An update on August 24, 2019, to the TSA’s procedures for its Known Crewmember program would have required flight crew to be in uniform in order to use its expedited security screening. Now, the update is on hold after intervention from pilot and flight attendant unions.
The change would have gone into effect on August 28. It was planned for implementation on the heels of another “enhancement” to the program, enabling the Unpredictable Screening Procedures that “will include retention of the Crewmember selection for USP for a period of time at all KCM access points in that airport,” according to the Known Crewmember website sponsored by ALPA and Airlines for America.
Reaction amongst pilot groups was mixed, as the requirement would mean a change of strategy—especially for crews that commute to their base. Prior to the update, pilots could commute (which sometimes happens on the day before or after a trip) and take advantage of the special and expedited screening processes (which, among other elements, allow them to carry liquids and gels beyond typical passenger restrictions, as they are typically unable to check bags). The process relies upon the ability of TSA officials to make positive identification of crewmembers through use of their security badge and ties to the person’s employment status with participating airlines. The program also benefits the traveling public, as crews and commuting crews are removed from regular passenger screening lanes at airports. Pilots should direct any questions regarding the change to their airline or pilot union, and look for news on the changes on the Known Crewmember website.