The TSA Can Now Force You Through a Body Scanner

Want to opt out of the controversial body scanners at airports? Too bad.

Not a fan of the controversial millimeter wave scanners that have been under fire for everything from privacy concerns to health risks? Too bad, as you may be forced to pass through one if you want to board a plane.

Previously, flyers had the right to opt-out of going through the body scanner, and be subjected to a full-body pat-down by a TSA agent instead. However, the TSA just announced that they have updated their policy to be able to require a full-body scan, even if the passenger refuses one. If they don’t submit to the scan, they won’t be allowed to fly.

The TSA claims that most flyers will still be allowed to opt-out if they want, and that only a small number of passengers will be forced to have one. The agency issued a statement via their Twitter account, saying: “Generally, passengers undergoing screening will have the option to decline AIT screening in favor of a pat-down. Some passengers will still be required to undergo AIT screening as warranted by security considerations in order to safeguard transportation security.”

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By Caroline Morse Teel

Unfortunately for her bank account, Principal Editor Caroline Morse Teel is powerless to resist a good flight deal. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo,, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto: "Don't be boring."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle (when the first class private suite isn't available)."

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