Is there a reason why TSA would want to pat me down in a private room?

I travel a lot, and I've been patted down many times, but usually they give me a choice between a pat down in the general area or in a private area. However, during one of my trips a few years ago, I was asked to follow an agent to a private area for further screening, and when I said she can do it in public, she said it must be done in the private area.

Is this normal? Why would they not want to do the screening in the general area?

  • 2
    Someone I know who, like me, is the kind that is often 'randomly' searched by the likes of the TSA, called this private place 'The TSA champagne room'.
    – MastaBaba
    Sep 1, 2021 at 0:21
  • What then happened in the private area? Perhaps that could be a clue.
    – phoog
    Sep 1, 2021 at 2:09
  • 1
    On one occasion departing from London Heathrow I was pulled seemingly at random, put in a glass cage, directed to spread-eagle against its wall, and patted down. The experience was a public humiliation, and perhaps complaints from others have led to a check in a private area. The cage was not there the next time I used the airport. Sep 1, 2021 at 8:47
  • 1
    This is not something we would be likely to be able to answer. The standard is, as you say, to perform a pat-down check in the general area, but offer a private (screened) area if desired. If the choice of a general area pat-down was not an option it was likely due to some local and/or temporary requirement.
    – CGCampbell
    Sep 1, 2021 at 10:52
  • It was just a regular pat down. Thee was nothing unusual about this. I decided to ask the question because I shared my experience in an answer to a related question, but I'm still curios why this would happen and what could be done to prevent it from happening. I don't like being searched in private unless they are actually searching something private.
    – nanny
    Sep 1, 2021 at 20:58


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