For the second straight day, Tammy Banovac arrived at an airport security checkpoint Wednesday wearing only a bra and panties and sitting in a wheelchair with a small dog on her lap.
This time, she was able to board her Southwest Airlines flight to Phoenix.
The 52-year-old woman said her scanty attire wasn't a call for attention or a protest, but merely her way of efficiently getting through the Transportation Security Administration's enhanced screening process.
â€œI just want to make it easier on myself and on TSA,â€ Banovac said by phone from Phoenix. â€œThey can see the parts of my body they would want to search.â€
â€˜There are legitimate
reasons' for nitrates
She missed her flight Tuesday after TSA found traces of nitrates on her possessions.
According to a U.S. Department of Energy fact sheet, nitrates are used primarily to make fertilizer, but they also are used to make glass and explosives. Nitrates are naturally present in soil, water and food.
â€œIt (the wheelchair) tested positive and TSA could not resolve the source,â€ Will Rogers World Airport spokeswoman Karen Carney said. â€œThere are legitimate reasons why there could be nitrate found. Some medications have it. The issue here was that they couldn't resolve the source of it.
â€œIf they say, â€˜I'm a farmer and I've been planting, or I take heart medicine,' there's a way that they could resolve a source of the nitrate.â€
Carney said the issue was resolved Wednesday morning, and Banovac boarded her flight at 7 a.m. after going through screening without incident. Banovac put on more clothes after clearing security.
Banovac said her screening Tuesday was unnecessarily long and thorough and that a TSA supervisor told her she would not be allowed to fly out of the airport that day.
â€œDuring the screening process, the passenger's bags alarmed and she was referred to local law enforcement,â€ regional TSA spokesman Luis Casanova said in a statement. â€œLaw enforcement officers escorted the woman out of the checkpoint as she was denied access to the sterile area because of the unresolved alarms.â€
Banovac said she has flown â€œthree or fourâ€ times since TSA began doing more thorough and invasive physical searches, and she decided to pass through security in her underwear after a hand search two weeks ago during which she felt violated.
She said she arrived at the airport clothed and then disrobed before getting to security.
John Maringouin, a San Francisco-based filmmaker, took a video of the event Tuesday, and it was posted on YouTube. He said he was in Oklahoma researching a film and was on his way back home. He used a small hand-held camera he purchased recently for use when he sees something he wants to quickly capture.
â€œThat was the best thing I ever saw, and I made sure that I got some decent footage of it,â€ said Maringouin, who said he doesn't know Banovac and had never seen her before. â€œI had to go almost all the way back into security. Then the TSA guys grabbed me. They thought I was staging it.â€
Banovac said she was not aware someone was recording the incident and she was traveling alone, as she always does. She said she flies one to three times a month.
Banovac said she does not own a wheelchair or use one all the time but has a medical condition that makes it a good idea in some cases. She said she has used one every time she has flown for the last 10 years and also uses one when she has to traverse a long distance or carry something heavy.
Banovac said she suffers seizures and uses a service dog that can warn her before they occur. The dog, a Maltese, was with her at the airport Tuesday and Wednesday and can be seen in her lap in a video of the Tuesday incident posted on YouTube.
Banovac, who said she is divorced, said she has a ranch in Kingfisher County and maintains residences in the Phoenix area, where she spends most of her time, and in Hawaii. She said she was visiting relatives in Oklahoma for Thanksgiving.