steele said.
We asked TSA how the scanners fit in their vision of security here. They said the scanners will soon be the main method of screening and gave us this statement:
"While there is no silver bullet technology, Advanced Imaging Technology adds another important layer of security to protect passengers. Imaging technology safely screens travelers for metallic and non-metallic threats, including weapons and explosives, without physical contact. To protect passenger privacy, the blurred images are viewed and then deleted by a TSA officer in a remote location. In addition, the images viewed at airports cannot be stored, transmitted or printed.
The use of this technology is optional for all passengers. Those who opt out may request alternative screening, which will include a physical pat-down. More than 98 percent of travelers preferred imaging technology screening over a pat-down during the pilot program."
Since the scanning is optional - you can opt-out and get a pat-down instead - we asked the travelers if the imaging made them feel violated.
"Did I feel violated? I don't think so," said Drake.
"I don't think so, not to me," said Rasura.
"Not at all, it doesn't make me nervous at all," McIntire said.
"No, not at all," said Steele.
If a picture can say a thousand words, it can now stop travelers in their tracks.