USA Flag

Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Press Release

Air Travelers Continue to Express High Confidence and Satisfaction In TSA Security and Customer Service

Thursday, March 3, 2005
Contact:
TSA Press Office
(571) 227-2829

U. S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Transportation Security Administration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – For the second year in a row, air travelers gave consistently high marks to security screeners of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) both for customer service and for keeping air travel secure, according to a survey by McLean, Va.-based BearingPoint, Inc., one of the world's largest business consulting and systems integration firms.

Between 80 and 95 percent of passengers gave positive responses when asked about seven aspects of the federal security screening process, which included thoroughness and courtesy of screeners as well as confidence in TSA keeping air travel secure. In addition, TSA is meeting or exceeding passenger expectations for security line wait times.

The BearingPoint survey, commissioned by TSA's Office of Strategic Management and Analysis, was conducted at 25 airports* where screening is done by TSA screeners and at the five airports where TSA contracts private companies for screening.** Overall customer satisfaction at the two groups of airports is about the same.

"These results are strong testimony to the reputation the security screening work force has earned with the flying public," said Rear Adm. David M. Stone, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security for TSA. "We are building a metrics-based organization that is focused on the bottom line of performance measurement. It's important to note that by whatever yardstick, air travelers are confident that TSA-trained screeners – federal or private – will keep them secure."

The results virtually matched those of a comparable survey taken in the fall of 2003, despite higher passenger traffic levels and more stringent checkpoint security.

Airports were selected to achieve a representative sample of the nation's commercial airports. A total of 62,173 surveys were distributed at the 30 airports between September 29, 2004 and January 24, 2005. Passengers received the survey immediately after exiting the passenger security checkpoint and were asked to mail the survey back. TSA received a total of 16,692 responses, for a rate of 27 percent.

The survey is part of TSA's Customer Satisfaction Index for Aviation Operations (CSI-A), a comprehensive measure of customer satisfaction. Also included in the CSI-A are national poll results and feedback collected both at the airports and via TSA's contact center.

Here are the survey questions and the results as reported by McLean, Va.-based BearingPoint:***

How confident are you in TSA's ability to keep air travel secure?

TSA screened airports: 82 percent answered fairly confident or very confident, while the remainder said not very confident or not at all confident.

Privately screened airports: 80 percent answered fairly confident or very confident.

Overall, how satisfied were you with your experience at the passenger security checkpoint?

TSA screened airports: 91 percent answered satisfied or very satisfied, while the remainder said dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

Privately screened airports: 93 percent answered satisfied or very satisfied.

Overall, how satisfied were you with your experience at the checked baggage screening area?

TSA screened airports: 92 percent answered satisfied or very satisfied, while the remainder said dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

Privately screened airports: 94 answered satisfied or very satisfied.

How satisfied were you with the courtesy of the passenger screeners?

TSA screened airports: 94 percent of respondents answered satisfied or very satisfied, while the remainder said dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

Privately screened airports: 95 percent answered satisfied or very satisfied.

How would you rate the thoroughness of passenger screening you received?

TSA screened airports: 89 percent answered appropriate, while the remainder said inadequate or excessive.

Privately screened airports: 88 percent answered appropriate, while the remainder said inadequate or excessive.

How satisfied were you with the time it took to screen you and your carry-on items?

TSA screened airports: 91 percent answered satisfied or very satisfied, while the remainder said dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

Privately screened airports: 94 percent answered satisfied or very satisfied.

How similar were the screening procedures at this passenger checkpoint today compared with previous trips you have taken?

TSA screened airports: 85 percent answered fairly similar or very similar, while the remainder said fairly different or very different.

Privately screened airports: 86 percent answered fairly similar or very similar.

Was the length of time you waited in line at the passenger security checkpoint much shorter, shorter, longer, much longer or about what you expected?

TSA screened airports: 54 percent answered shorter or much shorter than expected, with 33 percent saying about as expected.

Privately screened airports: 56 percent answered shorter or much shorter than expected, with 35 percent saying about as expected.

* Five airports were selected in each of TSA's operational regions. The airports by region:

  • West – Fairbanks, Alaska (FAI); Las Vegas (LAS); Los Angeles (LAX); Portland, Ore. (PDX); and Seattle-Tacoma (SEA).
  • North Central – Cincinnati (CVG); Dayton, Ohio (DAY); Ft. Wayne, Ind. (FWA); Chicago Midway (MDW); and Chicago O'Hare (ORD).
  • South Central – Albuquerque, N.M. (ABQ); Amarillo, Texas (AMA); Denver (DEN); Phoenix (PHX); and St. Louis (STL).
  • Southeast – Atlanta (ATL); Charlotte, N.C. (CLT); Daytona Beach, Fla. (DAB); Jacksonville, Fla. (JAX); and Orlando, Fla. (MCO).
  • Northeast – Bangor, Maine (BGR); Washington Dulles (IAD); New York Kennedy (JFK); Philadelphia (PHL); and Pittsburgh (PIT).

**The five airports where TSA contracts with private companies to do screening are San Francisco (SFO); Kansas City, Mo. (MCI); Rochester, N.Y. (ROC); Jackson, Wyo. (JAC); and Tupelo, Miss. (TUP). The five are in a pilot program, initiated by Congress, to compare using federal vs. private screeners. To ensure consistency for the flying public, private screeners receive the same training and must meet the same standards as federal screeners. Starting November 19, 2004, airports have been able to apply for the Screening Partnership Program (SPP) and "opt-out" of federal screening. Besides the five airports in the pilot, one airport has applied for SPP.

*** Percentages are weighted averages, with surveyed passengers reflecting the proportionate number of total passengers passing through individual airports.

###