Mar 14, 2024 - News

Rate of TSA complaints on rise at SFO

Data: TSA via Data Liberation Project; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios
Data: TSA via Data Liberation Project; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Getting through security at San Francisco International Airport seems to be getting worse, based on recent data examining complaints related to the Transportation Security Administration.

Why it matters: An analysis by the Data Liberation Project reveals that air passengers are reporting more complaints than they did before the pandemic.

Of note: The data shows a spike in complaints in early 2020 because there were more complaints relative to passenger volume, which had declined during the pandemic.

By the numbers: In January, 15.8 complaints were reported per 100,000 passengers at SFO, compared with 3.6 complaints in January 2019.

Zoom in: The expedited passenger screening program (PreCheck), general customer service, screening and civil rights were the top four TSA-related complaints at SFO from January 2023 through January 2024, according to the analysis.

  • That period included 3,185 PreCheck-related complaints, though details weren't available.
  • Last year, 27 civil rights complaints were made at SFO relating to race, gender, perceived religion and more.
  • 123 complaints involved screening, including long lines and general procedures.

What they're saying: "TSA values customer feedback and encourages passengers to contact the agency if the level of service provided to them does not meet their expectations," the agency wrote in last month's Air Travel Consumer Report.

Yes, but: SFO is still an all-around great airport, according to various rankings.

What to watch: The TSA this month unveiled a self-service screening prototype at Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, with the goal of making the security process more efficient.

  • For now, the TSA has no plans to deploy the technology at other airports.
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