According to a recent Gallup poll, a majority of Americans (54 percent) view the job the TSA is doing in a positive light.
If that result doesn't square with your own experience, your skepticism may be well founded. It turns out that only around half (52 percent) of the Gallup poll respondents had even flown in the past year. Hardly the most appropriate group to be weighing in on current airport events.
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A more telling assessment of the TSA's current performance is the just-published survey conducted by Frequent Business Traveler and FlyerTalk. That study polled 1,852 travelers who took an average of 32 flights each in the past year. These were flyers with significant recent exposure to the nation's airport security checkpoints.
In stark contrast to the Gallup survey's more positive result, 90.8 percent of those polled in the Frequent Business Traveler/FlyerTalk study think that the TSA is doing either a fair or poor job of managing security screenings.
So where the Gallup poll could be read as an endorsement of the TSA's performance, albeit a tepid one, the new results are an unequivocal signal from the front lines of travel that the TSA's policies and procedures fall well short of expectations and are in sore need of revision and improvement.
- 76.1 percent of the respondents feel the TSA's screening procedures are either not effective or not too effective at preventing acts of terrorism on an aircraft.
- 56.4 percent stated they were not satisfied with their last TSA experience; 18.5 percent were either satisfied, very satisfied, or extremely satisfied with that experience.
- 26.3 percent had used the TSA PreCheck trusted traveler program allowing them to pass security checkpoints without removing their shoes or emptying their carry-on bags.
- 72.9 percent who had used PreCheck were either satisfied, very satisfied, or extremely satisfied with the service.
Reader Reality Check
What's your take on the TSA? Are the agents' screenings as fast, efficient, and civil as they should be?
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.