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We’ve pulled together 10 fun reasons why travelers should be excited about travel in the New Year. Take a look our list of 2014 travel trends and see why the travel industry and travelers are gearing up for a good year.
1. Shorter Security Lines. US Customs and Border Protection and the TSA continue to innovate with automated passport kiosks and pre-check programs throughout domestic airports. While the jury’s still out about the efficiency of TSA’s PreCheck program, we think it’s a step in the right direction toward reducing crowds at airport security.
2. Healthy Dining. The travel industry recognizes that more travelers are seeking tips to stay healthy while traveling. Airlines have improved in-flight dining with more nutritious selections, and travelers are bringing healthy options onboard (post-TSA security line), like drinks to stay hydrated.
A TSA agent’s pat-down of a child at the Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans has caused a major uproar. This video, posted on YouTube, shows a female TSA agent explaining the security procedure to the child’s mother Selena Drexel, and then subjecting 6-year-old Anna to an intense pat-down. Todd Drexel, Anna’s father, says Anna started to cry afterwards.
Marjorie Esman, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, questioned why the child wasn’t taken to a private area and whether the screening was necessary. A TSA spokesman says after reviewing the incident that the agent did follow proper procedures.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, thinks a modified pat-down for children 12 and under may be necessary after a string of similar incidents. There’s no word yet if there are efforts underway to change airport screenings for children.
The US Travel Association wants to make traveling easier for fliers. According to CNN.com, the group is calling for a trusted traveler program that would allow passengers who volunteer certain information about themselves to go through less rigorous security before their flight.
Under this proposed program, passengers would be considered low-risk based on information such as a background check, employment history, lack of a criminal record and other factors. Each participating passenger’s identity would be confirmed at the airport using biometric info, allowing them to pass through security at a quicker pace.
TSA Administrator John Pistole believes something needs to change. “The TSA screens more than 628 million airline passengers every year at US airports, and the vast majority present little to no risk of committing an act of terrorism,” he said earlier this month.
Worried about showing your skivvies and move to the TSA at the airport? Well, you’re in luck if you happen to be flying the friendly skies this month from Las Vegas, Atlanta or DC’s National Airport. The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is testing new software at these airports to increase your privacy when passing through the dreaded Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machines. Instead of showing a detailed image of each passenger, the new AIT software shows only a generic outline of a person with any potential threats flagged on the picture. This generic outline is the same for every traveler, and if you’re deemed clear by the auto-detection security software, the monitor simply shows an “OK.” It seems like a win-win situation—the same high level of security without publicizing your private parts!
Get the news directly from the TSA, and check out our tips for preventing an airport pat-down, unless, of course, you’re kind of into it.
There’s a new travel item that we thought you should know about. It’s underwear designed to hide your naughty bits during a full-body scan at the airport. That’s the good news if you don’t want TSA employees peeking at your nether regions. The bad news is that you could still get a pat-down (or grope-n-go, as I like to call it) to ensure that you’re not concealing a weapon, according to a post on the Transportation Security Administration’s blog.
In case you didn’t know, the underwear has been imprinted with a special ink that creates an opaque blur to help keep your private
parts private. The new undies, T-shirts and boxer briefs each cost about $15 — and that’s a pretty expensive pat-down in my book.
With or without the new undies, you’ll need to acclimate yourself with the most recent changes in airport security. So check out our slideshow of airport pat-downs and full-body scans.