Previously, agents used several different types of pat downs to choose from after travelers set off the metal detector or were otherwise flagged for security concerns, but the new rules establish one standardized pat-down procedure that is more comprehensive.
Nico Melendez, a public affairs manager at the TSA, said the procedure was streamlined to reduce confusion and lessen the cognitive burden of officers after the TSA faced a record number of firearms detection during the week of February 20. Agents found 79 firearms, 21 of which were round chambered, setting a new record from its highest number of 18 firearms in 2014.
Some travelers called the new pat-downs invasive.
Seasoned traveler Joel Stratte-McClure said when he was catching a flight from Redding Municipal Airport to Egypt on Thursday the agent warned him the new procedure “would involve a more intense horizontal and vertical pat down” to look for concealed weapons that people typically hide in their pants.