Two Internet campaigns are promoting Nov. 24 – the day before Thanksgiving – as "National Opt-Out Day," during which they urge air travelers to "opt out" of the new body scanners because of concerns over privacy and radiation.
Brian Sodergren of Ashburn, Va., was the first to come up with the boycott idea, launching his website on Nov. 8. Soon afterward, James Babb and George Donnelly of Philadelphia — founders of WeWontFly.com – discovered Sodergren's site and built a Facebook page in support.
The Transportation Security Administration has said that travelers can avoid the new scanners by undergoing an "enhanced pat down." But that procedure involves a screener giving a firm patting to women's breasts and all travelers' genitals.
The TSA is concerned that large numbers of passengers insisting on pat-downs will create disorder and delays on one of the busiest travel days of the year.
Pilots get a pass
After weeks of pressure from pilot unions over controversial new airport screening measures, the TSA has agreed to exempt pilots from enhanced pat-downs and full body scans, pilot organizations said Friday. Pilots flying for U.S. carriers and traveling in uniform will immediately start going through expedited screening after having two forms of identification checked against a secure database.
On Friday, incoming House Speaker John Boehner was guided past the metal detectors and hand inspections given to other passengers on his flight home to Ohio. Boehner's spokesman Michael Steel said his boss followed procedures. Steel said the same rules apply to other congressional leaders.
The Associated Press and the New York Times contributed.