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Do Lengthy Security Lines Endanger Travelers?

Some say that long security lines at airports put travelers at a bigger risk for terrorism.

Lines at airport security seem to be getting longer by the day. O’Hare in Chicago has seen flyers waiting up to four hours to get through for an international flight. Kelly Washam, a traveler who spoke to Newsday, arrived to San Jose International Airport two hours before her flight, but was still waiting in security when her plane took off — without her on it. It’s a widespread problem that has prompted complaints from both passengers and higher authorities. According to a letter from the Port Authority of New York to the TSA, average wait times at JFK airport have risen 82 percent in the last year.

Supposedly, the long wait times are due to security increases following a 2015 report showing that undercover agents were able to sneak weapons through security 95 percent of the time, and the TSA told CNN that long wait times are now necessary to keep passengers safe.

But a new editorial at Newsday suggests that the long lines are actually making it more dangerous for passengers. The editorial posits that based on recent attacks by ISIS, where bombs were set off in confined, crowded spaces without a huge armed security presence, passengers waiting in security lines are sitting in the line of fire — as almost all security checkpoints and lobbies at U.S. airports fit that profile exactly.

The editorial suggests a solution, too — hire outside security companies to patrol at checkpoints and waiting rooms. That way, the TSA can continue to do their job and there will be an extra layer of safety before getting into the secure part of an airport.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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4 Comments
H
Himeno July 12, 2016

The TSA, media, etc keep asking the wrong question. Where they take note that the lines are becoming longer and that it puts people at risk, they ask "how to we fix the line problem" and demand more money be thrown at it. They refuse to ask the right questions, "Why are the lines long in the first place?" because that would lead them to the screening measures in place are time consuming, wasteful, and unnecessary and that by correcting the screening process itself, it will lead to faster throughput and shorter lines.

B
brocklee9000 July 11, 2016

Solution: Oh, let's not actually do anything to increase the security wait times or make people safer. No, let's spend more money to hire private armed security to do more pointless patrols.

K
kronos319 July 11, 2016

"I’m surprised it took so long for the terrorists to catch on to this- istanbul, brussels.etc" Of course the terrorists thought about this. It's their increased logistical capability that has allowed them to execute this style of attack now. As a European I've always been baffled as to how the TSA can be so incompetent. Security screening is legitimately the easiest job at the airport. Perhaps it should go the way of all other major American functions and be privatised with financial incentives for low wait times and high positive detection rate. Or perhaps get rid of the ridiculous "everyone must remove shoes and pass through body scanner" policy.

M
marbles dad July 11, 2016

i remember way back just after 9-11 when there were lines snaking out to the street at lax for both southwest and american airlines at LAX.call me crazy but i missed my flight rather than be a "sitting duck"for anyone with crazy ideas and can easily drive through the airport, commit yet another unspeakable act, and drive away. seems like a no brainer , yet this policy of having passengers wait OUTSIDE to get through security continued for at least 6 more months. I'm surprised it took so long for the terrorists to catch on to t his- istanbul, brussels.etc- you are ultimately responsible for your own security, : if a situation doest feel right, don't take the risk. and let the airline know about it.