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TSA To Implement Focus Group Ideas

News Flash: Passengers Think Screeners Are Overrated!

The Transportation Security Administration knows it has public perception issues, and has turned to time-tested tools to better define its problems -- a consulting company and focus groups!

USA Today says it received a TSA report on a $200,000 study by the Manhattan-based Blue Lime consulting firm which brought groups of frequent fliers together to discuss TSA screeners, and gathered screeners to discuss passengers.

Blue Lime met with travellers from New York City, Minneapolis and Washington, and screeners at Chicago O'Hare and New York's John F. Kennedy airports.

Among the conclusions? Passengers think screeners are poorly skilled and poorly paid. TSA signs at airport queues, created by lawyers, are too hard to understand. Business travellers and families don't like sharing screening lines with each other.

From the screeners, Blue Lime learned that passengers are disrespectful, seemingly ignorant of why the precautions are being taken, and don't understand why they have to remove shoes and give up their shampoo.

Blue Lime has prepared a list of suggestions for the TSA, and you'll already see some of the changes over the holidays. Many airports have instituted slower-moving family screening lines. TSA screeners have been urged to avoid slouching, keep their uniforms clean and pressed, and greet passengers with a smile.

Perhaps the first change you'll notice will be visible from a distance. Overhead monitors will run videos explaining why the precautions are needed. In place of paragraphs packed with lawyer-speak, simple, signs will feature simple, clear messages such as, "Please be ready for security."

Another, positioned at the end of the line, says, "Did you collect all of your belongings?" It includes pictures of a wallet and keys.

And, in an obvious nod to the frustrations expressed in the screeners' focus groups, a third sign reads "Please give our officers the respect they deserve." Even when they take away your shampoo.

FMI: www.tsa.gov, www.blue-lime.net

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