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Spastic_Dove 11-18-2010 04:33 PM

Flying Question -- Enhanced Body Search
Warning: The following may not be appropriate for younger readers and could potentially be triggering to others. Mods, if you feel it should be moved, let me know and I can repost in The Saloon

As some of you may know, I will be finally moving to New Zealand in January. However I have some anxiety about the new security procedures. I know a few of you are frequent flyers so I thought I would see if you had input.
From my understanding, instead of the metal detector and wand/brief patdown, most major airlines now have the full body scanners in place. These are revieling to say the least but I am willing to put up with them so I can get out of the country. What I am not willing to go through is the 'enhanced' pat downs. From what I gather, and correct me if I am wrong, you only receive them if you refuse the full body scanner? Is this true or are they part of 'random screening'?

From accounts I have read or heard, these include touching of the breasts and genitalia. I have my own reasons of why I won't be okay with this, if not for the giant invasion of privacy it prevents.

I have thought of asking TSA prior to my flight, but am sure this would put me on some sort of watch list and don't want to risk missing my flight.

So is this something that is mandatory? Is there a way to pass screening other than this? When I flew in August I didnt experience this.

I will be flying Missoula, MT to LAX, LAX to Fiji, Fiji to Auckland, Auckland to Christchurch -- Anyone with experience in any of these airports chime in.
Thanks guys!

Saskia 11-18-2010 04:45 PM

The Kiwi air companies will be fine. New Zealand is somewhat "behind" (meant lovingly - I <3 NZ) the rest of the world in technology. Their security seems to be more lax (at least compared to Aus). I've flown many times and besides walking through that metal dector thingy, there were no other procedures.

Although, I imagine if they had reason to suspect you then you could be subject to a full search, although I believe this is uncommon and they would have to have grounds of suspicion. Additionally, it might not help knowing, but in depth body searches would be conducted by members of your own sex.

Also, you are travelling a pretty "safe" line. When I travelled, the security from Australia to China, or Australia to Vietnam was much more intensive than that to NZ. You're more likely to get troubles going into the USA than going out.

Spastic_Dove 11-18-2010 04:55 PM

Oh good, I got stopped on my last trip through Sydney at a random point but it was nothing horrible.

faye 11-18-2010 05:09 PM

Most pat downs will include touching the breasts, hence why they are always done by women.
Just as only men will pat down men.
I have flown regularly within Europe and the security here is rediculas. The metal detectors are set so strongly that the underwire in my bra sets them off everytime and i am subject to a pat down every time.

Spastic_Dove 11-18-2010 05:19 PM

I'll link to the article that got me worried about it.
TSA – Sexual Assault by Erin Chase

ETA: I summarized the article but decided it wasn't really appropriate for this thread

faye 11-18-2010 05:37 PM

I must admit at no point has a pat down ever come near to my private parts, the inner thigh yes, top of mu breasts yes, but never anywhere else.

Believe me I would refuse point blank if they tried.

Spastic_Dove 11-18-2010 05:42 PM

Okay good. General pat downs over the clothes (including breasts and inner thighs) I am okay with.

More than that and I will forfeit my plane ticket.

I'm relieved to hear no one else has experienced this.

SorrelHorse 11-18-2010 06:32 PM

I've flown to NZ before, but never have I had that happen, nor has any of my girls who go a lot more frequently than I.

And frankly....I wouldn't mind either way. If they tried to get real personal with me they'd get their teeth knocked out, but if they're just doing their job I won't care.

Spastic_Dove 11-18-2010 06:42 PM

I wish I could not care, but for me that isn't really an option.

Either way this thread has killed a lot of my anxiety :)

smrobs 11-18-2010 08:49 PM

I wish that I could tell you some experience of mine that went off without a hitch but I have only flown 2 times and both were over 7 years ago LOL. Just be warned that if you simply refuse the pat search, then it is entirely likely that they would pull you into a private room and require a strip search, which could cause you to miss your plane. That is what they used to do at my job (worked in a prison and had to be patted in an out, if you refused, you either got stripped in the bathroom or fired :?). However, that would only be in an extreme case when you refused all other security measures. I am quite certain that the full body scan will be more than adequate and even if it isn't, then a standard (not too touchy) pat search would be enough. If you feel the level of the search is inappropriate, then tell them exactly that and request a supervisor. They cannot refuse your request for a supervisor if you ask for it. If they did refuse after an inappropriate search, then you could sue them for every penny they've got and never have to work again :D.

For what it's worth though, I know how you feel about strangers touching you all over like that. I'm the same way.

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