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Special Religious And Culture Needs While Flying

Aug 18, 2007
Certain religious and cultural groups may need certain considerations when going through airport security. Security personnel have several options available to you to respect and consider your special needs.

Certain faiths require a head covering or a veil, and these needs are accommodated by security as much as possible. If, for whatever reason, you can not or do not want to go through the medal detector, security personnel will do a hand pat down with a wand.

You also have the right to a private area for the hand screening, with a security officer that is the same gender. This is because some religions and cultures have laws and taboos against any member of the opposite gender laying hands on them except for their family members. It should be noted, however, that if you refuse to participate in any part of the screening process you will not be allowed on board the aircraft.

For women who have religious beliefs that require a head covering or other religious garment, they have a right to wear these garments throughout the screening process and on the plane. If clothing is very loose or large and could possibly conceal items that are prohibited, additional screening measures may be necessary, whether the clothing in question is considered a religious garment or not. If additional screening is deemed necessary, a security officer of the same gender will re-screen the passenger using a pat down and a hand wand. This second pat down will include the torso area of the passenger. If the hand wand sounds an alarm anywhere on the religious garment or head covering, then the security officer will have to touch the area to verify that no contraband is present. In the rare instances where even this step fails to resolve the wand alert issue, then the security officer will give the passenger the opportunity, in a private area with no members of the opposite gender present, to remove the head covering and resolve the issue.

Under no circumstances are religious artifacts such as knives, daggers, swords, throwing stars, and other artifacts with the potential to be used as a weapon allowed in the cabin of an airplane. If you must take these items on your trip, put them in your checked baggage and make sure that you declare them. If you are caught trying to bring one of these prohibited weapons on board, you will face criminal penalties as well as not being able to board your flight.
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