scanners 2If you’re one of the few people who view the pat-down at airport security checkpoints as a free massage, then you’re going  to be disappointed to hear that the Department of Homeland Security is making plans to “dramatically reduce” the number of pat-down searches performed at the nation’s airports. The DHS has issued a request for technology companies to come up with a hand-held scanning device that can be used instead of pat-down searches on passengers that set off alarms during full body-scanners. As you may have guessed, the free massage thing really hasn’t caught on – so they’re turning to technology to improve the experience.

To date, the TSA already operates about 700 full-body scanners at 180 airports across the country.  When the scanners detect a hidden object, TSA workers perform a pat-down search.

In a government document, the DHS said it seeks a hand-held device weighing less than 5 pounds that can determine whether a hidden object on a passenger is a weapon or explosive. The device should produce a result in less than 15 seconds

Plan approval and testing could take more than a year, but you should be aware that this type of technology is on the horizon.

Here’s some more travel news you can use:

  • I don’t know about you, but sometimes I stress about my travel.  Will I make my connection?  What will the security line look like?  Do I have to switch concourses?  Well, if you’re like me, you’ll appreciate the “tips for avoiding travel stress” recently noted by CNN.  I feel better already having read it.
  • JetBlue today announced a 2-day “The Summer’s-Hoping Sale” that is offering $59 one-way fares on select routes.  (Hope the marketing department didn’t burn the midnight oil when contriving the name of the sale.)  Book by May 30 for travel between June 5 and September 26.
  • For the first time since they began collecting baggage fees in 2008, the nation’s 17 largest airlines made less from the fees than they did the year before, a sign travelers are changing their packing behavior.  But the airlines are countering the consumer chess move.  United, Delta, American, and U.S. Airways are either retrofitting older planes with bigger overhead storage – or purchasing aircraft with bigger bins.  It’s not because the love you.  They just want to start charging you a fee for carry-on luggage as well.