The Transportation Security Administration was created more than a decade ago to help prevent another 9/11. But over the years, its mission has been overshadowed by complaints about privacy violations, impractical restrictions, and the surliness of TSA agents. Recently, Kip Hawley, the agency's former head, called for randomizing security checks and removing bans on items such as pocketknives in carry-ons. What else could the TSA do to fix its rep and regain focus? We asked entrepreneurs for their advice.
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"The TSA should develop an app that tells you how long the line is at each airport terminal. If you know the line at LaGuardia is 30 minutes long, you'd say, 'Whoa, I think I'd better go a little bit earlier today.'"†"
—Alexa von Tobel, CEO of LearnVest, a New York City–based personal finance site for women
Return Our Liquids
"The TSA should partner with the USPS to provide a flat-fee shipment service from any security checkpoint. That would save a world of pain for travelers who mistakenly carry along a beloved Swiss Army knife or perfume."
—Jules Pieri, CEO of Daily Grommet, an online consumer-products marketplace based in Lexington, Massachusetts
"I'd set a goal for each passenger to leave security happier than when they arrived. During a trip to Austin, there was a great TSA employee who complimented every passenger who passed through his metal detector."
—Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, an online retailer based in Las Vegas
Get More Consistent
"I'd like more training for agents, so that travelers' experiences are more consistent. Once, when I flew to New York City, I was allowed through with two Ziploc bags of liquids. On the way back, I had to throw one away."
—Janine Popick, CEO of VerticalResponse, a San Francisco–based e-mail marketing company
"Let's steal an idea from Disney and rid ourselves of the biggest anxiety of security: not knowing how long it will take to clear security and make our flight. A simple 'Expected Wait Time' clock would bring peace of mind."
—Eric Ryan, co-founder of Method, a San Francisco–based maker of home cleaning products
"The TSA is part of the Department of Homeland Security. It's almost like a military post, but it doesn't get respect. TSA agents are also serving our country. The agency needs an advertising campaign to change the way it's perceived."
—Amos Winbush III, CEO of CyberSynchs, a New York City–based company that makes software for backing up mobile-phone data