The largest US non-profit consumer organization representing airline passengers, concerned with TSA security crisis, has sent the following letter to President Obama:
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500
RE: Air Travel Delays and the TSA Security Crisis
Dear President Obama:
FlyersRights.org, the largest non-profit consumer organization in the United States representing airline passengers, and Travelers United are deeply concerned about outrageously long delays of up to THREE HOURS at TSA security checkpoints.
Long lines not only cost airline passengers time, money and inconvenience, but the large airport passenger crowds are becoming bigger and more tempting targets for terrorists like a Brussels airport massacre.
As President, you have the ultimate responsibility for this breakdown in the basic service of domestic aviation security. Unlike most Federal government services aviation security is provided directly to the public by the TSA and DHS under the supervision of your appointees.
As this situation has reached crisis proportions with the summer travel season rapidly approaching, we call on you to convene a White House meeting to resolve the issue before it is too late.
TSA is telling summer airline passengers to prepare for at least three hour wait lines and with reports of an average of 100 TSA agents quitting every week due to a culture of fear, intimidation, and mismanagement, the situation has become dire.
TSA is operating with 5000 fewer screeners today than it had in 2013, but is doing so with an additional 97 million more passengers flying than in 2013. Compounding the problem is Congress’s insistence on diverting money collected through TSA fees to other programs like the national debt and the Highway Trust Fund.
Some are using this crisis politically to discredit your administration and to advance the cause of re-privatizing aviation security controlled by airlines and airports. This system disastrously allowed the 9/11 attacks killing 3,000, destroying the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon, and before that the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie Scotland killing 270 including 189 Americans.
Airline travel is not a luxury, but a daily necessity for millions. Airline passengers cannot afford to consistently spend more time processing through the airport than they do on the actual flight. While we are encouraged by the appointment of Administrator Neffenger and his efforts to correct deficiencies in TSAs management, his efforts have so far been ineffective. Passengers heading into the busy summer travel season need much more immediate relief. Relief you can provide by taking strong executive action and exercising Presidential leadership.
We therefore urge you to call a meeting in the next 10 days with your appointees, and the other relevant parties including the undersigned as passenger representatives to motivate and resolve the twin challenges of the current inadequate personnel and the increased aviation terror threat.
Such a meeting was largely effective when called by President George W. Bush in 2007 to resolve a congestion crisis at NYC and other major airports.
We look forward to further discussion of this issue, and would be happy to be a resource for the Administration as it addresses the needs and rights of airline passengers.
The enclosed Action Plan contains some of our ideas for a meeting agenda and the enclosed newsletter today went out May 19th to our 60,000 members and the national media.
Paul Hudson, President
Member, FAA Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (1993-present)
Member, FAA/TSA Aviation Security Advisory Committee (1997-2007)
Former President, Families of Pan Am 103/Lockerbie
Father of Melina Hudson (1/24/72-12/21/88)
218 D Street SE, Washington, DC 20003 800-662-1859 410-940-8934 firstname.lastname@example.org
Charles Leocha, President
Travelers United Member, DOT Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection
P.S. Previous attempts to meet with the TSA Administrator have been ignored while the TSA’s Aviation Security Advisory Committee inexcusably lacks any US based passenger representation (N.B. The “International Airline Passenger Association” is a UK based for profit corporation with close ties to airline corporations.)
Cc Peter Neffenger, Administrator, US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Jeh Johnson, Secretary, US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Valery Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President Anthony Foxx, Secretary, US Department of Transportation (DOT)Michael Huerta, Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)