Imagine going through airport security without a boarding pass. The Transportation Security Administration said ticketless travel could happen as it looks for ways to shorten passenger wait times while improving security.
“If I can tie you biometrically to a reservation and I can do so in a verified way, that moves you through the process faster,” new TSA administrator Peter Neffenger told lawmakers on Wednesday.
But first the TSA must deal with a dismal report card as it has faced several security lapses, including an alleged gun smuggling operation by an aviation worker in Atlanta and a passenger who slipped past security and boarded a plane in Dallas.
A recent Inspector General report also found TSA officers failed to detect mock explosives, weapons and other contraband at checkpoints in 67 out of 70 tests.
“Given the threat that’s out there, I’m concerned about the safety of the American people when they travel on airplanes,” said Rep. Michael McCaul of the House Committee on Homeland Security.
Neffenger told lawmakers that all TSA officers will receive additional training by September.
“The bigger question is, are there systemic issues in the way we are approaching our business that lead to those failures in the first place?” Neffenger said. “What I don't want to see is some other set of failures in the future.”
The TSA said it plans to use more bomb-sniffing dogs, hire third party screeners and use more technology to screen travelers. That could possibly mean the elimination of boarding passes and a transition to biometric scanners.
The TSA also wants to sign up more passengers for its Pre Check program. The goal is to move vetted passengers through the gates faster so officers can focus more on travelers they know less.