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jan 15 2010

Slate asks: How to fix airport security?

Seeing as the TSA hasn't been able to come up solutions, Slate asked readers to offer their suggestions for how to fix airport security. Of the hundreds of ideas submitted, a few were singled out as winners.

As explained in Slate's post, a panel of judges that included former homeland security executives and a former airline security director sifted through the submissions and declared a few as the best, most practical and most effective ideas.

Slate forwarded its favorite ideas to the TSA, the White House, and Congress. Will the government act on any of these suggestions, or even take note of them? No idea. But the suggested improvements are interesting regardless.

The top four ideas, briefly summarized here, are:

Redesign our airports.

Joyce Hackett of New York believes that America's airports should take their cues from Berlin. "Tegel Airport is built like a big ring—planes on the outside, drivers and parking in the middle," she writes. "Its individually secured gates make it both the most efficient and the most security-effective airport I've experienced."

Link the no-fly list with airlines' ticketing systems.

Marianne Nassef of Abilene, Texas, proposes stopping potential terrorists before they even get to the airport. "Nothing gets denied faster than a credit card," Nassef reasons. Going by her plan, anyone on a no-fly list would be denied the right to purchase a ticket.

Rotate FBI trainees into the TSA.

Neil Stelzner of Santa Monica, Calif., and Phil Nettl of South Brunswick, N.J., would like to see G-men manning our airports. "They are dedicated, educated, and trained in law enforcement and have a desire to excel at their jobs," Stelzner and Nettl explain.

Live drills for TSA employees.

Benton Love of Houston received top marks from the judges for proposing a system of constant tests for TSA workers. Love advocates a carrot/stick approach: Screeners would be paid a bonus for each federal agent they caught trying to sneak a dummy bomb through security and docked for each one they let through.

You can read more about why the judges liked these ideas best, and also read the submissions in their entirety, at Slate.

So what do you think of the winning ideas? Got any better suggestions?

Get Inspired with more from BudgetTravel.com


Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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