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‘Ask TSA’ social media program receiving kudos from travelers

February 28, 2017
Social media at airports

Say “TSA” to a traveler and there is a story at the ready — and not a good one in most cases. The Transportation Security Administration, like so many federal agencies, have a bad reputation with the people it was created to serve. Fortunately, the TSA is well aware of its shortcomings and has made changes designed to improve its services for the traveling public.

Specifically, it has torn a page out of the playbooks of U.S. airlines and other businesses by turning to social media channels Twitter (@AskTSA) and Facebook Messenger to communicate with its constituents who need questions answered and problems solved, according to an extensive article recently published in the Wall Street Journal. What’s more, the TSA says tweets often gave them early word of checkpoint problems around the country.

The feedback from travelers thus far has been positive.

On Facebook, the most common question posed is whether certain items can be carried aboard airplanes. The Journal reports that some of those questions are bizarre: a mummified head (allowed); a translucent miniature handgun (prohibited); toy lightsabers (allowed); a plastic dish of live bees (allowed by TSA, but maybe not your airline).

On Twitter, the most common issue is lack of PreCheck on a boarding pass, a huge frustration for trusted travelers who paid for a background check. @AskTSA can usually get PreCheck status restored to your boarding pass within 30 minutes.

The TSA social media team answers 300 to 600 total messages each day (more at peak travel seasons like winter holidays and spring breaks) and has handled 125,000 total, according to The Journal report.

The social media team sends a trend report to TSA officials every Friday with a breakdown of complaints and compliments, including which airports receive the most complaints and which the most compliments. Complaints and compliments tend to be evenly split, a TSA spokeswoman said.

We certainly applaud these changes by the TSA and look forward to more improvements as time, technology and innovations allow.

There is much about the TSA’s new social media program in the Wall Street Journal story, which can be accessed by clicking here.

Like the revamped TSA, we at The Rose Hotel are interested in your feedback. Send us your thoughts and opinions by clicking here.