Lawsuits against TSA are piling up quickly

The Transportation Security Administration’s little body-scanning/pat-down problem isn’t just keeping us media types busy. Lawyers are having a field day with it, too.

The latest lawsuit against the TSA was filed earlier this week by two Harvard Law School students who claim the airport security checks involving full-body scanners and pat-downs are unconstitutional. The suit claims the screenings violate their Fourth Amendment rights prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizures.

Here’s a rundown of the most high-profile cases.
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Everything you need to know if you’re flying today (but were afraid to ask)

It’s National Opt-Out Day. Ready to fly?

Here are a few things you should know.

Will my flight be delayed? If you’re flying out of one of these airports, it should be smooth sailing, according to Flightstats (numbers in brackets are average on-time departure performance during the past three Thanksgiving holidays).

1. Salt Lake City (89.00 percent)
2. Minneapolis (86.61 percent)
3. Portland, Ore. (86.43 percent)
4. San Diego (85.00 percent)
5. Seattle (84.88 percent)

Here are the five worst:

1. Miami (67.03 percent)
2. Dallas (69.23 percent)
3. New York (71.04 percent)
4. Atlanta (71.19 percent)
5. Chicago (O’Hare) (72.32 percent)
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How to survive a flight on National Opt-Out Day

Now what?

The TSA won’t change the way it screens passengers, even when threatened with a major protest action on one of the busiest air travel days of the year.

How do you survive what, even under ideal circumstances, is a dreadful day to be flying?
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Some airlines refunding tickets for passengers who fear pat-downs

Sommer Gentry had plans to fly from Baltimore to Charlotte next month. But after she heard about the TSA’s invasive new scanning and pat-down procedures, she decided to cancel.

“I can not fly when these are the terms,” she says in an email to her airline, AirTran Airways.

Unfortunately, her tickets were nonrefundable. Accepting a ticket credit and paying a change fee isn’t an option for her, and many others like her who vow never to fly until TSA changes its policy.

Airline responses to the TSA pat-down problem range from inflexible to accommodating. I contacted five of the major airlines yesterday to find out if they planned to loosen their policies in response to the screening crisis.

Here’s what I found:
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TSA sends defiant “holiday travel message” to air travelers: Prepare to be patted down


TSA this afternoon sent a defiant holiday travel message to air travelers: Prepare to be patted down.

A full transcript is below.

But the video is telling. TSA Administrator John Pistole looks tense, sounds almost angry, and claps his hands twice — a sign of either nervousness, or defiance. I’m reading defiance into it.

This is his stand against the tsunami of public criticism over enhanced pat-downs. He is determined not to back down, even though many air travelers do not support the new procedures.
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Here’s what happens when you say “no” to a full-body scan

The Transportation Security Administration is fond of releasing surveillance video when it suits its purpose, like to debunk this woman’s claim that she was separated from her child at a checkpoint.

Then again, some passengers come to the airport looking for trouble. The TSA would like us to believe that Meg McLain was one such air traveler.
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