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Sample Anti-Body-Scanner Letters to Congress, Airlines

Sample Anti-Body-Scanner Letters to Congress, Airlines

Old Nov 15, 10, 4:58 pm
Join Date: Jul 2004
Programs: NW Gold, '06. Good times.
Posts: 7,344
I live in Texas. Either Senator Hutchinson's people are really on the ball or they had a canned response ready to go. I got this in my Inbox this afternoon in response to the email I fired off last night.

Dear Friend:
Thank you for contacting me regarding airline safety and security. I welcome your thoughts and comments.

As the Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, I understand the importance of aviation security. Since our nation was attacked on 9/11, we have instituted many effective policies to protect us against the threat of future terrorist attacks. Many of these policies naturally impact the transportation sectors in the U.S., particularly at airports. Unfortunately, these security policies systematically failed with the nearly successful terrorist attack on one of our airliners on Christmas Day 2009 by an Al Qaeda-trained Nigerian terrorist. This disturbing incident highlights the evolving nature of terrorist threats against our country.

In response to the December 25, 2009 attempted attack, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced plans to enhance passenger screening and detection capabilities, including an increase in the deployment of advanced imaging technology (AIT) machines, also known as "body imaging scanners", from 878 units to 1,800 units by 2014. The AIT produces an image of a passenger's body that a screener can use to identify objects or anomalies on the outside of the physical body. TSA officials have also indicated they hope to use this technology for primary screening where feasible, rather than as a strictly secondary measure. However, passengers concerned for their personal privacy may always opt for traditional screening methods.

We must ensure that the federal security agencies entrusted with protecting us can adapt the detection and prevention measures we employ to stay ahead of these changing threats. It is clear that the current measures in place were inadequate to prevent this type of plot. The country was very fortunate that when the device malfunctioned the crew and passengers of flight 253 acted heroically. Our nation must do better.

Along with this increased commitment comes an increased responsibility on the part of the security agents and administrators. TSA must pay close attention to the privacy concerns of individuals, consistently demonstrate reasonable judgment, and perform its duties in a highly professional manner. Failure to exercise sound judgment and professionalism is not acceptable. Please be assured that I will continue to do everything in my power to hold security providers accountable.

I appreciate hearing from you, and I hope that you will not hesitate to contact me on any issue that is important to you.

Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senator

284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
202-224-5922 (tel)
202-224-0776 (fax)
IOW, she's toeing the party line. It's now official. I plan to vote against her when she runs for re-election.
hoyateach is offline  
Old Nov 16, 10, 6:41 am
Join Date: Nov 2008
Programs: AA, WN
Posts: 31
I just emailed the following to the Allied Pilots Association (the AA union). They're leading the way on getting this changed for the pilots. These unions have A LOT of political power, and we should make sure they know we support them, but also want them to help us get this changed for ourselves.

Dear APA:

As a lifelong customer of American Airlines and an AAdvantage Elite member for the past four years, I am appalled at the treatment you and your colleagues are subjected to at the hands of the TSA on a daily basis. To subject pilots, who control the fate of the airplane and have FAR more responsibility and training in aviation safety than any government security worker, to dangerous screening methods and humiliating pat downs is irresponsible, ignorant, and just plain stupid. I trust the pilots of APA and the other hardworking pilots of the aviation industry far more than I trust a TSA guard.

I am very hopeful that the various pilots' unions, the FAA and the TSA quickly come to an agreement to restore sanity to the pilot screening process. As a loyal customer of AA and an occasional customer of some of your competitors, you have my full support.

HOWEVER, once you achieve this security sanity, please do not forget about your customers. We are appalled by our treatment, too. I am all for security in aviation and for screening for prohibited items; however, I do not agree with the suspension of my constitutional rights in order to fly with you. Subjecting me and my family to radiation, a virtual strip search by the government, and a pat down that borders on molestation is unacceptable.

If this continues, I will find alternative transportation whenever is practical. I can reduce my flying by a significant amount per year. I fly because of the speed and convenience, but trust me, I can and will switch to driving without hesitation!

I support you and your cause 100%. Please don't forget about your passengers!

JMan40 is offline  
Old Nov 16, 10, 9:57 am
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: North of DFW
Programs: AA PLT, HH Gold, TSA Disparager Gold, going for Platnium
Posts: 1,535
Jman - what email address did you send that to i havent seen anything pop up on them
Scubatooth is offline  
Old Nov 16, 10, 11:52 am
Join Date: Nov 2008
Programs: AA, WN
Posts: 31
I sent it to [email protected]

Actually got a supportive, if quite brief, reply. At least I know it was read by someone who didn't just throw a form letter back at me. Nice for a change.

JMan40 is offline  
Old Nov 17, 10, 9:23 am
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Nashville, TN - BNA
Programs: Hilton Gold, WN RR
Posts: 1,818
Hey folks, I found out about an interesting service yesterday. There's a website, Postful.com, that will print and mail a hard copy of a letter for $1* - and all you have to do is attach the letter as a PDF, .doc, etc. or paste text into the body of the letter, with the address in the subject line.

I have now sent real letters through the mail to several tourism departments. I scanned my signature in for post into the Word doc letter & everything.

(Seriously, I don't work for Postful - just think I'm going to find it incredibly helpful for sending mail, especially when I can't find a fax number or email address.

*You do have to set up an account with them and put a few bucks into it using a credit card or Paypal. They email you back a preview of your letter which you can then approve or cancel.) Happy writing!
divemistressofthedark is offline  
Old Nov 17, 10, 9:34 am
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: DTW
Programs: Dirt Status w/ All
Posts: 5,038
My response from Delta, after e-mailing (via website) that I will be canceling plans to take a holiday Vegas trip due to the new security measures:

Dear Mr. tev9999

RE: Case Number #######

Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding the service. On behalf of
everyone at Delta Air Lines, I sincerely apologize with the
disappointment with the new Advanced Imaging Technology.

I sincerely regret your disappointment with the new Advanced Imaging
Technology (AIT) also commonly referred to as full body scanner
technology. As you may know, this system produces images of the body in
order to detect potential threats concealed underneath passengers'
clothing that could have possibly gone undetected with the current

Please know I recognize your frustration and the inconvenience caused by
the airport security process. These procedures are conducted by the
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and are required by federal
law. We realize the inconvenience that security requirements impose upon
our passengers, and we will continue to work with the TSA to minimize
the inconvenience to our passengers while at the same time maintaining
passenger security.

Nevertheless, I hope you will understand that safety remains the first
and foremost priority for all airlines and government agencies; I want
to ensure you it is also the guide for our day-to-day operations. While
federal regulations prohibit us from discussing the criteria used for
security decisions and we acknowledge they may be invasive and
disruptive, they serve to make flying safer for everyone. We understand
that some requirements may make it difficult for passengers to travel
and it may require them to make a decision on whether it is in their
best interest to utilize air travel. While we are sorry that it may
require some passengers not travel by air, we follow all directives
handed down to us from the higher authorities.

You may access the TSA web site, www.tsa.gov/public/, to obtain
additional information regarding security checks, TSA employee issues,
or with questions regarding missing or damaged items at a security check
point. For passengers without internet access, you may call or write the
TSA as follows.

Telephone: 1-866-289-9673
Write to: Transportation Security Administration
601 South 12th Street
Arlington, VA 22202-4220

Mr. tev9999, I hope I have been able to resolve any concerns you have
about our service. As a valued Silver medallion member, your business
is important to us and given the opportunity of serving you in the
future, I am confident Delta will not only meet but exceed your

At least they seem to acknowledge they are losing business over this. I also wrote to the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors bureau, but have not had a response yet.
tev9999 is offline  
Old Nov 17, 10, 10:07 am
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: BOS
Programs: UA 1P
Posts: 1,356
Originally Posted by gatelouse
Sent the following brief e-mail to 1PVoice late last week:

Note what I did here; I'm interpreting the airlines' silence or general support for the TSA as specific support for the NoS and full-service massage (FSM). A handy rhetorical trick for your next debate or letter.

UA responded today with a form letter that suggests that they're counting complaints, much as a legislator would.

We want the airlines to see a sharp uptick in the number of TSA complaints from frequent flyers that correlates to the expansion of NoS and FSM. Assume that they're counting these letters (with higher weight given to flyers of higher status or revenue). Even an e-mailkeep these briefcan help.
I sent a similar letter to yours and I think I actually got a real response as they addressed my concern that United tacitly approves of the TSA's methods. I'm only a 2P, so I'm somewhat surprised. They said they have no official stance on the TSA and they cooperate fully with them to insure a safe flying environment. It was then followed by the form standard of how they are passing and tracking feedback. I will follow up on their response. Any suggestions that I should include as well ?
JennyElf is offline  
Old Nov 17, 10, 11:49 am
Join Date: Oct 2010
Programs: AA ex-EXP (buh-bye!), HH Gold, SPG Gold, UM Go Blue
Posts: 543
Here is my disappointing reply from Senator Feinstein (CA). Note, this letter was in response to one I sent before the implementation of the new pat-down procedures. In that letter, I had expressed concerns about the safety of the devices and the fact that they show the nude body to strangers. Note how she does not address the latter. This is pathetic.

Dear (Wollstonecraft),

Thank you for contacting my office to express your concerns about possible health impact of TSA imaging technology units. Your correspondence is important to me, and I welcome to opportunity to respond.

Below, for your reference, I have attached some health information from TSA regarding the imaging technology, known as "backscatter technology":

Advanced imaging technology is safe and meets national health and safety standards. Backscatter technology was evaluated by the Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). For comparison, a single scan using backscatter technology produces exposure equivalent to two minutes of flying on an airplane, and the energy projected by millimeter wave technology is thousands of times less than a cell phone transmission.

You may also be interested to know that passengers who do not wish to take part in the imaging technology screening process can opt to receive a physical pat-down, instead.

Be assured that I do value your opinion and appreciate how strongly you feel about the issue. I intent to closely follow any efforts to re-review the possible health risks of whole body imagers, and will consider the results of these analyses as well.

(Thank you for writing, etc.)
Wollstonecraft is offline  
Old Nov 18, 10, 9:42 am
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: PEK
Programs: Alas, the Gravy Train Hath Ended...just happy to be an OW Sapphire and a ST Ivory...whatever
Posts: 4,389
Here's my $0.02 that I sent to Texas Senators Kay Baily Hutchison (R) and John Cornyn (R), outgoing Congressman Chet Edwards (D) and Congressman-elect Bill Flores (R) (the one below, I sent to Flores). Frustrating to no end, but this is the best that I could have done, under the circumstances. I was having trouble finding a letter that properly expressed my frustrations, so I hope this helps anyone out with a similar letter:

Dear Congressman-Elect Flores,

The Transportation Security Administration recently introduced new "enhanced" airport screening procedures that are so objectionable, invasive and repugnant to travelers that widespread anger and rebellion are the result including from the world's largest pilots union representing 12,000 pilots.

Under the new screening protocols, passengers are subjected to a virtual "strip search" by being required to undergo a humiliating full-body scan, resulting in the display of a graphic image of their naked body to be scrutinized by a TSA agent.

If they choose to "opt out" of the full-body scan, they are forced instead to undergo the same kind of aggressive ("enhanced") pat-down that criminals and drug-dealers get, including direct manual contact with their breasts and genitalia. Children are not exempt.

While such degrading and invasive searches certainly violate passengers' Fourth Amendment guarantee to be "secure in their persons against unreasonable searches and seizures," the generation of naked images of minor passengers arguably amounts to the creation of illegal child pornography.

Moreover, backscatter X-ray technology is known to produce radiation that is potentially harmful to frequent fliers and airline crew members, which is why the American Pilots Association, representing about 12,000 pilots (including almost all of American Airlines' pilots) has strongly warned its members to refuse the full-body scanning.

This humiliating and degrading new program is already massively unpopular, and obviously subject to horrific abuse. As such, it is certain to result in a significant decline in air travel by Americans at a time when neither the airline industry nor the country can afford another economic crisis.

I travel a lot for work and pleasure, and I find that these new techniques are not helpful for commerce and general personal travel, and not only do these techniques hurt my personal freedoms, but they also hurt the things that our country was founded on and things that we hold dear. By subjecting the public to these unreasonable and borderline criminal touching and screening, I honestly feel that the terrorists have won a victory against the United States. That may sound melodramatic, but I feel that this is an issue that cannot be ignored.

Therefore, I call for the immediate and indefinite suspension of these "enhanced security screening procedures," as well as an apology to the American public by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for her ill-advised decision to implement it.

Thanks for this opportunity to speak my mind, and best of luck as you begin your career in the halls of Congress!
theblakefish is offline  
Old Nov 18, 10, 11:31 am
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: NRV, VA
Programs: DL, WN, US, FL
Posts: 65
Contact Congressman/Senators

I am looking for a suggestion on how to address my letters to my Congressman/Senator. You include your address when writing these letters, however, I am a resident of one state and go to school in another, and wish for them to have my address to send a response, if they wish to send any. Does anyone here have any idea of how to do this?
cyclonehokiece is offline  
Old Nov 18, 10, 12:41 pm
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 48
Put pressure on American Airlines...

I just got this interesting response from AA to my letter:

Dear [toast25]:
Thank you for taking the time to contact us about the recent changes that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has made to checkpoint security screening procedures. We are monitoring our customers' feedback on this issue very closely, and we thank you for providing us with your impressions. [Bolding emphasis is mine.]

Should you wish to pursue this matter with the TSA, you can contact the TSA Consumer Response Center at 1-866-289-9673, or you can use their online customer contact form available at www.tsa.gov/contact

Thank you again for contacting us. We appreciate your business very much.


So it seems they are potentially open to public pressure on this....

Last edited by toast25; Nov 18, 10 at 12:49 pm Reason: didn't ask the rep if it would be ok to include their name in public!
toast25 is offline  
Old Nov 18, 10, 12:47 pm
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: SAN
Programs: AA Gold, season pass holder to all the places the kids want to go
Posts: 467
Welcome to FlyerTalk, toast25!

I note that your form letter is different than what AA sent me (posted upthread in post #20). The bolded section you quote about feedback was not in what they emailed me a few weeks ago. I wonder if that indicates a shift in their thinking, or if it's just a throwaway line.
michellemck99 is offline  
Old Nov 18, 10, 1:11 pm
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 48
Thanks, michellemck99!

Find it interesting that I heard back from AA before hearing anything back from my Senators or my rep....

I will also be contacting my state-level reps to ask them to back a bill like the one they are considering in NJ.
toast25 is offline  
Old Nov 18, 10, 3:14 pm
Join Date: Oct 2010
Programs: AA ex-EXP (buh-bye!), HH Gold, SPG Gold, UM Go Blue
Posts: 543

Last edited by Wollstonecraft; Oct 8, 12 at 7:14 pm
Wollstonecraft is offline  
Old Nov 18, 10, 4:16 pm
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Chicago, IL
Programs: AA Gold (former Platinum), SPG Gold, SWA, UA, National Car, TSA Disparager Silver
Posts: 119
Originally Posted by toast25
Find it interesting that I heard back from AA before hearing anything back from my Senators or my rep....

I will also be contacting my state-level reps to ask them to back a bill like the one they are considering in NJ.
I'm not surprised; their business model and revenue stream are at risk, so they have every incentive to be responsive (gee, can you tell I'm an economist ?). What I can't understand is UA's toeing of the TSA line.

I've been engaged in guerrilla social networking communication; here are some tweets I've sent in the past week:

Dear @AmericanAir: I used to be Platinum, but now Gold b/c of TSA. New Xray scanner or grope=>I will fly zero miles. Your profits suffer.

Dear @AmericanAir: Was considering a spring break ski trip to CO, but if TSA Xray scanner or grope=>I will fly 0 miles. Your profits suffer.

Dear @SouthwestAir: love your svc/bus, but if TSA Xray scanner or grope=>I will fly zero miles. Will cancel xmas trip. Your profits suffer.

Dear @StarwoodBuzz: I am SPG Gold + vacation owner, but TSA strip-search scanner + grope => I will not travel. Your profits suffer.

So far Starwood has followed me and sent me a PM saying that they feel my pain, essentially, but nothing from AA or WN.
lkkinetic is offline  

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