Airport Security After 9/11, airport security has never been the same, the changes have had many impacts on travlers


checkpoints- a place where people are searched for potential dangers

screeners- a device that helps filter / see objects

checked luggage- a bag / luggage that is not accessible during flight

soft target- someone / something that can easily be taken advantage of

mass casualty attacks- attacks that would result in a lot of death / injuries

TSA PreCheck- lets eligible low risk travelers to go through security faster


Since the attacks on the Twin Towers, airport security has never been the same. Security checkpoints with extra enforcement have set in place, along with increased patrol. According to Lisa Marie Pane from the Associated Press, “the focus of security is devoted to screening passengers.” All the attention is focused on checkpoints so security officers and screeners are able to stop anything before it gets on the plane. After attacks such as the one in Ft. Lauderdale, security has been enforced more. In the news clip, “LAX Security Increased Following Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting” from ABC 7, Elex Michaelson reports, “on-foot patrol has dramatically been increased following the shooting.” After tragic events like these, extra security added to create a safer environment to passengers. Airport security is a vital aspect to travelers across the globe. Without airport security, there would be nothing stopping the next attack or threat.


Airport security is not perfect, there are multiple flaws such as unskilled workers and ineffective machinery. In Christopher Elliott’s article “The TSA has never kept you safe: here’s why” he writes, “TSA screeners missed 95% of mock bombs and weapons. Even though it was a test run by a division of the TSA, the fact that the explosives and weapons could have been real is frightening. According to Massimo Calabresi, a writer for TIME, “ ‘puffer’ machines blow jets of air over travelers and sniff the eddies for traces of explosive materials, but the machines didn't work in the field.” The puffer machines cost a lot to implement into airports across the nation. Not testing the machines before placing them into airport shows a lack of professionalism that should be kept in an airport. There are multiple imperfections with the current system that need to be resolved.


Although the agencies such as the TSA receive a lot of criticism, they are still keeping the public safe and attempting to keep lines short. According to Christopher Elliott, an author for Fortune, “there hasn't been a single successful terrorist attack on America's airports since the creation of the agency in 2001.” The TSA has been taking the proper precautions with security checkpoints to eliminate threats from foreign countries. Every airport has long lines, so a program called PreCheck was created in attempt to reduce the traffic. John Mueller, a professor of political science at Ohio State University, who studies terrorism and security, states, “programs that speed up screening like T.S.A. PreCheck will be more widely adopted. Less crowding could be critical to reducing casualties in a terrorist attack.” It was smart of the TSA to create a program that will keep lines short, as well as reducing the potential dangers. The current airport security system is sufficient for now, but there is always room for improvement.


For the longest time, guns have been an issue in America, traveling with them on airplanes only amplifies this problem. Guns can still be accessed in a checked bag and there is a lack of security in areas that need the protection. In the recent Ft. Lauderdale Airport shooting, the attacker accessed a weapon from his checked bag. According to John Pacenti, a writer for Palm Beach Post, “Esteban Santiago took full advantage of his right to transport firearms on passenger aircraft early Friday afternoon, loading his 9mm handgun in the men’s bathroom of Terminal 2 of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport baggage claim area of Delta after flying in from Alaska via Minneapolis on the airline.” There is a clear loophole in the system that allowed this to happen. Nothing was illegal about bringing the weapon on the plane, but this allowed Santiago to open fire and kill multiple people. Vulnerabilities lie within airports, especially with a lack of security. According to Flyer Rights, a traveling group, “airports are now clearly the No. 1 soft target, and are naked and totally unprotected.” Airports are becoming the centers of mass casualty attacks. Without the proper security set in place there will be nothing to prevent attacks from happening in the future.


There is still a lot of room for improvement within the Transportation Security Administration. More efficient budgeting and better machinery can be implemented to make airport security more productive. The TSA has a problem with unnecessary spending. In Tessa Berenson's article, “The Price of Security” she writes, “the SPOT program aimed to catch terrorists via behavioral clues cost over 1 billion dollars. By 2010, the program had missed known terrorists 23 times.” Putting a large amount of money into a program with poor results is not very smart. Defunding this program would be more wise, so more money can be focused where it is needed more. Massimo Calabresi, a writer for TIME, states “since 2008, TSA has spent more than $2 billion to improve the screening of checked baggage.” Investing more money into screening will create a safer environment in airports. So far, few advances have been made, but as time progresses machinery and wiser spending will only get better.

Works Cited

Buchanan, Larry, Jennifer Daniel, and Adam Pearce. "Does More Security at Airports make Us Safer Or just Move the Target?" New York Times, Jul 02 2016, New York Times; ProQuest Newsstand, Accessed 5 Feb. 2017.

Calabresi, Massimo, et al. "The Price of Security." Time, vol. 186, no. 24, 14 Dec. 2015, p. 44. EBSCOhost,

Elliott, Christopher . “The TSA has never kept you safe: here’s why.” Fortune, Time, 2 June 2015, Accessed 31 Jan. 2017.

Marc Cota-Robles bio, and Elex Michaelson bio. “ABC7 Los Angeles.” ABC7 Los Angeles, ABC, 7 Jan. 2017, Accessed 2 Feb. 2017.

Pacenti, John. “Fort Lauderdale shooting raises confusion, worry over gun laws.” Palm Beach Post, Jan 8 2017, Accessed Jan 26 2017.

Pane, Lisa Marie. “Even with increased airport security, vulnerabilities remain.” Tallahassee Democrat, Associated Press, 9 Jan. 2017, Accessed 4 Feb. 2017.


Created with images by frankieleon - "airport security at its worse"

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