TSA, Airlines Seek Alternatives To Pat Downs

Monday, May 30 2011 16:13 Mike Harris   OnTravel in the West / Paul Lasley
Print
There's one thing that everyone agrees on ... airport pat downs have got to go.

After news of children being patted down, women complaining of assault from overzealous TSA officials, and rising complaints of privacy violations, alternatives are now being looked at to replace the controversial TSA program.

patdown_300x225One such alternative is traveler verification. Based on the original "trusted traveler" program, airline passengers would submit to a background check before travel and verify who they are before boarding for a flight.

The traveler verification program is based on a pilot program being tested on airline crews who quickly grew weary of pat downs as a daily part of doing their jobs. The TSA has acknowledged that not only airline crews, but frequent travelers who are willing to provide detailed background information pose no risk.

"We are evaluating a variety of measures to support TSA's risk-based, intelligence-driven approach that will strengthen security while improving the screening experience," said Nicholas Kimball, a TSA spokesperson.

The program will create a dedicated lane for frequent fliers who have undergone a background check and can avoid both aggressive pat down and body scans.

Other organizations, such as the US Travel Association are advocating a three-tiered approach.

First, travelers who pass a stringent background check would be given the expedited lane with minimal screening, including being able to keep shoes on and laptops in bags.

Next, passengers who's name show up as a potential risk would be pulled aside for more thorough screening, including aggressive pat downs and full body scanners.

And finally, those who fall in between would continue to be screened as is, but the process would run faster.

Editor's Note: To read more of Paul's travel updates visit his OnTravel.com Web site.


Tags: