Has anyone tried opting out of the body scanners at CDG? How did it go? Do all of the terminals have the body scanners?

I don't want to go through the body scanners for a variety of reasons: privacy, the radiation, etc. EU law says you can always opt out when you want, but I'm not sure if it's easy to do so at CDG.


2 Answers 2


First, it's probably worth noting that most of your concerns are not founded:

  • The operator seeing the result of the scan cannot see you, and your face must be scrambled, so they are unable to make the link between what they could see and you. There are thus no privacy issues.
  • mmWave scanners don’t generate ionising radiation, so their effect on the human body is extremely limited: as long as your body can evacuate the heat generated (which is very, very small, less than what your muscles generate), there is no long term effect (unlike ionising radiation where it accumulates over time). Note that this is different for backscatter X-Ray scanners, but those are not in use in France.

Note also that some models of scanners (like those currently in use in the US) don't even show the actual scan to the operator, but only a standard body shape and specific zones requiring additional inspection. I don't know if that's the case for the scanners in use at CDG.

Still, the law says (in French):

III. ― L'inspection-filtrage d'une personne peut être réalisée, avec son consentement, au moyen d'un dispositif d'imagerie utilisant des ondes millimétriques dans les conditions prévues au II. En cas de refus, la personne est soumise à un autre dispositif de contrôle.

L'analyse des images visualisées est effectuée par des opérateurs ne connaissant pas l'identité de la personne et ne pouvant visualiser simultanément celle-ci et son image produite par le dispositif d'imagerie utilisant des ondes millimétriques. L'image produite par le dispositif d'imagerie utilisant des ondes millimétriques doit comporter un système brouillant la visualisation du visage. Aucun stockage ou enregistrement des images n'est autorisé.

Un arrêté conjoint du ministre chargé de l'aviation civile et du ministre de l'intérieur détermine les aéroports dans lesquels le recours au contrôle par dispositif d'imagerie utilisant les ondes millimétriques est autorisé.

(Emphasis mine).

Google Translation (with minor edits and emphasis added):

III. ― The screening of a person may be carried out, with their consent, by means of an imaging device using millimeter waves under the conditions provided for in II. In the event of refusal, the person is subject to another control system.

The analysis of the images displayed is carried out by operators who do not know the identity of the person and cannot simultaneously view the person and their image produced by the imaging device using millimeter waves. The image produced by the imaging device using millimeter waves must include a system that blurs the visualization of the face. No storage or recording of images is permitted.

A joint order from the Minister responsible for civil aviation and the Minister of the Interior determines the airports in which the use of control by imaging device using millimeter waves is authorized.

So you absolutely have the right to refuse using the scanner, though be prepared for a thorough screening via other means.

The use of body scanners is still relatively limited in French airports, so there are chances you will not even be subjected to the choice.

  • 2
    Also, "a standard body shape and specific zones requiring additional inspection" I can confirm this - I've been tagged a couple of times for an additional scan. I turned and looked at their screen - it's a generic green person outline with a red or yellow square/rectangle where the human needs to double check with a metal detector and/or pat down.
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 10 at 18:18

As an addition to @jcaron's answer

The AirFrance website states that only flights to the US are to use those body scanners and only on a voluntary basis :

In order to improve passenger safety and comfort, the Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport is currently testing a body scanner in terminal 2E. On a voluntary basis, passengers traveling to the United States can choose to use this new system.

  • 2
    Stumbled on that page as well, but I believe the information is very old and dates back from the first experiments sometime around 2010... The number of scanners has expanded a bit since then, and it's probably no longer related to the destination.
    – jcaron
    Commented May 10 at 10:08

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