It’s pretty safe to say that most, if not all, of us aren’t exactly thrilled about having to do the TSA shuffle — remove shoes, take out the laptop, put your keys in the bowl, step on through — at airport security checkpoints. But as one traveler at LaGuardia Airport in NYC learned last week, just because you’ve made it through the checkpoint doesn’t mean you can’t get one hell of a pat-down on your way to the gate.
According to the woman, she had been checked by security and was walking to the gate to catch her flight to Washington when she says she was approached by a TSA agent who told her to drop her bags and stand spread-eagle as other travelers and airport staff watched.
“If I had been physically attacked, this would have been a very, very similar experience,” she tells the NY Post about the experience. The woman claims that, when she protested the impromptu pat-down, the agent told her, “You can either continue on flailing about, or you can let me do my job. If you don’t, you can’t fly.”
The passenger says she saw two other women being patted down at her gate.
According to the TSA’s own FAQ on pat-downs, they “are used to resolve alarms at the checkpoint, including those triggered by metal detectors and AIT units… Because pat-downs are specifically used to resolve alarms and prevent dangerous items from going on a plane, the vast majority of passengers will not receive a pat-down at the checkpoint.”
The passenger says she was never given the option of being scanned.
A rep for the TSA tells the NY Post, “We will certainly look into the specifics of this passenger’s complaint. Officers are trained to conduct these pat-downs in a professional manner.”
Flier’s TSA ‘grope’ nightmare [NY Post]