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Originally published Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at 10:07 AM

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TSA: Flight attendants can skip scanners too

Flights attendants are joining pilots in skipping the new enhanced security procedures at airports.

AP Airlines Writer

Flights attendants are joining pilots in skipping the new enhanced security procedures at airports.

The Transportation Security Administration confirmed the change on Tuesday after The Associated Press asked about it.

On Friday the TSA said pilots could avoid the more intense screening, including full-body scanners. Flight attendants argued they, too, should be exempt.

TSA spokesman Nick Kimball confirmed that flight attendants and pilots will be treated the same. Both groups must show photo ID and go through metal detectors. If that sets off an alarm, they may still get a pat-down in some cases, he said.

The rules apply to pilots and flight attendants in uniform when they're traveling.

On Friday, TSA chief John Pistole said pilots ensure the safety of millions of passengers every day, and putting them through a faster screening process would be a more efficient use of the agency's resources.

Flight attendant unions cheered the TSA move for their members.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents those workers at American Airlines, pointed out that its members go through an "exhaustive background check and rigorous training before the first day of flying and should not be subjected to these security checks."

Thom McDaniel, the head of the Transport Workers Union local that covers Southwest Airlines Co. flight attendants, called it "recognition by TSA that pilots and flight attendants are all on the same team when it comes to security."

The TSA still plans a nationwide rollout for CrewPass, a program that clears pilots through security faster. It's currently being tested in Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Columbia, S.C.

The program does not currently include flight attendants. Kimball said TSA is committed to discussing the issue with them.

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