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A Kinder, Gentler, TSA

Is the TSA getting soft? With the recent implementation of PreCheck the lines at the nation's airport security checkpoints has gotten somewhat better. Jacksonville International Airport is no exception. A recent visit to JIA, during this summers high travel season, has demonstrated that the lines do seem to be moving a bit more quickly.

PreCheck is the latest of the various schemes that have been tried to expedite the security process. For a fee (and a bit less privacy), the TSA will allow a passenger to go through a line that [should] move faster. The process is smoother for several reasons: 1) you do not have to remove your shoes, 2) more experienced travelers utilize the service, and therefor, are more adept at the nominal unpacking/packing and removal of metal items, etc. that tend to slow down the "normal" line, 3) the TSA Agents have been randomly choosing passengers to go through the PreCheck line further reducing delays by making the expedited process more widely available during this start-up phase.

It is about time. There is so much to complain about with the security situation at the nations airports, it is only fair to comment positively when some sensible progress is made. The drag that the TSA, and the overly burdensome security apparatus has had on the flying public cannot be adequately measured, but it is unquestionably keeping many travelers away from the commercial airports. Further, any reduction of commercial airline traffic has a corresponding increase in other forms of travel, namely roads. The nations roads are already heavily burdened to handle the normal demand, and those who would otherwise fly only adds to the severity of the load. Also, safety is affected with the choice of the highway vs. the airways. The commercial aviation sector enjoys an enviable safety record.

Our nations airlines have all gone through bankruptcy now and are just beginning to post reliable profits. The under-performing financial results of the recent past are complex, but it is fair to say that post 9/11, along with the increased security, has had a significant affect upon airline travel demand...for the worse. Demand is now starting to pick up and the nations airlines are benefiting from a post-bankruptcy financial reset. Anything the TSA can do to help get passengers on-board quicker and more conveniently is for the good.

At JIA, local travelers are enjoying a refreshed airport and a refreshed security experience. All the better to make Jacksonville an destination worthy of returning.