Security has a real cost

Finally, nine years after 9/11 and people are starting to understand the real economic impact of security.

Today, CBS news reported that a 2008 survey showed that 41 million trips were avoided due to security hassles resulting in a cost of $28 billion to the U.S. economy. Business travelers have options such as web casts, telecommuting, and even driving to shorter destinations. While corporate aircraft sales have not seen a real increase as a result of aviation security rules, it looks like there has still been an uptick in corporate aircraft travel through the use of fractionals and charter credit-style card usage.

Today, Transport Canada announced that only certain items would be allowed in carry-on baggage and are actively discouraging carry-on’s. This is THE problem. We have the technology, know-how and effective security practices, such as behavior profiling, to implement an aviation security system that does not require the passenger to conform to the rules, but the processes to conform to the passenger (sometimes still known as the “customer”).

In reaction to Transport Canada’s new procedures, many airlines are waiving some fees on checked baggage. Although I bristle at paying checked bag fees, I understand they did, to a certain extent, help provide valuable revenue streams to the airlines.

If we are not careful, security will continue to be a game of Simon Says. Simon Says take off your shoes. Simon Says don’t carry a laptop. Simon Says keep your hands and feet where we can see them at all times. This is stuff for a third grade classroom, not valid security for the largest aviation users in the world.

Security has a price. While security is meant to get in the way, to some extent, when it gets in the way so much that it changes the way he must live in order to accommodate it’s processes. . . when it costs billions and billions of dollars in questionable tactics (like staying in your seat for the last hour of a flight). . . when we are all treated like terrorists until proven otherwise, then terrorism has achieved it’s objectives.

As always, think then act, don’t act, then think.


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