TSA May Drop Random Gate Screening

Pilot programs launched with AA at LAX and JetBlue at Long Beach airport

The Transportation Security Administration took the first steps in dropping random gate screening of passengers who already have cleared security checkpoints.

Pilot programs are being launched with American Airlines at Los Angeles International Airport (Terminal 4) and with JetBlue at Long Beach airport. The TSA will conduct all passenger identification and enhanced security procedures at the primary checkpoint, which will require all passengers to obtain boarding passes before going to the checkpoint.

James Loy, TSA chief, spoke to the Aero Club of Washington last week where he said, “Every unnecessary step eliminated from the security process tends to lower the hassle factor.”

Before getting rid of gate screening throughout the system, Loy said he must first ensure that the screening and security system at the terminal checkpoint is working well enough before that point. One key way to judge that would be if gate screeners no longer find potentially dangerous items on passengers, Loy said.

Meanwhile, Loy also said that airports in Los Angeles and Philadelphia will be the first sites for the testing of transportation ID cards.

He said airport and port workers would get the IDs first and if the cards prove successful, they could be extended to passengers. Loy said the ID card technology would form the basis of a registered traveler program in which passengers would be submitted to detailed background checks.