NY radio host battling breast cancer ‘humiliated’ by LA airport public pat down
A New York radio host and mother of two said she was “humiliated” by security officials at Los Angeles airport (LAX) on Sunday because they insisted on an “aggressive” pat-down search in public.
Although she said she was cleared through the Transportation Safety Agency (TSA) PreCheck program and had already passed through a metal detector, Albert said she was stopped at security for having a cream for her cancer treatment wounds in her carry-on bag. She said she informed them it was for medical purposes.
In a video posted on her Facebook page, Albert can be seen seated as a TSA agent pats her down. When the agent reaches to pat down Albert’s chest, a visibly emotional Albert stops her.
“You can’t touch me there. You cannot touch me there,” she says to the female agent.
After explaining that due to her breast cancer treatments she has a medical port in her chest, a male TSA agent explains that the female agent will use “as much pressure as she needs to to clear the area.”
According to their website, passengers are allowed to inform TSA agents of sensitive areas due to medical conditions during a pat down. The website also informs passengers that medically necessary creams are allowed on carry-ons, which left Albert unsatisfied with the reasoning she was given for the head-to-toe pat down.
Albert wrote that at the beginning of the ordeal, she was asked to take off her shoes. She complied although she had open sores on her feet from her treatments.
“After having looked at the TSA website, they were not allowed to ask me to take my shoes off because I had a medical condition that I told them about,” she said in an interview with ABC.
Unable to walk on her bare feet and not permitted to put her shoes back on she was left to be searched in public.
However, the radio host said a female supervisor eventually arrived and escorted her to a private room and gave her a gentle pat down. But before Albert was cleared, she said her bags were searched again, during which an agent allegedly made a joke about how she carried many pairs of false eyelashes in her bags.
“I told her it’s because I don’t have real ones from my cancer treatment,” she wrote.
Albert said she was shocked by her experience and is sharing it in hopes that it will help others with medical conditions to be aware of their rights as well as possibly improve the training for TSA agents. She filed a formal complaint with the agency.
“I understand security. I understand that these people have a job to do. I understand that they protect every one of us every day,” Albert told PIX11 News. “But these two people were out of line. They don’t know their own TSA guidelines.”
In a statement, the TSA said they were working with Albert to investigate the incident. On Tuesday, Albert said she had been contacted by the TSA Ombudsman’s office with an apology.
“I’m very pleased with our conversation. They apologized for my experience and at this point there is an LAX investigation into what happened,” she wrote. “They very aggressively train their agents on how to screen medical [conditions]/disabilities. This was not at their expectations and a lot of disappointment they didn’t get it right.”Follow @jennynotjen