Controversy or Confidence? My take on TSA.

I’ve been a travel agent since January 1990. As I approach the dawn of my twenty-second year, I must say, things have changed……from smoking on airplanes to meeting friends at the gate…..and everything else in between.

Those days are gone.

We can wish, want, and cry for the good ol’ days, but it won’t bring them back to life. Not even a spark of it.

You know what? I wouldn’t want them to.


I’ll give you one reason – September 11th.

And that should be the end of my post. But nooooo. With every new unveiling of more security measures comes what? CONTROVERSY.

It started with the shoes, the liquids, and date of birth implementations.

Now, the latest being Advanced Imaging Technology at the airport. Travelers believe this is invasive of their privacy (parts) and harmful due to the incredible imaging the machine provides.


The alternative? Being patted down.

The uproar? Being patted down. The alternative? The imaging machine. The uproar? The subject’s privacy (of body parts being viewed). The alternative? BEING TOUCHED pat searched (professional and non-invasive). The uproar? The damaging radiation machine (alleged). The alternative? Same gender pat search!

Do you see the dilemma?

For me, I don’t even have to think about this one. Yes, I would go through the machine. No, I don’t think it’s harmful (no more than holding an iPhone to your head while standing in front of a microwave). What I do have a problem with is boundaries. I have a personal space radar and would prefer not to be touched patted (if say, I had a choice) (by going through an imaging machine). And thank GOODNESS there is a choice now.

My travel career includes a time when passengers were not just afraid, but downright terrified of flying. I would get calls (more than one) after 9/11 of being in the gate area and seeing a man wearing a turban awaiting the same flight. They would insist on being moved to another airplane. A bit much? Of course, it was a major overreaction, but that is what fear does to people.

How do you combat fear? More security measures. More safety. More assurance; enforcement of I.D. checks, baggage scanning, birth dates, boarding passes, x-ray of shoes, laptops, people, and anything else they can think of to make it safer (backscatter machines).

I had my purse checked more than once for a bomb. Was I carrying a bomb? Or bomb materials? No. Did I look like a bomber? I don’t think so. Was I offended? No! Why would I be? I don’t think on 9/11 any one person stood out. No one seemed threatening or suspicious that I know of. But then again, I probably couldn’t pick a terrorist out of a line-up that was trying not to look like a terrorist. I hear a lot of noise about seniors, or handicapped travelers being put through extreme security measures when they are harmless individuals. Listen…threats do not come packaged as threats. Just like drug smugglers don’t carry hash over the border in a ziplock bag (do they?). They are smuggled and hidden, and honestly? If it were my job, I wouldn’t want to be the THAT guy. The one to put 200 passengers in danger. I don’t think you can be too careful and I don’t understand why more people don’t get that.

Can you hand-pick a threat out of crowd? How do you choose? How do you exclude?

Controversy or confidence?

Let’s not be part of the problem. Let’s be part of the solution. Confidence to fly without fear.

Stick to the guidelines that a team of aviation security has designed to define safer travels, or don’t fly. It’s that simple.

I’m not just talking the talk on TSA. I’m walking the walk (x-raying the walk?). I’ll be flying to Chicago this weekend……I’ll probably be going through an imaging machine at DFW airport.

Smile for the camera…




Please know, this is just my stance as a corporate travel agent, and a very laid back person.

I can be as skeptical and fearful as the next person. Maybe, I do trust more than I should. I believe flying is safer today. I believe there is more evil plans by terrorist than ever. I believe EVERYONE is entitled to their views and I absolutely respect that.

P.S. I found a great CBS news article on the radiation of the ATI machine. You can read it on the link below.
TSA Airport Scanners: Radiation Truth & Lies

This post part of Mama’s Losin’ It writer’s workshop. I choose prompt 3.) CONTROVERSY! Are the new security measures performed by the TSA really that bad? Take a stance!

43 thoughts on “Controversy or Confidence? My take on TSA.

  1. You’ve made some really great points here. I used to be a frequent traveler _I now travel about once a month and my only concern was frequently going through the x-ray machine. I have no been worried about my privacy so much because quite honestly, the alternative is NOT attractive either. I have heard though that healthy individuals don’t really need to be worried so much about the amount of radiation produced by the x-ray machine – not if they aren’t frequently traveling. However, if I was going through it several times a week, I may have more concerns.


    1. Ashley-I understand what you are saying. I dislike the dentist for the same x-ray reason. I’ve had x-rays and nuclear tests done for a thyroid problem as well. It’s all very scary…. then again, just being in Dallas/Fort Worth with orange ozones and the enormous pollution is not so fun either.

      It’s a random selection right now for the machine. They haven’t replaced the metal detectors (yet). If they do, maybe with more technology advances, it can have even less radiation (if any). A very valid concern to bring up. 🙂


  2. Having not flown for a few years, I didn’t know all that was involved with just getting to the plane. There were 32 of us in our missions team and only one older gentleman had a problem. We all did as were told and expected to do, but when Ron had to undo his belt and drop his pants in Atlanta to prove that he had had a hip replacement, we were a bit appalled. I agree with you all the way around. I just wish they showed more respect. I think a lot of the problem is that we have become so doggone impatient. I have to admit that the hour and a half to get through Atlanta’s airport put even me a bit on the pissed side. I wanted to get home.


    1. Weezer-I watched my diabetic, amputee uncle get super screened via his wheelchair. It is NOT fun to watch, nor was it fun for him to endure. I don’t like the new security and the invasiveness of it….but……I’d rather be safe than sorry and yes, the long line waiting game really, really stinks. 🙂


  3. suzicate

    AMEN! I’d much rather be safe than not be alive to be sorry! I was selected to go through the body scanner at Vegas…no big deal! I did not refuse. If one refuses, a pat down is the alternative. I did not feel my rights were violated. Safety should be the first concern of all. Thank you for saying what so many fear to say.


  4. Maddy

    I’m not a big airport traveler (though I really wish I could jet-set everywhere!), but I would MUCH rather the added security than the alternative! I am still frightened when I fly, but the extra security measures be taken make it slightly more reassuring. Also, people need to learn to pack and arrive prepared for travel! I make sure to wear the least amount of accessories and easy slip on shoes to make for a relatively painless process. I see people dressed to the nines for travel and then get irritated when they are asked to go back and forth through the machine! Keep it simple, folks!


    1. Maddy-I agree! First time travelers need to check the TSA website and be prepared. It’s really not that hard once you get the flow of it and could all go so much smoother.
      Did you hear about the girl in Hawaii showing up in a bikini? ha.


    1. Florida girl-Glad to make you smile. Sometimes humor is the only way to get through some aggravating (and embarrassing) procedures.
      I enjoy riding in a car more and more with my iPhone and all the apps and entertainment. 😉


  5. Ange,
    It would save the government & the American public so much heartache & end fighting if the powers that be would just ASK ISRAEL! They know something this administration doesn’t seem to grasp: TERRORISTS WILL STAY ONE STEP AHEAD, SO WE NEED TO THINK ONE STEP AHEAD OF THEM! Just sayin’! love the post! I was wondering when you were going 2 chime in on the controversey!


  6. Ha! You’re so cute! But I feel the same way. I hate that people gripe so much about it. It’s like Really people?! Anywho… speaking of… we are boarding a plane tomorrow morning so we’ll be smiling!! 🙂
    (btw- love the new layout at top!!)


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  8. Geez. The “pat” downs are probably number two (on top of splitting headaches) on why air travel isn’t my favorite. The worst place I’ve experienced is Paris. Did that lady REALLY really need to feel every inch of my under wire bra? Really?

    Scan me, please.


  9. This post just made me realize something. I guess if you really believe that this type of security will help and does protect you, then you wouldn’t mind it. But if you are of a different train of thought, then it is not something that you would find acceptable.

    So I guess it just really has to do with what you believe.

    Maybe that is really where the controversy lies?


  10. I agree with terrepruitt. But I also believe we have become a society that feeds off of fear and have a huge false sense of security in the measures that are being put into place to keep us safe, when really we aren’t any safer than we were on 9/11. I just cannot and will not put myself nor my children in a position where we have to decide whether to be shot with radiation or groped. Neither one is the answer for me. And I think the airlines will be the ones feeling the cost most of all for the TSA’s actions, maybe then things will change?


    1. Michelle-It is possible the airlines could step in, and it might hurt their business, or it could boost their business.

      There was a blog post about a man who had some time at the airport. He refused the ATI machine, and he refused the pat down. About three hours later the police escorted him out of the airport without going through any machines. So all in all, it is possible to get around them if you really refused. Then again, he was returning home from Europe and not missing a flight.

      Air travel is safer than riding in a car. That is something a lot of people don’t realize. All you have to do is look at the fatal car crash stats versus dying in a plane crash.
      “According to Jeff Wise, in “Psychology Today,” flying fatalities in the U.S. comes to “one per billion passenger trips.” In comparison, auto accidents kill some 50,000 people a year. Statistically, flying is a lot safer than driving a car!”


  11. Haha! Love the last photo. You bring up some very good points. I read about the controversy a lot, but as someone who never travels, it’s not something I really have thought of too much.

    I think I would prefer the scanner, too, though–if I had a choice. I just think it would be more accurate than the pat searches, and a lot faster, too. Great post.


  12. I too would rather be safe than sorry, I don’t want to be patted down myself but if it comes to this so I can fly then so be it, terrorism does not stick out in a crowd as you pointed out and if we are going to protect ourselves from it then we have to endure these type of things.

    I choose to drive when I can but flying is not out of the question.


    1. Jimmy-Pat downs are definitely not appealing! I get zapped by the pollution more than any radiation particles from the machine. Not to mention the nuclear test I had earlier this year while under a big x-ray. I mean seriously I ingested nuclear dye. Ick!


  13. I’m travelling frequently and have been to a lot of airports. So, I thought I knew what to epect when I travelled to Florida (from Germany) in November. The security checks on German soil were pretty much the usual stuff. As we don’t have the Advanced Imaging Technology yet, it’s the old way plus a patting down where needed. As it was a flight out of Europe I went through that procedure twice. Yes, twice, to ensure absolute 😉 security.
    However, on my way back, I have to say, I haven’t experienced such a lax security check in years. I had a bottle of water (which I accidentally forgot), a small tub of toothpaste and hand moisturizer with me. I refused to go through the AIT, but I wasn’t patted down, I didn’t have to unpack anything. Nothing. Ok, I’ve got to admit that I don’t wear a turban and probably don’t look like a terrorrist, but only I know that for sure. And that was two days before Thanksgiving…


    1. Andrea-I had my quart bag with my liquids in my backpack front pouch, in an effort to remember to pull it out. I totally forgot after getting my laptop in one tub, my shoes in another, and then my phone etc. When people are pushing at your back – it’s like – ahhh!
      The x-ray guy called me out on it, but let me go through. I am sure my embarrassed and shocked face said it all.

      Is is VERY interesting that they didn’t make you do a pat down after you refused the machine, but a lot of new security measures are not mandatory until a certain date, even if they are in place. I can’t seem to find the effective date of requirements. I would have reported that. People are not infallible.

      On another note, you got to come to the USA??? Yay!


  14. Yogasavy

    What one believes in. Both sides have their pros and cons all depends on what one is ready to give up on when going through security checks.


    1. Yogasavy-You are very wise. That is getting to the (pardon the pun) bare bones of it. LOL. I believe every choice in life has it’s pros and cons and it does come down to your beliefs and what you would prefer to give up.


  15. Please know, this is just my stance as a corporate travel agent, and a very laid back person.

    I can be as skeptical and fearful as the next person. Maybe, I do trust more than I should. I believe flying is safer today. I believe there is more evil plans by terrorist than ever. I believe EVERYONE is entitled to their views and I absolutely respect that.

    I found a great CBS news article on the radiation of the ATI machine. You can read it on the link below.
    TSA Airport Scanners: Radiation Truth & Lies


    1. What that article said to me was, “we are exposed to radiation everyday so it shouldn’t matter to you that you are exposing yourself (ha, ha, ha) to even more when you step through the scanner. It’s less than a lot of other things, so it’s ok.”

      There is a reason that you wear a heavy vest and the technician steps out of the room when you are getting your teeth X-rayed. And the last time I had an X-ray that was not dental, the technicial were in a totally different room down a hall—-far way from the machines.


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  17. You’re going to be in my neck of the woods! They’re calling for a bit of snow, so be warned 😉

    We live with so much radiation all around us – WiFi, cell phones, even infant monitors – is going through a scanner going to be so much more? Sure they get to see more than I feel comfortable with, but if it means that we can fly safer than I guess I’m for it… they’re not going away so I might as well get used to it anyway. As for the pat downs… if I had the choice, I would prefer the scanner.


  18. I totally don’t get the big deal over the xray scan. It’s not like their sitting back there rating your boobies. And the radiation it puts out seems negligable. Of course, this is coming from someone who’s had 87,000 MRI scans. And yet, I still don’t glow in the dark.

    Great post, well thought out, well articulated.


  19. Hi Angelia!

    I just went to Spain over Thanksgiving. I know the new machines are at Logan, but I didn’t have to go through it and I wasn’t patted down, either. Both leaving the country and returning home were relatively easy and painless. Except for the jet lag…


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