A survey commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association has found that three-quarters of the travelling American public are unhappy with security procedures at airports, and are convinced that there “has to be a better way” to go about securing air travel.
Around 1,000 business and leisure travellers responded to the survey, and some of the results may surprise you - for example, more people were unhappy about having to take their shoes off before going through a metal detector than they were about the Transport Security Administration’s newly introduced and much maligned ‘enhanced’ pat-down.
One explanation put forward to explain this is that while only a minority of travellers are subjected to the ‘enhanced’ pat down, all passengers must remove their shoes.
Travellers are also sick of everyone being subjected to the same level of security - 80% of the respondents support a trusted traveller program that would provide alternative screening measures for travellers who submit to a background check and meet other risk criteria.
The idea of a trusted traveller is something that has been picking up speed lately, with the head of IATA presenting his vision of the airport of the future in our article on ‘security tunnels’ here. The premise behind security tunnels is to assess passengers based on certain risk factors and then direct them to a specific level of security screening that is appropriate for them - something that could make airport security procedures much more pleasant and efficient for frequent business travellers.
The U.S. Travel association has convened a panel to prepare a report on how aviation security can be improved, with their report expected to be released in early 2011.