On the 10th anniversary of the start of Transportation Security Administration, a new survey has found that the airport screening process remains among the top frustrations for most air travelers.
The security procedures yielded four of the top five annoyances of passengers asked to list their top frustrations with air travel.
The findings came from an online survey by the U.S. Travel Assn., the nation's largest travel trade group. It was released to mark the 10th anniversary of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, which created the TSA in November 2001. The association surveyed 600 Americans who traveled by air in the last 12 months.
The top frustrations cited by air travelers:
— People who bring too many carry-on bags through the security checkpoint (72.4%).
— Uncomfortable seats on an airplane (70.4%).
— The wait time to clear the TSA checkpoint (68%).
— Having to remove shoes, belts and jackets at the TSA checkpoint (62.3%).
— TSA employees who are not friendly (42.4%).
But the survey offered some good news for the TSA: 66% of air travelers said they are somewhat or very satisfied with the TSA's overall performance. The satisfaction rate was lower, 54.6%, for frequent travelers.
Also, nearly 75% of travelers said they were somewhat or very satisfied with the TSA's recent announcement that the agency will eventually phase out the requirement for passengers to remove their shoes.
The TSA said recently that it plans to expand a pilot program that allows pre-approved frequent travelers to zip through a special screening checkpoint without removing their shoes, belts or jackets. The program, already underway at airports in Miami, Dallas, Detroit and Atlanta, is expected to be tested at LAX early next year.
In response to the survey findings, the U.S. Travel Assn. recommended that the TSA expand the pilot program to even more travelers at more airports.
The trade group also notes that passengers are packing more belongings in carry-on bags to avoid baggage fees. As a result, the carry-on bags are slowing the security screening process for all travelers.
The association recommended that airlines reduce the number of carry-on bags passengers can take on a plane. To do that, the trade group has suggested that airlines include the cost of one checked bag in the price of each ticket.
"We can reduce the hassle of flying without compromising security," association President Roger Dow said.