Skift Take

As the country's favorite punching bag, TSA didn't come out of this survey as bad as we thought it would. But 40% dissatisfaction isn't something you're going to brag about.

For airplane passengers in the United States, there’s no greater bogeyman than the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Its agents at airports around the country order travelers to remove shoes and belts, pat them down, direct them through X-ray machines, and force them to pose in awkward positions seemingly just for kicks.

The employees know they’re not liked, but the majority of the 45,000+ screeners execute their jobs without incident. Even those that do their jobs don’t appear to have U.S. flyers’ support, if our latest Skift Asks is any indication.

Important: The survey is not done on Skift readers but the general U.S. internet adult population through Google Consumer Surveys. See previous Skift Asks here.

The question we asked this week was “Do you believe the TSA is competent while administering security screenings in U.S. airports?”

Overall, more than 40% said no, the TSA is not competent. More respondents replied “I don’t fly” (33.7%) than agreed that the TSA is competent (25.9%).

This single-question survey was administered to the U.S. internet population from Sept. 19-22, 2013 through Google Consumer Surveys, with 1,506 responses, weighted down to 1,101. The methodology is explained here.

The headline takeaway: While we can’t say that the majority of Americans polled disapprove of the TSA’s we can say a healthy 40.4% don’t. Only a quarter of our respondents said that they believe the TSA is competent while administering security screenings in U.S. airports.


The takeaway: More men fly than women, and more of them say they are not satisfied with the TSA’s work.

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The takeaway: The 65+ sector is more forgiving of the TSA than any other sector.

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The takeaway: People in the West fly more, and are both the least satisfied and nearly the most satisfied than any other regional group in the U.S. The Northeast is the friendlies region to the TSA.

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The takeaway: Urban residents fly more, and they both like and dislike the TSA’s performance more than any other group.

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The takeaway: The wealthiest demographic included in this poll is the least satisfied, while those making between $75 and $100K were the only group in which more than one-third were satisfied with the TSA’s work.

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Photo credit: A TSA officer inspects items from a piece of luggage at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles. Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

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