New TSA Contest On Airport Security Will Give $15,000 To Whoever Has A Better Idea
One of the worst parts about flying? The long, frustrating experience that is the security checkpoint. Fortunately, the TSA knows this too — but they have no idea what to do about it. So that's where you come in: TSA is launching a contest for new airport security ideas, including how to make those seemingly endless lines a little less insufferable. If your idea wins, you'll receive $15,000 and the satisfaction in knowing that you made everyone's airport experience a whole lot better.
The contest, called Next Generation Queue Design and Model, wants people to submit via an online form suggestions on how to streamline the security checkpoint lines. Essentially, the TSA wants a more innovative way to move people through the checkpoint instead of the current first-come, first-served, wait-here-forever system.
The agency is looking for "a scientific and simulation modeling approach to meet queue design and configuration needs of the dynamic security screening environment," apparently. However, it may not be as easy as you think — TSA wants contest submitters to consider a variety of factors, including "peak and non-peak hours, flight schedules and TSA staffing schedules." The final queue plan will also have to take into account the size of certain airport terminals.
The contest, which is not open to current TSA employees (sorry, guys), will have at least one winner, though multiple winners are possible. TSA said no award will be smaller than $2,500, and one award will be at least $5,000.
Seems like TSA is holding this contest because of TSA Pre-Check, a new program that grants passengers expedited screening at select airports. The program seeks to revamp the screening process by allowing fliers to pass through without removing their shoes, belts and other clothing and accessories — you know, the part about flying we all love. These prescreened passengers also don't have to take the time to remove their laptops from their bags. As a plus, these fliers can take some liquids/gels in their carry-on bags, too.
According to the TSA, the new Pre-Check program is tailored to members of frequent flier programs. They must meet "TSA-mandated criteria" and be invited by participating airlines. So far, 11 airlines participate in the Pre-Check program, including United, Southwest, American, U.S. Airways and Air Canada.
Although the Pre-Check program seems like it'll be a hit, it is causing quite the headache for the transport agency. Because most airport security checkpoints have a one-size-fits-all system, it's been pretty hard for TSA to adapt its expedited screening. Of course, that's where you and the TSA bribery of a cash prize come in.
Between the contest and the agency's hashtag-happy Instagram feed, TSA is certainly having a public moment. But with Instagram gems such as this one...
... I say let's keep it going.
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