Travelers at IAH OK with New Scanners

With the holiday season upon us, millions of people are making plans to fly to various cities in order to visit friends and relatives. Normally it's airfare or long lines that would be making headlines, but this year the government's use of airport body scanners have people talking. Bill Stamps went to Bush Intercontinental Airport to see what's going on.

(sound: voice over airport speaker).

Ever since the tragedy of 911 our nation’s airports have been continually making changes in order to improve safety. Family members used to be able to walk their loved ones all the way to the gate. Travelers also never had to take off their shoes or have baby formula checked for explosives. But few changes in the past ten years have generated as much controversy as the new body scanners. Houston’s Dave Faircloth understands both sides of the controversy.

"I think there’s a fine line between sacrificing your personal freedoms and maintaining a certain level of security. The body scan doesn’t bother me, but the physical contact stuff that’s been going on is a little over-the-top."

The physical stuff he’s referring to are the pat downs you can choose if you’d rather not go through the scanner. Some people especially those who fly a lot are concerned about the radiation the new scanners emit. But TSA spokesman Louis Casanova says all their testing and research has shown there’s nothing to be concerned about.

"The National Institute for Standards and Technology, John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, the Food and Drug Administration, all results confirm that this technology is safe."

At Bush the radiation effect was a concern for Chris Adema who said he’d take the pat down option instead.

"I'd rather get patted down."
 
Stamps: "You'll take the pat down."

I’ll take the pat down."

Stamps: "You don't mind the pat down?"

"No."

Chris Highfill just wanted to get home to Philadelphia. He wasn’t worried about the radiation or the other concern some people have put forth: the possibility of see though images from the body scanner getting out to the public.

"Maybe if I was a little bit better toned, I could pose going through there. Nah, no big deal."

Over all none of the travelers I spoke with at Bush had any complaints or anything bad to say about TSA.  Still you will hear some argue that its not necessary search a 90 year old woman or 6 month old baby, because they’re not going to blow up a plane. This is Casanova.

"We have found individuals how have tried to use children to bring in prohibited items."

Casanova says a 90 year old grandmother may not be a terrorist, but says a terrorist might try and hide something on her with or without her knowing. So whether its metal detectors, body scanners or a physical pat down. Everyone is treated the same, whether they like it or not.

(Sound from the airport loud speaker: 'We appreciate your cooperation while these measures'...).

For more information, visit the TSA Advanced Imaging Technology page.