The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said on Friday that pilots in uniform would no longer have to undergo pat downs or body scans as part of the agency’s anti terror program.
Flight attendants however still will be subjected to the same procedures as normal passengers even though they are background checked the same as pilots. Both unions representing pilots and flight attendants have long argued that their members have already had security checks as a condition of their employment and are not terrorist threats and should not be treated as such.
Pilots traveling out of uniform or not on duty will be required to get screened in the same way regular passengers do.
The pilots working the flights will be subjected to metal detector screening, must provide two pieces of identification, and their names be on the flight crew list. Pilots were up in arms about being subjected to more radiation from the body scanners in addition to the radiation they already receive by flying at high altitudes.
By the same logic it seems that frequent fliers or business travelers will also have the same bone to pick with the TSA over radiation hazards as pilots … and being offered semi rapes or huge fines as options won’t be too appealing either. Airlines are liable to feel the pinch if their most profitable customers start using travel alternatives, or engage in more video conference calls.
More and more people have been complaining in recent days about the near strip searches they have been subjected to by TSA employees and in some cases the issue of sexual assault has been raised … and some lawsuits filed.
This is the first time that the TSA has relented in their new get tough approach and suggests they are starting to feel pressure from the public as well as the pilots and flight attendant unions to cut some slack for those not fitting the terrorist profile.
Orlando airport indicated earlier this week that they will be replacing TSA security staff with their own private security company later in 2011. Other airports in the nation are also said to be looking at this option as travelers are rebelling against the actions of the TSA.
Some high profile individuals such as former Minnesota governor Jessie Ventura and Penn Jillette from the Penn and Teller comedy duo have also indicated publicaly their disgust by how they’ve been treated by TSA screeners.
You still have options folks. You don’t have to fly air united by government proxy. You can exercise your freedom by driving, hitch-hiking, skateboarding, or even taking the bus. Private or business jets are probably a lot of fun if you can afford them to.
The train can also be a nice way to go to. You might like to read America By Rail to find out about a more relaxed way to go where you don’t have to watch your daughter, wife or girlfriend get forcibly felt up by a ten dollar an hour rent a cop.