Passengers accept body scans at airport
By: Michael Pound
Beaver County Times
Monday November 1, 2010 08:37 PM
FINDLAY TWP. — Veteran traveler Lawrence Pier didn’t have a problem with the size or speed of the lines at Pittsburgh International Airport’s security checkpoints Monday morning, and he said he had no problem with a change at those checkpoints that would require him to go through one of the airport’s full-body scanners instead of a metal detector.
“This isn’t a business trip, so I’m not in the same kind of hurry I might be,” said Pier, a Los Angeles resident who was flying home from the Findlay Township airport on Monday. “And I’ve been through the scanners elsewhere, and I don’t have a problem with them.”
Ann Davis, spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration, said a juggling of security lines at Pittsburgh International led to the decision to start funneling all passengers through one of the five Advanced Imaging Technology scanners at the airport starting on Monday. Before the change, some passengers were routed through the scanners and the others were directed to the walk-through metal detectors.
“By virtue of closing down two of the lanes, all the travelers at Pittsburgh will be going through the AITs,” said Davis, who added that the change was not driven by last week’s attempts to ship explosives via air cargo. “We don’t anticipate that the change will have any significant impact on wait times.”
The scanners, installed at Pittsburgh International in July, are used to detect items hidden in clothing; TSA employees who view the scans aren’t able to see the faces of those walking through, and the images cannot be stored or printed.
Davis said passengers uncomfortable with the scanners will be able to opt out of the process. Those passengers will still go through a walk-through metal detector and will be given a pat-down search instead.
Most passengers have accepted the scanners since they were installed here, Davis said; up to Monday, about 99 percent of those who had the option to use them chose to do so.
Chicago resident Alex Jeri said he would have chosen to use the scanners if he had the option.
“It’s a better tool, and we need all the tools we can get to keep air travel safe,” said Jeri, who was flying to Chicago from Pittsburgh Monday morning. “As long as there aren’t delays because of the change, I have no problem with everyone going through them.”
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