Travellers aged 75 and older will soon have an easy passage through U.S. airports, with the government rolling out new rules to ease airport screening process for them.
The elderly will no longer have to doff shoes, belts and jackets as they pass through tough screening checks at the country’s three major airports — John F Kennedy, La—Guardia and Newark — all located close to New York City, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spokeswoman Lorie Dankers said.
The relaxation in the tough screening for the elderly comes after a spate of several high profile incidents last year in which older women at JFK International airport complained they were “strip searched” by officers.
The easing of procedures, Ms. Dankers said, was part of a pilot programme that will also allow older passengers to pass through metal detectors or body scanners more than once to resolve security issues if an alarm goes off, Los Angeles Times reported.
“People in that population and age group pose a lower risk to security,” she said, adding “We’re trying to reduce the number of pat-downs.”
Ms. Dankers said the shift is part of the TSA’s promise to move away from one-size-fits-all security screenings to a model that focuses on high-risk travellers.
The programme, from next week, will also begin at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago and airports at Denver, Portland and Orlando.
Asked how would the TSA officers know who is 75 and who isn’t? The spokeswoman said, “We are not going to card people. Officers will make visual assessment on who qualifies for the relaxed screening.”