Last month American Airlines fired their Cleveland airport General Manager for using his security badge to bypass TSA screening and board a flight, and having someone else skip security to bring him his laptop charger.
Recently American reminded all of its employees not to skip TSA screening checkpoints when traveling.
Did you know it is a TSA regulation to pass through a TSA security checkpoint to gain
access to the terminal when flying on American? Here are some facts to keep in mind:
- All team members flying on American, whether traveling confirmed or as a nonrevenue passenger, must pass through a TSA security checkpoint before boarding their flight
- Using your SIDA badge to access employee entrances and bypassing TSA security when travelling as a customer is a violation of TSA regulations and prohibited by American
- Each year team members are required to complete the annual security lesson, which talks about this violation. Remember:
- Failure to comply can result in possible monetary penalties for both American and the team member
- Team members will lose their SIDA badge
SIDA stands for Secure Identification Display Area. The Department of Homeland Security vets badge access including criminal history check, running against the Terrorist Screening Center’s watchlist, and recurrent checks against other databases that content mere rumor and innuendo of potential threats. TSA also applies the FBI’s “Rap Back” recurrent vetting to SIDA badge holders.
The TSA identified 46 cases where someone used a SIDA badge to skip security in a year for reasons other than carrying out their duties. They concluded not a single one of these involved a security risk.
Nonetheless someone who is considered risk-free to transit secure areas of the airport at-will when working must still go through the shoe carnival and submit to liquid checks when traveling. But isn’t that dumb? If you’ve been cleared to access the ramp, why are you more of a threat on days you’re flying?
And nearly every flight attendant uses Known Crewmember lanes on personal travel, wearing their uniform to the airport and changing out of it in the bathroom. And what’s the big deal? Why would someone be more of a risk when they’re out of uniform and traveling, you’d think they’d be more of a threat on days they’re in uniform.
And of course politicians are held to a different standard. When Cleveland airport’s deputy commissioner “‘improperly escorted’ a relative through a secure area” that person kept their job, and when “an airport executive helped another city government executive bypass security” they kept their job after a suspension as well.
And of course TSA has had half of its own employees accused of misconduct but that’s a tough gig to get fired from as well.