President Mike Cleary of the US Airline Pilots Association said he and union leaders agree that pilots should not be exposed to repeated doses of radiation from AIT. Instead, he said, pilots should first search for a security checkpoint that doesn't have the scanners.
If that's not possible, the pilots should opt for the new TSA pat-down procedures, with a member of the pilot's crew present to witness. Since the new procedures were implemented last week, TSA has drawn fire from critics who say they are far too invasive.
After the pat-down, Cleary said, the pilot should determine whether he or she is emotionally fit to fly. He also elaborated on his and the union's opinion on the new procedures:
"Let's be perfectly clear: the TSA procedures we have outlined above are blatantly unacceptable as a long-term solution. Although an immediate solution cannot be guaranteed, I can promise you that your union will not rest until all U.S. airline pilots have a way to reach their workplace ... the aircraft ... without submitting ourselves to the will of a TSO behind closed doors.
"This situation has already produced a sexual molestation in alarmingly short order. Left unchecked, there's simply no way to predict how far the TSA will overreach in searching and frisking pilots who are, ironically, mere minutes from being in the flight deck.
"As we all know, it makes no difference what a pilot has on his or her person or in their luggage, because they have control of the aircraft throughout the entire flight. The eyewash being dribbled by the TSA in this instance is embarrassingly devoid of common sense, and we will not stand for it."