Ouch: Texas woman made to remove nipple rings before flight

A woman from Texas wants an apology from the U.S. Transportation Security Agency after she was made to remove metal piercings from ner nipples before boarding a flight to Dallas.

A woman from Texas wants an apology from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration after she was forced to use pliers to remove a metal piercing from her nipple at an airport security checkpoint.

Mandi Hamlin, 37, was boarding a flight from Lubbock, Texas, to Dallas last month.

At a news conference on Thursday in Los Angeles, Hamlin told reporters she had already walked through a large metal detector when a handheld scanner wielded by female TSA officer beeped as it passed over her chest.

Hamlin said she told the woman she had nipple piercings and offered to show them to the female agent in private. But male TSA officers insisted she remove the jewelry before boarding her flight. 

Hamlin said she was taken behind a curtain and managed to remove one bar-shaped piercing but had trouble with a second, a ring.

"Still crying, she informed the TSA officer that she could not remove it without  pliers, and the officer gave a pair to her," said Hamlin's attorney, Gloria Allred. Hamlin was then allowed to board the flight, Allred said.

At the news conference, Hamlin demonstrated to reporters how she removed the ring from her nipple, using a pair of pliers on the breasts of a mannequin.

"After nipple rings are inserted, the skin can often heal around the piercing, and the rings can be extremely difficult and painful to remove," Allred said in a letter to the TSA.

"I wouldn't wish this experience on anyone," Hamlin said in Los Angeles. "My experience with TSA was a nightmare."

A statement from the agency said the incident was being investigated.

"Our security officers are well trained to screen individuals with body piercings in sensitive areas," the statement said.


with files from the Associated Press.