We like it when the government gets it right, and we especially like it when a government agency succeeds in making a bad situation better. That's what appears to be happening these days at the Transportation Security Administration.
For quite a while now, we've been hearing how TSA Administrator John Pistole wants to move away from a "one-size-fits-all" approach to airport security and adopt more of a risk-based approach.
He has said it a million times, to Congress, to the media, to the airlines and travel industry organizations. And as we reported in the news pages a week ago, the effort is picking up steam.
TSA already reviews Secure Flight data (name, gender, date of birth, etc.) to compare names in airline reservations records with the terrorist watch list. In the near future, the same data will be used to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether the passenger should be subjected to "expedited, standard or enhanced" screening.
And the beauty of it is that the plan will be transparent to passengers, who won't have to do anything differently unless they want to pay a fee, go through a background check and join the Pre-Check program, which would effectively make expedited screening their default.
We were particularly pleased to read in the TSA's explanation of this plan that it has been "designed to increase the number of airline passengers who may be eligible for expedited screening."
That's what we call a worthy goal, and it's a refreshing change for a system that has often seemed designed to intimidate.