Despite ongoing controversy, a majority of over 2,700 travelers surveyed by Travel Leaders Group (87.5%) indicate they are satisfied or neutral with today’s airport security measures, the group reports.
However, nearly 62 percent of those polled can’t identify whether the TSA PreCheck program has made any significant difference in wait times for security screenings.
The survey includes responses from 2,719 consumers nationwide and was conducted by Travel Leaders Group from April 6 to April 28, 2014.
“Travelers today have become very adaptable in terms of airport security and what procedures they must comply with from airport to airport. That may help explain why such a high percentage of consumers polled are satisfied with – or perhaps even resigned to – what is required of them. In fact, when asked what one security measure they would like to eliminate, the second most common response was that they wouldn’t eliminate any of the current requirements,” stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Barry Liben. “Throughout all of the changes in procedures over the years, our travel agents across Travel Leaders Group have been educating and reminding travelers what they may encounter at airport security, in an effort to make their overall travel experiences better. While we do have a number of clients who are ‘Known Travelers’ through TSA PreCheck, our survey findings clearly indicate that the ‘verdict is still out’ as to whether that program has improved wait times at airports for a majority of American travelers.”
Initial findings from the “Consumer Travel Survey” include:
Airport Security Satisfaction: When asked, “What is your level of satisfaction with airport security today?” (87.5% indicated they are satisfied with or neutral about today’s security measures which is up from 82.0% last year.) The percentage of travelers expressing dissatisfaction with TSA is at its lowest level since Travel Leaders Group first began asking this question in 2010.
TSA PreCheck: When asked, “Has the TSA PreCheck program at U.S. airports made a significant difference in wait times for security screening?” the majority of those polled did not know if it has made a difference in wait times.
Overall Airport Security Wait Times: When asked, “With regard to how long it takes to get through airport security, are you…” 46.3 percent of consumers polled “Wish it was somewhat quicker,” 39.6 percent are “OK with the amount of time it takes,” and only 14.1 percent state they are “Frustrated by the amount of time it takes” to get through airport security.
Expedited Screening: It should also be noted that when asked, “Have you experienced ‘expedited’ screening at an airport in the last 12 months?” 60 percent of those polled said “No.”
Eliminate One TSA Security Measure: With regard to TSA security screening at the airport, when asked,“Which of the following TSA security measures would you most like to eliminate?” the top responses were: “removing of shoes” (31.7%), “none, do not eliminate any security measures” (24.1%) and “limiting liquids in carry-on baggage” (18.2%). In 2013, shoe removal was also the top response with 27.9%. (Those airline passengers who qualify for TSA PreCheck do not need to remove shoes, computers or 1-quart bag carrying liquids.)
Electronics On During Takeoffs/Landings: Last fall the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced it would allow electronic device to remain “on” from gate to gate, in “airplane mode.” When asked in Travel Leaders Group’s recent survey, 39.8 percent of those polled said they are “in favor” of this change, 31.4 percent are “opposed to the change” and 28.8 percent did not know how they felt about the change.
Cell Phone Use Inflight: For the second year in a row, consumers were asked about cell phone use inflight; this year, an even greater percentage of those polled are opposed to the idea. Nearly 85 percent of those polled are against allowing passengers to make cell phone calls during flight. (57.5% were opposed.)
Airline Ticket Purchasing Decisions: When asked, “When purchasing airline tickets, which of these options would you most likely choose?” (56.6% indicate “Direct nonstop flight -in which you may or may not earn Frequent Flyer miles, 29.1 percent indicate “Least expensive overall fare” and 14.3 percent would choose a “Flight which earns Frequent Flyer miles.)