Flying Security: Are pat-downs too personal? - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Flying Security: Are pat-downs too personal?

Story by Gordon Boyd
Eyewitness News Reporter

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- To get to her daughter's house in Chattanooga, Vivian Simpson had to get up close and personal with the airport's full body scanner in Jacksonville, FL.

"I dreaded it, but it was a piece of cake," she says. "I'm an old woman. I had to take my shoes off and put all my stuff in the box."

Don Sutton got the 'getting to know you' pat-down in Providence (RI).

"Where you raise your hands up. But it's the price you gotta pay," he says.

"We all need to look at how life is nowadays," Vivian tells us.

But what could you face come Wednesday; traditionally the year's busiest flying day?

"Travelers coming through Chattanooga Metro Airport will not see a lot of changes," says Marketing Director Christina Siebold.

 "Although with TSA , you will see some unpredictable layers of security."

Not full-body scanning.

Metro doesn't have the equipment.

TSA Director John Pistole maintains that only a 'very small percentage' of airline passengers will find themselves subjected to a thorough 'pat-down.'

TSA blogs and fact-sheets state that suspicion prompts most such procedures; setting off the metal detectors repeatedly, for example.

Business traveler Monica Fallo believes you can avoid that with a little planning and common sense.

"Make sure you take your belt off," she says. "Make sure you have nothing in your pockets."

"Not everything triggers those things," Vivian says. "I have hearing aids. They didn't set it off."

VW engineer Matthias Pfannmueller commutes regularly among the automaker's various assembly plants and corporate headquarters in Germany.

"To a certain extend, you don't make up your mind about it or have control over it any longer," he says. "What, really, can you do?"

Three-year-old Ansley Richards wouldn't give up her visits to Texas for anything.

"Flying's fun," she says.

Her grandmother, Julie Richards, has made peace with the extra security procedures.

"What's worse, being a little uncomfortable now or having a 9-11 something, happen again," she asks.

The key, frequent fliers tell us, is to makes children aware of what to expect.

"If you choose to fly, then you follow the rules that apply," Fallo says.

Vivian Simpson is more blunt.

"Listen, if the honest people don't get scanned, the crooks will say I'm gonna stand by that honest Joe," she says.

Passengers and airport officials suggest you arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes before your scheduled departure time.  Consider checking your baggage, rather than carrying it aboard; the extra cost could spare you time and grief.


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