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We’ve all cursed the TSA while waiting in a line at airport security. Huffed and puffed and tapped our feet and motioned with disgust that there needs to be more lanes open. Now, your opinions won’t fall on deaf ears as the TSA wants to hear from the traveling public. Think you have what it takes to completely redesign security by making it more efficient, submit your idea, and you can walk away with $5,000. Here’s what the agency is looking for:
The Challenge is to provide a simulation modeling concept that can form the basis to plan, develop requirements, and design a queue appropriately. The concept will be used to develop a model to be applied in decision analysis and to take in considerations of site specific requirements, peak and non-peak hours, flight schedules and TSA staffing schedules. Solvers are expected to provide the concept and provide evidence that it works as described in the requirements… The new queue design should include, but not be limited to the following queue lanes: TSA Precheck, Standard, Premier Passengers (1st class, business class, frequent fliers, etc.), Employee and Flight Crews, and PWD (wheelchair access).
If you think your idea is good enough, click here to submit it.
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It seems like the United States is trying to make it harder and harder for people to have a comfortable, hassle-free air travel experience, and now the maligned TSA has introduced “enhanced security measures” that are sure to cause chaos at security checkpoints throughout the world. On direct flights to the US, in select airports, agents may require men and women to power on their electronic devices to be screened. If a device does not power on then it will not be permitted on board the aircraft. According to the TSA’s website:
Last week, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson directed TSA to implement enhanced security measures at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States. As the traveling public knows, all electronic devices are screened by security officers. During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones. Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft. The traveler may also undergo additional screening. TSA will continue to adjust security measures to ensure that travelers are guaranteed the highest levels of aviation security conducted as conveniently as possible.
We understand the nature of this new rule is to protect an in-air terrorist attack, but the TSA needs to ensure that this requirement is universally known. We can’t imagine the chaos that will ensue as passengers are told they can’t bring their uncharged phones on planes after queuing for security. Also, they must provide readily available charges throughout the airport.
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“As required by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, TSA has published an interim final rule to the Federal Register to restructure the September 11th Security Fee,” a press release from the government organization reads. “In accordance with Federal Law, the revenue generated from the security fee will be deposited in the general fund of the Treasury. The revenue is to be used to offset TSA costs for providing civil aviation security services, after stipulated amounts are applied to reduction of the federal deficit,” it concludes. The official website couldn’t be any more vague! The fee came about in December when Congress approved the increase—from $2.50 to $5.60 and $5 for trips that have a layover. The increase will go into effect in less than 30 days.
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Thinking about taking Great Grandma Edna’s Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce with you aboard your flight this Thanksgiving? Think again. The TSA has released their list of holiday items to put in your checked bag, to leave at home, or to ship ahead. And number-one on that list… cranberry sauce.
Other prohibited items include:
• Creamy dips and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.)
• Gift baskets with food items (salsa, jams, and salad dressings)
• Maple Syrup
• Oils and vinegars
• Salad dressing
• Snow globes (those less than 3.4 oz, about the size of a tennis ball are allowed)
• Wine, liquor, and beer
Note: You can bring pies and cakes through the security checkpoint, but please be advised that they are subject to additional screening. By additional screening they mean Uncle John’s Pumpkin Cheesecake is going to be break food for airport employees. [TSA]
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The government shutdown is certainly putting a damper on travel plans. Not only has the shutdown forced the temporary closure of several National Park Service-run landmarks and national museums, but it has rendered air travel unsafe, as nearly one-third of the Federal Aviation Administration employees have been furloughed as a result of the political standoff. This mass furlough includes nearly 3,000 aviation safety inspectors responsible for ensuring that airlines maintain safely functioning planes and adhere to federal regulations. “There is no one doing this job now,” Kori Blalock Keller, a spokesperson for Professional Aviation Safety Specialists union, told Forbes. “A lot of times, our inspectors catch little things and correct them before that plane takes off again,” he added. In the meantime, airlines will be policing their own operations.
While FAA officials note that there should be little notable change in Transportation Security Administration and air traffic control operations, many of these employees are working without pay and several air traffic control trainers and other vital support staff specialists have been furloughed. “This is akin to a surgeon performing an operation without any staff to prep the room, clean the equipment or provide support during the surgery,” Paul Rinaldi, President of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association said in a statement.
“Safety is our top priority,” the FAA announced in a recent statement, “If the furlough extends longer than a few days, we will incrementally begin to recall specific employees back to work to meet continuing safety needs.” That awaits to be seen. In the meantime, airline passengers lives are at risk.
Categories: Airlines, airplanes, Government, Politics air traffic controllers, airline Maintenance, airline safety, airlines, Aviation, boehner, faa, flight safety, Government Shutdown, House republicans, travel, travel safety, tsa
Image via Carolina K. Smith MD.
While we may not always agree with the practices of the TSA, we have come to rely on them to ensure that when we fly, we’re safe. A new government report, though, shows that misconduct by the Transportation Security Administration has increased by a dramatic 26% in just the past three years. What does misconduct entail? Sleeping on the job, letting friends and family through security without a screening, leaving work, and even stealing. In the past three years 9,000 cases of misconduct have been reported and 1,900 of those incidences are deemed significant enough to pose security threats. “There’s not even a way to properly report some of the offenses, so this may be just the tip of the iceberg of some of the offenses,” said Rep. John Mica, a Florida Republican. “Why are there so many cases and, then, what is TSA doing about that?” he asks. “The report says they can’t really get a handle on it. That raises a lot of issues.” The government is calling on the TSA to find a better way to monitor allegations of misconduct. [CNN]
“[I]t is crystal clear,” the court wrote, “that the First Amendment protects peaceful nondisruptive speech in an airport, and that such speech cannot be suppressed solely because the government disagrees with it”
A college student who was arrested after he stripped down
at airport security to reveal the Fourth Amendment written on his chest and stomach in 2010 has finally settled a lawsuit against airport security. Known as the “Airport Flasher,” the then-21-year-old Aaron Tobey became a face of the anti-increased invasive searches. While the TSA and the airport dropped their lawsuit against Tobey, the college student filed his own lawsuit against the two parties. After a year-and-a-half struggle, the parties have finally settled. Check out what was agreed upon: “Richmond International Airport officials announced this week that their security officers underwent a special two-hour training course on the First and Fourth Amendment rights of passengers as a part of a settlement with Mr. Tobey,” according to WSJ
Categories: TSA Aaron Tobey, first amendments, fourth amendmentm, invasive searches, patdowns, protest, Richmond, scanners, sue, tsa, virginia
Image via TSA.
The Transportation Security Administration has finally come to their senses regarding their much-criticized easing of restrictions that would have allowed small knives on planes. The revamped Prohibited Items List, which was originally scheduled to go into effect in two days, is now being postponed in order for the TSA to get further input from the Aviation Security Advisory Committee. When TSA Administrator John Pistole made the announcement that passengers would soon be allowed to bring previously banned items like longer knives, souvenir bats, golf clubs, and corkscrews onto planes, it not only sparked outrage from passengers, but also from flight attendants, pilots, federal air marshals, and even insurance companies. [CBS]
We’ll keep you updated if the TSA decides to lift the ban again.
Image via TSA.
After yesterday’s ridiculous announcement that the TSA will be lifting the ban on small knives, corkscrews, and other potentially lethal objects, groups that represent federal air marshals and flight attendants are up in arms over the mile-high fiasco. Most importantly, the groups are angry that the TSA has seemed to forget about what lead to the 9/11 attacks in the first place. “It’s as if we didn’t learn anything from 9/11,” said George Randall Taylor, head of the air marshal unit of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA). “Flight attendants are going to be sitting ducks.”
Of course the most vulnerable group to an attack with the newly allowed weapons is flight attendants. A union representing 90,000 have called the measure “a poor and short-sighted decision by the TSA.” And added: “Continued prohibition of these items is an integral layer in making our aviation system secure and must remain in place,” the Coalition of Flight Attendant Unions said in a statement.
Image via Passport.
While back in January we were praising the TSA for finally getting rid of some controversial and potentially dangerous body scanners, their latest change in security procedures must not be implemented. The TSA, with little or no consultation with the airlines or flight attendants, announced its new policy which allows passengers to bring on the plane, among other things, small knives. You think that’s absurd? Get this. Passengers can also bring on golf clubs, hockey sticks, small baseball bats, and even corkscrews. Though, box cutters—the blade used in the 9/11 attacks—remain banned, not because of their threat level, but because, according to the TSA, of sentimental reasons. Who’s in charge over there!? Tell the TSA to reverse their decision to allow these potential “weapons” from being allowed on planes. There’s no reason these things can’t be checked.
Here is a link to their website and email address
You can read the entire TSA announcement concerning the new rules by clicking here.