Did you know that you can opt out of going through the TSA body scanners? Yeah, neither did I. But thanks to a quick How-To video that USA Today Travel released today, you can opt out of getting body scanned without making too much of a fuss. Whether its because you feel uncomfortable with the TSA seeing through your clothing, you’re uneasy about the effects of the scanner on your health (Backscatter scanners use non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation and millimeter wave scanners use electromagnetic radiation – oh my!), or for other miscellaneous reasons, remember, it is your legal right to opt out of a full body scan if you so chose.
Here’s a few things to remember:
- Empty your pockets of everything, take off your belt, shoes, jacket, jewelery — prepare yourself by wearing only the minimum amount of “stuff”.
- Use the words “Opt Out” when you tell the TSA agent that you don’t want to go through the scanner
- Be polite yet firm – you don’t have to elaborate why you opt out – it’s your right
- Don’t let the TSA intimidate you
- You will go through the metal detector and they will do a pat down
- For the pat down, they bring over a second TSA agent who will ask you for a “public” or “private” screening — the public screening they can do right there and is much quicker than the private screening, which requires them to find a spare room. Depending on your comfort level, decide accordingly.
- A physical screening takes a bit more time, so consider that if you’re running late for your flight
- There are reports of TSA agents using their power to retaliate — whether forcing you to wait for absurd lengths of time, or worse, extra fondling during the screening because you opted out — stay strong — stand your ground and don’t be bullied.