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Old 06-21-2011, 06:46 PM   #1  
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Default Known Crewmember Uniform Restriction

After reading the May edition of our ALPA AIrline Pilot mag, & the new Known Crewmember sytems uniform restriction I sent this to our FDX alpa reps and letter to the editor.

I'd like to hear some feedback, as I would like to send some to the TSA on the policy, but would likely be more effective letting ALPA gov affairs/PAC do the inside liaison.

The restriction of “Known Crewmember” system to only uniformed pilots defies all the logic upon which the system is based. I would like to understand and hear an intellectually honest rationale of why the TSA is limiting the use of this system to only “uniformed” crewmembers.


FedEx pilots are often directed, while on duty, to not to wear their uniform on some international deadheads. Commuting pilots jumpseat out of uniform in order to not soil another uniform, especially on long trips.
The major tenant of this system is known identity. A pilot’s identity doesn’t change based on what color his shirt or pants are. If the system can’t confirm a pilots identity when he’s not wearing his uniform it can hardly be called trusted.


According to the TSA, as reported in the May 2011 “Airline Pilot” publication, pg 16:
1. “This enhanced identity verification and employment confirmation system will make airport checkpoint screening more efficient by getting airline pilots out of passenger screening lines.”


So if the TSA really wants to be efficient, and the system positively confirms identity, why wouldn’t the TSA/ALPA want to get ALL pilots out of the passenger screening lines regardless of their clothing? Identity is identity- efficiency is all about numbers & throughput per unit time.


2. “…airline employee databases enable TSA security officers to positively determine identity and employment status of flightcrew members.”


So if the secure database enables TSA security officers to positively determine identity, why do pilots need to be in uniform? My employment status, passport number, and fingerprints/retina scan are the same no matter what I’m wearing. Are the TSA officers not competent enough to utilize the system unless the pilot is wearing a light colored shirt with epaulets, dark pants & a dark tie?


3. “KnownCrewmember” uses technologies more advanced than those employed by CREWPASS”.


What’s the point of expending resources on “advanced systems” if the TSA is knowingly going to sub-optimize their utilization by mandating that only those in uniform can use it?


4. APLA president Lee Moak stated, “airline pilots have been through employment checks, fingerprinted, have criminal background checks, and are the most highly screened employees in the aviation industry.” However, he states that, “…this process recognizes those facts by providing pilots with a technologically modern and highly efficient alternative to traditional screening”


Excluding non-uniformed pilots ignores the facts the CAPT Moak states in his previous sentence, and the restrictive policy, albeit better than status quo, does not provide a “highly" efficient alternative.


5. ATA President Mr. Calio is quoted, ”airline pilots are trusted partners…and with this new system we can improve the screening system for flight crews while reducing [security screening checkpoint] congestion and improving the travel experience for passengers in TSA security lines”.


Well- if we are “trusted”, and reducing congestion is an objective- then why the uniform restriction? Are not really trusted? Is screening congestion not important? Which one is it? TSA either trusts us or they do not.


6. TSA Administrator Pistole stated, “Deploying an enhanced security screening program for uniformed pilots that allows the TSA to verify their employment is a win-win. We want to focus our limited resources on passenger screening, while speeding and enhancing the checkpoint experience.”


If Pistole is honest in his second sentence, “focus our limited resources on passenger screening, while speeding and enhancing the checkpoint”- why would he limit the policy to uniformed pilots? He is again spending more resources and slowing down the passenger screening by utilizing the same process on “known crewmembers” as potential threats, sub-optimizing the system TSA/ATA has invested in.


This restriction to uniformed pilots defies all the logic used by ALPA, ATA, and TSA. A pilot’s identity does not change if he’s wearing khaki’s and a polo shirt.


I petition ALPA to readdress this policy-if for any reason- consistency in purpose- efficiency resources etc. Secondly – many, many pilots are commuters, and travel out of uniform to/from work, and being “known trusted crewmembers” should be able to benefit from all this “enhanced” and “advanced systems” for all the aformentioned reasons- to include a small QoL improvement.


If the whole purpose is just a TSA charade to make an “appearance” of security -then be honest with us, and just state the fact that even though we’ve been through background, criminal, medical checks, the TSA could care less and is more concerned about “image”, than security, efficiency or cost.


By the way- the same "trusted" or "not" identity should be applied to liquids carried by pilots while not in uniform. If I'm commuting to a 12 day trip it'd be nice to carry a can of shaving cream, while not soiling another uniform shirt while commuting.

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Old 06-21-2011, 06:58 PM   #2  
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Thank you for drawing attention to this issue.

I am with you in that the TSA's decision to make the uniform a requirement for CREWPass is, to put it politely, absurd. Uniforms can be purchased anywhere, including online. On the other hand, our identity, which is what this whole system is designed to check, cannot be duplicated. It truly is hard to underestimate the ways in which TSA can make things less efficient.

If there is anything you suggest other pilots can do to help bring more attention to this, and to hopefully resolve it, please post.

Last edited by CloudSailor; 06-21-2011 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:04 PM   #3  
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While yours is an excellent post it has a fatal flaw......logic and the TSA can not exist in the same point in time.....

Good luck.....!!
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Old 06-22-2011, 02:55 AM   #4  
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I completely agree with your position, I'm the same person when I'm in uniform or when I'm in street clothes. My credentials should be the determining factor if I'm a known crew member, not the clothes I'm wearing. But to make my life easier, I just carry a non-uniform shirt in the outside pocket of my suitcase, go through security in uniform then once in the secure area, I just swap shirts in the bathroom. I think it demonstrates just how silly TSA procedures really are but swapping shirts makes everyone happy.
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Old 06-22-2011, 06:53 AM   #5  
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I completely agree with your position, I'm the same person when I'm in uniform or when I'm in street clothes. My credentials should be the determining factor if I'm a known crew member, not the clothes I'm wearing. But to make my life easier, I just carry a non-uniform shirt in the outside pocket of my suitcase, go through security in uniform then once in the secure area, I just swap shirts in the bathroom. I think it demonstrates just how silly TSA procedures really are but swapping shirts makes everyone happy.
yeah- but now you have a wrinkled uniform shirt, that you wore walking from the 97 degree parking lot. Or you're jumpseating to the planet in civvies, and your uniform is hanging in your locker, jumpseating to grandma's w no uniform etc.

Identity is the issue, and the policy contradicts itself.

Personally these kind of policy decisions just drive me nuts, and if ALPA was working with the TSA/ATA on the program- they should have objected to the absurdidty of that proposal, and vehemently objected to the uniform restriction.

And if the TSA is firmly against ALPA's stance with no justification- then publicly throw them under the bus, by name. If they offer justification - "communicate" it to us.

i.e. "ALPA endorses Known Crewmwber, but Mr. Jackxss from TSA is unwavering in his stance to restrict it uniformed pilots. The rationale is xxx, and the adminstrator is more concerned about image/control/etc than true identity, trust and security".
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:05 AM   #6  
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Yeah!! Let's demand that if they don't get rid of the "uniformed" wording...We don't want it!!

Baby steps, people. Baby steps. This has been a long and arduous journey to get this point. I say, let's get the program ramped up and then deal with the nonsensical details, later.
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:27 PM   #7  
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I completely agree with your position and please forward as necessary. Anyone can buy a complete uniform from Sporty's Pilot Shop.

One time I bought a $5 Starbucks outside the secure area and was refused entry unless I disposed of the coffee. I mentioned I was a crewmember and they said I had to be in uniform to take the coffee in. To make a point I went into the nearest mens room, threw on my uniform and went back through the same line with the same TSA agent and my Starbucks! After I was through I went into the next bathroom and changed back into my civilian clothes. I know, a lot to go through but I proved a point.

Another side note: At some airports I've been asked by TSA for another form of government ID in addition to our FedEx ID. Regular passengers get through TSA on 1 form of government ID such as a drivers license or passport. If I have to show another form of government ID, why even bother showing the crew ID, especially when deadheading in civilian clothes?
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:39 PM   #8  
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Originally Posted by machz990 View Post
.....Another side note: At some airports I've been asked by TSA for another form of government ID in addition to our FedEx ID. Regular passengers get through TSA on 1 form of government ID such as a drivers license or passport. If I have to show another form of government ID, why even bother showing the crew ID, especially when deadheading in civilian clothes?
Your "crew ID" is not government issued.

Also, it is not a valid form of identification unless you are in uniform.

That's the rule and how dare you question the TSA's authority


My guess on the uniform requirement is to prevent the TSA from having to deal with all the "how come they can go straight, carry coffee, have more than X bags, etc, through security and not me" type of questions from the flying public.
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Old 06-22-2011, 03:15 PM   #9  
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My guess on the uniform requirement is to prevent the TSA from having to deal with all the "how come they can go straight, carry coffee, have more than X bags, etc, through security and not me" type of questions from the flying public.[/QUOTE]

Thats the answer I got when I asked why I had to be in uniform. It seems to me they are putting the burden on the pilotd because the TSA does not want to have to deal with the public. I put on my uniform shirt right there in front of everyone just so I could get my toothpaste through, didn't even button it. Everyone behind me thought it was ridiculous that I had to do that. The public is getting fed up as well. Although it seems that the only ones the media interviews are those one time a year traveling public that would give up all their rights since it dosen't really hassle them for some more smoke and mirrors security. When are the TSA going to address the real security problems like cargo, bag handlers, rampers, etc. That don't have to go through any type of security check point.
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Old 06-22-2011, 04:04 PM   #10  
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Y...revent the TSA from having to deal with all the "how come they can go straight, carry coffee, have more than X bags, etc, through security and not me" type of questions from the flying public.
That's the reason.

Why I have to take off my belt when I go through the X-ray in civi's but not in uniform ... THAT is an unsolved mystery to me, just as much as it is to TSA that I could know my belt won't set off the X-ray. I always go through shirt untucked in civi's, works every time.
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