Asked To Lift Shirt At Airport Security

27 Replies
mcatherine - July 2

I went to get my 10 year old from the airport yesterday - he flew back from Florida by himself. I was given a gate pass to get through security to pick him up at the gate. This is probably the 8th time we have done this - never with any problems. Yesterday - after I passed through the metal detector, I was asked to go to the special screening area where they check your shoes, etc. Well, they didn't check anything - not my shoes, not the ball cap on my head - didn't run the wand anywhere near me, but asked me to roll my shirt to the bottom of my br___ts so they could verify that I was pregnant! And to top it off - this was done by two men in front of a HUGE group of people. Before I could say a word, I could feel the tears forming. I'm not normally a shy person, but I couldn't believe I was about to be humiliated like this when I wasn't even going to get on a plane. I just froze and stared a them and before I even knew what I was doing, I told them no. All I could picture was them hauling me off to jail while my poor son stepped off the plane and found out he was all alone. They had my purse and asked me to follow them - but I guess their supervisor saw and came over and asked what they were doing and I told her these two jackasses just asked me to pull up my shirt. You should have seen the look on her face. She just got my purse from the man and handed it to me, apologized and told me I was ok and could proceed to my gate so I didn't miss my plane. When I told her I only had a gate pass and was there to pick up my son on an inbound flight, she just mumbled another apology and wouldn't even look at me. When I got to the gate - thinking it was all over - three different people approached me to asked what they had done (everyone was staring at me, too) and one woman told me it was against the law for them to ask me to lift my shirt. Has anyone ever heard of this happening to a pregnant woman or had it happen themselves? Even though I never had to lift my shirt - I'm still embarassed, still keep crying (hormomes - I'm sure). I just feel like I did something wrong by being pregnant in the airport.

 

sophandbob - July 2

OH MY GOD! I cannot believe that! Has security got that heavy in the US? This has got to clearly be wrong! I'm so glad you said no! I would've gone ape s**t! Can you lodge a formal complaint?

 

mcatherine - July 2

Security can't be THAT heavy (I'm thinking more like power crazy employees). They didn't check underneath my ball cap or my shoes or anything else. Just asked me to expose my belly for them. I suppose I could lodge a complaint - but one has to wonder if that gets my name put on some sort of list that will allow me to be subject to this kind of stuff at every airport - and we travel a lot! My husband almost lost it when I called him once I got through security. I guess normally I'm a pretty verbal person, too and would have thought I would go off on them - but for some reason, I just felt embara__sed and ashamed of it all - barely able to speak above a whisper...

 

Mellissa - July 2

you poor thing!!! i can imgaine how emabrra__sed you must have been. how dare they ask a pregnant woman to expose her belly in front of an airport full of strangers!! i had an experience like that at the swimming pool the other day.. they wouldn't let me take my 2 year old in the pool because i wanted to wear a t-shirt to cover my pregnant belly. i took her home and cried the whole way. i was so mad i wanted to yell at them but knew i would start crying right there. i can't imagine what those security gaurds were thinking... are they that rediculous to think you'd hide a bomb under your shirt or something!?!?!? come on!! agh...

 

Tanna - July 2

That doesn't sound right. I'm sure it's illegal, you should talk to that airports management about it. I went to a concert during this pregnancy and they ran the wand over my belly for longer than any other body part, but I think I would've slapped them if they asked me to lift my shirt up!

 

sophandbob - July 2

I would completely complain! I have been exposed to negligent tretment at my hospital throughout my pregnancy. I am writing to anyone and everyone., complaining about the treatment I have received. the hospital in majorly panicing, but ultimately, if no one complains then will things change? My motive for my complaint is to stop another mother 2b going through what I went through. At the back of my mind, there is still the thought that I shouldn't because they are ultimately going to deliver the baby (the next nearest hospital is too far away), but gain, if no one speaks out nothing changes. These guys seriously need a slapping for what they did!

 

Mingill - July 2

mcatherine, that's horrible! They should have just wanded you tummy and called it done. I've only heard this done once before but not to pregnant ladies. I was coming back from Cyprus and they had pulled all the muslim women and even though they were in a enclosed cubicle, I heard them ask all the ladies to lift their dresses. I was mortified for them too. I can't believe airport security has the right to make such demands. I'm glad you refused.

 

mcatherine - July 2

Mellissa - isn't it strange when the world can't bend even on the stupid rules for an obviously very pregnant women? I know there are people at my pool that complain about the pregnant women that wear bikinis!! Tanna and Sophandbob- my husband spent the better part of the morning trying to figur out where to lodge a complaint. The airport won't take it since they are considered federal employees and are supposed to follow federal guidelines. We found out that it's TSA - Homeland Security. I guess we are waiting fo rme to make up my mind and of course, for Monday morning! They didn't wand a sinlge part of my body - how can they justify not searching any part of me except my bulging belly? And to hear about the muslims women, Mingill, is horrible. I would guess it would have to be way worse to have them ask me to pull up my dress due only to my apparent culture and religion. Of course, I am an obvious American woman, 5'10", with long blonde hair and a southern accent - so how could they truly justify anything like that? The thing that keeps running through my mind: Do they ask fat people to pull up their shirts to see if they are really fat? There were some pretty big beer guts walking around me and it makes me wonder why, as a pregnant woman, I was singled out. I don't mind doing my part to make sure the airways are secure (I've been pulled, searched, patted and had my bags gone through atleast 10 times since 9/11), but I'm glad I'm not alone in feeling like a line or two was crossed with this situation.

 

marie - July 2

Mcatherine ~ I am so sorry that this has happened to you. Which airport/city was this? I just want to make sure that I don't go there. This is such a good news piece at a local news station to be broadcast. I think you should complain. I am so appalled with their actions.

 

mcatherine - July 2

This happened in Philadelphia, PA. I think we do plan to file a complaint - but it has to go to TSA and not the airport itself since they are considered Homeland Security.

 

Mellissa - July 2

yeah mcatherine.. you'd think rules could be bent a tiny bit. the funny thing is that the shirt i was wearing was a tight tank top, it wasn't even a baggy t-shirt..it fit just like a bathing suit top would have! i wasn't going to subject those poor kids to having to look at my stretch-mark covered 8 month pregnant belly, not to mention my b___bs hanging out of my bikini top. lol. oh well.. i'm from philly, and that doesn't shock me that it happened there. no offense to anyone else from there. i wonder what TSA will do. I think you deserve a written apology from those men personally.

 

ashley - July 2

I flew to hawaii this past march 22 weeks pregnant.. I got the special screening, because I got the lucky number on my boarding pa__s, and my husband and I got the wand thing and they patted us down, but no they did not ask to me to lift my shirt up. THEY CAN'T. I would follow a harra__sment suit! They patted my belly down! But that is redicoulous.

 

piratesmermaid - July 2

mcatherine, that is just crazy. I don't know what to say. It's just horrible. You know, but sadly enough it's something I've noticed since getting pregnant myself, pregnant women are not shown curtosy anymore. At least not near as much as they should. I just can't believe what happened to you. I would've cried in their face (tears and yelling) and if my husband was with me, oh good God, those guys would be in some kind of pain to put in nicely. File a complaint!! File a BIG complaint and don't let them push it aside. If you have to file again and again and again until they do what YOU think is right.

 

1Sttimemomy - July 2

mcatherine that is horrible i have never heard of this happening to anybody and men are never allowed to do any type of search on a women as far as i know .i wish that wouldn't of happened to you .if you file a complaint could you be anonymous.girl i am glad you put your foot down and said no that sounds strange that they didn't do a regular search with a women officer in a private room if they were really concerned about it you know what i mean.that is crazy thats ok what goes around comes around these two "men" will get theirs .hope you feel better did you tell your husband about this what did he say to do?girl i hope you feel better .

 

Jamie - July 3

The same thing happened to me in Detroit in May 2005. I was 5-6 months pregnant and flying from Germany to St. Louis to visit my family before my baby was born.

 

Deb - July 3

I would definitely try to lodge a formal complaint. This is unbelievable!

 

HannahBaby - July 3

Thats really terrible. I can understand how embara__sed you must be. Good for you for telling them no because alot of women would have just done it because they felt like they didnt have a choice. The scary part is that the FBI are arresting so many AMERICANS for taking part in terrorist plots and where do most terrorists strap their bombs?? The abdomen. I think that they were completely out of line and feel so bad that you had to go through something like this.

 

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