The prospect of pat-downs and revealing body scans didn't bother most travelers at the Medford airport Wednesday as they headed out to visit family and friends for Thanksgiving.
"I've been patted down once," said Olivia Eisner, a 30-year-old Seattle resident. "It's not bad at all."
Eisner, who was frisked in Seattle, has been flying into the Medford airport twice a week to help set up a health clinic in Klamath Falls.
The Medford airport doesn't have the full-body scanners that are found in some major airports. Dozens of passengers went through the metal scanner Wednesday and were not subjected to a pat-down.
Enhanced pat-downs, which have offended some and been ridiculed by others, are a possibility travelers face after security efforts were ramped up because of a failed attemptto conceal explosives in underpants.
"I'm all for it," said Carrie Datig, a 39-year-old Roseburg woman heading to Las Vegas.
Her friend, Amy Barchenger, 30, also of Roseburg, agreed. "If it keeps you safe, I'm all for it. I don't think it is anything inappropriate."
Both women said they wouldn't be bothered by a pat-down or full body scan that creates a ghost-like image that outlines body parts.
"It's not like it's a picture of you naked," Barchenger said.
Dwayne Baird, a Transportation Security Administration spokesperson, said the new pat-downs are slightly different than the old pat-downs, but, for security reasons, he wouldn't describe the difference.
"That's a recipe for terrorism," he said.
He said Internet claims that pat-downs include grabbing genitals is not true, and TSA staff never asks anyone to disrobe.
A pat-down screening or full-body scan is triggered if a metal detector sets off the alarm and the reason cannot be determined.
Body piercings can trigger the alarm, and that would have to be resolved by the passenger. "They could probably head for the bathroom and get rid of some of their piercings," Baird said.
Ashland residents Wesley Peltzer and his girlfriend, Christa Welcome, recoiled at the possibility of a pat-down.
"I'm not particularly happy about being patted down invasively," 25-year-old Pelzer said. "Some of these security measures verge on paranoia."
Welcome said she would opt for the full-body scan rather than have a TSA official put her gloved hands on her.
Grants Pass resident Tom Chandler said he was asked to step aside in Atlanta, Ga., recently and underwent a pat-down.
"It's not as bad as everyone makes it out," the 50-year-old said. "I saw them pat down some women, and they went a little far with that."
Chandler, who was visiting family in Georgia, said the security official patted him down thoroughly, but avoided his more sensitive areas. "They come up close," he said.
Increased security didn't appear to have any effect for passengers trying to make a flight.
"The TSA people here are going the extra mile to make it work as well as they can," airport director Bern Case said.
Weather was more of a problem for passengers.
Chandler said his connecting flight in Salt Lake City was delayed. He faced an eight-hour layover, so he decided to take another flight out early today.
Joette Kunse echoed the feelings of many passengers who thought safety was more important than privacy.
The 64-year-old Detroit, Mich., resident, who was visiting her stepmother in Medford, described the controversy as no big deal. In fact, she would opt for a pat-down over a full-body scan because of radiation concerns.
Her 97-year-old stepmom underwent a pat-down a couple of years ago, she said.
Kunse did think a younger woman might have more problems allowing an overzealous stranger to pat her down.
"I'm a 64-year-old woman," she said. "You're not going to be too overzealous with me."
Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or e-mail email@example.com.