Most fliers happy with current TSA screening procedures

July 10, 2014, 1:31 PM GMT+0

Air travelers say that new TSA rules will make air travel more convenient and won't have any impact either way on the safety of air travel

Since 2001 the Transport Security Agency (TSA) has provided security at most airports and many other transport hubs in the United States. Created in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the government has spent much of the past thirteen years trying to find an appropriate balance between security and ease of travel, often prioritizing security over convenience. The latest example of this is a new rule which could see people lose their phones and tablets at security if they are unable to switch them on, due to fears that terrorists may try to conceal bombs in phones and tablets.

About three in four Americans fly at least occasionally. 7% describe themselves as frequent fliers. They can face new security rules every time they fly. Many see pat downs as they go through security, and about half went through a full body scan machines themselves the last time they took a plane.

Those screenings are becoming routine. And the latest Economist/YouGov Poll finds the majority of fliers content with the level of security that is provided at the airport. Few say it is either too tight or not tight enough.

The Transportation and Safety Authority’s pre-Check program lets air travelers clear some standard security hurdles if they submit to a background check (they can keep laptops in their bags, and don’t need to remove their liquids, shoes or light jackets).

This sounds like a good thing to many fliers, though only half had heard of the Pre-Check Program. Half approve of it, though many are unsure.

Although opinion holders in all groups generally approve, people in the West and Midwest are less sure. Unlike so many other polling questions, there is no partisan split on the Pre-Check program.

But there is little sense that this pre-clearance and background of frequent fliers will make air travel any safer. What it will do, according to many, is to make air travel more convenient for some.

Air travelers give very similar responses.

Image: Getty

Full results can be found here.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here.