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Checkpoint Lines - What Do You Think?

Monday, May 12, 2008

I caught this article in the New York Times Sunday magazine over the weekend. Personally, I think the author (who didn’t talk to TSA for this piece) is confusing millimeter wave and backscatter, but that's not what caught my attention. His take on the lines before the checkpoint and who gets to go through quicker was interesting, and admittedly, we don't hear a lot about that. So we’d like to get your take on it.

Here's a snippet:

"Whether richer fliers should be allowed to cut in line at checkpoints is one of a family of problems that crop up when public spaces and private interests intersect, and selling off favored outcomes makes the public spaces more efficient. Some states let single drivers pay extra to use H.O.V. lanes. What looks to one person like flexibility looks to another like bribing your way through the system.

Although there is no principled argument for segregated airport security, maybe there is a pragmatic one. Elite travelers tend to be repeat travelers. As likely as not, they have had their luggage rummaged through three times in the past week, and the airlines - or their databases - know who they are. If there were some security-based system for speeding their transit, that would be great. Since there is no such system, maybe the rough-and-ready class system is (without meaning to be, of course) fair.”

Check out the entire article . Thanks for your feedback.

Lynn
EoS Blog Team

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on

Airlines reward their most frequent travelers with Elite status. These seasoned "road warriors" tend to expect the perks that come with their status such as free first class upgrades, etc.

Security is an entirely different game in my opinion. Everyone should be treated equally in the security lines regardless of the "class" of the traveler being screened. I realize that the airlines want to afford these additional perks to their most frequent (notice I do not say best) customers, when it comes to the checkpoint, and the area leading up to the checkpoint, I believe there should be no special distinction.

Repeat travelers or not, we are all screened the same way. The experience should be the same, including the necessary wait time.

Submitted by Eric Riback on

I think the different lines (once you get past ID control) we have in Denver are a start. I heard the NPR report on BWI. Overall, it sounds good. As to the very intimate scan, I agree that it's weird at best, and it's only anonymous until something suspicious is spotted. Doesn't mean that suspicious item is necessarily going to be illegal. I think if I were to see it in hi-rez I'd be very creeped out. Might even prefer the occasional patdown. As to the pay service for shorter lines, just fine by me. I'm a budget flyer, but would consier paying the fee if it were available in a lot more places. As it is, it will only work for 1/people who can easily part with the dough and 2/people who fly frequently among the limited number of airports in the program.

Submitted by Anonymous on

There's a great line from the security director in the Tom Hanks movie 'Terminal' or similar I could quote, but I'll forego the entertainment value. There is no place for jokes in security theatre.

How about instead of institutionalized navel-gazing and trying to appear busy, the TSA just figures out how to make the following happen?:

1. Increase the number of TSO's present and Lanes open during peak hours. Maybe nobody should go on an unrelieved break?
2. Decrease the amount of time a passenger has to deal with the TSA. The less I have to put up with a drooling octopus oogling me the better.
3. Increase the privacy and security of a persons baggage throughout the system.
4. Decrease the amount of stress experienced by those passing through the system.
5. Provide postage-paid "mail it back" padded envelopes for things that people don't want to have to "surrender".
5. Fix/Eliminate the errors (human, procedural, software and hardware)in the system.

Now if we could just get the TSOs to paw through my dirty lingerie only when their super-secret screening process can't differentiate between my silver bullet/Big Tom and an improvised explosive device..

Submitted by Anonymous on

I think we should not have gotten to the point in which organizing special security lines for high end fliers was worth it.

I also think the Times author is right when he says the lines and the whole TSA attitude over the years has made the public accept anything, including being seen naked.

Let us go back to the subject of why the MMW images are scanned in a separate room, and why the silly liquid rule, and why everyone must remove their shoes, and why normal people are on "SSSS" lists.

Submitted by Trollkiller on

Dang Lynn you must be reading my mind. I was going to post on this today after I got some sleep. Thanks a lot now I will be up for a while. ;-)

Here is the deal, TSA check points are Government run. My security fees, taxes, and RIGHTS are the same as the first class passengers.

Allowing one class to be elevated by a Government entity stinks to high heaven.

The lame excuse that the airlines own the real estate before the check point is wrong. The TSA controls the check point and the line down to the last person waiting.

Should I be able to pay my way to the front of the line at the DMV? How about paying to have my case heard first in a court of law? Can I pay a fee (read bribe) so I can break the speed limit laws? Can I pay to jump in line at the voting booth? After all I am a busy man, I have blogs to post on. Speaking of that can I pay a fee to insure that my posts are put up immediately and without censor?

We are NOT a country of Lords and Royalty, in fact this country was founded with the principle that ALL men are created equal. This includes those that can bribe their way to the front of the line with an over priced ticket. If the airlines want to allow those people to board first, give them hot towels and butt rubs, I have no problem with that. The airlines are a PRIVATE entity, the TSA is not.

I am going to bed now, when I wake up I will be back to rake the TSA over the coals on your new Registered Traveler bribery system.

p.s. if you guys have not heard much about the first class passengers jumping in line it is because you have not been listening. That topic has come up on here and all we got was the lame excuse mentioned above. Night Night, Trollkiller is tired and needs his rest or he gets cranky.

Submitted by CBGB on

I was actually told by a screener at IAD that this was done for security reasons...obviously!

Absolutely agree, no reason for separate lines at all. But the checkpoint experience is already so bungled by assorted TSO cowboys and their random rules that this is low on the list. Get your people to allow passengers to pick their own damn line once you get to the front. There is no reason to direct them into a longer line or yell at them when they ignore you. You can't effectively run the logistics of organizing the checkpoint as it is, why should we trust you with the logistics of detecting all the nonthreatening items you have banned?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Here is big democratic improvement you can make to the screening process.

Right now after my ID is checked I need to pick the security line I think will be fastest. (and the new ski run designations are supposed to help but rely on people being able to correctly self select themselves).
If I pick right, great if I pick wrong I get to cool my heals behind a slow poke.

Eliminate this randomness.

Instead have a single feeder line to all screening checkpoints. The next person in line goes to the next open screening line. This means if I'm #27 in line I will be the 27th person to be screened. This also means any one or two slow people will not impede the progress of an entire line.

Another advantage of this would be luggage flowing through the X-Ray machine won't be backing up. behind the machine while people move through faster than the luggage.

Also if I am the only person currently transiting a checkpoint there is less risk of my bags walking away without me.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Actually, I am also confused about the difference between backscatter and MMW. Have you posted on this already? If not, what is the difference?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Exactly why should any traveler receive government services differently than any other citizen?

Will you start sorting out each person based on how much they paid for their ticket? Prices for a seat in coach can be almost as much as a 1st class ticket if the person bought at the last minute.

TSA should and must treat each traveler exactly the same. The price of the ticket has no bearing on TSA harassment!

Let the airlines award the perks, you TSA types just keep screwing over the public using the order of arrival for your theater seating!

Submitted by Abelard on

Aren't airport usually built and supported by public (mostly municipal) dollars? I know that here in Phoenix, Terminal 4 was built with money from a public bond.

If that is the case, why would the "elite" get better treatment at a municipal facility. My taxes helped to pay off that bond just as much as the flyer living in North Scottsdale or Paradise Valley.

If the airlines want to give Mr. Moneybags or Ms. Very Frequent Flyer some perks, they can do so by giving them a pass to the airline's club room.

We should all be treated exactly the same when it comes to security and in basic services at any publicly financed and supported airport.

Of course, we live in a world where an administrative assistance is fired for missing a deadline, but if you run Bear Sterns into the ground, you get $61 million for your troubles.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The best things TSA could do to each checkpoint lines is drop the inane 3-1-1 liquid policy that has utterly no scientific justification (as you well know and continue to lie about on a regular basis), and end mandatory shoe screening. These two things alone would probably cut the screening time in half.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Those that fly all the time carrying very little should actually be afforded the shorter lines. It shouldn't have anything to do with how much your ticket costs as this has nothing to do with the TSA. That everyone wants the shortest line is obvious, but self selecting doesn't work because families with young children and all the equipment as well as the disabled take longer to get their things divested which holds up the line and they will still choose the shorter line given the choice. Infrequent flyers do not understand the reasoning for the ski lanes.

Submitted by Ayn R Key on

Speaking about Lords and Royalty, what about all the TSOs who jump to the front of the line in order to report to work. Shouldn't they have to show up sufficiently early to work to allow time to check in?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Please stop the whinning and reply to the post, what is your take on the subject at hand. All of the nose breathing knuckle draggers stop with the "security theater" crap and answer the question.

Submitted by Anonymous on

While I understand the issues the travelers have from a manager standpoint I really wish we did not have anything other than the self select lines. I know that TSA has nothing to do with how the ques are managed ahead of their TDC but most travelers do not and really do not care to hear it. Regardless of who really does it the TSA takes the hit in most cases. It was the same with the ticket checking. TSA did it at first, then due to manpower issues they gave it back to the airlines and now, for security reasons they perform it again. Prior to TDC we still got the blame for someone screwing up the ticket checking. If I am going to be forced to handle the complaint then I would like to have the control and to that end, no special lines outside the self select.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Response to - Anonymous said...
There's a great line from the security director in the Tom Hanks movie 'Terminal' or similar I could quote, but I'll forego the entertainment value. There is no place for jokes in security theatre.

How about instead of institutionalized navel-gazing and trying to appear busy, the TSA just figures out how to make the following happen?:

1. Increase the number of TSO's present and Lanes open during peak hours. Maybe nobody should go on an unrelieved break?
2. Decrease the amount of time a passenger has to deal with the TSA. The less I have to put up with a drooling octopus oogling me the better.
3. Increase the privacy and security of a persons baggage throughout the system.
4. Decrease the amount of stress experienced by those passing through the system.
5. Provide postage-paid "mail it back" padded envelopes for things that people don't want to have to "surrender".
5. Fix/Eliminate the errors (human, procedural, software and hardware)in the system.

Now if we could just get the TSOs to paw through my dirty lingerie only when their super-secret screening process can't differentiate between my silver bullet/Big Tom and an improvised explosive device..

________________________________

Nice closing paragraph. However, your request for a post paid envelope. How about just watching how you pack so it isn't the tax payer sending your buck knife home? I would also suggest placing BIG TOM in your checked bag or at least in a plastic bag if I am forced to check it.

Submitted by Sandra on

Anonymous at 12:50 p.m. said:

"It was the same with the ticket checking. TSA did it at first, then due to manpower issues they gave it back to the airlines and now, for security reasons they perform it again."

What kind of "security" does checking tickets, bp's and id's give us? None.

Submitted by Gunner on

A TSA employee, hiding behind anonymity said:

>>Nice closing paragraph. However, your request for a post paid envelope. How about just watching how you pack so it isn't the tax payer sending your buck knife home? I would also suggest placing BIG TOM in your checked bag or at least in a plastic bag if I am forced to check it.


I must be nice to be perfect, to have never made a mistake, to have a spouse and kids who fully comprehend allt he rules -- even those you make up on the spot -- so that when they accidentally put the $15.00 Epcot 1" snow dome in the handheld baggage (in the sealed package, in the Disney bag, with the receipt) on the way back form Orlando, it does not get confiscated at a threat to national security by an agent who probably wants it for her kids.

It is your superior, holier-than-thou, macho rent-a-cop attitudes that have ruined travelling.

Oh, sure, give me the option of going back out through security, to the airline counter, and checking a tiny item, and then having to go throught the security gauntlet one more time -- drop your belt, take off your shoes, hold up your pands, and try to find a place to put yourself together while being jostled by everyone else.

Every one of you people needs to go through the screening process at least twice a day. Get in the line (at the end) and deal with what you subject the innocent flying public to on a daily basis.

Submitted by Shamino on

This whole process is pointless. After paying $100 and subjecting your life to a background check, you still have to be X-rayed, you still need to go through metal detectors, you still need to unpack your laptop, and you still need to remove several articles of clothing.

So, after paying the government for a background check, you gain absolutely nothing. Well, you get to wait for the same 30 minutes as everybody else, but on a different line.

This is nothing more than a way to get $100 out of those customers that are too lazy to read the fine print.

Submitted by Anonymous on

There are a number of misconceptions in these comments.

1. TSA does not control the line. Entrance to the line is provided by private subcontractors who are paid by the airline (for example, UA uses AirServe). TSA assumes control at the point in which your ID and boarding pass are checked.

2. TSA security is paid for by a tax on each airline ticket. A frequent flier who flies 100 times a year will pay 50 times more tax to support TSA than a casual flier who only flies twice.

3. Airlines reward their high-revenue passengers with a number of perks. A high revenue passenger is either one who has paid for a first class ticket, or one who flies an airline often. As the airlines need high revenue fliers to generate income (the margin on low-fare advance purchase tickets that are typical of those bought by casual fliers can be only a few dollars). Without providing perks to those upon whom the airlines depend for their survival, there wouldn't be airlines at all.

4. Elite status fliers aren't royalty. They are, however, very experienced fliers and know exactly what can and cannot be brought through, have their shoes off and their laptops in the bin immediately, have removed all metal from their pockets, etc. The reason you don't see long lines at the "priority" screening is because we know how to move through quickly without holding up the process. Casual fliers have to deal with the security lines once or twice a year. We deal with the security screening once or twice a week, or more. Flying is as much a part of our routine as driving a car to most Americans and we know how to deal with it efficiently.

5. The point everyone seems to miss is that the current implementation of security screening is a complete dog-and-pony show, put on to reassure the casual flier that it's really safe. The x-ray machine does not detect explosives, and the "hit" rate by TSA for IEDs and weapons is dismally low. Plastic baggies do not neutralize explosive liquids which, in any event, pose a completely de minimus risk to aviation. What casual fliers don't know, however, is that uninspected cargo and U.S. mail is loaded aboard every single commercial aircraft in the United States. What casual fliers also don't know is that the most dangerous terrorists in the world are not on the no-fly list. The government doesn't include them for security reasons. Accordingly, all this ID checking and no-fly nonsense does nothing to keep the most dangerous people off of American planes and instead harasses those who do not present what the government thinks is a risk.

This isn't a secret -- potential terrorists are just as aware of this as frequent fliers. So, why the dog-and-pony show? It is for YOU, Mr. and Mrs. Casual Flier, so that you'll continue to fill the airline's seats. We frequent fliers know that, statistically, flying is very safe and the odds of being a terrorist's target are very, very small. We have to go through this sham, however, because YOU, Mr. and Mrs. Casual Flier, think that pointless hassle translates into security. It does not. It remains pointless hassle.

Even TSA recognizes this, and has begun to implement "experienced flier," "casual flier," and "family" lanes. So, please stop griping about how elitist the priority lines are. You do not pay for them, you do not pay a fraction of the security tax that frequent fliers pay, and the only reason we have to endure this nonsense is because of your lack of understanding of the air transport system.

I'm not suggesting we don't need passenger screening in the interest of security. We certainly don't, however, need the system that's been implemented. Go ahead -- ask the TSOs who blog here and see if they disagree.

Submitted by TrackerNeil on

I think that when faced with these private-public intersections, the question we need to ask is: Why did we institute these measures? Going back to the HOV line example, if HOV was instituted to cut down air pollution and congestion, then single riders should not be able to pay their way out of the restrictions. After all, the extra fees aren't going to reduce pollution or congestion, but they will swell the state's coffers.

To return to the matter at hand, the TSA is charged with making sure nobody hijacks, blows up, or otherwise misuses aircraft and other means of transportation. Paying extra money to an airline (or even to the TSA itself) doesn't achieve that goal. Therefore, I am inclined to oppose this idea.

Submitted by Anonymous on

There are a number of misconceptions in these comments.

1. TSA does not control the line. Entrance to the line is provided by private subcontractors who are paid by the airline (for example, UA uses AirServe). TSA assumes control at the point in which your ID and boarding pass are checked.

2. TSAs security is paid for by a tax on each airline ticket. A frequent flier who flies 100 times a year will pay 50 times more tax to support TSA than a casual flier who only flies twice.

3. Airlines reward their high-revenue passengers with a number of perks. A high revenue passenger is either one who has paid for a first class ticket, or one who flies an airline often. As the airlines need high revenue fliers to generate income (the margin on low-fare advance purchase tickets that are typical of those bought by casual fliers) can be only a couple of dollars). Without providing perks to those upon whom the airlines depend for their survival, there wouldn't be airlines at all.

4. Elite status fliers aren't royalty. They are, however, very experienced fliers and know exactly what can and cannot be brought through, have their shoes off and their laptops in the bin immediately, have removed all metal from their pockets, etc. The reason you don't see long lines at the "priority" screening is because we know how to move through quickly without holding up the process. Casual fliers have to deal with the security lines once or twice a year. We deal with the security once or twice a week, or more. Flying is as much a part of our routine as driving a car to most Americans.

5. The point everyone seems to miss is that the current implementation of security screening is a complete dog-and-pony show, put on to reassure the casual flier that it's really safe. The x-ray machine does not detect explosive, and the "hit" rate by TSA for IEDs and weapons is dismally low. Plastic baggies do not neutralize explosive liquids which, in any event, pose a completely de minimus risk to aviation. What casual fliers don't know, however, is that uninspected cargo and U.S. mail is loaded aboard every single commercial aircraft in the United States. What casual fliers also don't know is that the most dangerous terrorists in the world are not on the no-fly list. The government doesn't include them for security reasons. Accordingly, all this ID checking and no-fly nonsense does nothing to keep the most dangerous people off of American planes.

This isn't a secret -- potential terrorists are just as aware of this as frequent fliers. So, why the dog-and-pony show? It is for YOU, Mr. and Mrs. Casual Flier, so that you'll continue to fill the airline's seats. We frequent fliers know that, statistically, flying is very safe and the odds of being a terrorist's target are very, very small. We have to go through this sham, however, because YOU, Mr. and Mrs. Casual Flier, think that pointless hassle translates into security. It does not. It remains pointless hassle.

Even TSA recognizes this, and has begun to implement "experienced flier," "casual flier," and "family" lanes. So, please stop griping about how elitist the priority lines are. You do not pay for them, you do not pay a fraction of the security tax that frequent fliers pay, and the only reason we have to endure this nonsense is because of your lack of understanding of the air transport system.

I'm not suggesting we don't need passenger screening in the interest of security. We certainly don't, however, need the system that's been implemented. Go ahead -- ask the TSOs who blog here and see if they disagree.

Submitted by CBGB on

anoynomous your 2nd comment misses a big detail. Yes the 100 travel pays 100 times the tax of a 1 traveler, but they also use 100 times the service. You pay a flat rate to the TSA and that covers security. You leaving out the frequent flier being frequently screened in your math...

my bigger issue though is with this post...I didn't catch it at first but I really feel like this is another 'oh look a puppy' post. Your turning the questions away from the newly posted (and still quite controversial) MMW issue after doing the minimal work required for a PR blitz of 'we listened to bloggers'. The most distrubing part is that you seem to be trying to now turn the passengers on one another by bringing this up.

And as for the TSA not controlling the line...then why can't I switch tho the empty 'first class' screening area when I get to the front at IAD. both lines feed into the same general area separated only by a TSO telling me that the other side is (and I quote) 'for first class passengers only'

Submitted by Trollkiller on
Anonymous said...

1. Increase the number of TSO's present and Lanes open during peak hours. Maybe nobody should go on an unrelieved break?
2. Decrease the amount of time a passenger has to deal with the TSA. The less I have to put up with a drooling octopus oogling me the better.
3. Increase the privacy and security of a persons baggage throughout the system.
4. Decrease the amount of stress experienced by those passing through the system.
5. Provide postage-paid "mail it back" padded envelopes for things that people don't want to have to "surrender".
5. Fix/Eliminate the errors (human, procedural, software and hardware)in the system.

Answers to;

3. Placing a couple of plastic straps on checked luggage will eliminate the pointing of fingers when something comes up missing from the bag. It will also be a visual indicator that the bag has been screened.

5. (the first one)
Unfortunately you can't place pre-paid mailers in the security area because of postal regulations, anything weighing over 13 oz. bearing stamps must be handed to a postal employee. Pre-paid mailers with an indicia can only be mailed to the indicia holder.

So the only way to make a mailing program work is to set up a mini post office or nonpostal shipping center in the screening area. I think they tried this at some airports and found that if it costs $25 to mail your $50 pocket knife, most likely you will just toss the knife.
Submitted by Trollkiller on
Ayn R. Key said...
Speaking about Lords and Royalty, what about all the TSOs who jump to the front of the line in order to report to work. Shouldn't they have to show up sufficiently early to work to allow time to check in?

I will excuse TSOs, airline and airport personnel for jumping in line. I don't want my money paying for someone milking the clock. Let them get in and get to work.

Speaking of TSOs, why don't they have to remove their shoes and when they get the new metal badges they need to remove those too.

If a nipple ring can cause alarm because it may be a blasting cap, then a badge should cause the same alarm because it could be concealing a blasting cap.

Before any of the TSOs holler "we've had background checks" read my next post first.
Submitted by Trollkiller on
Anonymous said...

There are a number of misconceptions in these comments.

1. TSA does not control the line. Entrance to the line is provided by private subcontractors who are paid by the airline (for example, UA uses AirServe). TSA assumes control at the point in which your ID and boarding pass are checked.

2. TSAs security is paid for by a tax on each airline ticket. A frequent flier who flies 100 times a year will pay 50 times more tax to support TSA than a casual flier who only flies twice.

3. Airlines reward their high-revenue passengers with a number of perks. A high revenue passenger is either one who has paid for a first class ticket, or one who flies an airline often. As the airlines need high revenue fliers to generate income (the margin on low-fare advance purchase tickets that are typical of those bought by casual fliers) can be only a couple of dollars). Without providing perks to those upon whom the airlines depend for their survival, there wouldn't be airlines at all.

4. Elite status fliers aren't royalty. They are, however, very experienced fliers and know exactly what can and cannot be brought through, have their shoes off and their laptops in the bin immediately, have removed all metal from their pockets, etc. The reason you don't see long lines at the "priority" screening is because we know how to move through quickly without holding up the process. Casual fliers have to deal with the security lines once or twice a year. We deal with the security once or twice a week, or more. Flying is as much a part of our routine as driving a car to most Americans.

5. The point everyone seems to miss is that the current implementation of security screening is a complete dog-and-pony show, put on to reassure the casual flier that it's really safe. The x-ray machine does not detect explosive, and the "hit" rate by TSA for IEDs and weapons is dismally low. Plastic baggies do not neutralize explosive liquids which, in any event, pose a completely de minimus risk to aviation. What casual fliers don't know, however, is that uninspected cargo and U.S. mail is loaded aboard every single commercial aircraft in the United States. What casual fliers also don't know is that the most dangerous terrorists in the world are not on the no-fly list. The government doesn't include them for security reasons. Accordingly, all this ID checking and no-fly nonsense does nothing to keep the most dangerous people off of American planes.

This isn't a secret -- potential terrorists are just as aware of this as frequent fliers. So, why the dog-and-pony show? It is for YOU, Mr. and Mrs. Casual Flier, so that you'll continue to fill the airline's seats. We frequent fliers know that, statistically, flying is very safe and the odds of being a terrorist's target are very, very small. We have to go through this sham, however, because YOU, Mr. and Mrs. Casual Flier, think that pointless hassle translates into security. It does not. It remains pointless hassle.

Even TSA recognizes this, and has begun to implement "experienced flier," "casual flier," and "family" lanes. So, please stop griping about how elitist the priority lines are. You do not pay for them, you do not pay a fraction of the security tax that frequent fliers pay, and the only reason we have to endure this nonsense is because of your lack of understanding of the air transport system.

I'm not suggesting we don't need passenger screening in the interest of security. We certainly don't, however, need the system that's been implemented. Go ahead -- ask the TSOs who blog here and see if they disagree.

It was so good you had to say it twice? ;-)

1. The TSA controls the security at the airport. This covers all the airport including the line BEFORE the document check. If they have chosen not to do so that is a problem that needs to be fixed.

The TSA controls what a private airline's customer is able to have on board. I am sure most of the airlines would not care if you bring your bathroom scale with you in carry on. If the TSA has the authority to do this then the TSA has the authority to implement a first come first served policy.

2. The security fees HELP pay for the TSA. Millions of taxpayers that never fly still have their money poured into this agency. They receive no benefit from it except a few more people off welfare.

The argument you make that the frequent flyer pays more so therefor is entitled to more is false. First the passenger that flies 50 times more than I do uses 50 times more the resources. His security fee is the same as mine per departure. It is a USER fee, you use the security checkpoint for a flight you pay your money.

Should someone that eats at McDonald's 5 times a week be able to cut in line in front of someone that eats there once in a while? Of course not so your argument fails.

3. The airlines can offer perks to high revenue customers, they are a PRIVATE company. The TSA is a Government entity that should NOT be giving perks to help a PRIVATE company.

If something is necessary as you think air travel is then the airline can either make it on their own or fail. If they fail the airline that can make the profit will take the customers. Sometimes companies become obsolete because they are too costly to maintain, that is the nature of a capitalistic society.

4. I have no problem with self select lanes. Great you know the drill and can get through with little hassle. That still does not give you a jump in line BEFORE the document checker. Think of a movie house, the document checker is like the ticket taker. Everybody waits in the same line up to him, he takes your ticket and you wander off to your movie. In case you did not figure it out, the individual theaters are the self select security lines.

5. No argument from me on all of that. The fact that property is stolen from luggage on a daily basis is enough for me to know that the cargo is not secure. I have suggested plastic straps be placed on the luggage after it is screened so that if someone opens the bag they have to remove the strap. If the airlines refuse to load a bag that is strapless at least the luggage part of the cargo will be secure.

Another hole in the security is the TSOs. They will claim that they have all had background checks so they are exempt from removing their shoes and are allowed a less than thorough screening.

Over 200 screeners have been caught stealing, proving that a background check is NOT 100%.

Many a man with a high security clearance that was granted after intensive vetting has sold secrets to the enemies of this country. Is the TSA so foolish to think doing background checks on passengers with the new Registered Passengers bribe scheme will prevent one of those people from becoming a turncoat? I assume the person makes good money if they are flying enough to participate by paying the new bribe.

If people with good paying jobs can be turned for money, why couldn't a person making TSO wages be turned.

How easy would it be for a TSO, that is not properly screened when entering a sterile area, to smuggle in an explosive device to be passed off to a terrorist? With the new metal badges I could easily see hiding a blasting cap behind it and when the detector goes off saying "it is just the badge".

TSOs, airline and airport personnel need to be screened completely every time they enter the secure area.

This putting a steel door on a grass hut is for the birds and it needs to STOP. Either plug the holes or go away.

Let the airlines control the security. Those planes are expensive, losing one to a terrorist costs a lot of money. Not to mention the extra loss in business. After all who wants to fly on a plane that may go boom.
Submitted by Miller on

Check-point lines?

Lethargic
Long
Potential target for terrorists (security at any cost folks paying attention?)
Unpleasant
Annoying when you see TSA types taking breaks in the screening areas.
Best of the worst idea.
Time to drink up the last of your beverage.
Bottlenecks.
Gives you time to wonder what 'new' SOP they've come up with this time.

Suggest, like others, that they go to Disney and see how Disney handles large crowds. Perhaps they might visit Schiphol and see how real security professionals do this.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I'm opposed to allowing someone else to move ahead of me in line because of their "elite" status with an airline. The reason is simple -- the airline is giving that "elite" flyer something that is not theirs to give -- my time.

If the airline wants to spend some of their profits to provide perks to a frequent flyer, fine. But, don't take my time and give it to someone else.

I wonder how these elite flyers would feel if they were in a retail store and someone else were helped ahead of them because they were an "elite" customer?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I can appreciate the viewpoint of those who have submitted comments to this blog. However, it seems as if they have a myopic view of the screening process. I am in no way an “elite flyer”. I would NEVER pay for any type of frequent flyer perks. I would however zip through the lines because I have a basic understanding of the current rules and regulations and respond accordingly. What few flyers seem to understand is how much they contribute to the long lines. The flyer who waits until he get all the way to the front of the line to take items out of his pocket, take his shoes off, take his laptop out of his bag, etc. is the reason why everybody behind him has to wait. Therein lines the ideology behind the different lines in the checkpoint. Those people who fly frequently (doesn’t mean they are not flying coach) know the procedure, carry few bags and start getting ready as soon as they pick up a bin. Additionally, TSA recognizes that some people need a little extra time and help, such as families flying with children. Perhaps it is difficult to self select I don’t know, I would assume that if you don’t know what you need to do as an adult you know how to ask. TSA procedures are readily available online too. I’d also like to mention that it may seem stupid and annoying to take off your shoes and not be able to carry liquids/gels until you remember that this is a NECESSARY EVIL. Have we Americans so quickly forgotten all of the terrorist attacks in other countries not to mention 9/11? It’s time to stop being so complacent and acknowledge the fact that unfortunately, this is the world we live in. I really wish people would stop beating on TSA.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Will you really be giving your staff badges? Instead of easier to read IDs on their uniform? (Get rid of the brushed metal look.)

How do LEOs feel about TSA staff getting badges?

,>)

T. Saint

Submitted by Anonymous on

Airlines dictate whether TSA runs a fast-lane and who goes in it (i.e. business and first class passengers). I've often wondered whether they pay the TSA for this extra service? Thanks for your reply to this thread.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Responding to - Ayn R. Key said...
Speaking about Lords and Royalty, what about all the TSOs who jump to the front of the line in order to report to work. Shouldn't they have to show up sufficiently early to work to allow time to check in?

__________________________________

Not sure of the labor law on making that a requirement but it would cost the taxpayer in the end. Also, the faster they get them through the faster they can be put in a lane. Therefore the quicker you get through.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Responding to -Sandra said...
Anonymous at 12:50 p.m. said:

"It was the same with the ticket checking. TSA did it at first, then due to manpower issues they gave it back to the airlines and now, for security reasons they perform it again."

What kind of "security" does checking tickets, bp's and id's give us? None.

________________________________

I am sure there were good people checking tickets and matching them to IDs. But I am also sure there were many who didn't give a hoot and would have let someone go through with a Mickey Mouse picture on their DL, because it has happened and worse.

The individuals performing the TDC funtion have much more training in fraud ID checking and are rotated out which helps keep people focused. There have been many cases already where they identified fraudulent travel docs. Have they busted Osama, no, but it is a heck of a lot better than what was there before and has ongoing training.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Responding to - Abelard said...
Aren't airport usually built and supported by public (mostly municipal) dollars? I know that here in Phoenix, Terminal 4 was built with money from a public bond.

If that is the case, why would the "elite" get better treatment at a municipal facility. My taxes helped to pay off that bond just as much as the flyer living in North Scottsdale or Paradise Valley.

If the airlines want to give Mr. Moneybags or Ms. Very Frequent Flyer some perks, they can do so by giving them a pass to the airline's club room.

We should all be treated exactly the same when it comes to security and in basic services at any publicly financed and supported airport.

Of course, we live in a world where an administrative assistance is fired for missing a deadline, but if you run Bear Sterns into the ground, you get $61 million for your troubles.
__________________________________

100% on the corperate $61M. But as airports go, most have to be self sufficient and receive no public funds as other areas of gov. do.

The airport directors are always out there trying to lure the SW and Jet Blues to their locations. As such they make some pretty amazing deals which in effect give the carriers control over large areas on the public side and inside their concourses. If your airport is a large hub for a major carrier, such as Atlanta for Delta then oh, yes....Delta has a lot of pull. It is way too complicated to go into here but the managing of a profitable airport is very complex with TSA having only a tiny part. Also, one can not loose sight of the fact that air travel is not a "right" but a contract between you and the private company that operates the AC.

Submitted by NoClu on

"I’d also like to mention that it may seem stupid and annoying to take off your shoes and not be able to carry liquids/gels until you remember that this is a NECESSARY EVIL. Have we Americans so quickly forgotten all of the terrorist attacks in other countries not to mention 9/11? It’s time to stop being so complacent and acknowledge the fact that unfortunately, this is the world we live in. I really wish people would stop beating on TSA."

Nope. Haven't forgotten terror attacks, but don't agree that the security BS being inconsistently applied is worth it, or necessary. I'd prefer that the many concerns expressed above were dealt with. I'd prefer that DHS and TSA would put some brain-power into how to address airline (and homeland) security in a way that doesn't abuse citizens, trample rights, or create/reinforce hostility toward our government.

I will continue to criticize and "beat" on TSA practices that deserve to be beaten on.

Remember the whole quote that has been so brutalized lately:
Senator Carl Schurz "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right."

Submitted by Anonymous on

Responding to - Gunner said...
A TSA employee, hiding behind anonymity said:

>>Nice closing paragraph. However, your request for a post paid envelope. How about just watching how you pack so it isn't the tax payer sending your buck knife home? I would also suggest placing BIG TOM in your checked bag or at least in a plastic bag if I am forced to check it.


I must be nice to be perfect, to have never made a mistake, to have a spouse and kids who fully comprehend allt he rules -- even those you make up on the spot -- so that when they accidentally put the $15.00 Epcot 1" snow dome in the handheld baggage (in the sealed package, in the Disney bag, with the receipt) on the way back form Orlando, it does not get confiscated at a threat to national security by an agent who probably wants it for her kids.

It is your superior, holier-than-thou, macho rent-a-cop attitudes that have ruined travelling.

Oh, sure, give me the option of going back out through security, to the airline counter, and checking a tiny item, and then having to go throught the security gauntlet one more time -- drop your belt, take off your shoes, hold up your pands, and try to find a place to put yourself together while being jostled by everyone else.

Every one of you people needs to go through the screening process at least twice a day. Get in the line (at the end) and deal with what you subject the innocent flying public to on a daily basis.

___________________________________

Not a jack booted thug or insensitive. But still say when you see what comes through, knives, guns, fireworks, etc, etc and in nearly ever case you are told "I forgot it was in the bag".

For most people you can simply place it in checked bags and as long as it isn't HAZMAT (thats a DOT rule) it is normally fine. Firearms - no problem if properly packaged, unloaded, and declared.

As for your Disney Globe, the screening SOP allows a supervisor to allow some prohibited liquids through if they can determine it not to be a threat and we have procedures for that. A Snow White snow globe in Orlando is likely second only to mouse ears in the #1 going through a check point.

Again, I see posts all the time here that make me bang my head on the wall wondering what people were thinking, why the TSO didn't call for a supervisor, use all the tools available, etc. The provision in the SOP isn't a requirement for the supervisor but is the grey area that allows for common sence.

So, I have definetly made mistakes and get calls all the time at home from persons wanting to know what they can and can not pack. I try to answer as I can and many times refer them to the airline they are traveling. Lately it has been Trollkiller who has been slamming me, maybe you 2 should team up.

My goal here isn't to hide behind anonymous but to try and answer things being asked which I don't see the blog team doing. Sorry about your globe, I don't think that would have happened at our airport.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Response to - miller said...
Check-point lines?

Lethargic
Long
Potential target for terrorists (security at any cost folks paying attention?)
Unpleasant
Annoying when you see TSA types taking breaks in the screening areas.
Best of the worst idea.
Time to drink up the last of your beverage.
Bottlenecks.
Gives you time to wonder what 'new' SOP they've come up with this time.

Suggest, like others, that they go to Disney and see how Disney handles large crowds. Perhaps they might visit Schiphol and see how real security professionals do this.

________________________________

Been through Schiphol many times and yes, they do a good job. BUT - they don't have the ACLU and every other person trying to tear them apart. These same civil liberties many are screaming are being violated are of little concern there. When comparring apples to oranges you have to be fair a recognize the diff.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anonymous said...
Will you really be giving your staff badges? Instead of easier to read IDs on their uniform? (Get rid of the brushed metal look.)

How do LEOs feel about TSA staff getting badges?

,>)

T. Saint
__________________________________

Yes, they are with the new uniform, as for the LEO concern...do you poll everyone around you to see how they feel about your decisions?

Submitted by Txrus on

Trollkiller asked on .May 14, 2008 2:13 AM..

Speaking of TSOs, why don't they have to remove their shoes and when they get the new metal badges they need to remove those too.

If a nipple ring can cause alarm because it may be a blasting cap, then a badge should cause the same alarm because it could be concealing a blasting cap.
********************************
Because the screener manning the WTMD turns it off when a fellow, fully-shod, screener goes thru so it won't alarm. Though, of course, the TSA calls this 're-calibrating' the machine. If you ever have the misfortune of being hip-checked out of the way by a screener, especially one on a coffee run as I was in BOS (see the 'Got Feedback' forum for futher details re: that) watch the top of the WTMD after the fully-shod screener goes thru & you'll see the MD screener fiddle w/a button on the top panel & then all the lights flash on & off as the machine re-sets itself. Neat trick, huh? But then, they, allegedly, get screened for real (or so they claim) when they start their shift &, as you pointed out, they've had their super special background checks, too (please note the sarcasm).

And then T. Saint asked on May 14, 2008 9:33 AM

Will you really be giving your staff badges? Instead of easier to read IDs on their uniform? (Get rid of the brushed metal look.)

How do LEOs feel about TSA staff getting badges?
********************************
Yes, sad but true-badges & new 'Gee, I almost look like a real cop now!' uniforms, too (there's a thread, somewhere, on this blog that has a link to a picture of the new get-up; I think it's in the Checkpoint Evolution threads.) Apparently some screeners @ BWI are already sporting them, according to reports on FlyerTalk.com

To answer your question re: how the REAL cops feel about this? Let's just say, from various forums I've seen linked on FlyerTalk when discussing the new get-ups, it's overwhelmingly negative. Sorry, I don't have time to go find the link for you, but if you do a search of the Travel Safety & Security Forum on FT, you'll find it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"do you poll everyone around you to see how they feel about your decisions?"

Good point. It isn't really a matter of how LEOs feel about it.

I don't like non-law enforcement people being given new props. I don't like them dressing like someone they are not.

WWDD?

What would Disney do?

Submitted by Anonymous on

"do you poll everyone around you to see how they feel about your decisions?"

My decisions do not affect countless people.

The TSA'a decision do.

Submitted by Lynn on

Anonymous said...
Actually, I am also confused about the difference between backscatter and MMW. Have you posted on this already? If not, what is the difference?

May 13, 2008 8:49 AM
*******************************

You're not the only one who's confused - I'm working on a post about that this week. Thanks for posting your comment!

Lynn
EOS Blog Team

Submitted by Anonymous on

I've never heard of the metal detector being turned off for screeners to walk through. Different airports have different rules regarding TSO's screening but they all do have to be screened at least once before working in the checkpoint. Most of us buy shoes without metal shanks and remove the other metal that would cause us to alarm before walking through. If our shoes cause an alarm we must remove them just like you folks and clear.

I'd not mind removing my shoes everytime but don't see the need. When I fly I remove my shoes just like you do.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"But I am also sure there were many who didn't give a hoot and would have let someone go through with a Mickey Mouse picture on their DL, because it has happened and worse."

So? All the 9/11 hijackers had legitimate IDs. ID checks do NOTHING to make air travel safer. Get rid of them, and the pointless and scientifically indefensible 3.4-1-1 nonsense, and shoe screenings, and watch the lines move much quicker than they do now.

Submitted by Miller on
Actually, I am also confused about the difference between backscatter and MMW. Have you posted on this already? If not, what is the difference?

Backscatter relies on the RF in the background and on the RF we all naturally emit and as such is a passive system with pretty much just a receiver. MMW has a man-made transmitter that illuminates you and a receiver. As such it is an active system probably with a much better imaging system
Submitted by Marshall on

Responding to Anonymous responding to Sandra re ID checks:

The job of the TSA is NOT to find people with fraudulent identification.

Terrorism 101 teaches that if you're going to set out to do evil, you do it with FALSE, not fraudulent, ID. There's a difference: fraudulent may be discovered; FALSE won't be.


----

BTW, where is my SO's post about Michael Sheehan's book in which he references the total waste that is DHS?

Submitted by CBGB on

lynn of all the things that have been brought up here thats what you respond to?

Your not LEO your grunt labor. Accept it deal with it. What would the reaction be if McDonalds renamed their cashiers "Consumer Transaction Facilitators"

Oh and I continue to be amazed by the improvements in security theater. Got stopped at Dulles yesterday because my ID was cracked. However figuring this out took a little while because the initial license examiner person didn't speak English and couldn't explain it to me. Now THAT delayed the line.

GOOD JOB TSA!!! (sorry not up to translating that tonight)

Submitted by Anonymous on

Why is it the following scenario seems to be more common than not? There are four or more X-ray machines intended to scan your carry-on luggage, but only one or two are in operation. There are two or three metal detectors for people to walk through but only one or two are in operation. Add the fact that, people will be in line waiting to put their luggage through the machine and you can see the problem. Now add the fact that the x-ray machine operator will see something and stop the machine while he goes to check the bag. The person controlling the flow of people through the metal detector then stops that line since the luggage flow has stopped. It seems the entire process is run by two people: the person operating the X-ray machine and the person controlling the metal detector. All this while quite a few TSA employees are standing around behind the security machines talking, doing nothing. Someone recently told me that TSA really stands for Thousands Standing Around. I'm starting to believe him. Come on TSA - open all of your machines. Use some common sense

Submitted by Trollkiller on

Here is a fun read by one of the TSA's finest.

Confessions of a TSA Agent

Fall in lock-step citizen.

If the TSA wants to know why they are hated all they have to do is read the article and see what kind of self righteous attitude we face.

Submitted by Anonymous on

anonymous said at May 13, 2008 8:23 AM
Instead have a single feeder line to all screening checkpoints. The next person in line goes to the next open screening line. This means if I'm #27 in line I will be the 27th person to be screened. This also means any one or two slow people will not impede the progress of an entire line.

Another advantage of this would be luggage flowing through the X-Ray machine won't be backing up. behind the machine while people move through faster than the luggage.

Also if I am the only person currently transiting a checkpoint there is less risk of my bags walking away without me.

---------

Sounds like a great idea . . . why not do this?

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