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PR Patdown: Blaming Travelers for Long Security Lines Shows the TSA Just Doesn’t Get It
By: Bulldog Reporter
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I don’t use the term “unmitigated gall” very often, but that phrase sprang to mind upon reading that the Transportation Security Administration was trying to shift the blame for lengthy screening delays—at least in part—to its “customers,” the traveling public.

From a PR point of view, this is always a risky tactic in a crisis. Sharing blame with your constituents, or even deflecting it to them altogether, has its place in select, very limited circumstances, like when consumers use your product in a way that wasn’t intended. But generally speaking, shunting off the blame delivers the message that you’re unwilling to take ownership of the problem, and as anyone who has been through AA could tell you, acknowledging the problem is the first step in correcting it. In the TSA’s case, they appear to be trying to sell a bill of goods to air travelers: “You, not us, are gumming up the screening process, because you still insist on flouting our rules.”

This completely ignores the fact the TSA is woefully understaffed. A nearly 10 percent reduction in workforce last summer didn’t help. Nor does an increase in the number of travelers passing through the TSA’s gauntlet, particularly those flying at peak times of day.

But nothing but staffing has changed that dramatically from the days of 30-minute waits. The agency’s public affairs manager pointed out that lines would move four times faster if travelers would abide by the rules and cleanse their persons and carry-on items of all banned items ahead of time. Not just pocketknives, souvenir grenades and bullets, but knitting needles, liquid containers over three ounces, and opaque storage bags. He also reminded the public to remove shoes, empty pockets and remove laptops from carry-on bags before they get to the screener.


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About the Author
This article was originally published on Bulldog Reporter. A link to the original post follows the article.

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