In perhaps the most thorough poll of those who have travelled since Sept. 11, almost all travellers have experienced inconsistent airport security, and most frequent travelers say they would use a travel ID card program if it were implemented.
The poll by Travelocity.com included responses from more than 2,800 Travelocity.com members who represent frequent, infrequent and occasional travellers who have travelled since Sept. 11, 2001.
Travellers reported their experiences from trips through more than 100 U.S. airports. The study found:
—Most travellers experienced inconsistent airport security standards
—A total of 83 percent say security standards are inconsistent
—with 31 percent of all travellers stating standards are not at all consistent from airport to airport, and 52 percent noting security is only somewhat consistent.
—Frequent travellers are most likely to favour implementing a National Travel Card System, and they are more likely to use it
—71 percent of frequent travellers say they are likely to take advantage of a National Travel Card if it is implemented. More detailed than a driver`s license or passport, the card could contain encrypted information including the traveller`s photograph, fingerprints, flight history and facial or retinal (eye) characteristics.
As described in the survey, the voluntary program would allow cardholders to avoid extensive luggage searches.
—Improved screening technologies top the list of most effective security measures for heavy travellers
—When given a list of security measures and asked to choose one, 34 percent of both frequent and occasional travellers said improved screening technologies would have the greatest impact on improving security at U.S. airports.
—A solid majority of survey participants agree the federal government should control security at U.S. airports—
72 percent of frequent travellers hold this opinion, while 67 percent of occasional travellers and 58 percent of infrequent travellers concur.
—Baltimore/Washington International tops list for longest waits due to security
—Travellers departing from Baltimore/Washington International were the most likely to report delays of more than 60 minutes during the security process, while those at Houston George Bush Intercontinental were most likely to report delays of less than 30 minutes.
“Airport security has been a top concern nationwide, and this poll—as well as anecdotal evidence from other communications with our members—indicates how extremely inconsistent security is between airports around the country,” said Terrell B. Jones, president and chief executive officer of Travelocity.com. “Clearly there is no consistent policy on airport security, and there needs to be one if we are to regain the public`s confidence in air travel. It is important that those performing the screening have consistent standards by which to operate, that they receive greatly improved training, and that this be done as soon as feasible.”
Jones added: “Based on our findings, we also believe the federal government should consider a voluntary Travel Card system and other improved technologies to make travel even more secure.”
About the Travelocity.com Travel Security Survey
Travelocity.com distributed surveys via e-mail to members who had booked travel between Sept. 12, 2001 and Oct. 2, 2001. Data was collected Oct. 4-5, and a total of 2,878 members participated. Each survey participant was classified in one of the following categories based on travel frequency: frequent traveller (travelled 5 or more times in the last 12 months), occasional traveller (travelled 2-4 times in the last 12 months) and infrequent traveller (travelled less than 2 times in the last 12 months). Survey questions were sent to Travelocity.com members via one of the company`s regular e-mail newsletters. To ensure data quality, duplicated responses were omitted from final findings.