Fight to Require TSA to Employ Passenger Advocates at Airports
- Published on Thursday, 16 February 2012 06:24
New York Senators Charles E. Schumer(D) and Sen. Michael Gianaris(D) asked the TSA in December to institute passenger advocates. The proposal was prompted by an elderly woman's recent claims that she was strip-searched by security officials at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Others with various special needs have since made similar claims.
“The Transportation Security Administration strives to provide the highest level of security while ensuring that all passengers are treated with dignity and respect,” the agency said Saturday. “TSA has programs in place for the screening of people with all types of disabilities and medical conditions and their associated equipment.”
The TSA has establish a toll-free telephone hotline in January for passengers who may need assistance during screening.
But, under the Schumer-Gianaris proposal, an advocate could be summoned in person by passengers who feel they were inappropriately searched.
Due to the agency's lack of real action, Schumer decided to take the legislative route.
"Going through security at our nations airports should not be a humiliating or degrading experience. Because the TSA has refused to put passenger advocates at our nation's airports, today I'm introducing legislation that would force them to do so." said Schumer.
The RIGHTS act would specifically:
- Require the TSA to establish an "Office for Passenger Support"
- Require every airport where TSA operates to have at least one TSA Passenger Advocate on duty at all times
- Mandate every airport where TSA operates to have clearly visible signage explaining that a TSA passenger advocate can be summoned
- Establish best practices to resolve frequent public complaints and conduct training of TSA officers to resolve frequently occurring passenger complaints
- And field advance notification calls from individuals with medical conditions or disabilities to pre-arrange for a screening process at the airport that ensures the safety of the flight without causing undue hardship for the disabled passenger.