Chris Elliott Pinpoints TSA Ways to Punish Op-Out Fliers

Will some agent harrass me because of transdermal patches

Could these transdermal pain patches been mistaken for an instrument of terror by a TSA agent?
Could these transdermal pain patches be mistaken for an instrument of terror by a TSA agent?

I’m getting on an airplane on Thursday — the first time in several months that I’ve flown. Since the last time, I’ve had a worsening back “issue” that manifests itself with excruciating pain in my hamstrings and glutes. I see the surgeon on the 18th, but meanwhile, I’ve been keeping the worst misery at bay with OTC Salonpas transdermal patches. I buy them 120 at a time  at Costco

Chris Elliott, travel consumer advocate extraordinaire, flies a lot more than I do, so he is victim of more TSA attention than most of us. For various reasons, he chooses to opt out of the agency’s preferred security screening methods, and he often finds fodder for his column he does. He recently wrote “3 Ways the TSA Punishes Passengers Who Opt Out.” As he presents it, and he always adds research to his own travel experiences, the opt-out option is not appealing either. I never really thought about it before.

So here is the decision I need to make in the next couple of days (or at least when I head for the security maze): If I plaster some Salonpas patches on my rear end, will they show up on an X-ray? Would a patdown, which is hateful to begin with, reveal “something,” and would some misguided agent decide that those little stick-on rectangles might be a terror weapon? Would the overzealous TSA official want me to strip down?  Should I lather up with Ben-Gay instead of the more effective patches to dampen the pain with setting off alarms in the TSA brain?

Read Chris Elliott’s column on three broad categories that the TSA’s intimidation/bullying/punitive tactics fall into, and read the column for examples of each. He concludes (and I concur), “The false choice between a dangerous scan and an invasive pat-down must end, and the sooner it happens, the better.” Perhaps I should have waited until I return before posting about the TSA again. I  suppose there’s a risk of being flagged for “special” attention by the TSA, but I can’t help sharing what’s on my mind as I think about what will be a short but guaranteed uncomfortable trip.