I Don’t Think I Agree That Flight Crews Should Be Exempt From Airport Security

Certainly I’m a bit late voicing this opinion. The TSA decided a couple years ago that pilots wouldn’t need to be searched going through security. Last year flight attendants were added to this list.

I was at McCarran airport this morning going through TSA Pre-Check. This may sound silly, but it’s the first time I can really recall seeing flight crew go through a checkpoint without being searched. I’m sure it happens every time I’m in an airport, I just wasn’t perceptive to it. 9 or 10 flight crew members walked up to the metal detector and a TSA officer opened up a separate door and let each of them walk through.

Maybe it was the fact that most of them had other bags besides their suitcase or cockpit briefcase. One of them even had a sizable box sealed up sitting on top of their suitcase.

I get that pilots are charged with keeping me safe on airplanes, and I’m appreciative. Having given it some thought, I don’t think pilots and flight attendants should be able to travel unfettered. Why?

A few simple reasons. First, TSA Pre-Check is easy. It’s quick, much less invasive than standard security, but still provides a basic level of security to make sure a rogue flight attendant or pilot doesn’t bring something onboard intended to hurt passengers.

Pilots and flight attendants are people too, subject to outside pressure just like the rest of us. What if someone pressured a flight attendant to bring something on a plane? They just walk through security unfettered? I can’t imagine that’s the best course of action.

The articles I reviewed on this seem to indicate they may be subject to random security checks. I do wonder how often that happens, if at all. That would make it pretty easy to transit sizable quantities of drugs, etc without much risk of search.

The unions argued that security screening unnecessarily slowed down flight crews from being on time to get to their flight. I certainly don’t buy that as an excuse from the old system where they would just cut to the front of the line. It’s just as easy for them to schedule ample time to get to the plane as it is for you and I.

I understand these are far fetched assertions. But, when the process is as streamlined as Pre-Check has become, is it really too much to ask that someone keeps the pilots and flight attendants honest by asking them for 30 seconds out of their day to pass their bag through an x-ray machine? What does the flying public gain?


  1. I can see the argument for FAs. But pilots? I mean, let’s be honest – they don’t need to bring onboard anything if they want to cause harm.

Leave a Reply