FlyFL
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New Passenger Screening System

Mon Jan 10, 2005 10:47 am

I apologize if this has been discussed before. I did a search but it did not return any results. When traveling through GPT yesterday I encountered a new security screening system, which the TSA agent I spoke with said was being tested at 5 airports in the US. This system, which is made by GE is kind of like a phone booth. The passenger steps into it, and it blows puffs of air all over the passenger's body. It is completely automated, and at least at GPT, all passengers must pass through it. The only thing I can figure out is that it must be a method of "patting" people down without actually touching them. Anyone know anything else about this new technology?
 
FLAIRPORT
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RE: New Passenger Screening System

Mon Jan 10, 2005 10:57 am

I would say this is insane, but I don't know enough about the equipment to say that.

What is it like in that thing? What if I refuse to go in it right now at the test airports?

Do they still have the metal detectors, or does this replace them?
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BA767s
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RE: New Passenger Screening System

Mon Jan 10, 2005 10:59 am

Im not sure what it is but here in the UK newspapers there was this thing on a screener that can see you naked. Maybe it was one of them, hopefully not!

Cheers,

John  Smile
Come on, let's fly!
 
Newark777
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RE: New Passenger Screening System

Mon Jan 10, 2005 11:01 am

I think that is the new machine that measures to see if there are any trace amounts of bomb material on you, sort of like a human version of those swabs they use on your carry-ons. I saw a story on the news about those recently.

Harry
Why grab a Heine when you can grab a Busch?
 
AAgent
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RE: New Passenger Screening System

Mon Jan 10, 2005 11:01 am

No, this is not the machine that can see through your clothes. The machine being referred to here uses puffs of air to dislodge particles from both you and your clothing which are then "sniffed" by the machine to identify any trace elements that may indicate the presence of explosives.

Regards,
AAgent
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Feroze
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RE: New Passenger Screening System

Mon Jan 10, 2005 11:08 am

Found this link:

The vapour testing machine uses jets of air to blow trapped particles from passengers' clothing as they walk through an archway.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/2856597.stm

Feroze
 
cedarjet
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RE: New Passenger Screening System

Mon Jan 10, 2005 11:13 am

It's kind of a 'patting down' but it's main function is to detect smells ie explosives. They've been doing it with baggage since the 70s - a lot of bags are locked and if something looks suspicious on the Xray, before they bust the locks they can do a very sophisticated analysis of all the odours inside the case by blowing a jet of air into a seam or a tiny hole, then a probe can take a detailed reading of everything in the case.

That could be bad for anyone who, in the previous week, has been to a coffee shop Amsterdam or at a mate's place where someone has smoked a joint - in that jacket. If they sniff everyone's clothes, a lot of people are going to occasionally have a whiff of something illegal. What are they looking for? Explosives, right? I would think they'd toss in the ability to sniff out any illegal drug. Surely - but that means you don't have to use, let alone possess, an illegal (presumably smokable) drug to get pulled out of line and searched / questioned / documented, if you've either been in a country where smoking pot etc is legal and you've been socialising, or happened to be in the presence (at your unemployed cousin's place) of someone smoking a joint, which isn't exactly an illegal offence. (Although on the positive side, this would make it impossible to deliberately smuggle drugs or anything else onto a plane without injesting it - the machine would smell it if it were there.)
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ckfred
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RE: New Passenger Screening System

Mon Jan 10, 2005 11:24 am

I've heard that the concern about equipment that tests for the residue of explosives is that, for people who golf, fertilizer residue that winds up on golf shoes or golf bags.

Apparently, some explosives are made from chemicals that are found in fertilizer. I wouldn't think that this is as big a problem for screening passengers as it is for screening golf equipment that is checked as baggage.
 
kith
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RE: New Passenger Screening System

Mon Jan 10, 2005 11:58 am

I was in one at the CN tower in Toronto. I think it is great once they get the kinks worked out and a much needed link in aviation security. Nothing found on my golf clubs yet! I have heard they are very very expensive though, but hey, the Bush admin has never spent money un wisely before, so why would they start now. -Matt in KITH
 
Newark777
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RE: New Passenger Screening System

Mon Jan 10, 2005 12:02 pm

I've heard that the concern about equipment that tests for the residue of explosives is that, for people who golf, fertilizer residue that winds up on golf shoes or golf bags.

I've actually seen this happen. A man in LAS was carrying golf accessories in his carry-on, but he also had film equipment, so he asked to have his bag hand screened. When they ran the swabs through the machine, it came back positive. Everything worked out fine, though, when they found out it was from golf.

Harry
Why grab a Heine when you can grab a Busch?
 
57AZ
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RE: New Passenger Screening System

Mon Jan 10, 2005 12:14 pm

I don't know exactly what alternatives policy allows if the passenger does not want to go through the particle detector, but that would probably be sufficient cause for security to refuse the person access to airside. After all, air travel is not a right even though you bought a ticket. That's why airlines have Contracts of Carriage that allow them to refuse boarding to individual passengers under certain defined circumstances. Metal detectors are still a must, though there are many potential weapons that are manufactured of materials that a metal detector would miss entirely.

Looking at the scenario posed by our fellow a.netter, I would hope that security would be more suspicious of individuals who protest going through the machine. People who are hesitant under that situation are much more likely to have something to hide and should rightly be examined more closely. Golfers need not be alarmed as a decent screener will know that certain chemicals used in the processing of fertilizer are also used in explosives and that should not cause any real problem, so long as they tell the screener that readily.
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
 
FLAIRPORT
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RE: New Passenger Screening System

Mon Jan 10, 2005 12:16 pm

I guess I mean that since its a new device, some people might have second thoughts on going through the device...what if the person requested to be patted down instead?
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FlyFL
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RE: New Passenger Screening System

Mon Jan 10, 2005 1:04 pm

Thanks for the info... The new screening machine was in line with the metal detector, that is, after walking through the puffer (if that's appropriate) you then entered the metal detector as usual. I should note that the new machine was very "high-tech" with automatic doors and LCD screens indicating when to enter, proceed, etc... I had been to New Orleans just prior to departing from GPT and though I did not partake, I had been exposed to some... substances while in the same clothes, the machine did not object however and I was able to pass through and board my flight.
 
717-200
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RE: New Passenger Screening System

Mon Jan 10, 2005 1:18 pm

Hopefully this technology will replace the current TSA "grope and fondle"
session that you are subjected to when you get that airport version of
the scarlet letter, the "SSSS" on your boarding pass.
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HAWK21M
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RE: New Passenger Screening System

Mon Jan 10, 2005 1:22 pm

Interesting.
Any update on its success ratio.
regds
MEL
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ANNOYEDFA
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RE: New Passenger Screening System

Mon Jan 10, 2005 2:35 pm

FLAIRPORT: If you don't want to follow the system...... Don't Fly......
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ckfred
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RE: New Passenger Screening System

Tue Jan 11, 2005 3:59 am

I actually saw a letter to the editor on the Chicago Tribune from a TSA screener complaining about the puffers, or the lack of them. Many screeners feel that without the puffers, they are risking their lives by patting down passengers, because a terrorist could decide to strap on explosives that are triggered by a patdown.

Frankly, the idea of a puffer doesn't bother me. If you've ever walked out of a baggage claim at ORD to get a cab/limo/shuttle bus, that can be a regular wind tunnel.
 
Tod
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RE: New Passenger Screening System

Tue Jan 11, 2005 7:04 am

main function is to detect smells ie explosives

What happens to those of us who go hunting or have other legal firarms at home?

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