TSA

Stateside
7:15 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

TSA to relax security standards starting April 25th

A list of items that the TSA will allow starting April 25th
www.tsa.gov

The TSA will be relaxing its security standards, at least a little.

Starting April 25th, you will be able to carry onboard pocketknives with blades less than 2.36-inches long and no wider than a half-inch.

Souvenir baseball bats, golf clubs, billiard cues, lacrosse and hockey sticks will also be allowed.

The TSA's announcement was greeted by howls of protest from flight attendants, federal air marshals, some pilot unions, aviation insurers, even airline CEOs.

Critics say in the hands of the wrong passengers, the knives can be used to harm flight attendants and other passengers.

The TSA insists it’s unlikely in these days of hardened cockpit doors and other preventive measures that the small folding knives could be used by terrorists to take over a plane and that allowing the little knives onboard frees up TSA screeners to look for non-metallic bombs.

There's a hitch.

Here in Michigan, pocket knives are not allowed in Michigan airports.

So at the end of next month, Uncle Sam gives the green light to small pocket knives. The question is, will Lansing or the TSA  have the final say on the rules.

We spoke with Aviation attorney Pete Tolley. He gave us a breakdown on the Michigan law that was passed after 9/11, and answers the question, "is there a way states can defer TSA rules when it comes to defining their individual list of forbidden items?"

Politics & Government
7:43 am
Mon March 18, 2013

In this morning's news: Blue Cross overhaul, autism services plan, knives on airplanes

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Snyder signs Blue Cross Blue Shield overhaul today

"Governor Snyder is scheduled to sign a law today that will transform Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan into a customer-owned non-profit insurance company," Steve Carmody reports

Michigan to unveil plan on autism services today

"The state Department of Community Health will roll out a plan today to address the needs of children and adults with autism. It will include early identification of children with autism and helping adults with autism live independently," Rick Pluta reports.

Knives on airplanes

"Knives are prohibited in Michigan airports, but beginning next month the Transportation Security Administration says agents will still allow them through security checkpoints at the state's airports anyway. Michigan's Attorney General Bill Schuette's office says the ban on knives will remain in effect despite the TSA changes," the Associated Press reports.

Read more
Travel
3:19 pm
Tue October 4, 2011

New airport screening measures start today at some airports

No need to de-shoe for some.
user redjar Flickr

Keep your shoes on.

No need to take off that belt or jacket.

And keep that laptop and your toiletries in your bag.

That's the new reality for some passengers going through security today at Detroit Metro Airport.

Detroit Metro is one of four airports where new screening measures are being tested by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (Atlanta, Dallas, and Miami are the other airports).

The new system pre-screens passengers who volunteered for the program. Information on these passengers is cross-checked with other databases by the TSA to determine their risk level.

From the TSA's press release:

“As TSA moves further away from a one-size-fits-all approach, our ultimate goal is to provide the most effective security in the most efficient way possible,” said TSA Administrator John S. Pistole. “By learning more about travelers through information they voluntarily provide, and combining that information with our other layers of security, we can focus more resources on higher-risk and unknown passengers. This new screening system holds great potential to strengthen security while significantly enhancing the travel experience whenever possible for passengers.”

The Detroit Free Press reports that passengers have already seen the benefits, some passing through security in less than one minute.

Some frequent fliers with Delta and American Airlines were contacted and asked to sign up for the pilot program. Members of the "Trusted Traveler Program" with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection can also participate.

TSA officials say the program might be expanded in the future.

If you would like to participate in the pilot, you can contact Delta or American Airlines (if you participate in their frequent flier programs) and try to opt-in , or you can try signing up for the "Trusted Traveler" program online.

Transportation
3:59 pm
Thu July 14, 2011

TSA to test faster security screening program at Detroit Metro Airport

Everyone won't be able to participate in the TSA's pilot program. Want faster security screening times? Don't be messy. A message from your friendly TSA agent.
TSA.gov

I posted information from the AP earlier about the TSA's plans to test a program that will improve screening times at airports. (Welcome news to many who abhor waiting in lines at airports.)

Twitter follower Justin Fenwick wrote us saying "Wish I knew what info. they want..."

Good point, Justin!

The Associated Press reports that currently, the TSA has three bits of information on all passengers:

  1. Your full name,
  2. Date of birth,
  3. and Gender

This new program will gather up information from frequent-flier programs:

Frequent-flier programs include more than those three identification fields. For instance, personal information provided in Delta's frequent-flier program includes the traveler's home address, email address or phone number, and preferred language.

TSA officials would not say what screening measures could be avoided for security reasons.

In a press release, TSA officials say the pilot program is expected to start this fall.

During the first phase of testing, certain frequent fliers and certain members of CBP's (Customs and Border Protection) Trusted Traveler programs, including members of Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS, who are U.S. citizens will be eligible to participate in this pilot, which could qualify them for expedited screening at select checkpoints at certain airports.

They expect around 5,000 to 8,000 passengers to participate in the initial program.

At Detroit Metropolitan airport, officials say certain frequent fliers from Delta Air Lines and certain members of CBP’s Trusted Traveler programs who are U.S. citizens and who are also flying on Delta will be eligible to participate in the pilot.

Officials say they plan to expand the pilot program to other airlines "once operationally ready."

Transportation
2:01 pm
Thu July 14, 2011

Faster security checks at airports in exchange for more information

A new TSA program is aimed at speeding up screenings in exchange for more personal information.
Michael Eyal Sharon Flickr

A new program aimed at speeding up airport screenings will be tested in Detroit.

From the Associated Press:

The Transportation Security Administration plans to test a program that would pre-screen certain travelers who volunteer more personal information so they can be vetted to potentially receive expedited screening at the checkpoint.

This is the Obama administration's first stab at a more risk-based, intelligence-driven passenger screening program that could begin to answer traveler complaints that the government is not using common sense when it screens all passengers at airports in the same way.

The program will initially be tested at airports in Atlanta, Detroit, Miami and Dallas, among certain Delta and American travelers who are U.S. citizens and are enrolled in the airlines' frequent flier programs, as well as among Delta and American travelers who participate in some other government trusted traveler programs and who also travel through those four airports.