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American travelers express greater satisfaction with airport security compared to last year

Nationwide survey on airport security also reveals increases in “trusted travelers” and expedited screenings; top security measure travelers wish would change is removal of shoes.

NEW YORK – While airport security officials announced a more "comprehensive" physical screening for some airline passengers in March, findings from Travel Leaders Group indicate Americans are growing more content with airport security. Nearly 68% of those recently surveyed stated they are "satisfied" and only 14.9% said they are "frustrated" with airport security. The data also revealed a significant decrease in individuals aggravated by airport security wait times compared to one year ago, and there is a growing percentage of travelers enrolling in trusted traveler programs such as TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. The survey was conducted April 3 to April 30, 2017, and includes responses from 2,854 consumers throughout the United States.

"There were plenty of lessons to be learned from last year's struggles with extremely long security lines. Based on our newly released survey data, increasing TSA checkpoint personnel and encouraging more travelers to enroll in TSA PreCheck or Global Entry have had the desired impact," stated Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko. "Our travel agents have been at the forefront of assisting travelers in understanding the latest security measures and taking appropriate actions – from packing tips to advising how early to arrive at the airport. Travel Leaders Group also continues to work closely with the Department of Homeland Security on this topic.  Balancing the safety and security of travelers with their comfort and convenience is not easy.  But it appears the system is working better today than it was one year ago."

Key Findings:
Airport Security Satisfaction: When asked, "What is your level of satisfaction with airport security today?" 67.7% indicated they are satisfied and 17.4% stated they are neutral about today's security measures – which is an improvement over last year.

  2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Satisfied 67.7% 63.6% 65.8% 64.2% 62.2%
Neither satisfied nor unsatisfied 17.4% 19.4% 22.6% 23.3% 19.8%
Unsatisfied 14.9% 17.0% 11.6% 12.5% 18.0%

Overall Airport Security Wait Times: When asked, "With regard to how long it takes to get through airport security, are you…" nearly 52% of consumers polled are "OK with the amount of time it takes." There was a significant drop in the percentage of those stating they are frustrated with how long it takes to get through security; just 4.7% of respondents noted frustration, compared to 13.9% in 2016.

  2017 2016 2015 2014
OK with the amount of time it takes 51.5% 52.3% 44.4% 39.6%
Wish it was somewhat quicker 43.8% 33.8% 44.5% 46.3%
Frustrated by the amount of time it takes 4.7% 13.9% 11.1% 14.1%

Trusted Traveler Programs: When asked whether or not survey participants have enrolled in …

  • Global Entry – 21.9% said "Yes" up from 18.6% in 2016.
  • TSA PreCheck – 39.3% said "Yes" an increase from 32.4% last year.
  • CLEAR – Only 2.1% indicated they have enrolled in CLEAR.

Expedited Screening: When asked, "Regardless of whether you have TSA PreCheck or not, do you think expedited screenings have made a significant difference in wait times at U.S. airports?" the percentage of those polled answering favorably has continued to steadily increase.

  2017 2016 2015 2014
Yes, I use it all the time 24.5% 20.3% 14.4% 7.6%
Yes, it's reduced wait times for regular screening 34.6% 24.0% 26.1% 17.6%
No 15.2% 11.1% 14.5% 13.1%
I don't know 25.7% 44.6% 45.1% 61.7%

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" (27.3%), "none, do not eliminate any security measures" (20.8%), "extensive pat-down" (19.7%) "limiting liquids in carry-on baggage" (19.2%), and "laptop removal" (6.0%).

  • Shoe removal has been the top response the past four 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.

Through the years, Travel Leaders Group has built a reputation for gathering extensive travel trends data from its vast network of travel agents, in addition to American consumers and travelers. This is the 9th consecutive year for the consumer travel survey.

Vicky Karantzavelou
Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.