Body Scan Or Pat Downs Required For Tulsa Air Travelers

Tuesday, November 16th 2010, 5:42 pm
By: News On 6

Chris Wright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- We are a little over a week away from the busiest travel day of the year, and some passengers are already up in arms over new security measures.

Many airports now require passengers to go through a full-body scanner, or be subjected to a pat-down some are calling invasive.

The stricter measures are new at many larger airports, but Tulsa flyers have been putting up with them for some time now.

2/18/2009 Related story: Tulsa International Adds Body Scanners

There are advantages to flying in and out of Tulsa International Airport (TIA). The security lines usually aren't too long, and the airport is often a guinea pig for new technology.

Full-body scanners, or advanced imaging technology, have been in place here since 2008.

"We were one of the first airports to have that in place as the primary method of screening passengers," said TIA Spokesperson Alexis Higgins.

When they were first installed, passengers still had the option of going through either a scanner, or a traditional metal detector. But now, flyers must go through the scanners.

If they opt out, they are given a pat-down similar to the one a San Diego passenger taped over the weekend.

TIA says incidents the San Diego incident have been rare here.

Of the 1.4 million passengers that passed through security last year, only ten complained about the procedure.

"What they're doing, they're doing because they have the expertise and the research and the knowledge as to what those threats are," Higgins said.

Critics have called it a 'virtual strip search.' While passengers News On 6 spoke to aren't exactly excited about the process.

"I'm actually kind of nervous about it. I haven't put too much thought into it. I'd rather go through the naked scanner or the pat-down," said a Tulsa International Airport passenger.

Most say given the realities of modern-day air travel, they're willing to put with it.

"I'd rather be safe than sorry. They can x-ray everything as long as we stop the violence that goes on with flying. That's fine with me," an airport traveler told News On 6.

Holiday travelers will not be given a third option when going through security. If you refuse both the body scan and the pat-down, you won't be allowed on the plane.

Several groups are calling for a national boycott next Wednesday, the busiest travel day of the year.