Updated 5:04 PM PST, Tue, Nov 23, 2010
Have you wondered what it's like to be on the other side of the rope at the airport?
Chris Soulia, who works for the Transportation Safety Administration, spoke to NBCSanDiego only in his capacity as a union official. He said that TSA workers have taken the brunt of the passengers' disgruntlement.
He said that the majority of the passengers have no problem with the new procedures and that 99 percent of the passengers going through the checkpoint have no problem whatsoever with the full-body screening or the pat-down procedure.
"We have had several passengers who have gone through the [full-body] screening, and their response was, 'That was it? This is what the big fuss is over?' " Soulia said, adding,"once they actually get down and see us, and work with us, the majority see it's no big deal."
The TSA worker said he believes that most air travelers actually appreciate the extra security. He said that he was not aware of any officers in San Diego being insulted or spit on. Soulia said he thought it would effective if the TSA had a pamphlet to hand out that would allow passengers to read up on the process, pointing out that answering questions distracts the TSA from its primary mission of providing security at the airport.
This, he said, is the issue with Opt Out Day on Wednesday. Some travelers have urged one another to opt out of the full-body scan in favor of the much more time-consuming pat-down procedure in an effort to overwhelm the process and protest both procedures. Solia thinks the protest is very irresponsible on the part of organizers, reducing the number of officers on the floor, taking eyes off the checkpoint and slowing down the process for other passengers.
Solia said he was not put off about having to perform the pat-down procedure.
"It's not like we are groping or fondling people," Solia said. "Its a simple process of the hands sliding up the inner thigh. It's not like we are grabbing anything, genitals or anything."
Solia said the procedure was all just part of his job, and that he was not going to second-guess the procedure his supervisors have instructed him to perform.