PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – With thousands of people heading to airports to get to their holiday destinations, many people are experiencing the new full body scanners and pat-downs for the first time.
On this day before Thanksgiving at 9:30 a.m., the security check lines inside Pittsburgh International Airport were short.
“I thought it would be longer than what it is right now,” said Sandy McCune, a first-time flyer.
“This morning, we had people outside the doors – 20, 25 minutes it was taking them to get through – which on the day before Thanksgiving is really as good as we can hope for,” said Joe Terrell, of TSA.
For McCune, her biggest fear isn’t take-off or landing; instead, it’s about the crowded security checkpoints.
“I’m all kinds of nervous; people touching me,” said McCune. “I don’t know if I have to do the full body pat-downs. I’m a little bit uncomfortable with strangers touching me.”
But it turns out, the much-ballyhooed pat-down search is really up to the passengers.
According to TSA, here’s how the procedure goes: most folks will go through a metal detector, some will go though a full-body imager, and only if you decline either one or both will you get the pat-down.
“It’s ironic really because we’ve seen a lower percentage of people opting out today than, say, we saw a week ago,” said Terrell.
There were no indications this morning of pat down protesters vowing to slow things up to force changes in security procedures.
“They just want to cause chaos, make it harder for us to get through,” added McCune.
The line is expected to grow as the day continues, so travelers are being urged to maintain patience.