TSA Opt Out Day: Thanksgiving Travelers Quiet So Far

Fliers sound off, share their experience with TSA pat-downs.

ByScott Mayerowitz
November 23, 2010, 5:09 PM

Nov. 24, 2010— -- Airports today have been very quiet with few people opting out of the controversial full body scanners despite promises to do everything from wearing "Don't Touch My Junk" T-shirts to kilts with nothing underneath. One woman did wear nothing but a bikini through security in Los Angeles but she was the exception.

Even the weather has cooperated, except for a few delays in the New York area thanks to high winds. Wait times at security checkpoints have been relatively short and the only major glitch came from small, discount carrier Spirit which lost the ability to offer online check-in for a few hours today. That system is now back up.

TSA Administrator John Pistole told "Good Morning America" today that his workers hadn't seen evidence that travelers were making good on vows to bypass scanners in favor of a full pat down by TSA agents, but that the agency is prepared nonetheless.

"The bottom line is that if a number of people protest at a particular checkpoint it will definitely slow things down," Pistole said. "I just feel bad for the rest of the traveling public that's trying to get home for the holidays to be with their loved ones."

Pistole and leaders from around the country, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have urged travelers to cooperate with the TSA today, the busiest travel day of the year.

The searches -- which include an up-close and personal touch of passengers' inner thighs -- have been called everything from necessary security to sexual molestation. An ABC News/Washington Post poll this week shows that 48 percent of American's see the new pat-downs as justified, while 50 percent say they go too far.

To give you a better idea of what people's feelings are, we solicited reactions from people flying in the past few weeks. Some hate the pat-downs, and others say the issue is overblown. Here is a random selection of their thoughts.

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On the trip back, she had her husband observe it and refused a private screening because she believes she is safer in the public view. "I want the public to know what is going on," she said.

"The TSA has implemented these policies in order to keep travelers safe, in light of persistent efforts to disrupt air travel and destroy airplanes," he said. "I disagree strongly with anyone who feels that their right to privacy supersedes the rights of the rest of the passengers on that plane. If you don't like it, take the train."

"The worst part is when she went up the inside of my legs and she pushed her hands into my private area as though she was trying to spread it apart. I told her that I must be dreaming and she said that she was sorry, but that is their job and she was just following orders," Palmer said. "I really felt violated and mad, because they can do whatever they want. What makes them any different than some pervert or rapist on the street? What are we telling them, that it is OK to do whatever they want to us and it is nothing we can say or do about it, because we are all now criminals and we don't have any rights?"

"After finishing, I told the agent that with 'two more minutes of that … he'd have to buy me a drink,' He failed to see the humor in my remark and I failed to see the need for the groping."

ABC News' Sharyn Alfonsi and Sarah Netter contributed to this report.

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