PUBLISHED: 00:54 EST, 19 March 2012 | UPDATED: 10:19 EST, 19 March 2012
A vacation in the Magic Kingdom should be enough to make a child giddy with excitement, but one young boy was left trembling with fear after he was subjected to an invasive TSA pat-down.
The three-year-old, confined to a wheelchair due to a recently broken leg, was with his family at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, on their way to board a flight to Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Despite constant assurances from his father that ‘everything is OK’, he physically trembles with fear and asks his parents to hold his hand.
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The terrified boy was swabbed on his hands and under his shirt for explosive residue.
While the boy’s father grew increasingly incensed by the treatment his son was getting, he tried to remain calm, for the boy’s sake.
He filmed the entire process and later posted it on YouTube.
Despite such strict security for this toddler, the TSA is offering background-checked travellers the chance to use special lines and keep their shoes, belt and jacket on, leave laptops and liquids in carry-on bags and avoid a full-body scan – for a price.
The TSA’s new fast track ‘Precheck’ screening, now at two airlines and nine airports, is similar to security checks before 9/11, reports the Wall Street Journal.
To qualify, frequent fliers must be invited by airlines and meet an undisclosed TSA criteria.
A $100 fee for a background check is required as well as a brief interview with a Customs officer.
THE TSA’S GREATEST HITS
- The TSA issued apologies to two grandmothers in their late 80s who said they were strip searched at New York’s JFK Airport in January.
- In October, a TSA inspector found a vibrator in lawyer and feminist blogger Jill Filipovic’s luggage, and left her a note on the inspection slip that said: ‘Get your freak on girl’.
- Last year, Indiana rapper Freddie Gibbs was flying to Denver with two large bags of marijuana in his bag. But instead of confiscating it, the agent who inspected the bag instead left a note saying, ‘C’mon son’.
- Florida man Joe Maltese was stunned when he said an airport security worker helped themselves to a slice of chocolate cake that he had in his luggage.
- In 2010, breast cancer survivor Cathy Bossi was humiliated after the TSA ordered her to show agents her prosthetic breast to screeners at Charlotte Douglas Airport.
However, approved travelers who are in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s ‘Global Entry’ program can transfer into Precheck, according to the Journal.
‘It’s a completely different experience than what you’re used to,’ Matt Stegmeir, a platinum-level Delta Air Lines frequent flier who was invited into Precheck, told the Journal.
‘It’s really a jarring contrast. It reminds you just how much of a hassle the security procedures in place really are.’
The program can improve screening of unknown passengers if it can move low-risk people out of the main queues.
‘We can reduce the size of the haystack when we are looking for that one-in-a-billion terrorist,’ TSA Administrator John Pistole told the Journal.
Mr Pistole added that by studying frequent-flier histories as well as conducting background checks, he’s confident the U.S. now has the technology and the intelligence information to make less-rigorous, faster screening work.
TSA is working with only two airlines, American and Delta, on program which is still in the pilot phase.
Precheck lanes are already in place only at nine airports including Dallas-Fort Worth, New York Kennedy, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Detroit , Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
By the end of the year Precheck will be in place at 35 airports and six airlines, covering most major U.S. airports and airlines, reports the Journal.