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Standardization of TSA Pat Downs

Standardization of TSA Pat Downs


  • TSA is standardizing types of various pat downs across the system by consolidating all existing types of pat down procedures.
  • Purpose of creating a consolidated, single-type pat down technique is to reduce cognitive burden on the screeners.
  • This pat down has been in practice by TSA since Nov 2015.
  • Applies to all passengers and employees going through the checkpoint.

When standard pat down applies:

  • If a passenger alarms, or opts out from a technology screening (or K9), then he/she will be subjected to this standardized pat down, rather than having screeners apply different pat down techniques based on various alarms.
  • What’s changed in the consolidated pat down:
    • If after pat down screener’s gloves alarm ETD, then the individual will be offered private screening (where screener will be using the tactile side of the hand vs. the back of the hand for alarm resolution)

KCM lanes:

  • If a team member is chosen for random screening at the checkpoint, then he/she could be subject to this pat down if they alarm or opts out from the screening process. KCM has always had random screening built into the program.

Employee portals:

  • If team members are picked randomly, then they will be subjected to property search. It is unlikely this pat down be used at portals. But this depends on the airport protocols.
  • At SIDA portals, the focus is driven towards insider threat and identification of prohibited objects to could be brought onboard aircraft. 

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