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Reasonable Airport Security

June 6, 2017

Airport Security —revised after the chaos long line events

Yesterday, I wrote with a suggestion to reduce long check-in lines at airports by promoting high enrollment of normal citizens in TSA pre check. Today, let me do a bit more on the math, my statement that 4000 folks are waiting in line for every 1 in the pre check line is tied to the rates of passengers that go into the full check —stalled line— the TSA Pre check may be 10 minutes in line while the slow check, at peak, is 100 minutes in line. Ten to one?

The airlines have worked very hard to optimize the timing of the whole network of flights that move people every day. In this master plan factors include best arrival and departure times to sell out each flight, availability of gates, and flexible staffing to meet the demand.

The present TSA screening does not appear to be integrated into the demand, based on the timing of flights at each airport. As TSA hires screeners and buys expensive x-ray equipment, the present long lines can be traced to the math. In peak times, the travelers arrive at a faster pace than the full screening “flow rate”. Example, if 10 open gates each process 1 person each 3 minutes, flow thru is 10 per 3 minutes. If arriving passenger rate is 12 per every 3 minutes, the line adds 2 people overload each 3 minutes. The line does not begin to decline until the incoming rate of travelers gets below the process rate of 10 each 3 minutes. We can all be sure that once all flights have left, the line eventually goes to zero overnight recently with the last folks missing flights and sleeping over.

For some cost, more gates, more costly devices and more staff can be determined to match the maximum arrival rate of passengers. So using the above example, expanding to 20 gates, you can process, assuming 3 minutes per person, 20 people each 3 minutes and if arrivals are always less than 20 per 3 minutes, lines will NOT build.

That costs a lot more than getting half, or better yet 99%, of the passengers into TSA Pre so that 1 person is processed in one minute and in the example, 10 gates can accommodate an arrival rate of anything less than 30 passengers each 3 minutes. So the example rate of 12 passengers each 3 minutes falls to 6 in full screening each 3 minutes and the 10 gates cover the demand. The half without TSA Pre check now arrive at 6 per three minutes while processing is 10 pre 3 minutes GOOD! More exactly, the average processing rate becomes 1.5 minutes so 10 gates do 15 arrivals per 3 minutes, half Pre — half full.

So the above math is something of a joke! The real math is that millions of honest, secure, law abiding passengers waste billions of hours in the one-size-fits-all security system that Washington has created by knee jerk after 9-11. TSA Pre does help but the checking is still too long. The TSA Pre, one-time screening (you are OK)! should be promoted to reach 99% TSA Pre enrollment for NO PAYMENT. Money would be saved since less big bucks are wasted on more gates!

When it is all said and done, we are guarding the risk of an aircraft bombing at an extreme compared to dozens of other ways that psychos can kill honest, secure, law abiding people.

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