Living near Denver International Airport (DIA), I realized this morning that the holiday travel season has begun. As I saw the parade of cars heading toward the airport, I was grateful—as I am every holiday season—that I do not have to travel to see my family.
Many do have to board planes this time of year though and controversial security processes remain an issue. After an “underwear bomber” was able to get onto a flight during Christmas 2009, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has reformed its security screenings.
The TSA introduced advanced body scanners that are supposed to be able to detect non-metallic explosives and other threatening items. Those who choose to opt out of going through these scanners for various reasons have the option to undergo a physical pat-down screening.
There have been uproars about both kinds of screenings. The consensus seems to be that both processes are far too invasive. Some say the full-body scanners are an invasion of privacy because they say some machines produce naked images of those passing through. As far as the pat-downs, some travelers have complained about being inappropriately touched during screenings.
Luckily, I’ve only been to the airport once since the new processes have been in place. I wasn’t sure which method I’d choose but I ended up going through the scanner because I was betting on it being the kind that makes you look distorted or like a stick figure, which most, if not all scanners these days are supposed to do.
It is a dilemma to say the least. How can safe traveling and dignified security screenings co-exist? How can the TSA enact the safest security measures without sacrificing some of our personal privacy? What method do you choose—or will you choose when going through airport security?