Published on : Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Inordinate delays at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at all major airports nationwide have been a major reason for passengers to miss flights. The situation will possibly get worse during the summer, experts predict.
JFK, according to sources, has comparatively one of the worst TSA checkpoints.
Newark Liberty International, which runs a close second to JFK with “the worst TSA checkpoints,” also was slammed for lax screening and reports of employee theft. That resulted in a rare occurrence: Several employees were actually dismissed.
A screener at JFK last summer was likewise busted for theft, trying to abscond with a passenger’s Rolex watch. Another TSA security screener at JFK was arrested three weeks later on an unrelated theft charge.
There is also the competency issue. Security screeners at Kennedy and Newark airports have regularly failed to find weapons and bombs being smuggled by undercover operatives posing as airline passengers.
There is a ready solution to the TSA’s problems: Replace the agency. In large airports with multiple security checkpoints, airlines should be required to hire their own screeners and set their own procedures, bypassing the TSA.
Understandably, dissatisfaction with the TSA is widespread. Twenty-two airports, including Kansas City International and San Francisco International, already have switched to private firms for security screening, and others, like Seattle-Tacoma International and Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International, are considering doing likewise.
American Airlines reported that in a single week in March nearly 6,800 of its passengers missed flights because of TSA security delays. In some cases, security lines have taken 90 minutes or more to clear.
The requirement that passengers remove their shoes is just one bureaucratic hurdle that slows lines but does little, if anything, to make us safer.
When the TSA’s human robots harass us by confiscating our toiletries and forcing us to remove our shoes, they create the illusion of “doing something” to make us secure. But much of the experience is unnecessary thereafter.
Privatizing security screening is a step in the right direction. A private company, could be replaced if it’s not performing to the satisfaction of the flying public. But privatization alone wouldn’t fully solve the problem when Washington still mandates security procedures.