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Flyers Are NOT Happy With the TSA! Here’s What They’ve Been Saying on Twitter

Analysis of tweets through first four months of 2015 shows most resentment for TSA in Oakland, Long Beach and Charlotte.

How frustrated are frequent flyers with the Transportation Security Administration? An analysis of tweets sent by flyers may have found the answer. Online trip calculator TravelMath completed a review of flyers’ tweets from January to April 2015 in order to determine an overall opinion of the TSA at airports across the U.S.

In order to determine tweets sent about the TSA, TravelMath read tweets directed to the agency’s official Twitter handle, as well as tweets including “#thanksTSA” and other popular TSA-releated hashtags. From there, the tweets were analyzed using a sentiment analysis program that ranked each tweet as either positive, neutral or negative.

The results showed an overwhelmingly negative sentiment toward the TSA from flyers across the U.S. Flyers in Connecticut, Nevada, Utah, Pennsylvania and Missouri logged the most complaints about their TSA experience, while flyers in 22 other states showed an overall negative sentiment toward the security agents. Only seven states, including Kentucky, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Virginia, reported overall positive experiences at TSA security checkpoints.

TSA Sentiment by State

The overall negative sentiment about TSA agents also varied greatly by location. California lead the nation in negative experiences, with four Golden State airports appearing among the top five most negative airports.

Oakland International Airport (OAK) was determined to be the most disappointing TSA checkpoint according to Twitter, followed by Long Beach Airport (LGB), Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), San Jose International Airport (SJC) and San Diego International Airport (SAN). Only one airport, Burbank Bob Hope Airport (BUR), saw an overall positive sentiment from flyers according to tweets.

TSA Sentiment by Airport

Of those complaints posted to Twitter, many of them followed similar overall patterns. Over 25 percent of tweets about the TSA during the sample period included the word “Search,” followed in popularity by “Confiscate” and “Grope,” both being mentioned alongside the TSA in 10 percent of tweets.

The words “Rude,” “Took my” and “Stole” were also commonly mentioned in the same sentence as TSA, while much more severe words like “Violate” and “Harass” were mentioned less than five percent of the time.

Percent of Top 15 Words Tweeted Alongside Mentions of the TSA

While TravelMath did not mention the exact number of tweets mentioning these words, the TSA logged over 2,500 complaints between January and April 2015, according to the Department of Transportation Air Travel Consumer Reports between March and June 2015. The total included over 1,000 complaints about TSA courtesy and over 1,200 regarding personal property.

The analysis also took into consideration where flyers were sending their tweets about the TSA. The most geotagged tweets were sent at or beyond the TSA checkpoints at six airports analyzed, with negative responses greatly outweighing the positive responses.

The report also highlighted how the TSA was creating positive encounters for flyers as well. TravelMath reports the TSA received the most positive responses through their Instagram account, where the agency shares some of the more dangerous items found at their security checkpoints.

The TSA has not responded to the TravelMath report.

[Photo: iStock; Charts: TravelMath]

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ccyao July 23, 2015

I am surprised anyone is happy with the TSA. Flyer unhappy with the TSA are no surprise.