With the implementation of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) “enhanced pat down” screening process last week many travelers have complained that they feel violated by the TSA Transportation Security Officer’s (TSO) touching their body.
With the new ‘enhanced pat down’ TSOs are allowed to placed their hands, palms forward, between a travelers legs, touch a woman’s breasts, feel under a male’s genitals and essentially anywhere else they see fit to inspect travelers for contraband items. As complaints about this new TSA procedure spread throughout various news outlets, one story stood out.
This story does not stand out because of the passenger complaint … but because of the response to a passenger complaint by the airport itself.
Midland-Odessa’s NewsWest 9 reported on one passenger, Beverly Ferguson, flying from Midland International Airport (MAF) stating “I was violated, I have never felt so humiliated in all my life,” after she claims a TSA TSO felt under her dress, then felt her from back to front with her arms and legs spread open.
While this passenger’s complaint is aimed at the TSA, Marvin Esterly, the Director of Midland International Airport, directly responded it. Mr. Esterly responded by stating “I think this is the first time that I’ve heard of anybody that didn’t enjoy the experience, coming through the terminal building, and of course, we’re concerned about that.”
Quite honestly … it is just astounding that an airport director can even begin to think that passengers “enjoy the experience.” If anyone believes passengers “enjoy the experience,” be they TSA administrators, TSOs, airport administrators, etc, they should reevaluate their view of the industry they are working in.
Mr. Esterly’s comment shows how disconnected many in the commercial air travel industry from their passengers, who are their customers … and his comment just leaves me pretty darn close to speechless.