Before you head to the airport and face security checkpoints, take a deep breath. Feel better? Good, because, despite everything you’ve heard lately about the Transportation Security Administration’s controversial new pat-downs and body scanners, you may well encounter the usual take-off-your-shoes metal detector screening during the holiday travel period.
Consider: There are 19 full-body scanners at Los Angeles International Airport but none at the airports in Burbank, Long Beach, Orange County (John Wayne), Ontario or Santa Barbara, TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said. Still, the new scanners are or will soon be a reality for fliers because there are already 385 scanners at 68 airports nationwide.
So it’s best to be prepared for what may be a different checkpoint experience, especially for children. The TSA, for now, says it allows travelers to opt out of being checked by full-body scanners. Those who opt out must undergo what has been termed an enhanced pat-down. These are the rules for all travelers, according to Melendez and the TSA website:
Body scanner: Everyone being scanned through the new machines must be able to walk into the device and raise their arms as instructed by TSA staff. This applies to 3-year-olds and 93-year-olds. No one is allowed to, say, hold a young child or accompany an elderly person through the scanner. Be sure to take everything out of your pockets, not just coins and other metal, before going through the scanner.