Travel Leaders: Airport Security Satisfaction Is Dropping

airport security
Photo by Schaeffer

Travel Leaders Group has released a new survey pointing to a decline in satisfaction with airport security among U.S. travelers. The number of travelers “satisfied” with airport security has dropped to 63.6 percent, while the number of travelers “dissatisfied” with airport security has grown 5.4 percent year over year to 17 percent.

The survey was conducted April 4 to April 30, 2016, and includes responses from 3,431 consumers throughout the United States.

Overall, despite news reports on longer security lines at many airports nationally, 52.3 percent of those polled expressed that they are “OK with the amount of time” it takes to pass through airport security, with a direct correlation to the rise among consumers indicating they’re using TSA PreCheck “all the time,” Travel Leaders said. 

Key Findings

Airport Security Satisfaction: When asked, “What is your level of satisfaction with airport security today?” 63.3 percent indicated they are satisfied and 19.4 percent stated they are neutral about today’s security measures – which is down slightly compared to last year. While the percentage of travelers expressing dissatisfaction with TSA has jumped, it is still the third lowest percentage over the past six years.

  2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
Satisfied 63.6% 65.8% 64.2% 62.2% 66.2% 60.2%
Neither satisfied nor unsatisfied 19.4% 22.6% 23.3% 19.8% 16.8% 18.0%
Unsatisfied 17.0% 11.6% 12.5% 18.0% 17.0% 21.8%

Overall Airport Security Wait Times: When asked, “With regard to how long it takes to get through airport security, are you…” over 52 percent of consumers polled are “OK with the amount of time it takes,” which is an increase of nearly 8 percent compared to last year at this time.

  2016 2015 2014
Ok with the amount of time it takes 52.3% 44.4% 39.6%
Wish it was somewhat quicker 33.8% 44.5% 46.3%
Frustrated by the amount of time it takes 13.9% 11.1% 14.1%

Trusted Traveler Programs: When asked whether or not survey participants have enrolled in Global Entry, only 18.6 percent said “Yes,” while nearly a third (32.4%) said they have registered and been approved for TSA PreCheck.

TSA PreCheck: When asked, “Has the TSA PreCheck program at U.S. airports made a significant difference in wait times for security screening?” the percentage of those polled answering favorably increased.

  2016 2015 2014
Yes, I use it all the time 20.3% 14.4% 7.6%
Yes, it's reduced wait times for regular screening 24.0% 26.1% 17.6%
No 11.1% 14.5% 13.1%
I don't know 44.6% 45.1% 61.7%

Expedited Screening: It should also be noted that when asked, “Have you experienced ‘expedited’ screening at an airport in the last 12 months?” 54.3 percent stated “Yes” and 45.7 percent said “No.” Last year 46.9 percent of those polled said “No” and in 2014 that number was 60 percent.

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” (31.5%), “none, do not eliminate any security measures” (24.3%), “limiting liquids in carry-on baggage” (17.5%), “extensive pat-down” (11.0%) and “laptop removal” (7.5%).

Shoe removal has been the top response for the past three years in a row. Airline passengers who qualify for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck do not need to remove shoes, computers or 1-quart bag carrying liquids at 160 airports throughout the United States, Travel Leaders noted. 

Source: Travel Leaders