Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-20 Sheryl Jedlinski
By Sheryl Jedlinski
If your plans call for air travel, and you are unable to go through the full-body security screening machines, be prepared for new pat down procedures better suited to those entering prison than those whose only crime (or punishment, as the case may be) is living with disabilities. Gone are the halcyon days when I was allowed to remain seated in my airport wheelchair while TSA agents gingerly shifted me around and patted me down with back side of their hands. On my most recent trip, I was surprised to learn that the rules had changed, requiring me to stand while an agent patted me down using the palm of her hands and described her progress every step of the way. I felt like I was being groped by my junior high school boy friend while the world walked by and watched.
The more thorough pat down procedures are designed to raise the security of the flying public by allowing fewer weapons to make it onboard commercial airlines. No additional body parts are being screened than in the past, although agents make more intimate contact than before. Formal training emphasizes professionalism and treating all with “dignity and respect.” Really? Why was I not read my rights — to request a private pat-down screening and to be accompanied by a companion of my choice – until after the fact?
So, what did I learn from this experience? Do not depend on others to advise you of your rights. Read up on and know your rights before you leave home.