Info ~ travel musings for the masses

A few weekends ago I took a trip to Quito, Ecuador and was subjected to the displeasure of the newest addition to the TSA’s anti-terrorism toolbox; The full body scanner.


The full body scanners do exactly that, they scan the entire body, through the clothing to produce a near naked image for a TSA employee to ponder over before letting the traveler go about their business.

There is only one such scanner currently at IAH and it is in Terminal E.

On the day that I was flying, the traffic through Terminal E was light so everyone was being subjected to the full body scan. There was no signage anywhere explaining what the scanner was, people were just being directed into the device and told to “raise your hands in the air”.

Knowing what the machine was and what job it performed, I let the agent know that I would “opt-out” and preferred the personal screening. I assumed that this would be done like it has always been done, behind a screen out of the public eye. Nope, not this time. The pat-down was more thorough than a doctor during a physical and was performed right out in the open in front of everyone walking by.

This is unacceptable, plain and simple. It was quite obvious that they were trying to test the machine during a lull in the crowd and were using the pat down as an embarrassment tool to persuade me into going through the machine next time.

We are sacrificing our freedoms in the name of security and it’s irresponsible.

Next time, I’ll just go through Terminal C and avoid the unwanted feel-up by the TSA.


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  1. Mary #
    October 6, 2009

    I wouldn’t comment on certain blogs… they probably know and have all the answers and don’t need to hear from you. LOL!

  2. Jeff #
    October 7, 2009

    They should combine the screening with a prostate exam. At least then their probing has a legitimate purpose.

  3. October 7, 2009

    If it was full service and did prostate exams, I’d be more prone to buying tickets.

  4. Jeff #
    October 14, 2009

    Given our previous discussions on supply side economics, I thought you might find this interesting:

    As you can suspect, I find Bruce Bartlett’s perspective very compelling. He is much better at expressing a lot of my own misgivings about the current state of conservatism on the right. In fact, as strange as this may sound, I’ve come to conclude that the Democrats are more conservative on the economy and fiscal matters than the Republicans.

    By the way, how was Ecuador? I’ve always wanted to go. My sister-in-law has been down there a few times to dive in the Galapagos; that is, before they started cracking down on tourism.

  5. December 29, 2009

    I was just in Ecuador a month ago and got pulled aside and put through some type of x-ray machine. It was a conveyor belt. I then was called in to another room and I saw the images of my skeletal system. Nice. I wonder how many rays were sent through my body from that dilapidated piece of equipment.

    Thanks Ecuador. I think I will pass on my next trip to visit your country.

    • December 29, 2009

      Thanks for the comment Mike!

      That is very interesting. I flew through Quito not too long ago and didn’t see the machine, but I take your word for it. I do not think scanning everyone is going to catch everything and cannot really support the full body scanner.

  6. Chris #
    December 30, 2009

    I really don’t care if they scan me, I welcome it. It beats some asshole blowing himself up or high jacking the plane to fly it into another building to kill people. Freedom isn’t free.

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