Two of the largest pilots’ unions in the nation are urging commercial pilots to rebel against current airport screening rules. In late October, the Transport Security Administration implemented more invasive patdown rules. Travelers (including Muslims) and pilots were faced with a new dilemma — have a revealing, full-body scan or what some are calling an X-rated patdown.
Last week, the head of Allied Pilots Association, a union representing 11,000 American Airlines pilots, wrote an email to pilots suggesting that they forgo both going through a full-body scanner and submitting to a public patdown. Instead, Captain Dave Bates urged pilots to opt for a private patdown.
“In my view, it is unacceptable to submit to one in public while wearing the uniform of a professional airline pilot,” Bates said in an email.
Pilots are piping mad over the options, saying the full-body scanners emit dangerous levels of radiation and that the alternative public patdown is disgraceful for a pilot in uniform. Some pilots have said they felt so violated after a patdown, they were unfit to fly.
CAIR offices have already received complaints, particularly from female travelers who wear hijab, about being subjected to the new pat-down procedure.
The enhanced pat-down involves a much more intrusive manual search of passengers’ bodies by TSA officers. Passengers who have undergone the new pat-down procedure have reported feeling humiliated by a search they describe as invasive and that has involved TSA officers touching the face and hair, the groin area and buttocks, and in between and underneath breasts.