An IATA Solution

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary The International Air Transportation Association (IATA), which represents all airlines in 230 countries, has come up with a possible solution to balance security and passenger rights at major airports around the world. The plan calls for creating three lines. One will be for frequent travelers. In this line the passengers will have had a thorough prior screening by their respective governments so that they will not need any more real screenings when they go through airport security. They will have special cards issued to them that will provide all necessary information and encoded eye retina and/or fingerprint imprints. The second line will be for all other passengers where security will just check all but only use thorough checks if there is reasonable suspicion based on circumstantial evidence of only a very select few passengers. The third line is where all those where there is little information about them will be more thoroughly screened.

As imperfect as this may be, it is better than what we have available in the United States now where EVERYONE is under suspicion and no one seems to have any rights or protections. There are no alternatives to be prodded, groped and humiliated simply on the mere suspicion that the person might be a “problem.” This approach not only is peeing off tens of thousands of people who are innocent, it is not even good security when you think about. Remember the African student who was able to get on a plane using a fake airplane ticket? This person was not noticed by TSA (Transport Security Agency) personnel but by air flight stewardesses who noticed someone sitting in a seat that was supposed to be unoccupied. When this was reported to security, the person in question was stopped and was found to have had many fake and discarded air tickets.

But I have learned from experience that the TSA, like so many other U.S. government agencies, will resist changing things. This is the way our government works. The TSA, like so many other government agencies, believes in a “one size fits all” and will not want to change over to something that actually makes more sense “without testing it.” What is there to test? This system of security is a better balance between security and a person’s rights than anything being practiced in major U.S. airports now. The TSA is talking of instituting a “fast track” program where all frequent fliers can voluntarily submit information on themselves to be able to go through security faster and with no major hassles. That is for now “talk.”

But it does not solve the problem for the majority of us who may not fly that frequently. Yet we make up the bulk of the flying public. One thing I have noted, and that is less people are beginning to use airplanes to travel for short distances because of the screwy paranoid airplane security. This means that a lot of tourist dollars the airlines need during this peak travel season is not happening because of the American and indeed the international flying public are having a growing list of bad experiences with the TSA. This is why the IATA is trying to come up with something for both security and for protecting the rights of the flying public. Will the TSA listen?

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