On Tuesday, I wrote about the new TSA regulations regarding full-body scanners and "enhanced pat-downs."
Today, CNN reports: Pilots urged to avoid body scanning.
Pilots' unions for US Airways and American Airlines are urging their members to avoid full-body scanning at airport security checkpoints, citing health risks and concerns about intrusiveness and security officer behavior.And that's not all:
..."Based on currently available medical information, USAPA has determined that frequent exposure to TSA-operated scanner devices may subject pilots to significant health risks," [Capt. Mike Cleary, president of the U.S. Airline Pilots Association wrote in a letter to members this week].
..."It's safe to say that most of the APA leadership shares my view that no pilot at American Airlines should subject themselves to the needless privacy invasion and potential health risks caused by the AIT body scanners," APA president David Bates said in a letter to members.
Unions are encouraging pilots to request private pat-downs. USAPA urges members to make sure a witness is present during the procedure.The unions argue that pilots are effectively taking charge of a huge-ass weapon as soon as they assume control of the plane, so there would be little incentive or purpose to try to sneak a box-cutter (or knife, or gun, or bomb, or whatever) onto the plane. Which is a fair point.
USAPA refers to incidents where Transportation Security Administration officers may have implemented the screening technique inappropriately.
One pilot described his experience as "sexual molestation," according to Cleary's letter. Bates wrote, "There is absolutely no denying that the enhanced pat-down is a demeaning experience."
But it doesn't do much good for passengers who have to go through the same security checks.
That might not seem like the purview of a pilots' union, but singling out pilots for exemption won't do much good if they lose their jobs because passengers are unwilling to tolerate exposure to radiation and/or a demeaning (or worse) fondling by airport security, in order to fly.
[H/T to Iain.]