TSA to Ease Up on Pat-Downs of Older Travelers

O'Hare will be among four U.S. airports to use a modified screening procedure for 75-and-older travelers

The Transportation Security Administration is easing up on screenings for travelers who are 75 years and older.

O'Hare International Airport will be among four U.S. airports to test a modified screening procedure for older passengers starting March 19, TSA announced Wednesday in Chicago. The new method is expected to resemble the one implemented last fall for travelers under 12, TSA officials said, and could reduce pat-downs of older travelers.

"These new screening procedures are informed by the latest intelligence and allow our officers to better focus their efforts on passengers the agency knows less about and may be considered high-risk," said ORD Federal Security Director Kathleen Petrowsky in a statement.

Petrowsky said officers will make a visual assessment to determine whether travelers fall into the 75-and-over category and to tell them of the changes.

The passengers no longer will need to remove shoes or light outerwear. They'll instead go through a second scan "through advanced imaging technology." If anomalies are detected, travelers still may be required to remove their shoes or undergo a pat-down.

The new procedure also will be tested at Denver International (DEN), Orlando International (MCO) and Portland International (PDX) airports. 

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