This paper considers how passenger security measures have performed since 9/11; what opportunities and innovations have been overlooked or not pursued; and what next steps should be considered.
Three factors have contributed to improved security for air travel. First, passengers now know that they must be vigilant. Second, airlines have reinforced cockpit doors and modified operational procedures in order to limit access to the cockpit. Third, changes to the visa process require that passengers from specified high-risk countries must have visas; those from other countries are required to have only passports. New Security procedures have significant costs. The new screening methods, which are slower than the methods they replace, impose additional losses on travelers who could use their time more productively. In addition, the new security measures may deter some people from traveling at all. Recognizing the inherent security of flights originating in the United States and creating a trusted traveler program are two relatively short-term steps for relieving the aggravation of air travel. It is imperative that during the next decade, smarter, more sustainable, and more practical solutions are needed for air-travel security. A 17-item bibliography
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A version of this essay will appear in a forthcoming RAND volume on lessons and issues from the 9/11 attacks.