Airport Security for Survivors

Airport security can be stressful for any traveler, but for some survivors of sexual assault the screening process is a little more sensitive. The following tips can help you navigate airport security to ensure a comfortable start to your trip.

Fill out a notification card

You can print and fill out a TSA notification card if you have difficulty being touched or are living with anxiety or fear. Write or type a simple phrase like, “difficulty being touched” or “PTSD.” This does not exempt you from screening, but it helps the staff to better understand your needs.

Request a private screening

If you are asked to participate in a pat-down you can request a private screening. If you are traveling with someone else, they may accompany you. You may request for someone of the same gender to perform the security screening. Before the screening starts, let the staffer know if there is any reaction that could happen when you are touched or patted. A TSA officer will not ask you to lift or remove clothes to reveal sensitive areas.

Request a specialist in advance

You can request a TSA Passenger Support Specialist to accompany you through the screening process. Passenger Support Specialists are trained to communicate with travelers who have special needs, in order to make the screening process easier. Request a Passenger Support Specialist 72 hours before your flight by calling the TSA Cares hotline at 855.787.2227

If you are a parent traveling with a child who may need special attention or considerations, review the TSA Parents Page. More questions? Visit the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website.

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