While exact details remain to be seen, it would appear that airline pilots and flight attendants may have to consistently start going through airport security as of next year…
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TSA introducing Expedited Crew Access
According to Aero Crew News, in 2023 the Known Crewmember Program (KCM) will be replaced by a new program branded as Expedited Crew Access (ECA). This would no longer be a joint initiative with the Air Line Pilots Association and Airlines for America, but rather would entirely be under the control of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
While I haven’t seen the document myself, this has allegedly been outlined in a Known Crewmember update, following a meeting with TSA Administrator David Pekoske.
In the meantime, random screenings through the program will continue to increase, to minimize the number of prohibited items being brought through security.
For context, with the Known Crewmember Program, eligible pilots and flight attendants don’t have to clear security when passing through airports.
Instead there’s a special lane they can go through, where they have to scan their badge, and then they can pass right through the checkpoint, without being screened. The exception is that employees will sometimes be randomly selected to be screened, and the number of random screenings has reportedly increased significantly in recent months (and will continue to increase).
My take on TSA Known Crewmember Program changes
Just a couple of weeks ago I posed the question of whether the Known Crewmember Program should be reconsidered. We’ve seen an increasing number of people smuggling drugs and other prohibited items through these checkpoints.
After all, there’s big money in smuggling drugs, and perhaps some newly minted flight attendants don’t feel like they have that much to lose career-wise. If they can make their annual salary as a flight attendant with a couple of “runs,” then they might figure it’s worth the risk.
What’s my take on these alleged changes?
- On the one hand, I do think it’s time that some changes are made to the Known Crewmember Program, purely based on the number of people who have abused it
- On the other hand, fully screening pilots and flight attendants will take up more TSA resources and could lead to longer lines at security; furthermore, the TSA isn’t actually very good at finding hidden objects
- At least in the case of pilots, I think screening is kind of unnecessary, since they’re flying the plane, and if they wanted to do something…
- Ultimately I also get the argument that the TSA isn’t there to stop drugs, but rather to stop weapons; that being said, if someone is smuggling kilos of cocaine and fentanyl, getting that off the streets (or out of the skies) doesn’t seem like a bad thing
Anyway, I’m curious to see what the new procedure looks like. Will the Expedited Crew Access program require all pilots and flight attendants to be screened, or…?
For years, pilots and flight attendants haven’t had to regularly go through security, thanks to the Known Crewmember Program. With an increase in travelers using these checkpoints to smuggle stuff onto planes, it seems that it’s going to be reconsidered.
As of 2023, the TSA will allegedly be introducing Expedited Crew Access, which will replace the Known Crewmember Program. I’m curious to learn all the details of what this will look like.
What do you make of the news of the TSA replacing the Known Crewmember Program with Expedited Crew Access?