Entries in National Opt-Out Day (2)


National Opt-Out Day a Bust

Photo Courtesy - Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Travelers flying for the Thanksgiving holiday on Wednesday headed to the airport extra early, expecting delays and protesters participating in National Opt-Out Day.

Despite an Internet campaign to encourage passengers to slow up security lines by "opting out" -- refusing full-body scanners -- on one of the busiest travel days of the year, the Transportation Security Administration reported that very few of the two million passengers flying Wednesday chose time-consuming pat-downs over scans.

Most of the delays reported at airports on Wednesday were weather-related.  High winds caused some problems around New York, and that vicious storm that blanketed the Seattle area with snow earlier this week is making its way through the Midwest.  Transportation officials have warned traffic could continue to be a problem along the East Coast on I-95.

As of Wednesday evening, flights were operating approximately 40 minutes late at both cities' airports.  And in Chicago, rain backed up the runways at O'Hare bringing delay times up to 90 minutes.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Airport Pat-Downs: TSA Says it Can Fine You for Backing Out

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The day before Thanksgiving will be the pre-holiday ritual of long lines, frustration and National Opt-Out Day -- a movement calling on airline passengers to forego the controversial new body scanning machines and manual security pat-downs. The movement is intended to snarl lines at airports as a protest against the new, more invasive screening proceedures.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says it can fine individuals up to $11,000 for walking away from the airport security process.  But will it?  People in government say the fine is mostly a deterrent so that terrorists cannot back out of a security check once it starts.

The TSA said it has yet to fine a traveler for not completing the screening process, though it has levied civil penalties against passengers who have brought dangerous items to the security checkpoint.

"While TSA has the legal authority to levy a civil penalty of up to $11,000 for individuals who choose not to complete the screening process, each case is determined on the individual circumstances of the situation," said Greg Soule, a spokesperson for the Transportation Security Administration.  Congress transferred the enforcement of civil aviation security to the TSA from the Federal Aviation Administration in November 2001, after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The TSA's current civil penalty monetary guidelines, which became effective on Aug. 20 last year, say the security administration can impose "civil monetary penalties up to $10,000 per violation for surface transportation modes [for breaches of highway, pipeline, freight rail and mass transit security policies] and up to $11,000 per violation for all other persons."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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