Yep, flying just got funner. Starting today, the TSA has “enhanced” (yes, in the same way the airlines use the term) the pat down procedure. I almost always get patted down at my home airport of TPA because we have the full body scanners, which many of us like to refer to as “nude-o-scopes,” because they leave little to the imagination. So instead you can opt for a full body pat down. It has always been thorough, though not overly-intrusive, in my opinion. They use the back of their hands to search your whole body, including using the back of their hands to pass around private parts.
As of today, the pat down involves the TSA people (I refuse to call them “agents”) using the front side of their hands to inspect private parts. For females that includes using the front of their hands to inspect bras, and for males it means using the front of their hands to inspect the groin area.
First of all, this is incredibly unnecessary. With the previous procedure you could already tell if there was a weapon in private areas (please, no jokes!), and even with the new procedure you likely couldn’t tell if there was powder or something else not as visible.
So you have two choices — have them see every part of your body, or have them feel every part of your body. And you have the same two choices for your kids, no matter how young.
As I said, I almost always get the pat down in TPA (let’s just say I don’t get along too well with the agents), so I’m not sure what my next move is. In the past I’ve always opted out of the full body scanner, but now I’m tempted to start asking for my pat down in private (which anyone is entitled to). It’s not that I’m a prude, I just want to send them a message. Then again, the TSA’s move to counter that would probably be to remove the option of getting a full body pat down.