Researching The Airport Security Passenger Experience : Grant & Sponsor Help Needed

As a photojournalist I began documenting airport security on September 15th 2001 and since creating Flying With Fish in January 2006 much of my research on airport security.  The reoccurring information that I have consistently encountered since 2001 is that everyone hates the airport security experience. In many cases people dislike the airport security experience so much they avoid air travel except when absolutely necessary, often choosing to drive long distances rather than endure the airport security process.

My experience documenting airport security as a journalist and researching airport security for Flying With Fish has lead to the creation of a research project focused on improving the airport security process. This research project has a very focused goal: Devise airport security methods that significantly improve the airport security passenger experience and enhance the effectiveness of the airport security process.

Finding options to improve the airport security passenger experience reduces passenger stress and confusion that is related to airport security procedures. Improving the airport security passenger experience is beneficial for airlines, airports and airport security agencies. These benefits can be realized in both customer satisfaction and in increased revenue potential.

The research for this project requires observing and passing through airport security check points at a wide variety of airports around the globe and detailing each system and process. Observations include the pre-security line up for security detail precautions, screener conversations, screener interaction and contact with passengers, consistency of individual screeners, consistency of screener procedures among various screeners and stations, as well as other factors at individual airports.

The estimated cost of this research is US$18,000 for basic research to US$44,000 for more comprehensive in the field research. Actual in the field research is estimated to take between 12 and 30 days.  These costs reflect actual expenses related to conducting the research.

While US$18k to US$44k may seem expensive for the research keep this in mind…the cost of a single Garrett Magnascanner PD 6500i (walk through metal detector), commonly found at airport security check points around the world costs US$5,495 per unit; The US Transportation Security Administration has an estimated annual budget of US$6.3billion;  The TSA outsources security at San Francisco International Airport to Covenant Aviation Security for a cost of US$314mil; the TSA spent an estimated US$5mil to change its uniform shirts from white to blue … so US$44,000 to research ways to improve the airport security passenger experience is not expensive at all.

Despite the TSA’s expenses and budget, I am doing my research on my own and must fund the research on my own. Why am I doing this research on my own? Because I believe in helping find a solution rather than complaining about the problem.

At this time I am seeking assistance in finding grants, underwriters or sponsorship assistance in undertaking this research.

For more information or to help fund this research please e-mail me at

Happy Flying!



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