So, when taking a flight today, I opted out of the full body scan and requested a pat-down. Traveling several times a year, I am always a little concerned about what the long-terms effects of full-body scanning are. Since it is a new use of a new technology, the effects may not become apparent for years.
Anyways, the TSA agent who performed the pat-down said it had been a while since he had done one and didn’t quite remember how to do everythigng, so I sort of had to walk him through the process.
He gloved up and almost immediately began to pat me down. Usually, before this happens, they have some prepared statements explaining that you can ask to be screened privately, whether or not you can stand unassisted for 4-5 minutes (admittedly, screeners at other airports don’t always say this, but I have heard it a few times when traveling), whether or not I had any implanted medical devices, and so forth.
So, while the agent is patting me down, I told him I did not need to be screened privately, that I could stand for 4-5 minutes unassisted, that I had no implanted devices (at least, that I was aware of–because, you know, aliens), nor did I have any sensitive areas.
I had to remind the agent to check inside waistband of pants, and pat down front of my legs as well as groin area with back of hand. He didn’t do the latter, and to be honest, I think we’re both kind of grateful about that.
After passing through the TSA checkpoint, I left a comment card praising them for their speed, but mentioned that I had to remind their agent how to do a pat-down.
Note that I’m keeping the airport location and agent’s name out of this, since I’m hoping that the TSA will treat that as a teachable moment and ensure that agents get regular re-training on interactions with travelers like how to conduct a pat-down in a secure fashion, as opposed to taking punitive action.