Gini Dietrich

TSA X-Rays, Enhanced Pat-Downs, and Traveling

By: Gini Dietrich | November 24, 2010 | 
40

In the United States, today is the busiest air travel day of the entire year. So I figured it was a good time to talk about what’s going on with TSA, the new x-ray machines, and the “enhanced”  pat-downs.

I am not a TSA fan. I travel a ton and their rules vary from airport to airport. Last year, I was in the Detroit airport and forgot I had a full-sized tube of toothpaste in my suitcase, which got through, but they wanted to take the Bare Escentuals “Buxon” lipgloss that was in my purse.

This past January, I was going through security at O’Hare and they made me take my tights off and go back through. Now, men, you won’t understand how invasive that is, but women, you’ll get it. They made me take my tights off, in public, and go back through.

And now I’ve learned (because I forgot one morning) that you don’t really have to take your toiletries out of your suitcase, but you can cause a lot of trouble when you’re asked to “open” your iPad and, when you try explaining it doesn’t “open,” you cause a huge delay.

In some airports I can get through with my ski boots and others they consider them an additional carry-on. I once had to put them on and put my Uggs in my purse, just so I could get on the flipping plane without checking my ski boots (no, there isn’t a photo of that, as much as Mr. D really wanted to take one).

I do the whole, “I’m executive platinum and this is ridiculous. My lipgloss gets through the largest airports in the world, but I can’t get it through this rinky dink airport?” Yeah. That doesn’t work, yet I still throw a hissy fit like that at least once a month. They don’t care “who I am.”

The rules aren’t the same and, as a frequent traveler, it makes me nuts. I don’t mind following the rules if they’re consistent.

All that being said, the new x-ray machines are not a big deal.

Let me repeat. The new x-ray machines are not a big deal.

They actually make your time in the security line a lot shorter and guess what? They can’t see your face so they don’t know whose bodies they are seeing! I don’t care what your neighbor or your friend tells you…it’s not true.

The photo you see above is what you look like going through the new machines. They can’t see your cellulite or your beer gut! They can just see whether or not you have a gun sewn into your hip.

Don’t be afraid the new machines are going to “show your junk” (we’ll leave that to Brett Favre) or that going through them is not safe. Either is just not true. But, if you prefer the “enhanced” pat-down, by all means, don’t let me stop you!

Travel safely and Happy Thanksgiving!

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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40 Comments on "TSA X-Rays, Enhanced Pat-Downs, and Traveling"

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HowieSPM
HowieSPM
5 years 9 months ago
I think people are upset at the money spent for technology that isn’t going to help in my opinion. I say this because pre-9/11 our system worked. It worked on 9/11. No guns were used or bombs. They had box cutters. It was the doubt in peoples minds on the plane that just maybe something got through. If people knew only box cutters none of the stuff would of happened they would of had their asses kicked by the people on the planes. I started a heavy travel job just 2 weeks after the shoe bomber guy. My new company… Read more »
wabbitoid
5 years 9 months ago

The first rule of flying – do not wear steel toed workboots! I can’t emphasize that one enough. What a nightmare!

The rest of this is pretty silly, IMHO. I’d laugh it off if I weren’t one of these contstitutional rights enthusiasts. But I am, and I take it all pretty seriously. Just glad I don’t fly anywhere (as I can’t afford it!).

a_greenwood
a_greenwood
5 years 9 months ago

It’s all security theater–I resent that aspect of it. Treating 100% of passengers like terrorists is in the long run self defeating. I wish the TSA would develop a model based on intelligence and skilled screeners, like Israel does. Not sure about the scanner radiation, either. Harry Shearer reminded me that years ago shoe stores had “shoe fitting fluoroscopes,” you could stick your feet in anytime.. They stopped doing that when they realized how dangerous and idiotic it was to be exposed to x-rays on a casual basis. What will they find out about these scanners in ten years?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

@a_greenwood OMG! I so agree there should be a model based on intelligence and skilled screeners. For instance, if I fly 100,000 miles a year, why do I have to go through the same security as someone who flies once a year? I mean, if a terrorist is patient enough to fly 100,000 miles in a year so they can blow up a plane, I guess good for them. I also don’t think a terrorist is going to blow up a plane again. They’ll hit something else that we’re not considering.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

@wabbitoid LOL! Even though you have to take off your shoes? I didn’t realize that’d be such a big deal. It’s a HUGE pain to fly these days. I’m in favor for anything that speeds up the process.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

@HowieSPM Yep – the “weapons” used on 9/11 were the planes. Can’t screen your way out of that! Please, please, please do the foil cucumber. But wait until we have reason to go through security togther. THIS I have to see!

JohnnyRusso
5 years 9 months ago

Gini, consistency is definitely lacking.

And did you know that for the most part, lighters are allowed on the plane, as long as they are in plastic bags?!? So fire yes, large cologne bottles no. Go figure.

EricPudalov
EricPudalov
5 years 9 months ago

Hilarious post, Gini! Luckily, I’m staying in Atlanta this Thanksgiving, and it’s my folks who are doing the traveling. Hopefully, neither of them will have to go through an “enhanced” pat-down. Dad once forgot he was carrying a very large hunting knife in his carry-on, which was confiscated and never returned (and this was pre-9/11).

EricPudalov
EricPudalov
5 years 9 months ago

@GiniDietrich @a_greenwood Hmm…you make a scary point, Gini. It’s quite possible that terrorists would go after a target we’ve never considered. This is especially disturbing, considering that the other day I was reading an article on 9/11 conspiracy theories. I guess whatever the event (JFK assassination, landing on the moon), there will always be those people out there.

EricPudalov
EricPudalov
5 years 9 months ago

@GiniDietrich @wabbitoid When I fly out of Atlanta, I ALWAYS have to take off my shoes, steel-toed or not. Must depend on the airport. It just helps to know this…I do it way before I even get in line. I also make sure to take the metal plate out of my skull (talk about an inconvenience).

trontastic
trontastic
5 years 9 months ago

I’m a fan of TSA only because I have relatives that work for them. Other than that, yeah it can be a pain in the butt-scan. They are a true government agency and run like one.

That being said, did you REALLY link to Brett Favre’s junk? I was too afraid to click on the link.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

@trontastic OH I DID! No, just the story. I wanted to link to the photos, but I was scared to go look at them. I really don’t want to see it.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

@EricPudalov Some TSA guy now has your dad’s hunting knife! I’m not traveling for the holiday, either, but I’m back on a plane on Monday. Likely with my hissy fit “I’m executive platinum” speech that never works yet I still try it.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

@JohnnyRusso Well, that makes sense. I mean, my perfume could definitely blow up a plane if mixed with my lighter.

LauraScholz
LauraScholz
5 years 9 months ago
Oh, girl I hear you. As the ex of an airline employee, I’ve spent entirely too much time in airports dealing with completely random and senseless enforcement of “rules.” I got hand sanitizer through in my pocket, but they wanted to confiscate about $200 worth of Chanel lip gloss. Hell no. And I routinely leave liquids in my bags to see if anyone will catch them. No. We’re treated like cattle instead of human beings, and there is no distinction between someone like you or Tim that travel regularly and those people who still don’t know you have to take… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

@LauraScholz AMEN, sister! Amen.

LauraScholz
LauraScholz
5 years 9 months ago

@GiniDietrich I want to correct my typos!! But otherwise, love this comment system!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

@LauraScholz I think livefyre keeps hearing people want to correct their typos. So maybe it’s in the works!

barryrsilver
5 years 9 months ago

Gini,
Thanks for you’re insight. There may be some cancer concerns about the scanners but thanks for lending a calm voice to the 1st Amendment issues. As for the lack of consistency with the rules, it may be a function of the hiring pool.
I’m not traveling so this is easy for me, but to all using airlines this weekend, Remember why you’re getting on a plane. Humor and perspective are much more effective than blood pressure meds. Oh and Happy Thansgiving.

aflandry
aflandry
5 years 9 months ago
@HowieSPM Totally agree with you. By definition a plot which would succeed would not be anticipated. By definition. Of course it doesn’t mean we should not take reasonable measures to prevent it. The problem will always be the blurry line between reasonable and unreasonable. To me, the anwser is a more pragmatic risk management approach rather than an irrationnal search for perfect security at all costs. We tend to overestimate risks when we don’t understand or can’t control them. For example, I have a client who wanted totally garanteed IT security after he saw some news report and I said… Read more »
jennalanger
5 years 9 months ago

@GiniDietrich @LauraScholz Editing comments is something we’re going back and forth about. The reason we don’t allow it now is because it can change the context of the comment and conversation. I definitely understand the desire to correct typos, I make a good number of mistakes I’d like to fix. We’re taking all the feedback into consideration so that feature isn’t off the table.

LauraScholz
LauraScholz
5 years 9 months ago

@JennaLanger @GiniDietrich Hey Jenna–thanks for your response! Just have fat fingers, and I’m a perfectionist! But totally understand why you wouldn’t want people erasing entire comments. Great job–love what you’re doing, and Gini raves about you!

HowieSPM
HowieSPM
5 years 9 months ago
@aflandryNothing is ever too much! LOL That was great.I want to do it! I have a nice story for you about the guarantee. My old life was selling custom designed hardware for specialty manufacturers who made things like Rockets and Satelites and NASA probes. The hardware would be tested 1 million times just to ensure it worked once. The cost of a $200 part would be $30,000 because of this. And that still doesn’t guarantee 100%. Lockheed Martin installed a sensor of ours backwards. A probe that captured the Solar Wind was coming back for re-entry in Utah. They had… Read more »
aflandry
aflandry
5 years 9 months ago

@HowieSPM Wow! In this case it’s more than Murphy’s law, it’s Murphy’s wife law : my husband was an optimist.

JulieWalraven
5 years 9 months ago
When I flew this year for the first time in 15 years, I was familiar with the routine (pre-enhanced pat-downs) and I do have clients who work for TSA so one coached me through all the liquid issues… which I now would need a refresher on but wasn’t a huge deal at the time. I admire you all who fly so much, I just determined that it is not fun to walk down the narrow aisle and all the other little stresses like where to put my laptop and how many people will they ask to switch flights after we… Read more »
Griddy
5 years 9 months ago
Gini don’t gasp – the length alone should tell you that it’s me – Ingrid ;)! I love this piece Gini! Love the “open your iPad” and the “requent flying lip-gloss”!!! Luv it to the point that I got so excited to share a super duper extra large and looooong comment lol – and it even made me miss traveling within the US where the sweet sound of “excuse me maaaaam” you’re gonna’ need to take those cowboy boots off…take those dangerous looking rubber flip flops off (get me a bag or socks cause I ain’t walkin’ barefoot on this… Read more »
Griddy
5 years 9 months ago

Ooops sorry for the few typos here and there :). Me really do speak London very best lol!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

@Griddy You KILL me! LOL! I love how you always apologize for writing long comments. You don’t need to apologize. I know I speak for a lot of us when I say we love it! And I need to fly with you. I throw temper tantrums and you flash your pearly whites. Clearly one of us is doing it correctly.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

@JulieWalraven I hate traveling. Hate it. People who say they love to travel clearly only do it for personal reasons. It’s not fun, it’s not easy, and having status gets you nowhere.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

@barryrsilver I’ve actually talked to a couple of friends who are oncologists and they say the “cancer concerns” are baloney. It’s all spin, Barry. And you know what we think about that!

Griddy
5 years 9 months ago
@ginidietrich LOL right back at ya :). Yeah, I don’t know how pearly and white they are – but after 5 pm tomorrow they will be again haha. Flying with you sounds like a blast but Gini but I’m afraid that once we pass all the customs, X-rays and other joyous “random” searches – I may bore you on the plane – I’m one of those punks that watches movies and sleeps 🙁 hihi. No worries though, if we ever do, I’ll make sure to snooze well the night before so that I can keep you entertained as we recite… Read more »
JMattHicks
5 years 9 months ago
lol Please find a way to record one of your “hissy fits.” I’d re-tweet that like 5 times in a day because I get just as frustrated with TSA. When I was 7, they took away my plastic Power Ranger toy sword (which had a BENDABLE PLASTIC BLADE. BENDABLE. IT WON’T SHANK ANYONE) in the Minneapolis airport. I WAS SEVEN WITH AN OBVIOUSLY HARMLESS, SOFT PLASTIC TOY. And they took it. I’m still angry about that. It was a very hard toy to come by at the time, so I’ve always believed that the guy probably just wanted it for… Read more »
mirbiz
5 years 9 months ago

@Griddy@ginidietrich
If flying couch with a companion, the trick is to book the window and aisle seat leaving the middle seat empty. It has worked 3 out of 5 times for me. 1 of the 2 times it didn’t work is because I opted to switch to the emergency row — an old Japanese couple did not speak English.

JMattHicks
5 years 9 months ago

@mirbiz Genius, my friend. That is pure genius. You better believe I’m trying that on my next flight with my wife.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

@JMattHicks LMAO!! I feel like I should send you a Power Ranger toy sword! I’m with you – I don’t buy into all the drama. And the people who are scaring those who don’t travel often by saying the new machines cause cancer and the pat downs are invasive are just being *ssholes.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

@Griddy Don’t worry! I always work on flights and I call shotgun on the aisle seat because I pee at least once an hour. But we’ll try @Livefyre User strategy so no one is sitting in the middle except our crap!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

@Griddy Why didn’t it tag mrbiz?! Booo!

JMattHicks
5 years 9 months ago

@ginidietrich Diet sodas have been proven to cause cancer in lab rats and I don’t see them whining about those as they chug down 32 ounces of them a day. People will cry and moan about anything just to be crying and moaning.

JonHearty
5 years 9 months ago
I agree that the x-ray machines are not a big deal. Not only do they not show your face, but also the person viewing the screen is in an enclosed room and cannot see you. Consistency is important and can’t be too much to ask for; hopefully soon they will adapt universal rules so that we can know what to expect, regardless of which airport we are at. My friend works for the TSA and brought up and interesting point: people won’t stop talking about TSA pat-downs and the new x-ray machines, despite a plethora of more important issues that… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 9 months ago

@JMattHicks I remember when microwaves came out (hush now about my age!) and everyone talked about them causing cancer. Yet they’re in nearly every home in America (except mine, but that’s just because I have nowhere to put it).

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