It happened to Ann Holley again last week. As she passed through the security checkpoint at Atlanta’s busy airport, she asked a TSA agent to “opt out” of being screened by a full-body scanner.
Under the agency’s rules, she received an automatic “enhanced” pat-down.
She wishes she hadn’t.
“I was left waiting for an agent to come by and give me a pat-down,” says Holley, who works for the federal government in Hartford, Conn. “I waited 15 minutes.”
She adds, “I’m wondering whether TSA has decided to leave those who opt out hanging so we’ll eventually get tired of waiting and give in, the way nearly everyone else does. I never see anyone else opting out anymore.”
Holley — not her real name because she’s afraid the TSA will make her wait even longer the next time she’s in Atlanta — committed one of the passenger screening “no-nos” that you need to know about before your next flight. They include cracking jokes, mentioning certain laws and sometimes, just asking simple questions.
But to answer her question: Does the TSA intentionally keep passengers waiting? If there is such a policy, it is almost certainly an unofficial one. There’s ample evidence of its existence, including this passenger in Phoenix who had to wait in a glass cage nearly an hour when she balked at TSA screening of her breastmilk (see video, above).
What should you never, ever, say to a TSA agent?