Pilots to Be Exempted from Pat-Downs

At least someone is going to be able to avoid enhanced airport security screening – pilots.

U.S. airline pilots will be exempted from physical checks so screeners can better focus on passengers, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) chief John Pistole tells Bloomberg.

Starting next year, pilots will be able to show an airline-issued proof of identity to get through airport security checkpoints, Pistole says. He adds the TSA is in talks to make similar exemptions for flight attendants.

"This one seemed to jump out as a common-sense issue," Pistole tells Bloomberg. "Why don't we trust pilots who are literally in charge of the aircraft?"

The plan, which would include pilot identities being checked by a computer system, is to be rolled out in the first quarter of next year.

Pilots have been seeking faster checks for years, and intensified their efforts as the TSA stepped up security procedures including body scans and pat-downs in recent weeks.

Pistole says the TSA has been meeting with unions and airlines to discuss the issue.

He says by not screening pilots, the TSA will save resources that will "allow us to pay more attention to those potential terrorists."
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