Air travel security should rely less on inconveniencing the public and more on better thought-out government practices, the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) said in a paper released today. The document, entitled “Statement of the American Society of Travel Agents Regarding the Effect of Post Sept. 11 Security Measures on Air Travel,” outlines changes that would promote a safe and secure air travel system with as little intrusion and inconvenience as possible, including expedited security procedures for passengers pre-determined to be low-risk through voluntary screening.
“Air travel security is not inadequate in a safety sense, but it can be unnecessarily burdensome and inconvenient to travelers,” said ASTA President and CEO Richard M. Copland, CTC. “The emergency measures put in place immediately after September 11 do not reflect the best possible approach to safety and accessibility over the long run. We can do better,” he added.
“Last January, ASTA wrote the Department of Transportation, asking for a nation-wide conference of consumer groups, airlines, airline employee organizations, travel industry organizations, airport authorities and others to provide input on air travel redesign to meet the realities of the post-Sept. 11 world, with the passenger`s point of view in mind. We`re still waiting for a response,” Copland noted.
ASTA issued its statement based on nearly three quarters of a century of experience with the wants, needs, and behavior of travelers. The Society recommends an emphasis on intelligence gathering, surveillance and other unobtrusive security measures, as well as regular consultation with the public on those security measures that are in “plain sight.” Air travel regulations, the statement urges, “must be constantly reexamined, considered in combination and revised to accommodate actual experience.”
ASTA`s Statement of the American Society of Travel Agents Regarding the Effect of Post Sept. 11 Security Measures on Air Travel can be accessed at www.astanet.com/news/legfiling.asp.