TSA Relaxes Airport Security Rules
Passengers at Washington area airports confronted long looping lines this morning as they joined a record throng of holiday travelers spurred on by a strong economy, long weekends, declining albeit appalling gasoline prices and a kinder, gentler security atmosphere blessed by no new color-coded alerts and, for women, “chest perimeter” searches instead of full upper-body frontal pat-downs.
Security screening was reported going smoothly. Airport security screeners have been instructed not to touch women passengers between their breasts as part of new pat-down procedures, the Transportation Security Administration said yesterday. The agency said it is making a modification to its searching methods that began in September after more than 400 passengers — mostly women — formally complained that the experience was invasive, humiliating and akin to being molested. Screeners had been instructed to use their hands to touch women between and underneath their breasts to inspect for explosives that might be hidden beneath clothing. Now, the agency said, security screeners will be directed to pat down only the “chest perimeter” of female passengers and not to touch women between their breasts unless they set off a hand-held metal detector in the chest area. Female screeners perform the procedure on female passengers.
Apparently, there actually is a limit to what Americans are willing to put up with in the name of “security.”
Fortunately for the airlines, but unfortunately for its passengers, people are now flocking back to airports in pre-9/11 levels. It looks like it’s going to be another miserable holiday travel season. It could be worse. The girlfriend is flying out to spend the holiday in Indiana.