As the national debate continues to simmer over the TSA's enhanced security screening procedures at U.S. airports, an online campaign has declared Wednesday, Nov. 24 — one of the busiest air travel days of the year — as National Opt-Out Day.
The grassroots effort is encouraging travelers who pass through security terminals equipped with the new Advance Imaging Technology scanners to “opt-out” of being screened, a procedure the campaign refers to as "virtual strip searches" in a statement posted on its website. Those who decline to pass through the machines will be given an “enhanced” pat-down by TSA employees, an experience that some travelers also are decrying as too invasive.
What does this mean for those flying Wednesday? If successful, the campaign does have the potential to cause delays at security gates that have the new backscatter machines, since a pat-down takes longer than the digital scan. But as of press time, the campaign’s Twitter account had a relatively demure 877 followers and its Facebook page, 121 "likes."
Also bear in mind: The TSA has only just begun to install the controversial machines, so traditional metal detectors are still in place at many terminals. Passengers who are reluctant to pass through backscatter machines have a decent chance of avoiding the experience by simply choosing a different line as they approach the security gate.