Advanced search

PTSD & airport security

(73 Posts)
GalaVanting Sat 14-Oct-17 20:12:05

Posting here for traffic but think I ANBU to think there are other people like me so someone must know something!

Is there a way to deal with airport security procedures when you have PTSD?

I agree to being scanned and even patted down but I have PTSD and I end up having flashbacks/panic attacks/passing out. I am in (trauma) therapy and have addressed this a few times with different techniques/angles. It’s getting better but it’s still bad and prevents me from travelling unless it’s essential. It totally prevents me from travel to the USA.

Again, this isn’t a thread to complain about the security screening/scanning. I’m agreeing in principle to being scanned and patted down.

Is there a way to request assistance in going through specifically for people with PTSD?

MiraiDevant Sat 14-Oct-17 20:23:38

I don't know but I do understand. The process is stressful and can be horrific. If you are a PTSD it must be unbearable.

Try to explain at the checkpoint and ask to be with someone who can reassure you /hold your hand? May be impossible but I have no idea really. Poor, poor you.

YetAnotherNC2017 Sat 14-Oct-17 20:36:32

I suffered from PTSD so please don’t think I’m being facetious when I ask this, but what is it about airport security that causes anxiety?

It’s there for your safety and everyone else’s.

The airport security is the same wherever you travel, btw. Doesn’t matter if it’s popping to France or going to the USA, you’re subject to exactly the same screening.

You can buy fast track security passes at some airports though if waiting less would decrease your anxiety.

Andro Sat 14-Oct-17 21:00:14


If the OP's PTSD is as a result of physical or sexual trauma, then a situation of enforced 'consent' to physical contact could easily be enough to trigger her.

seven201 Sat 14-Oct-17 21:07:31

If there isn't a proper solution maybe you could write a short note to hand over when you get to the person. Say I have ptsd please can you read this. In the note say you're happy to be scanned etc but they need to do so at your pace and explain what they're doing etc.

GalaVanting Sat 14-Oct-17 21:12:18

YetAnother it doesn’t matter really** does it? The result is someone unable to speak, shaking, crying, unable to walk and/or lying on the floor.

As I stated, I’m not against the principle of security checks just looking for ways that don’t incapacitate me (and turn on alarms and shut down a security lane, which is what happens when you collapse). A slightly more sympathetic process for me would in fact keep the flow going and reduce other travellers’ stress (what goes through travellers’ minds when they hear an alarm at security and see guards/agents running across to one place?).

GalaVanting Sat 14-Oct-17 21:13:30

Thanks Seven. I wondered if people did that or there was some protocol so that the security person would know how to respond and not just be a bit bewildered?

GalaVanting Sat 14-Oct-17 21:14:03

(No idea what the asterisks are doing in the above post!!)

paia Sat 14-Oct-17 21:15:22

I would think your best bet is to work on this with your therapist - graded exposure and grounding techniques should help. It just takes time.

PeppaPigTastesLikeBacon Sat 14-Oct-17 21:17:44

Have you thought about calling the airport before hand and speaking to someone to see what they can do? To be honest though, I doubt there will be much they can do as the security etc is there for a reason (as you are aware).

GalaVanting Sat 14-Oct-17 21:31:10

Paia - I am and have been. Been working on it and the many traumatic incidents that relate to it for a long time. It’s not a six week process. Sadly. In the meantime..I sometimes need to travel by air.

GalaVanting Sat 14-Oct-17 21:32:22

Peppa has crossed my mind but then thought what you concluded. Now wondering if it may be worth a try - I surely have nothing to lose!!

PurplePillowCase Sat 14-Oct-17 21:36:20

would be paying for vip transfer be a possibility?
still check, but a more relaxed athmosphere and less crowds.

Nakedavenger74 Sat 14-Oct-17 21:45:15

You will only need patting down if the metal detector is triggered. It might be an idea to ensure you won't set that off; wear leggings and t shirt or jumper. Remove jackets, shoes and all jewellery and hair clips. No jeans. Sometimes my bra sets it off. It it's very rare though. Also it's rare to be 'patted down' these days. They use a wand to locate the metal instead or you go through the X-ray machine.
I'm sure if you contact the airport they will help you with special assistance or maybe even set your mind at rest that there'll be no 'patting down' just he wand or the X-ray.

user1499169579 Sat 14-Oct-17 21:49:28

Special assistance at Gatwick is particularly gentle. With polite staff. But all airports have special assistance that guide you through airport.
You could be in a wheelchair.
They have a separate lane through security. The special assistance person can explain on your behalf.
You still need to be patted over, but maybe with more patience/sensitivity.

Nakedavenger74 Sat 14-Oct-17 21:50:41

If you are happy about disclosing the airports you are travelling to and from someone might know their procedure?
Otherwise definitely email them. I'm sure they would help. Maybe someone would accompany you and let the security person know ahead of you going through.

Nakedavenger74 Sat 14-Oct-17 21:53:57

Heathrow special assistance.

GalaVanting Sat 14-Oct-17 22:00:41

Thanks - on phone and now can’t see everyone’s names. But I didn’t realise I could request special assistance for this. I will look into that. Not sure i really want to be in a wheelchair though (this won’t help my kids think I’m ok).

I don’t know why I get pat downs on top of the scanner but I have the last two trips I’ve made (over a year apart). The second one was because I had an elastic band in the corner of my pocket (no metal) that I’d not realised was there. It was picked up on the scanner and then I got the pat down - against my skin around the waistband of my trousers, up each leg to and including (albeit quickly) the groin. I actually saw the scanner show a circle around my hip pocket area. There was no wafting the wand thing around, it was a proper arms in the air pat down.

GalaVanting Sat 14-Oct-17 22:02:01

Wow Naked thanks!

Ketoattempt Sat 14-Oct-17 22:03:17

Is it the USA you want to go to or anywhere? From what I can tell the tsa in America are heartless. With uk airports like Gatwick you can book special assistance and someone from the special assistance desk will take you through security.

Is there a particular bit that scares you or is it the environment in general? Most people only get patted down if they trigger the metal alarms or can’t go through. If they decide you need a pat down it would be done by a woman (sorry I’m assuming your female, if your a guy then a guy will do it). I found them to be very gentle, asking if I have any pain and if I’m ok with being touched and then explaining what they are doing before they do it

PigletWasPoohsFriend Sat 14-Oct-17 22:04:51

You could be in a wheelchair.

Please don't use a wheelchair when you don't need to.

flowers OP

fat124 Sat 14-Oct-17 22:14:48

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Meow34 Sat 14-Oct-17 22:15:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

catbas Sat 14-Oct-17 22:16:15

Fat 'the muslim shoe bombers'

Are you Donald trump

Meow34 Sat 14-Oct-17 22:16:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: