I just happened to run across this "Dear Abby" correspondence a few moments ago. Ever had this problem or worried about having it? What do you think should be done in this case?

Hair-loss sufferer dreads baring all to airport security

Published: Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009 5:32 p.m. MST

Dear Abby: I am a woman with alopecia (hair loss) who has gotten to the point where I now wear a hair-enhancement system that clips onto my real hair to stay in place. I am happy with it. My anxiety over the problem is gone.

However, the clips are metal, and now I'm wondering if I can ever fly on a plane again. I have seen little old ladies with hip replacements stopped by screeners. I know I would set off the alarm at the checkpoint.

Is there anything I can do to avoid this humiliation? Is there any provision for this sort of problem, or is it at the discretion of the airport security?

— Anonymous in Texas

Dear Anonymous: According to Greg Soule, the public affairs spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, even if the clips are small, they may set off the metal detector when you go through security. However, private screenings are available to anyone who requests them.

You should talk to a security officer in front of the checkpoint and ask to be screened privately. You will be taken from the public view and checked with a hand wand, among other screening techniques. If the clips are detected, a "pat down" and a visual inspection may have to be done to resolve the alarm.

You can bring a note from your physician explaining your condition, if having one helps your peace of mind. But they are not universally accepted because of concerns about fraudulent documents.

SOURCE: Deseret News

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Hi have seen the opposite. About 10 or so years ago, my father was flying to mexico, or something like that. He had many spinal surgeries, so he wears a corset to help support his back and walks with a cane. Its made with steel rods. When the alarm sounded, my father just lifted his shirt a bit showing the corset. He was passed right on. This upset my father,as he felt that someone could potentially put a gun inside the corset. Security seeing that they were elderly, maybe didn't feel they were potential terrorists. My father felt the security was not thorough, and he did not feel the safest. He would have rather been taken in a private room, which would tell him that no one else passed either.
Willow's point is well taken. As a former flight attendant - and yes, I did fly while wearing a wig in the beginning of my alopecia - safety and security are more important than my comfort. How badly would you feel if someone wearing a hat got a weapon on board an airplane? I guess we have to weigh our personal comfort against the safety of all the passengers and crew. Plus, the screeners can do a private screening when requested so it shouldn't be much of an issue.
Yes, I worry about this but now I know what to do. Thanks for posting this.
Hi I am flying in on the 14 of Feb what can I expect and should I wear a scarf or my wig or bald. Please let me know.

Thank you

Well, you know what I'm going to say, Eileen...just go bald until you're through the security check-in, then put on a scarf if you're chilly. But, I KNOW that's a big step. One of the first places I actually went bald in public was an airport, about a month after I shaved my head. All the TSA personnel were very nice and none of the other passengers dropped any bags or anything! I remember feeling like everyone was looking at me, but I just held my head up and tried to act like nothing was out of the ordinary. It's a year later, and I'm going to be flying again soon. This time, nothing WILL be out of the ordinary because I'm used to being bald in public. In a funny way, I'm actually proud of it...does anyone else know what I mean?

Good luck,
Mary, I know what you mean! I don't feel the need to explain myself & why I'm bald. If someone asks, that's cool, but I'm good with how I look and comfortable now with not feeling I have to let everyone off the hook with the "I don't have cancer" explanation. This is who we are, folks! Enjoy it....
hi!! i'm 15, and am also a frequent flier...flyer? idk. haha. anyways...
not once have i been asked to remove a hat or scarf. i guess, as a teenager, that short of hair hiding underneath a scarf or hat is not common, so its a bit noticeable that i don't have hair...
there was this one time though, as i was traveling home from d.c., that a woman in front of me (that was also on the same flight) that was wearing a wig. unfortunately, it was quite noticeable that it was a wig, as it did not sit very well on her head. :S so they asked her to remove it. my family was awestruck at this situation. we do understand that safety is a priority in airports and flights, but some believe that hair loss is a delicate subject. i wish they would have done this in private rather than in front of the whole line of security.
one more thing that brightens up this story:
as i walked onto the plane, the woman was on my flight. when she saw me without my hat on, and felt the impulse to remove her wig in front of the plane. at this time, i was say, 12 years old, and i wasn't used to being around people who unveiled their head from underneath some hair, so it startled me. i just smiled, and walked to my seat awkwardly. it wasn't until after reading this that i remembered this situation and grew to appreciate the woman on the plane. she was very confident and is a great example of many men and women with alopecia today. : )
I too read this last week in the paper but i never had this happen to me, I guess because i've never ridden a plane before. lol
I'm not sure what kind of wig that is, but As far as I know a traditional wig such as a human hair wig without metal pieces should be fine. You could also try a fancy scarf/wrap or fur bonnet when traveling and carry your wig with you.

good luck.
In my high school we have airport security screeners for safety. Every morning everyone has to get screen in the morning when entering the school. I remember a few times walking through the scanners and I did set off the scanners. I was hand searched and patted down.. My wig clips and my hair extensions was the reason why I did set off the scanners....
I'm planning on traveling abroad for Christmas vacation. Just this past Saturday, I was having my passport renewed. Not wanting a wig in my passport photo, I wore a hat. The lady taking my photo at the post office insisted on me taking off my hat. I explained I had a medical condition, and asked if I could wear a bandanna or headband instead. She said no. I asked, Nothing at all? She really didn't seem to know what she was doing... Anyway, after putting me through an upsetting experience, she changed her answer several times after checking back with another passport agency and finally told me I COULD wear my hat as long as I showed my hairline. (and elongated the passport renewal appointment by about 40 minutes) Upset, I ripped off my hat, "baring all" (at a post office with people around, mind you) and crying and turned the visor in the opposite direction before replacing the hat on my head. I brusquely tugged the hat back to show some hair. In my passport photo you can tell I was crying, and there's a very thin hair spot exposed. =/ I'm worried about traveling...





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