Pat-down only option now in GJ for screening

The full-body scanners that have aroused privacy fears in many American airports have yet to reach Grand Junction Regional Airport, but the other search technique, enhanced pat-downs, have.

Pat-downs are used when travelers refuse to pass through the scanners or when a traveler sets off an alarm while passing through a metal detector, according to a Transportation Security Administration statement.

Travelers in Grand Junction seem to be taking things in stride so far, said Cindy Stanfield, owner of The Travel Connection and Scubaventures, 2478 Patterson Road, Suite 9.

“A lot of people kind of realize that what they have to go through at an airport they have to do” if they want to travel by air, Stanfield said.

Though the full-body scanner isn’t available in Grand Junction, six machines are in use in Denver.

The agency responsible for ensuring air-travel safety hopes to have 1,000 full-body scanners, up from 411 now, in operation by the end of next year.

An enhanced pat-down can take two to four minutes, TSA Regional Public Affairs Manager Carrie Harmon said Monday.

Holiday travel comes against a backdrop of controversy and traveler complaints about the pat-downs and screenings.

A San Diego man on Friday stripped down to his skivvies rather than allow himself to be patted and probed by a TSA screener.

On Sunday, a YouTube video was posted showing a young boy whose search was going slowly and then his father pulling the boy’s shirt over his head, apparently to speed the search along.




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