May 31, 2011

Different Perspective on the TSA

I was listening to the radio and heard a report on morale among airport security screeners. They are subject to the anger and nasty comments of scores of passengers every day. Nobody likes the procedures for airport security screening. The shoe removal and pockets emptying is bad enough; if you happen to require a full body pat down, that’s even worse. But this report noted that it’s bad for the screeners too. They hate it just as much as we do, if not more because of the rude comments they are subject to while just doing their jobs.

If you use air travel, whether for work or pleasure, what do you say when you’re going through airport security screening? Is your attitude one of cheerful co-operation or surly resentment? Do you treat service personnel in a hotel or restaurant that same way? Think about it.

It’s not the screeners or the process that we hate, really, it’s the terrorists who caused it all. Don’t take it out on the screeners. Their morale is low, understandably, and turnover in that occupation is a whopping 17%. People cannot stay in jobs that continually bring them down. Even though the TSA has invested in programs to help screeners deal with passenger resentment, individually we can each do a lot to make that process less onerous for everyone.

I dance going through the metal detector — how about you?

A cheery word for the airport screeners, a simple thank you for being alert on our behalf, or even a smile is not too much to ask. How about a little empathy for airport security personnel? Would you want to have to do that job every day to keep your children clothed and fed? If not, a little understanding is called for.

Read and obey the TSA rules for air travel. Read “What to Know Before you Go” and arrange your belongings accordingly.

Those of us who continually harp on usability and good design, on better communication, leadership, technology, human rights and a host of other topics to make the world better need to pay attention to what’s right under our noses.

You can create an everyday miracle where you are. Next time you go through airport security screening, make it a pleasant experience for all concerned. Good karma will result.

Comments (1)


June 1st, 2011 at 6:12 am    

Couldn’t agree with you more. I strive to be a beacon of positivity, particularly in sombre or unpleasant situations. Positive reciprocity is such a powerful force and it takes real strength of character to radiate warmth – it’s an exercise of will. I don’t always succeed and sometimes succumb to negativity and impatience, but I’m working on it.

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