The people responsible for conducting post-flight security inspections of airplane cabins are often forced to do a rush job to prevent flight delays, according to a complaint being filed with the TSA today. 30 employees of security contractor Global Elite Group who work at JFK airport have filed complaint, which alleges that many inspections that are supposed to take hours are banged out in minutes, with large sections of planes left unchecked for weapons or other contraband. The Times obtained a copy of the complaint and reports:
They are supposed to open every overhead bin, flip down each tray table and probe all the seat-back pockets, one by one. But at Kennedy, one of the world’s busiest airports, these inspections are up against efforts to avoid delaying flights. Some checks that should take hours are done in mere minutes...
The employees say they are undertrained, often equipped with nonfunctioning metal detectors and compelled, daily, to compromise safety to get planes back in the sky as fast as possible... If a flight touches down behind schedule, the employees said, airline representatives complain to the Global employee managing the inspection, who in turn pushes the workers to breeze through their searches.
These security inspections almost never yield anything dangerous, which may also contribute to the allegedly lax approach. The non-union inspectors earn between $8-$11 per hour, and some say their job has been reduced to farcical security theater. Jeffrey Uyanik, a 20-year-old security inspector, says he was recently ordered to search a 200-seat jet in three minutes. “It was ridiculous," he tells the Times. "There is no way you could perfectly search a plane and make sure it’s safe in that amount of time."