PHOENIX - A Washington, D.C. resident has formed a website critical of TSA pat-down procedures, calling on people to "opt out" on one of the busiest travel days of the nation.
Brian Sodergren designed optoutday.com in an effort to get people to experience the new TSA pat-down procedures.
"Getting a plane ticket doesn't mean you're consenting to someone being able to look under your clothes or feel your genitals," said Sodergren during a phone interview with ABC15.
Sodergren wants passengers, pilots and flight attendants to "opt-out" of the X-ray body scanners and go through the pat down procedure.
"It's too much, I don't want my wife or my child going through the pat-downs and have their genitals touched, people need to understand what's going on," said Sodergren.
Sodergren, a healthcare professional who says he flies often for business, is calling for passengers to opt for the pat-down procedure on November 24, 2010, which is the day before Thanksgiving and one of the busiest travel days of the year.
Sodergren says he's not attempting to overwhelm the security checkpoints by urging people to experience the procedure.
"I have no intention to or no desire to slow people down or the system down or make people miss their flights," said Sodergren. "I just want people to know the body scanners and especially pat-downs are just way too much, we have a right to privacy."
The unveiling of the website comes as a flight attendants union with 2,000 members is upset over what it calls "invasive pat-downs" recently implemented by the TSA.
"We're getting calls daily about peoples' experiences, our members are concerned," said Deborah Volpe, Vice President of the Association of Flight Attendants Local 66.
Volpe confirmed that the union is offering advice to its flight attendants, who mostly work for Tempe-based USAirways, involving the security moves.
According to a union email obtained by ABC15, it tells flight attendants if they opt out of using the body scanner through security and are required to undergo a pat-down to ask the pat-down be conducted in a private area with a witness.
"We don't want them in uniform going through this enhanced screening where their private areas are being touched in public," said Volpe. "They actually make contact with the genital area."
Some passengers have told ABC15 they've already encountered flight delays due to crew members having problems with TSA employees.
"It (delay) was over three hours when they finally found a crew member to take her place," said Les Johnson who says his Charlotte bound flight was delayed. "She (flight attendant) felt that she was groped and supposedly filed a claim."
According to Volpe, complaints from flight attendants are expected to continue to increase and said some flight attendants are planning to file lawsuits.
A flight attendant who contacted ABC15, and asked not to be named because they are not authorized to be speak about the issue without union approval, says there have been more complaints from flight attendants filed Wednesday morning.
"They've already contacted the ACLU," said Volpe when referring to some members of the union. "We don't know if somebody may have had an experience with a sexual assault and its (pat-down) going to drudge up some bad memories."
Volpe made it clear the union is not against security.
"Security is the most important aspect, our offices were used as murder weapons," said Volpe. "Keep in mind we undergo extensive background checks and we fly quite often."
Volpe said she has been a flight attendant for nearly 25 years and she and other union leaders are pushing for a "crew pass" system that would allow flight attendants and pilots to essentially by-pass security.
"We don't want to delay anyone, we just feel this pat-down is a little much."
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