Smarter Service or Profiling? TSA’s New Approach Affects Business Travel

The Transportation Security Administration is working to make business travel easier for frequent fliers, but its approach is ruffling some feathers.

The TSA is testing a new program – something called “managed inclusions” – that allows officers to use on-the-spot observations and informal chats to pass some people through the checkpoints faster. Basically, officers can use their judgment on which passengers pose no threats, allowing them to skip the rigmarole of removing shoes, belts, coats – the whole time-consuming process of flying that we’ve grown accustomed to.

This “behavior detection screening” is being tested now at airports in Indianapolis and Tampa, and if it’s successful, it could expand to other hubs next year. On one hand, the program is a welcome breath of fresh, common sense air. But racial profiling is a valid concern, too, as is creating a “class” system at airport security.

Some might argue that security line class system already exists with the TSA’s PreCheck program. Beyond “managed inclusions,” the TSA also has plans to widen the pool of travelers who qualify for PreCheck, a program for frequent fliers that can zip you through security lines after you’ve applied, paid a fee and passed a background check.

The agency is thinking about contracting with private companies to conduct those checks on applicants who have volunteered their information. But the privacy questions persist – and concerns about the way the government is identifying some travelers as “trustworthy” while others are not is a valid ethical conversation for business travelers.

Generally, the PreCheck program expansion is welcome news. Because out of the 640 million domestic passengers who fly each year, 40 percent are traveling on business – and most road warriors who have been screened hundreds of times suspect there’s a better way. Is this it?

 

What do you think about the idea that the TSA is creating a class system at the security line? We’d love to get your take in the comments below!

Featured image courtesy of: silas216

 

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