TSA rolls out new pat-downs, some travelers say they're invasive

The Transportation Security Administration has rolled out changes to pat-downs at airports, which some travelers said resulted in more invasive screenings at airports.

The pat-downs don't involve any additional areas of the body, and will still be performed by agents of the same gender as passengers, the agency said.

Previously, agents used several different types of pat downs to choose from after travelers set off the metal detector or were otherwise flagged for security concerns, but the new rules establish one standardized pat-down procedure that is more comprehensive.

RELATED: Strangest weapons found by the TSA

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The strangest weapons found by the TSA
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The strangest weapons found by the TSA
Holy purple projectiles, batman! All batarangs, no matter the color, must be packed in your checked bags. This one was discovered in a carry-on bag at Providence (PVD). #zlonk #glurp #blap #vronk #powie
This small knife was discovered in a pill bottle inside a carry-on bag at Jacksonville (JAX). Intentionally concealing a knife (no matter how small) can lead to headaches such as fines and arrest.
#TBT April 2012: Flying fish are found in the ocean, not on commercial aircraft. We hate to be a wet blanket, but spear guns are not allowed in the cabin of an aircraft and must be packed in checked baggage. This spear gun was discovered in a carry-on bag at Raleigh-Durham (RDU).
Holy cow! This cattle prod was discovered in a carry-on bag at the Chicago Midway (MDW) Airport . All shocking devices, especially cattle prods, are not allowed in carry-on bags. Please pack them in your checked bags with the batteries removed.
Which is mightier, the pen or the knife? This pen-knife was discovered in a carry-on bag at San Juan (SJU). Concealed knives can lead to fines and arrest.
We’re pretty sure this isn’t a letter opener. A bladed dragon claw perhaps??? Whatever it is, it should be packed in checked baggage. It was discovered in a carry-on bag at Atlanta (ATL).
Is this some kind of confangled rotisserie contraption for turkeys? Nope. These are Sai. If you’re a #TeenageMutantTurtle fan, you’ll know the Sai as Raphael’s weapon or choice. If you still have no clue, a Sai is a weapon used for striking, bludgeoning and punctures. Whatever it is you use them for, please know they must be packed in checked baggage. These were discovered in a carry-on bag at Boise (BOI). #TheMoreYouKnow
This ornate flask of black powder was discovered in a carry-on bag at Allentown (ABE). While it is a fancy flask, the black powder contained within is an explosive and is strictly prohibited in both carry-on and checked bags.
Packing list: Socks. ✅ Toothbrush. ✅ Curling Iron. ✅ Post-apocalyptic bullet-adorned gas mask. ❌ While gas masks are allowed in carry-on bags, replica bullets are not. This was discovered in a carry-on bag at Miami (MIA). Maybe he was catching a one way flight to #FuryRoad?
#TSATravelTips - Don’t pack your homemade replica suicide vest. The traveler who packed this vest in his checked bag at Richmond (RIC) stated it was a prop intended for use in a live-action role-playing game (LARP). TSA explosives experts raced to the checked baggage room and the airport police were called immediately. Fortunately, the explosives experts determined the vest posed no danger. It has yet to be determined if the officer who searched the bag needed a change of clothing.
While about to receive a pat-down after opting out of body scanner screening, a Chicago O’Hare (ORD) traveler remembered that he had a throwing knife necklace under his shirt. All knives are prohibited and concealed knives can lead to fines and arrest. #TSAGoodCatch
While some travelers are worried about packing nail clippers (they are allowed), others pack a pair of five-bladed floggers. You guessed it; these are not allowed in carry-on bags. If you’re in a situation where you’re going to need your floggers, they’ll have to be packed in checked baggage. These were discovered last week in a carry-on bag at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas (IAH). #TSATravelTips
You’ve likely heard that you’re not supposed to bring a knife to a gunfight? Well, you’re not supposed to bring either in your carry-on bag. Both replica weapons and knives are not allowed in carry-on bags. If you find yourself needing to travel with your gun knife, please pack it in your checked bag. This gun knife was discovered in a carry-on bag at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW).
This 4-bladed throwing star was discovered in a carry-on bag at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO). These must be packed in your checked bags. Sorry Prince Colwyn. #Krull
This belt buckle knife was discovered in a traveler’s carry-on property recently at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE). Concealed weapons can lead to fines and arrest.
Naruto’s ninja gear was discovered in a carry-on bag at Las Vegas (LAS). Please pack all ninja gear in your checked bags. #TSATravelTips
This knuckle knife was discovered in a carry-on bag at Memphis (MEM). Knives of any size are not allowed in carry-on bags. They must be packed in checked bags. #TSATravelTips
This impaler cane was discovered amongst a traveler’s carry-on property in Baltimore (BWI). These must be packed with checked baggage. Concealed weapons can lead to fines and arrest.
Many things can be hidden in shoes, but explosives are what concern us the most. This shoe is a replica of the bomb Richard Reid attempted to use in 2001 on his flight from Paris to Miami.
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Nico Melendez, a public affairs manager at the TSA, said the procedure was streamlined to reduce confusion and lessen the cognitive burden of officers after the TSA faced a record number of firearms detection during the week of February 20. Agents found 79 firearms, 21 of which were round chambered, setting a new record from its highest number of 18 firearms in 2014.

Some travelers called the new pat-downs invasive.

Seasoned traveler Joel Stratte-McClure said when he was catching a flight from Redding Municipal Airport to Egypt on Thursday the agent warned him the new procedure "would involve a more intense horizontal and vertical pat down" to look for concealed weapons that people typically hide in their pants.

"This was the most intriguing, intense and invasive pat down I've had by the TSA since they came into existence," Stratte-MCClure said in an email to NBC News. "Usually it's comparatively perfunctory (the gold bracelet on my right wrist sets off every security alarm in the US)."

Stratte-McClure said he is curious why it took the TSA fifteen years to understand that people conceal weapons in their pants, and doubted that the new pat-downs would be much more effective than the old ones, which he said didn't work in the first place.

"Seasoned travelers might take it in stride but infrequent travelers will be embarrassed and shocked," he said.

Some Twitter users criticized the new system, calling it "legalized groping."

Department of Homeland Security spokesman Bruce Anderson said the new pat-downs will continue to use enhanced security measures implemented several months ago.

"TSA continues to adjust and refine our systems and procedures to meet the evolving threat and to achieve the highest levels of transportation security," Anderson said in a statement.

The change comes on the heels of the agency's study of a 2015 report by the Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General that drew headlines. The audit lambasted TSA for not detecting handguns and other weapons and suggested the termination of the "managed inclusion program."

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