FAA Loosened Stds; Now Tightens Stds?

Just prior to the Thanskgiving rush, the FAA announced they’d be loosening some security policies. I WAG these security measures were dropped to expedite lines at airports and encourage people to fly on the busiest travel day of the year. (Did you hear this, too?) And now! The FAA announces new stricter guidelines passengers should be awar of starting 2003. What gives?

  • Jinx

I believe the “loosening” you are referring to was the test program to eliminate secondary screening at some airports. The secondary screening is the “random” nonsense searches that go on at the gate while the plane is boarding.

Many people (myself included) have pointed out that having secondary screening being done at the gate assumes that the primary screening point has not done it’s job of catching all prohibited items. If not, then why recheck people at all? Instead of doing random searches at the gate, why not make sure the first screening point does it’s job?

The TSA implemented a test program at a few airports, and based on those results the secondary screening at the gate may go away everywhere.

The new rules that go into effect Jan 1st were enacted by Congress and cover the screening of checked baggage. Up until now all domestic checked baggage was not screened for explosives. Random searches were conducted and after 9-11 positive bag-matching began (ie if a passenger has checked baggage for a flight but does not board, his bags are pulled off the airplane). These procedures were in place for international flights prior to 9-11, but domestic flights were added late in 2001.

Now domestic checked baggage must be screened for explosives as well. It is up to the airport how they accomplish this (ie small airports may use labor-intensive methods such as dogs and hand-held wands, while large airports will be using those huge machines). This means that the method may vary at every airport (ie go to the ticket counter, get your boarding pass, go get your bags screened, go back to ticket counter to check them). There will be growing pains with this, but like the added security at the checkpoints after 9-11 expect to see bottlenecks until they figure out how to streamline everything.

Then there is the Paris baggage handler caught with plastic explosives and detonators in his car. Now, instead of worring about what they take out of your luggage, you have to worry about what they put into your luggage.

As a passenger you may not see much change, but there will be changes in the baggage handling procedure.

Well, here’s an interesting nugget (from the Boston Globe today) about the new security measures.

WTF? In the interests of increased security, I’m not allowed to lock my luggage? Was this provision put in by the Baggage Handlers’ Benevolent Society and Retirement Fund?

This coupled with an earlier story about a French baggage handler who was caught with explosives makes me wonder if anyone with a brain gave any thought to these new “Security provisions”?

But of course, anyone who complains is a potential terrorist, right?

I have nothing to add and mean no offense: I’ll just be glad when this thread goes away so I can stop wondering whose studs the FAA is tightening and loosening.