Even as there has been growing concern about full-body scanners and grope-y pat downs at airport security checkpoints, the actual number of complaints against the Transportation Security Administration hit an all-time low last month.
According to the Dept. of Transportation, there were 1,418 consumer complaints against the TSA filed in September. Which may seem like a lot, but is actually down 59% from May 2004, when the current high-water mark for TSA complaints was set.
Experts tell Bloomberg that the drop in complaints is probably due to the agency’s increased focus on targeted, intelligence-based security, which means that fewer travelers are being subjected to high levels of scrutiny.
Of course, those people who are put under the microscope are being subjected to more intense measures than before.
When employees began administering more intensive pat-downs last November, complaints in the “courtesy” and “screening procedures” categories jumped 41 percent to a combined 516 from a year earlier. They fell to 360 last month.
“TSA officers are trained to treat all passengers with dignity and respect,” explains a TSA spokesman. “Security is a partnership and we encourage passengers to provide us feedback.”
What these numbers really prove is that the TSA has found a level at which it can irritate mostly everyone, but only to the point where not everyone has a legitimate complaint. That, and some travelers have simply become accustomed to the hassles of airport security and given up on complaining.
Fewer TSA Complaints Belie Marx Brothers Label [Bloomberg.com]