TSA Goes Easy(er) On Flight Crews ... Sort Of

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If easy is relative and "expedited access" run by the TSA are the guidelines, then the agency's crewPASS test program, launched Friday and expected to last two months, may ultimately provide easier access to secure areas for properly credentialed commercial flight deck crew members. The system employs a crew member database that provides transportation security officers with a picture and other information with which they may cross-check airline-issued identification and other ID provided by flight deck crew. Through what some may see as a better application of backwards thinking, crew members will enter secure areas via the exit lane of each area's corresponding checkpoints. And in conjunction with the new measures, "Flight deck crew members who utilize this program will be subject to random screening, observation by behavior detection officers and other layers of security."

The program will be tested at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall, Pittsburgh International and Columbia (S.C.) Metropolitan airports. The test is being conducted in cooperation with the Air Line Pilots Association and is limited to uniformed flight deck crew members. It will last 60 days, after which time "a full evaluation will be made."