Pat-downs are normally given at random or to passengers who set off an alarm. Right now, TSA officials are restricted as to how and where someone can be touched. But, these new guidelines now give them access to body parts that were once off limits.
This body scan machine has only been at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport for less than three months, and already security measures are changing.
TSA officials said, "If they don't want to go through the advanced imaging technology, or a metal detector, they will receive alternate screening to include a thorough pat down."
Right now, TSA officials search passengers using the common pat down method. Starting Friday, they'll be able to use a sliding motion and search parts of the body some say are too private ... like the underside of a woman's bra.
We showed a video clip of what the new searches would look like to passengers ... particularly women. Their reaction was all the same.
Pat Leppo said, "I don't think they should be able to touch anything that's kinda private."
Gil Harootunian said, "If they insist of patting me down, it better be a woman, or they're really making themselves quite liable."
TSA officials say pat downs have been and will continue to be conducted by screeners who are the same gender as the passenger. The passenger will also have the option to go into a separate room for a pat-down search.
Aviation expert Kent Scott maintains while tight security is crucial these new steps are going too far. "Other forms of profiling, behavior, nervousness things like that are much more effective than this patting down, which can be extremely intrusive and very disturbing to the female passengers."
TSA officials say these changes are necessary to protect travelers. They add ... only a very small percentage of passengers require a pat-down search.