TSA Modifies SD-1544-09-06 & Who Will Fix The Broken System?

28/12/2009 – TSA Modifies SD-1544-09-06 & Who Will Fix The Broken System?

The US Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration has quickly revised portions of its Security Directive SD-1544-09-06, which I posted it its entirety yesterday in this post: 27/12/2009 – TSA Security Directive SD-1544-09-06 : The Fallout From NW253

While the physical passenger pat downs and complete baggage re-screening at the gate for passengers traveling to the United States from foreign countries and territories, remain in place, certain in-flight restrictions have been eased. The expiration date on SD-1544-09-06 still appears to be Dec 30 2009, a mere two days from now.

The big change, to me, is the understated change. The TSA has changed “must” to “at the discretion of” this subtle language gives the flight crew the ability to implement certain regulations in flight based on passenger security

Presently this is what to expected if you are flying to the United States from a foreign country:

Extended security wait times, allow at least two hours for security at the gate. While this may be faster at some airports, you need to allow this time to ensure you won’t miss your flight

A physical pat down by security at the gate prior to boarding all flights to the United States

A complete physical inspection of all bags being carried on flights to the United States

– Flight crew may make no announcements or reference to position or landmarks while flying over US airspace, such as “Out the left side you can see the Empire State Building and Manhattan”

The previous restrictions within SD-1544-09-0 for in-flight entertainment (IFE) have been lifted, as have the 1-hr prior to landing restrictions. These previous restrictions are now at the discretion of the flight crew. As of today, passengers may use the in-flight entertainment, their laptop, a blanket, the lavatory and access their carry-on bags within one hour of arrival.

Normal rules apply for putting your carry on bag away, switching off your electronics, putting your tray table up and your seat into the upright position.

The TSA has its work cut out for it’s self when it comes to reforming airline security. Airline security is not something the TSA can do alone; airlines & airports must work together through their collective organizations to create an effective solution.

More important than changes in airport security are changes in the governmental intelligence sector. When multiple red flags appear, follow those red flags.

The Department of Homeland Security & Transportation Security Administration may also want to rethink some of their public statements, such as the one today on CNN indicating that Security Directive SD-1544-09-06 was not made public. If this document was intended to be secret why was a copy sent to me? Why does it also appear on the blog of travel journalist Christopher Elliott in its entirety? My copy of Security Directive SD-1544-09-06 was received directly from the TSA.

Security of airports and airlines is serious business. Serious business requires thought and insight, the business of security requires pre-planning and pre-emptive measures, not ill conceived and poorly planned thrown together security directives.

Protecting passengers in the United States and around the world should be a global community focus, not that of a single nation. Airlines are a global system and airports are global gateways, even the small ones, and quite simply the system as it exists now is broken…

…who is going to fix it?

Happy Flying!