FROM THE EDITOR
On Increased Air Travel Security
If we've learned anything from previous increases in air travel security, it's that the Transportation Security Administration, airports, and airlines must work together to make sure that rules are consistently applied across the board. I believe that travelers want to help in any way they can, and are willing to make sacrifices necessary for their safety. (Certainly the makings of a bomb seem to be more of a threat than nail files ever were.) But right now, the new changes appear to put a disproportionate share of the burden on travelers.
To its credit, the TSA has so far been very clear about what will and what won't be allowed on planes. What it needs to do for new regulations to succeed is to continue to communicate when policies are changed. In previous years, a fog of arbitrariness has hung over airport security procedures. The airlines and airports also need to step things up. Fliers have resisted checking bags because the airlines aren't staffing check-in desks with enough workers, because it takes too long to pick up checked baggage, and because no one can guarantee that bags will be secure. (That's a burden the TSA shares; its workers must be beyond reproach.) Airports, for their part, need to do everything they can to keep travelers flowing quickly through security. Changing the rules without allocating new resources will lead to a tremendous increase in unhappy fliers--something the airlines, in particular, can scarcely afford at this time.