Dramatic change seems to be the order of the day in the airline industry. But one aspect of our business that has changed a lot — security — is really an extension of something that’s been a constant at American Airlines for more than three-quarters of a century: the paramount importance of safety. During the past two years, the airlines — in partnership with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), airport authorities, and law enforcement — have made great strides in enhancing security while still allowing our customers to move through the nation’s airports with a minimum of inconvenience.
When you arrive at the airport, you experience several important changes from years past. Sophisticated new baggage screening equipment has been installed in airports nationwide, enabling us to screen baggage checked onto our aircraft. The security checkpoints are now manned by thoroughly trained TSA professionals who conduct intensive and consistent screening. Another positive change has been the proliferation of self-service devices, which make it easier than ever to get the boarding pass required to enter the security checkpoint. Additionally, airport concourses are now reserved for the traveling public, and there is a greater number and type of prohibited items — not just for customers, but for airport employees and vendors, too.
Our security enhancements aren’t limited to the airport. You may have already heard or read in the media about the presence of Federal Air Marshals onboard commercial aircraft, or the test program whereby the TSA is training and certifying some airline pilots to carry weapons in the cockpit. For our part, we’ve made a raft of important changes onboard our aircraft. We’ve reinforced every cockpit door, replaced metal utensils with plastic, and eliminated cabin curtains to provide line of sight throughout the cabin. Last year, we developed a voluntary self-defense program for our crew members with the assistance of renowned martial arts experts. Those of you who have flown in or out of Washington, D.C.’s Reagan National Airport recently are probably already aware of the new rule that prohibits passengers from leaving their seats within 30 minutes of either takeoff from or arrival at that airport.
There are a lot of people — at the airports, onboard our aircraft, and behind the scenes — working hard to make your travels with us safe, secure, and enjoyable. But don’t forget, this is a team effort and there are things you can do to help expedite things. Always carry photo identification with you. Don’t forget to obtain your boarding pass before you arrive at the security checkpoint (for domestic travel, use our convenient self-service devices, curbside check-in, or check-in via AA.com). Leave your luggage unlocked, and leave any gifts unwrapped. If you’re not sure if something you want to bring along is allowed, check the updated prohibited items list at www.tsa.gov. Finally, always heed the instructions of TSA checkpoint personnel and airline crew members, whose job it is to keep you safe.
I’m proud to say that aviation security is better today than it has ever been. And you can count on American Airlines to do our part as we make it even better in the days to come. In the meantime, thanks for flying with us today.
GERARD J. ARPEY
President & CEO