A New Twist on National Opt Out Day

Jeffrey Goldberg recommends a twist to National Opt Out day, where folks are trying to get passengers to refuse nude-o-scope screening en masse on the day before Thanksgiving, perhaps the busiest travel day of the year.

Like Lucky I’m somewhat torn over the concept. I’m not sure that the TSA really cares, lines are bad enough on such a heavy travel day, and clogging them up further will likely inconvenience passengers more than it will TSA gropers.

Moreover, I’m not certain it’s even individually rational to opt out at this point, since the TSA has started their retaliatory ‘enhanced’ pat downs designed to be worse than the nude-o-scopes in order to push folks to accept their backscatter fate.

Personally I generally just try to fuss with my stuff long enough for someone else to be invited into the machines and then I simply slip through the standard metal detector. Great for me, not great for making a point about civil liberties.

Still, I much like Goldberg’s idea for Opt Out Day: men should wear kilts. And better yet, do so while going commando.

If you want to go the extra extra mile, I suggest commando-style kilt-wearing. While it is probably illegal to fly without pants, I can’t imagine that it’s illegal to fly without underpants.  I If you are Scottish, or part Scottish, or know someone who is Scottish, or eat Scottish salmon, or enjoy Scotch, or have a vestigial affection for “Braveheart” despite Mel Gibson, you can plausibly claim some sort of multicultural diversity privilege — the term “True Scotsman” refers to soldiers who honor their tradition and heritage by wearing kilts without drawers underneath. (This photo illustrates the possible consequences of the “True Scotsman” kilt-wearing very well.) 

(HT: Lawson who has been known to view the kilt as proper attire for formal occasions.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. I plan to opt-out whenever I can and do the following while I am being fondled.

    1. Have an erection.
    2. Fart while they grope my butt.
    3. Cough/Sneeze in their faces.

  2. I can’t endorse this kind of behavior towards standard TSA employees. I don’t like all of them, but they are trying to do a job we all agree is necessary and they have no say in the (poor) way it’s executed. I don’t believe farting and sneezing on them accomplishes much.

    Perhaps we could all request pat downs from supervisors? Not that these folks have been particularly effective in explaining TSA policy when I’ve asked, but they seem good at acting high and mighty. They might also be more likely to report problems higher up the chain of command.

  3. Personally, I like the kilt idea as it transfers some of the discomfort to the screeners (presumably). I’d also suggest increasing the screeners discomfort by indicating that you are REALLY enjoying or looking forward to your “intimate” encounter, e.g. “I have to pay $20 for this when I’m in Thailand!”

    Dittoes to the Gary’s suggestion that the TSA drones don’t give a damn what we think. They’re getting paid whatever we do, I just want to make them EARN it.

  4. Please don’t all be a PIA next Wednesday. I am one of the traveling gazillions and don’t want to be help up by some lame protest it will be bad enough as it is. I don’t give a rats-backside about nude-o-scopes. If you’re going to protest, don’t do it at the expense of those who don’t care.

  5. Phil, you are part of the problem, by willing allowing the TSA to rip away our civil liberties. Here’s hoping you get “randomly” selected for additional screening.

  6. @justcallmebob. ok bob. sadly i don’t think the protests will help one iota. and also i don’t believe the nude-o-scopes are a bad thing. and finally i don’t believe you have the right to screw with my civil liberty of getting back home to my family in a decent time for the holidays.

    @michael – that is the right idea. there is a political system in this country and people should use that, instead of pointless rants at airports when folks are trying to get home to their families. thanks for the common sense

  7. I just discovered that if you type “enhanced pat down” into the search box at the TSA’s web site it asks “Did you mean enhanced PUT down.”

    Both ironic and illuminating. They don’t even recognize their own lingo.

  8. Phil – you may not care about the TSA checking you out naked, but how about your 12 year old daughter?


    The ironic thing about these scanners is that the *dont work*. It has been stated by the TSA’s own investigation that they wouldn’t have caught the underwear bomber! http://boingboing.net/2010/01/22/naked-airport-scanne.html

    Its a pointless invasion of your privacy that, as far as I can tell, is just designed to sell the x-ray machines (the company that makes them, coincidentally, has the ex-TSA head on the board of directors), or if you want to go further as an excuse to erode away your rights.

  9. @hello – so you would have preferred if Ryanair had landed at a closed airport (Beauvais) rather than an open airport? Ryanair did put buses on to transport people to Beauvais and they would have arrived round about the time they finally disembarked if they’d got off the plane when requested. This adequately demonstrates the problem of people carrying out silly protests against the wrong target, rather than protesting against the right target. In Ryanair’s case, the target was clearly God, as fog was the issue. In the TSA’s case, the target should be those who make the rules, not those whose job it is to enforce them.
    As an aside, do senior TSA officials and Congressmen have to go through these things, or are they treated separately?

  10. How about just acting incredibly gay while being felt up? Tell them how much you are enjoying the feel of their hands as they probe your body. Really go into detail about the fantasies you are having. Maybe even ask to be handcuffed while the search is happening, just for an extra-kinky twist.

    And make sure on insisting that the search take place in full view of other passengers.

  11. The new speaker of the house–Boehner from Ohio–did NOT have to go through the x-ray or get a pat-down on a recent flight. He was led past it all and sent on his way. It was a commercial flight. This was reported in Ohio newspapers.

  12. Disagree the TSA is much a part of the bureaucracy. Nuremberg trials showed that “just doing my job” doesn’t cut it. I suggest farts, piss, vomit, coughing, erections, and anything else that might scare off a sexual predator. You know its time Americans started acting like a Union, and get tough on this political waste of time. If it takes intimidating the ax-men for the empire, well that is exactly where it needs to start. Because that is where these political ruling elites want it to start. Next when the enforcers run for cover then we can get to our real problem, the ruling elite. Its about time to take back our country from these traitors/despots and send them running for the bushes. Its coming I can hear it in the courage on these boards. Go get em soldiers of freedom.

    As far a Phil, go watch your programming a bit more. Even while they are raping your daughter to make the air safer, you’ll be covering your eyes and ears saying “I’m going to let the guys in the black robes decide on this” or “I’m going to vote them out next year”. Sickening.

    I just love this naked government aggression because people are beginning to see there is no “We the people” and what a waste of time all this voting hoopla really is. Voting even if it was not rigged, would achieve nothing less of majority tyranny (as the Phils have shown with their ignorance) on the minority (us that give a damn). Sorry Phil but I want to make your life hard waiting because you are ok with making mine harder by allowing my daughter to be raped and pillaged by armed thugs in government costumes. Phil as Ben Franklin said just for you “Those that surrender their liberties for safety, deserve neither”. You just don’t get it and never will.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.