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Flight passenger 'humiliated' by hairdo security check for weapons

Isis Brantley

NBC video

You've emptied your pockets. You've made sure all your liquid carry-ons are in a little plastic bag. But will your hairdo pass airport security?

Dallas hair stylist Isis Brantley says she was humiliated when security staff at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport singled her out because of her voluminous, afro-style hair, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reports.

Ms. Brantley says she had passed through the security screening area and was about to make her way to the gate, when she was stopped.

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"I just heard these voices saying, 'Hey you, hey you, ma'am, ma'am, stop. Stop – the lady with the hair, you," Ms. Brantley told the broadcaster.

Agents then told her she couldn't proceed unless they could search her hair for weapons.

"And so she started patting my hair, and I was in tears at that point," she says. "And she was digging into my scalp.... I was humiliated. I was confused."

Ms. Brantley told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth she received an apology from a security supervisor after she complained about the incident.

However, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration's response to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth explains the agents' search: "TSA's screening procedures are designed to ensure the security of the travelling public," it said in a statement. "Additional screening may be required for clothing, headwear or hair where prohibited items could be hidden. This passenger left the checkpoint prior to the completion of the screening process."

Since the attacks of 9/11, airport security screening has become increasingly thorough to the point of being invasive, from full-body scans to thorough pat-downs, leading to the famous "don't touch my junk" backlash.

How would you have reacted if you were in Ms. Brantley's shoes? Are extensive searches over the top, or do you feel safer because of them?

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

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