Chat-downs, which began at Logan in August, feature blue-shirted TSA officers for a few hours each day asking every passenger in Terminal A a series of questions.
TSA officers pose the questions when they check travelers’ IDs and boarding passes. The choice of location has changed slightly, after first trying the questioning while travelers were in line before the ID check, or after the ID check and before the metal detectors.
Travelers say the questions typically focus on where they are headed, for how long and the purpose of the trip. More probing questions include whether carry-on bags have liquids or why the traveler is holding so much cash.
The answers aren’t all officers are after. They’re looking for behavioral clues to possible deception, and hostility that warrants further scrutiny or a referral to law-enforcement officials. Authorities won’t describe the physical clues, but research has focused on liars averting their eyes, having an inconsistent head gesture or wringing their hands.
Sooo… basically, those of us who find eye contact with strangers to be sheer sensory overload are doomed? -_-;;
I’m also curious, for that matter, how they’ll handle “chat-downs” with deaf and hard-of-hearing passengers. Will ASL interpreters be offered by the airports? Will it be possible, at the very least, to carry on the “chat-down” using pen and paper? As an autistic person with auditory processing disorder, I know from experience that I find it very difficult to decipher speech in a noisy airport screening area, doubly so if I’m already feeling stressed before the conversation. For that matter, what about speech-disabled passengers who use an AAC device?
I’d just like to know what they’re doing accessibility-wise about this, because… yeah, I can see many ways this could backfire when it comes to passengers with disabilities, unless proper accommodations are made and unless screeners are properly educated about disabled passengers.