Airport security

Want TSA PreCheck? Go buy some paper.

Summer is coming and checkpoint security lines at airports around the country are going to get longer.

So if you haven’t signed up for TSA’s PreCheck program yet, now would be a good time.

Don’t want to take an extra trip to the airport to do that? You may not have to if you’ve got a Staples office supply story nearby.

Staples office supply company and Idemia, the company that has the TSA contract to enroll people in the PreCheck program, have teamed up to set up IdentoGO enrollment centers in 50 Staples stores.

The cost of enrollment in the TSA PreCheck program is $85 and is good for five years at $17 per year.

Need to get new passport photo or a certified birth certificate?  Those IdentoGO Centers at Staples will help with those too.

 And if Staples isn’t in your community, check this site for another place to sign-up for TSA PreCheck.

It’s only February and TSA has set a new record

It was alarming to learn that during 2017,  the Transportation Security Administration found a record setting 3,957 firearms in carry-on bags at airport checkpoints.

That was 16.7 percent (556 more) firearms than found in 2016, when ‘only’ 3,391 firearms were found.

Will 2018 see a dip in the number of firearms passengers bring to the security checkpoints?

Not likely: It’s only February and another record has been broken: between February 5th and 11th, TSA found a record breaking 104 firearms in carry-on bags. Of those 104 firearms, 87 were loaded and 38 had a round chambered.

The previous week-long record? 96 firearms found during one week in July 2017.

165 guns found at airport checkpoints in 2 weeks. What??

On the TSA blog each week there’s a report on the number of firearms – and loaded firearms – officers find at airport checkpoints.

The weekly numbers – and images – always alarm me. But this week’s report on the number of firearms found in the past TWO weeks is super alarming: over the past two weeks TSA officers found 165 firearms at airport checkpoints.

79 one week. 86 the week after.

Of those 165 firearms, TSA tells us 144 were loaded (!) and 56 had a round chambered.

Whenever I write about this I get emails telling me not to worry.  “Those aren’t terrorists,” people tell me, “Just innocent ‘regular’ people who forgot they had their guns with them.”

What happens to these people? Often, nothing.

Depending on the state and the situation, travelers are somtimes just told to come back without their gun. Sometimes there’s a fine. Occasionally, an arrest.

You’d think that since by law no passengers are allowed to bring guns into the secure side of an airport – or onto an airpane – the number of people bringing guns to the airport would be decreasing.

But the yearly tallies just go up.

Any solutions??

 

 

 

 

 

Fliers love Orlando Int’l Airport – and other new rankings

This year Orlando International Airport (MCO) gets top ranking for satisfaction among the “mega” airports in J.D. Power’s 2017 North America Airport Satisfaction Study.

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) came in second and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas ranked third, with scores of 778, 767 and 765,  respectively, out of a possible score of 1000.

Among large airports, John Wayne Airport in Orange County topped the list with a score of 796, followed by Tampa International Airport (795) and Dallas Love Field (790).

Sacramento International Airport got the highest marks among the medium airports (810), followed by Indianapolis International Airport (807), and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (806).

The study, one of several ‘biggies’ that come out each year, ranks traveler satisfaction with mega, large, and medium North American airports by weighin six factors (in order of importance): terminal facilities; airport accessibility; security check; baggage claim; check-in/baggage check; food, beverage and retail.

J.D. Power notes that ratings are up 18 points overall compared to last year’s all-time high, due to a 25-point increase in satisfaction with security checks (thanks to a drop in TSA staffing issues) and more satisfaction with check-in/baggage check (+19 points) and food, beverage, and retail (+15 points).  Self-service bag-check kiosks and other bag-tagging technologies got credit for raising satisfaction with the baggage check process.

Here are the Top 10 airports in each category:

“Mega” airports:

  1. Orlando International Airport
  2. Detroit Metroplitan International Airport
  3. McCarran International Airport
  4. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
  5. Denver International Airport
  6. Charlotte Douglas International Airport
  7. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
  8. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport
  9. San Francisco Internaitonal Airport
  10. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

Large Airports

  1. John Wayne Airport
  2. Tampa International Airport
  3. Dallas Love Field
  4. Nashville International Airport
  5. Portland International Airport
  6. Willliam P. Hobby Airport (Houston)
  7. San Diego International Airport
  8. Reagan National Airport
  9. Salt Lake City International Airport
  10. Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport

Medium Airports

  1. Sacramento International Airport
  2. Indianpolis International Airport
  3. Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport
  4. Jacksonville International Airport
  5. Palm Beach International Airport
  6. Southwest Florida International Airport
  7. Pittsburgh International Airport
  8. Raleigh-Durham International Airport
  9. Buffalo Niagara International Airport
  10. Ontario International Airport

You can see the full lists and the scoring here.