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Old Nov 12, 10, 9:21 pm   #1
 
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List of Airport Alternatives without Full Body Scanners

IMPORTANT! As of April 2011, I am no longer maintaining this list. Please refer to the board's master list and reports from sites like tsastatus.net for the airports that you intend to use. This list should still have archival value as a list of nearby airports for major metro areas. Mods are welcome to reassign ownership of this post if somebody else is interested in maintaining it.

This is a community-built list of body scanner-free, alternative airports for major metropolitan areas. For a full list of airports with scanners, see the FT list (some jargon) and the tsa.gov list (may be incomplete).

The list is a work-in-progress. Feel free to build upon it by posting your comments on this thread. I'll update this master post weekly. This list incorporates comments up to post #59.

UNOFFICIAL GUIDE TO BODY SCANNER FREE ALTERNATIVES

1. General Disclaimers
  • IMPORTANT! Using this list can not guarantee that you're 100% safe from an "enhanced" pat-down. If you alarm the metal detector, get pre-selected, or look funny at a TSA screener, you could still get one. The only way to be 100% safe from this nonsense is not to fly. All users are liable for their own actions taken as a result of reading this post. While I'm on your side, I can't guarantee accuracy; after all, this is a community effort. Don't sue FlyerTalk. Don't sue the Louse.
  • Also Important! More and more airports continue to receive body scanners. Keep this in mind if booking flights 3+ months out. Expect busier airports to receive the scanners first.
  • Major metro areas are listed alphabetically. If you live within range of multiple areas, check both entries.
  • Definitely check the detailed NoS list on FlyerTalk because, at some airports, you can avoid a scanner simply by choosing the right checkpoint. This may entail flying certain carriers that fly out of said checkpoints.
  • Don't forget to account for both your arrival and departure cities, unless you're flying one way!
  • Drive times are from the airport listed for each metro area, or the underlined airport for multi-airport cities. Your drive time may be significantly shorter or longer.
  • Most airports listed as "limited service" will fly commuter aircraft to an airline's hub. Just be aware if you're used to nonstops on big planes. Personally, I enjoy the relaxed feel of smaller stations.

2. Alphabetical List of Top ? Metro Areas

Atlanta area (ATL):
- Birmingham (BHM), 2 hrs west
- Columbus, GA (CSG), 2 hrs, limited? DL, AA
- Augusta (AGS), 2.5-3 hrs east; DL, US, limited AA
- Chattanooga, TN (CHA), 2-2.5 hrs north; DL, US, limited AA

Boston area (BOS):
- Manchester (MHT), 1-2 hrs NW. Bus available from South Station.
- Portland (PWM), 2-3 hrs NE. Bus from South Station, Amtrak from North Station plus short taxi.

Charlotte area (CLT):
- Columbia, SC (CAE), 2 hrs south
- Greensboro High Point (GSO), 2 hrs SW
- Greenville, SC (GSP), 1.5 hrs SW
- Asheville (AVL), 2 hrs west; US, DL, CO, limited UA & AirTran

Chicago area (ORD, MDW):
- Madison, WI (MSN), 2-2.5 hr NW; hub service for AA, DL, UA, Midwest, Frontier
- South Bend, IN (SBN), 2-2.5 hrs east, South Shore rail line at airport; limited DL, CO, UA hub service
- Kalamazoo, MI (AZO), 3 hrs east; limited AA, DL, DirectAir only
- Bloomington-Normal (BMI), 2.5 hrs SW; limited AA, DL, AirTran hub service
- Moline (MLI), 3 hrs west; limited AirTran, Allegiant, AA, DL, UA
- Peoria (PIA), 3 hrs SW; limited AA, DL, UA, Allegiant hub service
- Champaign (CMI), 3 hrs south; limited AA only
- Rockford (RFD), 90 mins west; extremely limited service—no major carriers
- Amtrak national hub at Chicago Union Station

Cincinnati area (CVG):
- Louisville, KY (SDF), 2 hrs SW
- Lexington, KY (LEX), 1.5 hrs south; many airlines but fewer flights than SDF

Cleveland area (CLE):
- Akron/Canton (CAK), 1 hr SE; decent AirTran, DL, UA, US, Frontier service

Dallas/Fort Worth area (DFW, DAL):
- Dallas Love Field (DAL), 30 mins east, near downtown Dallas; Southwest hub; limited AA, CO, DL service to hubs.
- Tyler (TYR), 2 hrs SE; limited AA, CO hub service
- Waco (ACT); 2-2.5 hrs south; limited AA, CO hub service
- Longview (GGG), 3 hrs east; limited AA to DFW only
- Abilene (ABI), 3 hrs west; limited AA to DFW only

Detroit area (DTW):
- Flint (FNT), 1.5 hrs north, limited DL, CO, AA, Frontier, AirTran
- Lansing (LAN), 1.5-2 hrs NW, limited DL, UA, Sun Country service

Denver area (DEN):
- Colorado Springs (COS), 2-2.5 hrs south / less from downtown;

Houston area (IAH, HOU):
- Bryan/College Station (CLL)
- Beaumont / SE Texas (BPT)
- Victoria (VCT)
- Lake Charles (LCH)

Jacksonville area (JAX):
- Brunswick, GA (BQK), 1 hr north; very limited DL service to ATL
- Gainesville (GNV), 1.5 hrs SW; DL service, also limited US & AA

Kansas City area (MCI):
- Springfield, MO (SGF), 3+ hrs SE; AA, DL, UA, Allegiant
- Wichita, KS (ICT), 3.5 hrs SW; many carriers with limited service
- Columbia, MO (COU), 2.5-3 hrs east; very limited DL service

Las Vegas area (LAS):
- St George, UT (SGU), 2 hrs NE; limited DL only

Los Angeles area (LAX):
- Burbank (BUR), 1-1.5 hr north, Metrolink/Amtrak station at airport
- Orange County (SNA), 60-90 mins SE
- Long Beach (LGB), 30-45 mins SE

Miami area (MIA):
- Fort Myers (RSW), 2.5 hrs NW
- Key West (EYW), 3+ hrs SW; limited AA, CO, Cape Air, DL, AirTran, US

Minneapolis & St. Paul (MSP)
- Rochester (RST), 90 mins south; limited AA, DL service
- Chippewa Valley / Eau Claire (EAU), <2 hrs east; very limited UA service only

New Orleans area (MSY):
- Baton Rouge (BTR), 1.5 hrs NW; service on AA, CO, DL, US
- Lafayette (LFT), 2 hrs west; service on AA, CO, DL

New York City area (LGA, JFK, EWR):
- Islip (ISP), 1-2 hrs east, LIRR to Ronkonkoma + connecting shuttle or taxi
- Westchester County (HPN), 1 hr north; public transit options
- Stewart-Newburgh (SWF), 1.5+ hrs north; public transportation options
- New Haven (HVN), 2 hrs NE; limited US service only
- Amtrak (Metropark, Newark Airport, Newark, NY Penn Station, New Rochelle, Stamford, New Haven)

Orlando area (MCO):
- Daytona Beach (DAB), 1-1.5 hr N; limited hub service on DL, US, Airgate
- Gainesville (GNV), 2+ hr NW; DL service, limited AA & US
- Amtrak Auto Train from Sanford (<1 hr north) to Lorton/DC daily, bring car on train
- Amtrak overnight service to Charlotte, Raleigh, Richmond, DC-NY; twice daily, inconsistent onboard service

Philadelphia area (PHL):
- Allentown (ABE), 1-2 hrs north
- Atlantic City (ACY), 1-1.5 hrs SE; Spirit hub, very limited AirTran, no others
- Amtrak (PHL)

Phoenix area (PHX):
- Tucson (TUS), 1.5-2 hrs SE

Pittsburgh area (PIT):
[placeholder]

Portland area (PDX):
- Portland (PDX) itself -- WARNING, SCOPES ARRIVING IN 2011
- Portland (PDX) business terminal: Seaport Air to BFI, PDT, AST, ONP — no TSA

Raleigh/Durham area (RDU):
- Greensboro High Point (GSO) = 1.5 hours west
- Fayetteville (FAY), 1.5 hours south; decent AA, DL, US service
- New Bern (EWN), 2.5 hrs SE; limited DL, US service

Sacramento area (SMF):
- Reno/Tahoe (RNO), 2.5 hrs NE, beware winter weather

St Louis area (STL):
- Springfield, IL (SPI), 2 hrs NE; very limited AA, UA service
- Columbia, MO (COU), 2 hrs west; very limited DL service
- Bloomington-Normal (BMI), 3 hrs NE; limited AA, DL, AirTran hub service
- Springfield, MO (SGF), 4 hrs SW—a bit far; AA, DL, UA, Allegiant

San Antonio area (SAT):
- Austin (AUS), 1.5 hrs NE. Warning: scanners likely in 2011

San Diego area (SAN):
- Carlsbad (CLD), 45-75 mins north; very limited UA service
- Orange County (SNA), 1.5-2 hrs north

San Francisco area (SFO, OAK):
- Santa Rosa (STS), 1.5-2+ hrs north, Horizon Air only
- Monterey (MRY), 2 hrs south; limited AA, UA, US, Allegient service

Seattle area (SEA):
- Bellingham (BLI), 2-3 hrs north, shuttle available; limited Allegiant, AS/Horizon service
- Wenatchee (EAT), 3 hrs east, very limited Horizon service
- Yakima (YKM), 3 hrs SE, very limited Horizon service
- Boeing Field (BFI), 10 min south of d/t Seattle, frequent service on Seaport Air b/w PDX — no TSA
- Amtrak from King St Station: multi to Portland; daily to MSP & Chicago (2 nights); daily to Oakland & LA (1 night, unreliable)

Tampa/St. Petersburg area (TPA):
- Fort Myers (RSW), 2.5 hrs south

Washington DC area (DCA, IAD, BWI):
- Charlottesville (CHO), 2.5-3.5 hrs south; limited DL, UA, US service
- Amtrak (Baltimore, BWI, New Carrollton, DC Union Station, Alexandria)

3. Overview of Medium/Long-Distance Train Service

Amtrak's web site has a great deal of detail on rail travel. Also visit the Amtrak forum on FlyerTalk. A short summary follows.

There are four general types of Amtrak trains.

1. Corridor trains serve short-distance markets with multiple departures daily. These routes are generally too short to compare with air travel but offer connections to the service below.

2. The Northeast Corridor has frequent service along the route Richmond, VA - DC - Baltimore - Philadelphia - New York City - New Haven - Providence, RI - Boston. Hourly service is available DC-NY, every 1-3 hours on the edges. Acela Express trains also serve DC-Boston and are Amtrak's premier business train. Less frequent service from the corridor is available to upstate NY (Albany, Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, Niagara Falls); Hartford & Springfield; much of Vermont; Charlottesville and Lynchburg, VA; and Newport News and Williamsburg, VA.

3. Superliner long-distance trains can be an interesting alternative to flying. Many overnight trains offer hot meals in a dining car, sleepers with showers and lie-flat seats in private compartments, a panoramic lounge, and coach seats with ~4 feet of pitch. The following routes have "Superliner" double-decker equipment and operate once daily:
  • Chicago - Omaha - Denver - Salt Lake City - Reno - Sacramento - Oakland (2 nights, scenic)
  • Chicago - Kansas City - Albuquerque - Flagstaff - LA (2 nights)
  • Chicago - Milwaukee - Minneapolis/St Paul - Glacier Park - Spokane - Seattle or Portland (2 nights, scenic)
  • Seattle - Portland - Sacramento - Oakland - San Jose - San Luis Obispo - Santa Barbara - LA (1 night+, scenic)
  • Chicago - St Louis - Little Rock - Dallas - Fort Worth - Austin - San Antonio (1 night+)
  • Chicago - Memphis - New Orleans (1 night)
  • Chicago - Toledo - Pittsburgh - DC (1 night)
  • Lorton, VA (south of DC) - Sanford, FL (north of Orlando); "Auto Train", car required, 1 night

4. Single-level long-distance trains offer similar amenities to the above, but feel a bit more confined overall and have no panoramic lounge. Single-level overnight service is available daily on these routes:
  • Chicago - Toledo - Buffalo - Rochester - Syracuse - Albany - New York or Boston (1 night)
  • New York - Philadelphia - Baltimore - DC - Richmond - Raleigh - Savannah - Jacksonville - Tampa - Orlando - West Palm Beach - Ft Lauderdale - Miami (1 night; actually 2 trains with slightly different routes)
  • New York - Philadelphia - Baltimore - DC - Charlottesville - Charlotte - Atlanta - Birmingham - New Orleans (1 night)

Routes offering less-than-daily service are omitted.

Amtrak's downtown Chicago hub offers connections between most long-distance trains. A number of corridor routes originate at Chicago.

Last edited by gatelouse; Apr 17, 11 at 11:24 pm. Reason: last update
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Old Nov 12, 10, 9:24 pm   #2
 
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What is a PLS?

And where is HOU?
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Old Nov 12, 10, 9:33 pm   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jordanmills View Post
What is a PLS?

And where is HOU?
PLS == "please". Sorry, forgot that three-cap letters ring bells here.
HOU won't fly. TSA says they're getting the NoS soon.
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Old Nov 12, 10, 9:37 pm   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gatelouse View Post
Washington DC area:
- Salisbury (SBY)
- Charlottesville (CHO)
- Amtrak (BWI, NCR, WAS, ALX)
Both SBY and CHO are small regional airports with limited flight service and hours.

As a comparison point for the airports, here are the driving ranges/times from the three major Baltimore/Washington Metropolitan Area Airports:
  1. SBY
    1. BWI-SBY: 114 miles, 2.5 hours in light traffic
    2. DCA-SBY: 127 miles, 2.75 hours in light traffic
    3. IAD-SBY: 153 miles, 3 hours in light traffic
    4. Evening rush hour or weekend travel periods, add a minimum of 1 hour to that travel time
    5. Any incidents involving the Bay Bridge will exponentially increase those times
  2. CHO
    1. BWI-CHO: 144 miles, 3 hours in light traffic
    2. DCA-CHO: 114 miles, 2.5 hours in light traffic
    3. IAD-CHO: 94 miles, 2 hours in light traffic
    4. Evening rush hour or weekend travel periods, add a minimum of 1 hour to that travel time
    5. Any issues on I66W or US29S will exponentially increase these times

In regards to Amtrak, TSA does routine ViPR missions at Union Station and BWI (cannot comment on the other stations, as I don't use New Carrolton or Alexandria on a regular basis) (yes, they do not involve WBI, but they do involve paramilitary Amtrak police operations and random bag searches with TSA participation).
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Old Nov 12, 10, 9:49 pm   #5
 
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Quote:
Fort Wayne (RSW)
I guess that's Fort Myers.
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Old Nov 12, 10, 9:58 pm   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DevilDog438 View Post
Both SBY and CHO are small regional airports with limited flight service and hours.

As a comparison point for the airports, here are the driving ranges/times from the three major Baltimore/Washington Metropolitan Area Airports: <...>

In regards to Amtrak, TSA does routine ViPR missions at Union Station and BWI (cannot comment on the other stations, as I don't use New Carrolton or Alexandria on a regular basis) (yes, they do not involve WBI, but they do involve paramilitary Amtrak police operations and random bag searches with TSA participation).
Yup, WAS appears to be one of the toughies. We'll either want to put disclaimers on these airports, or remove them entirely with a discussion of which gates at the main airports are safe...for now.

I do follow Amtrak a bit; I've heard of WAS and NCR receiving occasional TSA activity. Didn't know about BWI; thanks for that tidbit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rove312 View Post
I guess that's Fort Myers.
Oops.
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Old Nov 12, 10, 10:13 pm   #7
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As long as you can opt-out, I'm not sure I get the point?
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Old Nov 12, 10, 11:09 pm   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gatelouse View Post
I'm attempting to compile a list of alternative airports for major metropolitan areas that are NoS-free (and will hopefully remain that way).

Seattle area:
- Bellingham (BLI)
- Wenatchee (EAT)
- Yakima (YKM)
- Portland (PDX)
Weird. Seattle is in Washington state. PDX is Portland, Oregon, about 150 miles away and its own major metropolitan area (#23 vs. #15 for Seattle). How PDX (or EAT or YKM for that matter) could be considered alternative is beyond me.
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Old Nov 12, 10, 11:13 pm   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gatelouse View Post
PLS == "please". Sorry, forgot that three-cap letters ring bells here.
HOU won't fly. TSA says they're getting the NoS soon.
And according to the TSA, all airports and bus stations will get them. HOU doesn't have them now though.
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Old Nov 12, 10, 11:15 pm   #10
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Originally Posted by essxjay View Post
Weird. Seattle is in Washington state. PDX is Portland, Oregon, about 150 miles away and its own major metropolitan area (#23 vs. #15 for Seattle). How PDX (or EAT or YKM for that matter) could be considered alternative is beyond me.
PDX is alternative to OLY. I've done that.
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Old Nov 12, 10, 11:26 pm   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by essxjay View Post
Weird. Seattle is in Washington state. PDX is Portland, Oregon, about 150 miles away and its own major metropolitan area (#23 vs. #15 for Seattle). How PDX (or EAT or YKM for that matter) could be considered alternative is beyond me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by birdstrike View Post
As long as you can opt-out, I'm not sure I get the point?
An opt-out guarantees a thorough frisk. I'm aiming for the traveler who wants neither the NoS nor the frisk, and is willing to drive 2-3 hours on that principle. (Yes, random secondaries are always possible...and don't alarm that WTMD!)

If the number of travelers that fit the above category is close to nil, then yes, there's little point to a list like this. But if people aren't willing to go out of their way, then are they really that strongly opposed to the frisks and scopes in the first place?
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Old Nov 13, 10, 12:04 am   #12
 
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Really, really minor correction. The Amtrak station in Newark is NWK, not EWR. (I was just looking up Amtrak tickets)
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Old Nov 13, 10, 12:12 am   #13
 
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Arrow PDX not good alterate airport

Quote:
Originally Posted by gatelouse View Post

Seattle area:
- Bellingham (BLI)
- Wenatchee (EAT)
- Yakima (YKM)
- Portland (PDX)
Driving time from SEA-PDX (and vice-versa) is a good, full three (3) hours downtown-to-downtown in good traffic. During traffic jams in the SEA or PDX areas, travel times often are appreciably longer (up to 5 hours).

I guess that since SEA is situated south of D/T Seattle, that maybe cuts 15 minutes off travel time. So 2h45m of driving. If I lived in the Seattle area, opting out would be far more desirable than chugging for 2.75 hours or more in many times unpredictable traffic or other unforseen events (like flooding which can close roads and highways). So as my heart throbs at me for saying this as a part-time PDXer, I would not recommend the added 2h45m just to avoid the NoS and would remove PDX from the list.

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Old Nov 13, 10, 12:36 am   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellie M View Post
Really, really minor correction. The Amtrak station in Newark is NWK, not EWR. (I was just looking up Amtrak tickets)
Good point--let's include both as EWR is also an Amtrak station.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FAIPDXFlyer View Post
Driving time from SEA-PDX (and vice-versa) is a good, full three (3) hours downtown-to-downtown in good traffic. During traffic jams in the SEA or PDX areas, travel times often are appreciably longer (up to 5 hours).
True, that's likely too long a drive despite the number of flights available. So PDX is off the list for SEA. Salisbury, MD likewise (for DC).

Last edited by jackal; Nov 23, 10 at 5:13 am. Reason: Responding to now-deleted material
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Old Nov 13, 10, 6:27 am   #15
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Great list! I'll put a link to it on the airports with NoS sticky
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