National Opt Out Day Nov. 24 fails to get off the ground

opt out of airport screening not an option

Few air travelers chose to opt out of full body scans in a protest that could have snarled airports on the busiest air travel day of the year. Image: CC alist/Flickr

Air travelers were choosing to opt out of “National Opt Out Day” as Nov. 24 unfolded. National Opt-Out Day is a grass-roots protest attempt calling on air travelers to refuse full body scans. The opt out protest threatened to snarl passenger traffic at airports on Nov. 24, the busiest air travel day of the year.

Opting out: why its a bad idea

National Opt Out Day is a response to the use of full body scanners and TSA pat-down procedures employed at airports to prevent airline terrorism. The grass roots group We Won’t Fly organized the opt out protest in hopes to send the Transportation Security Administration a message that air travelers are fed up with invasive “security theater.” National Opt Out Day was up against millions of holiday travelers willing to put up with overcrowded airports and security screening so they can spend Thanksgiving with their loved ones. Making a time-consuming, stressful ordeal worse with a demonstration of social disobedience appears to have gone over like a lead balloon.

Common sense prevails at airports

The TSA beefed up its staff at airport screening stations around the country to mitigate delays caused by National Opt Out Day. More than 2 million people are expected to fly Nov. 24. However, by mid-morning, several news outlets reported no major delays or incidents at major airports in the U.S. In an appearance on “Good Morning America” Wednesday, TSA Administrator John Pistole said airport screeners in the field had not reported that air travelers en masse were refusing full body scans to provoke a TSA pat-down.

A majority of air travelers approve TSA screening

An airport screening with a full body scanner takes about 20 seconds by the time the image is processed and reviewed. The TSA pat-down can take up to two minutes. A Gallup poll released Tuesday showed seven in 10 frequent travelers said the loss of personal privacy from full-body scans or TSA pat-downs was a fair price to pay to prevent airline terrorism. Fifty-seven percent said they were not bothered by full-body scans. However, 57 percent said they were either angry or bothered by the TSA pat-downs.

Sources

ABC News

CNN

Los Angeles Times

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