Airport Security Already Affected by essay

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Almost 30% of the screened baggage is falsely identified as positive for explosives that require manual screening wasting time for the passengers. Also Lollis (2003) reported that passengers are increasingly complaining about the damage or theft to their personal belongings. A survey conducted by Woodyard and Lollis reported that 63% of passengers felt that airport security is " becoming more of a hassle." [Garrick, 2005] Further, the delay in baggage clearing is more prominent in large airports leading to mishandling and delayed arrival of baggage. Airline industry experts feel that the inconvenience with baggage clearance is causing considerable negative impact on passengers and is already affecting the demand for air travel. [Garrick, 2005]


This is another novel method of screening used in the U.S. airports. Known as SPOT, (Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques) this technique involves observing the facial expression and body language of persons to identify criminal intent and was first use by the Israelis. The TSA reports the success of its SPOT program stating that more than 70,000 people have been stopped for enquiry and 700 arrests have been made in the year 2006 alone based on this behavioral screening method. But so far these arrests have been restricted to drugs, money laundering and other crimes not involving terrorism. This new system which uses "micro expressions" to detect criminal intent is regarded as a new arsenal with the TSA in its efforts against terrorism. [Ian Macleod, 2009]

Impact on Passengers

While new regulations, technologies and processes are being implemented to improve airline security it is also necessary to assess the impact on passenger convenience and comfort. While most passengers are comfortable with the security measures, typical problems involve the time spent in screening resulting in delayed flights, late arrival of baggage's, privacy concerns of whole body scanning, and potential for racial discrimination based on group listing and risk profiling etc. Also airport security officials add new regulations every now and then adding to the confusion among passengers. The recent screening for certain powders in the luggage for instance has added on to the woes of the confused passenger. As Giovanni Bisignani, the chief executive of the International Air Transport Association says, "I am not convinced that we are much wiser or any more efficient with many of our processes. As travelers, our shared experience is hassle, and as industry players, it is bureaucracy and cost. It is time for both to change." [Michelle Higgins, 2009]


The airline industry is at the brink of a crisis and the security concerns are adding to their woes. Already affected by high oil prices and labour union problems the industry would be drastically affected if the inconveniences caused by the current security measures affect the passenger traffic. It is a formidable task for airline industry to balance the stringent security requirements with consumer convenience. While all passengers are conscious of the important task of improving aviation security it is also essential to appreciate their concerns. Increasingly passengers are beginning to feel the agony of having to wait in the long lines, being subjected to a pat down search, baggage bottlenecks and the continuously changing carry-on restrictions. As Michael Jenkins, an international expert on terrorism puts it in a lighter vein, "The procedures are not being reduced; if anything they're being added. The number of T.S.A. screeners are not going up, so either the line gets longer or we get smarter. Or we invent the X-ray for a man's soul." [Michelle Higgins, 2009]


1) the Associated Press, (Sep 2009), 'U.S. Airline Industry Continues to Shrink', retrieved Oct 17th 2009, from

2) Michelle Higgins, 'No Rest for the Airport Security Weary', retrieved Oct 17th 2009, from

3) Eleni Linos & Graham Colditz, (Dec 2007), ' Screening Program Evaluation Applied to Airport Security', BMJ; 335:1290-1292, available at,

4) Ian Macleod, (Aug 2009), 'Airport Security to Monitor Travellers' Facial Expressions, Body Language', retrieved Oct 17th 2009, from, expressions+body+language/1890655/story.html

5) Jessica Ravitz, (May 2009) 'Airport security bares all, or does it?', retrieved Oct 17th 2009, from,

6) Garrick Blalock, Vrinda Kadiyali & Daniel H. Simon, (Feb 2005), 'The Impact of Post 9/11 Airport Security Measures on the Demand for Air Travel', Journal of Law and Economics, Available at,

7) EFF, 'CAPPS ii: Government Surveillance via Passenger Profiling', retrieved Oct 17th 2009, from,[continue]

Cite This Essay:

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