New USTA Panel Covets 'Frictionless' Air Travel Security Screening

Hoping to address the concerns of millions of Americans who avoid flying because of cumbersome security screening procedures, the U.S. Travel Association has formed a new panel charged with creating a vision for the world's "most secure, efficient and customer-friendly air travel security screening process," it announced yesterday.

Called the "Blue Ribbon Panel for Frictionless Security," the new group counts among its members security experts such as Tom Ridge, former Secretary of Homeland Security; Robert Crandall, former president and CEO of American Airlines; Jim Turner, former Democratic Congressman and chair of the House Homeland Security Committee; Dave Bronzek, president and CEO of FedEx Express; and Sam Gilliland, president and CEO of Sabre Holdings.

"The U.S. Travel Association understands the frustration of American travelers, and we, too, believe there is a better way," U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement. "We're bringing together the foremost experts on air security to create a vision for a process that maximizes security and minimizes the burden on air travelers. Two million Americans who travel by air daily are in need of a champion in Washington."

According to a February U.S. Travel Association survey, 84 percent of travelers negatively equate air travel security screening with the process they experience at their local department of motor vehicles. Meanwhile, 80 percent believe that customer service can be enhanced while still strengthening security.

To improve travelers' experience in the airport security line, USTA's Blue Ribbon Panel will engage in a fact-based analysis of: process improvements, technology, human capital management, physical infrastructure, capital investments and privacy protections. It plans to deliver a blueprint for a secure and efficient air security screening system to members of Congress and the Obama Administration this summer.