An ExpressJet Airlines first officer is waiting to find out if he has lost his job after refusing to go through a full body scanner at a Memphis airport.
The Tennessee pilot, Michael Roberts, turned up for work on Monday but says he’s fed up of being manhandled by security agents and went home after coming to the decision that he did not want to be patted down.
The Houston-based pilot walked off his job after declining to go through the X-ray scanning Machine at Memphis International airport before getting into the pilot seat to fly a commercial aircraft.
Mr Roberts stated that he wants to return to work, however he has an issue with the security procedure because he doesn’t want to be ‘harassed or molested without cause’.
The 35-year-old told The Commercial Appeal newspaper: ‘I just kind of had to ask myself, ‘Where do I stand?’ I’m just not comfortable being physically manhandled by a federal agent every time I go to work’.
Full-body scanners were meant to be installed in several New York City area airports by September, but according to reports, this has not yet happened.
The Transportation Security Administration has said that the scanners would arrive ‘in the coming weeks’ and that the installation is complex.
Spokesperson Ann Davis says that the scanners are designed to be faster and less physically intrusive than pat-downs and metal detectors, however passengers visiting airports with the full body scanners will have the option to be patted down and passed through a metal detector if they prefer.
Far more lenient than the UK, where the rules regarding the full body scanners are far more stringent. When the scanners were introduced into Manchester and London Heathrow airports, Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said: “if a passenger is selected for scanning, and declines, they will not be permitted to fly,” without being given the option of receiving the usual pat-down/metal detector security check.
So far, the TSA has installed 259 scanners at 59 airports worldwide.