Passengers and airline employees across the country were able to travel without masks for the first time in over a year this week after a ruling by a Florida judge struck down the national mandate last Monday. It’s hard to believe but wearing masks at the airport and on an airline has become a personal decision. As you can imagine, many people across the country are rejoicing upon hearing the news, but how is the new ‘no mask required’ rule affecting airport employees and airport security? There are many moving pieces when it comes to providing air travel safety, and BPS Security has now found itself at the forefront of adapting to the changes.
The Pandemic and Airport Security
Over the course of the pandemic, each of us has been forced to comply with the CDC’s recommendations while flying, which may have made it safer to travel, but definitely made it harder for security agents to do their jobs. Airport security officers often use body language and facial expressions to determine whether a traveler is a threat or is just another confused passenger.
“The reason it is harder for security personnel to identify threats is that masks hide people’s facial expressions, which can easily [be used] to signal to employees that they are planning something devious, or even show that they are nervous,” says Glen LAST NAME, owner, and founder of BPS Security.
Security Officers Jobs are Complicated
Security airport employees must scan large amounts of people in short amounts of time. The previous (still feels weird to say) mask mandate kept travelers safe but certainly made it harder for security personnel to do their jobs. But the reality is that there is much more to look out for than just facial expressions and body language. Glen Bhimani adds, “This level of security is more complicated since it requires security officers to scan large amounts of people using only the space provided by the airport layout. Additionally, security officers are required to process higher quantities of passengers’ items being left behind, which draws the attention of the security staff and requires them to investigate luggage and carry-on items, instead of working on other security measures.”
While in the same realm of existence, TSA agents and private security companies do not comply with the same rules and training as one another. However, each sector of security operates within the same mission to keep people safe and protect clients or passengers from avoidable security breaches.
Only time can tell what the future of masks will look like for airport and airline travel. The odds are that you can expect to see a wide range of reactions to the overturned mandate, so – as always, stay true to yourself and do whatever it is that you need to do to feel safe. One rule we can all abide by, though, is how we react to airport security in general. BPS Security has a little bit of advice for travelers: “just let the security officers examine you. There is nothing you can do about it, and as travelers, you don’t have any rights when flying or wanting to go past the security checkpoint to get to your gate.” Like any business, airports have the right to let you into the airport or not. The decision to comply, as always, is yours.