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News We Already Knew: TSA Gets Negative Reviews From Frequent Flyers

by on October 7, 2013 · 18 comments

in TSA

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According to a recent poll in Frequent Business Traveler magazine that was conducted in partnership with FlyerTalk, an overwhelming 85% of frequent travelers give the TSA a big thumbs down. Well, to be specific, 85% of poll respondents said the TSA was doing a poor or fair job, with just 15% giving the TSA a positive review. The survey polled 2,415 people between August 9 – September 10, 2013.

Nearly half of respondents said the TSA was doing a poor job.

Nearly half of respondents said the TSA was doing a poor job.

Digging down into the numbers a little further, 66% – two thirds – said that the TSA’s procedures were not effective at preventing a terrorist incident on an aircraft and just 1.2% of those polled said the TSA was very effective at doing so.

Although 45% of those polled said they were not satisfied with their most recent security experience, I actually thought that number would be higher based on the other responses, but a lot of people abstained or were neutral since just under 30% were satisfied.

What was also interesting is that the cross-section of people polled must have been a bit rarefied since 45.9% of the pollees had used TSA PreCheck, which is a high proportion compared to the general flying public, and what piqued my interest here was that over 80% of those people were satisfied by the experience.

Over 80% of people with TSA PreCheck were satisfied.

Over 80% of people with TSA PreCheck were satisfied.

Despite the low numbers, the TSA actually improved from a similar poll conducted last year (last year, 5% more people said the TSA was doing a poor job at screening), though the perceived effectiveness of the agency’s procedures toward preventing terrorism actually dropped 10% from last year. This year’s respondents also included 10% more people who had experienced TSA PreCheck and of those people 7% more this year said that their PreCheck experience was positive.

So overall it looks like the majority of the flying public still finds the TSA to be bad at its job – it’s probably all those long lines snaking through airport terminals, having to strip practically to your underwear and remove pretty much everything from your carry-on before being put in a body scanner like the chamber that stole Superman’s powers before being let on your plane – a disheveled, demeaned mess.

Expect security lines to get a lot longer if budget cuts go into effect.

Expect security lines to get a lot longer if budget cuts go into effect.

But the good news is that TSA PreCheck is actually working better than ever (at least in people’s opinions) and making the security process a lot easier. Personally, I love PreCheck as well as the government’s other Trusted Traveler programs like Global Entry (which I got for free thanks to my Platinum Card from American Express), and find them to be time-saving measure that actually make my airport experience quite pleasant. But what do you think?

Does the TSA do a good job of airport security screening?

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For more information on TSA PreCheck and Global Entry, check out these posts:
-Global Entry FAQ And Ways To Get It For Free
-My Experience Getting Refunded for Global Entry Using My Amex Platinum Card
-Top 12 Things You Didn’t Know About Global Entry
-My Father’s Day Present – An Additional Amex Platinum Card For Dad
-Getting Around the Global Entry Appointment Backlog
-Global Entry Rocks My World
-Global Entry Fee Now Waived for Amex Platinum Card Members

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Guest

    I’m sorry but I have to take exception to this. I have found the TSA to be absolutely wonderful. Yes, it can be cumbersome to go through airports green, but what do people expect? That anybody be allowed to get on a plane with whatever they want, so that we can have more terrorist attacks?

    Since I’m an elite flyer and have TSA Pre, I don’t have to wait in long lines. On those occasions when Pre is not available, I always ask to opt out. Even if you opt out, they won’t be mean to you, unless you are mean to them. The key is not to see them as adversaries, but as friends. They are just doing their jobs, and if you’re nice to them, they’ll be nice to you.

    Most of the time I end up laughing and joking with the TSA agents, even when they have to give me the pat down when I opt out. Try being nice to them, it will completely change your mind.

  • http://www.comediandan.com/ Dan Nainan

    I’m sorry, but I must take exception to this. If you are nice to the TSA, they’ll be nice to you. They are just doing their jobs, and it’s a very tough job for crying out loud. If you see them as allies and not as adversaries, it will change your way of thinking.

    Certainly it’s a pain to have to go through the process, but what do these people suggest as an alternative? That anybody be allowed to bring anything they want on an airplane, so we can have more terrorist attacks?

    Fortunately, I’m an elite traveler with TSA Pre, which is an absolute joy. On those occasions when Pre is not available, I always ask to opt out, but even then, their agents are perfectly civil and friendly once they realise you aren’t a jerk. Most of the time I end up laughing and joking with them.

    Try being nice to them, it will work wonders.

  • cotoneloc
  • Trajan81

    I’ve never had an issue with TSA outside of the 3.4 oz rule once and that was my own fault for forgetting about it. Plus with Pre Check it really is less of an issue now. I understand there are DYKWIA issues that goes on sometimes with some agents and some passengers, but I just smile and be courteous.

  • tk

    This guy never stops pushing credit cards for referral fees

  • Dan

    hahaha true, even in a freaking post about TSA he shoves in a link for an Amex Platinum… what a clown

  • http://www.comediandan.com/ Dan Nainan

    Um, doesn’t the gentleman have a right to make a living from all of this free and valuable information he provides? Ever watch television or listen to the radio? Don’t they have ads there as well?

  • Dan

    Yes he does. But are you really naive enough to think that he does this stuff out of the kindness of his heart? Do you really think he and other bloggers shilling out credit cards are looking after their readers’ interests and not their own pockets?

    An example among many others: why do you think that this guy and others have only started to mention how great the Club Carlson credit card is a few months ago? Did they just discovered it a few months ago while it came out A YEAR AGO?

    Answer: they only started getting affiliate links a few months ago. Hence, that’s when they “discovered” it was a heck of a deal.

    By the way, the dude pulls 400k a year.

  • Dan

    Also, not long ago this guy was pushing INFERIOR cc links that were paying him a commission.

    He stopped doing it after people called him out on those shenanigans…

  • Bucky Katt

    1. There are many options between the status quo and letting “anybody…bring anything they want on an airplane, so we can have more terrorist attacks”. We can create rules that make sense, don’t provoke needless confrontation between passengers and TSA personnel, and actually make us safer, rather than continue to implement the current, inflexible, mindless “security theater” programs. See http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2011/12/tsa-insanity-201112 or any one of thousands of other articles that have been written on the subject. To pretend that the only choices are the current TSA program or a complete free-for-all is disingenuous, at best.

    2. Are you the same Dan Nainan that got into a fight over twitter heckling (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/reliable-source/wp/2013/09/26/comedian-dan-nainan-arrested-after-journalist-punched-in-face-over-tweets/)? If that’s correct, you seem to be applying the “be nice” principle somewhat selectively.

  • http://www.comediandan.com/ Dan Nainan

    If he pulls in $400,000 year, then more power to him – I think he deserves more than that. He has certainly helped me greatly, and it hasn’t cost me a dime. For example his site is how I found out about a $350 fare from New York to Hawaii (round trip) in March.

    He took a risk and left his job, he flies around the world first-class/five-star, and he is showing other people (and me) how to do the same thing. It’s the American dream.

  • http://www.comediandan.com/ Dan Nainan

    Well, if he was doing something that users perceived to be wrong, and he adjusted the behaviour when called out on it, then I think he’s a good guy.

  • http://www.comediandan.com/ Dan Nainan

    If you don’t like the Pre-Check program, then don’t use it. Problem solved. That lawyer for the EFF discourages people from applying. Well, if they want to stand in those long lines instead of going through Pre-Check in 10 seconds, that’ll make it faster for those of us in the program.

    The other day I was flying out of Orlando on Sunday morning – the lines were monumental, and many people were missing their flights. I was the only person I saw who went through Pre-Check. If the government knows more about me because I’m part of the program, then that’s absolutely fine with me.

  • SeaBee3

    I can only hope your analysis of the public’s view of the TSA is tongue-in-cheek. I have only seen someone stripped to their underwear once at a security checkpoint – and it was in Germany (no-TSA), if people are getting “pretty much everything” pulled out of their carryons, learn to pack better (I rarely have to take anything out of my carryon and I rarely check luggage). Finally, while I do agree the TSA could do better, complaining travelers have no clue about security lines until they have been in airports with very well trained security staff. When you have to stand in security lines for a couple of hours before you even check your luggage, then you can complain about standing in a TSA line. :)

  • Angela

    You probably don’t work for free. Why should he?

  • BobChi

    In most countries around the world they do not require removal of shoes or pulling out liquids in transparent bags. When I take international trips, I notice that flights to anywhere but the U.S. are handled very differently from those headed to the U.S., the latter of which have a much more extensive and intrusive security regime. I asked why, out of curiosity, as an agent was pawing through my carry-on after it already went through security. She said simply, “The U.S. government.” Even in Israel I didn’t have to take off my shoes. Why here?

    I do agree with you that having a positive attitude helps at all points, not just TSA, but in dealing with the whole process of getting from here to there. I think some of the writers who complain all the time about how awful air travel has become may have themselves partly to blame for their own experiences.

  • Slee

    That article’s primary concern was the fingerprint database you end up in after going through the PreCheck app process. Seeing as they already have my fingerprints from a gun permit, the govt can have as many extra copies of my prints as they would like.

  • Slee

    If this bothers you, what is forcing you to come to this website? How do you handle every other website that contains advertising? Do you shake uncontrollably the entire time you are online? In all honesty, your post rings of petty jealousy. Get over yourself.

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