National Opt-Out Day sees â€˜very few people opting out’
BOSTON—During one of the busiest travel periods of the year, the Transportation Security Administration faced additional threats last week with the launching of National Opt-Out Day. Organizers of this event encouraged airline passengers on November 24 to “opt out” of being scanned by whole-body imaging technology and instead submit to TSA’s enhanced pat-down procedures.
But, airports across the nation reported very few incidents from the protest. As a matter of fact, George Naccara, federal security director of Logan International Airport, told Security Director News that they saw no real impacts from the protest efforts. “There were very few people who opted out,” he said. “We actually had less people opt out of using the AIT machines than normal.”
However, the airport still prepared for the worst-case scenario. “We had several meetings with Massport, the police department and airline carriers,” he said. The TSA also conducted briefings with its officers prior to each shift change to review professional standards as well as the TSA’s protocols. Communication is really the key, said Naccara, and the TSA reiterated to employees how important it is to communicate pat-down procedures to passengers.
In preparation for expected increase in passengers—the airport processed between 52,000 and 56,000 passengers in the four days of the holiday travel—combined with potential delays from this protest, Naccara said the airport had additional police officers stationed in terminals as well as high levels of additional staffing. As a result of this there were only minimal security checkpoint wait times.