Airline employees earned a reprieve this week after the TSA backed down on planned changes to the Known Crewmember (KCM) security screening process. the weekend it emerged that all KCM checkpoints would require crew to be in uniform to pass through. This would effectively preclude otherwise eligible employees from using the lanes while traveling for personal trips. That plan has since been scuttled.
Since the announcement on Saturday that Known Crewmember (KCM) procedures would change AFA has been interfacing with TSA, industry, and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). We are pleased to report to you the procedure to require a uniform for access through KCM will not go into effect this Wednesday.
Instead, TSA will work with AFA, ALPA and Airlines for America (A4A) to determine a means to continue KCM effectively without a uniform requirement.-AFA-CWA Statement on the changes
The policy allowing non-uniform crew through the KCM checkpoints took effect in January 2015.
The shifting policies will still have some impact on crew, however. The TSA is increasing random selection at the KCM checkpoints. When selected crew will be redirected to TSA precheck lanes. Those in uniform are still eligible for typical exemptions to the 100mL rule around liquids. Crew selectees not in uniform are ineligible for that exemption.
This week’s shift is far from the first time crew faced changes in the KCM access rules. In April 2016 crew leaving the USA on personal trips were declared ineligible for the lanes. And, as noted above, the shift to allowing crew through on personal trips (i.e. out of uniform) is only a few years old.
The push for tighter screening of crew appears to correlate with anecdotal evidence of increased screening at some passenger checkpoints as well, including PreCheck lanes.
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This is all well and good except your headline (“TSA backs down on increased crew screenings”) is wrong. The TSA didn’t back down on increased crew screenings. That part of the policy isn’t changing based on the notice publishd 27 August. Only the uniform requirement is changing.
Seth Miller says
Not requiring uniforms is a step back from what was announced over the weekend. It is not a 100% reversion but it is a key step that makes things significantly better for crew. I’m very comfortable with the words I chose and stand by them.
Ed Moore says
I can’t see what being in uniform or not has to do with security through a kcm pass thru… if someone is capable of obtaining a bar code, associating it with an employer and having their photo and info pop up on the screeners computer showing that person as an active employee and in the system, getting slacks, white shirt, epaulets, and a pair of wings will register a zero on the effort scale.
Seth Miller says
This view was broadly shared by the crew community and makes sense. Only thing I can figure is that the TSA trying to reduce KCM throughput and push more through the regular screening channel for no obvious reason.
Dumb and thoughtless, as usual from TSA.
KCM is based on screening and clearance of the person, not what they are wearing that day. Otherwise just put on a uniform and walk through the KCM line!
Flight mechanics are part of the crew too. Our uniforms are not the same as pilots or flight attendants.