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Survey reveals traveling public supports a better air security system

WASHINGTON — A survey commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association shows that three in four air travelers believe “there has to be a better way” to conduct air travel security screening.

Eight in 10 support a trusted traveler program that would provide alternative screening measures for American citizens who submit to a background check and meet other risk criteria.

Respondents would take an average of two to three more trips per year if the hassle involved in flying could be reduced without compromising security. Those additional trips would add $84.6 billion in travel spending and support 888,000 additional jobs, according to research from the U.S. Travel Association.

“Americans are clamoring for a better way, and it should be a wake-up call for our leaders in Washington,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, which commissioned the survey. “An efficient air travel security screening system that streamlines the process for trusted travelers can strengthen our security and economy.”

A majority of those surveyed believe Congress should make air travel security a top priority.

Having to remove shoes before going through a metal detector received a higher negative response from those surveyed than newly implemented pat-down body searches by Transportation Security Administration personnel.

The U.S. Travel Association has convened a Blue Ribbon Panel for Frictionless Aviation Security comprised of industry and security experts and former government officials. The panel will recommend how to improve air travel security in a way that maximizes security and minimizes the burden on travelers. The panel is expected to issue its report later this year.

The survey was conducted online by Consensus Research Group on behalf of the U.S. Travel Association between Nov. 29 and Dec. 10. The survey included a nationally representative sample of 1,000 business and leisure air travelers who have flown during the past two years, are aged 25 or older, and who reside in the United States.