I just arrived back at SFO a few hours ago. I’m decompressing at the moment but wanted to share a field report with you.
We went through extended security screening in Hong Kong before coming to the USA. Singapore Airlines did a fantastic job implementing it, and we received secondary screening in the walkway just before entering the plane. They had what appeared to be about a dozen security personnel in addition to the regular check-in personnel. They went through every bag and pat searched everyone. It also looked like random people had their shoes closely inspected.
The process went quickly and efficiently. Each station had one person to check the bag(s) and another to conduct the pat search. The pat search was fast and professionally handled. I didn’t have a chance to closely observe the bag check as it was very fast. In all, I don’t believe it added much time to the total boarding process.
Arriving at San Francisco International Airport, I was surprised by the number of additional TSA personnel after getting off the plane.
Aside from how any of us may feel about the true effectiveness any particular policy or policies may be, it was a good show of force.
An aside and a strictly personal note:
In all of my trips in and out of SFO so far, all of my interactions with TSA agents have been pleasant. Sometimes the ones at the departure gates can be tired and overworked, but they have all been professional and courteous with me. They have a pretty tough job, so I just wanted to add my voice to the discussion.
Tip: (apologies if it’s overly obvious) In the United States, just as in any other country, a smile and communicating a “good attitude” can do wonders.