WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Flying out of Wilmington International Airport may have just gotten a lot safer. Passengers at ILM may have to pass a new test before getting on the plane: a full-body scanner.
The whole scanning process takes about three seconds, and if the machine detects something, an image appears on a screen. It's not an X-ray that shows any details of the body, but rather a simple outline.
If you're good to go, the screen simply lights up green and says, 'OK.'
"First of all, I thought, 'Is it invasive? Is it an X-ray?' Then I would not want to do it," passenger Joanne Herrmann said as she headed for the scanner for the first time. "But if it's perfectly safe, I think it'll save a lot of time."
TSA says the machine is not an X-ray, is perfectly safe and is non-invasive. Spokesman Jon Allen says the machines will save time and lives.
"Every day at checkpoints across the country, our officers are finding prohibited items such as firearms and knives, but we know that the single greatest threat to aviation security is the improvised explosive device, a device that could well consist of non-metallic components," Allen said.
Passengers who have been through before say it's no big deal.
"We have to pay a price for security and safety, and that's worth it," passenger Erik Wold said.
Wold says it's much easier for his young children and elderly in-laws. Kids younger than 12 and seniors older than 75 do not have to remove their shoes or light outerwear in the full-body scanner.
The full-body scanner is optional if you're not comfortable going through it. TSA said 99 percent of folks prefer it, especially those who have metal medical devices in their body.