We’ve all had those frustrating moments at the airport–getting there hours ahead of time, waiting in line, taking our shoes, coats and belts off, and walking through the body scanner. But one woman’s trip through airport security ended in humiliation and tears.
Denise Albert, a radio show co-host, was flying out of LAX when TSA officers aggressively tried to perform a body cavity search in public. Albert is a 42-year-old fighting breast cancer–she showed the security agents at the airport her medical cream, the sores on her feet, and even removed her wig. But they still couldn’t let it go.
Despite being a frequent flier without issue through LAX, the TSA agents took Albert aside and insisted on a full body search. When she discussed the incident on her radio show, The Moms, she recounted one agent forcing her hands down her jeans and “aggressively attempt[ing] to do a body cavity search in public.” The agents informed her that during the search, they would be applying pressure “from head to toe.”
Eventually, she was offered a private search, but she couldn’t move from where she was sitting because the agents had requested earlier that she take her shoes off, and she didn’t want the sores on her feet to touch the floor. The agents continued to humiliate her by making fun of her fake eyelashes–until she pointed out that she was wearing them because she’d lost her real ones.
“I have never been so humiliated or felt more violated in my life. I went through the scanning machine at the airport without incident. I already told them about my metal port and my medical cream. I removed it from my bag for them to see and test as I have done on prior flights. I don’t know what was different this time but TSA agents aggressively attempted to do a body cavity search in public.”
After the altercation, Albert filed a formal complaint with TSA, who apologized promised to look into the incident. The agency promised her they would also review their training procedure in regards to passengers with medical issues and disabilities.