A bunch of people are upset about the new scanners the TSA is using and upset about the new “enhanced” pat downs. I can understand. After reading a bit about both of them, it doesn’t sound like something I’d like to run my family through. However, the suggestions I’m seeing for how to deal with it are ridiculous. Right now a bunch of people are planning on opting out of the x-ray machines the day before Thanksgiving which is going to create a huge travel nightmare. This might get some media attention, but it is going to take something that is moderately inconvenient and make it very inconvenient for a whole lot of people.
I don’t see how this approach is going to get the TSA to suddenly change their mind about things. It isn’t like the slow down is going to greatly inconvenience them–or at least not the people who actually make decisions for the TSA. Maybe the media attention with prompt changes, but that still seems like a round about way to try to create change.
If you really want to see changes made to the way TSA is treating people, there are three things you need to do.
1. Talk to your congress person
Let your representatives and senators know what you think and what you’d like to see changed. These are the people making the laws. They are only going to know what you want if you tell them. Complaining to your friends doesn’t count–your congress person doesn’t hear that.
2. Write the airlines
What if you could hire someone with lots of resources to take your concerns and try to get laws and procedures changed? Well you can and it won’t cost you anything. Airlines have a very big interest in getting you to fly. I don’t think most of them care what TSA does as long as people keep flying. However, if they feel they are losing money, they are going to start pitching a fit, hiring lobbyists, and doing whatever else they can to get the procedures changed.
Write them a polite short letter saying that you were planning on flying somewhere and decided not to because of the new security procedures. Remember, it isn’t their fault, but let them know they are losing customers because of this.
Letters carry disproportional weight in most businesses. I have seen businesses go out of their way to change things based on a single letter. There is something about a physical piece of mail that makes companies take it much more seriously than a phone call and just a few letters can make a big impact. It might not happen right away, but imagine this: After a poor quarter the CEO asks his team, “why are sales down?” and someone answers, “well, we have all these letters from people saying they don’t want to fly with the new security procedures.”
3. Write the airport
Airports are competing for business too and although most aren’t going to have the resources of an airline, they are still worth contacting. If you don’t want to walk through the x-ray machines, write a letter to airports that use the machine letting them know that you are using a different airport to avoid the machines.