When Berkeley resident Nancy Kates arrived at Oakland International Airport to board JetBlue flight 472, she thought she was heading off on a routine journey to visit her mother in Boston. Instead she ended up in a standoff with Transportation Safety Administration officials over her bra.
In the post-Sept. 11 world of heightened airport scrutiny, Kates, like most travelers, is familiar with the drill: Take off shoes and belts, open the laptop, carry shampoo in 3-ounce bottles.
For Kates, on Sunday, though, the security check got too invasive. A big-busted woman wearing a large underwire bra, she set off the metal detector. She was pulled aside and checked by a female TSA agent with a metal-sensitive wand.
"The woman touched my breast. I said, 'You can't do that,' " Kates said. "She said, 'We have to pat you down.' I said, 'You can't treat me as a criminal for wearing a bra.' "