Travelers see security patdowns as necessary hassle

Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:34am EST
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Despite being annoying, uncomfortable and invasive, most travelers say security patdowns at airports are necessary, but not everyone is convinced they would be effective in deterring an attack.

Nearly 85 percent of air passengers questioned in a global Ipsos/Reuters poll said the measures, which are considered by some to be a violation of human rights, are warranted but a hassle, although 40 of travelers say the measures would not catch anyone determined to cause harm.

Nearly a third say security procedures are too invasive.

"If you are traveling and you are a passenger your own personal safety is something that means everything, and as a result you are willing to put up with an inconvenient hassle," said John Wright, senior vice president and managing director, public opinion polling at Ipsos.

"It is a necessary part of traveling nowadays and I think it really comes down to how the individual handlers on the spot deal with it."

Wright likened the patdowns to cough medicines that taste bad but work.

Consumer complaints about patdowns and revealing walk-through body scanners has sparked complaints to airlines, politicians, civil liberties groups and security agencies.

In the United States patdowns are done if passengers refuse to walk through a full-body scanner, if something unusual is found on a scan, or if someone sets off a metal detector, according to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA).   Continued...

<p>A Transportation Security Agency (TSA) worker runs her hands over the head of a traveler during a patdown search at Denver International Airport, the day before Thanksgiving November 24, 2010. REUTERS/Rick Wilking</p>