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I can say that I was required to use one to get back into the U.S. while transiting through Schiphol back in October 2013. No opt out, just the scanner and "I'm not forcing you to fly today - you can stay here." Pretty rude, too.

Since then, I always transit through Heathrow. It's a logistical nightmare with all those buses, but they've never coerced me to go through a scanner. Those biometric checkpoints, on the other hand...

[Note: This was with Dutch staff for British Airways; not sure if that's relevant.]

I don't know why you say that, while there are not scanners on every security lane at Heathrow they _cannot_ be refused, there is no pat-down alternative like in the US.


Yes, they can be refused at Heathrow. I did so just a few weeks ago. The alternative process wasn't unpleasant but did feel deliberately inefficient.

I believe this was previously the case, but it is now possible to opt out. I flew from Heathrow (Terminal 2) on Friday, refused the mm-wave scanner and had a pat-down in a private room instead.

From Heathrow's security FAQ page (http://www.heathrow.com/more/help-with-this-website/faqs/sec...):

The only alternative that can be offered to a scanner is a private search which allows for a more extensive hand-search than usual. Passengers will be escorted to a different location in the airport from the main search area (eg a private search room). The private search may involve the loosening and/or removal of clothing. A person undergoing a private search may ask to be accompanied by a witness.

This alternative screening method will take significantly more time than passing through a security scanner.

I experienced this at Schiphol as well, a bit after you. I told them I couldn't because of a medical condition, they gave me a pretty thorough pat-down, and let me on.

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