TSA to pilot elderly passenger checkpoint programme

by Tiffany Millar on March 14, 2012

The Transportation Security Administration today announced that it will start testing new procedures capable of reducing the amount of pat-downs for passengers aged 75 and older.

From 19 March onwards, modified elderly passenger screening procedures will start at Chicago’s O’Hare International, both international airports in Portland, Denver International, and Orlando International Airport. These five airports were chosen as percentages of passengers currently in the elderly group are much higher at these five hubs, according to Lisa Farbsetin - a TSA spokesperson.

The modified procedure being tested is to be similar to the one that was recently implemented for those aged 12 and under, meaning elderly travelers at these selected airports might no longer be asked to remove their shoes or light outerwear at checkpoints and can head through advanced imaging technology before clearing any anomalies. As is the case with procedures for those aged 12 and under, the TSA reserves a right to request that elderly fliers should take off their shoes or undergo a pat-down in the event that any anomalies that have been detected can’t be resolved.

Farbstein said that there is no scheduled finish date for the piloting of the programme, but did warn that expectations shouldn’t be raised too soon as each of the mentioned airports will only use one of their checkpoints for the trial run. It is expected that anyone aged 75 or older will make their presence known to staff after being alerted by signs close to participating checkpoints.

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