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What’s Going On With TSA And The Orlando Airport?

Orlando Sentinel

Courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel

I relocated to Orlando roughly 20 months ago. In that time I’ve flown in or out of Orlando International Airport (MCO) over sixty times. Last week Orlando International was named the busiest airport in Florida. Last year MCO handled forty-four million passengers and generated $31 billion annually in revenue for the regional economy.” that’s thirty-one followed by nine zeros.

Before I launch into this you deserve full disclosure (The I’m section). I’m not easily rattled if things change I can usually go with the flow. I’m a glass-half-full person, most of my Yelp and Untappd reviews hover close to four stars. I’m in favor of privatization with many government-run entities.

It seems that there’s the “Screening Partnership Program“. The Screening Partnership Program contracts security screening services at commercial airports to qualified private companies. These companies run screening operations under federal oversight and must comply with all TSA security screening procedures.

Last week Kevin Spear addressed this in an article at the Orlando Sentinel. Some of the following quotes come from that. The article, as well as the video, are worthy of your attention.

TSA MCO

Last year MCO saw 2.7 million new passengers, that’s an increase of almost 7400 travelers each day. For a traveler that visits various airports each week, the word efficiency is paramount since time is money. TSA’s actual job is keeping us safe, and there have been several times that my bags have been flagged, even in the Pre-check lane….in other words, they get it.

TSA MCO

My gold standard in airport traffic is Atlanta. They service 95 million travelers each year, were at 44 million. Atlanta provides four TSA checkpoints, we provide two, sounds like we’re keeping pace.

TSA MCO

Like it or not, most controversies are about the dollar.Yesterday’s Orlando Sentinel opinion page posted “TSA the scapegoat for aviation authority at Orlando airport: Letters“. Today, most contracts do go to the lowest bidder. Think about lowest bidder next time you need surgery, there’s nothing wrong with paying for quality.

TSA MCO

Last week TSA posted the graphic above. I’m concerned with two things, safety first and then efficiency. So I ask this, “Do you feel safe while traveling?” For me, the answer is YES. Most of the meltdowns I experience has nothing to do with weapons or security concerns. Usually, it has to do with someone being over-served, canceled flights or missed connections.

Next up airport efficiency,  I’m a travel snob, I have TSA Pre-Check. That means I can clear most of the TSA lines in under ten minutes. Isn’t that what most of you complain about? “I spent 15, 20, 30 or 40 minutes going through TSA”… spend a minute and think about it.

I’m the first to bust TSA’s chops. Security breaches happen all the time, but most of them TSA has thwarted.  My opinion, for what it’s worth, is to leave the existing TSA configuration in place, it seems to be working.

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