Do you think twice about traveling with an aging parent because of security hassles at the airport? Have you cringed watching an agent pat down an older person? Are you uncomfortable watching an older individual who's been asked to remove his or her shoes while balancing precariously on one leg? If so, you'll welcome TSA news today announcing policy changes: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is testing out modified, more humane, security measures for travelers ages 75 and over.
Beginning Monday, March 19, 2012, travelers ages 75 and over will be subjected to fewer pat-downs and won't have to remove their shoes and light jackets. Initially these changes are only in effect at a limited number of security lines and only at four airports: Chicago O'Hare, Denver, Orlando, and Portland, Oregon. But it's a start—-and it's expected that the new TSA program will eventually be expanded.
You may remember the fiasco that occurred last November, when 85-year-old Lenore Zimmerman was asked to undress when she requested a pat-down, in lieu of going through the airport scanning device. The octogenarian was afraid the device would set off her defibrillator.
A story in The New York Daily News quoted Zimmerman: "I walk with a walker — I really look like a terrorist," she said. "I'm tiny. I weigh 110 pounds, 107 without clothes, and I was strip-searched." Later the same month, an 89-year old woman was asked to remove her underwear to prove she wore a colostomy bag. The TSA initially denied these reports but later apologized to both women for searches that were in violation of official TSA policy.
The TSA news of the over-75 rules mimic those recently put into effect for children ages 12 and under. Both are intended to focus more thorough screening procedures on those individuals that pose the greatest security threats, and also to improve the efficiency of the screening process. Signs at airport checkpoints will announce the changes and will depend on travelers to self-report their age.
TSA also recently announced a new TSA Pre-Check Program, aimed at expediting the flow of airport travelers through security.
Prior posts on Life Goes Strong offering airline tips:
- TSA PreCheck: New Program Allows Travelers to Whiz Through Airport Security
- Post-Trip Nasal Drip: How Airline Passengers Can Avoid Nasty Colds
- 7 Ways to Snag A Last-Minute Airfare Deal
- Holiday Travel: 10 Simple Tips to Avoid Lost Baggage
- Fear of Flying: 10 Things You Should Know about Airline Safety