After the AeroMexico incident, Waris Ahluwalia continued efforts to increase Sikh awareness. The video produced by AOL shows what a Sikh faces at Airports in the West.
The Sikh Coalition has highlight airport procedures applied to Sikh travelers:
Airport Screening Procedures As Applied To Sikh Travelers
As their primary screening technology, airports around the United States employ either:
1. Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machines; or
2. Traditional walk-through metal detectors
While most checkpoints only have metal detectors, many airports are now installing AIT
machines. This guide will therefore review screening procedures for both technologies.
Please note that the AIT machines are new whole body imaging devices that will be installed
in many airports over the coming years. According to the TSA, it is likely that walk through
metal detectors will be phased out
Sikh Air Travelers’ Bill of Rights
Sikhs who are clearing security at United States airports have the following rights:
1. Sikhs have the right to wear turbans, patkas or religious scarves during security screenings
at American airports. However, if an alarm is triggered, either because of a metal detector or
turban pat-down, you may be required to undergo private screening and remove your turban
to resolve the concern.
2. Sikhs, if selected for additional screening, have the right to ask to pat-down their own
turbans and have their hands swabbed for chemical residue, instead of allowing a TSA screener to pat-down their turbans. To avoid false alarms, we recommend that you wash
your hands before entering the screening area.
3. Sikhs have the right to refuse to remove their turbans in public and instead request a
private area to have their turban screened.
4. Sikhs have the right to refuse to remove their turbans if they have successfully cleared the
AIT machine, metal detection procedure, and/or an additional screening pat-down.
5. Sikhs have the right not to be profiled by TSA officers on the basis of their ethnicity, race,
religion or national origin.
If you feel you are being mistreated or singled out for screening because
of your turban, remember to do the following:
1. Stay calm. Treat and speak with the TSA officer professionally.
2. Ask the TSA officer for his/her name and badge number. Write this information down.
They are required to give this information to you. If they refuse, ask to speak with a
3. Call or email the Sikh Coalition to report the incident as soon as possible after it has
occurred. You will need to give us detailed information, including the name and badge
number of the officer, the date of the incident, your flight number, the airport where it
occurred, and a description of the incident.
4. You can also file a complaint directly with the TSA through the Sikh Coalition’s FlyRights
phone application, which can be downloaded at www.fly-rights.org/ and is available for
Iphones,Android phones, and on the world wide web. This is the quickest way to file a
complaint with the TSA and is our recommended method for all Sikh passengers.
5. You can also file a complaint directly with the TSA on your own on their website at
http://www.tsa.dhs.gov/research/civilrights/civilrights_travelers.shtm. You can refer to the
TSA’s website for more information on any procedure described here.