Published August 26, 2008
A California woman says she endured an embarrassing standoff with Transportation Safety Administration officials over her bra before a flight to visit her mother in Boston.
Nancy Kates, who wore a large underwire bra, told the San Francisco Chronicle the security check by a female TSA agent before JetBlue flight 472 at Oakland International Airport was too invasive.
"The woman touched my breast," Kates said, according to the report. "I said, 'You can't do that.' She said, 'We have to pat you down. I said, "You can't treat me as a criminal for wearing a bra.'"
The agent's supervisor later told Kates that she could choose between a pat-down in a private room or not flying. Kates, of Berkeley, Calif., reportedly offered a third alternative — to take off her bra and try again — which TSA agents accepted.
"They tried to humiliate me and I was not going to be humiliated over this," Kates told the San Francisco Chronicle. "If I was carrying nail clippers and forgot about them, I wouldn't have gotten so upset. But here I was just wearing my underwear."
Kates said the incident took 40 minutes, causing her to miss her flight. She arrived in Boston four hours late, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said security agents must "resolve an alarm" in all circumstances. "Unfortunately, we can't take a passenger's word for it," Melendez told the San Francisco Chronicle.