Flight Attendants Exempt From Scanners, Pat Downs

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The TSA says flight attendants will be able to bypass the agency's new airport security procedures, effective immediately. The news comes days after the TSA made a similar exemption for pilots. On-duty, uniformed pilots can skip the TSA's body scanners and pat downs by presenting two forms of picture ID, which are checked against an airline crew database. Pilots must walk through a metal detector, and their carry-ons are X-rayed as well.

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Bloomberg reports, "U.S. airline flight attendants are getting the same exemption from body-scanner checks that pilots began receiving under a directive that went out Nov. 19 ... The attendants and pilots must continue to go through metal detectors, under agency guidelines."

In an email to Bloomberg, TSA spokesman Nicholas Kimball said, "Flight attendants, like pilots, are a known and trusted group."

Flight attendants will go through the same process as pilots—two forms of photo ID, crewmember database check, metal detector, X-ray for carry-on bags. Both pilots and flight attendants may have to undergo a pat down if they set off the metal detector. Off-duty, plain-clothed flight attendants will be treated like normal passengers.

This seems like common sense to me. Flight attendants go through background checks and training before they're hired, and it seems sufficient to check their ID and verify they are, in fact, airline employees. Critics will likely say, "Well, now all a terrorist has to do is become a flight attendant," but that seems far-fetched to me. Think about it: If it were that easy, why hasn't it been tried already?

Readers, what do you think? Should flight attendants be exempt?

Read comments or add your own insight!
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