A 10-year-old girl received an "uncomfortable" TSA screening at a North Carolina airport after security officials found a juice pouch in her carry-on, according to her father.
Kevin Payne, of San Diego, says his daughter Vendela was meticulously patted down by a TSA agent for nearly two minutes after mistakenly leaving a Capri Sun drink in her bag at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Payne recorded the pat-down with his cell phone.
"She just had a completely blank stare on her face," he told TODAY. "I could tell it was very uncomfortable for her."
Agents swabbed Vendela's bag after finding the juice, which is banned under TSA regulations for how much liquid passengers can bring on a plane, and got a false-positive reading for explosives on the bag, Payne said. A female TSA agent then did an extensive pat-down on the 10-year-old.
"What was going through my mind is, 'This is annoying, I don't like this, I want to run out of the door,'" Vendela told TODAY.
According to TSA protocol, "officers will work with parents to resolve any alarms at the checkpoint" and has modified screening procedures for children 12 and under that reduce the likelihood of pat-downs.
In a statement to NBC News, the TSA said, "TSA screening proceudres allow for the pat-down of a child under certain circumstances. The process by which the child was patted down followed approved procedures."
In Vendela's case, they added, the process was observed by her parent and a cell phone alarm was going off in her bag, requiring additional checks.
But Payne said he feels new rules are needed.
"The pat-down seemed to be the go-to option for them, and I think they could have done a better scrutiny of what they were looking for prior to putting their hands all over my 10-year-old daughter," he said.
Payne said he has contacted his congressman and will be filing a formal complaint against the TSA.
"Maybe they need retraining. Maybe they did everything by the book. I don't really know, but it was an uncomfortable situation," he said.