In concert with the TSA’s mission of providing a “risk-based, intelligence-driven approach to safety”, if a passenger is 75 years or older, 12 years old or younger or a member of the U.S. military, going through security will now be easier.
A month-long pilot program for seniors at some major airports has proven to be successful in shortening TSA lines, especially in Florida which boasts a senior population of 600,000 thousand.
So what do seniors get in exchange for making it to 75? At security you will not have to take off your shoes or lightweight outerwear and only go through a metal detector or an Advanced Imagining Technology (AIT) (x-ray) machine. If it is determined something is amiss, i.e. it appears you are carrying a sub-machine gun or atom bomb, you will need to go through the machine again, but it is no longer mandatory to submit to a groping.
In June of last year, the TSA decided that children 12 years old and under may keep their shoes on and if they set off the metal detector, they would not be inappropriately touched by an agent, but allowed to go through the machine again. The same procedure extends to members of the U.S. military who can present proper I.D.
As for the rest of the traveling public going through airport security, the TSA states:
"TSA is in the process of implementing new pat-down procedures at checkpoints nationwide as one of our many layers of security to keep the traveling public safe. TSA pat-downs are one important tool to help TSA detect hidden and dangerous items such as explosives. Passengers should continue to expect an unpredictable mix of security layers that include explosives trace detection, advanced imaging technology, canine teams, among others."
Remember, it is a passengers right to opt out of going through questionably “safe” machines, but if you opt out and are not in one of the above groups you will be subjected to a TSA pat-down or canine sniff-down or sniff-up depending upon the size of the dog.