New airport screening increases chances of pat-downs

The Transportation Security Administration has stepped up security at airports across the country. Agency officials said they will begin a new policy that may increase your chances of getting a pat-down.

Travelers generally understand that the new requirements are necessary to keep everyone safe, but nobody really wants to get patted down on the way to their next flight. So, what can be done to reduce the chances of getting pulled across the aisle for that extra screening?

Basically there are two ways that TSA officers could stop you. One is random, which nothing can really be done to avoid it. But there is something travelers can do to avoid the second way and that simply is to empty out pockets.

TSA has put into place a new, more comprehensive program of the secondary screening across the county including at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

"We're going to assign someone of the same sex to you," said Mark Howell, TSA Regional Spokesperson.

That's the first thing to know for travelers who have never experienced a physically search. And depending on the situation, the pat-down can be the front of the hand, back of the hand or flat handed.

“Part of the screening does include sensitive areas that include the breasts, buttocks, toward the groin area. Keep in mind it's not something that the TSA officers are looking forward to either," said Howell.

A friend or relative can go along, and there will always be a second officer on hand. But what can set a machine off?

“Bras can alarm when they go through, especially if they have an underwire, a metal wire. So, it's one thing to keep in mind when you're preparing for travel."

And what about cash? Many travelers don't want to remove cash and the wallet.

Travelers can hold wallets or other similar items as they pass through the checkpoint if they don’t want to put them through the x-ray machine. That will minimize the possibility of a pat-down.

And travelers may want to look into joining a Pre-Check program. It reduces searches and travelers can leave their shoes and belts on.

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