Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole announced that uniformed pilots will be allowed to skip the body scans and pat downs.
They'll still have to pass through a metal detector and present photo identification.
Meantime, some TSA agents are now speaking out about the stepped-up pat down procedures.
"In going through training, every officer that does a pat down has had a pat down. So, we've had that experience. We're comfortable with it," said Valyria Lewis with the AFGE Local 555.
"She ran her hand like this up the inside of my leg, but she did it so hard and so rough she lifted my heels up off the ground," described passenger Ella Swift.
Swift is not alone. The ACLU said it has received more than 600 complaints from passengers in November.
Some activists are urging travelers to refuse to go through the full-body scanners, which produce a virtually naked image.
Those who refuse a body scan can be forced to undergo time-consuming fingertip examinations, which include clothed genital areas and breasts, by inspectors of the same sex as the traveler.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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