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Traveler Satisfaction with Airport Security Is Mixed

Busy airport

Summer is peak vacation season and for many travelers, and for those traveling long distances, it often includes a trip through airport security before they board a flight to their destination.

A new nationwide survey by Travel Leaders Group finds that while most Americans are satisfied with the current state of airport security, the percentage of dissatisfied flyers is growing.

In a poll of 3,431 consumers conducted right in the midst of the busy spring break period—when headlines first started to appear about longer lines at Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints at airports—a majority (63.6 percent) expressed satisfaction with the level of airport security. But the percentage of travelers who said that they were dissatisfied rose to 17 percent, up from 11.6 percent in 2015.

Despite news reports about longer lines for security at many U.S. airports, more than half of those polled (52.3 percent) said that they were “OK with the amount of time it takes” to get through airport security, an increase of nearly 8 percent compared with last year.

One reason more travelers are expressing satisfaction is that a larger number of them are enrolling in TSA Precheck. This TSA program offers approved travelers an expedited screening process. Indeed, the survey results show that 20.3 percent of respondents use it all the time, an increase of 6 percent over 2015. When asked whether they’ve experienced expedited screening at an airport over the past 12 months, 54.3 percent said that they had.

Travel Leaders Group works closely with the Department of Homeland Security to help its agents advise clients about ways to decrease the wait at airport security. That includes educating clients about TSA Precheck and Global Entry. The latter program provides expedited clearance through U.S. Customs for pre-approved, low-risk travelers. Even semi-frequent flyers can benefit from these programs. Nearly a third of respondents (32.4 percent) have registered—and been approved for—TSA Pre, while 18.6 percent are enrolled in Global Entry.

Plane landing during sunset  Airport arrival and departure sign

When asked which security measure passengers would most like to eliminate, the top response—not surprisingly—was removing shoes, at 31.5 percent. It’s led the survey for the past three years. Another benefit to TSA Precheck and Global Entry is that passengers who sign up for the programs do not need to remove their shoes, computers, or 1-quart bag carrying liquids at 160 U.S. airports.

Of course, there are other ways for flyers to try and cut down on wait times. For example, travelers may be able to fly into less busy airports near their destination or book flights at times of day that are less crowded. Your travel agent has the expertise to explore those options and see whether they meet your needs.

At the airport, look around for a shorter security line, even if it means a longer walk to the gate. Once you’re in line, help keep things moving by wearing shoes that are easy to remove and have your boarding pass and ID ready for inspection. Leave off belts and jewelry until after you go through security. And don’t wait until the last second to tuck cell phones, wallets, keys, and other metallic items into your bag—you don’t want to be “that person” who is holding everyone else up.

For help planning a trip, and for information about the TSA Precheck and Global Entry programs, contact us at 719-597-0004.

© Travel Leaders Group