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Which one of the following expresses your feeling about screening for airline travel

Full-body scanning is so intrusive that I will not travel and run the risk of having it done.
I am very anxious about the possibility of having to undergo full-body scanning.
I am somewhat anxious about the possibility of having to undergo full-body scanning.
I am OK with the possibility of undergoing full-body scanning as long as my identity is protected.
I an totally OK with the possibility of undergoing full-body scanning when I travel.
Total votes: 408

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Post by beverly9 »

my bag was detected and I was taken to a private area for a pat down. Made me anxious but the experience was not bad. The screeners were very professional
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Post by dmitchel »

I fly all the time with work. It seems that they are getting better at identifying an ostomy and have quit asking me what it is. Which I find quite embarrassing.
Posts: 2
Joined: 2014-02-03 22:07:05


Post by Tunning »

I traveled last Feb. The only place that checked over good was Nashville. They did a full body scan. I had letter my doctor and I show it to them. They were nice but did the scan. As I am older and slightly disabled....the TSA agents provided me with assistance which nice and I appreciated it. It all worked out for me and I really didn't mind doing the scan.
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Post by IIIRL »

I just recently flew and I had no issues at all....... do not stress over this.....
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Joined: 2014-03-27 00:04:58


Post by nashvegas79 »

First things first...
R.I.P. Kurt Cobain. We lost him 20 years ago today. He is still missed.

But moving on to the Topic...
I go through TSA screenings fairly often; probably six times a year in the five years since I got my colostomy. And while the full-body scans do make me a little anxious, it's really just a drop in the bucket when you consider the full stress of air-travel today. I used to hope that I would get shuffled into the security line that only had to go through a metal detector, but these days almost everybody has to go through the full-body scanner. Honestly, I'm more bothered by the fact that the scanner has become the default screening option when its installation was initially sold to the public as something that we would be randomly selected to go through in order to heighten security...but I digress into a libertarian ramble.
I would say that 9 times out of 10 I have to go through the body scanner, and the scan detects my colostomy pouch about half the time. I always step out of the machine (and on a side note, doesn't that thing remind you of the scanner in the original Total Recall movie?) and look back at the screen to see if a yellow box appears on the gingerbread man's abdomen. And when it does, I simply turn to the TSA agent, tap my pouch, and tell him/her that I have a medical appliance. They almost always understand what I mean and call their supervisor over to do an explosive test. I've never been intrusively patted down or asked to pull up my shirt. We just go over to the little microwave looking machine and they ask me to reach under my shirt to touch the colostomy area, then they rub a swab on my hand and put it in the machine. 5 seconds later I am cleared to go...and then spend the next 10 minutes putting on my belt and shoes and repacking my computer and bag of toiletries into my carry on.

I really do hope that the microwave-looking machine they put that cotton pad into can detect the smallest explosive material, and I really do hope that bomb residue is something that will contaminate everything around it; because when they ask me to touch my application area, i usually just reach under my outer shirt and move my hand around on top of my undershirt. Nobody has every patted it down or even asked to look at the appliance. If anything, they are far less intrusive than they could be, mostly because the ackwardness that people feel about colostomies. Really, I think it kind of works in our favor for once. They are more embarrassed than we are. So take advantage of their discomfort. Not that you should, because we should all obey local, state, and federal laws, but theoretically one could put a well-wrapped gram or two of medicinal plant matter in a colostomy pouch and not worry about being hassled. If it is discovered, then I think we can agree they really went waaaay above and beyond common duty (ha ha..I said "duty") And as your attorney I recommend that you use this simple defense: "Officer, it must have been something I ate." I mean, can we ever be totally sure what that Taco Bell employee put in your double-decker beef taco supreme?

Sorry...that last paragraph kind of got away from me. I'll get back on topic and wrap this up...

Last month I was sitting at a departure gate that was directly across from the security area. I put down the book I was reading and watched in disbelief as a TSA agent took a one-legged little-person in a wheel chair off to the side for enhanced scrutiny. I checked my watch, and it took about 10 minutes. He was made to stand up on one leg, leaning on a table, as he was patted down, and then his chair was nearly disassembled. Now maybe I'm the A-hole for not giving the disabled little-person enough credit to assume that he was planning on hijacking or blowing up a plane. Or maybe he was a dick to the agents, refused to go through regular screening, or made threatening remarks. Or maybe, just maybe, the entire TSA security process is a disjointed and inconsistent nightmare for everyone. The harassment is indiscriminate, and the the frustration is universal. In the end, if I and my luggage make it from point A to point B without having to spend the night at the Detroit airport hilton, then it was a success.

Things can always be worse. You could be flying Malaysia Airlines..........................Too soon?
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Post by PamSue »

I had a full body scan returning from England and didn't even realize what was happening until it was over.
I have also been subject to a strip search since my abdomen is 'irregular'. That was not very pleasant to say the least.
Posts: 1
Joined: 2014-07-09 23:26:54


Post by jeffreypr »

I've had a k-pouch for almost 30 years.
I've never had an issue with air travel in the US.
The only people who ask about the catheter I always carry have been concert security people.
After spending too much time explaining my catheter the first time this happened I discovered the magic phrase "That's what I shit through" and have always been allowed to pass after saying that.

In less than two months I'm going on an international flight for the first time, visiting Istanbul and Singapore.
I'm kinda concerned about what I'll encounter and how effectively I'll be able to communicate my situation.
I'll have more catheters than I expect to need, already cut and stowed in checked bags and carry-on.
Along with several boxes of bandages I use to cover the stoma.

I saw one site that recommended I have an explanation of my condition printed in the local languages.
Does that seem worth doing?
If anyone has any other ideas or related experiences to share, I'd love to hear them.

Thanks everyone for what you've written here. I just discovered this forum today and I'm grateful for it.
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Joined: 2014-10-03 16:48:33


Post by Phydeaux »

Having been screened at airports all over the US I'm happy to say that I've seldom had an issue with inappropriate TSA behavior. On one occasion an agent noticed a slight bulge and indiscreetly blurted "What's this" for everyone else to hear while he was busy squeezing the contents in the tail of the bag. Much more quietly I retorted "It's a bag of my s**t, I'll let you determine how much longer and harder you want to squeeze that." He was caught off guard and a disgusted look came to his face as evidently somewhere in his training he seemed to recall hearing of such things. To his credit the hero quickly let go and apologized and waved me through without further searching.
Other than a bit of unwanted attention and embarrassment, that incident ended with nothing more. I am a bit concerned however that TSA will undoubtedly realize that this would indeed be an easy way to for a terrorist to carry explosives. We may all have to carry some kind of documentation in the future-and in today's world I guess I'll be fine with that. Perhaps it will get to the point where any clearance will not be allowed unless these bags are empty-as documentation could be faked. A diversion to the restroom and a second inspection? Who knows? As much of a hassle as that would be, one incident with actual explosives would make whatever cooperation is necessary an easy accommodation to accept.
Of course an igniter and power source would still be required and this would still pose a bit of a problem for any jihadist to overcome.
Maybe we'll all get lucky and Akbar can blow himself up while engineering his solution.
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Post by urostomyquerier »

Wonder what would happen if they felt a urostomy bag? Would they try to open it?

I heard those xray or something scans can see genitals? It's not nice to see peoples'
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Bob Webtech
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Post by Bob Webtech »


You may wish to view the Travel Tips page on this UOAA website at http://www.ostomy.org/Ostomy_Travel_Tips.html - especially the part near the bottom about Full Body Scanners. While we can't say anything definitive about airport security officials worldwide, we believe that in the US, they've been trained pretty well to be aware of ostomies, and they should not ask ostomates to remove clothing or expose their ostomy pouches.

As for privacy concerns due to images produced by the scanners: Initially, two types of scanners were deployed at US airports, backscatter x-ray and millimeter wave. Both types were criticized for producing revealing images that were viewed by a security officer who sat in an adjoining side room. The x-ray machines also raised concern about health dangers of the x-ray exposure. The x-ray scanners have all been removed from US airports. The millimeter wave machines no longer produce revealing images, but have been outfitted with software that generates only a cartoon-like image of a human body (the "Gumby" image), illustrating possible threats superimposed on this image. These images are no longer viewed by an officer in a side room, but are displayed directly on the scanning machine where passengers can view them after getting scanned. You can read about some of the changes at http://community.breastcancer.org/liveg ... th-risk-2/
Bob Baumel, UOAA discussion board administrator
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Post by Sandywr »

One of the times I traveled, I was picked to go to a plastic room about the size of a phone booth (before my colostomy) - it was just random. They had a really good looking security agent stand in front until a woman came. I told him I was perfectly fine with him patting me down (I am old and I definitely would appreciate it from a good looking stud). But with a smile on his face he declined.
Sandy and THE DUDE
Permanent Colostomy since 4/24/2014
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Post by nashvegas79 »

Phydeaux wrote: We may all have to carry some kind of documentation in the future-and in today's world I guess I'll be fine with that. Perhaps it will get to the point where any clearance will not be allowed unless these bags are empty-as documentation could be faked. A diversion to the restroom and a second inspection? Who knows? .
Yeah Phydeaux,
Because right now the TSA still limits a passenger to 3.4 ounces of liquids in their carry-ons. What if I have 3.5 ounces of crap in my bag? And how do they know if it's crap in my bag and not an explosive material? But to be honest, depending on what I ate the night before, my crap could be quite explosive... all you can eat chili at Ponderosa!!!

Just kidding about Ponderosa, I have more respect for myself than that. But seriously...will we need doctors notes at some point? Or will we need to expose our stoma? And what happened to inflight dinners? We are getting screwed...
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Post by mudpig145 »

I am all for the full body scanner and have no problem with the pat downs. I know how a pat down should be done plus I want to be safe and I want all the other passengers to be safe and if it calls for me to be patted down I will respect that decision. Also, you can tell the TSA Agent who looks at your ID in the beginning that you need a personal pat down because of a medical issue. I flew for the first time back in 2011 to Boston and didn't even think about my ostomy and the full body scanner picking up my appliance. I was more worried about my spinal cord stimulator being questioned than my ostomy. They pulled me aside, asked what was in the right pocket (that is the placement of my ostomy on the right side, not in my pocket LOL), and then proceeded to be brought to a private room and was swabbed with a rag over my clothes and on my right side. I was more than willing to give them whatever information they needed. The Agent advised me that on my return flight home I should tell the Boston TSA Agents that I needed a private screening. I did this in Boston, went through the metal detector, stood there for several minutes and no one did anything so I picked up my stuff and went on my way. Funny, they were more worried about my soda bottle than screening me personally! Unfortunately, this is not saying too much for the security at Boston. I should have reported it but once I was through I didn't think about it anymore. So, I always tell the TSA Agents I need a personal pat down and am happy to do so.
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Post by No-guts »

I've had no problems. The last two times I traveled, I just whispered to the TSA Agent that I had an ostomy before going through the full body scanner and they were very kind about it. I also pre-cut my wafers.
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Post by theRabbit »

Considering both the shoe bomber and underwear bomber incidents I have not problem with the full body scan. I do carry in my hand the TSA Blue card and if I get picked for further investigation I just show it to them. They recognize it immediately and just get me to pat myself down and then wand my hand for explosive residue (which of course isn't there). I have never felt embarrassed with this and the extra time it takes for me is far less than the time taken by the person who forgets to take their car keys out of their pocket. <GRIN>
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