The Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is moving forward to institute a rule that would require all passengers to go through a government review process before boarding any airplane that takes off or lands anywhere with in the United States.
The U.S. government already requires international passengers to participate in the Advanced Passenger Information System, providing their full name, gender, date of birth, nationality, country of residence, and travel document type and number to the TSA before boarding. Under the proposed Secure Flight Program, this procedure would also be required on domestic flights.
Currently, individual airlines are responsible for checking the passenger manifests against the “no fly” and “enhanced screening” lists provided by the TSA. The new programs are part of a concerted effort to centralize this process, so that the TSA itself will check all supplied information against these lists, and then instruct the airline or airport staff as to how to proceed.
The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) has criticized the new Secure Flight rules for their secrecy and lack of accountability. The association has expressed concern that there is no clear appeals process for passengers denied boarding or continually forced to undergo enhanced security screening.
“On the surface, the new Secure Flight program no longer relies on commercial databases and appears to have reduced the number of names on the ‘No Fly’ list,” said ACTE Executive Director Susan Gurley. “It also seems that the responsibility for checking data is no longer abrogated to the airlines. While this is a step in the right direction, it prompts the industry to ask what was the origin of this new data, how is it stored, who has access to it, and how can it be corrected.”