TSA Makes U-Turn On Flight Crew Security Changes

It’s only been four days since the Known Crewmember program announced changes to its security protocols. However, we now have news that one of these policies will not go in to effect today (Wednesday) as was originally planned.

The TSA handles security screening at all US airports, either directly or through contract workers. Photo: danjo paluska via Flickr

The official announcement

The Known Cremember website posted the following update to their recent security procedure changes:

“Please be advised that TSA is delaying implementation of the uniform requirement at KCM access points. The procedure to require a uniform for access through KCM will not go into effect this Wednesday, August 28, 2019, as previously announced.”

This puts a hold on one of the two new policies that were announced on the 24th of August. However, the second notice regarding “Unpredictable Screening Procedures” is going ahead:

“Effective August 27, 2019, KCM-authorized enhancement to Unpredictable Screening Procedures (USP) will be enabled. This enhancement will include retention of the Crewmember selection for USP for a period of time at all KCM access points in that airport. NOTE: If the selected Crewmember exits the sterile area and attempts to reenter through a KCM access point during this time period, they will continue to be identified for USP.”

Union pushback

3D scanners are used widely at TSA checkpoints. Photo: US DHS via Flickr

According to One Mile at a Time, this backtracking and delay in the implementation of one policy/procedure is the result of “getting pushback from airline unions”.

Paxex.Aero also pointed out that this uniform policy would “effectively preclude otherwise eligible employees from using the lanes while traveling for personal trips.”

Here is what the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA-CWA) had to say:

Since the announcement on Saturday that Known Crewmember (KCM) procedures would change AFA has been interfacing with TSA, industry, and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). We are pleased to report to you the procedure to require a uniform for access through KCM will not go into effect this Wednesday.


The statement goes on to say “Instead, TSA will work with AFA, ALPA and Airlines for America (A4A) to determine a means to continue KCM effectively without a uniform requirement.

As I had mentioned in yesterday’s report of these procedures, short-notice changes to security procedures have happened before. I referenced a sudden 2017 liquid ban for a Eurostar train service as well as the sudden UK and US laptop ban in the same year.

At the time, the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) responded to the laptop ban by issuing a public statement saying:

“Implemented at short notice without prior consultation with the airline industry, this has led to scenes of confusion at affected airports, as airlines scramble to comply with the new directives…”

It’s plausible that a similar sentiment was also conveyed to the KCM program leaders from the affected crewmembers and the unions representing them.


KCM has been in place for eight years now.. Photo: Kitt Hodsden via Pixnio

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Looks like common sense won out.


Good, because a uniform does not in any way shape or form validate or invalidate the ID’ cards, the background checks or the other aspects of clearance you go through to get KCM status. It is a farce and a total lie to say otherwise. This was a good thing to drop because it was simply harassment to all who go through the process of obtaining KCM status.


All airlines, aviation unions and non union airlines all met with TSA regarding this issue and hence the pushback. Only mentioning AFA like it was them who did it all is wrong.