5 TSA Questions No One is Asking

If you fly and tweet, you probably know all about #HateTheWait, the hashtag of choice for anyone stuck in one of those long TSA lines.

LISTEN: Rick Seaney asks the tough questions.

PreCheck and the Long Security Lines

Long lines at security have been a fact of life at U.S. airports for months now and you can blame PreCheck. Oh, not the program itself; PreCheck actually offers a faster screening experience. The problem is how badly the TSA miscalculated its attractions; they originally expected that 25 million would have joined PreCheck by now, but only about a third of that figure has signed up. Nevertheless, the TSA removed screening officers from the lines in anticipation of reaching that goal, and now – we wait and wait.

I have some questions for the TSA that no one is asking – until now.

5 TSA Questions No One is Asking

  1. Private screeners. We know the TSA is on a hiring spree but, according to news reports the agency is only hiring a fraction of those needed to keep lines at top speed. We also know the TSA will not allow any more private screeners (contractors) beyond the 22 airports that already have them. Question: TSA, have you thought about revisiting this? If not, why not?
  2. Use the data. In the 15 years the TSA has been manning airport security lines, they have been collecting data (I hope) on the number of passengers that fly, where they enter airports what security lines they gravitate to and more. Question: How about using this information (without identifying travelers’ personal details) to figure out the best places and times to deploy screeners?
  3. Consider live-streaming. Question: How about setting up cameras at TSA lines (carefully monitored so as not to identify travelers) so people will know at a glance the best place to enter the airport, and/or stand in line? This could also be mined for statistical information to deploy agents.
  4. Talk to experts. Question: Why not talk to professionals who have been moving lines along for years? Surely the folks at Universal Studios, Disney and other theme parks know a thing or two about this and would be happy to help.
  5. PreCheck made simpler. Question: How about making PreCheck even easier to sign up for? An employee of mine just went online to make an appointment but the best she could do was a month away, and at a location ten miles from her home and work. Surely this five minute interview/fingerprinting session could be made a little easier for everyone.

In other words, TSA – let’s get those lines moving again before too many summer travelers have vacation plans ruined due to missed flights. Besides, wouldn’t you like to see tweets ending with #LoveTheLines?

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Updated: May 24, 2016