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Few delays reported at airport security lines

November 24, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Officials at airports braced for security delays because some passengers said they would protest against full-body scans as part of National Opt-Out Day. But as of Wednesday afternoon, airports around the country did not report many delays and officials said waits at security were averaging only five minutes. The protesters at the Los Angeles International Airport attracted a lot of attention, though. One passenger, Corinne Theile, had an unconventional way of opting out.

"When you come to the airport, they ask you to take off so much at the security screening, I ask myself, why do I even come to the airport dressed?"

Theile is worried about radiation from the new full-body scans, so she wore a bikini for her possible pat-down.

"If they want to see what's hidden under my bikini, they are welcome to," said Theile.

But they opted out. After she took off her coat, Theile only had to go through the metal detector-- no full-body scan, no pat-down.

Outside of the airport, a small group called We Won't Fly protested. The group's goal was to clog up the system.

Full-body scans take about 20 seconds. They want passengers to opt-out for pat-downs, which take about 2 minutes.

"Both of them are too intrusive, but we want the groping to happen so people can see just how awful this is," said Michelle Fields of WeWon'tFly.com.

But few passengers took the group's fliers. And even fewer bought into the message.

"It's a bunch of yahoos that just seem to not want to follow the rules, and everybody has to get used to it," said Bruce Wollman.

The Transportation Security Administration said only about 3 percent of people so far chose not to go through the scanners. Officials reminded the public that only a tiny percentage of fliers will be subjected to the pat-downs and they are easily avoided.

"If they just take all the metal out of their pockets, take off their shoes and don't set off the metal detector they won't have a problem. They'll go on their way," said Nico Melendez, a TSA spokesperson.

Passenger Alex Northington said she would choose the full-body scan.

"It seems easier to me, to be honest. Quicker, maybe," said Northington.

"I've been here since yesterday morning and I haven't seen a single pat-down yet, so people seem to be complying with the body scans," said Juan Parra of Travelocity.com

Still, there was at least one taker for the pat-down.

"We haven't encountered it yet, but I'm kind of looking forward to it," said passenger Frank Kilpatrick. "You get what you can at my age." Ontario International Airport is not yet equipped with the full body scanners at LAX. Travelers must pass through a simple metal detector but could be subjected to the enhanced pat-down if deemed necessary. One thing travelers at Ontario Airport didn't have to worry about were crowds. The short lines and easy access made for quick waits at security checkpoints and ticketing counters.


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