You know how when you’re standing around your gate waiting to board, and the previous flight’s passengers come streaming out, and everyone is chomping at the bit and restlessly stirring, waiting for their turn to get on the plane? During that time, security employees are supposed to be inspecting the flight for anything left behind like say, weapons or explosives. But according to John F. Kennedy International Airport security workers, those checks aren’t as thorough as they’re supposed to be.
As part of federally mandated security measures, these privately contracted security employees are supposed to search the cabin by opening every overhead bin, flipping down all the tray tables and checking each seat-back pocket. Each and every one. Hey guess what? That’s not happening at JFK, reports the New York Times.
Why not? So that your flight won’t be delayed. If the inspections went down as they should, they could take hours. Instead it’s just minutes and maybe half the seats on a plane are checked, say the employees. They add that they’re undertrained and don’t have the right equipment — as in, their metal detectors sometimes don’t even work. But they have to compromise safety because they’re under pressure for a quick turnaround.
The group filed a complaint with the Transportation Security Administration, written to represent 30 of the 120 people employed by Global Elite Group, a contractor in Long Island that does security for about 20 airlines at the airport as well as a plethora of other sites areound the world. They say that if a plane is already behind, the airline will complain to the manager of the inspection who will then push workers to speed it up.
“Every little nook and cranny that someone can put something in, we are supposed to be searching,” said [one worker] who has worked for Global for more than six years. “My concern is that whenever they have a flight that is in late, and speed up our job, they are accommodating the airline but there is still a hazard.”
Global Elite Group says those workers are lying.
“Security is our business,” said the public relations manager. “We would never put the flying public at risk, ever, ever.” She adds that the TSA will launch surprise audits, so they’re not going to risk messing up.
“We’re under a microscope,” she said. “It is impossible for these allegations to really take place.”
But another employee says it’s all an act when the TSA shows up.
“Everything gets checked when T.S.A. is around,” she said. “If it’s a flight that they usually rush on because it’s a quick turnaround, they won’t. That flight will take a delay that day.”
Workers at J.F.K. Say Security Inspections Are Rushed [New York Times]