Customer Service Issue Brief_________________________
Author: Patty Ornst, (202) 861-8096
What’s at Issue?
Improving overall customer service and quality of air travel in the United States.
Why it’s Important
Prior to the September 11th attacks, passengers demanded conveniences and gave little thought about security. Now, the balance has clearly shifted to safety. It is difficult to tell how long this passenger patience will last. As security measures increase at our nation's airports, customer service will again be at the forefront as airports and airlines try to regain passenger confidence in the aviation system.
AAAE and ACI-NA are pleased with the signals we have received from Secretary Mineta and others that efficiency and customer service will be key goals as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) moves forward to implement the law. The ten-minute performance goal that Secretary Mineta set reassures the airport community that the federal government wants to provide a high-performing workforce at sufficient staffing levels to get the job done right. On April 24, 2002, Secretary Mineta reiterated his call for customer service standards at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event addressing air cargo security concerns:
“So, we are pursuing twin goals: world-class security and world-class customer service, in every transportation mode. We are looking for procedures that recognize the new, post-September-11th reality, yet do not pose an unreasonable obstacle to legitimate trade and travel.”
TSA has initiated new programs in the last few months to ease the screening process for passengers. For example, TSA announced its kid friendly pilot-screening program at Denver International Airport; a pilot program to help ensure a child’s trip to the airport is safe and enjoyable. Security rules require that all passengers be screened and that all checkpoints alarms be resolved. Therefore, screeners must perform additional checks on passengers, regardless of age, when they trigger the alarm on the metal detector. If successful, the program could eventually extend to all airports.
Late last year, Under Secretary of Transportation for Security Adm. James Loy announced the “Selectee Checkpoint” pilot program. The program will enhance security checkpoints where screening equipment and personnel are concentrated. Currently, 42 airports are participating in the “Selectee Program.” Passengers traveling through these airports will experience the bulk of the screening at the checkpoint.
Airports stand ready to become full partners with the federal government. By working together, we can marshal federal and local resources to ensure that we have the safest and most secure aviation system possible. We can also be prepared for the increasing number of passengers who will be using our aviation system in the near future.
December 20, 2002, TSA Identifies the 42 Airports Participating in the Selectee Checkpoint program to Consolidate Screening and Reducing Passenger Delays www.tsa.gov/public
February 25, 2003, TSA’s pilot Screening Program for Children at Denver Airport