TSA Question


DIS Veteran
Jan 19, 2011
I recently had to be in the hospital for an infection at a surgical site in my chest (thank you, breast cancer). I still can't raise my right arm completely over my head and it's in a sling. Does anyone know what I can expect from the TSA when it comes to a search? I don't mind going through it, but I just want to be forewarned. Thank you so much in advance for any help or advice any of you can give me!


DIS Veteran
Jun 21, 2010
I would asked to be hand checked in private. They will obtain a female TSA to come screen you. When you ask for a screening they tend to be very gentle (my husband has to do this every time due to a pacemaker - they get a male and take him to a room off to the side). It really doesn't slow things down much anymore.

On the other hand, I was selected for the "Extra Special" screening going home to STL this year after business. I've never had that specific check before. It was efficient - the TSA lady was up there doing the screening on me almost before I could get a peep out that I consented.

I felt a little violated because they did the screening right there in front of EVERYONE. I didn't like that. But to be fair, I felt like the screening was done in the most efficient manner possible. People aren't really paying attention to you while you are screened. They are too worried about their own screenings; gathering their belongings or putting clothes back on. But I will say I was surprised that I didn't even get a coffee after. :lmao:

Above all else, remember they are just trying to do their job to keep us safe.


DIS Veteran
Oct 10, 2007
I've always let them pat me down in public (I'm a wheelchair user). It's less wheeling for me and if I ever came across a nasty TSA officer (I recently found out from a TSA employee that it isn't actually "agent", but "officer" for TSA), I want witnesses. They should always ask first if you would like a private screening.

They always ask if there's any area that's in pain. Make sure you tell them. Depending on the officer, I've had everything from light touch to not doing anything in the areas I IDed (I was about 6 weeks out from both neck/skull surgery and lumbar spine surgery when the officer didn't even touch). They may want to use a swab on your sling and bandages to check for explosives. They should be very careful at that point with the swab. It doesn't need much (if any) pressure to work.


DIS Veteran
Jan 7, 2013
A couple of thoughts from a TSA skeptic.
If you have a sling without metal? If so use that.
With the sling, they should realize that you can't "assume the position" required for the millimeter wave scanner, they should direct you to the walk through metal detector instead.
Assuming that you do not "alarm," the procedure is to swab you hands, and shoes if you keep them on. No hands on body feel.
DO NOT say you can't or do not want go into millimeter wave scanner. If you do that, you are likely to be considered an "opt out" and then definitely get the hand search.
Like Wheeled Traveler, I go with the search me in public. I figure the security screener is more embarrassed grabbing "my junk" in public than I am. And it never hurts to have witnesses.
Unlike WT, I have had some bad experiences with screeners hurting me when I tell them where I have pain. I guess some feel that I'm hiding something there.

Good luck.

On the editorial/opinion side. Although they wear badges, they are not law enforcement officers . . . and "...just trying to do their job..."? Really?