Disabled Fliers Voice Security Concerns

Travelers Question TSA's New Heightened Security Procedures

POSTED: Thursday, November 18, 2010
UPDATED: 7:05 pm EST November 18, 2010

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Cassandra Worden and other frequent fliers bound to their wheelchairs said they don't know what to expect when they arrive at the airport to catch a flight.

They too have heard about Transportation Security Administration's enhanced security measures, like the full body scan and pat-down, which some consider to be invasive.

"This is my first time, so I don't know if they're on top of it," said Worden, who was at Jacksonville International Airport on Thursday. "I'm pretty nervous. I'm scared. I don't know what to do. That's why I'm here to figure things out."

If disabled fliers opt out of the full body scan and choose the pat down, they want to know how far TSA screeners will go in their wheelchairs.

"And what if they can't stand or stand for long periods of time to go through the full body scan? What will security do knowing that they're in wheelchairs? said Aubrey Belmont, a therapist at Brooks Rehabilitation.

"I can't use my hands. I'll need some help or learn how to do it by myself," one disabled flier said.

Disabled fliers toured the JIA on Thursday and met with airline officials and TSA.

"Some of the patients may not be able to get down to take their shoes off, or is it necessary for them to take their shoes off if they're not going to stand or walk through security, if they have extra baggage for medical necessities," Belmont said.

Even checking in can be a daunting challenge to disabled fliers who don't want to let their disability stand in the way of their flight.

An airport spokewoman said disabled fliers should notify their airline of their handicap before arriving to ensure their trip through security is smooth.

"What we're here to do is to show them that even with their disability or whatever they're dealing with, they can have a successful and enjoyable experience going through the airport," said Debbie Jones, of Jacksonville Aviation Authority.

Source: http://www.news4jax.com/news/25842942/detail.html