If you’ve never had your hair touched at airport security, consider yourself lucky.
Because, as it turns out, hair pat-downs are standard procedure for the Transportation Security Administration.
The TSA “regularly” receives tweets from people not pleased with having their coiffed hair caressed, according to its latest blog post.
You know you have thick hair when TSA has to pat it down, cause the scanner can't see though it. #travelissues— Nancy C. Walker (@NancyCWalker) April 18, 2016
It is “TSA procedure to pat-down anyone’s hair when needed, no matter their race or gender. These approved methods may include visual inspection, swabbing for explosives or a pat-down,” according to the often-maligned agency.
This clarifies the question about whether hair pat-downs are still procedure, following rumors that the inspection was no longer used.
By way of further explanation, “TSA has provided more oversight of the procedure to ensure there’s no profiling, but hair pat-downs are still conducted if one of the following applies:
• The hair area alarms for a potential explosive
• An individual’s hair looks like it could contain a prohibited item or is styled in a way an officer cannot visually clear it
You’d be surprised what can be hidden in hair. The most notable things we’re looking for in hair are explosives and improvised explosives device components. Any explosive amount could cause injury.”
The TSA also offers a travel tip: Use non-metallic hair pins or accessories, which “may” reduce the likelihood of having your hair patted down.