has gone through many renovations and advancements in recent years.
Nothing is the same since 911. Those who have never flown before, or
have not flown in many years may want to read up on new airport
security so that they will know what to expect when they fly.
Security is a lot more thorough than it used to be, so it could
be quite a surprise to some people who haven't flown in a while and are
asked to step into an airport security scanner. In fact, there are many
things about this security measure that many people find scary or
controversial. It's a good idea to inform yourself about it online
ahead of time.
Airport security scanners are essentially a
quick, full bodied x-ray. The scan is intended to detect any hazardous
objects under the clothing.
There are both positives and negatives to this highly controversial
security measure. Those who support the security scans will note the
extra level of protection it provides. It can also offer a substitute
to being frisked by hand, preventing people from being touched by
strangers when searched.
There are also downsides people have mentioned. Part of the problem is
the issue of privacy. Since the scan is an x-ray, a nude image of the
person is shown to the security guard on a screen. Some airports have
instituted a scan that produces "non-nude" body images to make the scan
A lot of people are concerned about the health risk of airport security
scans. Many experts have stated that there is minimal health risk of
getting the full body scan. Kelly Classic, a health physicist at the
Mayo Clinic, claims that going through a backscatter scanner is like "is the same as tacking a few extra minutes onto a flight from New York to Los Angeles" since flying at an altitude of 30,000 feet exposes passengers to X-rays from the sun. Some professionals disagree,
and believe that the radiation could lead to risks of cancer. However,
this is mostly speculative as no concrete evidence has surfaced of yet,
suggesting the scans cause health problems.
The full bodied security scans are becoming more and more prominent in
the larger, busier airports. Many smaller airports cannot afford the
scanners, or deem them unnecessary. The larger the airport you go to,
the more likely you are to be asked to step into a security scanner.
When in the scanner, the individual will have a front and back x-ray
image taken of them. Metal objects under the clothing will appear as a
dark black image on the screen, helping security to identify dangerous
weapons. Be sure any metal objects have been removed from your person
in advance. Even fingernail clippers are not allowed.
is typically scanned as well. This has been a common procedure long
before the body scans. Carry-ons will pass under an x-ray while on a
small conveyor belt. Most objects will not be harmed by the x-ray's
radiation. One exception can be undeveloped film. If you have any
photography equipment that you would like hand-searched instead of
taken under the x-ray, be sure to mention it to one of the security
Be prepared to remove any electronic devices such as laptops
from their case. You'll also need to have your prescription medicines
in a plastic bag. Always keep them in their original bottles with the
prescription label still on the bottle. Lotions and shampoos also need
to be in plastic bags and in containers smaller than three ounces.
The security officers in most airports will hand search items you don't feel comfortable being exposed to x-ray radiation.
A similar option is available to the people who are asked to step into
a full body scanner. If you are too concerned about the radiation
causing cancer or if you are pregnant, you may opt to be frisked by
hand instead of having the scanner x-ray you. One option or the other
must be taken once you are asked, or you will not be allowed to pass
the security checkpoint and get on your flight.
The process is very controversial,
and many people are opposed to it. However, there is often no way
around it for airline travelers. It is something you will need to be
aware of in advance and decide whether or not you are willing to go
through it; because you cannot simply decide you won't do it at the
last minute unless you are willing to sacrifice the money you spent on