My sister may be the most innocent looking human being. Petite, blond and an incredibly fast walker, she is not what you call a “suspicious looking” traveler. This past week, she went through security and that all changed.
As she walked up to security, she is pulled over for the full body scanner. Not knowing you can “just say no” to these “how are they legal” machines, she went through. After putting her hands in the air and rendering all sense of privacy, she was then put through a pat down, as was every other person that went through the scanners. Questioning how well these scanners work if nearly all of those going through them had to be subjected to another pat down, she bit her tongue and went through the first pat down. Then, the officer wiped her hands with a papery item and put it through a device. Explosives were detected on her hands according to this machine. Taking her computer off, a second pat down commenced and after 15 minutes, she could finally be on her way. That is, until realizing she had left her computer back at security due to all of the confusion.
Having traveled myself last week alone as a female, I watched as a man in front of me put a computer through security. The agent grabbed his computer and gave it back to him. For me, he took my computer to a desk. I met him there and quickly got the sense he just wanted some female interaction. However, no matter your gender, if these full body scanners warrant a pat down in addition, how great of technology are they? What are they doing for security? Preventing petite blonds from making their flights? Solo female travelers may not be the most targeted group, but I have noticed a pattern with airport security that is both alarming and disturbing for women traveling alone.
I have only been stopped when traveling alone, which is about 90% of the time. Only once, have I been subjected to the full body scanner. At the time, they were not used as much so I didn’t really know what it was. After the fact, I felt extremely exposed. Usually if you are alone and a female, you must be a security threat.
Not to give myself a compliment, but usually women I see getting pulled over are attractive. Talking with a guy friend about my laptop experience he said, “Those guys are just looking for any sort of female interaction, even if it is hassling you.” Those words tend to ring true anytime I am in an airport. Recently on Flyertalk, a pilot traveling with his 18 year old daughter reported hearing a TSA agent radio to his buddy, “hey, I’ve got a cutie for you”, just before she went through the scanners.
You Look Put Together
I never wear sweat pants to the airport. I usually try to look somewhat respectable. If I am flying overseas, I may change this somewhat, but generally when I am asked to be screened additionally, I look put together, dressed well and hair in place. My clothing is never loose when I am pulled over. Apparently you can conceal something in legging jeans and a t-shirt.
You Look Like You’re In a Hurry
If you are late for a flight and just want to get through security not violated, you may have that look on your face the TSA love, “I’m in a hurry”. Power can do a lot to people and if you have the ability to make a person late or detain them and you yourself aren’t the greatest of characters, you will. Give someone the power to see you stripped of everything just to travel and they will take advantage.
Do you have an airport security story as a solo female traveler? Male or female, what has been your experience with full body scanners? Love them or hate them?