Schumer, Gianaris Calling For TSA Passenger Advocates

Michael Gianaris

January 13, 2012

The Queens Gazette wrote an article about the announcement made by Senator Gianaris and Senator Schumer, which called on the TSA to designate on-duty passenger advocates at airports in order to resolve disputes between passengers and agents over screening issues. 

“While the safety and security of our flights must be a top priority, we need to make sure that flying does not become a fear-inducing, degrading, and potentially humiliating experience,” Schumer said. “Right now, passengers who feel that their rights are about to be violated have nowhere to turn, but by training passenger advocates at each of our airports, the TSA can finally give passengers a voice.”

Schumer and Gianaris called on the TSA to both investigate what actually occurred during each of the three searches and designate an on-duty consumer advocate at airports who can be summoned by passengers and would be responsible for resolving disputes between passengers and agents over screening procedures. Under the Schumer/Gianaris plan, the TSA would train existing officers in dispute resolution and require the agency to have one TSA agent designated as the on-duty passenger advocate to assist fliers with concerns and complaints at all airports.

The passengers who have come forward with complaints of TSA agents’ conduct towards them were only able to report their concerns after the fact because, currently, there is no designated TSA agent to handle passengers’ complaints of how they are treated while going through security. Following the passengers’ complaints, TSA officials, at the word of their employees, immediately denied that strip-searches took place without conducting an extensive review of the facts.

“We must use common-sense as we preserve safety,” Gianaris said. “There is no good reason why an individual should be violated in such an outrageous manner. I appreciate the TSA’s work to keep air passengers safe, but passengers should not be humiliated and degraded during their travels.”

 Read the full article here.