Holiday Air Travel: Getting Yourself and Your Geeklings Through the New TSA Procedures

Image: TSA

*Note: Use discretion when clicking the links to read the discussion and viewing images produced by the TSA scanners as some material is inappropriate for children.

As a frequently flying GeekMom, I’ve flown under the old and new guidelines, had my very first aggressive pat down, and learned a few things through the friendly and not-so-friendly skies as a business and leisure traveler, a domestic and international vacationer, a single woman alone and a single mom with an infant-toddler-kid-tween. As a criminologist, I travel with a professional eye as well. It’s easy enough to plot the inverse relationship between new security measures and ease of travel, but there are ways to minimize the fuss.

To full body scan or not to full body scan: That is the big holiday travel question. The controversy over full body scanners, now deployed in many airports throughout the United States and abroad, is well-documented. So what does the savvy GeekMom need to know to make an informed decision?

If you go through the full body scanner: Check out the images produced by the machines that are viewed by an agent, who may be of the opposite sex, in a separate location. Learn about the radiation issues, and decide whether the possibility of stored images is too much for you. But there’s more to consider. First, your belongings will be out of your view, albeit for a short time, while you are in the scanner. This probably matters more to you as a person who is more likely to be traveling with awesome expensive gadgets. Most importantly, you need to know that going through the scanner does not exempt you from one of the new aggressive pat downs. If the viewing agent spots something or there is some question about items in your personal belongings, you will get the new pat down even though you’ve just been through the scanner. Take absolutely everything out of your pockets to minimize this possibility.

[Read the rest of this post at our companion site, GeekMom!]