TSA: A Necessary Inconvenience


Anna Finley

Airport security can be a hassle

Andrea Henriquez, Sentry Staff Reporter

It is really easy to become frustrated at the airport. When one thinks of their vacation, he or she imagines the luxurious hotel room and soothing sounds of the waves breaking on the shore. Once the first steps are taken into Dulles International or any other local airport, the reality sinks in; to reach paradise, one must go through the monotonous security lines. Suddenly, paradise isn’t just a flight away but it is the hours before the flight spent rushing through the airport. The walk from check-in to the security screening is all of a sudden a race because everyone just wants to reach the comfort of being ready at their gate.

On a regular day, it is often very difficult to remember why all the embarrassing pat downs or regulations are necessary. For anyone who was too young to remember traveling before 2001, we have all lived our whole lives being used to all the precaution. On the other hand, all the adults have a flashbulb memory of the date that shook our nation, September 11th 2001. Most people can remember exactly where they were when news creeped through the radios as well as the non-stop flashing images on the screens. It was a day that changed every aspect of how airports functioned.

The attack created massive fear in the American people due to the realization of how easily a flight could be hijacked, how simple it was for terrorist to carry explosives, and how fragile the lives were of the 2,997 people that died that morning. The government and citizens of the United States recognized the need for vigilant security in airports. That is the reason that the federal government created the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) on November 19th 2001. Although irritating at times, it is necessary for the wellbeing of every individual traveling to their destination.

Since the creation of the TSA, there has been intensifying procedures to ensure the safety of passengers on planes. For example, there are now full body scanners, quantity-based liquid bans, and the hated pat downs. The full body scanner is an advanced imaging device that can detect objects on a person’s body. Instead of receiving a thorough pat-down, travelers can easily put objects into the bin to quickly pass through the checkpoint. The liquid rule requires that liquids such as gels, pastes, and creams be limited in a travel sized container of 3.4 ounces or less. Personally, this rule often irritates me because I am never allowed to bring a bottle of water while waiting in the infinite lines. Lastly, one of the most dreaded parts of airport security is a “necessary” pat down. The pat down results from something coming up or being unclear on the full body scanner. The worst part is it is usually a result of forgetting something worthless in one’s pocket. Nevertheless, there is nothing quite as uncomfortable as being pat down by a random security guard.

With summer just around the corner, TSA has answered some travelers questions on their websites about their plans for the next few months that will be filled with flights. The agency is planning to manage the amount of time awaiting the security screening by adding more officers and canine teams to examine passengers. It is also trying to work with airports and their airplanes to create innovative solutions for the traveling public. TSA has also been promoting their new program named TSA Pre✔. It only costs $85 to enroll in the program for five years and it has benefits such as having a more efficient security screening. Those that enroll do not have to remove their shoes, light jackets, belts, and laptops at the checkpoint and have an overall quicker experience. Anyone who travels often should enroll in the program because it is the easiest way to beat the lines and avoid the hassle of removing items. Additionally, it is not pricy because the traveler only needs to pay $17 a year and will have an overall, smoother experience at the airport.

I know that I am not the first to say that waiting in line for the security screening really tests my patience. There is nothing to do but to just stand and watch the person in front slowly scoot an inch closer to the bins and the body scanner. Fortunately, there is some comfort in waiting as it proves how important mine as well as every other travelers safety is. It shows how far the nation has come since 9/11 and how there is little to no chance of any other terrorist attack being committed in this great land. The coasts are secure and everyone is promised a safe trip to their desired destination.