TSA’s Summer Meltdown

Security Lines are Longer Than Ever. But the Most Sensible Fix is the One Nobody Will Talk About.

May 26, 2016

TSA Security Line

AIRPORT SECURITY lines are out the door, and the effects are an enormous drag on our sanity and our economy: angry travelers, missed flights, millions of hours of wasted time, and millions of wasted dollars.

Conventional wisdom holds that the best way to address the problem is to shuttle in more TSA guards and personnel. Indeed this would speed things up slightly, but it’s a superficial fix that fails to address the root problem: that our entire checkpoint strategy is misguided. Budgeting for more staff only buttresses a system that is wasteful and irrational to start with. If anything, TSA doesn’t need more personnel at the checkpoint, it needs fewer.

As I’ve argued for years, there are two fundamental flaws in our approach. First is the idea that every single person who flies, from infant children to elderly folks in wheelchairs, is seen as a potential terrorist of equal threat. Second, and and even more maddening, is the immense amount of time we spend rifling through people’s bags in the hunt for harmless liquids, pointy objects, and other perceived “weapons.” In a system that processes more than two million passengers every day of the week, neither of these tactics is effective or sustainable. Our approach is so flawed, and so bogged down in ridiculous, wasteful nonsense, that it can hardly move under its own weight. Yet all we hear about is how to ad yet more layers of fat to the system.

Underlying all of this is a huge and painful irony that few people ever acknowledge: that pretty much none of the checkpoint rules put in place after the attacks of 9/11 would have prevented those attacks in the first place. The success of the attacks had almost nothing to do with airport security. What weapons the men used was irrelevant. Had boxcutters been banned, they would have used something else. Heck, pencils would have done the job, probably. The only weapon that mattered was the simplest, lowest-tech weapon of all: the element of surprise. What the men exploited was our understanding, at the time, of what a hijacking was and how it was expected to unfold. The “security failure” of 9/11 wasn’t letting boxcutters onto planes. It was a failure of passenger and crew awareness, of cockpit entry protocols, and a total breakdown of communication at the levels of our FBI and CIA, both of which had been tracking the hijackers.

TSA’s PreCheck program has been a step in the right direction, but there’s a long way to go. Here are seven ideas to rationalize airport security, making it more efficient, more cost-effective, and ultimately safer for all of us:

— Eliminate most of the liquids restrictions and the shoe removal rules. Security experts have long argued the uselessness of the liquids prohibitions, and the shoe thing, which is not a policy across Europe and most of Asia, is almost as ineffective.

— Eliminate the “bag check” protocol that calls for the entire security line to come to a stop every time an item in somebody’s luggage requires a second look. Of the millions of such items detected in the past fifteen years, not one has hurt anybody. We don’t have time for this. Pull the bag aside for inspection separately, and let the line keep moving.

— Let’s get past our silly infatuation with pointy objects and other non-weapons. Confiscating hobby tools and toys takes time and money, yet does nothing to make us safer. The focus should be on explosives. Or, perhaps more importantly, on people who might use explosives, which brings us to the next recommendation…

— Take a percentage of screeners now working at airport checkpoints and re-train them to work away from public view, inspecting luggage and cargo, reviewing passenger data, etc. As I’ve noted many times in the past, the real job of protecting planes from terrorists doesn’t belong to concourse screeners. It happens backstage, so to speak, with TSA, FBI, and intelligence entities working together to break up plots and capture suspects before they get to the airport. Once a terrorist reaches the terminal, chances are that he or she has figured out a way to skirt whatever safeguards we have in place.

— Would it be crazy to advocate that certain travelers, at TSA spotters’ discretion, be exempt from screening altogether? Personnel could be trained to choose certain passengers deemed lowest-threat — these travelers would, as a starting point, be PreCheck qualified — pull them out of line and allow them to pass. Just a thought.

— Deploy more TSA staff overseas — in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America — where they can assist local security in the protection of US-bound aircraft. It is much more probable that a bomb or other attack would originate from overseas, yet our focus has been domestically. Again, this seems to be part of our September 11th hangover: we’ve got high-tech equipment and body scanners at regional airports in Ohio, but not in many cities around the world from where an attack is far likelier to emanate. Does anybody remember the comedy of errors that allowed the so-called “Underwear Bomber” to make his way onto a Detroit-bound flight out of Amsterdam? Here was a Nigerian citizen who’d spent time in Yemen, traveling on a one-way ticket, and whose own father had tried to warn American authorities about him. And here we are confiscating plastic squirt-guns and rubber swords from four year-old kids at regional airports in Utah. The trick is getting foreign government to allow American security personnel to operate at their airports, but certainly some level of this is possible. Already in many countries US carriers hire third-party contractors to assist with passenger and luggage screening.

— Improve our hardware. I made a connection at the airport in Dubai recently, and security screening took no more than about 25 seconds. One reason for this was the design and layout of the checkpoint. The luggage belts were big, and wide. The bins were big, and wide. The x-ray machines were big, and wide. The collection-side conveyors and tables were big, and wide. There was room to maneuver, room to organize your stuff, and bags went more quickly through the scanners — all of which helps everything run faster and more smoothly. Our checkpoints are a claustrophobic, cumbersome, jury-rigged jumble of card tables, trash receptacles overflowing with water bottles, and so on.

The trouble isn’t that we have “too much security” per se. It’s that we have too much security in the wrong places. The solution isn’t pouring more and more money into a defective strategy. It’s changing that strategy.

 

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121 Responses to “TSA’s Summer Meltdown”
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  1. RB says:

    Totally agree. As a European who travels often, I can confirm that most European airports push bags to a separate belt where one (two if peak time) security personnel deal with the bag. It holds the “offender” up for 5-10 minutes but – crucially – doesn’t hold the rest of the line up for even a second.

  2. RB says:

    In which case the next terrorist attempt will come from someone wearing a suit, because it’s “plainly obvious” they are travelling on business and clearly don’t require the same scrutiny as others.

    A suggestion is only a suggestion when a bit of logcal thought has gone into it – otherwise it’s just inane rambling.

  3. PSimpson says:

    PreCheck. I’m not paying $85 for it. Either I qualify (several times, I’ve mysteriously become PreCheck qualified), or I don’t. Look…”they” already have access to my arrest history (or lack of same), credit card statements, financial history, etc.

    Now, occasionally, those databases and the phase of the moon tell the PreCheck fairies that I’m not that much of a risk that I need to remove my shoes and belt.

    But most of the time, I’m in the line with the rest of the cattle.

    How does that make any sense at all?

  4. Emma says:

    “Eliminate the “bag check” protocol that calls for the entire security line to come to a stop every time an item in somebody’s luggage requires a second look.”
    That’s what is done in Europe & Asia, I am French and if something is found, the bag is set aside, the owner called, they go in a separate area and the bag is checked. I even can’t imagine stopping the whole process.

    And why do the get so annoying and confiscate my tweezers and the let you bring a GLASS bottle from the duty free. Anyone who have seen some gangster movie knows what cans be done with a broken glass bottle !

  5. John Patterson says:

    The decisions made at the top of the security establishment, particularly the TSA have NOTHING to do with securing planes, trains and passengers. The motive is profit for dozens of businesses that did not exist before 9/11. It’s so sad but in virtually every crisis decision this country makes it always comes down to; follow the money.

  6. Andrea Chipman says:

    Yes, yes and yes. These suggestions are no-brainers, but there does appear to be a taboo (or superstition?) involved in tampering with the lumbering post-9/11 security apparatus. I will show this to my security-obsessed spouse. Perhaps you will be able to convince him where others have failed.

  7. Gordon Lamb says:

    Well argued, and I agree. It’s much like the absurdity of the vaunted ‘War on Drugs’; a horrendous waste of time, money, and manpower. And neither the War on Drugs or TSA will EVER go away, because the vote whores love ’em.

    But there are two more aviation antiterrorist measures that I am sure that you are aware of.

    The first is that along with most other veterans, I watch the passengers around me. If someone stands up to threaten a flightcrew member, they will have to pull about three active duty or ex-servicemembers off of the idiot.

    Second, as a pilot, and I am aware of a hijacking attempt with immediate threat of violence, there will be a free airshow for all aboard. I wonder how many have experienced the Vomit Comet routine of three G pullouts followed by a zero G pushover?

    While I’m demonstrating why America is less secure than she should be by not allowing 60 year old fighter pilots, my right-seater will be dialing the cabin altitude to, say, 18,000 feet. After everyone blanks out, one of us will done a portable O2 bottle and demonstrate the utility of strapping tape after stripping them naked (too easy to conceal nasty stuff in clothes). Then cover them with a blanket, turn up the cabin altitude, and give the other passengers free reign with cigarette lighters and pliers. Well, maybe not, but a guy came dream…

  8. MacGordon says:

    How about a designated “frequent traveler” passenger group?
    Such a group would first need to undergo intense security scrutiny by the appropriate authority.
    After passing the very stringent tests, the “frequent traveler” would be able to bypass all security screening thus speeding up the whole process.
    Some mid week flights often carry a majority of business travelers and time saved could be considerable.
    Not just confined to business travelers as such but for anyone who travels by air on a regular basis.

  9. Ian says:

    I have never flown through Dubai, but it sounds very alluring. The second point about pulling the odd questionable baggage out for secondary screening sounds very doable and efficient. Profiling may or may not work. For example, children have been used to carry suicide bombs, and by my personal experience, have been shamelessly used by older shoplifters to evade detection and searches. It seems that criminals will use profiling themselves as a tool, for example, the “Black Widows of Chechen” use women. If elderly nuns get a free pass, it won’t be long before elderly “nuns” are used as terrorists. Although the USA gets slagged for its security inefficiency, it is unfair to single it out as unique. In recent flights, both Schiphol and Beijing were zoos, and in Frankfurt the scanners went off over a nylon belt with a plastic buckle and a used paper tissue. In contrast, the line in Seattle, although long, moved quickly- somewhat less so in LAX; but a good natured roving TSA agent who seemed to be engaged in preparing the passengers for inspection made the wait tolerable. At the risk of sounding too new age, people skills training, while seemingly never mentioned, might help to expedite matters. I can’t help to contrast the cheerful, engaging security agent in Vancouver with the “drill sargeant” in Chicago. No points for guessing whose line went faster, and whose encountered an understandable and predictable “push back”.

  10. RAN says:

    You can’t get on a plane while wearing a tin foil hat.

  11. Robert Zeigler says:

    Ok, grab your stones and get ready to throw;

    Profiling

    It may not totally eliminate the threat, but it will certainly reduce it.

  12. UnsureOfAnything says:

    No amount of security checking at airports would have prevented the controlled demolition that destroyed the North and South towers and Building 7 at the World Trade Center on 9/11.

  13. Curt Sampson says:

    Little old ladies and babies do not hijack aircraft.

    But we don’t need them to hijack an aircraft. We just need them to carry the tools through the security checkpoint to hand to someone else who will do the hijacking.

    (BTW, dunno if the “reply” button on individual comments is working; my last reply to a message somehow ended up as a top-level message, though that might just have been an error on my part.)

  14. Curt Sampson says:

    Well, to start with, a separate line for those with no carry-on bags strikes me as a bit sexist, since women generally carry purses and men don’t.

    And if you’re going to say that some bags, such as “purses” are ok, but others not, well, you’re opening up a whole can of worms there. What about really big purses? If those are ok, how about men with laptop bags? You’re stopping only “rollies”? That’s not going to stop my mess.

    My standard carry-on (I don’t check baggage) is a backpack-bag specifically sized for carry-on, a “laptop bag” with my one of my laptops (I often carry two) and various other personal items, and the usual variety of stuff in my pockets. My laptop bag can go in my carry-on bag when I’m more concerned about the number of things I’m carrying than getting to the stuff in my laptop bag quickly.

    All that is quite a bit of a pain to pack and unpack, probably moreso than your typically rolling suitcase user. (A good part of the issue is their instance on me taking out and separating my laptops and the like, and I’m not allowed to check those even if I wanted to.) I can just imagine the arguments about what is and isn’t considered ok for one line or the other in situations like this.

  15. Curt Sampson says:

    So, responding to a few things in this article and in the comments:

    1. Advertising to the world that you have a policy that relaxes security given certain conditions is, essentially, advertising that anybody trying to attack you should see if they can take advantage of that. If everyone can see that old people are getting less of a security check, the attackers will look to see how they can exploit that.

    Given that anything that can be gotten past the security checkpoint can be passed to anybody else afterwards, that means you have to screen the 80-year-old parapalegic who’s the only passenger on a flight just as well as you have to screen all the young folks on a flight leaving hours later from a gate at the other end of the secured zone.

    2. Crew Screening: clearly cockpit crew don’t need screening at all. But we very much do need to screen anybody who is merely _pretending_ to be cockpit crew. So I don’t think that different checks for that would likely be any cheaper than the standard checks on passengers, though there may be an argument to be made that making cockpit crew’s lives more comfortable has some value.

    Cabin crew I don’t think can do anything that passengers can’t do, can they? So, the same screening would seem to be indicated.

  16. UncleStu says:

    Our “political leaders” (an oxymoron of the first order) are so afraid that something bad will happen while they are in office, that their only solutions are to add more BS to the system.

    As long as our politicans don’t have the courage to make sensible changes, every change will make things worse.

  17. Stephen R. Stapleton says:

    I am of the firm belief much of what needed to be done for airline security was done by the end of the day on Sept. 11th. We changed our attitude. 20 years ago, a hijacking was to be endured with the rather certain knowledge things will likely end well. Today, I truly believe a hijacker could rise with a bazooka and his fellow passengers would tear him to shreds so small there wouldn’t be enough left for DNA analysis.
    However, I do think smuggled bombs are a legitimate threat and they can be placed with a baby or someone in a wheel chair (see Batman v. Superman for a good example). Checking everyone for a bomb doesn’t seem unreasonable. To of much effect, bombs must be of some reasonable size, however. I am not talking the size of a suitcase, but certainly larger than 3 oz. of liquid. I don’t see how scanning equipment cannot pick this up with reasonable certainty and speed.

  18. Tom H says:

    How about a No Suitcase line?

  19. jeffrey latten says:

    How about a separate line for those with NO carry-on bags?

  20. jeffrey latten says:

    Absolutely right. Just another example of the knee-jerk reaction we take to swat a fly with an atomic weapon. As you point out, the “underwear bomber” never should have been allowed to board in the first place. A true comedy of errors.

  21. dmac says:

    Patrick,

    How about an even more radical measure: create a dedicated express security line for people without carry on luggage. The proliferation of carry on baggage is a major cause of choke points during security check in. With more and more fliers schlepping more and more stuff on to planes the entire passenger experience is getting bogged down–from excruciating delays at security to standing around during boarding while some joker tries to shoehorn his oversized roller into the overhead bin. I recently experimented on flying just with my cell phone and Kindle, both of which were tucked neatly into my jacket pocket. It was oddly liberating and not at all inconvenient. I can’t say that it saved me much time as I was caught in the same log-jam as everyone else. But I could see how fast such a carry-on free line could move. It would also incentivize folks to stop hauling half of their worldly possessions into the passenger compartment.

  22. Roger Wolff says:

    The main thing is that if you prevent the terrorists from getting on the plane, what will they do? Well, maybe they will bomb some other gathering-of-people than an airplane. Think Paris. Or if they want to remain travel-related, they could bomb the departure terminal. Think Brussels.
    Shucks! Now I’m giving them ideas… Oh wait! They clearly already had those ideas.

    You have to deal with this stuff in a sensible way. Detect the guys who pose a potential danger. Catch them before they get to the airport.

  23. Michael S says:

    Excellent, sensible points. The most important, to me: “…the idea that every single person who flies… is seen as a potential terrorist of equal threat.” Has TSA made a comparative study of security procedures in other countries? Israel comes to mind. Theirs is very heavy on psychological first, then on physical – scans, luggage checks, etc. – as deemed necessary. I have no idea of the comparative effectiveness of theirs vs. ours, but I suspect theirs is superior.

  24. Truthafuss says:

    Although there are errors (shoes still come off at European airports, maybe not every single one, but this still does occur) this is a good article. The TSA modus operandi must indeed be streamlined not made more complicated with hundreds more willing but not always clear thinking uniforms treating 75 year old women as possible terrorists. I will read the article again slowly. It is important to start discussing what is being discussed here, even though some points are flawed. No matter, some very good ideas.

  25. Richard Hoffman says:

    I love your suggestions Patrick. They make so much sense that the Department of Homeland Stupidity will never adopt them.

  26. Katherine says:

    Agree, Bob. A question for Patrick – is anyone at all working on legislation that would change the screening process to be more in line with your proposals?

    Also, take crew out of the screening process. Even if crew are screened separately it takes TSA personnel to do it, when there is no need, statistically or otherwise, for crew to be screened. See Patrick’s eatlier posts on the TSA fiasco for more on this. I am former crew, and know the waste of everyone’s time firsthand.

  27. That would imply that we treat people differently. That means casting aside the political correctness that undermines security. The view that we are all an equal threat, so to speak, is the underlying myth that fuels the security theater.

  28. Great suggestions!

  29. Jim Houghton says:

    DXB was built with security in mind. LAX was not. Retrofitting an older airport with a procedure it wasn’t built to accommodate is never going to work as well as…well, you get my point. I agree with every point PS makes, but comparing DXB to our airports (I happen to love LAX and think it works like a charm, except for security) is apples and artichokes.

  30. Michael A says:

    Make the prepass application free.

  31. mark R says:

    re: drills gone live

    Military and intel agencies ran several drills during 9/11 that were similar to the attacks, the most chilling was the ‘plane into building” exercise at the National Reconnaissance Office (near Dulles) at the same time that Flight 77 turned around toward DC.

    Rank and file FBI, DIA and CIA agents tried to stop the attacks but were blocked. That’s not “incompetence,” but much worse.

    The security theater is worse than useless when senior staff of the intel agencies overrule the normal function of government to stop an attack.

  32. mornaiguy says:

    Excellent. You didn’t say it, but I know you were thinking it: Do what the Israelis do. In fact, hire them to start training our security people to do the job as efficiently and effectively as they do it for El Al.

  33. MS72 says:

    My wife and I don’t travel much now, but we still remember the security in Brussels decades ago. VERY UNOBTRUSIVE. After checking in, she got paged and was asked to open an x-rayed bag. Hair curlers must look pretty strange to the screener. Anyway, quickly dealt with and no interruption to other passengers.

  34. Zilla says:

    We do save time because we don’t take our shoes off and we don’t “forget” we packed the gun (because we don’t carry guns). And, of course, we’re polite so that makes everyone (including the examiners) work better. I have been flying within Canada or to England only for many years. I remember I went to New Orleans about 10 years ago and and I, and quite a few others, spent about 2 hours going through the US security. Never again.

  35. Richard says:

    One of the most effective solutions isn’t mentioned in the article.
    Simply eliminate all fees for checked baggage.

  36. Dave Fisher says:

    Israel has one of the safest airports in the world (and El al is one of the safest airlines) and they don’t screen everybody. they have personnel trained to spot potential threats. we don’t need more screening, just more focused screening. body searches of babies/children are a complete waste of time as is removing colostomy bags from the elderly/disabled.

  37. Ketabasis says:

    I agree. A backpack bomb in the folded lineup before even getting to security could take out hundreds.

  38. TSA is run politically not logically. The union must grow to survive and keep control of the political finances. Individually, the screeners want to lord their authority over the public they “serve”.
    A good opinion piece. One I happen to agree with. I’m a little surprised the carriers haven’t taken the chores back.

  39. Stephen R. Stapleton says:

    Patrick, from your typing fingers to G-d’s ears and the ears of the President and the head of Homeland (still hate that name) Security.

  40. katty wompus says:

    The airlines refused to harden the doors because it would be “too expensive”.

    The FAA is known as “The Tombstone Agency” for good reasons.

  41. Rick Londrie says:

    My compliments to the author for articulating so well what the true problem is regarding the TSA philosophy on passenger screening. I hope the right people see this and begin the process of change for the better.

  42. Gottettaz says:

    “Watch your spelling and grammar. Poorly written posts will be deleted!”

    This rule is not being enforced. Apart from Patrick almost no one on this site can even spell, let alone put a few words together in a coherent way. Patrick, please at the very least delete all posts confusing “its” and “it’s”.

  43. Fritz Steiner says:

    Israel has ONE –count it — ONE major international airport. It can afford to have the highly-trained professionals who can screen travelers intelligently and efficiently. They PROFILE everyone entering the airport.

    Contrast that with the USA with over twenty major international and hundreds of domestic airports, The Israeli system can’t possibly work here For one thing we don’t PROFILE — might hurt somebody’s feelings.

    With no intent to disparage all of TSA’s current screeners, it has been my experience that many of them just go through the motions and don’t give damn whether you’re inconvenienced, insulted, or even if you miss your flight. The attitude seems to be “I’m just following orders” which was the discrdited Germans excuse for the atrocities they’d participated in during WWII.

    The TSA “system” has grown, like an incurable, cancer, into a massive, useless, brain-dead immovable object..

  44. Alan Liebowitz says:

    It is time to profile. Little old ladies and babies do not hijack aircraft. Typically, it is young Muslim men. Ah, but to deal with reality we’d have to do away with political correctness… and that will never happen.

  45. Den Man says:

    Patrick, you are 100% correct in how the TSA has got it all wrong. How people have tolerated seeing their mothers and grandmothers being humiliated is beyond me. Everyone should be outraged how more freedoms are being taken away from the 99% all the while trying to stop the 1%. Just the other day there was mention of 345 breaches of airport perimeter fences and gates since 2004. One Massachusetts congressman’s solution, hire more TSA employees to monitor the perimeters. Crazy

  46. Barfy McBarfburger says:

    If families with small children, the smartly attired and other “obvious non-terrorists” are allowed to pass with minimal scrutiny then perhaps, just possibly, might people of mal-intent catch on and travel that way too? TSA provides a deterrent (as well as an unfortunate irritant). Most banks have not been robbed; does that mean they don’t need safes?

  47. Ed Watson says:

    Offer knives to every passenger that will take one. Then the bad guys will know they have an uphill battle. Think Flt 93 where they took control with bare fists.
    Depressurize the cabin – at 30,000 ft there will be a lot of ‘sleepy’ people in about 40 seconds if the O2 masks are disabled. If not disabled a lot of confusion and for anyone walking around – sleepy time.

  48. Thomas says:

    Dubai is #3 in the world’s busiest airports, so it is actually a very correct comparison. I’ve flow in and out of DXB numerous times. Despite the large amount of traffic, that airport is quite efficient and security is top notch, in my opinion.

    As for your other comment, I can’t disagree with you too much.

  49. David says:

    I doubt Dubai is comparable to say Atlanta in passenger quantity. But the most important solution now is to stop the massive criminal and legal invasion of America being orchestrated by our own government, and I mean both the Mexican border and Islamic immigration.

  50. Sunny says:

    Absolutely.
    Funny; Israel seems to have lines move right along.

  51. Steve says:

    Patrick is dead on!!! As a 30+ year retired airline captain, it never has been about the “THINGS” it’s about the “who”. Bob Crandall (hated and despised AA CEO) said “we should stop looking for things”. This summer’s meltdown is not about screening, it is plain and simple a labor issue. Right after 9/11 I was having a discussion with our “corporate chief of security”, the most revealing thing he said was “security checking is about perception”

  52. Common Sense says:

    Your right, Patrick’s comments are at worst, stupid or, at best, remedially naive. He, rather conveniently, overlooks the high turnover at the TSA or that the US Govt, in 2013, decided it was time to spend half of the 9/11 security ticket charge, not on security, not on hiring more employees or better equipment, not on improving the process for the travelers but on paying down the US debt. Federal law prevents the TSA employees from working overtime so as more people travel and with the TSA having less money to spend on keeping up with the increasing number of travelers, Patrick thinks we should send TSA personal to airports in other countries despite not having enough personal to keep US airports staffed to meet the demand. There is a problem but Patrick’s fantasy land solutions just won’t make it in the real world the rest of us live in.

  53. george simpson says:

    the UK still does the liquid and shoe check which if you are in a suit and nice shoes and they tell you to take them of is absurd , as it is plain to see you have been on business.

  54. John says:

    The place I feel most vulnerable to terrorism is in huge crowd of people waiting to be screened.

    The problem with trying to re-engineer the TSA is that a large intransigent government bureaucracy and empire has been created. Self preservation is always the highest order human instinct, including the way departments organise.

    The entire system needs to be re-engineered using a scientific, data-driven methodology – not the emotive theatrics we have now.

  55. Ann Derrick says:

    This is absolutely RIGHT. This the job of our government — to work on a common sense solution like this! I know that our government and common sense are mutually exclusive, but I would like to write to my congressman about this, quoting this letter. How do I ask for permission to do this?

    THANK you for your perfectly sensible approach to an utterly ridiculous problem!!

    Ann

  56. Anonymous says:

    Geoff sounds like a politician — says a lot but doesn’t make any sense or doesn’t offer a solution..

  57. Alex says:

    Delta Air Lines is trying to make thing better, not just standing around and complaining but trying to solve it:

    http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIwtNu0pyU

  58. Jim Scott says:

    Excellent suggestions…especially letting 80-year-old retirees and young families with children and strollers to pass thru the Pre-Check line…or have a separate line for obvious non-terrorists like these, who will take longer to go thru the checkpoint, to pass through.

    As an aside, I always thought it ridiculous that a potential terrorist with a business-class or first-class seat would clear security with no weapons, but as soon as his (or her) meal was served, they’d be handed weapons: a stainless steel knife and fork.

  59. Sir Daniel Bilbruck says:

    TSA see’s terrorist behind every bag they check and it is frustrating. I have stainless pins, screws and plates in my feet, ankles, legs and one arm. Every time I go through a airport it is a night mare. During one trip a TSA agent had me standing next to a portable wall running his wand over me. His English was terrible and yet I was in an American airport.

    I kept explaining to him that the wand was being miss use different. Another security agent came in and he was just as I’ll trained. I asked him, do you think that I’m going to use a plastic knife to cut my arm or leg open to unscrew a stainless plate to attack some one on a plane? TSA has to much authority and miss uses that authority. Needless to say, I missed my flight to Europe and had to rent a hotel room and catch a flight the next day. It ruined my business trip.

    There are many handicapped people treated like terrorist and second class citizens. This must stop.

  60. Tom says:

    The sad thing for me is that because of the TSA, Canada imitates. We don’t have shoe removal but the assumptions that everyone is a potential terrorist, and that liquids, gels and pointy things are the danger, remain. Add to that the ridiculous spectacle of Canadian customs and immigration officers in body armour and carrying guns, checking the passports of incoming people who have been searched and had their bags xrayed… (They had drive-through incidents, and also wanted to be paid as cops).
    Your suggestions are very sensible, though I suspect the theatre in inspecting people rather than threats keeps the cause of big security alive, so TSA won’t change because politicians don’t think they can explain such a change to the Public.

  61. John Sikora says:

    Seems to make far too much sense. Most of the attacks have been either through getting into the cockpit or putting some explosive into the cargo hold. It would seem like we should concentrate on the areas that work for terrorists and forget the theater. If you can’t get into the cockpit you can’t take over the flight. Inspect everything that goes into the plane in detail and you remove a lot of the options. Threats don’t come from passengers. They come from internal breaches of security.

  62. Geoff says:

    They can’t do anything about the long lines. Lots of people are lots of people. Blame is on all sides. Some airport officials(Atlanta, Chicago, Dulles) deserve blame for antiquated airports. Congress deserves blame for lack of funding and managerial oversight of TSA. Airlines are to blame for overbooking and the baggage fee money grab. Ultimately travelers are most responsible for their traveling. Bringing everything but the kitchen sink on board that has to be screened and not affording themselves enough time before boarding is part of the blame as well. Story is a little overblown. Not that hard to get through LAX or DFW. There is some problems with the pilot’s logic. Liquids can large amounts. That can’t be lifted. You can’t screen everyone’s liquids for binary. That’s why there is a restriction. It would take to long. The Pilots Association didn’t want to lift the pointy objects restriction. Congress not the TSA that mandates everyone be screened.Again passengers are most responsible for their travel. I was screened early on. It was never meant to be about speed. Passengers have to afford themselves enough time.

  63. Eric says:

    Bravo, The regular once a year vacation taker should be singled out and not have to go thru security .
    As a Canadian traveler going south every year during winter months
    I now avoid having to go thru USA for connecting flights because of all the security hassles and lenghty unnecessary shoe removals etc
    Better security screening is a must if we want see more flyers

  64. Chuck berlin says:

    You are 1000% correct with so many of your points.

    I am a very frequent traveller with Global Entry, Pre and even Clear (which is going to rise again) and the thing that irks me is the total lack of simple COMMON SENSE and coordination.

    The key example is the Pre situation. At times, the airlines authorize certain customers to use the Pre line even though they not formally enrolled. On the surface, this makes sense but when the TSA does not allow for this added capacity and when these inexperienced people get on the line and try to figure it out what is going on, they slow the process to a point where the benefits of the Pre are negated.

    Management should also look to see what other countries are doing and adapt some of their procedures.

    LHR has have a way to segregate suspect luggage and inspect it in a way that does not interfere with the normal line flow. They also have a much better bin fill and retrieval system.

    Behavorial profiling has to be stepped up using some of the technology that is available today. Saying that, i am sure that some already is.

    Use of dogs in the ticketing and departure areas

    Everyone should understand that flying is a privilege and not a “right” and they are going to have to accept things that may not be 100% PC. Saying that, random interviews and maybe not so-random interviews should be done by trained personnel.

  65. John Roseborough says:

    Prior to my retirement I was an FAA Aviation Safety Inspector and what I observed was a TSA that was totally ignorant of the airline industry and what had been tried before and didn’t work. They were totally uninterested in being educated. They, sadly have improved very little in the past eleven plus years.

  66. Bob G says:

    Smart idea!

  67. Jim says:

    Good grief, have we turned into sheep? Look how many people have swallowed the TSA’s excuses and kubuki security and you see the problem. Why the hell do I have to pay for a “Pre-check” membership? Didn’t we already pay for the TSA to get it’s collective asses together? NOW they want us pay for an “Upgrade” to the standard cattle car experience. It’s not surprising they now offer “upgrades” to the well heeled so they won’t complain to Congress leaving the rest to look like Venezuelans in line for toilet paper. Within 12 months I suspect some genius in the TSA hierarchy to figure out there should be Silver, Gold and Platinum levels as well. Bet the Diamond level could come with a traveling Masseuse
    Here’s a suggestion. If, by their definition, joining precheck allows them to speed you past and lower their manning requirements, just have the government provide PreCheck for everyone. 41% of the adults in the US fly each year. That’s about 91 million people. PreCheck cost’s $85 but that’s insane, just profit. A fast background and NCIC check will run about $7 dollars, while still making a profit.so thats $693 million. The TSA Budget is 7.6 Billion. So if they could reduce their manpower just 25% that would save 1.9 billion leaving us with 1.3 Billion for a party, or more seat room. Or we could just certify every new flyer as they buy their ticket. Here, do your own math. You’re welcome. Here’s the DOT link with numbers. https://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.

  68. ReadyKilowatt says:

    DP Wrote:
    “There should be no security check for poeple who work for pre qualified companies. If a person has passed a company background check, there is almost zero probability the person is a terrorist”

    But then the liability falls on the employer who cleared them. No way that will ever happen.

  69. ReadyKilowatt says:

    Or just charge a reasonable fee, like $5 for a small bag and $10 for a big one. Instead they charge what FedEx charges for door-to-door delivery.

  70. Daryl says:

    SPEED is the enemy of Security. You want fast, you get less security. I’d rather have the wait and actually GET to my destination rather than fast and die almost getting there.

  71. Guy O'Tierney says:

    Good job, and common sense. I don’t feel safer standing with hundreds in a line. I feel like a target, Brussels style. The attitudes of almost all TSA agents is one of slow motion, checking out chicks, and that I am inconvientcing them. (I watch them when I am in line, far too many don’t seem too interested in safety). It’s a job for apparently low qualification/beaucrat types. That’s a big part of the problem. We are treated with distain for a false sense of security.

  72. Alastair says:

    Thanks – I couldn’t remember how that worked in the US.

    A couple of years ago I flew from Edinburgh to London and then on To Singapore. I cleared security (obviously) in Edinburgh, then had to do it all over again in London, despite never having left a secure area cleared by the same government agency.

    Another flight I recall was the second part of Glasgow to Christchurch via Dubai, Bangkok and Sydney. Fair enough, in Dubai I left the terminal so had to reclear. At Bangkok and Sydney, though, they made us get off the aircraft, clear security then wait in the lounge to reboard (the SAME aircraft). After being in transit for 30-odd hours, this got a little wearing…

  73. DP says:

    There should be no security check for poeple who work for pre qualified companies. If a person has passed a company background check, there is almost zero probability the person is a terrorist. TSA costs us billions in lost productivity. Leisure travelers should go through some security.

  74. George Hillard says:

    It also seems to me that none of the airports–even the new terminals–are designed to “take” these multiple rows of machines and passengers. They don’t fit. In Dublin, we go thru customs and TSA twice: Irish once and then US. The TSA lanes are jammed into a hallway near the gates. Newark Liberty is also a building that has not changed…except for all that TSA paraphernalia jammed in there. I think O’Hare’s Intl Arrivals building
    is one of the better ones–perhaps we have staggered arrivals there, too.

    In short, as others have also pointed out, we need a different approach; a clever new design that will improve FLOW of a high-volume enterprise. The physical layout remains the same: designed to go slowly and usually overburdened by the load.

  75. Chuck says:

    I agree with some of what you said. But they have found guns in some of those bags that people “forgot”. So they have found things that are dangerous.

  76. Brian Tilbury says:

    Make TSA Pre-check free. Then tens of thousands of infrequent flyers will use it. And stop using TSA screeners at non-airport events, such as conventions and sports events.

  77. John says:

    I have the best solution. As a non-american I avoid any and everything american. That means airlines, airports, air space. We have also stopped buying american because of all the security hassle. Good luck america you have blown your own foot off and let the terrorists win.

  78. Rick says:

    Did anyone realize the lines got really bad because the CEO of American Airlines decided to bank the flights to depart at the same time so you have 10 plane loads of passengers trying to get through security at one time? The solution really is quite simple, just stagger the departure times and the passenger flow will be steady and not feast or famine.

  79. Neale Garside says:

    How about getting airlines to stop charging for bagage

  80. Rick says:

    Your suggestions are stupid. First of all Americans don’t want to work in a shitty Arab airport so deploying TSA there isn’t happening. Blowing up a plane is still super cheap. It only costs the price of a ticket. Ask the Egyptian plane that was blown up if they wished there was better screening there. TSA may be an inconvenience for many but it is illegal to profile and discriminate based on race, gender and age. The rules of flying are really simple but entitled dummies don’t seem to understand that the rules apply to them and slow the process for everyone else. TSA screeners are just looking for bombs, guns, and weapons and don’t have time to single anyone out for harassment.

    • Patrick says:

      My suggestions are “stupid”? So, you’re happy with the system as it is? And who said that discriminating on race or gender was a good idea? Nowhere in my article did I say that. Effective profiling uses a large combination of data points that take in a lot more than just national origin or the color of a person’s skin. Racial profiling isn’t just illegal and unfair, but it’s also very easy for a perpetrator to work around.

  81. Steve says:

    Well what you purpose makes economic and proactive sense. The main problem is unions and former Homeland Security top officials have a financial interest in the way we screen passengers. Then there are contracts on what equipment is to be used. The former heads of DHS are now attached to private companies tied to TSA government contracts.

  82. Justin Scott says:

    @Alastair – If you are transferring from one domestic flight to another, most airports in the US are set up so that you do not have to go through screening again. If you leave the “secure” area and come back (e.g. leaving the airport during a really long layover) to the terminal you do have to go through screening again, but just transferring from one flight to another is still within the “secure” area and hence no need for repeated screening.

  83. Hal says:

    Absolutely! El AL said many years ago “we always know who is flying with us!” Give 15% of the money we now spend on TSA to the FBI & CIA and get rid of the whole lot. Talk about a “giant sucking sound” for no value whatsoever!
    To date the shoe bomber and underwear bomber were stopped by fellow passengers and not by any airport screener.

  84. Speed says:

    “Delta gifted the TSA two innovation lanes this week at the airline’s hometown Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The lanes speed up wait times at security by providing five divestment points. An automated bin system keeps empty bins circulating and routes bins that alarm the system to a separate area for inspection, ensuring an ongoing flow of people and bins.”

    http://news.delta.com/delta-deploys-two-innovation-lanes-atl-security-checkpoint

  85. Daniel Ullman says:

    Just a note. Almost all of guns found by TSA would have been found by pre-9/11 x-ray screening. It isn’t that they are missing obvious stuff in a test, which they are not. They are missing non-obvious stuff. Whether or not this is a threat is a question. The answer is likely no.

  86. Speed says:

    Two months ago I went through a TSA PRE line and my carry-on was flagged for review — an electronic birthday card.

    The bag and I were moved out of the line and a TSA employee inspected the bag and did a wipe test. I was inconvenienced. No one else in line was inconvenienced.

  87. ReadyKilowatt says:

    Well, one sure way to keep the lines moving would be to not embarrass the agency by crowing to the media about the 97% of weapons you got past the screeners as a test. I’m sure someone put out the word to be “extra careful” to screen bags and passengers, just to be certain nothing was getting past. Also a handy way to get some simpathy in Congress for more empire building (as if DHS wasn’t already a giant). I can almost hear the upper middle manager now… “You want us to find everything? Fine, we can do that, but it’s gonna cost ya!”

  88. Alastair says:

    Am I right in thinking that transfer passengers are required to clear security again? This is certainly the case if you arrive in the US on an international flight, but it’s a long time since I transferred from an internal flight at a US airport.

    Eliminating the need to check passengers who’ve already been checked would surely cut the waiting times.

  89. Lou gamble says:

    Not much of what was written here makes any sense… not based on reality. The job of aviation security is very difficult and complicated. First, you have to try and catch everything, while being as non-invasive and efficient as possible. Adapt to evolving threats, not knowing where they may come from or what that may actually look like. Some of your suggestions would basically open the front door for terrorists to exploit. That’s why everyone has to be screened as if they are a threat, and procedures have to be consistent. We can’t ultimately know who is or isn’t ill intentioned, just that they have no means to do harm.

    I particularly enjoyed your idea about TSA in other countries, being that America has been so happy (not) with our forces being in the middle East, they’ll love us doing the world’s airport security too.

    • Patrick says:

      Nobody is asking TSA to “do the world’s security.” But why not have our own people on hand to assist with the screening of US-bound flights? I travel all over the world, and the screening procedures in some countries is sorely lacking. You seem rather worked up over the possibility of terrorism, yet you’re comfortable with this?

  90. Ramapriya says:

    Living in the UAE, I’ve always found DXB most traveler-friendly. I can’t say the same for any Indian airport, though, where security checks are ridiculous. I’ve not been to the US but nothing can be as tiresome as what it is in India.

  91. Common Sense says:

    So you have an opinion based on no knowledge of what you are pretending to be an expert on. For the week ending April 26, 2016 – The TSA found 73 firearms in carry on bags. It gets better, 68 of them were loaded. Whatever excuse one can make for “forgetting” you have a firearm in your carry on is one thing but it takes a special kind of idiot to have a loaded firearm when they are going to be in a pressurized plane at altitude. As for searching elderly and children, Customs and Border Protection is, constantly, finding people smuggling drugs in and across the country. Stuffed in the diaper a baby wears. Stuffed in the tubing of a wheelchair. Two weeks ago the TSA discovered someone’s cane just happened to be a stun-cane. Anything can be a weapon or illegal and while the lines are horrible, you never know what someone might be up to.

    • Patrick says:

      So TSA found handguns in luggage? Good. That’s what they’re supposed to do. What they shouldn’t be doing, however, is confiscating little toy swords and arguing with passengers over whether frozen tomato sauce constitutes a liquid or a solid (it happened), and otherwise be wasting our time with absurd rules and the foolish notion that they can detect any and every conceivable “weapon.” You write, “anything can be a weapon.” Indeed, and that underscores the fool’s errand of trying to find them all. We can never be 100 percent safe. Never. There is only so much we can do before the system becomes untenable and starts to collapse under its own weight, which is exactly what’s happening now.

      And TSA and CPB are different things with different priorities. It is not TSA’s job to look for drugs. (Should we have them in the parking lots writing tickets as well, and looking for shoplifters at the magazine stands?) TSA is not a law enforcement entity.

  92. Daniel Ullman says:

    or pull it off to a secondary and maybe a much better x-ray machine and have the TSA team huddle there.

  93. joebody says:

    I would say that the current TSA rules are in place to protect corporate interests instead of individuals. If a terrorist wants to kill a bunch of people at an airport, stand in a checkout line and blow themselves up. Easy.

    Keeping the bombs away from the planes doesn’t protect people, it protects planes, which cost a lot of money to build/replace.

  94. Daniel Ullman says:

    The doors to the flight deck should have been hardened and locked way back in the ’70s. That would have made 9/11, as it was carried out, impossible and would have made hijacks very different.

  95. Edward Furey says:

    One small caveat about the suggestion to increase coverage overseas. The 9/11 attacks were heavily dependent on using fully fueled heavy aircraft to fly into buildings, where the 100 tons of burning fuel would do most of the damage. Had the 767s come from Berlin instead Boston, most of that fuel would be gone and it’s unlikely the Twin Towers would have collapsed.

    There was a similar comedy of errors with the shoe bomber, who looked like a wrongo, was pulled off the fight he had booked and spent the night in American Airlines jail at DeGaulle. When they couldn’t figure out his game, they put him on the plane he attempted to sabotage.

    • Patrick says:

      That’s not really a caveat, Ed. It doesn’t especially matter how much fuel is on a plane if you’re intention is to blow it up. True, though, about the shoe-bomber Richard Reid.

  96. louise price says:

    Blah blah blah. You know who is to blame.
    First. The checkin counter. Second . The passengers themselfs.

    Checkin. The bag is over weight. The customer service tell them take items out.when the passenger takes the lap topthe x box ensure six pack out and stixk it in there over head were do you thing its gonna end up doing at the check point yup. Bag check. There no help to the TSA.
    Passenger problem. How many times do you get hit in the head till you know your getting hit in the head.
    There is information out there about what you can bring on the plane in all languages. There is videos on the long lines ignored. There is verbage given way before the passenger get to the belt.
    There is another culprit. Air serve . Yup them to. They bring in “disable ” passeengers, fine. No. The disable passenger has mist of the time 6-8 family members traveling with them . Each of which have two bags each. They follow the disabled passenger to the front of the line push back passenger bags who have already waited 30min. Your time delay beings to widen . Do this 30times or more a day people will be waiting over an hour. Why?. Everyone of there bags has items they shouldnt have in the bag.
    One person to translate for the disable but pushing 8 isnt fair . They do it because it means a bigger tip for them.
    Its all about money .
    The airkines dont

  97. Tony Nowikowski says:

    Gail Collins, in her column in today’s New York Times, suggests that a part of the problem is that there are simply more bags going through the passenger screening process because people are carrying-on luggage to avoid paying the airlines’ checked bag fees. (Or they’re like one of my co-workers who carries his bag with him to the gate, and then gate-checks it, to beat the fee.)

  98. Tod Davis says:

    I suddenly feel a lot better about the six hour layover at LAX that my travel agent gave me, it looks like i might need it especially since I’m coming from overseas as well

  99. Reader says:

    “The real job of protecting planes from terrorists doesn’t belong to concourse screeners. It happens backstage, so to speak, with TSA, FBI, and intelligence entities working together to break up plots and capture suspects before they get to the airport.”

    and

    “Deploy more TSA staff overseas — in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America — where they can assist local security in the protection of US-bound aircraft.”

    Agree. There should be much more cooperative information sharing within the international intelligence community with the aim of protecting airline crews and passengers.

    But who watches the watchers? Rogue passengers and rogue crew members are issue. Rogue intel agents are another. If powerful individuals within intelligence circles allow dry runs to go live (e.g., 9/11), what then?

    Security boils down to outsmarting psychopaths. Terrorism is sadistic. Sadism is the core of the psychopathic personality.

    Pychopaths appear to be harmless and normal until they screw you. Once they screw you, it is too late. They are ready to strike back when you attempt to retaliate. Psychopaths excel at deception and manipulation. They pass personality tests that are meant to flag them. They ace job interviews, charm people, and socially fit in. They’re usually more likeable than their victims.

    Everyone should study what makes psychopaths tick, how to spot them, and how to avoid them before they strike. Everyone knows several.

  100. Roger says:

    I would like them to put up a sign at the TSA screening pointing out how each traveller has paid $7 for what they are about to experience. (And yes you really did – look at those ‘fees’ included in your ticket price.) I think it will greatly help shape the conversation about value and expense of what is being provided.

  101. AW says:

    Step number one to improving aviation security is to make airlines fully liable for what happens to their aircraft. Once that happens, TSA (for aviation) goes away entirely — what company would accept the TSA screening process when they have billions of dollars in liabilities on the line in the event of another attack in an urban area? The proposals you list would all fall in to place once the airlines start performing true cost-benefit analysis on security procedures.

    • Patrick says:

      Yikes, I don’t know. I’m not sure that would ever work. The stakes for carriers are simply too high, liability-wise. We live in a security-obsessed culture now, and even the PERCEPTION of being “too soft” on security is a huge risk. It may be the smart, and in fact the safer thing to do, but reality isn’t what counts anymore.

  102. Chris says:

    In regards to improving hardware specifically increase the width of the carryon belts that doesnt seem to make sense either. That would costs millions upon millions without an equal return on investment. Rather it would result in less since most airports are pretty tight so to make those wider they would potentially have to remove one whole lane. Hiring more staff or other means would be far more realistic and cost affective.

    In regards to not patting people down and other security measures you only talk about terrorists but don’t mention the more realistic concern which is carrying drugs on planes which people of any ethnicity or age can do, such as under a babys diaper, in a person’s shoes etc. You say we don’t need more TSA staff but then you say we do need more staff and they should be sent over seas. None of these seem realistic or positive solutions but your underlying message that plane security is a bit of waste and inconvenience that’s true. But American’s want to “feel” safe and this is the result.

    • Patrick says:

      “Hiring more staff” to do what, exactly? If you want to advocate the installation of more scanners and x-ray machines, that’s fine, but hiring more TSA simply to enforce rules that already make no sense is not a fix. Also, I’m sorry, but it is not TSA’s job to look for drugs. TSA is not a law-enforcement entity and it has no law enforcement powers. If a guard spots something, he or she can call the police. The whole concept of searching a person’s belongings without probable cause is maybe subject for another time.

  103. Chris says:

    That’s correct if someone wants to get something onto a plane they can and the searches are more to provide us a false sense of security. There is value in that however, since if there is no evident searching going on, I imagine most would feel less safe flying even if it’s just as unsafe now.

    You also mention that babies to adults are all treated equally like terrorists and they should not be. I disagree with you, since everyone is treated equally or not. Otherwise they will only screen for instance middle eastern men, which I imagine you wouldn’t be a fan of if you yourself were middle eastern. Not to mention a person could hide a weapon of sorts with a baby. So it should be all or nothing, not targeting certain ethnicities.

    You also mention if carry ons go through once and its thought there might be something there that requires a second pass, you suggest that items should never be scanned twice but rather should be taken aside an examined. I don’t see your logic, since if they are pulling it aside to look at it that is taking far more time and effort since they will have to open up everything including wrapped items etc, all things they could rule in or out more quickly with the x ray. Also you say tsa needs less people but who is going to be looking in all these bags? It would be the same people who are scanning and thus still slowing down the process.

    • Patrick says:

      “…since if they are pulling it aside to look at it that is taking far more time and effort since they will have to open up everything including wrapped items etc, all things they could rule in or out more quickly with the x ray…”

      The existing rules require the entire line to come to a stop and several guards then confer at the x-ray screen. Often nothing moves for several minutes, and then the bag still has to be screened again. It would be much quicker to pull the bag aside and allow one TSA inspector to have a look at it separately. This is more or less how they do it at many European airports, such as Amsterdam. The lines keep moving and it takes a minimum of extra personnel, if any.

    • Patrick says:

      There is value in a “sense” of security, but only to a point. We long ago passed that point.

  104. Chris Drost says:

    Most of this is good security advice. This is not: “certain travelers, at TSA spotters’ discretion, [should] be exempt from screening altogether.” In security, that sort of middle-ground is dumb: either the barrier should exist or it should not; if it should exist we should not have a habit of whisking people through it. Perhaps you think that there should be a barrier which checks carry-on luggage for guns: your security expectation is that nobody should have a gun on the plane. Suppose a terrorist wants to violate this expectation and get on a plane with a gun. First, he’s going to print fake boarding passes to test the security line. There is no gun; he’s just going through security, going to the restroom on the other side, then coming back out. He wants to know who is pulled out and whisked through — perhaps light-skinned women, perhaps pilots, perhaps people in suits. He will then make this pilgrimage in a pilot’s uniform, or inviting a female terrorist as his accomplice, perhaps even dressing her as a flight attendant. Maybe he will find that sympathetic screeners always cave to a disheveled suited man with a story, “I slept in, I have a really important business meeting, my flight leaves in ten minutes, can you help me?” If he finds any reliable mechanism to be whisked through the line, it’s game over. He only has one shot to bring the gun through the screening, but he has unlimited tries to figure out what will make him look respectable enough to get that free pass.

  105. Owen says:

    I thought I read that the EU was going to stop inspecting for liquids and gels imminently, and as a result TSA was going to give up on it too because there would be so many coming in from overseas anyway.

  106. Jibu says:

    Why don’t all passengers just enter a room where they part with their clothes and belongings, put on an airline provided jumpsuit and enter the plane this way? This might require a series of private rooms, but the queuing performance might be comparable to the current situation.

    This changes the problem from searching the passengers and their belongings to safely storing and/or transporting and reuniting passengers with those belongings, which can be adjusted based on passenger expectations. You could opt to board the plane with the jumpsuit already on and practically walk on the plane. Maybe you are allowed to carry a single device, like a laptop or tablet.

  107. Alex C-V says:

    It’s funny, in Canada we use almost the same rules as the TSA for what’s allowed (makes sense, most of the flights are to the US.)

    Somehow our security lines are significantly faster. It usually takes 10-15 minutes, max, to make it through security at YUL.

    If we took out the useless liquid searches, it’d probably speed it up even more.

    I’m not sure why the experience is so much worse south of the border?

  108. Cletus says:

    Well… Somebody had to say, thanks.

  109. Joe says:

    Why not just use dogs like other airports do?

  110. Bob says:

    This is the cleanest, most concise and complete list of improvements I’ve read on this. You have refined your list over the years (long-time reader and Cockpit Confidential buyer here). Conventional media needs to pay you to reprint this.