Local

First-Hand Account Of TSA Pat Down

By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Jim Armstrong flew to and back from New York Wednesday to check out Thanksgiving travel and see what the TSA'a patdowns were all about. (credit: CBS/Jim Armstrong)

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong flew to and back from New York Wednesday to check out Thanksgiving travel and see what the TSA’a patdowns were all about. (credit: CBS/Jim Armstrong)

BOSTON (CBS) — The day started off well, especially since I, and everyone else, was prepped for the worst.

But when I went through security at 7:15 am, the line was almost non-existent.  I’d brought my flip camera, and my goal was to go to New York City and back again for a firsthand look at security.

From the early morning, TSA and airport workers told me how surprisingly quiet it was.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports

As my bags went through the conveyor belt scanner as usual, I chose to mix things up, and opt-out of the controversial full-body scanner to see what the fuss was about. 

My pat down at Logan was thorough, and I can certainly see why some people might find it uncomfortable.  But I have to say, TSA employees could not have been more polite; they explained everything step by step.  The whole process took only about two minutes.

What made me feel more uncomfortable were a couple of dirty looks from other passengers.

People heard me request the pat-down, and even though the TSA worker didn’t blink when I asked, the other travelers within earshot may have suspected I was someone trying to slow things down with a boycott, part of the “national opt-out day” we heard so much about. A day, by the way, that never seemed to materialize.

Once Boston was in the distance, I looked forward to seeing how LaGuardia handled things.

But New York City was not that different.

There were very long lines but pre-security was no problem.

Post-security was another story.

I saw two women getting pat-downs there.

My terminal there didn’t have those full-body scanners — just metal detectors, so there was no way to opt-out.

If you got a pat down there, it meant you triggered something.

But it was just as aggressive as the opt-out

The pat-down certainly isn’t the worst experience in the world, and TSA workers handle it very professionally.

But you’re left wondering if it’s the most effective procedure.

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