Airport body scanners: good or bad? Cheap flights engine Skyscanner investigates

18th Jan 2010
Airport body scanners: good or bad? Cheap flights engine Skyscanner investigates

Two thirds of travellers are in favour of plans to install body scanners in airports, according to the latest poll on the travel search site Skyscanner.

The cheap flights search engine found that 66% voted that airport scanners were a good idea as they would speed up security checks and improve security, whilst 30% said that they disapproved, largely on health and privacy grounds. (4% gave other answers).

Over 400 people voted in the poll, and the results clearly show that most travellers were in favour of the scanners.

Barry Smith, Skyscanner co-founder and business director of Skyscanner, Europe’s leading flight comparison engine that also supplies long haul cheap flights to Sydney, which could soon be affected commented:

“As long as the machines are safe and any potential privacy issues can be solved, travellers are in favour of anything which will make flying safer and security checks faster. If it saves me from having to take my shoes off, empty my pockets and remove my belt, I’m all for them.”


The Skyscanner poll did reveal that some travellers had concerns over the safety of the scanning machines, specifically the health issues of being x-rayed. The UK’s busiest airport, Heathrow, will be one of the first airports to introduce the scanners on flights to London, however, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) say the technology is harmless, and that the amount of radiation produced is minimal, equating to what a person would naturally receive in just two minutes of flying on an airplane.

Other respondents believed that the scanners would not increase passenger safety; Skyscanner user Vasco Sotomaior left a message on Skyscanner’s Facebook page explaining his reasons for being against the scanners:

“There’s no use for it. The threat exists, but it is so little that it doesn’t justify it. The current measures are more than enough”.

Trials with the body scanners are already taking place in some airports and train stations across Europe and the US. So passengers hopping across the pond on flights to New York from several European airports could experience this new security measure soon. The technology blurs facial details ensuring that passengers cannot be recognised and images are viewed by staff in walled-off rooms where they cannot see travellers who are being checked.

Passengers who prefer not to be scanned will be able to opt for the traditional pat down check instead.


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