January 22, 2002
Passenger Safety Group Warns
Passengers About Airline Security Lapses: Condemns False Reassurances About
Baggage Screened for Explosives
- The Passenger Security Alert Committee (http://www.passengersecurity.org/),
a citizens group formed in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks,
denounced the airline industry for falsely reassuring passengers that their
bags are being screened for explosives. "They are offering a lot of
double-talk, but in reality many bags are not being screened for bombs and
explosives," said Christopher Lowe, a former pilot and President of PSAC.
"The airlines say that they will match the bags to the passengers instead.
That's a cheap and inadequate solution."
In the first of a series of nationwide actions, PSAC supporters handed out
leaflets to airline travelers at Nashville International Airport alerting
them to the false assurances and lax security measures.
By simply matching checked luggage with passengers on board the plane,
airlines are not doing enough to provide security and assurances. In the age
of suicidal bombers, this is NOT a viable substitution for complete
explosive screening. In addition, baggage will not be matched to passengers
when they make connecting flights, allowing would be terrorists to send
explosives without being on the planes.
Lowe said, "30% of passengers make connecting flights -- and the bags are
neither screened nor matched on those connecting flights. Millions of
passengers will have no assurance that the baggage is safely screened. It's
disgraceful for them to offer these false reassurances. Airline passengers
want and deserve the truth."
"The airline industry has tried to water down the aviation security bill
before it was passed and after it was signed into law. The Transportation
Department allowed lax qualifications for airport screeners, and the
airlines and the airline industry have pushed for extending or even
eliminating deadlines. They seem to want business as usual. Passengers want
real security and real information."
In mid-November last year, PSAC began an educational campaign at many of the
leading US airports, designed to demonstrate the continued lack of security
in the wake of the September 11th attacks. PSAC's website (PassengerSecurity.org)
serves as a clearinghouse for passenger complaints and information about the
failed security system at US airports. PSAC received more than 10,000 visits
to its website and requests for the whitepaper entitled "Flying Blind." The
education campaign culminated with the passage of aviation security
legislation on November 16, 2001.