You may have read in the news today about a woman who missed her flight because there weren’t any female officers to screen her. As in most cases, there is more to this story. Read on…
In TSA’s smaller airports, we work closely with the airlines and airport to keep the security checkpoints open to make certain that all passengers are screened appropriately. Once TSA is informed by the airline that our screening services are no longer needed, the security checkpoint is closed.
Recently, a passenger attempted to access the checkpoint after it had closed. The airline had already made final boarding announcements and notified TSA that no additional passengers would be accepted. A TSA officer made two additional public announcements asking for any remaining passengers to report to the security checkpoint for screening. After both the flight and checkpoint were closed, a female passenger requested screening. Even though the checkpoint was already closed, our officer told the passenger he would attempt to recall a female officer to screen her, but was informed by the airline that she would not be able to board.
Yes, it is standard procedure for us to provide same-gender pat-downs when needed; however, in this instance, the airline had made final boarding announcements and notified TSA that no additional passengers would be accepted. This is why it is so important to arrive early, at least an hour before your departure when possible at smaller airports and two at larger ones to ensure you make your flight.
When possible, TSA makes every effort to accommodate a passenger’s request.