Airports Now (Again) Allowed to Try and Opt Out of TSA

Travel News — By christinegarvin on July 15, 2011 at 8:00 am

The confusion continues.

After all the rule changes the TSA implemented last year, including new screening procedures that had a whole lot of people up in arms, they are now allowing airports to opt-out of their federal screening program.

Well, sort of.

According to, the TSA has revised the application process for hiring a private company to oversee airport security instead of the TSA. The sticky part is the new wording. Airport officials must explain how private screening would provide:

“A clear and substantial advantage to TSA’s security operations.”

So the “Screening Partnership Program” kinda sorta allows airports to maybe determine if they want private screening, but they of course need a lot of proof to okay it.

As you might imagine, some airport officials are a bit peeved.

Image: Chuck “Caveman” Coker/Flickr

Six airports that had previously applied to the program, including Glacier Park International Airport, Missoula International Airport, Yellowstone Airport and Bert Mooney Airport in Montana; Springfield-Branson Airport in Missouri; and Orlando Sanford International Airport in Florida, have been invited to apply again.

Problem is, there is no criteria set forth by the TSA of what advantages they may be referring to. Plus, there’s all the wasted time on the first not-accepted-for-reasons-unknown application.

The TSA certainly has few fans to back it up these days. As Lee Wolverton writes in his recent piece on the Amarillo Globe-News site, “A recounting of the agency’s abuses – carried out by every conceivable means, from groping to gazing at travelers electronically stripped – could fill this edition.”

How different would private security be like at airports as compared to the TSA? Probably not much if these airports have to clarify it goes above and beyond the TSA’s approach.

Tags: airlines, airport security, federal government, screening procudures, TSA

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