For many travelers uncomfortable with full-body scans at airport security, opting instead for a manual frisking or patdown is the one option for those trying to avoid the X-rays.
However, Christopher Elliott at the Huffington Post
alleges those who opt out of the scan are relegated to an "underclass" of travelers. These airplane passengers are subjected to the whims and ire of Transportation Security Administration officials, who are concerned with moving the line alone, Elliott wrote.
Three different "punishments" characterize the actions of TSA agents annoyed by passengers opting out of the scans: Intimidation, harassment and retaliatory wait time. The first involves humiliation, such as inappropriate physical contact. The second and third are self-explanatory, he said.
In his column, Elliott provides anecdotal evidence for each punishment, including being yelled at when opting out and being forced to wait for extensive periods. But for these examples, Reddit users disagreed with the overall message of the piece.
"All the TSA agents I've had to pat me down were polite and professional," writes user fluffytufts. "Neither of us were thrilled to be doing this, but I didn't feel as if I were being punished. I wasn't herded into another area, just over to the side, and sometimes there's a bit of a delay while waiting for a TSA agent to become available and grab my things, but not unreasonably so."
Most users actually found the experience easygoing. Whether that speaks to the cross-section of Reddit users and travelers or to the TSA at large is up in the air. But a few did have a few negative comments for the TSA.
"I was the only person going through security on a slow afternoon," writes ehnonnymouse. "The agent that I requested a patdown/opt out from started giving me this diatribe, asking me why I was opting out, that we were only 'doing this for my safety,' 'don't you know what happened on 9/11,' pretty much throwing every talking point in the book at me.”
User nimaku actually found common ground with Elliott, too.
"I started opting out when I got pregnant because there isn't much evidence for effects of the new scanners on a fetus, and I've done a lot of traveling all over the country in that time. I have definitely been harassed and intimidated at San Diego and Tulsa," she wrote. "I started dreading having to fly and praying they would have the old kind of metal detectors at each new airport so I wouldn't have to be treated any differently than the rest of the cattle moving through the line.”
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