“I don’t think it should ever happen”: A pregnant mom says TSA agents pressured her to go through a metal detector

WBZ-TV screenshot

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A pregnant Massachusetts mother is furious after she says the Transportation Security Administration agents she encountered before her flight refused to do a pat-down.

Sara Handler of Harwich packed up her 2-year-old son and booked a flight to Pittsburgh so the two could surprise her family, reports CBS local affiliate WBZ. The trip was even more special, as it would be her son’s first time flying in an airplane.

By the time Handler got to the gate, the spirit of the trip was quickly lost.

“I don’t think it should ever happen,” she said. “It’s easy. It’s so easy. It’s not a big deal.”

The pregnant mom asked for a TSA pat-down as an alternative the screening equipment, a request allowed by the agency’s website.

“I’ve done it before,” she added.

From there, a female agent would have conducted the pat-down. If Handler asked for a private screening, a second female agent and a companion of Handler’s choice would have also been present. Instead, Handler said no agent was sent to assist her.

She said that a number of employees bombarded her with questions regarding her request. She recalled that the questioning continued to go in circles until she became “uncomfortable.” She then ended up going through the metal detector.

Handler said she became upset again on her return journey when TSA agents in Pittsburgh told her that the conduct of the Boston agents had been “inappropriate.” She attempted to make contact with the agency in December, but said she hadn’t heard from them since.

After WBZ reached out, the TSA issued the following statement: “TSA takes passenger complaints seriously and we hold our officers to the highest standards. TSA is currently looking into this matter and will communicate directly with the passenger to address their concerns.”

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