New Law Heats up TSA vs. Private Screeners Debate

The FAA reauthorization bill that was signed into law last month includes a provision that can make it easier to switch from Transportation Security Administration screeners to private security, if they’re so inclined. Many airports are apparently content with the feds, but some – including one airport in Florida – want to switch.

Faster Security? Yes. But What Does It Cost?

Orlando Airport wants out of TSA

Officials at Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) – which is not to be confused with the larger Orlando International (MCO) – say they want to join the 16 other airports in the U.S. that use private screeners at their security checkpoints.

According to a report from a congressional transportation committee, these private screeners can be more cost-effective than the federal agency and save taxpayers money (although a report issued by the TSA disagreed with this conclusion). One Orlando airport official was quoted in The New York Times as saying that while the safety of passengers remains paramount, he believes a private force could be more “efficient and customer-friendly.”

The ‘Grandma Strip-Search’ Incident

Why Some Flyers Hate the TSA

Over the years, the TSA has had a tumultuous relationship with the public as reports surfaced of so-called ‘strip searches’, young children subjected to pat-downs and even instances of theft by screeners.

TSA Lets Some Passenger Keep Their Shoes On

In some cases, the agency has had to issue an apology and it has also changed security procedures including those for children aged 12 and under. According to TSA officials, they are continuing to move away from a one-size-fits-all security model, and the latest effort at this is to exempt some travelers aged 75 and up from the more onerous security requirements.

Private screeners, meanwhile, would have to follow the same security guidelines and procedures as the TSA, and this workforce would fall under its supervision.

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Published: March 16, 2012