I traveled through Tampa International Airport last week and was pretty amazed/disgusted by what I saw while going through security.
A young lady had opted not to go through the body scanner and was led over to the area for a pat down. This traveler was wearing a fitted, spaghetti-strapped tank top with snug jeans. (I’m saying this so you can picture there really wasn’t any room for her to be “hiding” anything.) A female TSA agent preceded with the pat down…and all I could think was “you’ve got to be kidding me” as I watched what the traveler went through.
The young lady stood with her arms extended while being groped. Yes, groped. The TSA agent first ran her hands through the traveler’s hair then continued down her back, and under the top edge of the tank top. After that, the bottom of her tank top was lifted so the TSA agent could examine the inside waistband of her pants by putting their hands down her pants. The TSA agent continued to examine the back side of the traveler, beginning at her waist and rubbing their hands down her bottom and all the way to her feet.
Okay, that was bad enough, but what I saw when the TSA agent continued with the traveler’s front side, appalled me. They began by running their hands over her spaghetti-straps and continued rubbing her down, under her breasts, to her waist. Next, the agent placed her hand between her breasts and ran it along the underside of one breast and repeated the action along the other. After that, the bottom of traveler’s tank top was lifted so the inside of her waistband could be examined from hip – to –hip, again with the agent’s hand in her pants. This was followed by an examination of each leg, crotch to foot, (ending with the grabbing of each sock covered foot) which finished the pat down.
I spoke with the young lady (who asked not to be named) after the incident and asked her if she would continue flying after this. She said, “No. We as travelers have to pick one poison over another, body scanners or groping, in order to fly. Both are humiliating and we are all assumed and treated as if we are guilty of something just going where we need to go. If I hadn’t had a family emergency, I wouldn’t have flown this time.”
Just because you opt out of going through the machine, worried about the x-ray waves, naked body pictures taken or whatever, no one should ever have to be humiliated like that for wanting to get on a plane. Is it really a safety issue? I have to wonder after seeing that.
Photo credit: www.telegraph.co.uk