Over the past few years the topic of “Security Theater” has come up more often than passengers complaining about checked baggage fees. The inconsistencies surrounding passenger security often makes for a quick sound bite on the news, or a one liner quote in print (and online) stories because it is generally an easy topic to dredge up and write something captivating about.
While the majority of comments regarding ineffective passenger security fall on deaf ears, Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways has taken his opinions on the U.S. Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) security procedures … and forcing its unequal security procedures on other nations.
Al Baker does not feel TSA Transportation Security Officers (TSO) are always putting security at the forefront and checkpoints, stating that “In the United States they are asking for checks on other countries while they themselves do not comply with this on their internal flights.” and “I’ve been on U.S internal flights and I’ve quite frankly I found it very lax, very unfocused and at times people were talking to each other [instead of] inspecting people’s items.”
While Martin Broughton, Chairman of British Airways, has recently stated that the ineffective and stringent security process at airports is damaging the airline industry, Qatar Airways’ Al Baker has followed that statement referring for airport security procedures as “excessive” and that “sometimes we are over reacting.”
One of Al Baker’s comments yesterday regarding airport security that I think many would agree with is “Asking people to remove flat shoes. What can you conceal in a flat shoe?”
If enough airline top executives are able to speak in unison they have the greatest chance of working for an effective change in commercial airline passenger security. There are multiple effective security procedures and practices that are effective and many that are not. These procedures and practices must be evaluated then a new plan for security be implemented … but someone needs to take the lead … one can only hope that either Mr. Broughton or Mr. Al Baker would be willing to step up to the challenge for the benefit of not only the airline industry’s financial interests, but also improving security overall.