In an industry still digging its way out of a disastrous recession, even bad news can be good news and the latest bad news from a poll taken by Frequent Business Traveler magazine (www.frequentbusinesstraveler.com) amounts to good news for business and private aviation.
The survey, conducted in partnership with FlyerTalk (www.flyertalk.com), discovered that about 76 percent percent of frequent fliers think the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screenings at the nation’s airports are inadequate.
I’m not surprised. I have two artificial knees and a goodly chunk of metal in each, and I’ve become accustomed to setting off the scanner and getting patted down. But on a surprising number of occasions, I’ve walked through with nary a peep from the machine. When it happens, I call a screener over, explain what happened, and suggest that they recalibrate the machine. My suggestion is typically taken with the same sense of concern a five-year-old exhibits when told his face is dirty.
Reporting on the replies by 1,852 frequent fliers, Frequent Business Traveler said 76.1 percent of respondents indicated that TSA screening procedures are either “not effective or not too effective” in preventing acts of terrorism on an aircraft.
I’m not sure how accurately the survey reflects screening procedures, but I suspect a 45-minute wait in line, stuck between a biker who hasn’t bathed in a week and screaming two-year-old, could skew one’s response.
On the other hand, business and private aviation needs all the help it can get, and commercial airline travel today—with its long lines, cramped seating, lost luggage and surly flight attendants—is the most encouragement business and private aviation could hope for. And we can include the TSA, bless its little heart, in that unintentional advertising campaign.
So now when I struggle through an airport, wait for a delayed flight, try to find room in the overhead bin, wonder why the chicken I ordered looks exactly like the beef in the guy’s meal beside me, I take a deep breath and thank the gods of commercial airline travel for their support of my particular industry.