FedSmith.com Readers Say TSA Procedures Make Them Less Inclined to Fly

July 22, 2011 4:33 PM
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We have posted several surveys on our site in recent weeks to get feedback from FedSmith.com site visitors as to what their flying habits are like now that the TSA’s security procedures have been in place for a while. The overwhelming theme in the responses indicated that the procedures act as a deterrent to would-be air travelers.

The TSA has faced a lot of public scrutiny and criticism for some of their security procedures in the airline industry. From enhanced pat-downs to body scanners and concerns about radiation, we were curious what people who read FedSmith.com thought of the TSA’s process and if it had any affect on their desire to fly.

A common comment that has popped up on these surveys and related articles we’ve posted on the subject says something like, “If you don’t like the security process, then don’t fly!” Apparently, that pretty well sums up what some people intend to do if the responses to these questions are any indication.

One of our surveys asked specifically about the effects of the security procedures on flying habits:

Since the TSA-required enhanced screening and pat-downs at airports went into effect in 2010, have you changed your attitude toward flying for personal (as opposed to business) trips?

I avoid flying whenever possible 90%
I fly more 2%
No change 8.0%

Do you believe the TSA-required enhanced screening and pat-downs at airports make it safer for Americans to fly?

Yes 7.5%
No 77%
Not sure 15.5%

Here is a sampling of some of the comments from this survey:

  • Searching american toddlers, children, and old ladies is not a deterrent to real terrorists. These tactics are unconstitutional as illegal searches without probable cause.
  • Let’s not put this all on TSA, they are only doing their job in an effort to keep us safe. I lost my desire to fly after 9./11. That desire NOT to fly was increased when airlines began charging for my luggage (who takes a trip without luggage?), and stopped serving meals. Giving less and charging more for it. TSA was just another bump in the road. I no longer fly if I can avoid it because it is no longer enjoyable.
  • I’m driving if at all possible, even if I’ve gotta get a rental car.
  • TSA seems to be above the law and abuse is rampant. I won’t subject myself to that kind of degrading treatment. I won’t fly again unless there is absolutely no other option.
  • I will never fly if there is a train-bus or a car that I can hire. And I don’t ever intend buying a GM automobile or using a company that that has them in there fleet if I can avoid them….
  • I believe that eliminating TSA would be the answer to the problem. Having the airlines hire private security companies to do the screening by using security clearances on passengers. If you have a security clearance with your job or military, or apply for security clearance to fly, this would eliminate some passengers that do not need to be searched but by using the magnetic screening device would be sufficient. Lets get real and search for the real enemies. Not grandmas and babies.. Let get real..
  • Flying is now a hassle and all my friends complain of flying now because of the TSA tactics and unnecessay requirements. They treat everyone like a terrorist and that is not FAIR!!!
  • The only time I fly is outside 500 mile radius.
  • I would only fly with the tsa in charge under emergency no way around it conditions. The stories I’ve seen are beyond belief. I would be so fired for acting like that toward the bill paying public.
  • What’s wrong with racial profiling? It is done in other countries and they are very successful. Many TSA people are not very bright and don’t have very good communication skills. Every airport has a different set of rules. This is punitive at best on the American traveler.
  • The TSA is just the beginning!! This government is bent on reducing the freedom our fathers and sons have fought for over the years!!! it’s all downhill from here!!
  • It seems that Osama, although now dead, still has managed a partial victory in the TSA!
  • I believe it helps, however the reason I don’t fly as much as more to due with the rediculous pricing by the airlines.


We have posed related questions about the TSA which elicited similar responses. In one survey, we asked whether or not respondents thought the TSA’s screening model should be dropped in favor of a private screen process:

Should the TSA’s federal screening model be dropped in favor of a private screening process?

Yes 52%
No 38%
Undecided 10%

The TSA recently announced that it is implementing new software to increase passengers’ privacy in the body scanning process. The feedback we received on this topic indicates that while people are more comfortable about the use of the machines with the change, it hasn’t made them more likely to fly:

Do you feel more comfortable about the use of AIT machines in airports with the new privacy software?

Yes 47%
No 26%
I’ll wait until I see it to decide 27%

Will the use of the new software make you more likely to fly in the future?

Yes 40%
No 60%

Have other thoughts on air travel and the TSA? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

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About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.