A new nationwide survey by Travel Leaders Group finds that while most Americans are satisfied with the current state of airport security, the percentage of dissatisfied flyers is growing.
In a poll of 3,431 consumers conducted right in the midst of the busy spring break period – when headlines first started to appear about longer lines at Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints at airports – a majority, 63.6 percent, expressed satisfaction with the level of airport security. But the percentage of travelers who said that they were dissatisfied rose to 17%, up from 11.6% in 2015.
Time In Line
Despite news reports about long lines for security at many U.S. airports, more than half of those polled, 52.3%, said that they were “OK with the amount of time it takes” to get through airport security, an increase of nearly 8% compared with last year.
One reason more travelers are expressing satisfaction is that a larger number of them are enrolling in TSA Precheck. This TSA program offers approved travelers an expedited screening process.
Indeed, the survey results show that 20.3% of respondents use it all the time, an increase of 6 percent over 2015. When asked whether they’ve experienced expedited screening at an airport over the past 12 months, 54.3% said that they had.
We Work Closely With Homeland Security
Travel Leaders Group works closely with the Department of Homeland Security to help its agents advise clients about ways to decrease the wait at airport security.
That includes educating clients about TSA Precheck and Global Entry. The latter program provides expedited clearance through U.S. Customs for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. Even semi-frequent flyers can benefit from these programs.
Nearly a third of respondents – 32.4% – have registered and been approved for TSA Pre, while 18.6% are enrolled in Global Entry.
When asked which security measure passengers would most like to eliminate, the top response, not surprisingly, was removing shoes, at 31.5%. It’s led the survey for the past three years.
Another benefit to TSA Precheck and Global Entry is that passengers who sign up for the programs do not need to remove their shoes, computers or 1-quart bag carrying liquids at 160 U.S. airports.
Cut Down On Wait Times
Of course, there are other ways for flyers to try and cut down on wait times.
For example, travelers may be able to fly into less busy airports near their destination or book flights at times of day that are less crowded.
Our travel agent has the expertise to explore those options and see whether they meet your needs.
At the airport, look around for a shorter security line, even if it means a longer walk to the gate. Once you’re in line, help keep things moving by wearing shoes that are easy to remove and have your boarding pass and ID ready for inspection.
Leave off belts and jewelry until after you go through security. And don’t wait until the last second to tuck cell phones, wallets, keys and other metallic items into your bag, you don’t want to be that person who is holding everyone else up.
Tough TSA Security Checks
TSA Toughens Security for Passengers from Nations Sponsoring Terrorism
In the wake of a failed bombing attempt on a flight into the United States on Christmas, U.S. Transportation Security Administration has mandated anyone flying into the U.S. from anywhere in the world who is coming from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest must undergo a tougher security check, including the use of enhanced screening technologies.
That means increased gate screening, including pat-downs and bag searches. Passengers will be told to stow personal items, turning off electronics and stay seated for certain parts of the flight.
Additionally, the Canadian Air Transportation Security Authority (CATSA) has disallowed carry-on bags for those passengers originating in Canada and traveling to the United States. Air Canada is waiving excess baggage fees, letting customers check up to three additional bags at no extra charge. (Source: CTSA, TSA directives and press releases).
Business Travel Advocates Propose Aviation Security Systems Improvements
The business travel community has been pinpointing gaps in aviation security and ways to improve it. Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition, pointed out that the accused terrorist´s own father notified U.S. officials of his son’s extreme religious views and that the suspect had been placed in the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment database but not on the terrorist selectee list or no-fly list.
Mitchell said that Britain had refused the suspect´s visa request, according to the London Daily Mail. Mitchell said the U.S. should focus on questioning passengers and better screening instead of restricting passenger movement in flight. The U.S. Travel Association recommended that the government use screening techniques that strengthen security, balance travelers' privacy needs and improve traveler facilitation.
It highlighted whole body imaging (WBI) and using more security dogs both security measures that it believes should be looked at more carefully. The National Business Travel Association urged aviation and homeland security officials to consider risk-management security programs when reviewing current and future airline passenger protection regulations. (Source: BTC, TA, NBTA press releases).
DOT Limits Tarmac Delays to Three Hour Travelers did get some good news. The Department of Transportation limited the amount of time domestic flights can sit on the tarmac to three hours, unless security concerns or safety deem otherwise.
After two hours, carriers have to give passengers food and drink. The rule goes into effect 120 days after it is published in the Federal Register. Source: (DOT press release.)
Airline Numbers Showing Improvement
The failed terrorist attempt came just as aviation numbers were improving. November´s international traffic was up 2.8% over November 2008, according to the International Air Traffic Association.
Passenger demand was up 6.4% from its lows of 2008 but still below the peaks of early 2008. And OAG, which tracks airline supply worldwide, said that global capacity was up 4% in December 2009 over December 2008, although North American flight frequencies declined 2%. And, the Airline Reporting Corp., which processes airline ticket purchases, reported that for the first time since September 2008, total sales in November were up--by 6.72% over November 2008. (Source: IATA, OAG, and ARC press releases.)
New US-Japan Open Skies Agreement Liberalizes Air Service on Pacific
A new Open Skies agreement between the U.S. and Japan means that airlines from both countries can select routes and destinations based on consumer demand for both passenger and cargo services, without limitations on the number of U.S. or Japanese carriers that can fly between the two countries or the number of flights they can operate.
It will remove restrictions on capacity and pricing, and provide unlimited opportunities for cooperative marketing arrangements, including code sharing, between U.S. and Japanese carriers. The agreement also would provide opportunities for growth of U.S. carrier operations at Tokyo´s Narita Airport. (Source: DOT press release).
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