West Texas Passengers Weigh in on Airport Pat Downs

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - We've been hearing a lot of complaints about those pat downs and body scanners at the airport. With the day before Thanksgiving being one of the most traveled days of the year NewsWest 9 wanted to find out how West Texans are taking to those new security measures.

Throughout most of the day on Wednesday, things have run pretty smoothly for passengers coming in and out of West Texas, but one of the biggest changes this year is how they'll get through security. After talking with dozens of passengers, most seem to be ok with the new policies while others we spoke with say they feel violated.

"They pretty much patted down the chest, backside of the legs, inside of the legs, and that was it," Spencer Reed, who is traveling to Germany, said. "They sent me on my way."

"It was embarrassing," Marta Roma, who traveled to Midland, said. "Very very embarrassing."

Whether you feel like it's just one more step in a lengthy process or completely embarrassing, getting from point A to point B this holiday season is certainly not what it used to be.

"I like the old days when we didn't have to do all of this, but after 9-11, it's fine," Midland Traveler, Reni Palmer, said. "You have to do it because you'd rather do it than the plane blow up."

Body scanners, pat downs, and wands - not words normally associated with hopping aboard a plane are now a way of life. NewsWest 9 checked in with passengers at the Midland Airport to find out what it's like going through that new procedure, and for the most part no one seemed to mind.

"We go to doctors and they examine our bodies and what have you, so why not?" Geneva Reed, who's traveling to Austria, said. "If that's what it takes to keep us safe then I'm all for it."

"I travel pretty regularly and I don't really see the difference in this and going to a doctor," Spencer Reed said. "If they're going to pat you down, they're going to pat you down. If it keeps me safe, then I'm all about it."

"I think a lot of people are just trying to get to their loved ones," Nicholas Robinson, who's traveling to Washington, D.C., said. "That was the primary focus. Just in and out. No problems."

But not everyone feels that way. Marta just flew back from Puerto Rico and says getting into the United States, she felt violated.

"She took me into a room with another lady," Roma said. "She touched every part of my body. I felt raped, I felt angry because at some point she hit me a little bit on my genitals."

She says she was the only one out of about 20 passengers picked out for the pat down and if everyone isn't going through that process, they may be missing the problem.

"I want them to stop it," Roma said. "It's not necessary. They're not going to find anything. They're making us feel embarrassed."

Wednesday marked one of the busiest travel days of the year. Authorities reported very little controversy nationwide because of the body-scan protests.