September 7, 2011 at 3:00 pm #140704
On Monday, TSA Administrator, John Pistole, delivered a speech about the evolution of aviation security since 9/11. Pistole also announced that some frequent fliers will be able to enroll in a Trusted Traveler program, allowing them to bypass the long lines at airport security.
The pilot program will be rolled out in several major airports starting in October.
According to the article on NextGov, found here: “…Pistole said, the benefits for enrolled participants will be expedited passage through a dedicated lane, as well as exemptions from removing footwear and taking laptops out of carrying cases.”
What are your thoughts on this initiative by the TSA?
September 8, 2011 at 12:02 pm #140724
Herman N. CohenParticipant
Having taken 16 official trips since JAN 1, I’d welcome some relief from TSA scrutiny. But why should I or other government employees like me need to apply to become “trusted travelers”? After all the paperwork and interviews I went through to get my background check updated 5 years ago (even though I’ve got 21 years with the Federal government) plus the screening process to get a PIV ID card, I would think I should already be considered a “Trusted Traveler”.
September 8, 2011 at 12:37 pm #140722
This would make my day, but if I can’t do it everywhere, I still have to pack and plan as though it will happen. I also find that some airports just have different rules, will the guidelines for this be enforced and consistent?
September 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm #140720
Definitely still a lot of questions to be answered, but I will be interested to see how all of these changes play out logistically once they launch.
September 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm #140718
Obviously, the future of this initiative depends on the pilot program that these few airports and airlines have pitched. I hope the program goes well, and this can be instituted in the near future. I think it provides real value, appreciation and incentive to those that fly often. I can’t speak for everybody, but I’ve experienced a few conundrums at airport security. And it would be nice to not have to arrive two or three hours early for a flight.
September 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm #140716
Shouldn’t everyone be a “trusted traveler” unless there’s reason to think otherwise? People not in this program can’t be trusted? The language the TSA uses highlights how they look at the public – we’re the enemy. I wish the TSA would look at the traveling public as partners (after all, it was passengers who foiled the shoe bomber and others).
September 8, 2011 at 2:36 pm #140714
While I like the idea of cutting TSA lines, I can foresee a lot of issues. I agree with Jeff, I think we’ll have to see it in action before making too much judgement.
September 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm #140712
That’s an interesting point, Joe — one that I hadn’t even considered. I think that the language used does ultimately create this “other” group of travelers. Any input on how that problem could be solved?
September 8, 2011 at 2:55 pm #140710
That’s one of the biggest issues I’ve seen with the TSA. What’s ‘okay’ at one airport is an issue at another or even with another screener. A few years ago my mother flew to India and found different restrictions at different stages of her travels, even to the point that one of them tried to make her throw away her empty and dry denture soaking cup.
The cynic in me wonders how long it’ll be before a life long sleeper agent attains the ‘trusted traveler’ status then uses it to do something naughty.
I know the TSA is doing a very tough job. They’re trying to almost psychically predict who might/might not be up to no good, figure out what and why and how and stop it, all the while not totally stopping air travel or treating the other 99.999% of us like criminals.
September 8, 2011 at 3:53 pm #140708
Bin Laden promised early on that Al Quida would create a situation wherby 2-3 unarmed “terrorists” could unfurl a a flag anywhere on the planet and the United States would immediatly over react, spending millions of dollars and trampling the basic freedoms of our own people. TSA is ongoing proof they are succeeding. Their latest move is simply part of a 3 steps forward, 1 back ratchet manuver. They impose draconian procedures no free society can ever accept; back off just enough to say they have responded to the inevitable backlash and end up with a process which is massively more expensive and intrusive than necessary but which they are able to sell as an acceptable alternative to their initial efforts.
The primary threat to air safety is the use of aircraft as weapons. Although the possibility was recognized as early as the mid 1960s, we never did anything about it until after 9/11. The FAA, not TSA simply directed airlines to reenforce and lock cockpit doors while in flight and instruct pilots to keep them locked under all circumstances. Realistically, this threat has been reduced to near zero regardless of what TSA does or doesn’t do. The next most devestating risk would be use of a bomb to bing down an airliner (ie. Lockerbie). Not nearly as easy as people think. News reports indicate the Lockerbie bomb was actually fairly large and shipped in the cargo section because it would have been easily detected by even the minimal passanger screening in place at the time. The various shoe and underwear bombs which have made the news would be unlikely to bring down a plane and would most likely produce a blast affecting a much more limted area. Tragic yes, but not to an extent that would justify TSA’s ongoing efforts to treat the flying public as guilty until proven innocent
We should be more sensible about the trade off between risk and freedom. Terrirsts can strip us of our freedom by attacking us or by scaring us into doing their work for them. We need risk appropriat security measures based on realistic assesments of known threats rather than paranoid over reactions to possible worst case scenarios It is time to stop being afraid.
September 9, 2011 at 3:18 pm #140706
I think the biggest point of weakness at almost any airport is….they’re bloody shopping malls. I do not beleive that every single box that comes into them full of food and merchandise etc is fully screened. There’s just no way. With a little coordination and such I can see it being relatively easy for a bad guy to get substances or weapons at least past the primary screening, leaving only the random gate screening to catch it.
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