Seems like it was only Friday that Transport Workers Union Local 556 -- which reps Southwest Airlines's 9,400 flight attendants -- was sending Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and TSA Administrator John J. Pistole that note letting the officials know they most certainly did not appreciate being scanned and/or gate-raped before hopping a flight. Because, dig: "Flight attendants have submitted to the same finger printing and 10-year FBI background check as pilots." In other words: Hands off, goddammit.
To which the TSA said today: OK, we give. Flight attendants need only show photo IDs before going through metal scanners.
To which TWU Local 566 says today: Huzzah! Writes TWU Local 556 President Thom McDaniel in a missive that just landed in the Unfair Park in-box: "We were pleased to learn of the Transportation Security Administration's decision to grant flight attendants an exemption from the new rules surrounding AIT screenings as they did with pilots last week."
How pleased? Jump. But not before I touch you ... right ... there. You are now free to move across the blog.
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This is an acknowledgment by the TSA that flight attendants are not security risks and that we along with pilots are partners with the agency when it comes to security. This also is recognition that flight attendants, just like airline pilots, go through a rigorous security background check.
Flight attendants play a critical role in aviation security. We are FAA certified safety and security professionals, and we are relieved to know that with this change in policy more of TSA's time and resources can now be devoted to keeping passengers safe from real security threats.
Our union also is reassured in the knowledge that passing through the radiation of a scanner multiple times daily, in addition to the elevated levels of radiation we are exposed to simply by flying frequently, will no longer be an issue for flight attendants.