Tuesday, March 13, 2012

TSA Body Search

On my scan, nine squares appeared
I was at the Raleigh Durham Airport on Sunday. I was feeling really good about how I looked. I had on a perfectly fitted, pale pink oxford shirt with shirring at the abdomen and my nicest pair of jeans, but it was cold so I had a sweatshirt over this and they could not see the belt buckle that was on the jeans. (I didn't take the belt off because it is a part of the jeans - it does not come off). There were three lines. I did not realize that the line I picked was using the body scan machine (the other two were not). As I went through the machine, lots of boxes on the body form lit up, so then I had to be physically searched. Wanna guess why? 

The TSA agent said it was because of the rolls of skin under my clothes. She didn't know it was rolls of skin until she searched me, of course. All she had was the image that showed my physical form was a bit oddly shaped and each of those lumpy areas caused another box to light up. I saw the form.  So, to check that I was not tucking contraband in my hollows she started the search. 

I mentioned it was all skin because I had lost so much weight. She asked how much. When I told her 220 pounds she kind of forgot the search and spent the next three minutes asking me how I did it and how I keep it off while the line backed up, as in, "Excuse me Next Man in Line, you wait on the other side of that machine, I am not done with this passenger yet." She was very excited for me and shocked that it was done without surgery and medication and then, while I was gathering my belongings and getting my shoes back on she called another TSA agent over to tell her about my weight loss and what I had told her. Both she and the second TSA agent were overweight. That second agent came over to me and wanted to know, directly from me, how I had lost the weight. The next person through the line after Next Man was a friend of mine who had lost 125lbs and has kept it off for over 10 years. I told the agent about her weight loss and gave them information where they could learn more, since they were interested. 

I don't mind being searched and I am always happy to share with another obese person that there is a non-surgical solution to this growing problem. I do not want to have to go through a scanner every time I fly so I will be watching the line next time and if there is a scanner, I will ask for the physical search instead, since the scan may lead to a search anyway, I will spare myself the tiny increase in radiation. I will get enough on the plane, anyway. 

By the way: I had water on the plane. No peanuts, no juice, and no soda. I pulled out a lemon Quest protein bar and ate half, which was enough. The plane landed 35 minutes earlier than scheduled and I was in my husband's arms before the luggage came down the belt. What I nice ending to a very good weekend. 

Do you have any experience with your weight affecting your security check at the airport? 



Anonymous said...

How interesting! What a great story. No issues with weight and TSA, but the scanner went off above my husbands head. Maybe he was harboring a forbidden thought - who knows, but they searched him - Not above his head, but everywhere else that was not boxed and alerted on. Sigh.

Right after 9-11 - like right after - I was heading overseas and they were unsure about security so it was sort of harem scarem and everyone was sort of nervous (security and passengers alike). Well, I got to the wand lady and she had to search my body - like frisk me and in front of everyone was all over and under my boobs. Luckily I am not very shy. I am sure the women behind me were horrified and the men intrigued. I just joked (I know surprising) and moved on. but to this day, no other woman has touched me so intimately.

Beth said...

On a recent trip through the scanner, my KNEES filled up too many boxes on the scan, I guess, so they had to call a female to pat me down. Their behavior was sort of like, "what should we do, where should we pat?" It seemed like they had probably never encountered the need to pat down KNEES before. And they probably hadn't!

I don't get irritated with TSA like some people do. In my experience, they're not out to get people, they're just doing their job, and do not enjoy being invasive when they think it is necessary.

The only thing I feel bad about is that I've felt embarrassed and chagrined about my big knees ever since I was in high school, and the TSA machine just documented that they really are "outside the box" for normalcy!

E. Jane said...

What a wonderful story, Jane! You are amazingly frank, honest, and inspiring to others! I would have never guessed that a large weight loss may require a body search.

I am going to have to try a Quest protein bar. Can you get them in health food stores?

KCLAnderson (Karen) said...

The only thing that used to embarrass me was when I had to take off my jacket, which I thought was hiding my body LOL

Vickie said...

wow, good for you that you took it in stride. I don't think I have flown since 9-11. My kids and husband have, but I don't think I have. All the european and middle eastern kids we have had coming into the usa have been finger printed and retinal scanned (Ohare). which I actually think is a very good practice. if they are tracking everyone, they are not discriminating against any one group.

I was on a flight out of Madrid in the late 1970's with a bomb threat (before we took off). We all had to strip down to our underwear (in booths with same sex security) and they went through all the luggage. AND took the inside of the plane apart in front of us (looking out windows) on tarmac. seats came out, kitchen stuff came out. they didn't find anything, put it all back together and we took off in same plane.

Jane Cartelli said...

Munchie - see, even w/o the TSA scanner, you re revealing things. . . .

Beth - I don't get upset with them either. I am all for full body searches for anyone I get on a plane with. I am just waiting for them to want show the squirrels in my head.

E. Jane - The Vitamin Shoppe sells them, but not all the kinds. Go to www.questproteinbar.com

KCL - As someone who wore her winter coat all day long in 8th grade - to hide what I looked like underneath, I identify!

Vickie - I am all for nude flights as long as i can get barrier between my skin and the seat under me.