Get Ready for Big Delays on 'National Opt-Out Day'

Even a small number of participants could tie up lines
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2010 11:58 AM CST
Get Ready for Big Delays on 'National Opt-Out Day'
Travelers undergo TSA security screening, Friday, Nov. 19, 2010, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

You may want to get to the airport really early on Wednesday: With the country in a fervor over the TSA's new enhanced security procedures, experts believe "National Opt-Out Day" will indeed create delays at dozens of major airports. The day, conceived by Brian Sodergren (who, ironically, will not be flying), has achieved national notoriety—and if even a small percentage of passengers decide to "opt out" of the new full-body scan in favor of an enhanced pat-down, lines are sure to be longer on what is already the busiest travel day of the year, the AP reports.

Body scans take about 10 seconds, but pat-downs take up to four minutes—longer if the passenger asks to be taken to a private room, or asks for a full explanation in advance. To get 100 people through a body scan would take around 15 minutes; if all 100 opted for a pat-down, it would take at least six hours. One expert estimates 20% of holiday fliers will be randomly selected for the new scanners, which means tens of thousands could decide to protest and ask for the pat-down. A top transportation security official is asking fliers not to participate and thus "tie up people who want to go home and see their loved ones." (Click here to see how else you may be able to block the scanner.)

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