Air travelers want 'better alternative' to screening process

Travelers are gearing up for a busy holiday travel week, and for many of them, the security screening process that caused such uproar around Thanksgiving isn't far from their minds.

According to a new survey by the U.S. Travel Association, a nonprofit industry group, 75 percent of travelers believe there "must be a better way" than the airport screening process used currently. Removing shoes during screening stirs the most anger among travelers, according to the survey, and the Transportation Security Administration's "enhanced pat-downs" come in second -- though the TSA estimates that only 3 percent of passengers undergo pat-downs.

"If look at the words people use to describe the system, 64 percent of travelers said it was 'inconsistent,' 58 percent said it was 'stressful,' 41 percent 'embarrassing,'" said Bob Perkins of Consensus Research, which conducted the survey for the USTA, in a conference call. "You don't get to 'effective' until 23 percent."

The words "intimidating" and "intrusive" headed the list. About one-third of travelers described the system as "fair."

Those surveyed had traveled by air in the last two years, with about half reporting that they have traveled since Nov. 1. The group finished its interviewing of 1,000 travelers just after Thanksgiving. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent, according to Perkins.

The USTA has been busy compiling passenger complaints and recommendations to send to a travel association panel that the group created in February, well before the screening hoopla this holiday season. These panel members include former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and former American Airlines CEO Robert Crandall. The panel will "study more effective ways and approaches" to the current screening system, USTA President Roger Dow said in the conference call.

"The blue-ribbon panel... will be recommending very clear alternatives," Dow said. Their plan is expected in late January.

About 8 in 10 passengers surveyed supported a type of "trusted traveler" program to provide an alternative screening process for those who submit to a background check and meet other risk criteria. "Absolutely, security trumps everything... the public doesn't want to undermine TSA's critical mission," Dow said. But while the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security are doing "the best job they can," he continued, "people think the current system is pretty degrading."

With 54 percent of those surveyed saying they believe Congress should make it a priority to fix air travel security, "Americans are clamoring for a better way, and it should be a wake-up call for our leaders in Washington," Dow said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.