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In the wake of last year’s enhanced-pat-down fiasco, more and more airports are considering a break-up with the TSA. According to msnbc, airports in Orlando, Los Angeles, the Washington, D.C., metro area, Indianapolis, and Charlotte are debating the merits of ditching the TSA in favor of private companies that would implement TSA policies.
“The TSA has grown too big and we’re unhappy with the way it’s doing things,” Larry Dale, president of Orlando Sanford International Airport, told msnbc. “My board is sold on the fact that the free enterprise system works well and that we should go with a private company we can hold directly accountable for security and customer satisfaction.”
Make no mistake, any airport that ditches the TSA isn’t looking to cut costs or protest TSA policies—it’s all about customer service. Airports that opt for private screeners must comply with the TSA’s Screening Partner Program, which mandates federal oversight of all private screening companies. Airports utilizing private screeners are essentially getting the TSA—just not, well, the actual TSA. And that’s the whole point.
Airports that have gone the private screening route, including San Francisco and Kansas City, are so far quite pleased with their choice. “We love our arrangement,” Ray Bishop, director of Jackson Hole Airport, tells msnbc. “It delivers better customer service and security.” Jackson Hole was one of the first airports to hire a private screening firm under the Screening Partner Program.
For consumers, the shift to private companies would likely mean better customer service. Private companies are employed by the airport, after all, and therefore tend to be much more responsive to their clients’ complaints and demands. So while going private does nothing to change the TSA’s policies, it can make the checkpoint experience a little bit better for travelers.
Readers, do you think more airports should go the private screening route?