'Embarrassing and creepy.' The new airport security measures making women uncomfortable.

When journalist Louise Milligan travelled through security at Sydney's airport this month, she was left feeling "humiliated" and "uncomfortable". 

She credits her discomfort to new and improved technology being used to screen passengers arriving for their flights. 

The 3D imaging looks like a big metal box. The scanners use safe active millimetre wave (MMW) radio frequency technology to automatically detect concealed objects on your person.

It requires you to stand inside with your arms out to your sides for about 1.5 seconds. If it detects something, a security person will ask to pat you down. 

Milligan was asked to remove her jacket despite only wearing a "little camisole underneath" while passing through one of the new full body scanners. 

"Was made to take off fitted business jacket (only had little camisole underneath). Have never had this happen [sic]," she wrote on Twitter last week.

"Man in front, in big bulky jumper, not made to change. It was embarrassing, uncomfortable, creepy."

When Milligan questioned why only she had to remove her jacket and the man in front of her did not, the all-male security staff ignored her and simply "stared ahead like drones".

Milligan said she mentioned the incident to Qantas staff, who told her she's one of multiple women who have complained about the security measure. 

"They were incensed and said they have had multiple women complaining of similar security heavy-handedness this week.


"They said a woman was crying after being forced to remove her t-shirt. They’ve complained to airport managers."

The new 3D scanners have only just been installed in Sydney Airport's Qantas domestic terminal this month, SBS reports. But they've been used at the international terminal in Sydney for many years, with plans for the technology to be rolled out across all Australian airports in the future. 

Sydney Airport later apologised to Milligan, saying they would follow up her claims.

Hours later, The Project host Lisa Wilkinson shared her own "uncomfortable" experience with airport security. 

In a post on Twitter, Wilkinson said she was travelling through Brisbane and Adelaide airports, when a scan was triggered by the under wire in her bra and zip in her jeans. 

"I had to have a full pat-down in both areas. Embarrassing, uncomfortable, inappropriate and should be fixed."


Wilkinson and Milligan aren't the only women who have shined a light on the "humiliating" full body scans in recent weeks. 

In a post on Twitter, transgender woman Jade Darko shared she had to be "patted down" after the body scanner at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport picked up her "downstairs as an anomaly". 

Darko said she was then asked to walk through the body scanner again, this time "flagged as male; to need a different pat down".

"This is so humiliating," she said. 

"All for security theatre that doesn’t even protect anyone". 

Have you had an uncomfortable experience with the full-body scanners? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature Image: AAP Image/Dean Lewins/[email protected]

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