Q. I haven’t flown in several years. What can I expect in terms of the security checks these days? Sometimes I use a power chair and sometimes a manual one. Is there any difference in terms of the security issues?
A. According to the TSA, how you are treated at security checks these days has nothing to do with your mobility device, but everything to do with your level of ability. “Passengers who can stand without a mobility aid, cane, crutches, walker, or other device for five to seven seconds with arms raised above shoulder level are eligible for advanced imaging technology screening,” says spokeswoman Sarah Horowitz. Advanced imaging is the controversial scan that produces a 3-D full-body rendering (including private parts, but without facial features) and shows any contraband in x-ray. The security agent doing the scan cannot see or otherwise identify the passenger in question.
Though four out of five Americans are fine with the new screening, a less detailed version called automated target recognition is in use at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. As reported on CBS News, those scanners reduce the passenger’s image to a “stick figure,” but are currently not up to TSA security standards.
Travelers who opt out of an advanced imaging scan, those who are unable to walk or stand for the required duration, or who set off existing metal detectors, will be asked to undergo a pat-down. Pat-downs can be done in a secondary screening area, or a private screening can be requested at any point in the security check by the passenger, an attend