With the recent reports that showed X-ray body scanners in airports “after testing produced dramatically higher than expected results” recently, and with more money set aside to buy more, plus my first ever X-ray ‘opt-out’ at Los Angeles Airport today, it seems a good time to pass along my experiences of what actually happened when I opted out, and some surprises I got.
There have been some horror stories of people being subjected to overly personal patdowns and being made to feel like criminals. Although the intention of these articles is good — informing people of what’s going on — it made me a little nervous about asking for a patdown myself, because I just didn’t know what was going to happen.
In sharing my experiences. I hope you find the courage to stand up for something you believe in and take this in your stride.
I’ve never been at an airport that uses body scanners, so when I arrived at LAX and saw these two big black scanners, I was relieved that they seemed not be in use.
I went through the normal routine of putting all my possessions in trays to go through the X-ray machine, to then see a TSA employee open up the scanner just as the person in front of me was due to go through.
I started to get nervous. I was hoping that I wouldn’t be selected, as it seemed to be a fairly random selection of whom they asked to go through the scanner.
But I was selected and said, “I’d like to opt out”. I was asked to stand to one side as the TSA employee shouted, “Opt-out”. She shouted this three times before someone came to speak to me.
I’m sure this is to make the process of opting out seem unusual and to try to make you feel in some way embarrassed. The TSA employees all have personal radios to communicate with, and there’s no reason to be shouting for help, certainly not three times.