Saturday, November 20, 2010

Travel Trauma?

All the news about full-body scanners and 'way more than pat-down searches at airports right now is making me more and more uneasy in the run-up to my flight to Atlanta for Thanksgiving. I feel in my bones there's just something not right about it, security aside. What will I choose to do when I get to the security lines on Monday - scanner or "pat"-down?

I was mildly concerned last month before my trip to the UK. A few days before I was scheduled to leave, it was announced that the new full-body scanners were in place at JFK, the airport I was flying out of. I'd decided ahead of time to do the pat-down, because I just don't trust the body scanner approach. But I worried needlessly. Not a body scanner in sight, just the plain old metal detectors. And leaving Aberdeen and Heathrow? Same thing - regular metal detectors, plus the added benefit of NOT having to remove my very safe looking suede flats. Whew.

Fast-forward three weeks. While I still do not like the body scanner idea, the so-called "pat-down" is not the light, cursory pat-downs of old. Too many really inappropriate, humiliating  reports of this process have caused me to rethink my choice. And I assume that's the point of making the pat-down more and more invasive - to make people opt for the quicker, easier scanner. No, no. I don't mean to sound paranoid or like a conspiracy theorist, but I don't think you have to be either to reach that conclusion.

And that's what I don't like about this whole thing. I don't care if some TSA flunky is watching my full body scan in a back room. But it seems overly intrusive - crashing through simple rights of privacy. And I'm not convinced at all that any of this makes us more secure. If a brazen hussy like me starts feeling nervous and paranoid, then we've really lost this battle, me thinks.

I leave through La Guardia on Monday afternoon. Perhaps LGA's scanner/pat-down system isn't in place. One can only hope. Maybe it won't be as bad as portrayed. I'll report back.

I will, however, be wearing clean underwear (as always), just in case.


Joy Des Jardins said...

You don't sound a bit paranoid to me Mary...I feel EXACTLY the same way. I don't like either method and was concerned when I traveled to CA two months ago when my daughter had a baby. Like you....the scanners weren't even in place...just the regular metal detectors. I actually was relieved since all this stuff is why I'm not in love with flying much these days. I understand why they feel the need to do this, but I find it all an invasion of privacy that I'm not comfortable with....and believe me sweetie...WE'RE NOT ALONE. ~Joy

MaryB said...

Amen, Joy. Well, we'll see today if La Guardia has its scanners in place. Sure hope they don't. Ugh.