Pilot unions at two of the nation’s largest airlines are advising their members not to submit to body scanners at airport security checkpoints as tension grows over what they see as intrusive or risky checks.
Unions representing pilots at American Airlines and US Airways have advised their more than 14,000 members to avoid the scanners, which peer beneath clothing, and instead get a pat down from Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers.
That has created additional problems as some pilots have complained that the hand searches, which were altered by TSA starting Nov. 1, are invasive. One US Airways pilot said he felt as though he had been “sexually molested” by the pat down, said Mike Cleary, president of the US Airline Pilots Association.
“Our members are just absolutely outraged,” Cleary said.
David Bates, president of American’s Allied Pilots Association, said the TSA hand search is “a demeaning experience,” but he also is urging his members to avoid the scanners. The unions have told members to ask that the pat downs be done in private.