Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Was Patted Down in Airport Security and Survived

One of the things that I remember most clearly from 9/11 was the lack of the planes in the sky as the airspace was shut down for those days immediately following. And of course, our airport security policies have been forever changed, and now, 9 years later, more safety precautions are being instituted with full body scanners and/or pat downs being implemented in many areas.

We've always traveled by air a fair amount -- at least once a year. That didn't stop after 9/11. And because Terry's parents live in Northern Virginia, we flew into and out of Washington Dulles airport which remains one of the most highly sensitive airports.

I didn't think twice when the female agent asked to pat me down as I flew to Houston from LaGuardia last week -- or maybe it was when I was flying from Houston back to LaGuardia -- or maybe both? See I don't even remember.

Because I remember the very careful screens in those post-9/11 years: "I'm going to put the back of my hand right here, okay?" as they felt around my waistband or near my underwire bra.

So in this busiest of busy time of air travel, know that it's not a huge deal. I am about as apple pie American looking as they come (right?), and when we were traveling with young baby Amanda, we were often pulled aside for the "random screens" before we got onboard. And I guess that was actually before 9/11, right? So things had changed even before then.

I want to continue to feel safe flying the friendly skies, and I will take what some perceive as a little inconvenience so that I can keep doing so. One change I've made is that even on a short trip, I had been more likely to choose to check my bag so that I could bring whatever liquids I wanted to (i.e. hair product). However, now that the airlines are charging for bags, I've gone back to making a carry-on work.

What about you? Have the recent changes in air travel changed the way you feel about flying?


planetnomad said...

As one who has traveled a lot internationally, I have to say that American security is the most uptight and least friendly. Everyone else does it (or not, depending where you are) with more of a bored but professional attitude. Americans are more "WE HAVE TO DO THIS AND WE'RE FREAKED MA'AM!!" if that makes sense. Frankly, I much prefer airports in other countries. And I've been patted down all over the world.

Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

I don't want to start a fight on your blog, but I might have to disagree with you this time. :) I'm not generally an alarmist, but I think the invasiveness of the new scans and the aggressiveness of the new pat-downs are going a bit too far. I've gone through security in Israel -- they managed to make it thorough and secure and tough without being inappropriate or "too personal."

We don't fly much to begin with, but the new regulations will probably make us even less likely to fly in the future.

That said, I'm glad your recent experience was not bad. :)

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Oh controversy is always good for blogging! Let it roll!!

Yes, it's probably going too far, but my point was that it's not all that different from what's been done before. I thought to post this because a friend mentioned it to me, and I hadn't even thought about it.

Lisa notes... said...

My husband got the patdown last week and didn't think anything about it either. Nicely written post amidst all this controversy!