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Privacy becoming a bigger concern for passengers at some airports

By: Angela Beavin Email
By: Angela Beavin Email

This is one of the busiest travel weeks of the year, with Thanksgiving now just a few days away.

However, the normal airport complaints about delayed flights are taking a back seat to what many people believe is a lack of privacy at security checkpoints.

As the holiday travel season takes flight, so is the debate over the Transportation Security Administration's more aggressive and enhanced pat-downs, and the new body scanning machines.

"Some of it appears to be a little extreme, but on the other hand, I don't want anybody going through that's got something in the wrong place," traveler Gloria Compton said.

Compton said her husband, who is handicapped, had an unpleasant experience at an airport recently.

"Because he could not, or they would not let him, walk through the security thing, I mean they got the wheelchair up there, they had him stand up, pat him down, arms, legs, the whole bit," she said.

AAA estimates more than 40 million Americans will travel during the Thanksgiving holiday. Of those, 1.6 million will be flying.

While Lexington's Blue Grass Airport does not use the new body scanners, TSA officials say more than 400 machines are used at nearly 70 airports.

By the end of 2011, the TSA plans to install 1,000 of them.

Many travelers say it's a sign of the times.

"It's a necessary evil," traveler Johnny Bullock said. "It's the world we live in and that's part of what you're going to have to do if you want to travel."

Officials believe the coming days will be a good test of the system, and of travelers' patience.

Thanksgiving travel could get even more hectic Wednesday. A loosely organized protest called National Opt Out Day is urging passengers to boycott the scanners, and instead undergo a full pat down, which could mean even bigger delays.

The Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport is the only airport in Kentucky with the body scanning machines.

Authorities warn if travelers back out of the enhanced screening methods once already in line, they could be arrested and fined up to $11,000.


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